UPDATES 7:00 am Israel time, Friday, August 29 2014:
**The headlong rush of the IDF to leave the Gaza border communities has left everyone here in southern Israel shaking their heads.
As was reported here back on Wednesday morning, less than 12 hours into the 12th ceasefire, PM Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ya’alon, and IDF Chief Gantz had quietly issued the order to get out of southern Israel as fast as possible, and IDF troops immediately began pouring out.
In a very public way.
Yesterday, your humble servant and his family returned from Eilat on Highway 40 through Mitzpe Ramon, Beersheva, across to Ashkelon, and then up the coastal highway to Ashdod.
All along the route, we passed huge trucks carrying tanks, jeeps, armored personnel carriers, and every other type of military equipment away from the Gaza border.
Even worse, on the coast highway, we saw large trucks carrying advanced radar and missile interception systems north out of the Gaza area. Yes, that is right, even an Iron Dome system was being carried north. Again, the huge system was sitting right on the back of two trucks and was completely uncovered.
**And lest you think that materiel was being carried out and the soldiers were remaining, consider the experience of ten adult members of Kibbutz Kfar Aza yesterday. Heeding yet another idiotic call from IDF Chief Benny Gantz to return home to their kibbutz which is only 2 km from the Gaza border, they were shocked to discover that every IDF soldier had fled the kibbutz.
The fence that had been around the community had been torn down by retreating IDF troops, and the military guard posts were empty. During the entire day yesterday, they did not see one IDF soldier. Volunteers were left to man the guard positions and to attempt repairs to the fence.
This rush to abandon the South is simply incomprehensible. How can anyone living in southern Israel believe anything that Netanyahu, Ya’alon, and Gantz have to say about security for southern Israeli families?
**Speaking of what they have to say, remember how southern Israelis supposedly have nothing to worry about from the tunnels that Hamas built because the IDF has destroyed them all?
A Palestinian news agency reported yesterday that a 21 year old man was accidentally electrocuted while “working” in a tunnel that runs out of central Gaza toward the Rafah area.
**It must have come as a shock to our wonderful planners in the IDF to see the results of a poll taken in Gaza.
Those planners have been telling us for the last 50 days: “Just wait until the people of Gaza come out of their homes and see the destruction around them. Then they will realize how terrible Hamas has been to them and will wish that no rockets had been launched toward Israel.”
According to the poll, taken this week after the ceasefire, 88% of Gazans support the continued firing of missiles at Israeli civilians.
At least one mystery has been solved in the last 24 hours, and that is where did King Bibi (aka PM Netanyahu) disappear to in the days before the Tuesday ceasefire? Out of touch with his own cabinet and dictatorially making decisions regarding the country, Netanyahu seemed to be holed up in his bunker in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem.
But no. It turns out that he was immersed in secret meetings with the Chairman of the PLO and unelected President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas–at least one of which took place in Amman, Jordan.
Yes, Netanyahu was meeting with the same man who back in April fully embraced Hamas as a partner in a reconciliation government, refused to break off that agreement during the war with Israel, and continues to support Hamas today. Incredibly, the man who four months ago had been “no partner for peace” has suddenly come Israel’s messiah.
I would encourage you to go back and read the israelstreet blog that your humble servant wrote on August 19 (The Utter Insanity of Israel’s Impending Agreement on Gaza). I concluded that blog with this prediction: “If you think what happening with the Mahmoud Abbas and the PLO in Gaza is insane, just wait for what happens when the attention turns to Judea, Samaria, and Jerusalem.”
And so it has.
The news this morning is that John Kerry is on his way back to Israel sometime in the next couple of weeks, and–according to Abbas–that Netanyahu has agreed to draw a border map for a new state of Palestine based on the June 4, 1967 lines (actually the 1949 Armistice lines).
Who knows what else King Bibi has agreed to?
PS. By the way, Netanyahu’s office is denying this morning that any meeting with Abbas has taken place and that Netanyahu has agreed to a Palestinian state with the 1967 lines.
But nobody believes King Bibi anymore.