Lethal Gestures - Frimet Roth 23-Nov-07
Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert seems intent on out-doing even the most extreme Israeli left-wingers.
On Tuesday November 20, he made clear to his nation that terrorism, annoying though it may be, is a peripheral concern. The previous night, a 29-year old father of two was murdered (see "20-Nov-07: A Troubling Escalation") when members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade sprayed his car with bullets. Olmert's response? He won't let this incident keep him from Annapolis.
This leaves us, his targeted constituents, wondering: where is our security on his list of priorities?
Yesterday Olmert appeared to answer that question and the news was disappointing. He announced a generous gift of arms to the parent-organization of the very terrorists who executed Monday's attack, Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah. Fifty armored vehicles, a thousand rifles and 2 million rounds of ammunition will be delivered to them by November 27th. Olmert justifies this as an advance goodwill gesture to the "moderates" with whom he will be meeting on that date in Annapolis.
Yossi Beilin, whom nobody can accuse of harboring any right-wing leanings, wrote about arms gifts (YNet: "Don't Give 'Em Guns") in April 2007:
- "The last thing we need to add to the Palestinian Authority is more weapons. When the PA was established it had to be allowed to acquire arms, because without enforcing law and order there would have been no significances to the creation of such Authority. Today, arming one element in the PA due to the intention to see Fatah twist Hamas' arm soon could end up as a terrible boomerang. The historical experience of such "boosts" is horrifying. Moreover, in this case it would constitute an incentive for Hamas to arm itself even more, and if clashes between the two sides break out it would not be much of a gamble to assume Hamas would emerge victorious."
However this week's terrorism highlights an even more immediate danger: the transfer of these weapons to Fatah's own terror wing. Does anyone still doubt that is inevitable?
The Annapolis architects have selected a meaningful date for launching this gala negotiation-fest. November 27th is my daughter Malki's birthday. On that day, my husband and I will say psalms at her grave.
Perhaps, as he embarks on his quest for that elusive peace, Olmert will spare a moment to remember the many hundreds of innocent Israelis murdered, along with Malki, in the last Intifada. And then, I hope, he may be spurred to reassess his priorities. We deserve to have our security, our lives, as his top priority. Ranked higher than the concessions and the "good-will gestures" and the "boosts" which he has been showering on Abbas.
Isn't that every prime minister's most basic duty?