The Olmert/Barak combo is just as dreadful a defense combination as the Olmert/Peretz Combo. At least the same basic mistakes have been made. Just like Lebanon, Israel has sent in troops not to win a victory but to just “control” a situation. Once again, he has ignored the advice of his generals to force a half-assed effort–without real military and without examining the full range of results….and once again Israel has been out-maneuvered by the terrorists. Next week the Winograd Commission releases its final report, while it will not call for Olmert’s ouster it will point out how he mismanaged the Second Lebanon War. Olmert will refuse to acknowledge his mistakes. Lets face it he basically said so at the Herzliya conference this week:
“The present situation is incomparably better than that which preceded it. The residents of the north have peace and security. There is no daily friction and no firing of rockets or even Kassams. This has gone on, not for a day or a month but for 18 full months. This is the longest period of quiet in the north in the past 25 years.”
ANALYSIS: Hamas outmaneuvers Israel with three quick moves
By Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff, Haaretz Correspondents
Tags: Egypt, Muslim Brotherhood
In a week when Israeli leaders were boasting about their successful adoption of the conclusions in the Winograd Committee’s interim report, which included in their view the attack on Syria, recent events on the Gaza Strip and Egyptian border are raising concerns to the contrary: Perhaps not enough lessons were learned or have been implemented.
This week Hamas checkmated Israel in three quick moves. No less worrying are the problematic developments regarding Egypt. Cairo would like to avoid a confrontation with Hamas and its parent organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, which is a lot more important for Egypt than the angst in Israel. This is a strategic change that will make any future operation by the Israel Defense Forces in the Gaza Strip more difficult and could make relations between the two countries even more complicated.
These are moments of glory for Hamas, after a long period during which the organization was battered by Israel. It conducted its campaign brilliantly last week, and it seems, so far, with complete success. At no stage did Israel have a sufficient response to the initiatives of Hamas: It did not when the group plunged the Strip into darkness on Sunday, or when it caused the clashes along the border on Tuesday, and certainly not when it brought down the Philadelphi wall on Wednesday.
All the while Hamas benefited from an impressive level of Arab support including the Muslim Brotherhood in the neighboring countries and favorable broadcasts on Al Jazeera, many of whose reporters openly promote an agenda favoring the Muslim Brotherhood. While all this was happening, Hamas managed to pay salaries this week to 20,000 civil servants in Gaza, even before the border was turned into an open passage in which people, arms and goods moved freely.
But Hamas did not only beat Israel in this round -Egypt and the Palestinian Authority also lost. The Ramallah-based state is now further and more disconnected from Hamas than ever. With impressive timing that still leaves us guessing whether the breach of the Rafah wall was was preplanned, the group’s politburo chief, Khaled Meshal, held a National Palestinian Conference in Damascus on Wednesday. The event was meant as a challenge to the PLO and PA leadership, and to stress that there is an alternative leadership for the Palestinian people.
In attendance were leaders of militant Palestinian organizations who came to reiterate that they would never relinquish the right of return to the “territories of 1948,” armed struggle and jihad. The dramatic broadcasts from the Gaza Strip underscored the summit in Damascus and presented the Hamas leadership as the real decision makers for the Palestinian people, while PA President Mahmoud Abbas was trying in vain to explain that “the Palestinian people desire peace.”
The scenes from the Gaza Strip, which showed happy crowds of people loaded with goods returning home from Egypt, support the notion that Israel’s decision to impose an economic embargo on the Strip was fundamentally mistaken. Israel tried to punish the entire Gazan population to cause it to overthrow Hamas rule. Preventing soda, cigarettes, cleaning materials and newspapers was thought to be an effective means of pressure in the war against the Qassam rockets.
In this Jerusalem also accepted recommendations from the Fatah leadership, who wanted to settle old scores with their Hamas rivals. But the security establishment, like the media, failed to appreciate correctly the enormity of the poverty in Gaza, and with it the hatred for Israel. It only pushed Hamas to bring down the wall, in a manner that will now make it difficult to restore the blockade on the Gaza Strip