As Arab nations and Israel prepare for the upcoming meeting in Annapolis to discuss Israel-Palestinain issues, the IDF has intensified its bombing of Gaza positions. The Israeli air force is bombing offices, police stations and police patrols, five policemen were killed in separate bombings. Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak says an attack into Gaza is “imminent,” and Israeli TV Channel 10 said last Friday the world supported an attack by their nation on Gaza. Amnon Abramovic, an announcer said bluntly, “our army killed in 24 hours 10 Palestinians, including children, and yet we didn’t hear anyone protesting.” According to Israeli television Channel Two, a heated debate is taking place within the Israeli Joint Chiefs of Staffs over whether or not to attack police stations since destroying the Gaza police might expose the area to chaos. Hamas is warning that an Israel invasion would be met with some “surprises” from their arsenal of weapons. In the meantime, reports are circulating that President Abbas is urging Secretary of State Rice to hold a January, 2008 conference where the focus would be on Syrian-Israel issues.
There is no question, continuer rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza are provocations that can not readily be dismissed. However, since there is an opportunity at Annapolis to confront Middle Eastern issues, the Israel army must stand down and allow peace to deal with issues. It is also vitally important to invite Hamas to the meeting and get them engaged with diplomacy rather than being allowed to stand apart with only violence as their opportunity to be heard.