It is I who am stymied. Flummoxed. Not to mention grieved, and furious.
It is 1:00 AM here in Israel as I write , and yet I feel compulsed to send out this message, which I can only hope and pray will make the rounds extensively.
Why stymied and flummoxed? Because there is the sense that the world is truly insane, and that it’s hard to know how to handle this or respond to it. Or to know what the end will be.
Olmert met today with Abbas in the prime minister’s Jerusalem residence. At that time Olmert made many "gestures" and concessions.
Start with the 250 prisoners who are about to be released . Most, but not all, of them are from Fatah — some are from other factions, not including Hamas. They all have at least one more year to serve on their terms, they all will have signed that very significant and binding pledge to renounce terrorism, and none of them have blood on their hands. But let’s look a bit closer at this last criterion. Many of them ATTEMPTED terror attacks that were unsuccessful. They may have thrown a bomb that failed to go off or shot a gun that misfired. They may even have been caught with a suicide belt. They wanted to kill Jews, they tried to kill Jews, they just didn’t manage to do it. Yet. Their mindset, their goals are not different from those of terrorists who have succeeded. And our prime minister agrees to send them out there, to try again. Does anyone — anyone! — take seriously their pledge to renounce terrorism? Does Olmert do anything but make a laughing stock of himself with this? Does Olmert, with his talk about "risks" that we can afford to take, give a damn about the innocents to be targeted?
And then there are the roughly 180 Al Aksa Brigades people we’re "pardoning." I wrote about them yesterday — about their connections to Iran, and the fact that they already are in or are being incorporated into the PA security services. And I ask if Olmert has lost his mind entirely. The logic being advanced is that since we won’t any longer have to monitor these guys — who will also be signing those valuable commitments to renounce terrorism — we will have more time to go after Hamas. And, while I have scrupulously refrained from utilizing obscenities in my postings, it seems that nothing short of an obscenity can truly express how I feel about this. I ask myself, again, does anyone — anyone! — really take seriously their stated intentions to start being nice guys? We’re talking about people who DO have Jewish blood on their hands, people who take money and instructions from Iran.
Because I understand the mentality and the process …Because I know that we’ve been had a dozen times this way before…I knew intuitively and with certainty that the "conversion" of the Al Aksa terrorists was not real. The Palestinians are masters at appearing to be what the world wants them to be, while not changing their ultimate goal (Israel’s destruction) one iota.
But tonight I also read Caroline Glick’s latest column , entitled "The joke’s on us." Glick wrote:
"’It’s all a joke. It’s just a joke.’
"That’s how the Palestinian terror commanders in Judea and Samaria explained the show they made of handing in their weapons to Fatah commander Mahmoud Abbas’s official militias over the weekend.
"’This is all a big joke,’ they told reporters while posing for pictures. ‘Abbas asked us to sign a declaration saying we won’t attack Israel and so we are.’
"And why not? The Palestinian Authority Chairman agreed to pay them thousands of dollars in exchange for the photo opportunities. There is also the non-financial incentive. In exchange for their propaganda photos and their signatures on declarations not to engage in terror anymore, Israel has pledged to take these murderers off of its wanted list. So just for participating in a satire, these men get to walk without fear for the first time in years. "
Now, if this doesn’t make you sick to your stomach, it’s made of cast iron.
And I’m not finished yet . I knew this was also on the table, but Glick says it’s pretty much finalized:
"In anticipation of the formalization of the agreement at the Olmert-Abbas meeting Monday, the IDF ended its nightly raids in Judea and Samaria for the first time in five years. Those raids, in which thousands of terrorists were apprehended in their sleep and their networks disrupted, were the main reason that Israelis in Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv, Netanya and Hadera have been able to sleep in a modicum of safety for the past three years.
"It is these raids, rather than Abbas’s vaunted efforts to strengthen the so-called peace camp in Palestinian society or the security fence that have prevented suicide bombers from entering Israeli cities with any frequency.
"Saturday the IDF’s General Staff ordered Central Command to receive prior General Staff approval for any such raids in the future. By taking the ability to fight terrorists away from the commanders in the field, the General Staff essentially made fighting terrorists off limits for IDF forces in Judea and Samaria. That is, without officially announcing it, Israel has agreed to Abbas’s demand that it extend its ‘unilateral cease-fire’ in Gaza (which existed until Hamas rose to power last month), to Judea and Samaria."
It’s Jewish lives we’re talking about, once again. And so I am enraged.
But there’s something else going on here : Glick makes the point that Hamas was able to take Gaza because of that IDF self-imposed unilateral ceasefire; Hamas had more latitude to act unimpeded and to build its strength. Just days ago I quoted a top IDF official who said that Hamas’s intention in Judea and Samaria is the same as in Gaza, but that they would not succeed. You have to come and see us operate each night, to understand this, said the IDF official. But now, if the IDF won’t be operating each night? Abbas has been seeking the right to have his people maintain security. But Abbas and his security forces will not make the grade. Could it be (or am I merely looking for a silver lining here?) that the pullback on IDF operations will hasten Abbas’s downfall?
Caroline Glick’s piece can be found at:
Still, I am not done. With all of this President Bush gave a "major" speech tonight. In it he said that the US would be giving unprecedented amounts of money and political support to the PA. This, you see, is supposed to strengthen Abbas and motivate his people to become moderate. A mistake of colossal dimensions, and I will have much to say about this in coming days. Here I simply register my shock at this statement. What has Abbas done to justify such support? He lost Gaza because he didn’t give the order to his men to shoot, and because they ran away. It was not for lack of arms or training that he lost. Yet Bush imagines that funds to strengthen Abbas’s security forces will make the difference.
Bush also called for a conference on peace in the fall, that would include Israel, the Palestinians, and neighboring states, and be moderated by Condoleezza Rice. Shriek! This would be "lean on Israel" time. They’re after Judea and Samaria for a Palestinian state.
My only consolation: The times are so volatile, who knows what will happen by the fall.