Israel knows that Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniya is in the more compromising wing of Hamas.
Khaled Meshal, now in Syria and the figure who allegedly authorized the recent incursion inside Israel that led to the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier, seems to be more of an ideological hard-liner. He is the reason that Israeli jets buzzed Syrian President Bashar Assad’s palace.
But Israel didn’t attack Meshal today.
While Israel did kill one Hamas militant in an airstrike earlier — the major news is that Israel reportedly fired two missiles into the symbol of the Palestinian people’s recent democratic efforts: the Prime Minister’s Office.
When is Bush going to say enough is enough? His father would have been working this situation hard. But his son is singing tunes with Junichiro Koizumi in Graceland. Maybe we’ll learn later that Bush was making calls from Air Force One — but thus far, there is scant evidence that America has done much to get all sides to stand down and pause.
The British burned the U.S. Capitol in the War of 1812 and it only strengthened America’s resolve. This attack is likely to do the same with the Palestinians.
What does the Israeli government expect from the Palestinian people after firing on the PM’s office? Complacency? An outreached hand of understanding and empathy?
Israel seems determined to undermine Abbas and to further legitimate Palestinian militant extremists in the eyes of the Palestinian public. I hope that I’m wrong and that somehow Olmert and Peretz have some sort of track two negotiations going on that will somehow miraculously stabilize matters and reshuffle the best Hamas players from the worst — but I just don’t see or sense anything that brilliant underway.
I support Israel’s rights to pursue its soldier in a reasoned and calibrated campaign — but those who are staunch defenders of Israel’s recent over-the-top actions — rather than attacking me for my perspective — share with me the point that you think is too far.
Or is there simply no line that Israel can’t cross? Are all actions — no matter how high up the escalation ladder — acceptable because Hamas was elected to leadership in a free and fair election? To be fair to Israel, Hamas has not imposed a monopoly on the use of force and it has not moved far in either recognition of Israel or abandoning terror tactics — but those watching this carefully saw serious progress that Israel failed to cultivate.
Israel is a superpower in the region — and has enormous assets to shape the course of events in the Palestinian-Israeli relationship, but it is electing to crush the Hamas-led government, assuring that a major branch of militant Islam is taught once again not to even attempt to engage in democratic political process.
Let’s discuss this civilly. But if this report from MSNBC is true, I don’t see how Israel manages to stabilize matters.
I think this kind of assault is insuring long term strife and stress — at high cost to themselves and Palestinians, and also high costs for the United States that could really use some progress in Israel-Palestine relations to use constructively in America’s broader efforts in the Middle East.
– Steve Clemons