Monday, February 11, 2008


What Is Israel to Do? Ignore the Attacks? - David A. Harris
Israel withdrew all its forces and civilians from Gaza more than two years ago. It created the first opportunity in Gaza's history for self-governance. Never before, certainly not during Egyptian military rule till 1967, did local residents have their fate in their own hands. Those who predicted that governance would moderate the Hamas message were proven wrong. And those in capitals from Moscow to Riyadh who believed they could talk sense to Hamas had little to show for their efforts.

Israel faces an Iranian-financed franchise on its border. Since Israel left Gaza, literally thousands of rocket and mortar attacks on Israeli towns and villages have occurred. What is Israel to do? Ignore the attacks? Turn the other cheek? Some would have Israel negotiate with Hamas, but over what? If the other party does not recognize your right to exist, what is there to discuss? The timetable for your own destruction? Others propose a hudna, or temporary truce. But if the outcome is to allow Hamas to strengthen its terrorist infrastructure, much as Hizbullah did in southern Lebanon after Israel's unilateral withdrawal in 2000, then Hamas, not Israel, benefits.

Hamas wants to use Gaza as a launching pad against Israel, while seeking protection from the international community. That gives new meaning to the word chutzpah. To protect the possibility of peace, the international community mustn't let Hamas get away with it. The writer is executive director of the American Jewish Committee. (Miami Herald)

Restraint Is Not Possible - Editorial (Ha'aretz)

  • The firing of Kassam rockets against Sderot and the nearby kibbutzim is not stopping and is extracting a heavy price in terms of fear and blood. Responsibility for the shooting from Gaza, which has been going on for seven years, falls on the Palestinians. Were it not for the shooting, Israel would not respond. For the past eight months Hamas has ruled Gaza alone, and it is no longer possible to explain away the shooting as due to a lack of control over rogue organizations.
  • Are the West Bank and Gaza still one entity, aspiring to establish an independent state alongside Israel? Is it possible that in all situations, Israel will hold negotiations for the establishment of such a state while Hamas is shooting at it? Israel left Gaza in the summer 2005 to signal the start of an end to the occupation. The ball passed to the Palestinian court, where it has been stuck after the Palestinians elected Hamas, which opposes a peace agreement with Israel.
  • If the limited military actions Israel is undertaking in an effort to bring an end to the Kassam rockets will not bring an end to the shooting; if the moderate states, and first and foremost Egypt and Jordan, fail to contain Hamas - Israel will have no option but to embark on a broad military operation.
  • The Israel Defense Forces raison d'etre is to protect the country's citizens from attack. Israel must prove that the blood of its citizens cannot be forfeited - so that in the future, its neighbors will abide by the agreements to which they have committed.

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