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Sunday, November 19, 2006

Hamas leadership to be targeted?

As we start off another week with Kassams landing in Sderot, the government may be reaching a frustration point.

Last night, there was an item on Arutz Sheva that indicated that Avigdor Lieberman, Israel's minister of whatever, had said that we should kill the Hamas leadership, declare the road map dead and deal with Jordan (as if King Abdullah would deal with us over the 'Palestinians' anyway - Abdullah has more of an instinct for self-preservation than that!). When I saw the item, I didn't even open it (I did now), but I laughed and said that Lieberman didn't realize yet what kind of government he joined. Here's some of what he had to say:
"Continued commitment to Oslo and to the Road Map will lead us to another round of conflict - a much bloodier round,” he said. “And in the end we will be in an even worse dead-end position that threatens our very existence in the future."

Lieberman dismissed efforts to empower Fatah chief Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), whose group was trounced by the Islamist Hamas in the PA’s parliamentary elections. The newly appointed Minister of Strategic Threats said Israel should instead develop closer coordination with the Hashemite rulers of Jordan regarding administrating the Arab areas of Judea and Samaria.

“We have always targeted the wrong places and taken care not to speak with the right people. We are seeking a reliable partner and that only exists in Jordan right now. We have to coordinate with Jordan and say that Abbas is simply not relevant. We must ignore him. He has no authority and no power."

The Hashemite regime in Jordan is increasingly nervous that it will be overthrown by Islamist groups such as Hamas, which enjoy massive support among Jordan’s populace, a majority of whom are Palestinian.

Lieberman flat-out called for the liquidation of Hamas’s entire leadership. "The entire leadership of Hamas and Islamic Jihad walk around freely, inciting violence. They have got to disappear - to be send to paradise, all of them. There can't be any compromise."

“There is no point in targeting refugee camps or Beit Hanoun,” he added. “Those people, who live on ten shekels a day, have nothing to lose. When they are killed, they volunteer gladly. We have to focus on those who have something to lose - the leaders of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad.”
There was more of it too, by the way, enough that Shimon Peres' old poodle, Yossi Beilin, demanded that Olmert fire Lieberman (only in Israel would an opposition MK demand that the Prime Minister fire a minister!). But Beilin may have gotten one thing right:
“If [the PM] doesn’t do so,” Beilin said. “Lieberman’s statement become the statements of the entire government.”
The Times of London is reporting this morning that Lieberman's statements yesterday - or at least some of them - are the statements of the entire government:
IN A desperate attempt to stop the barrage of rockets fired by Hamas at Israeli villages, Ehud Olmert, Israel’s prime minister, has ordered his security chiefs to target the Islamic movement’s political leadership.

According to Israeli security sources, a decision to assassinate leading Hamas politicians was taken by Olmert and his defence minister, Amir Peretz.


Outraged by an attack last Wednesday on the village of Sderot, Israel is determined to ensure the political leadership in Gaza, the West Bank and abroad will “no longer escape responsibility”.

The controversial change in tactics has been driven by Peretz, who broke down in tears when one of his bodyguards was badly injured in Sderot, his home village.


“The Gaza Strip is about to turn into the biggest terrorist compound on earth,” Yuval Diskin, the head of the Israeli internal security service, warned a parliamentary committee last week. “We have no choice but to consider a massive military operation there.”

Yesterday, deputy prime minister Avigdor Lieberman called for the assassination of Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders. "They have to disappear, go to paradise, all of them," he said.
I think Yuval Diskin is right and there is no escaping a "massive military operation" (read: retaking at least the Philadelphi corridor and the northern part of the Gaza Strip) unless we are going to evacuate the Negev (and then what will be next?). But if they want to knock off Hamas' leadership, I'm cool with that. Let's get Khaled Meshaal first.


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