Prime Minister Olmert gave a press conference for the foreign press today. He said many things that require attention:
 He addressed the humanitarian situation in Gaza, actually in more detail than what I’ve seen reported anywhere so far. I know this because, while I was not present, I spoke to Danny Seaman, Director of the Government Press Office, after the press conference, who told me what the prime minister had said in this regard. This entire subject merits a separate posting because the charges against us by the UN regarding our having created a humanitarian disaster are a gross misrepresentation and represent an attempt to vilify us. Let me simply say here that Olmert says 70% of Gaza has electric power. This is VERY different from the sense one gets when reading most reports. The generator that was taken out by the air force represented an attempt to selectively black out areas where the kidnappers might be operating and to make it difficult for them to move Shalit out.
 He addressed Israel’s intention of sustaining the operation in Gaza until Shalit is released, and insists that there will be no negotiations with Hamas.
 And then — then! — he addressed his plans for "realignment," saying that recent violence has not deterred him: he intends to go ahead.
It is in the Jerusalem Post that I found this quote, attributed to Olmert from the press conference:
"I haven’t changed my basic commitment to the realignment plan… [I am] absolutely determined to ultimately separate from the Palestinians.
"…terrorist organizations…can’t stop the inevitable historic process. It is the only solution, the only way that Palestinians can realize their dream of a Palestinian state."
Well! From where I sit, this is nothing short of stomach-turning. Vile. The rationale presented to the people for this "separation" was the need to get on with things if there is no partner on the other side — to set borders, to reduce friction, etc. Right now that rationale is absolutely full of holes, as the first pullout has been demonstrated to be an abysmal failure and it is clear as clear can be that further pullouts will set us up for more violence.
But to say that "it is…the only way that Palestinians can realize their dream of a Palestinian state"?? THIS is something we have to be concerned with now? In the face of a Palestinian Authority that is comprised of terrorists and committed to our destruction — that has NO intention of settling peacefully into a two-state solution — we have to worry about pulling back to allow them a state??
Even IF there were an historical inevitability regarding a Palestinian state (and I will argue forcefully that there is not), this would not mean turning land over to them now, when they are not ready. A Palestinian state now at our borders would be not only a threat to our security but to the stability of the entire region. It would undermine U.S. goals in the area and encourage terrorists in neighboring countries to assert themselves.
Olmert’s reasoning and motivation are difficult to fathom. I wish I could say that even though I disagree with him vehemently, I trust that he has Israel’s best interest at heart. I do not.
Our operation in Gaza continues and is said to be open-ended. We’ve pulled back from the north of Gaza a bit and are now focused more on the south and east of the region. In response to our refusal yesterday to negotiate with Hamas for Shalit’s release, Hamas is threatening to step up terrorism, and so increased security measures are being taken here. Several would-be suicide bombers have been stopped of late.
PA Prime Minister Haniyeh is still plugging for the intervention of the international community to force a cease fire. And PA President Abbas, after spending two fruitless weeks trying to defuse matters in Gaza, has sent envoys to Syria to speak with Khaled Mashaal, political head of Hamas in Damascus, who it seems is calling the shots.
For the first time, Mashaal has called a press conference and made a statement with regard to Shalit. It would be humiliating for the Palestinian people, he has declared, to return Shalit without getting something in return. That "something" is release of prisoners: "Our people…are united on the insistence to swap the captured soldier with prisoners in the jails of the Zionist enemy."
Mashaal says Shalit hasn’t been kidnapped, he’s a prisoner of war. (The Israeli government is also beginning to speak of this as a war.)
Declared Mashaal, "…the Palestinians executed a heroic operation by capturing that soldier…We are proud of this operation and send our condolences to the shahids [martyrs for Allah] and their families."
Mashaal said something else as well: "We do not claim that the tunnels, Kassam launchings and similar efforts will bring us to a balance of power with Israel…But it is an expression of our aspirations. In essence, the Palestinian people are saying: I fight, therefore I am."
They fight, therefore they are… These are the people Olmert would give a state to.
I have only good words for the U.S. at this point: In an interview on CNN yesterday, Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns indicated that the Bush administration had no quarrel with Israel’s operations in Gaza: “Let’s remember who started this. It was the outrageous actions of Hamas in violating Israel’s sovereignty in taking the soldier hostage.”
This posting can be found at: https://arlenefromisrael.info/current-postings/2006/7/10/posted-july-10-2006.html