Saturday, January 03, 2009

"What is the plan?"

Every time I turn on the TV or open a newspaper in recent days and see the nightmare which is unfolding in the Gaza Strip I always find myself asking the same question: "What is the plan?"

Days ago the Olmert regime were promising to "eliminate Hamas", which sounded an awful lot to me like their previous promise to "eliminate Hizbollah", and with as much chance of success. There is something haphazard about the way Olmert wages war, which always gives me the distinct feeling that he is making it all up as he goes along.

That was certainly evident in Lebanon were he unleashed chaos upon a civilian population in the hope of having his kidnapped soldiers released, a plan that was plainly bonkers as his actions were as likely to bring about their deaths as to ensure that they would be released.

He now tells us - having at first promised to "eliminate Hamas" - that all he wants is to stop Palestinian rockets from hitting southern Israel. I would argue that a better way to achieve this would have been to agree to lift the siege on Gaza - as his refusal to do so was the only reason that Hamas refused to renew the ceasefire - but he was never going to do that as he still wants to destroy Hamas or, at the very least, cause the people of Gaza to rise up and overthrow them.

So now, with no discernible next move that anyone can see, he threatens to invade.

Israel appears poised to extend its week-long assault on Gaza by launching a ground assault, amid renewed reports last night that troops and armour were preparing to move into the besieged Palestinian territory.

As more than 300 foreign passport holders were allowed to leave Gaza after the border was temporarily opened, Israeli officials warned that a ground offensive was needed to break the military power of Hamas, which has continued to carry out rocket attacks despite pulverising air strikes.

This is where Olmert proves that he is no Ariel Sharon. Sharon, the old war criminal, always defined for himself achievable military objectives and set about ruthlessly carrying them out.

Olmert plays a game of threat and bluff. He hammers away from the air because he can do so with no cost at all to the IDF other than financial, and the Americans will pay that bill anyway. And when that fails to stop the rockets he threatens to do the one thing that we all know he does not want to do with an Israeli election looming: he threatens to put boots on the ground.

And the Americans are offering their tacit approval should Olmert be insane enough to go down this road:

A White House spokesman appeared to give tacit backing to Israeli military tactics by refusing to answer questions on whether the United States believed a ground offensive was justifiable. "Those will be decisions made by the Israelis," said spokesman Gordon Johndroe.

Olmert would do well to remember that these are the same loons who encouraged him to enter Lebanon and the end results are unlikely to be any different.

Before that ill fated venture into Lebanon Olmert stated that he would not release Palestinian prisoners in exchange for captured Israeli soldiers. Thousands died and millions of pounds worth of damage was caused before Olmert eventually did the very thing he had always said he would not do.

Now, he's pummeling Gaza because he refuses to lift the siege as he can't accept that he's unable to cause the collapse of Hamas.

Just as Israel once refused to negotiate with the PLO and eventually relented, they will one day negotiate with Hamas. They have to, as Hamas are the democratically elected representatives of the Palestinian people.

Until they accept that Hamas aren't going away - and that they currently represent the people of Palestine - we are going to have to witness more of this utterly pointless violence and destruction.

Astonishingly, it appears as if Olmert really did believe that he could bomb the Palestinians into stopping their rocket fire. Now, with that plan unravelling around his feet, he is deciding whether or not to up the ante and invade.

He would be better advised to accept the inevitable and lift the siege and agree to a new ceasefire. But he will push on with his determination to destroy Hamas one way or another.

It's no doubt a deeply felt wish, but it's not a plan.


This is the kind of Hasbara one gets used to when covering the Israeli-Palestine dispute.
Israel has but a single objective in Gaza -- peace: the calm, open, normal relations it offered Gaza when it withdrew in 2005.
This is written by the truly deluded Charles Krauthammer who, in the same article, says that Israel is "scrupulous about civilian life" and that the entire conflict, "possesses a moral clarity not only rare but excruciating."

And these are the reasons Dov Weissglas, who was once Sharon's Chief of Staff, gave for the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza.

"Effectively, this whole package called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our agenda," he said. "And all this ... with a [U.S.] presidential blessing and the ratification of both houses of Congress."

Just in case someone still doesn't quite get it, he explains that the proposed disengagement "is actually formaldehyde. It supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so there will not be a political process with the Palestinians."

Since 2005, the agenda of Weissglas has been much more in evidence than the dreamy landscape painted by Krauthammer.


daveawayfromhome said...

Krauthammer is another one of the neo-con loons, in the same vein as John Bolton, who just needs to be dropped into a deep, dark well and never heard from again. I hope that once Obama is firmly in office these idiots will disappear, but I fear they will only be more prominent as the wing-nuts crank up their slander machine to attempt to take out another successful Democrat.

Kel said...

I agree that Obama's election, sadly, will not succeed in shutting these lunatics up. They will actually only get louder.