Monday, June 26, 2006

26-Jun-06: "We know what to do..."

It's been a day of clenched-teeth speeches: the Israeli prime minister and a host of senior military figures, reacting to yesterday's tunnel-borne attack on an Israeli miitary post on sovereign Israeli territory say - literally in some cases, figuratively in others - we know what we have to do, we're doing it (or we're going to do it real soon); and the bad people had better watch out.

Meanwhile, irrespective of whether Israel really is about to unrestrain itself, here's some of what the bad people have been doing this afternoon and this evening:
  • A Palestinian terror group says it kidnapped an Israeli tonight, this time somewhere in the vicinity of Nablus. If true (and no one on the Israeli side is confirming it at this stage) it would be the second kidnapping of an Israeli by a Palestinian terror group in as many days. For what it's worth, the gang claiming victory this time, according to Yediot Aharonot, is the Popular Resistance Committee.
  • The PRC says it plans to keep on kidnapping. And why not? Activities of that kind enhance the appeal of their 'resistance' struggle in certain quarters. They establish beyond doubt the fitness of their compatriots to have a state and to manage it, and affirm the depths of their 'desperation' as well as their membership in the ranks of the world's liberation movements. Of course, there is a different way of looking at this: there's neither morality nor politics in their hideous hatred - they're little more than thugs for whom anything that hurts the other side must, by definition, be good.
  • At around 10 tonight, there are reports of a terrorist infiltration in the area of Kibbutz Nahal Oz, an Israeli community close to the northern end of the Gaza border.
  • Qassam missiles have been fired repeatedly this evening from Gaza into several Israeli communities.
  • There's a report of a civilian injured by one such Qassam missile landing in battered Sderot tonight. The same missile causes a power blackout in Sderot's southern suburbs.
  • And a separate report that 4 people are injured in Sderot by shattered glass after another Qassam rocket lands in the area. Magen David Adom paramedics evacuate the injured to Barzilai hospital in Ashkelon. Paramedics also treat two patients with heart conditions. 11 people suffer from shock and are treated at the scene (Ynet).
  • There's a heightened state of terror alert in various parts of the country. The police have established an enlarged presence in and around Jerusalem; in the areas close to where undisputed Israel and the Judea and Samaria areas meet; and in crowded public areas; all of this according to Israel Radio tonight. Checkpoints are being set up on an unannounced basis in many locations.
  • The Israel Prison Service has its personnel on elevated alert in response to the general state of agitation. The Palestinian 'street' is in a state of excitement now that the kidnappers of Corporal Gilad Shalit have stated their terms - which include the release of all female Palestinian terrorists from Israeli jails. Meanwhile family prison visits are suspended.
  • Israeli vehicles are stoned and/or shot tonight at various locations in Judea and Samaria.
  • Islamic Jihad says it's developed a new rocket with a longer-range for use against Israeli civilian targets, according to Israel's Channel 1 news tonight. They call it the "Quds 4" and claim a range of 20 kilometers, three times longer than conventional Qassams. Sderot is about an hour's drive from Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem, so longer missile range, if true, really means something in this part of the world.
What's especially irritating to us about all of this escalation and bad language is how certain corners of the foreign media seem unable to withhold their gloating. Their message seems to be: finally, those uppity Israelis are being cut down a notch. The Melbourne Age, which we watch closely for old times' sake, seems especially prone to this.

But we're not persuaded. We would really like someone smart and incisive to explain to us how resurgent, aggressive Palestinian terror actions make things better for anyone. It's always been clear to most Israelis that Israeli military restraint is a policy of choice, not necessity; at any moment, the restraint can be eased and some really serious damage can be done to the fabric of Palestinian Arab life, not to mention the physical health and well-being of individual high-profile Palestinian figures. The enormous ring of Israeli armour deployed tonight at all points around the Gaza border (see the picture above) gives palpable physicality to that aspect of the asymmetry between the two sides.

The irresistable conclusion - at least for us - is that the thugocracy of the Hamas-led PA actually wants more suffering for their people, and sees some kind of long-term benefit in this.

A more demented view of political leadership would be hard to conjure up. These are not uplifting times.

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