By Ted Belman
FM Livni meets with Dutch FM Verhagen after which her remarks included,
It was clear that the negotiations would take place in the shadow of the war on terrorism and that the fierce desire to achieve peace would go hand in hand with the fierce fight against terror to ensure the security of our citizens.
In the course of the negotiations, we will be making a clear distinction between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, between the moderates and the extremists. Israel will not stop its counter-terrorist operations because of the negotiations. This is a combined process that, at the end of the road, is intended to provide security, establish a Palestinian state – if it lives up to our demands – and to create an entirely different reality.
Our policy is not to punish the civilian population for its leaders’ policies. Activity vis-à-vis the moderates will take place while responding to the ongoing daily threat coming from the Gaza Strip. We withdrew from Gaza, dismantled communities; the Palestinians had the opportunity of giving new hope to their people in Gaza, but their only response was terror.
If the civilian population elects terrorist leaders, how can Livni distinguish between them. In a democracy such as what exists in the territories that elects according to western standards a government, you cannot separate the people from the leaders. It is one entity. In a dictatorship you might be able to distinguish between them yet you treat enemy dictatorships the same as enemy democracies. They both must be fought as an entity. Remember also the Cabinet declared Gaza a “hostile entity” what ever that is.
If the “moderates” in Judea and Samaria support the extremists in Gaza, how can you distinguish between them.
The Convention (IV) relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War sets the standard for what collateral damage is permissible. FM Livni seems to be setting a higher standard when she says Israel “doesn’t want to punish the civilian population”. She seems to be manufacturing reasons why not to invade Gaza.