In his book, The Gathering Storm, Winston Churchill wrote (emphasis added): "How easily the tragedy of the Second World War could have been prevented: how the malice of the wicked was reinforced by the weakness of the virtuous; how the structure and habits of democratic States…. lack those elements of persistence and conviction which can alone give security to humble masses; how, even, in matters of self-preservation, no policy is pursued for even ten or fifteen years at time. We shall see how the counsel of prudence and restraint may become the prime agents of mortal danger; how the middle course adopted from desires for safety and a quiet life may be found to lead direct to the bull’s-eye of disaster."
Search your hearts and ask yourselves how this applies today. Search your hearts and ask yourselves what else you perhaps should be doing before we come to the "bull’s-eye of disaster." (My thanks to Naomi Regan for calling attention to this quote.)
Today I was in a fabric store in the center of town, and on the radio I heard a voice beginning to talk about the Palestinians. "Who is that?" I asked the store manager. "The stupid one," he told me. "There are lots of stupid ones," I rejoined. "The stupid one," he persisted. "Olmert." Indeed. He rolled his eyes and said, "It’s incredible."
So how is it that the man who manages the fabric store understands the stupidity of our current policies and those in power don’t? How is it that "the stupid one" is still in power?
Yesterday Israel agreed to accept a PA offer of a "ceasefire" that would apply to Gaza only. This was arranged after a phone conversation between Olmert and Abbas and was to begin at 6 AM this morning. All shooting of Kassams would cease and Israel would pull out of Gaza and stop all operations against forces in Gaza.
Abbas said that all terrorist groups had agreed to cooperate with this "ceasefire." He then sent security forces into Gaza to enforce it; 13,000 troops will spread out along the border with Israel. There was no immediate indication of what orders they were given in terms of taking actual action, other than being in the field.
It should be clear on the face of things that the great "moderate" Abbas does not intend to tangle with terrorists forces — this is not his style. Just days ago Khaled Abu Toameh wrote that — contrary to the popular impression — Abbas actually does have the strength within the security forces to stop the Kassams if he truly wished to, but that will is what is lacking.
Toameh wrote: "…he appears to be comfortable with the image of the weak leader low on funds and resources. Abbas’s message to the outside world is: If I only had more weapons, policemen and money, I’d be able to move against the terrorists…
"…Abbas’s strategy is based on the notion that if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Although he has repeatedly condemned the firing of the ‘primitive’ rockets at Israel as ‘harmful’ to the interests of the Palestinians, he has never ordered his security chiefs to go after the rocket squads – not even when the miserable residents of Beit Hanun, who are continuing to pay a heavy price, begged him to take action."
Early this morning four Kassams were fired — three into Sderot. (Another one was fired some 30 minutes before the "ceasefire" began, landing directly into a home, from which the residents barely escaped with their lives.) Hamas, which was involved, claimed they did this because the IDF had not yet left Gaza completely. Olmert cautioned the IDF to exercise restraint in the face of these violations to give the "ceasefire" a chance.
Meanwhile Islamic Jihad and Abu Reish, an armed faction of Fatah, announced that they were not part of the "ceasefire" agreement. According to one source, Islamic Jihad says that IDF activity in Judea-Samaria also constitutes a violation of the "ceasefire." If everyone isn’t on board, then what?
You will note that the "ceasefire" as announced does not include release of Shalit, even though the gov’t had originally said it would be part of the deal. There are no red lines, you see. Olmert is simply eager to appear to be making "progress." Already he is waxing eloquent about how maybe this can be extended to Judea-Samaria and lead to true peace negotiations. And Foreign Minister Livni has said that we are "at the beginning of a new day." (I do not this sappy stuff up.)
The original statements by the gov’t also said that the ceasefire would include a cessation of "tunneling," although it’s not clear to me if this was referring only to making new tunnels or to smuggling within those that already existed.
For anyone who remotely understands the situation, it is clear that there is not the proverbial snowball’s chance in hell of a cessation of weapon smuggling. In fact, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs pretty much acknowledged this in a statement it put out today (emphasis added):
"Israel is interested in maintaining a cease-fire as a means to end the violence and to enable progress in the political negotiations. In doing so, Israel is knowingly undertaking the risk that the terrorist organizations will exploit the cease-fire to rearm and to rebuild their infrastructure."
Is this not truly breathtaking policy?
Then we have a statement from Amos Gilad, a senior advisor to the Minister of Defense. He explained that smuggling is not included in the "ceasefire" because Egypt also has responsibility in this regard (and what a splendid job it is doing) and is not party to this "ceasefire." When asked if this means the terrorists would be able to rearm much as Hezbollah has been able to rearm with the "ceasefire" in Lebanon, he responded, "And we were stopping the smuggling until now?"
This is not a joke, not a parody. We really have an advisor to the Minister of Defense who is not embarrassed to suggest that since we had a policy that didn’t prevent arms smuggling, it’s OK to adopt a new policy that makes it even easier for them to do bring in armaments. It apparently didn’t occur to him that what is required is a policy that WILL stop the smuggling, i.e., a major operation in Gaza. But then, look who he’s advising. If anyone rivals Olmert for the appellation of "the stupid one," it would be Peretz.
Incidentally, according to a report by Khaled Abu Toameh yesterday, Hezbollah has now rearmed 100% and is now back to the 20,000 short range missiles it had before the war. UNIFIL is doing just as splendid a job as Egypt.
There seem to be at least a few people who understand what’s going on.
Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter, while touring the Negev today, stated that the Palestinians proposed this "ceasefire" because they knew Israel was on the verge of proposing a large scale operation into Gaza.
MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) said that Olmert and Peretz, unable to stop the attacks on Israel, "are therefore ready to allow Hamas the necessary time to turn Gaza into southern Lebanon."
MK Esterina Trotman (National Union) suggested that Hamas leaders be arrested until Shalit is released. She thought they should be jailed in Sderot: "I want to see the Hamas terrorists shoot over the heads of their leaders." I rather like that.
Then we have
the take of Hamas leader in Damascus, Khaled Mashaal, who said Israel had six months to negotiate a Palestinian state or would face a "third Intifada." It will be more than an "Intifada" or uprising, I assure you — it will be war. Just splendid that we’re going to give him time now to get stronger before he begins that war.
I’m sure there will be lots more exciting news tomorrow from this heart-weary commentator.
On some days the insanity of what’s going on seems so great it’s difficult to know how to contend with it all. On some nights, it’s difficult to sleep.
This posting can be found at: https://www.arlenefromisrael.info/current-postings/2006/11/26/posted-november-26-2006.html