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Monday, December 25, 2006

Acting on delusions

Haaretz has an account of today's cabinet meeting that makes it clear how wrongheaded and offbase the Olmert-Peretz-Livni government is:
Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin told the cabinet Sunday that should elections be held in the Palestinian Authority, Fatah's chances of winning would be close to zero.

Diskin said during Sunday's weekly cabinet meeting that the Fatah faction is in bad shape, and therefore Israel should expect Hamas to register a sweeping victory.
That may be Abu Mazen's miscalculation. But you can sure bet that Olmert isn't prepared for it either. He still thinks he can strengthen Abu Mazen.
The Shin Bet chief also warned the cabinet that should the Israel Defense Forces begin targeting militants who are launching Qassam rockets, the Gaza Strip cease-fire would collapse within days because Hamas would renew its participation in attacks on Israel.

According to Diskin, Hamas has ordered its operatives to hold their fire, and the ongoing rocket fire is being carried out by the Islamic Jihad. Diskin said Hamas militants could be dragged into renewed fighting between the IDF and Islamic Jihad. Nonetheless, Diskin said the IDF must retain its military capabilities and should know how to use if need be.
I'm not sure what he means by 'retain its military capabilities' but it's pretty clear to me that Israel ought to be going after whoever is shooting regardless of what uniform they are wearing. Diskin points out later in the same article that Hamas will never "act against the activities of another group. Hamas has never initiated such a step against another terrorist organization." For that matter, neither has Fatah (except to go after Hamas for their own good). So why does anyone think we can reach an agreement with these people?
The Shin Bet chief added the problems Israel faces in the Gaza Strip, specifically the continued Qassam rocket fire and the strengthening of Hamas' forces, demand solutions that are more diplomatic in nature than military.
That's ridiculous. You cannot have a diplomatic solution unless someone is going to enforce it on the ground. And usually that first requires that one party be defeated militarily. Would Diskin have suggested reaching a 'diplomatic solution' to World War II before Germany and Japan were vanquished?
Defense Minister Amir Peretz told the cabinet it wasn't clear whether Israel's policy of restraint is actually strengthening the moderates in the PA, as is one of the goals of this policy.

Peretz said that the restraint may very well be "playing directly into the hands of those who walk around town and declare the violent actions they are taking against Israel."
Duh.... You don't say, Comrade?


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