Robert Rosenberg reports that a retired Israeli general has joined the chorus of military-intelligence experts calling for sanity and rationality in Israel’s response to Abbas’s call for final status negotiations:
Former general Amiram Levine, a much admired ex-commando [he led the assault against the Maalot terrorists] who served for a while as deputy chief of the Mossad, was on the radio yesterday morning and TV last night, saying that Israel should be in direct talks with the Palestinian government about a peace agreement based on ‘the framework we all know, back to the ’67 lines with corrections, no right of return, a division of Jerusalem.’ With such talks underway — sincere talks, he emphasized — it becomes possible to give the army instructions for firm action against the Qassams. But making the army provide a military solution to a political problem will only lead to trouble.
‘You can’t defeat a people fighting against oppression with more oppression,’ says the ex-general. But once the politicians take responsibility for finding a political solution, the Palestinians could be told that any Qassam rockets landing in Israel would lead to the demolition — by bulldozer, not shelling — of 10 to-15 houses, 12 hours after the rocket fell in Israel. If the rocket causes casualties, more than one block would be demolished.
It’s a plan and could even be implemented — but it depends on Israel doing what it has refused to do since the intifada began, talking with the Palestinians, and it depends on the Palestinians doing what they have refused to do since the intifada began: cracking down on the armed irregular militia, whether they be Qassam launchers or gunmen, plotters of suicide bombings or the bombers themselves.
It’s important to note that every one of these Israeli security experts who calls for peace negotiations is directly challenging Olmert’s cloud cuckoo land unilateral “realignment” plan. Furthermore, given a choice of believing the current military intelligence advisors clamoring for Israel to invade Gaza ‘to teach those militants a lesson once and for all’ (where and when have we heard this before??) and those such as Amiram Levine–I know which I’d choose to trust.