Israel and Hamas: Six Post-War Observations


NUMBER OF TERRORIST MISSILES THAT HAVE HIT SOUTHERN ISRAEL SINCE THE CEASEFIRE AGREED TO BY BENJAMIN NETANYAHU ON NOVEMBER 21, 2002:

29

UPDATES 9 am Israel time Friday and TODAY’S BLOG:

Boris Yarmolnik, the 28 year old officer in the IDF miluim and student of physics at Tel Aviv University, who died yesterday from a mortar shrapnel wound to the brain.

***The sixth Israeli has died as a result of the war, 28 year old,  Captain (res.) Boris Yarmolnik, of Netanya. Yarmolnik was one of the thousands of miluim who were called up, traveled to the South, and were left like sitting ducks for days as Netanyahu, Barak, and Lieberman dithered about whether to enter Gaza or not. On Wednesday, Yarmolnik’s unit was easily struck by mortar fire from the Palestinian terrorists in Gaza, and he and five other soldiers were wounded. Yarmolnik tragically succumbed to a shrapnel wound in the head yesterday.

***It has been revealed that the dynamic at work during the conflict was that Barak supported a cessation of attacks on Hamas almost from the beginning; Lieberman wanted more attacks including, initially, an invasion of Gaza; and Netanyahu couldn’t make up his mind. Twice the IDF and reserves were ordered to enter Gaza and twice they were called back as they began to do so. Eventually Netanyahu and Lieberman went along with Barak.

***It hasn’t taken long for polls to appear in both Israel and Gaza concerning the eight day hostilities that took place.

Gazans celebrate "victory." This picture appeared in an article which fraudulently accused Israel of murdering civilians. The caption on the picture ludicrously read: "Gazans celebrate end of killings--for now" (picture: NYTimes).

A survey of the “poor” Palestinians of Gaza, so often described as “victims of Israel” or “hostages of Hamas” reveals that 64% of Gazan “civilians” oppose the so-called “ceasefire” and want Hamas to continue shooting missiles at Israeli civilians, while 36% of the people support the ceasefire.

In Israel, 59% of the people oppose the ceasefire while 33% support it (remainder undecided). 34% of Israelis believe that Hamas won; 28% believe that Israel won; and 26% believe there was no “winner.”

***The entire “ceasefire agreement” has now been published:

1. Understanding Regarding Ceasefire in Gaza Strip

a. Israel shall stop all hostilities on the Gaza Strip land, sea and air including incursions and targeting of individuals.

b. All Palestinian factions shall stop all hostilities from the Gaza Strip against Israel, including rocket attacks and all attacks along the border.

c. Opening the crossings and facilitating the movements of people and transfer of goods, and refraining from restricting residents free movement, and targeting residents in border areas and procedures of implementation shall be dealt with after 24 hours from the start of the ceasefire.

d. Other matters as may be requested shall be addressed.

2: Implementation Mechanism:

a. Setting up the zero hour for the Ceasefire Understanding to enter into effect.

b. Egypt shall receive assurances from each party that the party commits to what was agreed upon.

c. Each party shall commit itself not to perform any acts that would breach this understanding. In case of any observations, Egypt– as the sponsor of this understanding — shall be informed to follow up.

There are two obvious problems with this “unsigned document”:

First, despite the Israeli government’s protestations to the contrary, Article 1A specifically precludes any Israeli “air incursion” into Gazan air space. Does this mean that every Israeli flyover of Gaza by manned or unmanned vehicles will now be reported as a violation of the ceasefire? Even more, what if Israeli intelligence reveals an imminent launch of missiles in Gaza or some other threat? It appears that Israel’s hands have been tied.

Second, Article 2C essentially puts the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, the parent of Hamas, in charge of “following up” on any Hamas violations of the truce that Israel “observes.” So, for example, when Hamas violated the truce on Wednesday night, 1 minute after it went into effect, was Israel supposed to report this to Egypt? And if we had, what would Egypt have done about it? Absolutely nothing.

***The reason I wrote in the previous sentence “if we had” is because of the incredible position being taken by the IDF concerning missiles and mortars being fired out of Gaza–a position bizarrely staked out by Barak on Wednesday night when he gave Hamas the green light to continue firing into Israel for 24 hours after the ceasefire went into effect (“we expect there to be a tail”).

The IDF expanded on Barak’s statement yesterday by listing even more excuses for Hamas’ future breaking of the ceasefire. One IDF official said:  “No one is under the illusion that the fire will stop . . . groups competing with Hamas such as Islamc Jihad, the Popular Resistance Committees, and the Salafists may try to rekindle hostilities.” Another IDF source said that “we must be prepared for days of rage that could be held in Gaza on Fridays after prayers.”

What is the message from the IDF General Command to all Israeli communities in the South–especially those along the border that have been terrorized by missiles for the last decade?  Don’t ever wander too far away from your bomb shelters; anybody in Gaza can fire a rocket at any time, and we won’t do anything about it. To put it a different way, we have entered another disgusting period of “relative calm” of two to three missiles and mortars each day which will ultimately end in another burst of hostilities. This war with Hamas has accomplished nothing.

***The ridiculous actions that the Israeli government undertook to help Hamas and Gazan civilians during the hostilities were further revealed yesterday. We had already known that Israel unbelievably kept the water and electricity flowing to Hamas (some of which powered their hydraulic missile launchers) and trucked in tons of supplies. What we had not known was that the Bank of Israel was sending Brinks’ trucks full of hundreds of thousands of shekels to Hamas as well apparently because “Israel did not want to responsible for the collapse of a banking system that uses the Israeli shekel.”

A Brinks truck heading into Gaza ferrying money to Hamas--courtesy of the Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu.

As one commentator has pointed out, this may be the first time in history that a country has actually financed and sustained the enemy it was at war with. Ironically, under a ruling this week by an appeals court in the United States, the Bank of Israel may now be considered as an entity that supports terrorism.

Your humble servant doesn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

One final note:

Today’s blog was to have been devoted to the person that he thinks should be the next prime minister. That blog will come tomorrow unless events intervene.

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