News article of the day: The headline, from the Post, reads “IDF not happy with agreement, Suspects it could be cover-up for increased weapons smuggling.” How about that! Is this major news, or what? The text reads, “The IDF is suspicious of the terrorist organizations’ true intent for accepting the ceasefire… ” Suspicious? Couldn’t it have been put a bit more forcefully than that? “Despite the ceasefire, the Shin Bet and Southern Command plan to keep a close eye on the Egyptian border… ” Would we expect less?
The nature of affairs currently is such that this stuff generates its own parody.
As to the “ceasefire”: It was breached again today, with two Kassams, for which the Popular Resistance Committees took responsibility. How many times will it be breached before the IDF says that’s enough?
Yesterday I mentioned that the “ceasefire” does not include weapons smuggling. Aaron Lerner, Director of IMRA, today points out that it apparently doesn’t include rocket production either.
Several terrorist groups are really annoyed that they are being asked to hold fire in Gaza while their people are being targeted in Judea-Samaria. They insist there is no “ceasefire” unless both areas are included.
A word here about the major differences between the two areas. IDF presence in Judea-Samaria is what has kept it from being the terrorist stronghold that Gaza is. The various actions that take place are significant in terms of protecting the Israeli populace — discovery of weapons storage and manufacturing facilities, capture of those planning attacks, etc. A “ceasefire” in Judea-Samaria would be a disaster. What is more, it should be noted that in Judea-Samaria Arab areas are far more enmeshed with Jewish areas — there is no “border.”
Today Olmert gave a speech at Kibbutz Sde Boker, in the Negev, the home of Israeli founding father David Ben Gurion, in commemoration of his passing 33 years ago.
Now, of late I’ve made fun more than a little. It is a way for me to maintain my equilibrium in these difficult times: to laugh instead of crying. But about Olmert’s speech I can say nothing remotely humorous. It makes me sick deep inside myself.
He was, he said, extending his hand to the Arabs in peace. Ben Gurion, he explained, did this, but his hand returned empty. (Empty? After Ben Gurion’s plea for peace at the founding of the State, the whole Arab League attacked.) Now, he, Olmert, is extending it again and hoping that it will be taken. He is inviting the Palestinians to accept peace.
If they will stop violence, accept our right to live in security, and abandon the “right of return,” he will be ready to offer a great deal, including withdrawal from most of Judea-Samaria and establishment of a Palestinian state with territorial contiguity and full sovereignty.
In the shortrun, if they will sustain a true ceasefire, he will reduce roadblocks, cooperate on economic projects, etc. etc. And, for the return of Shalit, he’ll release lots of prisoners.
This is out of touch with reality… To whom is Olmert addressing this plea? To the controlling party of the PA — Hamas — which is pledged to destroying us, and is bringing in weaponry and training an army? To Abbas, who is himself intimately aligned with terrorism, and whose party, Fatah, is also pledged to destroying us?
There is an essential principle in negotiations: You don’t appear too eager, too hungry. This just ups the ante, in the best of circumstances. You don’t go to those with whom you presumably will bargain and say, “Please, please… ” And you don’t in advance tell them everything you might be ready to give. That’s in the best of circumstances, when there is really a party on the other side with whom to negotiate. But here, any suggestion of negotiation cannot be serious. Here, by revealing eagerness you give to the enemy an impression of weakness. It is not just foolish, it’s dangerous.
It’s hard for us to keep defending ourselves, Olmert is saying — and he has said this before. Give it up, guys, and let’s all make nice. This speech smacks of appeasement: Be good and look at all I’ll give you.
And then there is this question: Who is Olmert to say what he would give, without Cabinet or Knesset sanction? Who is he to offer most of Judea-Samaria, even though this is clearly what he WANTS to do (can’t wait to give it away), but the nation has not signed off on this and might well not? Who the hell is he?
A proper speech in commemorating Ben Gurion would have had a theme such as this: Back in 1948, with the founding of our State, David Ben Gurion offered peace to the Arab nations. Unfortunately, they didn’t accept this, as they had some notion of destroying us. They learned then that they could not, and have learned that lesson again and again over the years. They couldn’t destroy us because we’ve stayed strong, and we will continue to focus on staying strong until the Arabs understand, finally, that they cannot destroy us. When that day truly comes, then we will be prepared to consider the ways to achieve a genuine peace with our neighbors. For a genuine peace is the only kind we will accept.
The message should have been one of absolute determination and strength: Hamas, we’re going to knock your heads off if you don’t abandon your intentions towards us. This is all Hamas (and Fatah) understand.
MK Yuval Steinitz, who was chair of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, said this:
Olmert “buries Israel’s determination to combat terrorism… The prime minister is offering mountains so-to-speak to the Hamas government and parliament which has violated every agreement and ceasefire to date.”
Others in the opposition echoed similar sentiments. Uri Ariel (National Union/NRP) said that Olmert “is once against handing out gifts to terror organizations that are growing stronger.” MK Tzvi Hendel (NU/NRP) said he had “no expectations from a man devoid of morals who, during a time of war… is not ashamed to promise the enemy the settlers’ inheritance in exchange for the establishment of a terror state.”
What I would like to know is how this disgusted opposition will bring down Olmert’s government.
This is just great: European Union Foreign Policy chief Javier Solana wants to see an international mechanism established for overseeing the “ceasefire.” International supervision invariably means blocking legitimate Israeli self-defense while making excuses for/looking the other way at the breaches by the other side.
Meanwhile, the Palestinians — except perhaps for Saeb Erekat, speaking for Abbas — tended to be extremely unenthusiastic about what Olmert said. They want it all, or they are not playing: back to the pre-’67 borders and “return” of refugees. A Hamas spokesman said it was a “conspiracy,” to get refugees to relinquish their right to return, which is at the core of the battle.
You think Olmert gets the message yet?