Posting: August 27, 2007
“Dose of Reality”
Avi Dichter, Minister of Public Security, today said on Army Radio that Egypt’s failure to stop the flow of weapons into Gaza is tantamount to support for Hamas.
“Any rational person – Israel or Palestinian – who witnesses the Egyptians’ failure to act against arms smuggling can see that it is in their interest to strengthen Hamas.”
Well, good morning!
Good to see a bit of honesty in this regard. For too long Egypt as a “moderate” state has been part of the prevailing myth here. There have been voices speaking out — most notably Yuval Steinitz, who constantly declares that Egypt is not to be trusted — but they have not been given the credence they deserve.
When Condoleezza Rice shoved the Rafah agreement down our throats after the “disengagement,” Steinitz warned that this was trouble because Egypt wouldn’t carry its weight in the deal once we stopped monitoring the border: Egypt was supposed to stop smuggling of weapons into Gaza from its side of the Egypt-Gaza border. To that end, 750 Egyptian forces were permitted along the Philadelphi Route in what had been a demilitarized zone according to our peace treaty with Egypt.
Now we begin to face the obvious: that it was for naught, an exercise in foolishness at best. If they wanted to stop the smuggling they could (Dichter says their intelligence is as good as ours in this area), and, in fact, they have slowed down efforts, which, Israeli officials say, is a major reason why Hamas has been able to bring in so much in the way of weapons and explosives.
I had mentioned recently reports that Ne tanyahu was talking to Lieberman about running on a joint list in the next election. That may have seemed a good idea to Netanyahu, but as it turns out Lieberman was less than enthusiastic about it. There are ideological differences between the parties, he says, that would make joining forces impossible.
Olmert and Abbas are due to meet again tomorrow, in Jerusalem. As Olmert persists in his dangerous and foolish policy built on air, what is there for me to say here? Comments after the meeting.
According to the London-based paper, Asharq Al-Awsat, cited today in Haaretz, Israeli Arabs are attempting to mediate between Fatah and Hamas. The Israeli Arabs mentioned are with the Islamic Movement in Israel — as its name implies, a radical group that regularly foments anti-Israel sentiment; the irony is that its members are Israeli citizens.
Hamas is said to be considering initiatives that propose turning back security compounds and civil institutions in Gaza to Fatah, as a necessary precursor to reestablishing relations with Fatah.
Defense Minister Barak, appearing for the first time since he took office before the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, said that there are signs of tensions with Syria fading.
But MK Effi Eitam (NU) warned — with considerable justification — that we shouldn’t be taken in by the calm.
For Barak also testified that Hezbollah has more weapons now than it did before the war last summer.
So what does it mean that Syria is “quiet” if it is sending weapons to Hezbollah at an accelerated rate? That weapons build-up is by way of preparations for renewed conflict.
Our preparations for conflict, according to Barak, include: an active anti-rocket and missile system; an improvement in the IDF’s maneuvering ability; an increase in the army’s stamina regarding inventory and provisions; an increase in the number of training exercises using live ammunition; and the military’s “long arm” – its ability to operate deep within enemy territory.
There is no doubt but that we will be in better shape when war comes again than we were last time. Whether these preparations are sufficient I am not able to say. What I do know is that the readiness to operate deep within enemy territory — which was lacking last summer — is critically important.
As to Gaza, Barak indicated that he will give the IDF free reign to do preventative strikes. This too is an improvement over what was happening before, but still falls short of the major operation in Gaza that would require the approval of the political echelon.
Hizb ut-Tahrir (“party of freedom”), an Islamist organization in Judea and Samaria, is currently recruiting thousands of people who have become disillusioned with both Hamas and Fatah. This group was originally founded in the 50s, but was dormant for some time; it has revived in recent years with a shift in the political situation. Dedicated to fostering loyalty to Islam and to the re-establishment of the Caliphate — a unified religious state in the Muslim world if not beyond — it advances an ideology that calls for the overthrow of Arab governments and the elimination of Israel, in order to prepare for that caliphate. Banned in many countries, it has (wouldn’t you know it!) a strong and active presence in Britain.
Israeli intelligence considers the group a cause for genuine concern. Col. Eitan Azani, deputy director of the Institute of Counter-Terrorism, says. “This is the factory that produces, at the end of the day, the jihadis that operate in global terrorism.”
Yesterday I wrote about a conference under the auspices of the UN’s Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People, which is about to be held in Brussels and which echoes Durban. It is not, I indicated, the only cause for concern.
Let me here return to Durban and preparations under way for a Durban II conference to be held in 2009. It is a follow up to the horrendous conference held in Durban, South Africa in 2001. A week long series of planning meetings has now begun in Geneva to set the agenda for that 2009 conference, which is being dubbed an “anti-racism” conference. The meetings are chaired by Libya; the committee of 20 nations participating includes Cuba and Iran.
Is it necessary to say more? Guess who they’re going to decide the “racist” is?
The governments of both Israel and the US are sending only low-level observers; activities at the conference will be carefully monitored.
Posting: August 26, 2007
So many articles regarding our current situation come to my attention that, as interesting and informative as many are, it would be impossible for me to recommend them all without causing my readers severe overload. Yet some are of such critical importance — provide a perspective that is so enlightening or historically relevant — that they beg for attention. Such a piece is one just written by Dr. Joel Fishman, who is a fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs.
Fishman addresses “The Big Lie and the Media War Against Israel: From Inversion of the Truth to the Inversion of Reality.”
In his introduction, he explains:
From the 1960s, inversion of truth and reality has been one the most favored propaganda methods of Israel’s adversaries. One of its most frequent expressions has been the accusation that the Jewish people, victims of the Nazis, have now become the new Nazis, aggressors and oppressors of the Palestinian Arabs. Contemporary observers have identified this method and described it as an “inversion of reality,” an “intellectual confidence trick,” “reversing moral responsibility,” or “twisted logic.” Because Israel’s enemies have, for nearly half a century, repeated such libels without being challenged, they have gradually gained credence. Since inversion of reality constitutes the basic principle of current anti-Israeli propaganda, it is important to understand what it is and how it works. This propaganda method is a product of Nazi Germany. It is totalitarian both in its methods, particularly the use of the paranoiac myth, and in the absolute solution it advocates. It totally denies all of Israel’s claims and leaves no room for introspection and compromise.
The piece that follows is sophisticated and worthy of attention. Please note the direct line from Nazi propaganda methods to the methods of Palestinians and other anti-Israel elements today. The process as described is frightening, and essentially anti-Semitic at its core. Fishman cites, for example, an article by Belfast journalist Leo McKinstry, who says, in part:
“In a remarkable inversion of reality, Israel has become a pariah state because of its determination to defend itself. A grotesque double standard now operates, where murderous Arab terrorists are hailed as ‘freedom fighters’ yet Israeli security forces are treated as fascistic thugs. No nation has been more demonized than Israel. One recent survey across Europe revealed that Israel is now regarded as ‘the greatest threat’ to world peace, an utter absurdity given that Israel is actually the only democratic, free society in the Middle East. But such a finding reflects the strength of the hysterical anti-Israeli propaganda that fills the airwaves of Europe. No matter how much this anti-Israeli feeling is dressed up as support for Palestine, it is in fact profoundly anti-Semitic…. “
All of this is extraordinarily relevant today as we see growing anti-Israel attitudes within/actions emanating from the international community (about which more below). Fishman makes the point in his introduction that “Because Israel’s enemies have, for nearly half a century, repeated such libels without being challenged, they have gradually gained credence.” Without being challenged! It falls to all of us now to do the challenging in every venue that is possible, with great conviction and drawing on solid factual information.
The European Parliament is scheduled to host this week, at its Brussels facility, a conference organized by the UN’s Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. Now, it would be pertinent to begin by asking why the UN has such a committee. There is no parallel, for example, no committee on the rights of the Kurdish people, even though they are a real people whose rights have been trampled.
But UN bias in this regard is old hat. The question here must be why the European Parliament is involved. Polish members of the European Parliament have declared intent to boycott the conference. One member, BronisÅ‚aw Geremek, has written, “I saw the material prepared by the organizers… Although there is no official statement that Israel must be pushed down to the sea there, the choice of subjects and the attitude towards the problems shows that it will be a biased, conflict generating conference. Actually we can call it anti-Israeli.”
Another, Konrad Szymanski, said, “[The] UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People is a platform for activity of various extremists. According to the most of them Israel should disappear.”
NGO-Monitor in Jerusalem says this conference will be a rehash of the Durban Conference of 2001, which saw unprecedented levels of anti-Zionist rhetoric. (Fishman writes that “Durban became the scene of anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli speeches and agitation of a ferocity unknown since the 1930s.”)
The time for complacency is past. This particular conference may be one of the most egregious, but it is hardly the only cause for concern.
With regard to the terrorist infiltration over the fence in northern Gaza yesterday, the IDF is now saying that the Palestinians have learned our defense systems. This is NOT good news, although hardly surprising. They’ve figured out how to best manipulate our defenses, and more of what happened yesterday can be expected.
I do not consider the comment of the Commander of the Northern Gaza Brigade of the IDF to be comforting: “… our operational response is currently good.” I.e., at the moment we can handle them. Nor would it be sufficient, as proposed, to add sensors to enhance the 9-ft high reinforced concrete wall, built at the time of “disengagement.” My response to this is the same as my response was yesterday to the matter of maximizing Arrow defense against incoming missiles. It’s not just defense we need here — not simply an ability to respond to infiltrators. We need an offensive action, big time, that will weaken the whole terrorist infrastructure.
Last night the IDF arrested two Palestinians who are believed to have helped those who came over the fence. And today the authorities have in custody six Palestinian youths who were also trying to climb over the fence. They are being interrogated because of the possibility that they were being sent to gather information for another planned attack; these boys were unarmed.
The Deputy Chief of Shin Bet (Israeli security) reported to the Cabinet today that Hamas leaders from headquarters abroad — which means Mashaal and company sitting in Damascus — have given instructions for Hamas cells in Judea and Samaria to execute a major attack with massive casualties inside Israel. Hamas is frustrated at not having been able to achieve international legitimacy and is having difficulty running Gaza; all of this plays into their inclination to step up terrorism.
As might have been expected, in recent weeks smuggling of arms and explosives into Gaza has grown considerably. Since Hamas took over, 40 tons of explosives has entered Gaza, which represents a full half of all the explosives brought in since the “disengagement” almost two years ago. The number of Kassam attacks is increasing, as is the number of shooting attacks.
What is also of considerable significance is that an increasing amount of explosives and weaponry is being smuggled into Judea and Samaria since Hamas took over Gaza. (This report was not explicit but it is my understanding that material goes from the Sinai via the Negev.)
So, with everything else, I must ask these pertinent questions once again:
When will Olmert finally give the go-ahead for the major military action in Gaza that the IDF so wants to initiate to stop what’s building there?
How can Olmert or Bush even think about establishing a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria when there are Hamas cells there, with increasing amounts of weapons and explosives, and with Abbas either unable or unwilling to take out Hamas in this instance any more than he took out Hamas in Gaza? The notion of a militant Hamas there in Gaza and a “moderate” Fatah here in Judea and Samaria is unmitigated nonsense. Hamas is planning to overtake Abbas in Judea and Samaria.
The answer to the second question is provided by Ephraim Halevy, former head of the Mossad, writing in The Jerusalem Post on Friday. He doesn’t sanction the approach being taken, he describes it:
“The powers-that-be… are now embarked on a major diplomatic and strategic endeavor the like of which has never been attempted in living history. It is an effort to craft the principles of a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict with the full knowledge that these principles, if agreed, cannot be translated into action-orientated implementation in the immediate future.
“The political logic behind this initiative is that the clear political horizon that each and every Palestinian will be able to read and absorb will be so encouraging and attractive as to convince him/her to disavow any future use of force – terror – as an instrument in the struggle for statehood. Extremist Muslim groups will be marginalized and defeated by centralist-moderate forces that will assume effective control of Palestinian destiny.”
Does he anticipate that this will work? Indeed he does not.
For this plan to succeed, Hamas would have to be marginalized and refrain from acting as a spoiler, and al-Qaida would have to be similarly quiescent. What is more, at the end of the day, Abbas and Fayyad would have to demonstrate a real, tangible possibility of creating “a viable, strong and powerful West Bank entity – security-wise, politically and economically – that will overshadow all its adversaries.”
In their dreams, will this happen! And yet Olmert and Bush and company continue to dream on.
Iran has announced that it has begun production of a 2,000 pound smart bomb — Qased, or Messenger — that can be delivered by its aging F-4 and F-5 fighter jets in actions against its enemies. Iranian Defense Minister Muhammad Najjar said that very few nations in the world possess this sophisticated technology of guided weaponry.
Clearly, this is not good news, but not as dire as it may sound at first blush. There is some question as to whether this is a legitimate announcement, as exaggerations from Tehran about its capabilities are not unusual; details regarding this bomb are not known. And, even if it is legitimate, it has been pointed out that this development is less serious than a new missile program would be because the delivery system has a limited range. The F-4 and F-5 fighter jets were provided by the US to Shah Pahlavi, who was ousted in 1979.
Israel ‘s position is that this is unsettling because it is indicative of Iran’s military build-up and expansionist policies.
Posting: August 25, 2007
Motzei Shabbat (After Shabbat)
Early today two terrorists — intent on a major “martyrdom” operation — managed to infiltrate into Israel from northern Gaza but were shot and killed before they got far. The sort of infiltration they achieved was highly unusual, as there is a fortified fence across the area. Almost certainly with assistance from one or more persons on the other side, they utilized sophisticated equipment and relied upon a heavy fog in the area to help them slip through. Dressed as IDF soldiers, they were carrying explosives and a variety of weapons. It is believed they were headed for a Negev town.
I never receive news like this without a prayer of gratitude that what might have been was averted. Incidents such as this one keep us mindful: They’re out there, they’re still trying to get us.
Looking northward with regard to defense, Israel is expanding the deployment of its Arrow missiles. Anticipating that the next war — whether with Syria or Iran — will involve a huge onslaught of missiles, the Air Force has decided to place the Arrow — which is capable of intercepting all of the operational ballistic missiles in Iran and Syria — in a larger number of locations.
A newer Arrow — the Arrow 3 — is currently under development; this missile intercepts incoming missiles at a higher altitude than the current missile. Additionally, a new, advanced version of the Patriot, which takes out lower altitude missiles, is to be put in place to serve as a third layer of defense.
Additionally, the Defense Ministry recently made inquiries to the Pentagon regarding two American-made missile defense systems – the Terminal High Altitude Air Defense (THAAD) and the Aegis. Reportedly, there is heightened coordination — with exercises being held — between our forces and US forces in preparation for the possibility that the US might transfer equipment to Israel.
My (layperson’s) take: This preparation is, in one respect, reassuring — we would be remiss if defense weren’t being prepared to the maximum. But we’d be sorely mistaken in imagining that with this in place we are “protected.” The key lies in offensive capability, about which, of course, nothing is being said. May it be as thoroughly prepared as our defenses.
Returning to the political front…
Binyamin Netanyahu, head of Likud, has reportedly approached Avigdor Lieberman, who heads Yisrael Beitenu, about running jointly in the next election. Netanyahu, eager to unify right-wing forces and looking to strengthen Likud with the Russian immigrant population here, has offered to save slots for Yisrael Beitenu on the Likud list. Lieberman was at one time associated with Likud. No agreements have been reached yet.
Sources close to Netanyahu say that he is not willing to save slots on the Likud list for those who bolted from Likud for Kadima and are now thinking of returning. These individuals would have to take their chances in the Likud primary. There is considerable ambivalence within Likud about taking back those who walked away in favor of Kadima: suffice it to say they are neither respected nor trusted.
From Arab news sources comes the report that Abbas definitely does not intend to run again for PA president when his term is over in less than two years. Abbas is embroiled in heightened tensions with Farouk Qaddoumi; he currently controls Fatah’s Central Committee, which is rejecting Abbas’s moves. Put simply, Abbas grows more and more impotent.
Qaddoumi is most definitely not a “moderate” — he declined to come to PA controlled areas with the signing of the Oslo Accords, preferring to stay in Tunis because he was against any peace treaty with Israel. His control within Fatah is a sign of things to come.
With this comes indication that Salam Fayyad is being promoted by the US as a replacement for Abbas — but resented by many within Fatah precisely because he is the “US candidate.”
Meanwhile, regarding Hamas…
According to a London-based Arabic newspaper, al-Sharq al-Awsat, cited by YNet, Ghazi Hamad, spokesman for Haniyeh, has resigned his position because of his feeling that it was a mistake for Hamas to take over Gaza. He believes that Hamas should be making moves toward reconciliation with Fatah.
And Mashaal today told CNN that Shalit is alive and well and that his release is being negotiated with Israel via Egypt.
While according to Israel Radio, Islamic Jihad’s military wing has announced that all of its activities, including launching of Kassams, will be coordinated with Hamas.
The UN Security Council voted on Friday to extend the mandate of UNIFIL for another year, but had declined to expand the mandate of this international force of 13,600. It is supposed to assist the Lebanese army in deploying in the south of Lebanon to create a buffer zone free of Hezbollah forces, and has many restrictions placed upon it.
Token recognition was given to Israeli concerns, with added clauses calling for the immediate release of kidnapped IDF reservists Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev without pre-set conditions, as well as condemnation of terror attacks against UNIFIL troops operating in the area. Without teeth, such clauses are totally meaningless. Do the terrorists attacking UNIFIL troops care if the UN has condemned them? They likely take it as a point of pride.
As Israeli Ambassador to the UN Dan Gillerman pointed out, the flow of weapons from Syria continues and there is still a Hezbollah presence in the south.
This is a joke. And yet our foreign minister — who helped promoted this force in the first place last year as a way to resolve matters via “diplomacy” — praised the action to extend the mandate.
What makes this all more revolting is that this past week the UN special envoy to the Middle East, Michael Williams, was here and urged Israel to take “further steps” to strengthen Abbas. He thought we should start with more prisoner releases.
Posting: August 23, 2007
“Spark of Hope?”
It’s far far too soon to count on anything or to rejoice. But there is at least a small reason to hope.
The Jerusalem Post today came out with an “exclusive”: an announcement that at least 10 rebels in the Kadima party are planning to leave before the final Winograd report. According to this news, those members who want to depart feel that their futures will be sealed if they are still with Kadima when the damning Winograd final report appears; they want to situate themselves elsewhere before this happens. Some would return to Likud (and reportedly Netanyahu has spoken to a couple of MKs considering this). Some to Labor. Some would seek places for themselves elsewhere, such as Yisrael Beitenu. The sooner they depart, the greater their value to other parties.
Reportedly some ministers in Olmert’s cabinet are among those thinking of leaving.
Predictions until now were that Olmert was safe until after the Winograd report, but the situation may have shifted.
I want to address here briefly anti-Israel positions that have become prominent in two places:
The first involves the three part series on CNN hosted by Christiana Amanpour, “God’s Warriors.” The first segment, “God’s Jewish Warriors” is biased against Israel and erroneous in its information. CAMERA (The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America) calls it “one of the most grossly distorted programs to appear on mainstream American television in many years.” I provide here the link to CAMERA so that you might read more about it:
The second is a new book, “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy,” by John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt of Harvard, whose thesis is that US support for Israel is a liability and continues only because of the undue influence of the Israel lobby.
Dore Gold, in a briefing paper — “Understanding the U.S.-Israel Alliance: An Israeli Response to the Walt-Mearsheimer Claim” — for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (which he heads) challenges this thesis. Gold explains the ways in which U.S. support for Israel benefits the U.S.
Muhammad Dahlan has returned to Ramallah this week after some six weeks away from the area. He will not return to Gaza, where Hamas has let it be known he is not welcome. Speculations vary as to what role, if any, he will now play in the PA/Fatah. Some see him as the direct challenger to Abbas. Others expect that he will try to reform the very corrupt Fatah.
Myself, I never miss an opportunity to remind people that Dahlan is a terrorist and cannot legitimately be seen as a reformer. He ordered the attack on the school bus in Kfar Darom in 2000, and was connected to the Karine-A weapons ship.
Two Kassams have landed in Sderot, one hit a home.
State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss, after doing a tour of Sderot and neighboring areas, declared himself “very worried” about the safety of the children there with the start of school. He says the national government should be doing more to provide protection via bomb shelters and fortified roofs.
Posting: August 22, 2007
I have returned from a few days in the north, including the Golan. Always when I am there, I am strengthened once again in my absolute conviction that this is ours and under no circumstances should be surrendered to Syria. This would be insanity, but then insanity abounds these days (about which more below).
The only reassuring note I have found is the fierce opposition of the defense establishment to turning over Shaba Farms, which is on the edge of the Golan. In 2000 we withdrew from southern Lebanon to the international line (the Blue Line); the fact that we had done so and were no longer on Lebanese territory was confirmed by the UN after careful assessment. Shaba Farms was considered part of the Golan — from our perspective part of land we had annexed; from a broadly international perspective, an issue between us and Syria at most. Hezbollah claimed this as Lebanese territory, for this provided the rationale for continuing to attack us: we were “occupiers.” But now the UN has had a change of mind and is leaning towards honoring a Lebanese demand for this area; international pressure is being put upon us to withdraw from the area to strengthen the Lebanese government. Secretary General Ki-Moon is sending surveyors to review the lines.
The IDF says that to withdraw would set a precedent that is dangerous for Israel’s security.
The Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades — which is Fatah — is saying they will no longer honor the “truce” that was arranged between Israel and the PA. This initially involved IDF “amnesty” for a list of 178 Brigades people who were on a wanted list: the IDF would no longer go after them, and in return, the people on the list were supposed to turn in their weapons and sign a piece of paper renouncing terrorism. The Palestinians then said there was a second list of 110, and while this hasn’t been confirmed by Israel, the broader sense that had begun to emerge was that we were going to be cutting the Brigades slack across the board.
Now, according to the Brigades, two people on the list who were supposed to have been given amnesty — Iyad Bisharat and Ahmed Abu Jalboush — were arrested by the IDF. My best information is that Bisharat was on that first list and Abu Jalboush on the second.
At any rate, there was never a moment of doubt in my mind about the fact that if these guys were arrested, there was a reason. We know that they are not honoring their commitment to renounce terrorism. And, indeed, what I’ve learned at long last from an unofficial source is that they were shooting at the IDF.
What was incredible today is the lengths I went to simply to try to find out if they had weapons on them when arrested and why they were arrested. Numerous phone calls to the Ministry of Defense got me no where and I was told to be in touch with the Prime Minister’s office. But my communication with PMO representative David Baker yielded next to nothing: Security, he reported, had no comment other than to say that “continuous steps will be taken to prevent terror from being perpetrated whenever and wherever possible.” Why the stonewalling? Is it not in Israel’s best interests from a PR perspective to show that there was reason why these particular Brigades members were arrested?
The answer I have obtained, from my unofficial source, is that this refusal to comment reflects a severe conflict currently on-going between the political echelon and high members of the IDF: Olmert and company, eager to pursue “negotiations” with the PA, would prefer to ignore the “occasional lapse” in the agreement and pretend that all is going marvelously. The IDF is adamant that operations to stop terrorist operations must continue and is acting without political sanction. Thus the desire to keep it low key. And thus, too, Defense’s insistence on throwing it in the lap of the prime minister’s office.
G-d bless our IDF officials, who not only have their heads screwed on properly but are insistent upon acting.
And Olmert and company? Here is a piece of the insanity referred to above. One must ask WHY? If the Palestinians cannot be trusted and will continue to perpetrate terrorists acts, WHY would he cut them slack and move ahead in dealing with the PA? Because he has an agenda and will advance it at all costs. This is the inescapable conclusion to be drawn.
We have hardly seen the last.
The rumors continue to fly fast and furious and there is no way to pin down what is real and what is not: rumors, that is, regarding those purported negotiations going on between Olmert and Abbas. Of late we have “information” from President Shimon Peres that there is an attempt to complete an agreement before the “summit.” And there have been reports of Olmert’s willingness to compromise on control of Har Habayit.
I spoke with one very well informed individual who confessed that he was also unable to pin down the truth of the various rumors but said that his understanding was that, at most, a very vague, short document was to be the outcome of these “negotiations.” Vague, so that each side could claim to have achieved what he wanted. (Makes sense since Abbas demands exceed anything Olmert could deliver.)
Following this would be the inevitable arguments about what was agreed upon. In a nutshell, in spite of how sickening this is, it is exceedingly unlikely that a Palestinian state will evolve from what’s going on.
Abbas is so weak and ineffectual, that in the end even someone like Olmert, ready to turn a blind eye, will have to confront certain realities regarding terrorist actions that Abbas cannot control.
This is what Olmert ultimately will not be able to ignore:
According to Khaled Abu Toameh, reporting in the Post in the beginning of the week, high level PA security officials have admitted that they have been unable to block a Hamas presence in Judea and Samaria in spite of their best efforts. Hamas’s military arm, Izaddin al-Kassam, has become “very active” in particular in Samaria, near Nablus, where it is creating new cells and attacking IDF patrols.
“We are going after the wrong guys,” a PA official said. “We are detaining journalists, university students and low-level political operatives. Meanwhile, Izaddin al-Kassam is establishing secret cells and acquiring more weapons.” They are also recruiting Palestinians from Judea and Samaria.
PA security has been unable to secure adequate information on these Hamas operations in spite of serious concerns that what is going on now is the first move towards overthrowing Abbas. A Hamas cell was found in the Bethlehem area that was said to be taking orders directly from Hamas leadership in Syria, but was released because of insufficient evidence.
Additionally, according to Abu Toameh, there are unconfirmed reports that Jabil Rajoub, a close confident of Abbas met with Mashaal in Damascus in an attempt to resolve the Fatah-Hamas rift.
Our undeclared, low-level war with Gaza persists. Rockets are still being launched at us, and we are still taking limited actions inside of Gaza. In one action today, the Air Force struck at a group of armed men in Gaza, killing a high level Hamas commander. Earlier three Islamic Jihad operatives were taken out. Yesterday, in the north of Gaza, Israel targeted a team loading a Kassam rocket. Following this operation, two children were killed. They were seen going into the field right after a rocket had been launched — they had been sent, as is routinely done by the terrorists, to retrieve the launcher and were killed by an exploding shell.
The response of Abbas was to call Israel’s actions “a massacre which cannot be justified. This escalation casts doubt on Israel’s real intentions regarding the peace process, which is first of all expressed in halting all violent activities, attacks and assassinations.” He said the peace process cannot advance if Israel continues: “the occupation regime and its army are fully responsible for the escalation and the shedding of innocent people’s blood in order to provoke retaliation and provide the Israeli occupation army with an excuse to commit more crimes.”
Note that Abbas is defending Hamas in Gaza, and attacking Israel for taking action against Hamas and other terrorists. Not a word about Hamas needing to stop all rocket launchings. I wonder how Olmert swallows this.
The US State Department is about to begin training security officers for the PA. In spite of everything, they’re going to do this.
According to Aaron Klein, writing for the NY Sun, a senior Fatah militant has admitted that if it were not for previous assistance and training provided to PA forces by the US, they would not have been so successful in the Intifada that began in 2000. “I do not think that the operations of the Palestinian resistance would have been so successful and would have killed more than one thousand Israelis since 2000 and defeated the Israelis in Gaza without these trainings,” said an officer in Abbas’s Presidential Guard. “All the methods and techniques that we studied in these trainings, we applied them against the Israelis.”
Olmert, you see, does not have a monopoly on insanity. The US State Department is apparently working according to a philosophy that says, “If it doesn’t work, don’t abandon it, do more of the same.”
Caroline Glick’s column in yesterday’s Post, “Israel’s Reeducation Minister,” is enough to make you weep. If you’re a Zionist, that is. Glick is writing about Education Minister Yuli Tamir, who is a founding member of Peace Now and is injecting that agenda into the school curricula.
Barry Rubin has written a most instructive column, “The Middle East’s titanic battle.” Radical Islam, he says, has now reached a critical mass and presents a threat to every Arabic speaking country. The battle is, and will be for years to come, between Arab nationalism and Islamism. This, and certainly not the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, is the central theme at the core of every conflict in the Middle East. The Islamist cause is championed by Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and Hamas. The parties have mutual goals and ideologies, and their cooperation is not likely to be split apart.