February 26, 2008: Response and Self-Respect

Bret Stephens (former editor of The Jerusalem Post), writing in the Wall Street Journal, today addresses the issue of the constraints that the international community attempts to put on Israel with regard to responses to Kassam attacks. Bless him, he has it exactly right:

"…The more vexing question, both morally and strategically, is what Israel ought to do about Gaza. The standard answer is that Israel’s response to the Kassams ought to be ‘proportionate.’ What does that mean?

"…Israel’s presumptive right to self-defense has no practical application as far as Gaza is concerned. Instead, Israel is counseled to allow goods to flow freely into the Strip, and to negotiate a cease-fire with Hamas.

"…But technology addresses neither the Islamic fanaticism that animates Hamas nor the moral torpor of Western policy makers and commentators who, on balance, find more to blame in Israel’s behavior than in Hamas’s. Nor, too, would an Iron Dome or the Phalanx absolve the Israeli government from the necessity of punishing those who seek its destruction. Prudence is an important consideration of statesmanship, but self-respect is vital. And no self-respecting nation can allow the situation in Sderot to continue much longer, a point it is in every civilized country’s interest to understand." (emphasis added)



The head of the Electric Authority of the PA has announced financing from Saudi Arabia intended to underwrite a project to connect Gaza’s electric grid to Egypt over the course of the next 12 to 18 months, so that a considerable portion of its electric power would then be supplied by Egypt rather than Israel. There has been, as yet, no comment from either Egypt or Israel. This project, besides reducing Gazan dependence on Israel, would bolster the PA claim to being in charge in Gaza.


Head of Military Intelligence, Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin, reported to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee yesterday that during the time that the fence at Rafah was breached, Al Qaida was able to enter Gaza.

He also said that the open border "enabled Hamas to bring back those who had left for training in Syria and Iran, including snipers, explosives experts, rocket experts and engineers." Additionally, large amounts of weaponry were brought in.

MK Tzvi Hendel (NU-NRP) spoke with clear understanding when he then observed that the situation in Gaza now was reminiscent of what happened during the years that we were aware that Hezbollah was building up and did nothing. "We must enter the Gaza Strip" he said, "not [just] in order to stay there for two days or two months, because there is no other solution." And how very right he is!

With regard to a Hezbollah reprisal attack on us because we are presumed to have assassinated Mughniyeh, Yadlin reported that it might come, as is traditional, following a 40 day mourning period.