Palestinians, belonging to the splinter Islamic terrorist group, sent a Katyusha rocket toward the city of Ashkelon which represented the largest rocket to hit an Israel community. The Israel Defense Force responded with air and ground level operations that resulted in the death of Hamas militants and civilians caught in the cross fire. The attack on a major Israel city was bound to initiate a strong reaction since no Israel leader can allow such attacks to go on without a strong reaction. Eleven Palestinians are dead, including two Hamas officials.
There is now emerging within Israel the rise of groups which will demand a land invasion of Gaza and, in so doing, wreck any opportunity for peace. This is the old pattern, push the other side to take some strong military action and the result will be to destabilize any opportunity for peace. A powerful Israel thrust into Gaza will compel the Palestinian Authority to end peace negotiations. Obviously, this is the aim of the militants behind the rocket attacks, they do not want peace.
Perhaps, it is time to ask Egyptian troops to enter Gaza and begin enforcing peace upon militant groups. Unless something is done, the prospects for peace diminish by the day. It is also important to get Hamas to the negotiating table and avoid having them linger on the outside away from assuming any responsibility for peace
Posted in Human Rights, Islam, Israel, Judaism, Military, Muslims, Peace, Politics, War, World News
Tagged Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israel, rocket attacks
Prime Minister Olmert made a special trip to meet Jordan’s King Abdullah to discuss the growing tensions created by rocket bomb attacks on Israel from Muslim militants and Israel bombing of Gaza Strip targets. King Abdullah urged Israel to stick to the Annapolis Conference road map and halt further building on the West Bank. He emphasized, “halt unilateral activities that may obstruct progress.” The Hamas authorities have done little to halt rocket attacks and as each side bombs, the other feels the need to retaliate. Israel is concerned that a recent rocket attack included a longer range Katyusha which landed in an Israel city. There is little doubt any further such bombings will result in a massive Israel response.
Up to this point, the Bush, Abbas, and Olmert approach has been to ignore Hamas as a peace factor. Hamas stands on the sideline creating problems by allowing rocket launches. One solution might be to involve Hamas in peace negotiations. At this point, since ignoring them has not changed anything, what is to be lost by trying another approach which actively engages the group in a peace process?
There are reports that Hamas leaders are discussing the possibility of offering Israel an unconditional “hudna”– cease fire. An anonymous Hamas official claims “discussions over the ‘hudna’ have resurfaced in a serious manner, both within Hamas and between Hamas and other Palestinian factions. We hope the discussions will prove successful.” Talks revolve around offering a no conditional cease fire which would be respected by both sides. However, in an interview with the Kuswait newspaper, A-RRai, Hamas representative in Lebanon, Osama Hamdan, insisted Hamas was still opposed to any peace agreement with Israel. Israel government officials still maintain its nation will not halt military action against Hamas until all rocket attacks cease and warn against being tricked by Hamas in order for its forces to replenish weapons during a cease fire.
The mistrust between Hamas and Israel makes difficult any opportunity to engage in serious discussions. A fundamental mistake was failure to invite Hamas to the Annapolis conference. Hamas must be at meetings which include representatives of Arab nations, many of whom are sick and tired of the entire Israel -Palestinian conflict and want a resolution. It is the Arab nations which must silence Hamas, not Israel. That is the ongoing mistake of Israel foreign policy.
Posted in Human Rights, Islam, Israel, Judaism, Military, Multicultural, Muslims, Peace, Politics, Religion, War, World News
Tagged Hamas-Israel, Hudna, rocket attacks
A Hamas offer to enter negotiations with Israel over issues related to the Gaza Strip and rocket attacks on Israeli civilians received a mixed reaction from members of the Israel government. transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz indicated a willingness to have “mediation” talks in an effort to halt rocket attacks on Israel citizens. However, President Peres and members of the right wind Likud were furious at his suggestion of mediation. Peres termed the offer by Hamas prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, a “pathetic and misleading attempt to divert attention away from the crimes of Hamas and Islamic Jihad.” Likud leaders argued that Hamas would use the time spent in discussions as a means of resupplying themselves with additional weapons and rockets.
President Peres attended a meeting called by Turkey’s President Gul to meet with the president of the Palestinian Authority, Abbas. This indicates Peres has trust in the good offices of Turkey. Why not ask Turkey to be the mediating party that brings together Israeli and Hamas leaders. Israel could even make as a precondition of such talks that Turkish soldiers be permitted to enter the Gaza Strip to ensure that no weapons were being smuggled in to resupply Hamas. As of this date, there is no indication the Israel strategy of meeting force with even greater force has halted rocked attacks. Isn’t it time to attempt new strategies?
Posted in Human Rights, Islam, Israel, Judaism, Military, Muslims, War, World News
Tagged Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israel, rocket attacks
Hamas rockets continued hitting targets in Israel resulting in operations by the Israel Defense Force to launch air and ground assaults against Hamas militants. Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned that “Israel must brace itself for Jihad’s response” while Hamas leaders warned of a “wave of martyrdom operations” against Israel targets. The current approach to dealing with Hamas and the approach used by Hamas to deal with its hostility toward Israel consists of attacks and counter attacks. Neither side can point to any real success other than citing the number killed or the destruction caused by bombing. It is seemingly a tit for tat approach that simply is not getting at real issues such as how to resolve Palestinian and Israel disagreements. One obvious casualty in the seemingly nonstop attack/counterattack is the road map for peace that supposedly was to emerge from the Annapolis conference.
Albert Einstein supposedly once said the definition of stupidity is doing the same thing over and over again without any apparent change resulting from these actions. The Hamas/IDF exchange offers no apparent benefits for either side. A mistake at Annapolis was not inviting Hamas. The Hamas leaders would not have been able to engage in their violent rhetoric when in the company of the Arab world that seeks an end to the Palestinian/israel conflict. Negotiations in which important Arab nations– who also help support Hamas–insist on an end to violence is the best bet to set in motion concrete steps to halt the rocket bombing and counter attacks. One might argue that it is impossible to negotiate with those who practice violence. However, both Israeli and Palestinians who are currently engaged in negotiations were at one point in their pasts using violence to achieve end goals. There is need for Arab leaders to join with Palestinians and Israelis in getting Hamas to the negotiating table if there is to be an end to the Gaza violence. Escalation of the violence will only doom any opportunity for peace.
Posted in Human Rights, Islam, Israel, Judaism, Military, Multicultural, Muslims, Peace, Politics, War, World News
Tagged Gaza, Hamas, IDF, Palestinians, rocket attacks, violence
The Israel Defense Force continued its attempt to wipe out Palestinians who are sending rockets into Israel. A reported 11 terrorists were killed in missile attacks, but apparently about a dozen civilians were also killed or wounded. President Mahmoud Abbas urged Palestinians to unite in the face of Israel’s “abuse, aggression and war crimes” while Hamas leaders promised Israel would pay for its attacks in Gaza. israel Defense Minister Ehud Barak is warning there might be a “broad and complex operation in Gaza.”
The US upcoming Middle Eastern Conference appears doomed before it even begins. Both sides are trading insults and resorting to violence because apparently violence is the only measure which provides a sense of accomplishment. This is the time for America to insist Israel “stand down” and Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other Middle Eastern nations must demand that Hamas and other groups end rocket attacks. Those rockets are coming from Middle Eastern nations and they must be halted.
Posted in Israel, Judaism, Military, Muslims, Politics, Syria, War
Tagged Abbas, Barak, Hamas, IDF, Israel, Palestinian, rocket attacks