Sunday, June 17, 2007


What We Can Learn From the Hamas Victory in Gaza

Call me a cynic, or say that I am jumping the gun here, but now that Hamas has apparently fully taken control of Gaza - with Fatah men running for the borders with Egypt and Israel, or even fleeing into the Mediterranean Sea - I think we can all learn one critically important lesson.

No, not that expelling Jews from parts of the Land of Israel will only make things worse in every respect for everyone concerned. Not that. That we knew soon after the Disengagement, when more rockets began falling on Sderot than before the expulsion of the Jews of Gush Katif.

And no, not that negotiating with terrorists leads to their violent path becoming more popular, rather than less so. Not that. That we learned shortly after Israel negotiated the Oslo Accords with the PLO - and the number of Jews killed by Arab terrorists since that "peace agreement" was signed increased exponentially over the number killed by Arab terrorists beforehand.

No. I'd say that the most important lesson to be learned from the Hamas success in Gaza is that it is, in fact, quite possible to defeat a terrorist organization. And it can be done within days.

Not only that, perhaps to the consternation of those with great faith in dialogue and reconciling "competing narratives" and "the peace process" and "peace now," the defeat of the Fatah terrorist organization was accomplished entirely by military means.

In Hebrew, many Israelis use the expression that there is no zbang ve'gamarnu ("bang, and it's done") solution to terrorism. Oh, no. It always has to be some long, drawn out and complicated effort involving political maneuvering, concessions (always by us, of course), and endless and pointless negotiations.

Well, considering that Hamas forces ended the reign of Fatah terror and eliminated most of their leadership in less time than it took us to win the Six Day War (yet, we have been fighting Intifada II for at least seven years), maybe there is a zbang ve'gamarnu solution, after all. Could it be?

In other words, in contrast to the accepted punditry and "common knowledge" in the West and in Israel, Hamas has proven that, yes, there is a military solution.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


Politicians From Hamas and Fatah Parties in Harsh Campaign

Recent reports from that bastion of Arab democracy, the pride of former US President Jimmy Carter, the Palestinian Authority, indicate that the race between the duly elected Hamas party and its rival, the moderate Fatah party, is heating up. The campaign trail, as many politicians know, can be murder.

Why, just yesterday (Monday), Fatah candidates launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh (Hamas), attacking both his domestic and administrative positions. Emphasizing their dissatisfaction with the current Hamas administration, Fatah politicians bombarded the Prime Minister with harsh criticism, but Haniyeh was not available for comment.

However, the new Fatah attacks did not develop in a vacuum. The previous day, both Hamas and Fatah politicians were involved in some serious "spin doctoring," but in the end, all the competition only caused leading members from both parties to fall drastically in the eyes of the voting public.

Not willing to leave the field to their rivals, Hamas party PR consultants advocated a response to what they felt was a dirty Fatah campaign tactic. Hamas politicians didn't waste time and by the late morning today, they too had peppered the office of PA President Mahmoud Abbas (Fatah) with a trenchant reply to his party's earlier political moves.

Also this morning, organized protests by vocal Hamas party supporters outside the home of a representative from the Fatah party led to very heated arguments between supporters of the two democratic factions. According to just one anecdote from the campaign trail, a woman in Gaza City was so inconvenienced by politicians vying for her support that she was forced to permanently alter her daily routine.

Aside from issues related to foreign affairs, certain dedicated Hamas candidates have also staked out a position on the Fatah party's failed hospitalization policy. Breaking long-standing PA parliamentary protocol, they have gone so far as to call anyone who opposes them a "traitor."

Fatah party spokespeople indicated that they were prepared to take their campaign on the road, to Judea and Samaria, in order to convince voters there not to lend their support to Prime Minister Haniyeh's party. Their main campaign strategy in Judea and Samaria, Fatah political advisors said, would be to completely "eliminate the competition." They feel that can easily be accomplished with some well-placed public advertising and, with an eye to the hip Ramallah voter base, possibly some killer street theater.

Meanwhile, in Israel, clashes among rival gangs continue. Militants led by the warlord Ehud Barak appear to have succeeded in crushing their rivals from the Ayalon camp. This was made possible when Barak struck a temporary alliance with the ruthless terror leader Shelly Yechimovitch. However, armed men loyal to Ami Ayalon are continuing to make their presence felt, sniping at Barak faction leaders whenever the opportunity presents itself. As of now, the bloodthirsty campaign continues.

In a parallel clash, octogenarian godfather Shimon Peres is strong-arming leaders of rival armed groups to join him in a jihad for control of the Israeli regime. Peres, however, is facing tough competition from Reuven "Ruby" Rivlin's coalition of tribal clans. The Laborite clan leader Colette Avital is in hiding from the deadly Peres, but Peres's relentless gunmen appear to be on Avital's trail as of Tuesday morning. Avital is in particular danger ever since arch-terrorist Yechimovitch abandoned her to join with warlord Barak. We'll have more on that story as it develops.

Monday, June 04, 2007


Now, I'm in Favor of Disengagement

In contrast to Ezra Halevi's article "Public Figures Express Regret For Disengagement," I would like to now finally come out of the closet and very strongly advocate "disengagement," the uprooting of settlements in Gaza.

The arguments in favor of "disengagement" in Gaza are clear; they have been stated already many times by Israeli leaders and other left-wing thinkers.

Announcing the "disengagement" in 2003, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said:

"The purpose of the Disengagement Plan is to reduce terror as much as possible, and grant Israeli citizens the maximum level of security. The process of disengagement will lead to an improvement in the quality of life, and will help strengthen the Israeli economy."

Mark Heller, from the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies in Tel Aviv, wrote that "the strongest argument in favor of unilateral disengagement has been that since there is no partner for negotiations, either on permanent status issues or even on the Road Map, there is no reason for Israel to condition its actions on a negotiated agreement, which would essentially mean doing nothing."

Dov Weissglas, Sharon's right-hand man and chief of staff for promoting "disengagement," said the following in an October 2004 interview with Haaretz newspaper:

"The significance of the Disengagement Plan is the freezing of the peace process.... When you freeze that process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state and you prevent a discussion on the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem. Disengagement supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so there will not be a political process with the Palestinians."

Another three arguments in favor of "disengagement" were: 1) Israel cannot rule over the Arabs forever; 2) Arabs may in time outnumber Israelis and demand the right to vote; and 3) it is not worth the expenditures of the army in the Gaza region.

Also, "there will be a million Palestinians spared that daily, grinding friction in their lives," said David Makovsky of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Gerald Steinberg noted that "disengagement" would "minimize vulnerability to another and potentially more deadly terror campaign."

For all of the above reasons, and more, I hereby strongly advocate the uprooting of the settlements in Gaza. With "determination and sensitivity," all the existing settlements - from Rafiach to Khan Younis, from Deir El-Balah to Gaza City, and on to Bait Lahiya and Beit Hanoun (especially Beit Lahiya and Beit Hanoun) - must be uprooted immediately.

Yes, you know - "painful concessions", "sacrifices for peace" and all that.

We tried uprooting Jewish settlements for the sake of peace. As anyone in Sderot can testify, that didn't work out so well. So, why not try uprooting Arab settlements for the sake of peace? I have a feeling that will work out much better. And if it doesn't, well, what the heck, I can always write a contrite op-ed somewhere a year or two later....

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