“One thing should be clear,” Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has stated, “if there is no Qassam (rocket) fire on Israel, there will be no Israeli attack on Gaza. We do not rise in the morning and think about how to attack Gaza.” Spoken like a plainspoken Sabra—no match for the Taqiyya-talking Gazan terrorists. For the Qassam Brigades, the Islamic Jihad and the Popular Resistance Committees do rise in the morning and think about how to attack Israel.
Since Jewish hothouse occupants—flower and produce growers—were evicted from Gaza, the industrious locals have put their comparative advantage for crime to good use. In response to the relentless rocket fire from Hamas-controlled Gaza into southern Israel—the cities of Ashkelon, Sderot, and Netivot, in particular—the Israeli Defense Forces launched a “limited-scale operation in Gaza.”
Extremely limited. Before long, IDF Commander Condoleezza Rice instructed Olmert, the symbolic figurehead of our Israeli satellite, to abort “Operation Hot Winter” mid-offensive. The intelligence news service DEBKAfile reports that on March 3, “Prime Minister Ehud Olmert suddenly decided on the pullback of Israeli ground and armored units from northern Gaza without completing the mission of halting Palestinian fire.”
The move dovetails with the Bush administration’s familiar efforts to harmonize Israel’s policies with those of the US. And, in particular, with the Bush Doctrine: Aggress against non-aggressors (Iraq); surrender to aggressors (gangs, goons and grafter crossing our southwestern border).
Since the Gazans have been conducting a very real, ongoing campaign of terror against Israeli civilians, it’s understandable why Condi would command Israel’s Givati Infantry Brigade to follow the lead of American border patrolmen: If forced to fire in self-defense, hire a lawyer. Otherwise, turn tail and skedaddle.
Condi was following orders—Bush’s orders, although to be fair to the secretary of state, she has never needed permission from up high to act like an idiot. It transpires that back in January this year, Bush apprised Israel of the permissible scope of the scheduled mission. DEBKAfile’s military sources confirm that Bush instructed the Israeli army to merely tinker at the margins of the Gaza-based missile-launching and weapons smuggling enterprises. The soldiers were to point missile launch sites away from Israeli population centers.
More material, “For the first time in its 60 years of independence,” DEBKA divulges, “Israel’s national army [was] being pressed into service to capture a territory on behalf of a foreign entity.” For implicit in the Bush decree was the expectation that Israeli soldiers “fight and lay down their lives in the service of the Palestinian Authority.” Once Hamas, Jihad Islami and the PRC were cleared out of certain strongholds, Israel was to hand control of Gaza over to the Fattah faction.
What, pray tell, is the logic of this American intervention? Cui bono? After all, Abbas may be engaged in internecine war with Hamas, but he is nevertheless far closer to Ismail Haniyeh than he is to Ehud. The same goes for the Palestinian people—they elected Hamas overwhelmingly and democratically. Israel will be making sacrifices for Abbas, who’ll make common cause with Hamas. Eventually, the stronger more disciplined terrorist outfit (Hamas) will subsume the weaker more corrupt (Fattah).
In the Capital, the IDF’s appeasing actions were met with yet more aggression. Israeli border police ducked Molotov cocktails, motorists dodged stones, two municipal inspectors narrowly escaped a lynch mob, and Jewish worshippers were waylaid as they prayed at a graveside.
For their part, Hamas responded to the IDF’s retreat by taking time off from staging corpses for the cameras to staging a victory march. They had defeated the Israelis! (Israel got little credit for not desecrating its dead. Israelis probably ought to have thrown propriety to the wind and displayed the eight-year-old amputee who lost a leg to a rocket.)
When the jubilation subsided, the victors went back to lobbing missiles and rockets at the coastal city of Ashkelon, where a seven-story building was hit. In DEBKA’s telling, “Eight missiles exploded in Sderot, 2 in Shear Hanegev and 4 in the Eshkol farmland area south of Sderot.” Celebrations resumed—and the business of bombing was suspended—when word reached Gaza of the massacre of eight yeshiva students, nine were wounded, in a religious school in West Jerusalem.
To think that in diplomatic circles, the “plan” to hand East Jerusalem over to the Palestinians has acquired the status of Solomonic wisdom!
The West calls all this a “cycle of violence,” because it suggests an amorphous sequence that has no beginning or end. But it is all too clear who initiates the deadly dance. As National Post’s Lorne Gunter once astutely observed, “If Palestinians stopped their attacks today, tomorrow there would be no Israeli attacks.” But if Israel stopped unilaterally, Palestinians would be at it again in no time.
©2008 By Ilana Mercer