How did we get here?

What is it going to take for this government to act in a responsible way which shows it is running a sovereign state?

Police officiers remove the remains of a Grad rocket 311 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS/Amir Cohen)
Police officiers remove the remains of a Grad rocket 311 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS/Amir Cohen)
Rockets launched from Gaza are falling again. Nothing new. What I love is the way the press reports this stuff: “The quiet was disturbed,” writes Ynet. It reminds me of what my daughter Rachel used to say on fast days when she was little: that she was weak from all the fasting she was doing between breakfast and lunch.
Enough with the phony Egyptian-brokered “cease-fires” that last only as long as it takes to reload. Enough with the warnings, the finger shaking, the attempts to hit back without hurting anyone so that it won’t “escalate.”
I’d call a dead Israeli and a missile in the backyard of a school an escalation.
What is it going to take for this government to act in a responsible way which shows it is running a sovereign state, not negotiating with the Czar’s police to prevent another pogrom?
And enough with phony labels: Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Palestinian Authority, etc. They all want the same thing. They are all responsible.
I’m sick of it.
I’m sick of getting phone calls like the one I got from my daughter who lives in Rehovot. Rehovot! Nothing ever happens in Rehovot. All during the Yom Kippur War, the intifada, Operation Cast Lead, you name it, nothing happens there. Still, I got this phone call telling me about the siren that woke my granddaughter up in the middle of the night, terrifying her.
All during the intifada the geniuses running the government and the journalists at Haaretz, CNN and the BBC had an explanation for every bus bombing, every massacre at a wedding or bar mitzva.
We’d been targeted, they’d tell us, because after the last bus bombing, massacre, etc. we’d killed one or another of the despicable mass murderers Palestinians effortlessly produce in such abundance. We’d made them angry, they’d tell us.
Yes, it was true that before we responded they’d also been angry, but now, because of our response, they were really, really angry. And if we continued to respond they’d be really, really, really angry.
And thus, it was concluded, it was better not to respond, or, to use the new catchphrase, “to exercise restraint.”
Our prime minister assured us this week that restraint is not on his mind: “We are not engaging in rhetoric or looking for an escalation, but will protect ourselves according to these principles,” the principles being: get them before they get us, or failing that, after.
With the entire southern half of the country in the line of fire, and schools closed for days all over the south, how’s that working for you, Mr. Prime Minister?
And how, in heaven’s name, did we get here?
We could start with bringing Arafat in from Tunis so that Shimon Peres could get the Norwegians to cough up a much underserved prize. But let’s take it from the disengagement, that strange plan thought up by a Tel Aviv lawyer and his tired client, our then-prime minister, Ariel Sharon.
This is what they sold us: By unilaterally withdrawing from Gaza, destroying productive Jewish settlements that served as a buffer zone between terrorists and the center of the country, throwing 10,000 people out into the streets, American pressure would stop, Palestinians would be shown for what they were and the peace process would be put in “formaldehyde.”
Or, as attorney Dov Weisglass told Haaretz’s Ari Shavit the day the plan was to be voted into law: “If Sharon’s disengagement plan is torpedoed, politically it will be cause for everlasting regret. Our achievements will be lost. The international community will lose patience with us. It will take the same attitude toward us as it does toward Arafat. We will very quickly find ourselves up against a Palestinian state that uses terror against us and up against a world that is becoming increasingly hostile. We will find ourselves in a tragedy.”
Oh, oh, the excitement over this amazing plan. Knesset members were waving their hands and frothing at the mouth.
Just look at the videos online.
Ran Cohen of Meretz, one of Israel’s delusional Leftists, insisted on the floor of the Knesset that “Disengagement is good for security.”
“Right-wingers are talking about Kassam rockets flying all over the place,” he said mockingly, waving his hands and smiling with derision. “But if we don’t leave Gaza, in three years the rockets will reach Ashkelon.”
Former IDF chief of staff Shaul Mofaz of Kadima offered this: “I am convinced that the act is necessary and right and it can grant greater security... by reducing the burden on IDF forces, opening the door to a new reality.”
Ophir Paz-Pines of Labor said this: “I’ve just brought my son to the army recruitment center. I want to thank Ariel Sharon that my son will not have to serve the nation of Israel in the Gaza Strip.”
And lest we make a mistake, as did a cabdriver with whom I had a vociferous debate on the subject only recently, the Likud’s Binyamin Netanyahu also voted for it: “I will support the plan.” As did Yuval Steinitz: “This plan will improve our geopolitical situation.” Silvan Shalom, Limor Livnat and Yisrael Katz all supported it.
According to the IDF website: “Since Israel’s 2005 disengagement from the Gaza Strip, the Hamas terrorist organization has turned Gaza into a central hub of terror activity.”
Undeterred by the facts, Weisglass said in 2008: “The fact that 7,500 civilians and four battalions of soldiers are no longer in the center of the Palestinian brimstone, is, in my eyes, the disengagement’s main accomplishment.”
That’s true. Now it’s a million Israelis and the entire army.
Hamas minister Fathi Hamad also admitted last week to Lebanese daily As-Safir that it was Israel’s withdrawal from the Gaza Strip that had enabled Hamas to hide kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit for so long, forcing the Israeli government to its knees and facilitating the release of hundreds of the worst terrorist scum in Israel’s jails.
With Saudi Prince Khaled bin Talal generously adding to the amount offered by Muslim cleric Dr. Awad al-Qarni for the kidnap of yet another Israeli soldier, bringing the sum to a round million dollars, we are glad to hear Schalit’s jail cell will still be available, thanks to our government’s policy.
Weisglass, who continues to talk and listen to himself, was also quoted this week in Yediot Aharonot saying that “Abbas must be saved because the help given to Hamas constitutes a terrible blow to the Palestinian Authority.”
I suppose he means we should let out any terrorist still left in our jails so that Abbas can also give his folks the “V” sign. Why not save the Saudis some money?
Shimon Peres told Lily Galili in Haaretz on July 5, 2008: “I did not imagine that we would leave Gaza and they would fire Kassams from there; I did not imagine that Hamas would show so strongly in the elections.”
At the inauguration of the Safed Medical School this week he said: “Why are they shooting?”
This past Sunday, a trip was organized to visit the Gush Katif expellees. I signed up, curious as to how these brave, much mistreated and maligned heroes were doing after six years. At 10 p.m. the night before, I got a phone call. Home Front Command had canceled the trip. Apparently, it was too dangerous for us to visit where the Gush Katif families are now living, sans bomb shelters with only IDF-supplied sewer pipes to run to when a siren goes off. You read that right. Sewer pipes.
Anita Tucker, who was supposed to have been our tour guide, met with me in Jerusalem instead. A former Gush Katif lettuce farmer from Netzer Hazani, Anita is a bundle of energy and optimism despite the tragedy that turned her home and business into rubble. The whole community of Netzer Hazani is rebuilding in Yesodot, near Kibbutz Hulda. But she admits it’s been difficult.
“It’s hard to educate your children and grandchildren to be proud citizens when they have to shelter in a sewer pipe,” she says. But anger is not part of her vocabulary. “It’s not constructive,” she says.
As for the current troubles with Gaza, she shrugs.
“Eventually, we’ll have no choice but to take it over again. It’s like rot. It has to be removed before it spreads and destroys the entire country.”
The writer has authored numerous books, most recently The Tenth Song.