Jerusalem – “We can’t defeat a terrorist organization without controlling the territory,” Israel Army Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi said on Wednesday.
“The situation in Gaza can’t continue for long,” Mr. Ashkenazi said a short while after the security cabinet refrained from deciding on a large-scale ground operation in Gaza. “While the operations we are carrying out have a cumulative value, we haven’t succeeded in bringing it down to zero. It is possible that we will reach a point at which we need to carry out the large-scale operation.”
The Israeli Army chief of staff, who spoke at a convention of the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University, added that in his estimation it was becoming increasingly likely that Israel would be required to cope on several fronts simultaneously with armies and terrorist organizations.
Blair Warns: ‘Even Ben-Gurion Airport Will Come Under Terrorist Bombardment’
On Wednesday, The Quartet envoy to the Middle East, Tony Blair, appointed as the middle east peace process negotiator by the EU, Russia, the U.S. and the U.N., made statements seemingly sympathetic to Israel during a meeting of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.
“Today, in my new position, I understand Israel’s concern for security better than I did during my term in office as Britain’s prime minister,” Mr. Blair said. “I am aware that if Israel does not have security, there will not be two states, side by side. Therefore, it is important that the diplomatic process not become disconnected from what is happening on the ground … In my perception, no agreement can be reached unless both sides agree to the basic principle – a peace treaty with no violence,” he told the members of Knesset.
Mr. Blair expressed opposition to including Hamas in the negotiations, noting that the international community has already clarified that it is impossible to be part of a political process ifone does not agree to the existence of that same process.
Mr. Blair also confided that he understands Israel’s fears in light of the possibility that even Israel’s only international airport, Ben-Gurion Airport, in Lod, will be within range of terrorist bombardment if a Palestinian state is established. Mr. Blair finished his survey with an attempt to create an optimistic atmosphere, saying: “I know that you in Israel are skeptical. The Americans are skeptical too, and we should remember that we have no alternative other than to keep on trying.”
Orthodox Jews Call
On U.S. Congress To Reconsider Aid To Palestinian Authority
Meanwhile, in a highly unusual step, The Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America – the OU – the largest Orthodox Jewish umbrella organization in the USA, a group that rarely delves into partisan political issues, has issued a sharp letter to the congressional members of the Middle East Sub Committee of the U.S. House Foreign Relations Committee, challenging the efficacy of any further funding of the Palestinian Authority,
In the words of the Nathan J. Diament, head of the OU Washington office on Thursday morning, “We have serious concerns that the billions of dollars sent to the PA since the Oslo Accords have been wasted or misappropriated. The Palestinian Authority has repeatedly failed its threshold commitments to warrant receipt of international, and particularly, U.S. assistance. First, under Yasser Arafat and now under Mahmoud Abbas, they have time and again pledged to crack down on Palestinian terrorist groups, whether factions of Fatah or others, and to end violence against Israeli innocents… we urge the Congress to faithfully execute its role as overseer of the nation’s purse by refusing new appropriations.”
In conclusion, Mr. Diament listed accusations against the Palestinian Authority:
* Demonization of Israel and the United States continues on PA funded media, where imams preach Death to the Jews and where even a Mickey Mouse lookalike is enlisted to teach children hatred.
*The same can be said for the hate filled textbooks used in Palestinian Authority run schools.
* PA and Muslim Waqf officials continue to deny Jewish historical and religious claims to Jerusalem, including the Old City, the historic capital of King David, and deny the existence of the Jewish Holy Temples that stood on the Temple Mount, as well as claiming the Western Wall, the Kotel, is not a Jewish holy site.
* The PA leadership still refuses to acknowledge Israel as a Jewish state, and the historic homeland of the Jewish people.
©The Bulletin 2007