Monday, July 17, 2006

What in the World is Israel Doing? Saying: "Enough!"

What in the World is Israel Doing? Saying: "Enough!"

Jewish Journal Boston North July 14, 2006

Israel has been flexing its muscles in the weeks since two Israeli soldiers were killed and a third, Gilad Shalit, 19, was wounded, kidnapped and taken over the border into Gaza.

At first, Israel's Prime Minister Olmert warned Hamas to release Gilad unharmed. When their response was negative, Israel unleashed air strikes against Palestinian targets in Gaza, followed by sonic boom flyovers in Syria, over the country residence of President Assad.

The point of this warning to Assad was that Syria's harboring of Khaled Mashal, the Hamas official who ordered the kidnapping, could be dangerous to Assad himself and to his country. The Israel Defense Forces then entered the West Bank, arresting dozens of Hamas operatives, among them more than 20 elected members of the Palestinian Parliament.

Criticism of Israel's actions has been relatively muted in the United States, more outspoken in Europe.

Sure, many will think Israel's swift response was disproportionate to the "small" loss of a single soldier. But everybody should understand by now that Israel, unlike the Palestinians who send young suicide bombers to die, cares about each and every soldier and civilian.

This column offers no advice to Prime Minister Olmert. I simply want to give you, dear reader, my take on what I think the Israeli government's response means.

Israel is saying to the Palestinians, "Enough is enough." If you, Hamas, think you can take over the Palestinian government, maintain a belligerent position towards Israel, call for our destruction, allow and encourage and assist your citizens in lobbing rockets from your soil to ours, to cross the border to kidnap Israelis, to train and send suicide bombers — well, now we are saying maaspeek. Enough.

We Israelis won't continue to be your targets in a war of attrition; we won't let this go on for more years and decades. You think time is on your side; we grant you no more time. We will not allow you to send people on suicide missions hoping that one teenage Palestinian boy or girl will kill five or 10 or 50 Israelis. We will not allow rockets from your soil to kill our citizens. Enough is enough.

All Israel's efforts at a negotiated peace have failed. It didn't work because Israel is more valuable to the Arab leadership as an enemy than as a friend. The Saudi, Syrian, and Iranian dictators have Israel to point to as the enemy, the source of all Arab hardships and misery in the Middle East. These leaders can explain the frustrations of their citizens over the lack of work, education, money, material progress of all kinds, by charging Israel and covering their own dictatorial desire to maintain the status quo and keep their nations' wealth for themselves.

Similarly, the Palestinian leadership has done quite well by stealing money, building villas, visiting the world's showplace cities, AND sending their wives and children to London and Paris for school and shopping. Why in heaven's name would they be interested in a peace where a Palestinian government would be held accountable for progress, where stealing foreign aid monies might land officials in jail?

Hamas, newcomers to electoral victory, have their own agenda, which may or may not include raping the treasury. But, up to now, it surely continues its pledge to wage war against Israel.

Israel will soon be pressured by western governments to cease and desist. They will argue that all of Israel's actions and Palestinian actions are just part of the ongoing cycle of violence that has been going on since 1948.

The wisest response is from Charles Krauthammer: "Gaza is free of occupation, yet Gaza wages war. Why? Because this is not about occupation, it is about Israel's very existence."

Krauthammer explains how the cycle of violence ended, or should have ended, when Israel withdrew from every inch of Gaza. The Palestinians could have developed the land and lived in peace. But they allowed and even organized incursions and rockets from Gaza into Israel. This is not a cycle of violence, it is a new war begun by Palestinians.

And from where I sit, it looks as if Israel aims to finish it now, unless Gilad Shalit is safely returned and the Palestinians end their aggressive actions from Gaza to Israel.


Post a Comment

<< Home