Friday, June 30, 2006

Clueless in Gaza?

The government is losing its reason

By Haaretz Editorial

Bombing bridges that can be circumvented both by car and on foot; seizing an airport that has been in ruins for years; destroying a power station, plunging large parts of the Gaza Strip into darkness; distributing flyers suggesting that people be concerned about their fate; a menacing flight over Bashar Assad's palace; and arresting elected Hamas officials: The government wishes to convince us that all these actions are intended only to release the soldier Gilad Shalit.

But the greater the government's creativity in inventing tactics, the more it seems to reflect a loss of direction rather than an overall conception based on reason and common sense. On the face of it, Israel wishes to exert increasing pressure both on Hamas' political leadership and on the Palestinian public, in order to induce it to pressure its leadership to release the soldier. At the same time, the government claims that Syria - or at least Khaled Meshal, who is living in Syria - holds the key. If so, what is the point of pressuring the local Palestinian leadership, which did not know of the planned attack and which, when it found out, demanded that the kidnappers take good care of their victim and return him?

The tactic of pressuring civilians has been tried before, and more than once. The Lebanese, for example, are very familiar with the Israeli tactic of destroying power stations and infrastructure. Entire villages in south Lebanon have been terrorized, with the inhabitants fleeing in their thousands for Beirut. But what also happens under such extreme stress is that local divisions evaporate and a strong, united leadership is forged. [my emphasis]

In the end, Israel was forced both to negotiate with Hezbollah and to withdraw from Lebanon. Now, the government appears to be airing out its Lebanon catalogue of tactics and implementing it, as though nothing has been learned since then. One may assume that the results will be similar this time around as well.

Israel also kidnapped people from Lebanon to serve as bargaining chips in dealings with the kidnappers of Israeli soldiers. Now, it is trying out this tactic on Hamas politicians. As the prime minister said in a closed meeting: "They want prisoners released? We'll release these detainees in exchange for Shalit." By "these detainees," he was referring to elected Hamas officials.

The prime minister is a graduate of a movement whose leaders were once exiled, only to return with their heads held high and in a stronger position than when they were deported. But he believes that with the Palestinians, things work differently.

As one who knows that all the Hamas activists deported by Yitzhak Rabin returned to leadership and command positions in the organization, Olmert should know that arresting leaders only strengthens them and their supporters. But this is not merely faulty reasoning; arresting people to use as bargaining chips is the act of a gang, not of a state. [my emphasis]

The government was caught up too quickly in a whirlwind of prestige mixed with fatigue. It must return to its senses at once, be satisfied with the threats it has made, free the detained Hamas politicians and open negotiations. The issue is a soldier who must be brought home, not changing the face of the Middle East. [my emphasis]

9 Comments:

At 5:33 PM, Blogger he who is known as sefton said...

the problem with the Palestinians -

Their problem is not so much that, whatever their leadership, they never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. It goes deeper than that. Given the chance to shoot themselves in the foot, the Palestinians do so ... in a heartbeat ... cheerfully.

By the way, that observation is found in my piece, titled "garden party crashed, snide follow-up". And the text for the hyperlink is, as follows:

http://hewhoisknownassefton.blogspot.com/2006/06/garden-party-crashed-snide-follow-up.html

 
At 6:07 PM, Blogger Greg said...

"If so, what is the point of pressuring the local Palestinian leadership, which did not know of the planned attack and which, when it found out, demanded that the kidnappers take good care of their victim and return him?"

Gert: You quote exlusively from extremist left wing sources ala Ha'aretz editorials and The Guardian. That seems just as short sighted as MZ calling Muslims "vermin".

Q:

How does this editorialist know the local Palestinians didn't know of the kidnapping of Shalit?

A:

He/she doesn't know. She's stating a guess on her part; a guess which shows her lack of understanding when it comes to military operations carried out by Palestinian terrorists.

The local citizens demanded that "the kidnappers take good care of their victim and return him?"

Pure nonsense. I don't even want to make an argument on this b/s that would be pointless.

 
At 6:14 PM, Blogger Greg said...

Gert,

I sent you an e-mail that I got back twice. In it I praised you for your evident high-level of knowledge, and your behavior whilst commenting on my site. I also let you know that I thought your knowledge by far surpasses mine where most subjects are concerned, and that this is one reason you will win most arguments/discussions with me. I urged you to remain dignified when making comments on my site,and not succumb to the foolish outbursts of extremists.

Also, if you'd like to link to my blog, please do so. You can just put up the name of my site: Hear, O Israel.

Hope to hear from you, Greg.

p.s. My email address is: enigman81@hotmail.com

If you ever want to email me about anything feel free to do so!

 
At 8:51 PM, Blogger Gert said...

Greg:

"How does this editorialist know the local Palestinians didn't know of the kidnapping of Shalit?"

The editorialist was making an educated guess, which may turn out to be right or wrong.

Your own ex-chief of the Mossad (Halevy If I remember the name correctly) seemed also to imply the this is probably correct.

I'll check my email and will come back to you.

 
At 1:08 PM, Blogger Richard said...

The Guardian? An 'extremist' left wing source?

If that's premeditated exageration Greg, you credibility just went down the tubes with me. That's the kind of disingenuous, diss-info that's part of [and prolongs] the 'problems' to which you refer. Moreover, you yourself are part of the problem[s].

If it's simply your own personal, honest opinion, that's different. Just as wrong, but different.

You really should read up on the Guardian's history/background etc.

It's unique. It owes alliegence to no one. Not even rich advertisers. It accepts advertisements, of course -- but it does NOT need them.

Nor does it need to 'please' anyone, including readers.

Things will stay that way while the substantial funds [from a trust fund set up many years ago] run out. Though it's highly unlikely that's going to happen.

I say again, the Guardian is unique.

 
At 1:10 PM, Blogger Richard said...

At the end of my comment I mistakenly posted the word "while" -- instead of untill.

 
At 4:37 PM, Blogger Gert said...

Richard:

No one is entirely unbiased, nor is The Guardian. I feel it tries a lot harder than many others to present a fair account and there is room for internal dissent, always a good sign in my book. But completely unbiased? That would not be human...

 
At 5:21 PM, Blogger Richard said...

I know that, Gert. I nebver said otherwise. And I do know it leans to the left. But what I won't accept, is that it's "extremist".

Right wingers [almost everywhere] make a habit a of calling ANY thing/person/place/etc that's left of centre - extreme/far/loony left.

It's a long running, common ploy that really pees me off. People who know no better, believe anything that they see/hear repeated often enough -- then they repeat it. Soon the myth is accepted as gospel.

 
At 9:26 PM, Blogger Gert said...

Richard:

"Right wingers [almost everywhere] make a habit a of calling ANY thing/person/place/etc that's left of centre - extreme/far/loony left."

It is indeed bizarre that people who are perhaps merely right of centre feel the need to call anything that's left of centre "extremist left", "far extremist left" and so on. This is indeed a "debating tactic", one that doesn't work of course.

 

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