Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Peace talks get 18 rocket salute.

12.12. 2007

By Ami Isseroff

Original content copyright by the author

Eighteen or nineteen Qassam rockets fell on the Western Negev this morning. The salvo came just after the Israeli government and defense establishment were congratulating themselves on the "success" of the policy of limited engagement in Gaza.

It is not clear whether the rockets are the extremists' greeting for the first round of peace talks to be held today, or whether they were a response to the IDF raid that killed eight Palestinians. What is clear is that the problem of Gaza, studiously ignored in the Annapolis meeting, is not going to go away, The Oslo fiasco demonstrated the futility of a peace process that tries to ignore reality. Apparently, one course was not enough for the Americans, so the Hamas are giving them, and us, a graduate seminar.

Despite the rocket salvo, the Israeli cabinet decided that now is not the right time for a wider operation in Gaza, no doubt because a full scale invasion would certainly derail the peace process. Perhaps they are right from their point of view. But if the rockets continue, there won't be any peace, there won't be any process, and there won't be any Olmert government. Sderot Mayor Eli Moyal resigned in protest. Perhaps he is right from his point of view as well.

Americans, Europeans, the UN and the Arab countries form an alliance of the righteous that is supposedly interested in peace between Israel and the Palestinians. This same alliance however, is acting to make peace impossible. On the one hand, international (read "American") pressure is no doubt the major factor preventing IDF action in Gaza, and no doubt, should the IDF invade Gaza, international pressure will prevent a decisive victory over the Hamas and their allies, provided it is not prevented by the same sort of incompetence that characterized the second Lebanon war, and provided that Israel or anyone is capable of making order in Gaza. On the other hand, nobody besides Israel is willing to do anything to stop the rocket fire from Gaza or oust the Hamas regime. On the contrary, Egypt obligingly gives terrorists safe passage to and from Iran, and oversees the vast Gaza arms smuggling industry. Egypt and Saudi Arabia keep pressuring the Fatah to from a "unity" government with the Hamas, while the Americans stand aside and make believe it isn't happening.

All those who want peace, and who insist on peace between Israel and the Palestinians, have to understand that they cannot expect any progress toward peace until the problem of Gaza is solved. If they deny Israel the right of self defense, then making order in Gaza becomes their responsibility. As for the Israeli government, it cannot give up the right to defend its citizens, and if it does, it will be reminded of its duty by the Israeli electorate.

Ami Isseroff


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