The extremely interesting writer Michael Totten (c.f. Daniel’s post in praise of Totten’s Mideast blog) has mentioned a theory floating around about the abduction of the two Fox journalists: that it’s the work of Al Qaeda operating in Gaza. This is obviously extremely ominous, and it makes a number of inconsistencies fall into place; primarily, that the hostages were not released within hours or a couple of days, as has always happened in the past when garden-variety Palestinian terrorists have snatched foreign nationals, and that the demand is for the release of US-held Muslims, not Israeli-held Muslims.
We are seeing an increasingly dangerous pattern of outside influence on the already bad behavior of Palestinians in “liberated” Gaza. Another example is the Hezbollah-style abduction of still-missing Israeli Corporal Gilad Shalit prior to the Lebanon war. Not only has the withdrawal from Gaza — which I supported — resulted in just the kind of unrelenting missile attacks on Israeli civilians across the border that was anticipated by opponents of the withdrawal, but it has also allowed an apparently festering, freakish jihadism to take root on our doorstep. (And I’ll just remark in passing that if I were a resident of Sderot, I would be wondering why missile attacks on my front yard are tolerable to my government but missile attacks on front yards in Nahariyya are a cassus belli.)
These are disorienting times. When the British foiled the terror plot to blow up multiple airliners last week by using a long-term, patient program of police surveillance and cross-border intelligence-sharing, I had an intensely disconcerting thought: that John Kerry might have actually had a point about something; viz, that terrorists can be effectively combatted by approaching the problem as a police matter. The cesspool of Wild-West chaos and extremist terrorism that Gaza has become since the Israeli withdrawal has made me wonder whether I wasn’t wrong on that one, too.