Analysis: Olmert's dilemma

If Israel responds to the Hamas provocation, which it will, it will be walking into a Hamas trap.

By
May 17, 2007 01:11
2 minute read.
Analysis: Olmert's dilemma

olmert fed up 298.88. (photo credit: AP)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user uxperience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew, Ivrit
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Repor
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

One of the most frustrating aspects of the recent barrage of Kassam rockets on Sderot for Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is that although he knows exactly what is behind it, that knowledge doesn't help determine how to respond. It is clear to most that these attacks are an outgrowth of the Hamas-Fatah fighting in Gaza over the last few days. They are an attempt to provoke a massive Israeli response that would both unite the Palestinians against a common enemy, and divert international attention from the chaos in Gaza. But knowing this doesn't make the policy choices available to the government any easier. Hamas declared a unilateral cease-fire with Fatah to go into effect at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, but at the same time announced that the Kassam attacks would continue. The transparency of that move is painfully obvious. The Palestinians will stop killing each other, and will provoke an Israeli response that will inevitably lead to more Palestinian casualties. The television camera lens will then shift from showing Palestinian victims of Palestinian violence to showing Palestinian victims of Israeli violence. The whole narrative will change, and the world media will go from dealing with Gaza's fast descent into anarchy to Israel's "disproportionate" response to the firing of primitive "projectiles." Little will be said of the fear and trembling in Sderot, because that will pale in comparison to the death of dozens of Palestinians over the last few days. If Israel responds to the Hamas provocation, which it will, it will be walking into a Hamas trap. It will be following the Hamas-written script exactly, doing precisely what Khaled Mashaal wants it to do. Olmert knows that, his eyes are wide open. Yet, he has no real choice, and therein lies the crux of his dilemma. Olmert cannot fail to respond. He cannot allow a situation to continue where one of the country's cities is under a barrage of rockets without the IDF responding forcefully. His domestic audience won't tolerate it. Olmert knows full well that in the current climate, Israelis want to feel that the government is taking steps to protect its citizens. So Israel will take military action, and in so doing will paradoxically also be doing Hamas's bidding. Israel will deliver a punishing blow to Hamas, there will inevitably be collateral damage, and Hamas's goals will have been achieved. But there is little else that Olmert can do. Knowledge of the problem, at least in this case, doesn't make solving it any easier.

Related Content

Jisr az-Zarq
April 3, 2014
Residents of Jisr az-Zarqa beckon Israel Trail hikers to enjoy their town

By SHARON UDASIN