Yom Ha’atzmaut now draws to a close. As Arutz Sheva so aptly put it: "3,500 years old and 59 years young."
"We have won before and we will win again, for we have no other choice. We have been living for 59 years in a war, the end of which is not yet in sight. Thus spoke Acting President Dalia Itzik during ceremonies in honor of the day.
"Residents of Iran, Syria and the Palestinian Authority: has there not been enough blood spilled, yours and ours? Replace your Katyushas and Kassams with computers and education, and finally, be rewarded with peace and quiet Israel lives and lets live."
But it is clear that residents of the Palestinian Authority weren’t listening. A barrage of at least 12 Kassams and 20 mortar rounds were fired on the western Negev this morning.
By this afternoon the IDF announced that this was meant to be a diversionary action so that terrorists might infiltrate into Israel and kidnap more soldiers. The IDF, however, was ready, as there has been a high alert for weeks with regard to intelligence that a raid similar to the one in which Shalit was captured was being planned by Hamas, and indeed Hamas’s military wing took credit for the rocket and mortar attack. Our ground troops were ready, however, and IAF helicopters were hovering over Gaza; no cell got into Israel.
This should provide a lesson: Even negotiating the release of terrorists in exchange for Shalit, never mind actually making the exchange, is enough to motivate terrorists to accomplish further abductions. It’s a tactic that works. This is apparent to them. And if it’s apparent to them, it should be apparent to our government that carrying on the negotiations is very very bad idea.
Olmert said the government viewed the attacks and attempted kidnapping "severely." Wow! That’ll teach them. Show them, Olmert, don’t tell them. Reports are that Olmert is consulting officials about a possible response. Possible? At most, it will be what is called a targeted response. Our prime minister is not ready yet to take them on in a major action.
The official response from Hamas is laughable. PM Haniyeh said the Palestinians want to continue the ceasefire. They are very surprised by the aggression that Israel is showing towards them. PA Spokesman Ghazi Hamed said that the calm would collapse if Israel continued with its aggression. Which calm was he referring to?
Avigdor Lieberman (Israel Beitenu), Minister of Strategic Affairs, said tonight that our restraint is seen as weakness and cannot continue. And he could not be more correct.
The words of MK Binyamin Netanyahu (Likud), opposition head, reflected a similar theme (with a jab at the Olmert gov’t): "…the government must act to remove the Qassam threat in the south. But this time, unlike during the Second Lebanon War, it should make sure to complete military and civilian preparations before taking action…"
The Likud party is calling on Olmert to also stop all meetings with Abbas. This is absolutely appropriate as well. It is less than pointless to deal with one part of the unity gov’t when another part is openly attacking us.
Mahmoud Zahar (Hamas), former foreign minister of the PA, said yesterday that if Israel agreed to withdraw to the pre-’67 lines and released the prisoners, then the PA would have to negotiate with Israel because such negotiations would serve a national purpose. However, he clarified, "negotiations" did not mean recognition of Israel.
Just last Friday Zahar said that the Koran forbids recognizing Israel.
Yom Ha’atzmaut celebrations were held on the site of the former community of Homesh in northern Samaria, and thousands of activists attended. The declared goal of the activists is a re-establishment of the community, which was dismantled as part of the "disengagement." It is clear, they say, that this action was a huge mistake that needs to be rectified.
At first the IDF was going to provide permission for this event, but then withdrew permission and put up roadblocks. Those roadblocks, however, only prevented cars from entering the area, while those on foot went easily and were not detained. The activists vowed to be peaceful and to leave this evening. Only a couple of people accused of blocking IDF vehicles were arrested.
Violence between Hamas and Fatah is on the increase again. In Gaza last night seven were wounded and a 12 year old boy was killed by a stray bullet.
Mashaal and Abbas are scheduled to meet in Cairo on Saturday.
This posting can be found at: https://www.arlenefromisrael.info/current-postings/2007/4/24/april-24-2007-kassams-on-independence-day.html