In the Field
On Tuesday an Israeli soldier died and three were wounded as a result of their tank, rolling its way on to a roadside bomb. The IDF immediately responded with an air-strike, “in order to destroy smuggling tunnels”, killing 2 Palestinians, one of them singled out (with that ever so target-specific air-fire, the Israeli army is so famous for) as a Hamas operative. Ehud Barak declared, that night, to the Israeli public:
"This is a serious terrorist attack and this is not the response. We will respond and there’s no point in elaborating on TV. You’ll see it in the field."
Indeed, today, we can see it in the field, as the highly inciting article of Ha’aretz stated:
“The Israel Air Force on Thursday attacked a Palestinian militant in the southern Gaza Strip who was apparently behind a deadly attack on an Israel Defense Forces convoy earlier this week.
The IDF identified the targeted militant as Mohammed Uda-Samidi and said he was involved in rigging the roadside bomb which killed an Israeli tracker and wounded three others on Tuesday.
Uda-Samidi and seven children passersby were wounded during the attack on the southern Gaza town of Khan Yunis, Palestinian medical officials said.”
Personally, I’m a little confused, If these were retaliation strikes for the dead and wounded soldiers, then why is it also a tunnel-demolition operation, and also an assassination of a Hamas operative? Could it be that retaliation was just an excuse?
In the Kitchenette
There’s this old story about how, when Golda Meir wanted to have top secret conversations, they would be held in the cabinet kitchenette. This has become almost an official term, in Israel, when high authority figures meet.
So today’s kitchenette was held with the gruesome threesome, Olmert, Barak and Livny, guest staring the new American champion of peace, George Mitchell. Ha’aretz quotes the following exchanges:
“Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told United States Mideast envoy George Mitchell that Israel would respond to every Hamas violation of the cease-fire, be they rocket attacks, strikes along the border fence or smuggling through tunnels.
Mitchell told Israeli officials that the new administration was committed to Israel’s security, to the road map, and to the 2004 letter by president George W. Bush stating Palestinian refugees would not return to Israel and the border between Israel and the Palestinian Authority would take into consideration facts on the ground, meaning large settlement blocs would remain in Israeli hands. ”
In the Settlements
Interestingly enough, the settlers aren’t happy about the reappointing of George Mitchell to the Middle East. So unhappy that their lap-reporter, Nadav Shragai, Just had to write a little piece for Ha’aretz, reporting their plight:
“The settlers are not thrilled with George Mitchell – and that is an understatement. Mitchell, who first arrived here as an envoy on behalf of the Democratic Clinton administration eight years ago, asked then that Israel freeze settlement construction, even if the building activity was intended to meet natural population growth. To a large extent, he was successful in attaining what he requested.
If Mitchell actually does visit any settlements, and examines closely the situation there, he will find that there has never been a time when so little construction activity was taking place in settlements. In many communities, the construction is insufficient to meet natural growth, and many newly married couples find that they must move to locations within the Green Line (in sovereign Israel). “