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February 9, 2008: How Much?

February 9, 2008

It is late and there will more to write shortly. But this brief posting is necessary because the outrage is too great for silence.

Abandonment of a city. Sderot, that is. Two brothers, ages 8 and 19, were seriously wounded today when a rocket slammed into the center of Sderot; their mother and a third brother were lightly wounded. The younger boy was wounded badly in his legs, which may have to be amputated.

There had been five rockets launched in the barrage that caused these serious injuries. Three missed the mark and two entered Sderot. The wounded family was simply crossing a street when the alarm went off; they didn’t make it to shelter in time. Islamic Jihad claimed credit for this.

Two hours later a sixth rocket landed in the Negev.

Yesterday, Friday, 40 Kassams and mortar shells were launched at Israel. Kassams hit two homes in Sderot late in the day, while the inhabitants were eating their Shabbat dinner.


Said Israeli gov’t spokesman David Baker , with regard to this attack: "Israel will take resolute and decisive measures to protect our citizens. We will not allow Israeli families to be victimized by Palestinian rockets in the heart of their own cities."

I suppose, as he’s only a messenger, we can’t hold him responsible for how ludicrous this is. Give us a break, already! What do you mean, "We will not allow Israeli families to be victimized by Palestinian rockets"?? Haven’t you noticed? By refusing to take strong action, the Olmert government has been allowing just that. It is clear (I think I’ve said this before a few dozen times) that the "action" against the terrorists — bombing launchers and their sites — is NOT working.

How long before that major operation? I read the other day that more and more it’s understood in the IDF that it’s not a question of "if" there will be a major operation so much "when," and I realized as I read it that I’d read this before, weeks ago. So, when?


Already the world is whining because of the "humanitarian" damage we may do with cutting back electric power to Gaza. But where do we see distress in the international community registered on a comparable note with regard to the humanitarian damage done to the people of Sderot? Even though I know better than to expect equity in such matters, the obvious tilt still enrages me.

In Gaza, gunmen from Islamic Jihad are shooting their weapons in the air and broadcasting messages through mosque loudspeakers. Teenagers are dancing in the streets.

What’s the occasion? They’re celebrating that they seriously injured two Jewish boys in Sderot. But the world takes little note of this. "There are none so blind as those who will not see."


According to Reuters, the US estimates that it will require between $4 and $7 billion to restructure Abbas’s security forces to prepare the PA for statehood. I am not making this up.

The PA has advanced a five-year plan for a single force of 50,000 that would include both units to do civilian police work and units to "rein in militants." It is being backed by the US, which has now shared the plan with the EU and Israel.

How can the US justify Fatah being worth this level of effort? If the PA, in spite of all the assistance received to date, still requires this amount of overhaul, is it not time to admit defeat and look for other plans? Maybe it’s time to retire the PA altogether. It’s shameful that there is such a paucity of creative diplomatic thinking in the US, that they are willing to sink good money after bad rather than admit that what they’re doing isn’t working.

Why is it assumed that money fixes all the problems? Evidence is rife of a reluctance by Abbas and the Fatah security forces to take on their brothers who just happen to be terrorists. Where motivation is weak, and ideology is tinged with terrorism even amongst those purported to be "moderates," the notion of bringing genuine reform through expenditures is nonsense.

And one last question here: If this, even in a best case scenario, is supposed to take five years, why are negotiations supposed to be done now? It is expected, it seems, that we’ll come up with a "political horizon" (it won’t happen), by the end of this year, and that the Palestinians will sit around for another four or five years, while their security forces are revamped, without demanding what has been promised.

US envoy for Middle East security, James Jones, is preparing a report on how to ensure any future withdrawal of Israeli troops would not create a security vacuum. But the IDF is all that stands between Fatah and Hamas in Judea and Samaria. And when the US armed and trained Fatah in Gaza, they ran from Hamas.

The only possible good news here is that the international community, which just pledged parallel sums for economic development in the PA, is not likely to buy into this, too.


The IDF, during an operation in northern Gaza last Thursday, discovered rocket launchers hidden in underground bunkers; the launchers could be activated from a distance.

This is reminiscent of the way Hezbollah operated during the war, and evidence of the cooperation between Hezbollah and Hamas now.





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