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December 24, 2008: Word Without End

December 24, 2008

To all of my Christian readers I extend wishes for a joyous Christmas celebration.


Isn’t Tzipi Livni ashamed? How could she hold her head up and offer these words today:

“I advise Hamas – don’t delude yourselves. Our desire for peace and quiet does not soften our will to act in the face of kidnappings and threats. The desire for peace does not quell the desire to act when necessary, and it is necessary now.”

If you are serious about hitting an enemy, you DO it, you don’t talk about it.

After all the threats, all the declarations, still, she offers more words. The world knows already about “our desire for peace and quiet.” She would best stop trying to convince people. This is like an apology: Gee, we might have to take serious action, but that’s not really what we want.

Well, some of us really do want that. We are very weary of words.


Today the barrage of rockets from Gaza was back to where it had been last week. Since Tuesday night, some 36 Kassams and 18 mortar shells have been launched; one house took a direct hit. In addition, a number of Grad Katyushas — a more serious weapon — were fired towards Ashkelon.

In response to this situation the Security Cabinet called an emergency meeting. A media blackout was placed on much of what was discussed. What has made news is that there will be responses to rocket attacks at the time and scale of Israel’s choosing, which isn’t telling us a whole lot.

According to Channel 1, the decision was made not to retake Gaza. I am assuming, until there is evidence to the contrary, that this means no ground operation at all now. According to one “senior official” cited, the goal of responses would be to do maximum damage to Hamas in the quickest possible amount of time. A ground operation is not quick. But how much damage can be done to Hamas from the air is debatable. And what happens when a bomb misses its mark and hits civilians and the world screams?

One wonders what time frame is being utilized here, if the goal is an operation within a minimal amount of time: Obama’s inauguration? Our elections? Finishing before the world has a chance to scream?


Following the Cabinet meeting, the Air Force targeted a rocket launching cell that was preparing to fire. One person was killed and three wounded. But it’s got to get bigger than this. This hardly represents “maximum” damage.


Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz is supposed to be the hawk of Kadima. These were his words today:

“We cannot accept the reality of a regime of terror imposing horror and fear on the children of Israel. Israel will not accept Hamas’ regime in the long run.”

“In the long run”? That means for now we can accept the regime of terror imposing fear on our children?


I am ashamed, my friends. And while Livni has plenty of words to offer about this situation, I begin to feel close to the point of being speechless. Because — unless something big is planned that we’re not supposed to know about — this is all incredible.


Avigdor Lieberman, head of Yisrael Beitenu, has this right:

“Hamas is setting the agenda and taking the initiative; Israel is only responding.

“The government has failed in its job to safeguard the people of Israel; we mustn’t wait until after the elections to make the necessary decisions, and if Barak is undermining these decisions he should be dismissed immediately.”


Professor Morty Kedar of Bar Ilan University (Arabic speaking and an Islamist specialist) says that if we let the leaders of Hamas know that we “want to severe the connection between their shoulders and their heads” they will pull back, because they want to live. Kedar is my kind of man.


Have no illusions in terms of whom we’re dealing with. This is from Palestinian Media Watch:

“Hamas members of the Palestinian Legislative Council in Gaza have approved a new bill ‘to implement Koranic punishments,’ including hand amputation, crucifixion, corporal punishment and execution.”

This is next door to us.


One positive step the Security Cabinet did take today was in declaring 35 different groups — operating primarily in Pakistan, Afghanistan and north Africa — to be terrorist groups. These are groups that operate against the West and not necessarily against Israel.

The declaration puts us in line with Western countries, and most notably the US, in terms of dealing with terrorists via blocking of their financial support. Banks and financial institutions will now be required to report any financial activity suspected of being related to these organizations to the Israel Money Laundering and Terror Financing Prohibition Authority.


Yesterday I mentioned that Kadima was gaining in the polls and Likud dropping; I had seen two different polls indicating this. Then my attention was called (thanks Jeff!) to a poll run by Geocartography showing Likud with 37 mandates and Kadima with 26, which is more like it. But today a Maagar Mohot Survey shows Likud with 31 and Kadima with 25.

I’m not sure what all of these polls are worth.


Syrian president Bashar Assad has given an interview in which he says that Syria has no responsibility for Hezbollah. No, Syria only made it possible for Hezbollah to re-arm.

He also says ties with Iran help protect Syrian interests. No the words of someone thinking of breaking those ties.

How does Olmert remotely imagine that anything positive can come from negotiating with this man?


Amr Mousa, Secretary-General of the Arab League, has suggested for the first time that Arabs and Iran should sit together and “resolve disputes.” Tensions are high between Shi’ite Iran and the Sunni Arab nations, with considerable unease in nations such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt regarding Iranian nuclear intentions and Iranian meddling via sponsorship of groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas. This represents a shift that seems aimed at taking the lead away from non-Arab nations. Mousa is Egyptian.


Dear friends, I apologize for the somber nature of this posting. It is the holiday season, after all. And so let me end here, up-beat, with a holiday season story about the Jerusalem Post Office’s dead letter office.

Every year at this time, letters come from around the world to Jerusalem, addressed to G-d or to Heaven or to Jesus. Manager Avi Yaniv and his staff open the letters and destroy the envelopes. Then they carry the letters to the Kotel (Western Wall).

Yaniv believes that all of these prayers and petitions can be answered by G-d.






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