I cannot say that it’s beyond what’s acceptable now, because it’s been beyond acceptable for a long time.
Today a ten year old boy, Yossi Haimov, who ran for cover when the alarm sounded but did not make it into the shelter, was badly wounded by a Kassam — one of several that has fallen on Sderot today. He was hit in the shoulder and his arm was partly detached from his body. The first news was that he might require amputation, but now it is being reported — thank G-d! — that the arm seems to have been saved in surgery.
We are a powerful nation. We have the ability to protect our children. And we don’t.
And so, damn them, I say. Damn those who launch those Kassams — the Popular Resistance Committees have taken responsibility on this occasion — and all those who have it in their power to protect these children and do not for perverse reasons and political reasons and every reason except the one that matters.
In another attack an infant girl and her mother were lightly wounded.
And a number of people were hospitalized for shock . I have never written specifically about shock, although scores of residents of Sderot have been hospitalized for this reason over time. It sounds relatively minor. No amputations, no gaping wounds in the body. But a gaping wound in the psyche, let me assure you. People who live constantly with heightened anxiety, who go over the edge, screaming, crying, trembling.
The very same Resistance Committees who claimed responsibility today also claimed responsibility yesterday for launching of Kassams. And do you know why they were launched? To protest against the "occupation," for sure. But now we’re being given a new reason: "In response to the cartoons published in Denmark degrading the memory of Prophet Muhammad. If this is so, the number of excuses for launching Kassams is nearly inexhaustible. Will there be anything that’s not our fault?
And consider this: Mahmoud Abbas today, after meeting with King Abdullah in Amman, warned the Bush administration that if it didn’t "make 2008 the year to broker peace, then there will never be any future chances to achieve this goal." A rather audacious statement, designed to pressure the US to pressure Israel.
One must assume he means that there won’t be another chance for him, and perhaps not another chance for his Fatah party. That’s because they’re losing ground. But if they are, how can they be legitimate "peace partners"?
What he told reporters is that the US "must understand it is to play an active role, not just as a supervisor, by intervening directly to help make peace."
And he called upon Israel "to stop escalating the situation in the Palestinian territories and stop all attacks in the Gaza Strip, including firing missiles there."
Note that he didn’t call upon Hamas and the other terror groups, including his own Al Aksa Brigades, to stop launching missiles. That’s because it’s Hamas he’s losing ground to, and he would never challenge them directly.
Never mind that in his heart of hearts he undoubtedly approves of what they do to weaken the "enemy," even as he gives lip service to moderation. Yesterday I provided an overview of the PA textbooks, which promote jihad and martyrdom and speak of Israelis as colonial occupiers.
So damn him too.
As to those negotiations that Abbas is so eager to see advanced — quick quick while he’s still here — there has been an announcement by our Foreign Ministry of "progress." Three committees have been set up to deal with civic affairs such as water and economic issues. If there were to be a true peace, ultimately these things would need to be discussed. But as it is, I see these discussions as a way of treading water, or giving the impression of moving ahead, and little more. For if the major issues such as borders and refugees and the status of Jerusalem are not resolved, then the rest is meaningless. And on those issues there is next to no progress.
On the other hand, Kaddura Faris, chief of the PA committee on negotiating prisoners affairs, submitted his letter of resignation to Abbas yesterday, citing as his reason lack of coordination between the committee, the head of the Palestinian negotiations team, Ahmed Qurei, and the PLO chief negotiator, Sa’eb Erekat.
At least one potential crisis dissipated today. Hamas had announced for this day a protest against the siege of Gaza — a human chain of perhaps 30,000 people who would link hands from the north to the south of Gaza. Our military was greatly concerned that the intention was to have the crowds breach the fence and come streaming into Israel, as they had into the Sinai so very recently. Large numbers of troops were brought to the border of Gaza. Contingency plans were laid with talk of non-lethal techniques and possibly shooting people in the legs. It was determined that under no circumstances would this mob be allowed to advance.
But, as it turns out, there was no mob advancing. I like the headline in the Post: "human chain a few links short." About 5,000 people came, many school children who had been released early. There was no storming of the fence even attempted.
Olmert is in Japan, and in his absence 11 members of his Kadima party met in the Knesset today to discuss the negotiations. In the main, according to a YNet report, they were distressed about the fact that Jerusalem was being discussed with an eye towards dividing the city.
MK David Tal: " Jerusalem cannot be touched, and making concessions on this issue are not part of Kadima’s platform. When the public elected us, it did not know that we plan to make concessions in Jerusalem."
MK Otniel Schneller: "I can consider conceding a number of isolated neighborhoods, but Jerusalem belongs to the Jewish people."
MK Yoel Hasson: "[Kadima’s] platform speaks about a united Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty. Those who say otherwise are causing damage to Kadima."
OK, guys. You don’t like what’s going on? What will you do about it beside complain behind the prime minister’s back? There has been much talk about Kadima members leaving the party, but so far no one’s moved.