Once more I devote my posting to the broad issue of Gaza, Hamas, and the "ceasefire." At the moment nothing is more relevant to Israel’s security and right to exist. What is going on is horrifying to everyone who thinks clearly on the matter.
Yesterday I wrote about the complaint of the terrorists that they wanted the ceasefire extended to Judea-Samaria — and I explained how important IDF actions in that area were.
By last night, the news broke that "confidants" of Olmert and Abbas were in "constant contact" trying to find a way to extend the "ceasefire" to the West Bank. At that point one could only shudder and ask an anguished "Why?" Why is Olmert eager to do this? Why would he want to give this to the Palestinians? In return for what? They had already breached the "ceasefire" and there was no evidence that they had stopped or diminished smuggling of weapons. He wasn’t even making a demand: show us your good faith in Gaza and then we’ll see.
There are multiple possible answers to this, not mutually exclusive. None of them are good, none of them working for the best interests of the State of Israel:
*Olmert has been eager to give away our land since he came into office. He was hoping to do it unilaterally, following the model of what was done in Gaza. But the Lebanon war made that policy unpopular. The alternative, then, is to find a way to negotiate the giveaway. Olmert has repeatedly said that the "ceasefire" is a first step that can lead to negotiations.
*Olmert has no stomach for military actions and actually holds back when advised by the IDF that strength of action is needed. His reluctance to send in ground troops interfered with victory in Lebanon, and he has not allowed the IDF to do the major operation in Gaza that it has recommended as being necessary. If there is a "ceasefire" Olmert won’t have to contend with this.
*Olmert hopes to gain political points by deluding the nation into thinking that the risks can be decreased and he is leading us to a safer time.
*Olmert feels the need to/wants to make the Bush administration happy. This ceasefire — and its subsequent promise of "negotiations for peace" — is in line with current US political needs. Bush praised the "ceasefire." And, not incidentally, Bush is due in the Middle East soon. The president’s goal now is to extricate himself from Iraq with as much grace as possible (if at all grace is possible in this situation). To this end he is seeking the cooperation of certain "moderate" Arab states, who claim to put a premium on "resolving the Palestinian problem." Never mind that they all hate the Palestinians. Whether Bush is prepared to totally sacrifice our needs and rights for his ends, or would be content with a semblance of "rapprochement" between us and the Palestinians, it is difficult to say.
As to the view of what Hamas aims to do and how this terrorist group will handle itself, there are different takes. There are those who believe that Hamas intends to hold its fire long enough to secure land concessions from Israel. As I’ve explained innumerable times by now — this would be in the nature of a hudna — with Hamas strengthening all the while in preparation for hitting us when the time was right. Those who embrace this point of view believe that Hamas is prepared to arrange a modus vivendi with Israel, lending the impression that it is recognizing Israel de-facto and securing land without resolving final status issues.
Others — and I among them — believe that Hamas is too "in your face" to carry this off and that an eruption of violence is more likely.
Either way, what Olmert is currently doing counts as a victory for Hamas. As MK Yuval Steinitz (Likud) former head of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee wrote in today’s Post (emphasis added):
"A diplomatic initiative with the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority — even if it ultimately crashes on the rocks of terrorism and the demand to destroy Israel by means of the right of return — will leave in its wake a fundamental difference: a de facto recognition by Israel, and therefore a de jure recognition by the world, of Hamas as a partner in the international circle without that group having made any significant and permanent change in its platform or tactics."
All of this is the stuff of nightmares, a series of occurrences that I would have never thought possible. That the Western world is ultimately without principles is clear. But it is not even conducting itself in a way that is prudent from a self-protective perspective. Having a strengthened Hamas is ultimately not in the interests of Israel or the West or the so-called "moderate" Arab nations.
Yet, Olmert and Bush are signing on to something that promotes this. How perverse, how self-destructive is it possible to get?
Since yesterday other things have occurred. There have been further violations of the "ceasefire," as two Kassams were shot into Sderot. I asked yesterday how many violations will be too many for Israel. This applies all the more so now. A repeated insistence by Olmert that we have forbearance raises a host of suspicions as to his motivations. Not to mention that he makes us appear to our enemies as weak idiots, and therefore greatly vulnerable.
Additionally, this morning IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that the IDF had played only a "partial role" in the decision to participate in a "ceasefire." In other words, the IDF, seeing the "ceasefire" as not in Israel’s best interests, was opposed. Halutz made it clear that in spite of attempts by the Palestinians to equate the situation in Gaza and Judea-Samaria, the IDF needed to maintain its freedom to operate in the West Bank. The Southern Command of the IDF had already warned yesterday that terrorism would increase if the "ceasefire" were extended: "The moment we walk away terror will flourish," a senior official warned.
We here in Israel have our work cut out for us. That is for certain.
But now I address myself to all those who are in the US. I appeal to each and every one of you, to act here to help save Israel from an horrendous situation. The bald fact is that Bush’s promotion of this, his political needs, are a factor in what is taking place.
I ask each and every one of you to contact President Bush, the Secretary of State, and your own Congressperson and Senator on this matter. It must be conveyed from inside of the US that this is not acceptable.
I provide below contact information and some possible brief statements that can be used. (It is more effective if you state the case in your own words; the message can be short.)
A letter is most effective — preferably hard copy, sent by snail mail, or else by fax. Second most effective is a phone call. An e-mail is least effective.
Then I ask each and every one of you to put this out as broadly as possible to others who are willing to do the same. If you are receiving this in Israel, by all means send to your US contacts.
This is merely a beginning. If you, in the US, are in a position to generate grassroots activity on a broader scale, please be in contact with me. We need to do this big-time.
(It should be noted, as I do this, by the way, that I am a US citizen, as well as an Israeli citizen.)
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Fax: (202) 456 2461
Fax: (202) 456-2883
Sec. of State Rice
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520
(202) 647 5291
Fax: (202) 647-6434
Fax: (202) 647-1533
To secure contact info. for Congresspersons and Senators:
Do not pressure Israel into a "ceasefire" with a Hamas-led PA, or into "peace negotiations."
Israel is a sovereign state that has a right to protect itself and its interests. Its security should not be sacrificed for the goal of garnering a coalition of moderate Arab states.
Former prime minister Sharon, in one of his finest moments, declared, "We will not be Czechoslovakia." Don’t try to make Israel into Czechoslovakia now!
A "ceasefire" and subsequent negotiations will give only a false illusion of gains for peace. As long as Hamas does not surrender its weapons and its intent to destroy Israel, what is simply happening is that the war is being delayed — a war that will be worse because Hamas will have been given time to strengthen.
A strong Hamas in Gaza and the West Bank serves US goals badly, as it will act to destabilize the region and become a headquarters for training and equipping terrorists.
President Bush set forth a very important and principled policy of fighting terrorism. Giving international credence to Hamas undermines this policy. Any "peace process" that involves negotiations with a Hamas-majority PA gives it credence.
Pushing Israel to deal with Hamas is a betrayal of President Bush’s policy of fighting terrorism — Israel has a right and obligation to battle terrorism at its borders and should not be expected to appease it.
This posting can be found at: https://www.arlenefromisrael.info/current-postings/2006/11/28/posted-november-28-2006.html