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Sunday, November 19, 2006

Olmert lashes out at Gaydamak's weekend getaway, but rejects IDF battle plans to solve Kassams

During a cabinet meeting today, Prime Minister Ehud K. Olmert lashed out at Russian billionaire Arkady Gaydamak for funding a weekend getaway to Eilat for residents of Sderot.
"I am opposed to smuggling southern residents out of their homes, and opposed to the PR stunts of millionaires which come out of irrelevant considerations," the prime minister said. "Do we want to be depicted as a nation that flees from their homes…to five-star hotels? It looks like a declaration of defeat."

Olmert added that "it is not easy to come to the residents and tell them they need to stay in Sderot, but it is not a serious move to make them flee their homes. We as a government will give them a meaningful system of solutions."
Olmert added:
"Do they want to portray us as people who flee their homes? Will we leave Kiryat Shmona, Tiberias and Safed empty? Is this not a declaration of surrender?"

"Is this what we want to see, that when Qassams are fired we run to five-star hotels? I regret the embarrassing scenes, the bus seats, and the disappointed people," he said.

Olmert added: "Someone is abusing the public and someone is joining the prank, and someone is not expressing doubts over the terrible tastelessness. True, it is not easy to come to the residents and talk to them about staying in Sderot and instead take them by busses. But this is not a serious move. We as a government have to be there, and we will come with an overall solution."
If Olmert's feckless government was providing an answer to the Kassams, there would be no need for Gaydamak's gesture. But all Olmert and his defenseless 'Defense Minister' have done is to make empty threats that no one believes they have the testosterone to carry out. What's worse is that the army has proposed other solutions, and Olmert has vetoed each and every one of them (Hat Tip: Harvey in Efrat):
The officials said according to Israeli Defense Forces assessments, the best options to stop the daily rocket fire from Gaza into nearby Jewish communities and to halt the regular smuggling of weapons from neighboring Egypt include drafted plans to retake parts of Gaza. The plans were not approved by Olmert's security cabinet.

They said other options presented to the Israeli government for a large-scale Gaza assault focusing on dismantling the terror infrastructure inside the Gaza Strip have also been rejected by Olmert.

The officials said Olmert and his security cabinet only approved a series of surgical operations, which do not differ from military actions in Gaza the past few months and which the IDF does not believe will halt weapons smuggling or Qassam attacks on Jewish communities.

The officials charged Olmert has been restraining the IDF from carrying out what the army believes are operations "crucial" for Israel's security.


According to senior defense officials here, the IDF has several times outlined for Olmert and his security cabinet a major Gaza assault aimed at blocking Egypt-Gaza smuggling routes, confiscating weaponry already transferred into Gaza, halting the rocket-firing at Jewish communities and badly damaging Gaza's terror infrastructure.

Senior IDF sources told WND the weapons confiscation operation would include a large ground invasion and sweep of southern and northern Gaza towns. They said, according to intelligence information, most weaponry is concentrated in and near Rafah, the southern border city between Gaza and Egypt.

But they suspect in the coming weeks the terror groups, anticipating an IDF onslaught, will transfer weaponry to private homes and underground storage centers in central and north Gaza.

"The only way to get to the weaponry is a large sweep of the hot zones that includes house-to-house searches," said an IDF source.

IDF plans to stem the weapons smuggling from Egypt into Gaza include the establishment of a permanent Israeli military presence at the Gaza-Egypt border to generate real-time intelligence at the site and to serve as a launch pad for pinpoint operations to stop the smuggling.

IDF sources said plans to stop Qassam rocket-fire include the reoccupation of the northern Gaza Strip, from which most rockets have been fired, or the stepping up of targeted operations to take out rockets and rocket crews before the projectiles are launched.

The IDF is aware Palestinians have smuggled into Gaza longer-range rockets that can be fired from the central part of the territory so that if the northern Strip were occupied, rockets can still target nearby Jewish communities, military sources said.

"Occupation of the northern Gaza Strip will inhibit a lot of rocket fire, but we know we would need to retake most of the central and northern Strip to completely stop the fire," an IDF source said.

Military sources, though, said Olmert did not approve the IDF battle plans, which were offered to him again this week while he was visiting the U.S.

Speaking to reporters on his airplane last night returning from the U.S., Olmert rejected a renewed IDF occupation of the Egypt-Gaza border. He told a reporter from Israel's Haaretz daily he favored pinpoint strikes instead.

"There are many thoughts on how to deal with the Qassam rocket attacks, and we should remember that this is not a war with a 'quick fix' solution," Olmert said.

"I take the Qassam attacks seriously but our activities in Gaza will be carried out each time on the basis of intelligence, readiness and the ability to limit these attacks to the extent possible," said Olmert.

IDF officials who spoke to WND before Olmert's comments last night charged politics might be at play in the prime minister's rejection of what they say are needed military plans.

"We should never have withdrawn in the first place," a senior IDF officer told WND. "The greatest admission of the Gaza withdrawal's failure would be for us to have to reoccupy any part of Gaza. I don't think that will happen. Olmert will also have to contend with major international backlash for any such move."

Another officer commented, "Olmert cannot afford another disaster like Lebanon. Any major ground incursion includes risk to the lives of Israeli troops. Olmert might not want to risk anything unless he can be convinced the overall plan will be absolutely successful."

The officer said another plan presented to Olmert but not yet approved entails the creation of a large ditch along the Gaza-Egypt border that would be filled with water from the nearby Mediterranean Sea, causing any weapons-smuggling tunnels constructed along the border to collapse.
Our Rabbis tell us in the Talmud that each generation receives the 'leaders' that it deserves. Our generation must be pretty miserable.


At 8:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey olmert do you want to be seen as a country who's PM is the leaning tower of Jello

Why should it be a problem being seen as a country who pulls together un troubled times. or even a county that takes money out of its own pocket to comfort people under fire.

I dont see Olmert moving to Sdrot


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