URGENT UPDATE: 4:47 pm SATURDAY: ASHDOD HAD JUST BEEN HIT BY AT LEAST ONE GRAD ROCKET FIRED FROM TERRORISTS IN GAZA. WE HEARD THE EXPLOSION 60 SECONDS AGO. THIS URGENT UPDATE IS BEING WRITTEN FROM OUR BOMB SHELTER HERE IN ASHDOD.
6:04 pm: ASSAULT ON SOUTHERN ISRAEL CONTINUES. THREE MORE MISSILES HAVE STRUCK IN THE LAST HOUR–ONE HITS SCHOOL COURTYARD IN ASHDOD, ANOTHER IN GAN YAVNE, NEW REPORTS OF A HIT IN KEREM SHALOM. INJURIES REPORTED.
6:52 pm: FIVE MORE GRAD ROCKETS HAVE JUST EXPLODED ALL AROUND US IN ASHDOD.
7:04 pm: ONE OF THE GRADS THAT STRUCK 12 MINUTES AGO WAS A DIRECT HIT ON A 9-STORY BUILDING. OTHER LOCATIONS UNKNOWN.
8:14 pm: WE CONTINUE TO HEAR EXPLOSIONS CLOSE TO OUR HOUSE TO THE SOUTH. 8 MORE GRADS HAVE STRUCK SOUTHERN ISRAEL SINCE 6:52.
11:02 pm: FINAL UPDATE FOR TODAY UNLESS…9 MORE MISSILES FIRED AGAINST MEN, WOMEN, AND CHILDREN OF SOUTHERN ISRAEL SINCE 8:14.
This morning one of the most astute Israeli commentators, Caroline Glick, has penned a column entitled “Whither The IDF”. In it she incorporates many of the observations your humble servant has made over the past few months concerning the absolute deterioration of the IDF General Staff.
But the time has come to ask the larger question: what has happened to Benjamin Netanyahu?
More popular than ever here in Israel, Netanyahu has nevertheless begun to crumble before our very eyes. How could a person so staunchly committed to the defense of Israel have begun to make decisions that put the lives of Israeli citizens at risk and the very existence of the country at risk?
This is what we have seen in the last few months from the “new Netanyahu”:
1. He has inexplicably undercut Israel support in the U.S. Congress by becoming Barack Obama’s lobbyist.
After delivering a terrific speech in Washington back in May which galvanized unprecedented support for virtually every principle he supposedly stands for, Netanyahu has used every opportunity since then to backtrack–most notably in telling Congressional leaders not to hold the Palestinians accountable for their actions by cutting funding to the Palestine Liberation Organization and its underling the Palestinian Authority–funding that has most recently gone to paying honorary stipends to released terrorist murderers.
In supporting Obama’s agenda, Netanyahu has placed Obama’s interests before those of his own Israeli citizens.
2. He has agreed to a prisoner swap for Gilad Shalit that apparently contained secret clauses involving Israel’s acquiescence to actions demonstrably destructive to Israel’s national interest.
The secret ancillary to the agreement was apparently negotiated directly between American Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Hamas Terrorist Chief Khaled Meshaal. In return for a worthless promise from Meshaal to downgrade Hamas ties to Iran and Hezbollah (you may remember Meshaal spent much of the last month in Tehran strengthening ties with Ahmadinejad), the U.S.–and Israel–agreed to support Hamas’ relocation from Damascus to Cairo.
More than this, Israel signed on to America increasing its contacts with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in advance of what is likely to be a huge Islamic victory if and when Egyptian elections take place. In signing onto this increasing American dialogue with, and undoubtedly patronage of, Hamas and its parent organization the Muslim Brotherhood–both more fervently than ever committed to Israel’s destruction, Netanyahu has put American interests before those of Israel.
3. He has agreed to a prisoner swap for the idiotic Ilan Grapel which not only for the first time puts Israel at the mercy of governmental extortion thereby endangering every Israeli that travels abroad, but also contains another secret agreement acquiescing to the U.S. sale of F-16s to Egypt (an agreement, by the way, that the Americans are strongly denying).
Of course the Egyptian Air Force already has over 225 F-16s purchased from the U.S. during the last 20 years. What it does not have is the special F-16 equipped with stealth technology–and the reason that it doesn’t have this plane is because Israel has always objected to Egyptians having a plane equipped with the same capabilities as Israeli jets. Netanyahu has now dropped that objection on the American promise to sell F35i jets to Israel within the next five years. In the meantime . . . well you fill in the blanks.
4. He has suddenly agreed to be governed by the dictates of the overtly pro-Palestinian Quartet–a group that spent most of the last week here in Israel crudely castigating Israel for building homes, schools, and hospitals in Jewish communities in Jerusalem.
His agreement yesterday to provide the Quartet with a detailed map of proposed boundaries and borders with a new “Palestinian” state represents a major Israeli concession. Whatever happened to Netanyahu’s demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state before negotiations are restarted? It seems to be gone with the wind.
5. He has done nothing to stop the continued assault on southern Israel.
Look at the counter to the right. 42 terrorist rockets and missiles have struck southern Israel in the last 63 days. Three struck within two miles of our house here in Ashdod on Wednesday night (only 1 was officially reported). IDF units along the border with Gaza are now being hit regularly with roadside IEDs (even an IDF jeep near Bethlehem was blown up by a roadside bomb two days ago).
What has Netanyahu done to stop this assault? Absolutely nothing.
In sum, Netanyahu’s recent actions and inactions seem at best ingratiating and ill-considered, but at worst reckless and destructive to Israel. As your humble servant wrote earlier this week, Israel’s security seems to be degrading at an ever accelerating pace. It is time for Netanyahu to stop pandering to the Quartets, Egyptians, and Obamas of the world and act decisively to defend our citizens.