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The Sounds Of (arab) Silence

At least two rockets, maybe three, hit Nahariya off the Mediterranean coast in the north of Israel. One of them landed on a nursing home, wounding two people. In the annals of the Gaza war, this is not a big deal. What is a big deal is that the Lebanese government condemned the attack immediately and that Hassan Nasrallah moved just as quickly to say "not me." So much for Arab unity.

The fact is that the people of Lebanon--except of course the despised Palestinians--do not want Hezbollah to immerse the country in another military confrontation with Israel. The costs of 2006 were immense, in human life and in infrastructure which was set back... God only knows how much. That summer in Lebanon was no exemplary victory for the Israel Defense Forces. But, believe me, no one wants to mix things up with the I.D.F. This is deterrence in action. As it happens, the Shi'a especially have had their fill with war and with Nasrallah's bloody temptations. All that he has done in the midst of the this conflict was to call on the Egyptian people to overthrow Hosni Mubarak. Now, there are many Egyptians who would like to see Mubarak gone (or hung) but they are militant Sunnis who don't cotton to calls from a mad Shi'a cleric.

All over the Islamic world there are demonstrations from the floating mobs letting loose some of their testosterone. And also all kinds of demands that this be done to Israel, and that. But in the Arab Middle East there is a deepening quiet.

Cairo has taken sides in this mini-war against Hamas. And it is a mini-war, more like a modest military operation. Israel has not deployed its big guns. At least, not yet.

The Palestinian Authority prays if not precisely for Israel's victory then its accompaniment, the defeat of Hamas. (What the P.A. would actually prefer is the slaughtering of Hamas, an act with which Israel will not oblige them.) A vanquished Hamas is the only way Mohammed  Abbas will make a triumphant return to Gaza. What will happen after? I won't hazard a guess.