How fascinating it is to watch the process — political, military — as it unfolds from day to day. One truly never knows what the next day will bring.
This is what we’re seeing now:
Yesterday we took out four terrorists in Bethlehem . Three were members of Islamic Jihad, and one a member of Al Aksa Brigades. Some news reports said that the key person taken down, Muhammad Shahade, was the mastermind behind the yeshiva massacre, because that’s what local Palestinians are saying; he was the most senior IJ leader in the Bethlehem region and is reported to have had extensive ties with Hezbollah. Our military sources, if they are of the opinion that he masterminded the yeshiva attack, are being a bit circumspect. But what they are saying is that the four men were responsible for many terror attacks in previous years.
(Note: Shahade also had associations with Fatah and there are those claiming that this connection is being downplayed by Israel because it, shall we say, besmirches the good name of our peace partner.)
In the wee hours of this morning , 15 Kassams were launched toward Sderot. Islamic Jihad is claiming responsibility for them, saying that this is in retaliation for the killing of their people, and that it is just the beginning. And Al Aksa Brigades in Gaza declared it no longer intends to abide by the unofficial truce with Israel.
Israel has already launched a "pinpoint" strike in north Gaza against the rocket launchers (the machinery, not the people).
And since then more Kassams and mortars have fallen.
Take a look at what Abbas, the "moderate," had to say about our killing of the terrorists:
"This barbaric crime exposes the fake mask on Israel’s face." Israel must be condemned for "talking about peace but committing daily crimes, murders, and executions against our people."
So, the man who is, himself, supposed to be eliminating terrorist infrastructure not only does not do so, he lambastes us for doing it. It’s clear as the noses on all of our faces which side he’s on.
Ah, I should modify what I wrote above : It’s clear, I suspect, to each of us, which side he’s on, but not clear to everyone. For there are, it becomes obvious, those who "have eyes but cannot see, ears but cannot hear." (This, by the way, is from Jeremiah — I just checked.)
Primary among these is Condoleezza Rice. She testified before Congress yesterday, and was asked a question about a recent interview Abbas gave for a Jordanian publication, in which he said that "I am opposed to armed struggle because we cannot succeed in it, but maybe in the future things will be different."
Said Rice, "I am confident that President Abbas is somebody who is committed to the negotiated solution of this issue, and recognizes that only a negotiated solution is going to result in a Palestinian state…I can just tell you that this is somebody who for many, many years now has rejected violence as a means to statehood."
I think it’s truly fantastic that Rice is able to discern Abbas’s true intentions so deeply and is not deflected by something as silly as Abbas’s own words in Arabic to fellow Arabs.
And I am particularly interested in her information that Abbas has been committed to a negotiated settlement for "many, many years." It was in January 2007 (some 14 months ago) that Abbas addressed a Fatah rally. "We are all one people regardless of differences of opinion" he told those gathered, referring to tension with Hamas.
"We have a legitimate right to direct our guns against Israeli occupation . It is forbidden to use these guns against Palestinians."
I used to think that western leaders who don’t get it require information, but I’m learning: Giving them that information is not likely to help if they have an agenda. It’s a clear case of "my mind is made up, don’t bother me with the facts."
But there is another way to view Abbas’s words and intentions, which goes more deeply to the heart of the matter. We might say that Rice is correct that Abbas understands violence has to be rejected for statehood.
The catch, however, is that he is not really seeking statehood , although it suits him to play the game for the sake of western largesse. If he were really for statehood, he would have embraced genuine moderation a long time ago. He is, still, seeking our destruction. When he speaks of guns against the Israeli occupation, he does NOT mean just in Judea and Samaria. He means anywhere from the river to the sea, which he counts as all Palestine. And, indeed, if he could resort to successful terrorism to secure all of the land, he would gladly do so. This goal is a major reason why he won’t take out the terrorists — he needs them.
Doubt this? Take a look at the Fatah constitution, which embraces precisely this view.
Or, better yet, consider the PA textbooks, including the ones published since he heads the PA. There is no recognition of Israel as a legitimate state. There is talk of us as occupiers, and of Jihad and martyrdom.
For this you can see my article on the subject on Frontpage Magazine that just came out today:
We’ve hardly heard the last on the issue of settlements , and I would like, as time allows, to return in days ahead to examine this in more detail.
At the moment, I will say, quite simply, that I see two essential issues. One is the matter of Jewish rights to the land — which is what I will want to address in time.
But there is also another: There is screaming about Israel’s requirement to fulfill certain commitments. But this screaming is, as always, unbalanced. There is no holding the Palestinians accountable for anything.
Do the western leaders understand how racist an attitude this is at base? As if the Palestinians are too simple, too crude, too devoid of ethical integrity, to be held responsible for how they behave and what they’ve promised.
This is from the text of the road map , in terms of the very first stage:
· Palestinians declare an unequivocal end to violence and terrorism and undertake visible efforts on the ground to arrest, disrupt, and restrain individuals and groups conducting and planning violent attacks on Israelis anywhere.
· Rebuilt and refocused Palestinian Authority security apparatus begins sustained, targeted, and effective operations aimed at confronting all those engaged in terror and dismantlement of terrorist capabilities and infrastructure. This includes commencing confiscation of illegal weapons and consolidation of security authority, free of association with terror and corruption.
We know full well that none of this has been accomplished . Weapons haven’t been collected, except for show (photo ops) in a farcical way; Al Aksa Brigades people are incorporated into the security forces; no real sustained action against terrorists is in place (which is why the IDF must stand between the PA and Hamas), etc. etc. I’ve addressed all of this over time, and will be happy to do so again. There is ever so much to say with regard to this whole matter, and the who
le failure of PA intentions.
But is the international community up in arms about this? Do leaders say that nothing can proceed until the PA does what it’s supposed to, because cessation of terrorism is absolutely critical for peace? Well, of course not. Much easier to criticize Israel for the horrible position of planning to build some new housing units in an already existing community.
As the international community is without integrity — is morally corrupt — on these issues, their criticisms of us are meaningless.
Israel is expressing the expectation that an upcoming report by US Lt.-Gen. William Fraser regarding implementation of the road map will be biased, in precisely the terms I’ve described. In fact, it’s my impression from what I’ve been reading that we’re being expected to show "good faith" in ways that are not even stipulated in the road map (such as dismantling of checkpoints), and then criticized when we fail to do so, even if our refusal is tied directly to issues of our security.
My contempt for this entire approach is bottomless.
Our putative "peace partner," Abbas, is in Dakar, Senegal, at the Organization of Islamic Conference, where he told the 57 nations present that we are committing "ethnic cleansing" in eastern Jerusalem. Considering that there are over 200,000 Arabs in eastern Jerusalem, who carry residency cards and get health care and other services from Israel, that is quite a charge.
(For the record, let me note here that when we took eastern Jerusalem in 1967, we offered the Arabs residents full citizenship, but they declined.)
He uses the term "ethnic cleansing" because it’s a buzz word, like "apartheid." Of course it’s the PA that would like to do ethnic cleansing — they assume there can be no Jewish community in areas they aspire to control.
But let’s look at why he claims this: Because we’re closing Palestinian institutions (thank Heaven!), and imposing taxes, and separating the city from the West Bank. THIS constitutes "ethnic cleansing"? Methinks Abbas is getting a bit desperate.
Says Abbas, Israel is not living up to the spirit of the negotiations. Israel?
Commented Olmert spokesman Mark Regev: "The peace process faces many obstacles and leadership should not be contributing to those obstacles through inflammatory statements."