The Economist is delusional and so is Olmert

By Ted Belman

The Economist, no friend of Israel, just published Hamas won’t go away and sub-titled it, Palestine’s Islamists can’t be defeated or ignored, but embracing them won’t be easy

    [..] Israel’s policy of punishing the Gazans in the hope that they would get rid of Hamas, which they had elected two years ago, was not only morally wrong, but has also failed. Hamas has probably recouped its strength and increased its popularity. Moreover, it seems unlikely that Israel will be able to foist responsibility for Gaza onto Egypt, in the hope that the Palestinians’ fledgling two-part state would remain politically as well as territorially divided, with the bigger West Bank bit amiably engaged in the peace talks with Israel that were relaunched two months ago at Annapolis. In sum, Israel has failed to squeeze Hamas out of the equation—and will almost certainly, in the end, somehow have to accommodate it.

    Easily said but very hard to do. On paper, Hamas’s policy is both grotesque and delusional: the destruction of the Jewish state. But Hamas is also pragmatic.


It sees Israel’s acts of self defense as “punishing the Gazans”. For it the option for Israel is not bombing them but accommodating them. Its arguments in support of the alleged pragmatism are a joke.

So what is their solution

Try to domesticate it

    But how to lure Hamas into peaceful politics? The first need is a ceasefire, which requires Hamas and other fighters to stop firing the rockets that rain down on Israelis living near Gaza (though it is worth noting that these rarely kill people—some 13 in seven years—whereas Israeli attacks have killed hundreds of Palestinian civilians as well as fighters in Gaza over the same period: at least 70, including 30-odd civilians, this January alone). The second is for Israel, Egypt and Fatah to accept Hamas as a partner in managing Gaza’s borders. The third is for a wider prisoner exchange, to include an Israeli corporal held by Hamas for more than a year, along with the 40-plus Hamas members of parliament behind bars in the West Bank and some thousands of the 12,000-odd Palestinian militants in Israel’s prisons. The fourth, and hardest to achieve, would be to get Hamas back into a Palestinian unity government under a clarified version of the deal made in Mecca a year ago.

    The key requirement is that Hamas be judged by its deeds rather than its declaratory words.

I kid you not. Evidently 4000 rockets fired at Israel don’t count as deeds.

And now DEBKA Reports.

    The domestic security agency’s director, Yuval Diskin, warned the Israeli cabinet Sunday, Feb. 3, that the Palestinians exploited the chaos on the Gaza-Sinai border to smuggle in quantities of long-range rockets, anti-tank and anti-air rockets and high explosives for missiles. Hundreds of Palestinian terrorists have headed south into Sinai. According to Western intelligence sources, they are spread out along the 220-km Israeli border.

    DEBKAfile’s counter-terror sources disclose the figure omitted from the cabinet’s official communiqué to avoid alarming the public: The number of armed terrorists at large in Sinai is estimated in the region of a thousand. Hamas prepared at least 30 tracks for them to use when it bulldozed the Gaza-Sinai border ten days ago.

    Defense minister Ehud Barak therefore told the cabinet that a border barrier must be constructed urgently at two sections of the unfenced Israel-Egyptian border – Nitzana and Eilat.

    However, he is too late. Insistent demands by senior IDF officers to fence the border were neglected for too long by the Olmert government. Now, the Egyptian-Israel border is wide open to terrorists and they have been presented with a safe haven in Sinai for hit-and-run attacks.

    Diskin also reported that many Palestinian terrorists returning from Iran, Syria or Egypt used the border mayhem to gain entry to Gaza. Among them were members of various terrorist organizations who trained in Iran and other places and who arrived with fresh combat skills.

    When Egyptian border police failed to stem the Palestinian surge out of Gaza last week, senior Israeli officers applied for permission to send up three combat helicopters, which they said would have been enough to stem the mass exit and the smuggling in of long-range rockets and returning terrorists. But permission was withheld. It was denied in the same way as the high command was held back from embarking on an effective military operation to cut Hamas and its war machine down to size, when it was still readily feasible.

    The Olmert government’s blunders over Gaza, military experts estimate, are potentially more ruinous to Israel security than even the mismanagement of the Lebanon War.

So, like Glick and I have been saying, Olmert has learned nothing and is now repeating all the same mistakes made in Lebanon, in Gaza

February 3, 2008 | 4 Comments »

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4 Comments / 4 Comments

  1. The Olmert government’s blunders over Gaza, military experts estimate, are potentially more ruinous to Israel security than even the mismanagement of the Lebanon War.

    And how many more blunders will it take before the Israeli people bring this government down?

  2. Olmert is following the same policies as Neville Chamberlain. This is not an ad hominem attack or accusation. It is a declarative statement that can be checked against a book originally recommended by Ted Belman that I have recently finished reading: “Troublesome Young Men” by Lynne Olson. The fall of Chamberlain and the rise of Churchill occurred only after Chamberlain misled the British public about an abortive attempt to help the Finns. He claimed success when there was none. The British troops were sent to Norway unprepared for combat (brown uniforms in the winter snow season) where they were slaughtered – over two hundred dead of a pittance of six-hundred foot soldiers – no artillery, no air cover, no tanks, insufficient ammunition. If this sounds something like the Egyptian border and Dimona, then so be it. Olmert, like Chamberlain, will fall of his own weight. Unfortunately, many Israelis will have to die for him to go.

  3. Defending ones country from terrorists and those who want to take it over is now “morally wrong” according to the Economist. I guess that the meaning of morality has changed in the past few years.

    In The Economist’s New-speak, it is morally acceptable for terrorists to attack Israel but not morally acceptable for Israel take hard measures that might encourage them to do otherwise. I think that there is another term for that kind of morality; it is called Jew hatred.

    We will have to see if The Economist thinks that today’s suicide bombings in Dimona which left one woman dead, one critical and 23 wounded is morally acceptable to the newspaper. Perhaps it will not be considered a “morally acceptable event” because it has not met the high standards of a “massacre of Jews” that is required by The Economist in order to qualify. The more Israelis/Jews who die, the more morally acceptable it is in the eyes of The Economist.