Sunday, March 01, 2009

Short Term Memory Loss

Israels leadership seems to be suffering from Alzheimer disease. This appeared in today's Haartez. (Italics are mine.)

A Qassam launched from the Gaza Strip exploded off the coast of Ashkelon on Sunday, just hours after Prime Minister Ehud Olmert promised a 'painful, uncompromising response' to Palestinian rocket fire.

Olmert's vow came a day after ten rockets were fired at Israel from the coastal territory, bringing the number of projectiles launched from Gaza since the truce to more than 60.

Speaking before the weekly cabinet meeting, Olmert accused Hamas of using Qassam rockets to make up for their losses suffered during the three-week Israel Defense Forces offensive in the Gaza Strip which ended in late January.

"Hamas is trying to recover from the stiff blow they suffered during Operation Cast Lead through the use of terror," Olmert said.

Olmert said that Israel would respond to rocket fire until "terror groups understand that Israel will not accept these attacks."
Is this a bad joke? Didn't Israel start the recent Gaza War precisely to stop these attacks? Didn't we just kill 1400 people, wound 6000, cause billions of dollars of property damage, bring the wrath of the world down on us, to prevent these rockets? Didn't we already "teach them a lesson"?

Does Olmert think people have forgotten that?

Yes, it can now be officially said that operation Cast Lead accomplished absolutely nothing positive for Israel. Hamas rockets still fall on southern Israel. Hamas still says it will stop them only when Israel lifts its blockade of Gaza. Israel is now negotiating with Hamas (all-be-it through Egyptian intermediaries) over exactly that. After a brief drop in Hamas popularity immediately after the war, it now seems to have regained its status among Palestinians. Hamas is now being wooed by Fatah to form a Palestinian "unity" government. Smuggling (another declared target of the war) has resumed full paced through the Rafah tunnels. Israel has still not freed Gilad Shalit, and Hamas is still demanding many high profile prisoners in return for Shalit's freedom.

Israeli is in exactly the same position its was in before the war. And it now turns out we can live with 60 rockets a a month and no one, other than Olmert it seems, is hysterical. Aside from the human and moral price paid, Israel has not only lost strategically, Hamas seems to have gained.

Yet Olmert, and I dare think most of Israel's leaders, have learned nothing. Not only is history forgotten, so is last month's news.


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