Sunday, January 11, 2009


While I do agree with those who say that Israel should rely only on itself when it comes to security, I do not think that its outright and immediate rejection of the UN ceasefire proposal - as imperfect as it is - was a very wise decision. Israel could have accepted the proposal on certain conditions, and should at least have waited for Hamas's predictable refusal to accept the proposal's terms. I am not sure if the cabinet's decision to continue the war ( i.e. to start the third phase, which according to the experts will take weeks, will risk many casualties among Israeli soldiers and Palestinian civilians, and unlike the previous phases can hardly be halted somewhere in the middle of its implementation ) was taken for all the right reasons. Yossi Melman, whose analyses I trust, expains why it might have been a good idea for Olmert, Livni, and Barak to be satisfied with the important achievements so far, and to try and turn those achievements into a livable reality for the people on both sides of the Gazan border. I do think that Hamas got the message that playtime is over. If not, there is always the option of continuing this war ( or start another one ), as Melman writes. There is of course the possibility that the talk of continuing and intensifying the war is aimed mainly at Hamas - the Gazan leadership of which according to most reports is severely weakened and looking for a way out, with the Damascus leadership pushing to continue - and Egypt, which bears much responsibility for arming Hamas ( the Iranian and Chinese rockets that Hamas cannot produce itself were all smuggled in through tunnels linking Gaza with Egypt ) and also will be largely responsible for preventing the organization's rearmament.

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