Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Olmert, Too Weak For The Job, Should Resign

The time may have come for Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to resign.

Last night's rocket attack out of Gaza that wounded 69 Israeli soldiers sleeping at a camp a mile inside Israel was promptly claimed by the shadowy Islamic Jihad organization, but it was officially lauded by a Hamas spokesman, who declared it "a victory from God."

It is typical of the Muslim fanatics that whatever brutal atrocity is committed, be it the murder of 500 Yazidis in Iraq, the 9-11 attacks six years ago today against innocents in New York and Washington, or the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers who are still held, is associated with God. It is the ultimate sacrilege.

We have come to expect outrages from all these terrorist groups, Al Qaeda, Hamas, the Iranian mullahs, Hezbollah, Fatah al-Islam, Islamic Jihad and others that spring up like weeds on every hand in the Middle East and are now reaching out to threaten Europe and America.

The question for the Israelis is how do they respond, and it has become slowly evident in the last year that the Olmert goverment does not have the courage to respond, and is failing to protect its own soldiers and people in the south of Israel. Again today, the Jerusalem Post is reporting there will be no major Israeli response to the attack from Gaza against the Jewish state.

When this is perceived to be true of most governments, they go, and are replaced with people who can respond. Olmert has had his chance. It is now time for him to give way to braver, more efficient men or women. His excuse for not responding, that it would jeopardize a conference planned in Washington to discuss Arab-Israeli peace, is not convincing, because there is virtually no chance such a conference would bring peace.

(However, it might be that the Olmert government feels it has bigger fish to fry than the rocket attacks from Gaza. There were published reports today in the New York Times and on CNN to the effect that the Israeli overflights of Syria last week included an air strike at what the New York Times said may have been North Korean nuclear equipment sent to Syria. Another report was that five longrange Israeli bombers may have sought to interdict Iranian arms supplies, such as missiles, crossing Syria to Hezbollah, or perhaps destroyed an Iranian-Syrian longrange missile base in eastern Syria near the Iraqi border. Neither the Syrian nor Israeli governments have discussed the purported raid, although Syria has complained about overflights to the United Nations, and North Korea assailed the Israelis for attacks today in such a way as to imply something from North Korea had been hit).

In Gaza, it has become obvious that the Hamas organization is an aggressor, unwilling to govern Gaza citizens humanely, and all too willing to keep up rocket attacks against its Israeli neighbors, even while expecting Israel to provide free electricity and food.

This cannot go on. The Israeli restraint of recent months, sending the Israeli military only two kilometers into Gaza in an attempt to find the rockets and occasionally gunning down people seen carrying rockets, will not suffice.

Rather than this, it is going to be necessary to send the army into all of Gaza to depose and destroy Hamas, just as the Lebanese government has recently destroyed Fatah al-Islam, and then arrange for some other Palestinian government to arise.

This is not democracy, it will be said. But very few Arabs anywhere have proved fit for democracy. Since they cannot rule themselves without imposing on others, some arranged, more humanitarian government, for the time being, is going to have to be provided them. As has been said, "Your rights stop, where my nose begins."

There can be no peace in the Holy Land as long as terrorists are in the saddle. And a strong Israeli government is necessary to take care of getting rid of them, at least there. Elsewhere in the Middle East, it would seem to be an American and Western job, although the U.S. had no reported criticism today of the purported Israeli strikes in Syria.

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