Pathetic isn’t even a strong enough word. Disgusting? Sickening?
I am referring to the situation in which we find ourselves, in good part by virtue of the decisions of our government.
Today the Security Cabinet recommended that a major military operation into Gaza not be held.
The reason given is because there is evidence that the limited forays and targeted killings by the IDF in Gaza are having an effect. Figures were provided: 115 forays into Gaza in the course of 2007 with 270 Palestinian terrorists killed. Lately Barak has permitted forays that were more "proactive" in nature, it was said. In fact, just yesterday there was a major (limited) action utilizing bulldozers and tanks, one kilometer into southern Gaza — between Khan Yunis and Rafah, that killed 10 and wounded more. This was supposed to reduce the launching of rockets at us.
But the REAL reason that we’re not having that major operation is because it will kill the "peace talks." Fatah has already said that if we go in they’ll fight in Gaza alongside Hamas. So that would be the end of that. Rice would be very unhappy — unhappy with us.
Besides which, data on a reduction of Kassams shot at us or on the relatively small numbers killed are beside the point — a tiny band-aid on a gaping wound. For there is continual stockpiling of increasingly sophisticated weapons brought in from Egypt, which are stored in bunkers; there is improvement in the Kassams so they may be stored longer and soon will put 250,000 people and sensitive sites in Ashkelon within range; and there is training by the Iranians of a Hamas army of some 15,000 — already divided into specialized divisions. What is a limited foray and the murder of 10 people in the face of this? What does it matter if they stop shooting Kassams completely for the moment?
For shame! That this would be ignored, especially after our experience with Hezbollah and the intelligence about what we’re going to be facing with Gaza. We have been warned by defense officials that delay in acting against this threat is dangerous.
And what is reaction to this decision? Does Rice praise us for forbearance in the face of danger for the sake of peace? Of course not. She’s too busy saying that we’re putting the "peace process" at risk by planning construction of 300 housing units in Jerusalem within municipal boundaries.
And the Palestinians? They said they wanted the talks, to start in Jerusalem today on procedural matters, to be "low key" with no photo ops, in protest of our operations in Gaza. Not in protest, if truth be told, but because it serves them badly in the Palestinian street to be seen with Israelis. Keep it out of people’s minds as much as possible.
Please understand what this means: Even if Fatah were moderate (which they are not), it is the Hamas agenda that rules the day. Hamas has been pressuring Fatah not to sit at the table with us.
There is, of course, not the slightest PA nod towards our forbearance, never mind an expression of appreciation for it so that the talks could go on. Nor is there the remotest acknowledgement that it’s wrong to propel rockets at our civilians and that we must protect ourselves. It’s all our fault, you see.
I ask you, is this not a ludicrous and untenable situation? It could be seen coming from a mile away. How can there be negotiations when Abbas is tied to Hamas in Gaza (having negotiations with Hamas, actually) and shows them allegiance, but doesn’t control them, while Hamas is launching Kassams now and looking to do worse? It’s impossible and schizoid.
At a bare minimum, we should have insisted that there could be no negotiations until the PA (our ostensible "negotiating partner") was in control of Gaza as well as Judea and Samaria (which they don’t really control either now).
And what happened today? Twenty Kassams were lobbed into Sderot this morning in the course of less than four hours. Boy, our limited operations really stopped them. Four people were wounded; one rocket landed on the main street of the city.
In response, Sderot mayor, Eli Moyal, resigned without having given advance warning, saying on Israel Radio this morning that he could no longer endure being responsible in the situation that Sderot is dealing with:
"This role is too big for any person … I do not want to stay in office until the day 20 children die in Sderot…I don’t want to make the decision to open schools tomorrow because a Kassam might land there and I’ll be blamed for opening the school."
The members of the government have abysmally failed to protect the people of Sderot. They should all hang their heads in shame, but they’re too obtuse; you wouldn’t believe the comments from Olmert regarding the fact that the gov’t doesn’t have to do more and that the people have to learn to live with it. These are Israeli citizens, living constantly at risk inside of Israel.
The High Court of Justice, in response to a petition by the residents of Sderot, has just censured the government for failing to provide the populace of that city with adequate protection.
And following the rocket attack on Sderot today, Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi said that the possibility of a large scale attack was growing, as this situation couldn’t be tolerated for much longer. In fact, at the Conference on Security Challenges at the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) in Tel Aviv, he said more:
"It is not possible to defeat a terrorist organization without having control on the ground. The results in the West Bank in the past two years have been impressive, because of our control on the ground level.
"We will eventually need to have [such] control [in Gaza], operations-wise and intelligence-wise…We will not be able to win only by air strikes and ground fire."
Well, mazel tov! This is telling it true. And it remains true even if the rocket launching temporarily stop. But the politicos and not the defense establishment call the shots.
With regard to Iran, Ashkenazi said: "The international community needs to stop Iran. But we in the IDF need to prepare for every option in case this does not succeed…We need to be capable of quickly defeating our enemies in any conflict. We need to have the ability to fight at the same time in different fronts and at different levels." In the future, he indicated, we would need to deal with "faraway threats" and had to upgrade our long range capabilities.
Thank G-d someone has his eyes open .
As to that negotiating session, it did happen. This was in spite of PA threats to not attend because we were sabotaging the "peace." But it was held in secret, instead of at the King David Hotel as had been announced, with a planned launching ceremony to proceed the meeting.
Livni said that security must come first and registered protest at the fact that members of Fatah recently killed Israeli Ido Zoldan in a drive-by shooting in Samaria. This, to my mind, was sufficient reason in and of itself to cancel talks. If Abbas cannot control members of Fatah, then what?
And the Palestinians registered complaint about the housing units in Har Homa.
The parties have agreed to convene again next week in Paris, where the donors to the PA will be meeting.
Barry Rubin takes a hard look at this in his latest piece, "You Owe Us Bigtime." It’s a joke, he says, because the Palestinians promise "fiscal reform.":
"Reform promises have been made and broken for more than 13 years. It is hard to remember the PA has existed that long with so little positive achievement. If Palestinians have such a bad economy it is not due to the ‘occupation’ or to Israel but to their own leaders’ greed, incompetence, failure to end violence, inability to present an attractive investment climate, and unwillingness to impose stability on their own lands."
Rubin says this is a major story because the US and the Europeans are basing their policy on the expectation that pouring more money into the PA can lead to diplomatic progress.
But the Palestinians have never remotely demonstrated any fiscal responsibility. The PA has not even instituted a comprehensive tax system, because "It has acted as if it is the job of foreigners, which mostly means the West, to pay its bills. This is not psychologically healthy…" The PA has welfare mentality.
[Note: just one more piece of evidence that the idea of establishing a Palestinian state is ridiculous.]
Rubin is deeply concerned that the media misrepresent the situation, implying that Israel is responsible for the PA’s fiscal situation. Particularly worthy of mention is that donors cut off funds two months BEFORE Hamas took Gaza — it wasn’t done because of political reasons but rather because of corruption.
See the entire piece at:
For evidence of what a distorted and unfair world Israel must contend with, we don’t need to look further than this:
A resolution generated by Israel that doesn’t involve either the Holocaust or the Israeli-Arab conflict has passed the General Assembly of the UN for the very first time. This was a socio-economic resolution that aims to encourage states and organizations to develop improved agricultural technology and plant species for the good of humanity, especially in developing countries.
Said Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Dan Gillerman, "This first historic resolution, which Israel initiated and presented, was accepted in the UN and constitutes recognition of Israeli excellence and its contribution to the world…Israel plans to continue presenting initiatives and resolutions that will give expression to its uniqueness, creativity, and modernity, and to demonstrate that we are a society like all others in the UN, which works and contributes on a whole slew of issues apart from the Arab-Israeli conflict."
Well, that’s beautiful. The fact is that we are a fantastic nation that is focused on doing international good and has enormous scientific expertise that can benefit others, and it’s time the world knew it. But why the hell should it have taken almost 60 years to recognize this?
And consider this: All 19 Arab nations present abstained from voting on this. The PA envoy to the UN, Riyad Mansour, said Israel was "trying to score political points." When it was raised in committee he had rejected a move to have the motion presented by the chair as a consensus resolution. According to him, this motion only emphasized "the divisions between Israel and the Arab countries."
How destructive is hatred! Where we have the capacity to do good, the Arab world rejects what we offer.
This, it should especially be noted, is the paradigm of how the PA responds to us.
Before closing, one more mention of Arab antipathy towards us (and regrettable compliance with it):
I had written earlier about the fact that Rice had the Israeli delegation to Annapolis enter through a service door because the Saudis didn’t want to accidentally bump into an Israeli. That sort of apartheid practiced by the US is totally unacceptable. But what bothered me a great deal, as well, was that the Israeli delegation cooperated with this (although much was written later about a Livni outburst at the Arabs, who wouldn’t talk with her or shake hands). If I were Livni, I would like to think that if Rice had asked that of me I would have refused, saying that if we can’t go in the same door, there is nothing to discuss, and I would have then told the press so and gone home with dignity.
What I found sad — the word "pathetic" again occurs to me — is that later Olmert made a big deal about the fact that the Saudi delegation applauded his talk. Wow!
Well, I’ve been following reports by journalists who were present in Annapolis and watching closing. And what I’m reading — Nachum Barnea, respected Israel journalist, writing in Yediot Ahronot, is being widely cited — is that the Saudis didn’t wear their earphones and thus didn’t hear what Olmert said, and didn’t really applaud him but only pretended to, bringing their palms close but not allowing them to touch.
Great world, isn’t it?