Monday, July 10, 2006

This is leadership

Good news:
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert vowed Monday to continue his plan for unilateral withdrawal from the West Bank, saying that the current round of violence would not stop the eventual establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel.
"I haven't changed my basic commitment to the realignment plan," Olmert told foreign reporters in Jerusalem. "I am absolutely determined to carry out the separation from the Palestinians and establish secure borders."
He said that Israel had no policy of trying to topple the Hamas-led Palestinian government despite its arrest of dozens of Hamas officials and military offensive in the Gaza Strip.
"We have no particular desire to topple the Hamas government as a policy. We have a desire to prevent terrorists from inflicting terrorism on the Israeli people," he said.
Olmert also rejected European Union criticism of Israel's
military offensive in Gaza, saying the EU should focus instead on Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel.
"When was the last time that the European Union condemned this shooting and suggested effective measures to stop it?" Olmert asked. "At some point, Israel had no point but to take some measures in order to stop this thing."
I'm glad to see I agree with everything Olmert said. I strongly feel this is a courageous and moderate stand to take. See this and also see some interesting comments from Melanie Phillips which put things in much needed perspective:
Let us remind ourselves of the context. Israel was condemned for its occupation of Gaza, which was said to be creating 'despair' and 'frustration' that was causing violence against Israel. Israel withdrew from Gaza. From the day it withdrew, the Palestinians started firing rockets from Gaza into Israel. These rockets have caused some fatalities and injuries. More than 1000 have been fired since the withdrawal. Now two rockets have hit Ashkelon, one hitting a school playground which just happened to be empty. As the Haaretz writer Ze'ev Schiff has observed, this constitutes 'an unequivocal invitation by Hamas to war.'
Virtually none of these attacks has been reported in Britain.
The Palestinians have been smuggling into Gaza a vast arsenal of weaponry and have been tunnelling into Israel. If they haven't got it already, it is only a matter of time before they get chemical or biological material with which to arm these weapons still further. For the Palestinians, withdrawal from Gaza has provided the opportunity to ratchet up their war against Israel. So much was always entirely predictable (including to people like myself, who supported withdrawal as the lesser of two terrible evils). Since Israel no longer occupied Gaza, it should have been plain — to those who didn't believe it previously — from these post-withdrawal attacks that the Palestinians' war was not one of liberation but of extermination (as they had so helpfully announced in both the Palestinian national charter and the Hamas charter).
Virtually none of this has been reported in Britain.
It was only with the tunnel raid on Israel, the killing of the Israeli soldiers, the kidnapping of Cpl Shalit and the subsequent murder of an Israeli teenager on the West Bank that Israel finally responded. It had taken months for it to do so. And so how did it respond? It destroyed two bridges and a power station — and the British media immediately screamed that these were war crimes and 'collective punishment', even though virtually no Palestinians at that stage had been killed.
Today, the fighting escalated and so did the casualties. Such is the inevitable price of a war declared upon Israel. Such civilians who are regrettably killed become casualties because the men of terror position themselves amongst them, thus effectively using the Palestinian population as human shields as this small snippet illustrates.
Do read the whole thing.

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