The situation of Israel is once again heading toward extreme peril. In 1967 Israel took on the forces of Egypt, Jordan, and Syria and routed all three. Since then suicide bombers and harassing endeavors from Hamas and Hezbollah have taken their toll physically and psychologically, but Israel's existence has not been threatened. Now, the past 44 years are starting to seem downright peaceful in comparison with what likely lies ahead.
On Sunday Israel Defense Forces generally shot at the legs of hundreds of invading protesters at the country's borders with Syria and Lebanon. Many of the demonstrators were wounded and some died. IDF gunfire killed at least one Syrian. Along the Lebanon border somewhere between three and 10 people died at the hands of either the IDF or the Lebanese Armed Forces. (Reports conflict.)
The Jerusalem Post worried that "As demonstrations like these gain momentum ahead of the planned declaration of statehood by the Palestinians in September, this type of protest could become a common occurrence along Israel's various borders." The Associated Press reported that Palestinian activists are calling the incursions on Sunday "a preview of new tactics to pressureIsrael and win world support for statehood: Masses of marchers, galvanized by the Arab Spring and brought together by Facebook."
But that's the least of Israel's problems. It now appears that the greatest beneficiaries of the Cairo demonstrations that brought down an authoritarian dictator may be the totalitarian dictators of the Muslim Brotherhood. They are strongly anti-Israel and, if Israel takes action against Gaza terrorists, will pressure a reluctant army to come to the support of Hamas. The Syrian government is also likely to intensify anti-Israel words and deeds as a way to shift attention from its own failings.
And the biggest problem for Israel, of course, may be The Bomb: Iran may not be able to go as fast as it hoped and some expected, but whether Tehran's fanatics have its nuclear weapons in one year or five, the danger will be extreme, barring regime change or some military action. The United States lived through four decades of nuclear-tipped Cold War with the Soviet Union because Russian leaders, without the expectation of an afterlife, did not want to kill Americans and die. Some Muslim leaders may embrace killing Israel and dying.
What to look for in the next few months? Austin, Texas-based Stratfor-"the private CIA"-says we should watch the reconciliation process between Hamas and Fatah, watch the reaction of Hezbollah, and watch the actions of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. I'd add, "watch and pray."