03 July 2006

News Roundup

I feel like using some metaphor about tasting blood, but that would be treif. Suffice to say, I'm seeing red.

The JPost headline reads: Olmert rejects kidnappers' ultimatum

Friday, we were holding off because of negotiation breakthroughs, and today we're telling the terrorists to suck it (in a restrained way, of course)? What I want to know is, what does the Israeli government know that we don't? What really caused the tide to turn in favor of kicking pally butt (in a restrained way, of course)? Chalutz's latest statement to the press indicated that Gilad Shalit is still alive. Even if he isn't (I'm being pragmatic, not pessimistic) I doubt the Israeli government would reject demands and approve a (restrained) incursion. Why? Because the IDF and the Israeli public would have no problem beating the crap out of the palestinians if they knew for sure Gilad was murdered. Olmert? Peretz? Peres? I have the strong feeling that they could care less. What's in it for them? What are they getting out of rejecting terrorist demands after claiming massive breakthroughs? Are they really in it for their country, or are they maintaining status quo and staying in it for themselves?

The JPost reports:
On Sunday, a Jerusalem Post poll of all nine members of Olmert's diplomatic-security cabinet oppose releasing Palestinian prisoners as part of a deal that could bring about Shalit's release.

There have been reports that ministers were upset that they were not told in advance about the arrests of Hamas politicians on Thursday and that there was opposition to Olmert's decision not to bring ground forces into northern Gaza. But Olmert has, for the most part, managed to prevent any public opposition to his policies by ministers in the security cabinet.
Could it be that even Olmert's own people are turning against him? Is that why we're seeing a sudden change in attitude from the Israeli government?
Shalit's captors initially demanded the release of about 500 women and children prisoners held in Israeli jails. They later raised their demands to include an additional 1,000 prisoners. Israel is currently holding about 9,000 Palestinians.
Or is it just that the Israeli government is tired of the palestinian game of cat and mouse?

What does the Army have to say?
I estimate that the campaign will end in a matter of weeks or months although the situation could certainly escalate," OC Southern Command Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant said during a conference at Ben-Gurion University in Beersheba. "At the moment the Palestinian Authority is being run by a government of terror which has a radical agenda with regard to Israel."
According to an Israel National News report:
An analyst for Army Radio, which first broke the story at around 9:20 this morning, said that the ultimatum could be the terrorists' reaction to the news that Israel might be planning to take "weeks or months" in its attempts to obtain the release of the kidnapped soldier. "The terrorists don't have that much time," said commentator Shimrit Meir, "as food has to be brought in, and they fear that the Israelis are closing in on them, etc. That's why they want to close this and go to the next stage right away."
So, the pallys play cat and mouse with our soldier, we play cat and mouse with their food; they make lots of baseless threats about suicide bombers because allah's got a 2 for 1 sale going on with the virgins in paradise right now, we show "restraint" in warfare. The confusion doesn't end there. According to JoeSettler the entire Israeli population can't tell its tuchus from a hole in the ground when it comes to deciding what to do and, even, where to live. However, some of the Arabs in Gush Katif--er, Gaza--know exactly where the Jews should live:
Another reports conversing with local Arabs that used to work in their greenhouse, and they were begging for the Jews to come back, because the other Arabs don’t treat them very well.
P.S. The Kassams have reached Ashkelon and, in case you didn't know, murdered "settler" Eliyahu Asheri was kidnapped in Jerusalem, right where he belonged.

WestBankMama waxes philosophical on the IDF's restrained warfare.
We are at war with an enemy that is not conventional, so our superior army cannot be used in the way it would be against a normal threat. If we had no morals, and could just go in and go after the terrorists without worrying about civilians, we would have won a long time ago. If the outside world treated us like any other country in the world, and stopped supporting the Arabs with money and endless positive propanganda spin, we would also have won a long time ago. What can you do? We're Jews and won't wage an uncivilized war (and I wouldn't want it any other way) and the powerful combination of the need for Arab oil and the deep roots of anti-Semitism will always make it harder for others, even America, to give us a fair shake.
One: this war is certainly NOT conventional by any means. Agreed. Two: Can they really be considered civilians when they're willing to strap bombs on themselves and their children and die for allah? Three: I can't justify the actions of the world in the name of Arab oil or Jew hatred. There is no justification for approving of the murder of innocents in the name of greed, power, or hatred. None.
...The arrest of the Hamas "legislature" was a brilliant move. I have been reading a lot of complaints from right wingers moaning about the fact that these guys weren't assasinated right off, but I think this is short sighted. Turning these terrorists (elected officials or no) into just a stain on the pavement would have been very satisfying emotionally, but it would not have influenced the specific situation we are in now. We have a kidnapped soldier to worry about. Putting a substantial chunk of the Hamas government in jail changes the whole picture. Now Hamas has something to lose - their own political power.
One: Agreed; arresting Hamas politicians was fantastic. Two: Killing the Hamas legislature would had to have happened INSTEAD of arresting them, not AFTER arresting them. Killing them "in the field" would have been an act of war (not "restrained conflict") while killing them post-capture would be nothing short of execution. Since Israel is technically a democracy (unless you're a "settler" in which case you don't even need to be charged before being jailed), that would require a trial beforehand. It would have been a political nightmare for Israel, one that would open new fronts on the world scene that Israel just doesn't need right now. Three: However, if the pallys view each other as bombs for the cause, does "political power" really mean anything to them in the end?

Carl in Jerusalem comments on the latest reports indicating that Egypt has seen Gilad Shalit alive:
For those of you who have never followed one of these crises before, assuming that Israel does not agree to the 'exchange,' tomorrow morning Hamas will announce that they killed Shalit and then start negotiating over his body. The demands then will be the same or higher. Israel cannot allow itself to be dragged in to this, or it will be dealing with kidnappings on a daily or weekly basis.
Agreed completely. Is the Israeli government waiting for confirmation of Gilad Shalit's death from the horse's mouth before they launch a full-scale attack? Carl also gives a full-scale rundown of the IDF's demands regarding the prisoner exchange. Thankfully, the Israeli Military has yet to lose its collective mind. Of course, Carl notes that none of the IDF demands have a chance of being fulfilled by the pallys; maybe they were hoping that, if the agreement was accepted, the minute the IDF started responding to continued kassam attacks they could just point to the agreement and tell the world, "See, they didn't hold up their end of the deal!"
Senior IDF officials in charge of Gaza think Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh will choose to maintain power, at the cost of suspending terrorism. I disagree. I believe that Haniyeh will maintain at least a low level of terrorism and will still maintain power. I believe that the 'Palestinians' want the terrorism to continue. Every survey taken indicates that, and the 'Palestinians' elected Hamas knowing that Hamas would support terrorism. The question is, how long are Israelis willing to tolerate Kassams being shot several times a day at Sderot and Ashkelon. The answer to that is "so long as the effects are NotInMyBackYard."
As far as the rest of the news, I couldn't have said it better myself.

And, not to be remiss in mentioning what's going on with Israelis (or family members thereof) in America, Israpundit reports via the Washington Times: The Pentagon has banned security clearance to Americans with relatives in Israel.
Government sources and attorneys said the Pentagon has sought and succeeded in removing security clearance from dozens of Americans, mostly Jews, who either lived, worked or have relatives in Israel. Official documents report that American Jews, employed by major defense contractors and denied access to military projects, were asked by Pentagon examiners whether they would join a U.S. attack on Israel and abandon their relatives if the Jewish state was threatened.

“The policy didn’t start yesterday,” a Pentagon source said. “But those applying for security clearance are coming under greater scrutiny than ever for ties with foreign countries, and that especially includes Israel.”

In some cases, the sources said, the Pentagon even sought to remove the security clearance of high-ranking U.S. officers who served as consultants in Israel. Some of the Pentagon’s decisions were overturned on appeal.

...The report said applicants were asked whether they would fight with the U.S. military against Israel in a “hypothetical conflict.” Those who did not pledge to fight Israel were denied security clearance by the Appeals Board.

“The Appeal Board rejected the Administrative Judge’s assumption that Israel did not pose a serious security risk because it was a country friendly to the U.S.,” the report said. “It held that such a view ignores the historic reality that relations between nations can shift, and that even friendly nations can have profound disagreements with the United States over matters which they view as important to their vital interests or national security.”
So, all that being said, Happy Fourth of July. Unless you're a Jewish American. If you're a Jewish American, you can join the rest of the colonials in line for their pocket watches, and don't let the door hit your kosher tuchus on the way out.

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