Barry Rubin, in his most recent column, lists "four phony panaceas, which will clearly not work." These are quick fixes that a very foolish and nearsighted world is promoting. Rubin says, not only will they not work, "they are likely to make the extremists bolder and more reckless." I assure you, it’s quite clear to them that the world is very foolish and nearsighted. The phony panaceas are:
"1. Reactivating the Palestinian-Israel peace process. I don’t care what your political preferences are, but you’ve got to be really reality-challenged to believe in this one. PA chair Mahmoud Abbas cannot be helped by anyone. His Fatah group is divided, largely radical, and remarkably ineffective. He is weak and vacillating. Hamas daily explains it will not change its goal of destroying Israel and is salivating for a chance to get out on the battlefield.
"2. Negotiations with Syria. Right. Give them Lebanon, forget about Hariri, and they’ll happily come to meetings for the next ten years. But make peace with Israel, you must be kidding.
"3. Bringing in Iran and Syria to decide Iraq’s future. So the solution is to throw Lebanon and Iraq to the wolves, begging the radicals to see this proves the West wants to be friends? Could anything possibly persuade them more not to make a single concession because victory is nigh?
"4. Convince Iran by talks and concessions to stop building nuclear weapons and long-range missiles. Why should they, when they know defying the West will cost them zero?"
Rubin says it’s time to get serious: "…we are at a turning point…because the big changes…are clearly visible a bit down the road. Now is the time to make decisions about what to do.
"It is going to be easy to make little day-to-day, reactive decisions. Yet, this approach will be inadequate. On each of a half-dozen impending crises, a strategy is needed. Yet, all too rarely do I see discussion of the real issues, especially coming from the biggest names and in the most prestigious publications in Europe and America."
It’s as I wrote recently: The world is going to hell in a handbasket. It’s not too late to fix things, but zero hour gets closer.
So…yesterday I reported both on casualties in Sderot caused by rockets shot from Gaza, as well as on the very clear message being delivered by military and security officials that not enough is being done to stop the Kassams — that the gov’t hasn’t taken a strong enough stand. Now let’s take a look at the response from gov’t officials.
Olmert said: "…there is not one easy solution for the war against Kassams…" Did anyone say this would be easy? This is a war, in case he hasn’t noticed. Wars are rarely easy.
"We will continue to promote diplomatic activities. It should be noted that there is no problem in the Palestinians’ ability to fight terror." This means Olmert hopes someone else will protect us. (This is his pattern: It’s UNIFIL at the border with Lebanon and Egypt at the border between Egypt and Gaza. And we know how well those forces are doing.) In this instance, the someone is Abbas. I guess Olmert hasn’t read what Rubin said about Abbas (#1 above). This statement, along with many others Olmert has made, definitely puts him in the category of those who are "really reality-challenged."
"…in the south of the country there is an ongoing firing of Kassams, and I view it with great severity…." Wow, great severity, huh? They must be quaking in their boots.
"…Our activity will continue each time in accordance with the news and the circumstances…" This stop-gap approach is exactly what our military/security people say won’t work. An action that is brief and localized will cause terrorists to temporarily withdraw, only to return shortly thereafter. They are telling us that a sustained IDF presence in Gaza is required, large scale.
But this is what Vice Premier Shimon Peres says:
"We can occupy Gaza, but that would be a cardinal mistake. Sinking into the Gaza mud will not guarantee the end of missiles fired at Israeli communities. The IDF will also serve as a convenient target for hurting soldiers."
I am not making this up. And my source (YNet) is reliable and actually center-left. The English in the quote above leaves a good deal to be desired, but the point that Peres is making (although he would never say it so distinctly) is that it’s better to stay out of Gaza and put civilians at risk for injury and death, then to put soldiers in Gaza, where they might get injured or killed.
Is there any way to appear weaker to our enemies than with a statement such as this??? Our deterrence is shot (excuse the pun). Our gov’t is telling Hamas that we’re not going to come after them with all necessary strength because we want to keep our boys safe.
Allow me to repeat here what Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter said yesterday (emphasis added):
"The army’s activity is not sufficient, A broadening [of operations] is necessary. Defense forces exist to protect citizens, even at the expense of harm to the defense forces."
It is clear to me from everything I’m reading that the IDF is ready to go in for a major operation, but that the gov’t is preventing it.
Peres says more: "With patience and restraint we must continue the international pressure which will get Hamas off the tree. [Off the tree?] The solution is to talk when Hamas stops entrenching itself and the missiles stop."
Restraint? Precisely what is not needed. International pressure? Show me even one iota of evidence that the international community is applying real pressure here. He’s suggesting that we play it cool and wait for the EU (and maybe the UN?) to make Hamas stop shooting at us, and then we can all sit down and talk. This approach makes Peres even more "reality-challenged" than Olmert.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas gave an interview to the Asharq al-Awsat newspaper in London in which he said he had clear assurances from the US that if a PA unity government was formed financial sanctions would be lifted and IDF actions would stop.
Well, Abbas telling this to an Arab paper in London does not make it so. I’d need to know a lot more about what American assurances were made by exactly whom before responding in a definitive way. And yet.. and yet… this rings bells. There is certainly an eagerness internationally to see the PA moderated, even if that moderation is only facade. The tendency of western leaders to settle this cheaply is a source of on-going concern to me.
As to IDF actions stopping, my first response was that this does not ring true. My first response was that the issue here is not what sort of gov’t the PA has but what sort of rockets are being launched in our direction. Even "really reality-challenged" Olmert, I thought to myself, wouldn’t stop all IDF action unless there were quiet at the border with Gaza.
But then I thought again. For Defense Minister Peretz has now said that he "hopes that the trends in the Palestinian Authority will turn to strengthening the moderates, and if not, Israel will deal a heavy and painful blow to the terrorists." "Trends in the PA that will turn to strengthening the moderates"? Code for a (pretend moderate) unity gov’t, which would give him an excuse to hold off with that "heavy and painful blow"?
And Minister Gideon Ezra (Kadima
) has just suggested a unilateral ceasefire to "see how the Palestinians react." If their reaction isn’t appropriate, "we will flatten the Strip." Nonsense, we’re not going to flatten the Strip. That’s bravado only and shows that his statement is not serious.
As to how the Palestinians "will react," if there is a hiatus in their launching of rockets, does this make it all OK? What about the tons of explosives and the sophisticated weaponry that has been and is continuing to be smuggled in from Egypt?
Please, note this carefully: People who intend peace do not do what the Palestinians in Gaza are doing. They are itching to hit us big time. Hamas is training an army. To be too easily taken in by a pretense of peace, by a mere lull in the launching of rockets, while the training and the weapon smuggling continue, would be a huge and dangerous mistake. Unless we take out the terrorist infrastructure, or there is some (exceedingly unlikely) major shift in events with weapons surrendered and turned over, they will continue to posses the ability to hit us, and will do so when our guard is down.
To make matters worse, Spain, Italy and France are promoting a new "peace initiative." It would involve an immediate cease-fire; formation of a national unity government by the Palestinians that can gain international recognition; an exchange of prisoners – including the kidnapped IDF soldiers; talks between Israel’s prime minister and the Palestinian Authority president and an international mission in Gaza to monitor a cease-fire.
Echoing Kofi Annan, Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero says, "Peace between Israel and the Palestinians means to a large extent peace on the international scene." An incredible statement.
The EU is already on board with this part-way as it has passed a resolution to send international peacekeepers to Gaza. This is not a positive development. Consistently "international peacekeepers" have failed to act in an unbiased fashion so that Israel’s security is safeguarded. Look at UNIFIL.
I can tell you how it would work: The "peacekeepers" would say they cannot control the renegade forces shooting the Kassams but would demand that Israel not respond.
You can trust me: "Peacekeepers" in the Gaza Strip would no more take out Hamas weapon stores than UNIFIL has taken out what Hezbollah has — in spite of the UN resolution.
The IDF and Israeli security have announced that they have uncovered a cell in Nablus — set into place by the Popular Resistance Committees in Gaza — that was manufacturing explosive belts made with a liquid explosive that cannot be detected with a metal detector. In July a cell member stopped for a routine search in Jerusalem was found to be wearing such a belt. Under interrogation, this cell member revealed the names of four others — one of whom was working for PA Preventive Security and who subsequently turned over a second belt. Authorities said both belts contained unusually large amounts of explosives, so that detonating them would have generated major terror disasters.
This posting can be found at: https://www.arlenefromisrael.info/current-postings/2006/11/16/posted-november-16-2006.html