I would like to recommend a marvelous article — for reading and sharing widely. This is "To Condi: Who is humiliating whom?" by Eli E. Hertz, who heads Myths and Facts.
Written in response to Sec. Rice’s lament that Palestinians feel humiliated by checkpoints, it says, in part:
"In Israel, every Israeli is searched numerous times during the course of a day. Israelis are asked to open their bags and purses for inspection. In most cases, they are subjected to body searches with a metal detector every time they enter a bank or a post office, pick up a bottle of milk at the supermarket, enter a mall or train station, or visit a hospital or medical clinic. Young Israeli men and women are physically frisked in search of suicide belts before they enter crowded nightclubs.
"As a matter of routine, Israelis’ car trunks are searched every time they enter a well-trafficked parking lot. Daily, their cars pass through roadblocks that cause massive traffic jams when Israeli security forces are in hot pursuit of suicide bombers believed to have entered Israel.
"These ordinary daily humiliations now extend to similar searches when Israelis go to weddings or bar mitzvahs. No one abroad talks about the humiliation Jews in Israel are subjected to, having to write at the bottom of wedding invitations and other life cycle events, ‘The site will be secured [by armed guards]’ – to ensure relatives and friends will attend and share their joyous occasion.
"To date, no one protests the fact that…Jewish schoolchildren in Israel are surrounded by perimeter fences, with armed guards at the schoolyard gates. Not one Arab village in Israel or in [Judea/Samaria] has a perimeter fence around it. Guards are not required at Arab shops, cafes, restaurants, movie theaters, wedding halls or schools – either in Israel or in [Judea/Samaria]. Palestinians also do not need armed guards to accompany every school trip, youth movement hike or campout. They are not targets of terrorism.
"Arab children have never been willfully attacked by Jews, while Arabs have deliberately murdered Jewish youngsters at boarding schools, junior high school students on overnight trips and teens on nature hikes. Arab Palestinians attacked Jewish school buses carrying elementary school children, murdered two children playing in a cave near their homes, killed a toddler in a nursery and murdered small children hiding under their beds – all in addition to wave after wave of suicide bombings."
Bravo to Eli Hertz for telling it like it is. The constant tendency to express concern for the Palestinians’ situation, without holding them responsible for their role in generating that situation or expressing parallel concern for Israeli suffering or rights, is an indication of a dangerous political correctness that does us an injustice. It’s past time to set matters right.
Senior officers in the IDF are indicating that there will be a massive ground incursion into the Gaza Strip "bigger than ever before." Exactly how large this incursion will be or when it will take place is left unsaid.
This is necessary. It is essential. We cannot remain like sitting ducks while terrorists groups in Gaza continue to build their arsenals.
Already the IDF, in a much smaller operation, has moved down to the Philadelphi corridor along the border between Gaza and Egypt. Since June, more than 15 tunnels for smuggling weapons and explosives have been discovered in the area; it is known that many more exist. One discovered two days ago is an astounding 12 meters deep.
The IDF is saying it is prepared for whatever will be encountered in Gaza, but it will not be an easy operation because of the increased sophistication of the weaponry, including anti-tank missiles. And the terror groups, of course, are saying that they are prepared to take on Israeli military: "We have completed preparation to teach the Zionist enemy a lesson it will never forget," said a spokesman for the Hamas military wing.
Commentator Michael Freund, writing in the Post yesterday, declared "Israel’s foes are gearing up for war." You’ve been reading the same here, and for me it’s as clear as clear can be — whether, as Freund says, it’s in weeks, or months, or a bit longer. I’m especially concerned about the coordination that makes likely simultaneous attacks on two fronts — west and north. Freund believes no one wishes to see the signs; let’s just say many don’t and hope that more wake up soon. G-d help the IDF to prepare properly, and give us leaders who can guide us through this intelligently.
Palestinian Interior Minister Said Siyam, in an interview in the paper Al-Hayat in London that ran today, charged, "The deal to release [Shalit] has failed or has frozen because [Israel] wants the soldier released without giving anything in return."
How refreshing this would be, if literally true. My own take — my understanding based on all I’ve read — is that the Israeli demand has been that release on both sides not be simultaneous, but that Shalit must be released and then there would be discussion about which prisoners we would release (as a "good faith gesture"), while Hamas wants prisoners released as they send Shalit home. Not quite the same thing.
Infrastructure Minister Ben Eliezer, after visiting with Mubarak in Cairo, today told reporters that Israel had "accepted and respected" (respected???) the concept of a prisoner release for Shalit, but that Hamas’s Mashaal vetoed the deal at the last moment.
Egypt is still working on securing Shalit’s release. According to the former Egyptian ambassador to Israel, Muhammad Bassiouny, Shalit’s release is an Israeli pre-condition for negotiations between Olmert and Abbas.
PM Olmert is in Russia. He has been encouraged from certain quarters here to come down hard on Putin with regard to Iran, but this apparently has not happened in any significant way. Putin has been against sanctions on Iran, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has made a statement that "Reports from Iran do not indicate a real threat to peace and security." Really? Russian diplomats dispute the notion that Iran is only months away from going nuclear, and has been providing assistance to Iran in building a reactor. Lavrov wants a "measured response" to Iran.
During public statements after their meeting, Putin did not refer to Iran at all. Olmert, for his part, made clear that Israel has no room for error on this issue: "Israel does not have the luxury to allow the creation of a situation where a country like Iran has non-conventional potential. Israel can never abide this type of situation." As to Putin’s silence, he said that things were said in private that were not said in public, and that he thinks Putin has a better understanding now of Israel’s situation. This, while perhaps a step in the right direction, is not enough. As Olmert himself said, the Iranians need to fear that "something will happen to them that they don’t want" if they continue their nuclear program.
That "something," from all indications, will have to be greater than sanctions.
This posting can be found at: http://www.arlenefromisrael