Sunday, December 09, 2007

9-Dec-07: Not politics. Survival.

It's endlessly frustrating to us that the very personal experience of suffering fear, pain and loss through the actions of the terrorists isn't better understood outside Israel.

We've heard much the same sort of criticism expressed by non-Israeli victims of terror, regarding people in and outside their societies. The problem is neither unique nor local. It partly comes down to human nature, and partly to the deliberate downplaying of the pain and of the dangers.

Who does this downplaying? Politicians, analysts, people from the media and the terrorists themselves. All of them, in their different ways, need to be educated, re-oriented, criticized and, where appropriate, stopped. Terrorism is analogous to a highly threatening physical illness. You need to find ways to defeat it and quickly. Otherwise it destroys you.

One of Israel's senior politicians has gone public today with a call that is noteworthy more for its
being rare and unusual than for its clarity, accuracy or sense.

Dichter: 250,000 under Qassam threat if we don't act
'Palestinians conducting war of attrition against Negev communities,' internal security minister tells cabinet. 'We must not allow any mistakes that may raise the number of Israeli communities facing the Qassam threat'
Roni Sofer | Published: 12.09.07, 12:35 / Israel News
Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter warned Sunday of a tenfold increase in the number of Israelis subjected to a "war of attrition" should Ashkelon and nearby communities also fall under the threat of Palestinian terror and Qassam rocket fire. "We must check to see where we went wrong and deal with the problem of Sderot if we do not want to face the same problem when Ashkelon, Ofakim and Netivot will enter the cycle of rocket fire and terror," he said during the weekly cabinet meeting. "We must complete the fortification plan for Sderot and the communities surrounding the Gaza Strip." According to him, Palestinian terror organizations, led by Hamas, are "conducting a war of attrition" against Sderot and the rest of the western Negev communities. The minister said the number of Israelis facing the threat of Palestinian terror may increase from 25,000 to 250,000. "Qassam attacks are being carried out daily and we have also seen an increase in mortar fire directed at IDF bases near the Strip," Dichter told the ministers. "Statistics indicating an 8% drop in the number of students in Sderot are extremely worrying. We must not allow any mistakes that may raise the number of Israeli communities facing the Qassam threat." During the cabinet meeting, ministers were updated by IDF Home Front Command officials on the progress made in the fortification of educational and public institutions in the Negev region, which is expected to cost between 1 and 1.5 billion shekels ($258-387 million). The army also presented cabinet members with a fortification plan that would also include Israeli communities such as Ashkelon, Netivot and Ofakim, which are within the range of the Grad missile (range of about 25km) and other surface-to surface missiles the Palestinian terror groups have in their possession. The cost of this plan is estimated at NIS 5.5 billion ($1.4 billion).
The minister says 250,000 people are at risk, but it's actually all Israelis - all 7.1 million of us - who are under direct, concrete threat. Terror doesn't recognize national boundaries, and the Hamas regime in particular has never, not for a moment, made a secret of its goal to destroy this country and remove the Jews who live here. This Hamas press release of less than two weeks ago states the Pal-Arab plan about as clearly as you could want.

Do our comments strike any of our readers as a political viewpoint? The way we see things, in the Middle East conflict and the war of the Arabs against the Jews you can hold just about any viewpoint on the spectrum - and still be totally opposed to the terrorists.

Bernard Lewis, one of the great scholars of the age when it comes to Islam, put the matter sharply and well in an essay called "On the Jewish Question" published just two weeks ago in the Wall Street Journal. Prof. Lewis asks 'What is the conflict about?' and suggests there are two possibilities, and not more. Either "it is about the size of Israel, or about its existence." His analysis is neither political nor complicated:
"If the issue is about the size of Israel, then we have a straightforward border problem, like Alsace-Lorraine or Texas. That is to say, not easy, but possible to solve in the long run, and to live with in the meantime. If, on the other hand, the issue is the existence of Israel, then clearly it is insoluble by negotiation. There is no compromise position between existing and not existing, and no conceivable government of Israel is going to negotiate on whether that country should or should not exist... Without genuine acceptance of Israel's right to exist as a Jewish State, as the more than 20 members of the Arab League exist as Arab States, or the much larger number of members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference exist as Islamic states, peace cannot be negotiated."
Not politics. Survival.

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