[Note to readers: Part 2 of the trip to Israel’s border with Jordan will appear tomorrow]
What in the world has happened to the IDF? In the last few days, we have seen more instances of Ehud Barak’s egregiously failed leadership as Israeli Defense Minister, a failed leadership that has firmly placed the IDF on a downward spiral of passivity and appeasement which only serves the interests of Israel’s enemies.
One only has to look at how Barak has handled the Mavi Marmara incident, ever-increasing rocket fire from the Palestinians in Gaza, and the upcoming declaration of Palestinian statehood at the United Nations in September to see how far the IDF has fallen.
1. Barak’s continued call for Israel to apologize to Turkey for the Mavi Marmara episode is both outrageous and humiliating. According to Barak’s worldview, Turkey is one of the ‘superpowers’ of Middle East, and if Israel will just apologize, then Turkish PM Erdogan will reverse Turkey’s embrace of Iran and Islamization (a notion similar to the demented idea in Defense circles that if Israel will merely give back the Golan Heights to Syria, the Syrians will presto-chango break all ties with Iran and Hezbollah).
This reasoning of appeasement in regard to Turkey and Syria is bizarrely absurd. Does appeasement ever work? Will a leopard change its spots because you give it something more to eat? (By the way, spokesmen for Barak ‘leaked’ information this morning that the U.S. is increasing pressure on Israel to apologize to Turkey in order to further U.S. interests in the region against Syria and to not undermine U.S. support for Israel at the U.N.!)
2. Barak’s continued passivity in the face of Hamas rocket fire from Palestinian Gaza is outrageous and pusillanimous. Through his hand-picked spokesman, IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, Barak continues to look for any excuse to do nothing.
All through July and early August the IDF claimed that southern Israel was experiencing ‘relative calm’ so it was not in Israel’s interests to launch a major counter attack. According to the IDF command structure, rocket fire coming from Hamas was merely the Hamasniks ‘venting’ their frustrations over the faltering reconciliation agreement with Fatah/the Palestinian Authority and with the upcoming declaration of statehood at the United Nations. How the IDF reached this bizarre rationalization is anyone’s guess.
On Monday night, another Grad rocket hit Beersheva. Now the IDF describes the rocket fire coming from Gaza since July as a ‘sharp increase’, and is blaming the new attack on Beersheva on the Egyptian Army’s counter-terrorist operation launched in the northern Sinai on Sunday (remember your humble servant’s blog last week Anarchy in the Northern Sinai!). Again the IDF is lurching about for any excuse to do nothing–and when has doing nothing in the face of Palestinian terrorism ever worked?
3. Barak’s proposal (revealed this morning) for stopping the Palestinians’ declaration of statehood next month is outrageous and dangerous. Seconded by his minion Benny Gantz again and Yoram Cohen of Shin Bet (Israel’s security service), Barak wants Israel to remove checkpoints and roadblocks, release Fatah criminals from Israeli prisons, and allow more Palestinians into Israel. And for what? To demonstrate goodwill to the Palestinians so that they might not go ahead with their declaration!
Equally as dangerous is Barak’s argument against any form of sanctions against the Palestinians if go ahead with their declaration. In Barak’s world, Israeli sanctions would bring about the dissolution of the Palestinian Authority which in turn would lead to Israel being in charge of Judea and Samaria. Does anyone really believe that the Palestinian leadership would voluntarily give up its power? Ridiculous.
In sum, everyone knows that Netanyahu gives Barak a free hand both because of Netanyahu’s allegiance to his former commander and because of the liberal ‘cover’ that Barak provided when he brought the Labor party into the coalition. But Ehud Barak is now putting Israel and its citizens at risk and should be removed and replaced.