All that you have is your soul (Tracy Chapman).

Saturday, 8 July 2006

Breaking My Silence

You might have noticed that I’ve been unusually tight-lipped about the ongoing situation in Gaza. For those of you who’ve been visiting the site for a while, you will know that I’m not one to withhold my views on Israel.

So why the reticence to comment?

I think that I’ll put it down to gaining wisdom over the years.

A cursory glance at the media shows me that too many journalists are all too happy to go around like a bull in a china shop and pretend that they understand what is going on in the Middle East. The minute Israel raises her head, they are in there, criticizing and in my opinion, demonstrating that they don’t have the foggiest notion of what is actually going on in the region.

In the past, I too have fallen into that trap…hence my tardiness, if you would have in, in adding my two cents, for what it’s worth.

Looking at the situation, calmly and with reason, I have come to a number of conclusions:

Israel is 100% right to do what she is doing. This is not just about the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier – much more is going on. In the months following the disengagement from Gaza, the Palestinian terrorists have been doing what they can to provoke Israel, by constantly firing Kassam rockets into the Israeli town of Sderot. Israel has held her cool and resisted the temptation to go into Gaza and sort the problem out. The Palestinians therefore upped the game by resorting to kidnapping. Israel therefore had no option but to take harsh measures to stem the spiralling situation. In short, they need to get the message across to the terrorists that the crap is going to stop and it’s going to stop now.

Israel is being extraordinarily careful to avoid civilian casualties and has not stopped humanitarian aid from entering or leaving Gaza. Even the Red Cross testifies to this even-handedness.

Hamas is involved in an internal struggle, between the so-called moderates (as exemplified by the chairman, Ismail Hanniya) and the extremists, who are getting their orders from Khaled Mashaal in Syria, via Iran. In truth, there is very little between both groups, except the notion that the “moderates” are fully aware that kidnapping Israelis will not help them in their “struggle”.

Israel needs to justify her disengagement from Gaza by assuring her citizens that they can live safely inside the boundaries of the Green Line. The latest escalation, with rockets landing in the streets of Ashkelon, only reinforces the belief that the Palestinians can’t be trusted and that any settlements inside Judea and Samaria can never be given up for security reasons. If the Israelis don’t sort Gaza out, Olmert and his grandiose plans for unilateral disengagement from other territories won’t stand a chance of ever coming to fruition.

There are those who will argue that the Israelis are being “heavy handed”. I hope that the aforementioned arguments have amply explained why this operation needs to be carried out. In short, from every logical angle, Israel has no choice but to go back into Gaza, hopefully, for a very short period of time.

There, I've laid my cards on the table.

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