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ISRAEL - LAND GRAB & ISIS & BAN KI-MOON'S SILENCE

Foreign Policy vs. Domestic Politics

Tunnel to Gush Etzion (photo credit: wikipedia creative commons)

  Why in Jerusalem, did Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu annex another 1,000 acres of West Bank land, if he knew that in Washington, U.S. President Barack Obama would hit the roof? Indeed the annexation has thrown a monkey wrench into the already strained relations between the two allies after Obama, in effect, ordered Netanyahu to call a unilateral ceasefire, although Hamas was still launching rockets and mortars at Israel. The answer is that Netanyahu has been hauled over the coals in his own Likud party and the far Right for reigning in the IDF before it finished off the Hamas leadership and its forces, and therefore, he used the annexation to placate his Right wing supporters. But surely the national interest should trump domestic politics. On this score, Henry Kissinger's observation that 'Israel has no foreign policy, only domestic politics' does apply. However this generalization, like most others, is only partially correct. 

They bucked domestic dissent and accepted all the Egyptian ceasefire proposals, while Hamas wanted to continue the bloodshed.

 Look at the way Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon conducted operation Protective Edge. They bucked domestic dissent and accepted all the Egyptian ceasefire proposals, while Hamas wanted to continue the bloodshed. Finally when it was in Israel's national interest, after the IDF destroyed all the known Hamas tunnels, Israel announced the truce. For that, Netanyahu and Yaalon deserve credit. On the other hand, if they ordered a massive invasion of Gaza to topple Hamas, as recommended by Ministers Avigdor Lieberman and Naftali Bennett, it would have cost the lives of hundreds of IDF soldiers, and their families, as well as the rest of the country would today be mourning this additional loss.

  

Prime Minister Netanyahu

 Indeed, contrary to some precipitous pundits who declared 'Netanyahu is the only clear loser', the PM has risen lately in the opinion polls, indicating he is the much preferred candidate for the job. Be that as it may, two of Netanyahu's coalition partners from the Centre, Yair Lapid and Tzipi Livni, have railed at the annexation, calling it a 'land grab' that harms Israeli interests. Both have been calling on the PM to initiate some political steps, after both Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and moderate Sunni Arab states, such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, played a positive role in the recent Gaza conflict. While the PM has said he is examining the new 'political horizon' in the Middle East, which has also been accentuated by the startling rampage of the Islamic State, it remains to be seen how far Netanyahu is willing to go.

 

...for the present, IS has shown no sign of wanting to take on Israel, which is apparently at the bottom of its hit list, after other Muslim and Christian infidels.

 So how is the public reacting to those Muslim maniacs moving ever closer to Israel's border on the Golan Heights? The government and the IDF have reassured that the necessary steps have been taken. It is conceivable that Netanyahu and Yaalon also opposed a go-for-broke invasion of Gaza for fear of getting bogged there with IS closing in on the northern frontier. But for the present, IS has shown no sign of wanting to take on Israel, which is apparently at the bottom of its hit list, after other Muslim and Christian infidels. Surely IS has its hands full battling in Iraq, Syria, and mixing it up with the Lebanese. Jordan would also be a plumb target for arousing Muslim rebels without a cause.

 

 As for Israeli Arabs, the Shabak Security Service has disclosed that an estimated ten of them have joined IS. The relative of one such volunteer expressed the family's dismay, and could not believe why he would join such an odious band of killers. Has the time not come for democratic governments to impose Draconian measures against any IS members who try returning to their home countries? If ever 'desperate times call for desperate measures', this is it.

  

 Hamas killed Palestinian children who dug tunnels...

 

Hamas not only forced Palestinian children to dig the tunnels, [but also] later killed all the diggers, including the children, in order to prevent news of the tunneling being leaked...

 Hamas not only forced Palestinian children to dig the underground tunnels into Israel, the terrorists later killed all the diggers, including the children, in order to prevent news of the tunneling being leaked to Israel. This has been revealed in a letter of protest sent to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon by Gila and Doron Tragerman, whose son, Daniel, was killed by a Hamas mortar shell fired from Gaza City at their village of Nahal Oz: “Daniel was killed by a mortar shell that was fired by Hamas members from an elementary school for boys in Gaza City on August 22. It wasn't a stray shell, it wasn't an accidental death.”

 

Gila & Doron Tragerman mourning at the funeral of their son, Daniel, who was killed in August

  These charges were apparently based on Israeli intelligence information. The Tragermans also asked the UN's top official: 'Why are you silent!' about Hamas using UN buildings, as well as schools, and even hospitals, to launch rockets and mortars at innocent Israeli civilians? Nearly all the Israeli residents who fled their homes along the Gaza border have now returned to their villages. However, this is not exactly the case in Nahal Oz. For the Tragermans, who have three other children, the trauma is too great, and they have decided not to go back. A number of other families are still undecided. However, several other families who had planned on moving to Nahal Oz have not changed their minds.

  

 In retrospect, it would have been better for the government to have simply evacuated all the families within the range of mortars from Gaza, which proved to be the most dangerous. Although Iron Dome provided an effective defense against rockets, it was not designed to intercept the short-range mortars, which give only three or four seconds warning. In Daniel's case, his father, Doron, managed to get the other children into their 'safe room', but Daniel was killed by the shrapnel that ripped through their living room.

 

 

 


 David Essing

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