West Bank Dreams and Gaza Realities

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With the Jewish New Year, a time of prayer and reflection, falling this year from Wednesday evening through Friday, it wasn’t a very peaceful time for residents of southwestern Israel.

From Wednesday morning, just before the holiday, to Sunday morning, a total of four rockets and two mortar shells were fired from Gaza at Israeli civilian targets in the region. The mortar shell fired on Wednesday morning hit near school buildings in a kibbutz, a half-hour before children were due to arrive at the school.

If it had hit a half-hour later and caused a catastrophe, the country would have been in an uproar, Israel would have struck back at Hamas on a considerable scale, and calls for “restraint” would have issued from Washington, Turtle Bay, and Brussels.

Instead, with none of the rockets and mortars in these days exacting any physical casualties apart from the sowing of terror, Israeli warplanes on Thursday hit a couple of sites in Gaza with reports of several wounded.

Naturally, none of this was mentioned as relevant to the second round of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks supposed to start on Tuesday at Sharm el-Sheikh in Egypt, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton present. Yet these events are relevant to the purported peace talks, in several regards.

One is that Gaza is a flat territory, with no hilly or mountainous parts. Much has been made about the security importance for Israel of the mountainous terrain in the West Bank. Indeed, in the case of armies invading from the east, that terrain would constitute a formidable obstacle.

Gaza, however, has no such terrain, yet in recent years thousands of projectiles have been fired from it at Israel. All of Gaza is of security importance, because missiles, rockets, and mortars can be fired from anywhere in it. In the case of an Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank—now considered a sine qua non of “peace”—the same would hold true. Yet the West Bank is a much larger territory than Gaza.

Having this in mind, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has spoken of—in the event of a “peace deal” and an Israeli pullback—Israel maintaining a military presence in the Jordan Valley to prevent infiltration of terrorists and weapons. Yet the effectiveness of a line of Israeli military installations there, isolated in a sea of Arab populations—even if the Palestinians were to agree to it, and they will not—is questionable at best.

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  • Shalom Freedman

    This piece points out a fundamental incongruity, or perhaps even absurdity in the present Peace negotiations. How can Peace be made with a political body which does not represent those it purports to? What will Israel gain from creating a West Bank State for the Palestinians if the conflict will continue from another direction?
    Hope is a very good breakfast and a very poor dinner. I am afraid of what we will be served up at the end of this process.

  • nirgun

    @Andres What's wrong with Israel is the overwhelming double standard of world opinion called anti-semitism. If Israel takes action against Gaza, the UN and the US (especially with this president) will take action against Israel. There are countries that will take action against Israel–Egypt, Syria, Iran, Jordan–their populations will demand it even if some of their governments are reluctant. This conflict is not merely Israel against the Palestinians. It is Israel against the Arab world–too many people forget that.

  • Andres de Alamaya

    The world, dear nirgun, does a lot of shouting. It seldom lifts a finger when an aggressor goes too far. We are all on our own. In the case of Israel, the last time all their neighbors tried to beat up on them, Israel beat them. It needs to learn to act like a winner. There is no such thing as occupied territory. Once you've conquered lands they are yours. When confronting anti-semites, they need to give them a REASON for their hate by breaking their legs. Masada was a shameful event. Suicide is self-defeat. If defeat is inevitable, take as many of them as you can before you drop. The new Israel needs to be represented by Entebbe. It should be celebrated every 4th of July. Bullies are usually cowards and if you give a bully a bloody nose every time he tries to bully you, he'll learn to be civilized. If he fails to do so, you kill him. The Muslims of the middle east are far more divided than anyone realizes. And if they are taught that it becomes very hurtful to attack Israel, Israel's problem's will diminish. The Muslims who are Israeli citizens and live and vote in Israel and sit in their Parliament know very well that they are far better off than living in any of the Muslim lands. Israel has to stop worrying about what they say in the comedy club we call the U.N.

  • Aimee Stein

    You tell 'em, Andres! If only the 'world leaders' had your common sense!

  • moshav

    Shouldn't Israel retaliate even though hamas suffered a disappointment by failing to murder children? The hamas cowards may have a better aim and timing next time.



  • mary

    yes, there has never been a rel "peace process" from the muslim side. They have already stolen 77% of Jewish land and created a Palestinian state called Jordan.
    They have only one aim to destroy Israel and then the whole world and impose a tyranny of a nazi like ideology called islam.
    And the muslim Hussein Obama supports them, of course.
    Look, even in Europe now, there are movements to save their countries, in Germany, Switzerland, Holland and even in Sweden.
    Sweden is the most promuslim country in Europe, yesterday a member of Swedish democratic Party was attacked by two Arabs in his home in Malmoe, beaten and these two monsters carved a swastika on his forehead and cut his throat.
    You can imagine what they will do to the Americans and Israelis.
    New presidential elections are really necessary, to save USA and the whole democratic world.

  • lovezion

    ***Heyyyyyy Andres, kudos to you for telling the bare truth about Israel having been a constant disappointment and frustration to us for not CHARGING with all their might against those ignoramus brute murderers! The more they give in the more they attack with gigantic lies….which the stupid rest of the world believes! I'm totally appalled at their not realizing that no matter what they do or don't do….they will be criticized, invent lies against and continue to attack. That "peace conference" is a cangaroo conference, a waste of time and money. THERE WON'T BE PEACE AT ALL IN THIS WAY simply because the arab muslims aren't seeking peace – THEY ARE ONLY SEEKING TO ANIHILATE ALL OF ISRAEL AND ALL OF THE JEWS! And THIS is the only bare truth! I think that all young, healthy and strong Jews should leave their rotten countries and go to Israel to procreate non stop and to fight and make Israel SAFE, STRONG, and HUGE as THIS is the ONLY thing that will keep Israel safe and peaceful.