Yes, the Olmert government is showing downright kindness to the residents of Kiryat Shmona, one of the hardest hit towns in all of Israel from Hezbollah rockets. It’s packing them all off on ‘holiday’ to the French Riviera for four days of R&R. Not really, but don’t you dare use the words “mass evacuation.” By golly, that’s not what this is:
The government is offering some 17,000 residents of border towns to leave for several days, Cabinet Secretary Yisrael Maimon said Tuesday.
In making the announcement, Maimon avoided the word “evacuation,” saying instead that the residents were offered to leave the war zone for several days of recuperation. The government will pay for the stay of those leaving the border area.
And whatever it is, it isn’t an acknowledgment of Israel’s abject failure to smother the rocket attacks on scores of town just like Kiryat Shmona. By God, it’s not that either.
Last night’s BBC coverage of this story noted the distinct possibility that the IDF was planning such a severe escalation of the war that it simply didn’t want the burden of reprisal to fall on Israel’s largest town in the north. So it simply ‘disappeared’ them by sending them on holiday. This is, of course, a serious admission on the part of the IDF that it cannot defend Israeli citizens. And it would be the first time in the State’s existence that I can remember that it would have made such an admission. In case you’re keeping score at home, chalk this one up as another defeat for the vaunted IDF deterrent machine.
There is only one way to guarantee the security of Kiryat Shmona. Accept the Syrian-Israeli deal negotiated and then refused by Ehud Barak in 1999. Return the Golan and Shebba Farms. Return Lebanese prisoners. Withdraw from Lebanon. In return get northern peace, recognition by Syria and Lebanon of Israel. Withdrawal or dismantlement of Hezbollah as a fighting force. Simple, yet so out of reach because the “big fools” in the IDF and government only want to “push on” with their militry misadventure.
Meanwhile the Hezbollah war of attrition has begun in earnest. Three IDF soliders were killed yesterday and three more today.
And I hope the folks from Kiryat Shmona enjoy their “recuperation.”