Iran’s Gaza Diversion

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Since the IDF commenced its ground operations in Gaza on Saturday night, I have been hungrily eyeing my hat.

On Friday I argued that the Olmert-Livni-Barak government is following the same defeatist strategy in Gaza today that the Olmert-Livni-Peretz government followed in Lebanon two and a half years ago. In 2006, the government supported a cease-fire that empowered outside actors – in that case the UN and Europe – to enforce an arms embargo against Hizbullah and to act as Israel's surrogate in preventing Hizbullah from reasserting control over South Lebanon.

In the event, as government critics like myself warned at the time, these outside actors have done nothing of the sort. The European commanded UNIFIL force in Lebanon has instead acted as a shield defending Hizbullah from Israel. Under UNIFIL's blind eye, Iran and Syria have tripled the size of Hizbullah's missile arsenal. And Hizbullah has taken full control over some 130 villages along the border.

In a similar fashion, today the government is insisting on the establishment of an international monitoring force, comprised perhaps of Egyptian, Israeli, Fatah-affiliated Palestinian, American and European officials that will monitor Gaza's border with Egypt and somehow prevent weapons smuggling. Like the cease-fire deal in Lebanon, this plan does not foresee the toppling of the Hamas regime in Gaza or the destruction of its military capacity. It ignores the fact that similar, already existing, theoretically friendly monitoring forces – like the US-commanded Multi-National Force Observers in the Sinai – have done nothing to prevent or even keep tabs on weapons transfers to Hamas.

STILL, IN spite of the government's continued diplomatic incompetence, there are reasons to think that Israel may emerge the perceived victor in the current campaign against Hamas (and I will be forced to eat my hat). The first is that Gaza is relatively easier to control as a battle space than Lebanon. Unlike the situation in Lebanon, IDF forces in Gaza have the ability to isolate Hamas from all outside assistance. The IDF's current siege of Gaza City, its control over northern Gaza, its naval quarantine of the coast and its bombardment and isolation of the border zone with Egypt could cause Hamas to sue for a cease-fire on less than victorious terms.

Indeed, this may already be happening. Hamas's leaders are reportedly hiding in hospitals – cynically using the sick as human shields. And on Monday morning, Hamas's leadership in Damascus sent representatives to their new arch-enemy Egypt to begin discussing cease-fire terms. Taken together, these moves could indicate that Hamas is collapsing. But they could also indicate that Hamas is opting to fight another day while assuming that Israel will agree to let it do so.

THE SECOND reason that it is possible that Hamas may be defeated is because much to everyone's surprise, Iran may have decided to let Hamas lose.

Here it is important to note that the war today, like the war in 2006, is a war between Israel and Iran. Like Hizbullah, Hamas is an Iranian proxy. And just as was the case in 2006, Iran was instrumental in inciting the current war.

Iran prepared Hamas for this war. It used Hamas's six-month cease-fire with Israel to double both the range and the size of Hamas's missile arsenal. It trained Hamas's 20,000-man army for this war. And as the six months drew to a close, Iran incited Hamas to attack.

So too, in 2006, Iran incited Hamas to attack Israel. That war, now known as the Second Lebanon War, was actually a two-front war that began in Gaza. Ordered by Iran, it was Hamas that started the war when its forces (together with allied forces in Fatah), attacked the IDF position at Kerem Shalom on June 25, 2006 and kidnapped Cpl. Gilad Schalit. Israel fought a limited war against Iran's Palestinian proxies in Gaza for 17 days before the country's attention moved to the North after Hizbullah attacked an IDF position along the border and abducted Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser.

Israel's leaders today warn against a possible Hizbullah attack. In the North, municipalities are readying bomb shelters and air raid sirens ahead of such a possibility. Most of the IDF reservists called up over the weekend are being sent to the North ahead of a possible Hizbullah attack.

But in contrast to the situation in 2006, today Iran seems to have little interest in expanding the war and so saving Hamas from military defeat and humiliation. Speaking on Hizbullah's Al Manar television network on Sunday, Saeed Jalili, the head of Iran's National Security Council, its chief nuclear negotiator and a close advisor to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, essentially told Hamas that it is on its own.

In his words, "We believe that the great popular solidarity with the Palestinian people as expressed all over the world should reflect on the will of the Arab and Islamic countries and other countries that have an independent will so that these will move in a concerted, cooperative, and cohesive manner to draft a collective initiative that can achieve two main things as an inevitable first step. These are putting an immediate end to aggression and second breaking the siege and quickly securing humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza."

In other words, Iran's response to its great enemy's the war against its proxy is to suggest forming a commission.

There are many possible explanations for Iran's actions. First there is the fact that war is an expensive proposition and Iran today is in trouble on that score. In the summer of 2006, oil cost nearly $80 a barrel. Today it is being traded at $46 a barrel. Iran revised its 2009 budget downward on Monday based on the assumption that oil will average $37 a barrel in 2009.

Over the past several months, Iran has been begging OPEC to cut back supply quotas to jack up the price of oil. But, perhaps in the interest of weakening Iran, Saudi Arabia has consistently refused Iran's requests. To date, OPEC's cutbacks in supply have been far too small to offset the decrease in demand. And the loss of billions in oil revenues may simply have priced Iran out of running a two-front terror war.

Then too, Washington-based Iran expert Michael Ledeen from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies argued on Monday in his blog at Pajamas Media website that Iran's apparent decision to sit this war out may well be the result of the regime's weakness. Its recent crackdown on dissidents – with the execution of nine people on Christmas Day – and the unleashing of regime supporters in riots against the Egyptian, Jordanian, Saudi, Turkish and French embassies as well as the home of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi lends to the conclusion that the regime is worried about its own survival. As Ledeen notes Teheran may view another expensive terror war as a spark which could incite a popular revolution or simply destabilize the country ahead of June's scheduled presidential elections.

THERE IS also the possibility that Iran simply miscalculated. It believed that ahead of Israel's February 10 elections, the lame-duck Olmert-Livni-Barak government, which was already traumatized by the 2006 war, would opt not to fight. This would have been a reasonable assumption.

After all, in spite of Israel's sure knowledge last summer that Hamas and Iran would use a cease-fire with Israel to increase the size of Hamas's missile arsenal and expand the range of its projectiles while building up its forces, the Olmert-Livni-Barak government agreed to the cease-fire. And then, when Hamas announced that it would not extend the cease-fire past its December 19 deadline, Defense Minister Ehud Barak sent emissaries to Egypt to con
duct "indirect" negotiations with Hamas in which Israel essentially begged the terror group to reconsider.

But then Israel responded with great force and Iran was left to make a decision. And for the moment at least, it appears that Iran has decided to let Hamas go down. As far as Iran is concerned, even a Hamas defeat is not a terrible option. This view is likely encouraged by Israel's current suggested cease-fire. After all, international monitors stationed along Gaza's borders will not serve as an impediment to future Iranian moves to rebuild Hamas.

ALAS, THERE is another possible explanation for Iran's apparent decision to abandon a vassal it incited to open a war. On Sunday, Iranian analyst Amir Taheri reported the conclusions of a bipartisan French parliamentary report on the status of Iran's nuclear program in Asharq Alawsat. The report which was submitted to French President Nicolas Sarkozy late last month concluded that unless something changes, Iran will have passed the nuclear threshold by the end of 2009 and will become a nuclear power no later than 2011. The report is notable because it is based entirely on open-sourced material whose accuracy has been acknowledged by the Iranian regime.

The report asserts that this year will be the world's final opportunity to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. And, as Taheri hints strongly, the only way of doing that effectively is by attacking Iran's nuclear installations.

In light of this new report, which contradicts earlier US intelligence assessments that claimed it would be years before Iran is able to build nuclear weapons, it is possible that Iran ordered the current war in Gaza for the same reason it launched its war in 2006: to divert international attention away from its nuclear program.

It is possible that Iran prefers to run down US President George W. Bush's last two weeks in office with the White House and the rest of the world focused on Gaza, than risk the chance that during these two weeks, the White House (or Israel) might read the French parliament's report and decide to do something about it.

So too, its apparent decision not to have Hizbullah join in this round of fighting might have more to do with Iran's desire to preserve its Lebanese delivery systems for any nuclear devices than its desire to save pennies in a tight economy.

And if this is the case, then even if Israel beats Hamas (and I eat my hat), we could still lose the larger war by again having allowed Iran to get us to take our eyes away from the prize.

Originally published in The Jerusalem Post.

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  • John B 01/06/2009 at 0:42

    Your correct assessment in my opinion was that the war was launched because Kadima (or clone) had to stay in power after the forthcoming election. If the Israeli public has woken up (in large part due to writers such as yourself) that a victory in Gaza is necessary to achieve this, then there could well be an Israeli victory. But the long view is unfortunately remarkably the same. You should keep your hat.

  • John B 01/06/2009 at 0:42

    Your correct assessment in my opinion was that the war was launched because Kadima (or clone) had to stay in power after the forthcoming election. If the Israeli public has woken up (in large part due to writers such as yourself) that a victory in Gaza is necessary to achieve this, then there could well be an Israeli victory. But the long view is unfortunately remarkably the same. You should keep your hat.

  • Marc Handelsman, USA 01/06/2009 at 1:07

    Israel must settle for nothing less than the removal of the Islamist entity from Gaza. There can be no tolerance for any rocket attacks on Israeli cities. Since Israel’s surprise Gaza invasion, there have been scattered reports of Hamas Islamists wearing nurse’s dresses and eating their hats. Because Israel has restored its strategic deterrent, Iran has decided not to use its Lebanese Islamic entity to attack Northern Israel. Israel must send the IAF on a bombing campaign to wipeout Iran’s nuclear sites. A nuclear-armed Iran cannot be allowed to exist.

  • Marcel Cousineau 01/06/2009 at 1:37

    ‘the regime is worried about its own survival’
    What better way to rally an Islamic population not just of Iran but the whole Arab world than a war to remove Israel from their Dar al Islami neighborhood ?
    Israel has been miscalculating the Moslem world for too long and once again it is possible that Israel will be caught by surprise.
    Amadinejad lives and breathes for the return of Islam’s Mhadi and is willing to sacrifice not just Hamas but Iran to bring about this conflaguration. The Western mindset of thinking in oil prices will catch you off guard again because the moslem mind does not think as we in the West.
    About four years ago I read a credible report in which Amadinejad said he would not wait for Iran to be attacked ,hinting that a surprise was in store.
    I think Israel and the West is unprepared for an Iranian surprise.
    Could it be that Iran is religiously following Sun Tzu’s, ‘The Art of War’ and Israel thinks they can deal with them in their time window when it is Iran who have a working plan on the table along with Syria and Hizbollah ?
    Israel has been guilty of underestimating her enemy too many times as we see with Hamas.
    Don’t make the same fatal error again.
    Watch out for the unexpected surprise.

  • Adam Khan 01/06/2009 at 2:33

    Enough with the hat-eating — it’s a mite unseemly. Policymakers sometimes get it wrong. Pundits sometimes get it wrong. And maybe you haven’t gotten it wrong, time will tell.

  • cantbelievemyeyesandears 01/06/2009 at 5:56

    Don’t count your chickens yet, Caroline. I have confidence that Olmert & co. will find a way to screw up, especially the closer we get to Jan 20. BHO needs to make a splash and an Israeli concession at that time will make it more pronounced….In the meantime those closeted Jew-haters and self-hating Jews keep emerging like roaches from the floorboards…

  • Luigi Frascati, Canada 01/06/2009 at 6:53

    I would like to offer a few more reasons relating to Iran’s diminished interest in Hamas, at least temporarily. The first is the forthcoming elections in June, wherein Ali Rafsanjani seems to be a very strong candidate. It will be recalled that during his presidency Rafsanjani voiced support to Prince Abdullah’s peace initiative and to “everything the Palestinians agree to”, and that he was clear on the fact that in his views Iranian national interests must take precedent over and above the interests of Iran’s allies, namely Syria and Lebanon. Rafsanjani, if elected, would represent almost a U-turn in Iran’s relations with the United States and, to a certain extent, with Israel. He is a businessman first and foremost, an advocate of free market economies and ultimately far more interested in filling up the state’s coffers than in engaging into the expensive ideological foreign policies of the current Islamic Republic. This sentiment is echoed in the Free Iranian Press and throughout Iranian blogs all over the Internet (or Persian, as they like to be called), as well as in the few accessible blogs in Iran. Apparently Iranians travel “abroad”, meaning they cross the Strait of Hormuz, end up in Dubai, the UAE and even wahabbist Saudi Arabia and see all the riches and wealth of their Sunni brethrens. Then they return home and step back to the time of Cyrus The Great and the Persian Empire – but without the splendor, and wonder whether the policies of the Sixth President of the Islamic Republic are really worth the effort. And, of course, there is also the matter of the Iranian Oil Bourse. Back in 2006 Iran announced that it had ordered its Central Bank to start using Euros for foreign transactions, and to transform the nation’s Dollar-denominated assets held abroad into the single European currency. Contemporarily, the Islamic Republic established the Iranian Oil Bourse requiring payment in Euros for its oil, and for a moment it looked like rather than ‘wiping out Israel’ from the face of the planet, Iran was setting the tempo to wipe out American capitalism and influence everywhere, because the Euro was going to establish a firm foothold in the international oil trade (the petroeuros, as opposed to the petrodollars). The reason this did not happen was and is the glut of American Dollars in the international markets, and the fact that buyers the likes of China and India would rather use their extensive Dollar-denominated reserves than the more expensive Euros. The typical European domestic bickering, moreover, has played an important part just as well, with the bottom line that the Iranian Oil Bourse has backfired in the face of the Ahmadinejad’s presidency, at least for the time being. You make reference to the fact that back in 2006 oil was traded for USD 80 per barrel and today for USD 46. In fact the day has ended with oil trading at USD 49 and creeping up, with Cast Lead being pointed to, for right or wrong, as the primary reason for the increase, and the dispute between Russia and the Ukraine as the other reason. Furthermore the announcement today that the Administration to be of Barack Obama has started working on a proposal to cut taxes to the tune of USD 300 million, in addition to an economic stimulus package in the wings that exceeds USD 1 trillion for the present fiscal year leads to believe that the incoming Obama Administration will play down any intervention Israel may contemplate as against anyone and for whatever reasons in the foreseeable future, since wars in your region invariably tend to increase the price of crude. Which means, therefore, that if you are dissatisfied with the US support thus far, chances are pretty good that you will be even more dissatisfied later on. As always, my compliments for your impeccable post.

  • Bill K. 01/06/2009 at 7:04

    My two cents worth. Israel has got Hamas on the ropes now. Go in for the kill. Do not accept a ceasefire under any conditions.
    With Hamas out of the picture Israel will be in much better strategic position when the inevitable showdown with Iran and its Hezbollah and Syrian minions occurs.

  • Ron Grandinetti, USA 01/07/2009 at 0:14

    I agree, Caroline, hold off on the hat trick. School is not out yet on this operation.
    Let’s just hope and pray that this puts a good hit on the Hamas, enough to put them out of business once and for all.
    Bombardment of all the tunnels and let the Egypt and the Iran know the turnpike is closed.
    Any Palestinian losses are the result of the Palestinians themselves for harboring this group of bandits. You would think by now that the Palestinians would come to realize that this group of thugs who claim they represent the people has never provided them with any benefits whatsoever except grief. Unless of course you believe encouraging youngsters to become suicide bombers is some kind of benefit or reward.

  • Stephen Hughes 01/07/2009 at 1:29

    The War with Hamas, an Israeli – Arab Palestinian Issue ?
    Arab Palestinians scream, it is because of Israel’s Gaza occupation , in 2005 Israeli government forcibly removed some 10,000 Israelis from Gaza. There are none there now. Israel did endeavor with targeted smart sanctions, and entrance closures to Gaza in an attempt to force Hamas to stop firing rockets ( some 6,000 ) into her communities.
    It was the Arab Palestinians under Arafat that gave the US the late Arab Palestinian terrorist Imad Mughniyeh, who joined the ranks of Iran & Hezbollah . The most wanted terrorist by the USA before bin Laden. Responsible for more US deaths before 9/11, like the 1980’s Beirut Marine Lebanon suicide bombing killing over 280.
    It was Imad who introduced Al Qaeda to the cult of the Islamic Homicidal – Suicide Bomber, a belief given to the Moslem world from Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei, later adopted by Hamas.
    An Israeli problem, ? ..why did Arafat go to war with Jordan in 1970 lasting a year costing tens of thousands of lives and Palestinian – Arafat expulsion to Lebanon, ?.. .starting a war there also. Was that an Israeli – Arab Palestinian Issue ?
    Why did in 1973 Arafat have assassinated two US Ambassadors , G. Moore & C. Nole , in Khartoum Sudan.? (Overlooked for Israeli-Arab Peace process). Was that an Israeli – Arab Palestinian Issue ?
    The 1993 World Trade Center Bombing the Palestinian Islamic Jihad was involved , still wanted for his direct involvement PIJ terrorist Abd Al Aziz Awda, still on the FBI’s most wanted list. , (indicted in a 53 count indictment ) was that an Israeli – Arab Palestinian Issue ? (Overlooked for Israeli-Arab Peace process).
    These are but a few of overlook and forgotten examples.
    Palestinian terrorists Arabs were at the disposal of not only Iran but for the late Saddam Hussein. Arafat openly supported Saddam’s Invasion of Kuwait, providing forces, who ended up fighting US Forces, was that an Israeli – Arab Palestinian Issue ? (Overlooked for Israeli-Arab Peace process).
    USA with the International Community , has provided billions in dollars for Arab Palestinian economic advancement,. Hardly any of these funds have made it to the Arab Palestinian populous. It only served to make certain Palestinian Officials rich. Moreover much went for terrorism, the Hamas Gaza administration in an excellent example. Money for Rockets but not for Gazaians .
    Decentralized Asymmetrical Warfare ?
    The Israeli Government accepts these white washed peace treaties of perniciousness, with Hamas , & Palestinian officials. When several thousand missiles can fall upon Israel, killing , maiming of Israelis are considered an atmosphere of peace and peace mediation, the cycle of asymmetrical warfare will only continue. Who spoke out to stop these rocket attacks, and how they would eventually force Israel to respond ?
    So when Israel moves to any Defensive Protective Actions , Israel is condemned . “As we are seeing now “. Washington , the International Community is obligating Israel to return to this caustic -deathbed treaties and they will coerce, constrain, and even punish Israel until Israel does so,
    However, is not the real issue terrorism, ? The Hamas backed by Iran ( and the late Saddam Hussein) with several hundred million dollars, whose founding charter is written in a blood filled tapestry of an never ending war , for a Holocaust , a genocide for the Jewish People no matter where they are.
    Iranian Officials calls America, “ the Great Satan” .. Israel its lesser.
    Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called Hamas the fruit of his tree …
    It seems lost to Washington Officials and Israeli Officials how Israel holds the strategic and tactical high ground in the Mid-East, with a war against Islamist Fascism.
    Is the Israeli – Hamas Conflict asymptomatic of a greater war hidden in the shadows, a global pandemic, clothed in a religious righteousness?
    Moreover is this the real reason why the Israeli – Arab Palestinian Condflicts, will continue, in endless cycles of burnt , blood soaked earth ?

  • br1spina 01/07/2009 at 3:42

    israel cannot attack iran with 3 fronts that can be open: syria, lebanon, gaza, with israel taying in gaza, it is on front less, perhaps the time to bombe iran ? before Obama take place!

  • John B 01/07/2009 at 6:37

    Despite all that is being said by apologists for the powers-that-be in Israel, and the current war enthusiasm, it seems obvious that Israel is going to be completely out-manoeuvred in the propaganda war and reluctantly “forced” to accept some kind of disadvantageous cease fire. And the propaganda war could be won by Israel if it was deemed the required objective by Israel’s leaders.
    There are many bad precedents. For instance: It took the Augean Stables people persistent presentation of relatively easily available facts (for those who wanted to see them) to overcome the Al-Dura blood libel lie, and the unnecessary Israeli acquiesence in the lie. Those in power in Israel could have done it much more simply and easily if they had wanted to.
    The inescapable conclusion is that the current Israeli government is committed to losing Israel. If they have to carry the electorate with them in the short term, by whatever means, then they will.

  • Marcel Cousineau 01/07/2009 at 14:53

    The international community starting with the UN and the globalist media do not like to see Jews defend themselves.
    They would rather see a repeat of the Jews silently headed for slaughter without a fight.
    Only then they would show their great compassion towards the dead Jews and bend their heads before nice memorials to the nation of dead Jews.
    UNWEA’s Andrew Whiltley must know the intention’s of Hamas to wipe Israel off the face of the earth,he could not be so stupid to not know could he ?
    This smart fellow must be aware of the Hamas charter as he sees them training and building fortifications for war all over Gaza in the midst of the civilian population ?
    And yet he sides with the Islamic terrorists against Israel as does the U.N. and the majority of the International Community to appease unapeasable Hamas.
    It’s easier for the world to sacrifice Israel than to deal with the deathcult at Israel’s neck.
    The world community will pay a heavy price for their duplicity in once again aiding the evil forces from hell in their war against the Jews.
    You stood by and allowed the death camps of Hitlers Germany to continue operating long after you knew what they were for just as you attempt to restrain and tie Israel’s hands from defeating another even greater evil force at Israel’s neck.
    Mark my words ; ‘The world community will pay a heavy price for the evil they are doing against Israel under the cry of ending the humanitarian crisis in Hamas infected Gaza.’
    You never showed this much concern when millions were dying in Rwanda.Never this much motivation to stop the war in Congo, and never this much action in Darfur.
    The only reason you act now is because Israel is close to defeating another Islamic threat to it’s existence as you did in your mission to rescue Hizbollah who are stronger now thanks to you.
    You miserable liars and hypocrites at the U.N. there is a special place in hell which awaits you for assisting the new Nazis of our day attempt to finish what the European Adolph Hitler began.

  • c l murphy 01/07/2009 at 22:29

    my brother and i are talking about moving from america to isreal to help fight hamas. that way we could fight our country’s enemy and fight our strongest ally in the middle east enemy as well. all free men and women of the world should know isreal’s enemy is your enemy

  • Slava 01/08/2009 at 0:26

    Dear Caroline, please do not eat your hat even if you would happen to be wrong this time around, I would hate to loose my favorite columnst because of this silli bet 🙂

  • HatlessHessian 01/08/2009 at 7:11

    What troubles me is that if America’s Jewish community finds it preferable to support Obama and other political causes that sustain the perpetual existence of a threatening Hamas, then why should any of the rest of us carry Israel’s baggage?
    I’m very tired of advocating for Israel with many of my friends who see them as deniers of the great Palestinian and Middle Eastern utopia. We’re exhausted from the spending of political capital on a people who, quite honestly, neither want nor deserve it. Jews have never been there for those of us who fight so hard for their cause.
    Having studied the rise of the Third Reich in Dortmund Germany in the 1980s, I was perplexed at how such intelligent people could give rise to such extremely irrational and dangerous views. A great many of the population wanted to continue the belief in a comfortable myth that explained why they had so little: blame the jews, the iconic representation of the rich. Redistribution was the clever ponzi scheme to show that the targeting of the rich was the correct solution.
    Now I hear the same talk today, in the middle part of the United States. Obama is the great leader who will force the rich (and particularly the troublesome jews) to stop stealing from us. Redistribution is returning and as we run out of wealth to confiscate, the left will forcibly attack the rich, accusing them of hiding their wealth. It always ends with the cutting of the goose, only to discover there is nothing to take.
    Many of us friends of the jews are tired of fighting your fight when you have alienated us in the fight for liberty. I’m afraid we all have too little time left. If you’re going to care, this may be your last opportunity.

  • Luigi Frascati, Canada 01/08/2009 at 8:05

    Ms. Glick, your countrymen and especially those leading the nation ought to be informed of a demonstration organized by some pro-Palestinian organization protesting Operation Cast Lead. The demonstrators were burning Israeli flags and wearing Hamas bandanas, while at all times calling for the extermination of Jews and chanting, among other things: “Jews, go back into the ovens!”. Now, this demonstration did not take place in Iran, neither did it take place in any Arab country, nor did it take place in Europe or in Russia. No, this demonstration has taken place today in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. – United States of America. Think about that. (Reported by Bill O’Reilly and by Sean Hannity of Fox News). Reminds me of an Italian proverb, loosely translated in English as: “May G-d protect me from my friends, as I can guard myself from my foes”. Welcome to Obamaland.

  • Judith 01/08/2009 at 8:12

    Maybe Iran is using the Gaza conflict to stoke the virulent anti-Israel protests around the world, preparing the ground for greater world apathy over Israel’s annihilation should Iran nuke it. Analogous to the Nazi’s propoganda campaign to dehumanize the Jews befor the holocaust.

  • Cousin C 01/08/2009 at 18:54

    I doubt you have the guts or the integrity to print these truths about what Israel it doing.
    NEARLY everything you’ve been led to believe about Gaza is wrong. Below are a few essential points that seem to be missing from the conversation, much of which has taken place in the press, about Israel’s attack on the Gaza Strip.
    Most of the people living in Gaza are not there by choice. The majority of the 1.5 million people crammed into the roughly 140 square miles of the Gaza Strip belong to families that came from towns and villages outside Gaza like Ashkelon and Beersheba. They were driven to Gaza by the Israeli Army in 1948.
    THE OCCUPATION The Gazans have lived under Israeli occupation since the Six-Day War in 1967. Israel is still widely considered to be an occupying power, even though it removed its troops and settlers from the strip in 2005. Israel still controls access to the area, imports and exports, and the movement of people in and out. Israel has control over Gaza’s air space and sea coast, and its forces enter the area at will. As the occupying power, Israel has the responsibility under the Fourth Geneva Convention to see to the welfare of the civilian population of the Gaza Strip.
    THE BLOCKADE Israel’s blockade of the strip, with the support of the United States and the European Union, has grown increasingly stringent since Hamas won the Palestinian Legislative Council elections in January 2006. Fuel, electricity, imports, exports and the movement of people in and out of the Strip have been slowly choked off, leading to life-threatening problems of sanitation, health, water supply and transportation.
    The blockade has subjected many to unemployment, penury and malnutrition. This amounts to the collective punishment — with the tacit support of the United States — of a civilian population for exercising its democratic rights.
    THE CEASE-FIRE Lifting the blockade, along with a cessation of rocket fire, was one of the key terms of the June cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. This accord led to a reduction in rockets fired from Gaza from hundreds in May and June to a total of less than 20 in the subsequent four months (according to Israeli government figures). The cease-fire broke down when Israeli forces launched major air and ground attacks in early November; six Hamas operatives were reported killed.
    WAR CRIMES The targeting of civilians, whether by Hamas or by Israel, is potentially a war crime. Every human life is precious. But the numbers speak for themselves: Nearly 700 Palestinians, most of them civilians, have been killed since the conflict broke out at the end of last year. In contrast, there have been around a dozen Israelis killed, many of them soldiers. Negotiation is a much more effective way to deal with rockets and other forms of violence. This might have been able to happen had Israel fulfilled the terms of the June cease-fire and lifted its blockade of the Gaza Strip.
    This war on the people of Gaza isn’t really about rockets. Nor is it about “restoring Israel’s deterrence,” as the Israeli press might have you believe. Far more revealing are the words of Moshe Yaalon, then the Israeli Defense Forces chief of staff, in 2002: “The Palestinians must be made to understand in the deepest recesses of their consciousness that they are a defeated people.”

  • Ron Grandinetti, USA 01/09/2009 at 3:04

    Caroline, promise no cease fire unless Hamas is driven out of Gaza and their arsenal destroyed.
    Any Palestinian loss is a direct result of their failure to disarm and disband this terrorist group. You harbor the terrorist, you suffer their fate.
    Besides, what benefit did this terrorist group ever provide the people of Gaza other than grief?
    Destroy and dismantle the tunnels and let Egypt understand she could be next if they are opened again.
    Enough is enough.
    Forget the world critics and UN just ask them, “Where were you when Israel was the target of rockets on a daily basis. Shame on them.

  • Dr. Michael Benjamin 01/09/2009 at 16:06

    There are but two states:
    War: Can and is generally instigated at the will of one party in a conflict. War terminates when the instigator either achieves its goal or changes them.
    Peace: Can only exist at the will of all parties. Peace is the perceived absence of any future war.
    There are two agents:
    Military: Its role is to win wars. It does so by maximising damage to its adversary and minimalising damage to itself.
    Diplomatic: Its role is to obtain peace. It does so not by stopping the present war but preventing future ones.
    The present mess is caused by wilfully ignoring theses basic rules.


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