The Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, signaled flexibility last month by saying that military attacks on Gaza would stop if its Hamas rulers stopped cross-border rocket salvos.
Israel dismissed a proposal by the Palestinian group Hamas for a six-month truce in the Gaza Strip…
So, let’s get this straight: Olmert says if Hamas stops rocket attacks on Israel that he’ll stop IDF attacks on Gaza; then Hamas offers to do precisely that and Israel refuses. Curiouser and curiouser…
Ah, but Israel can afford to play the tough guy on this one. Its current policy toward Hamas is going so swimmingly. 1.5 million Gazans subsisting on UN food rations. Qassams raining down on Sderot. Israelis killed in cross border infiltrations. Shalit still in his kidnappers’ hands. Hamas holding onto power with no dent made in its popularity by Israel’s tough love approach. Yes, it’s going so well there’s absolutely no need to meet Hamas halfway. Take the high road. They’ll come around. They always do.
And don’t forget those media talking points–Israel is the one who wants peace. Israel is the one open to compromise. It’s just those nasty terrorists who you can’t trust as far as you can throw ’em.
No doubt tomorrow’s headline in Israeli dailies will trumpet how Hamas is rearming and preparing for all-out war; how Iran is resupplying Hamas with bigger and better rockets. All part of the IDF-intelligence apparatus spin machine trying to spook Israelis into believing they have no recourse but to continue with the same bankrupt policy which has produced no results for so long.
Look at what Israel’s UN ambassador did to Jimmy Carter yesterday. For having the temerity to meet with Hamas, encourage a deputy prime minister to meet with Hamas, and for urging Israel to meet with Hamas–Gillerman took out the long knives and put a shiv in Carter’s gut calling him “a bigot” with “blood on his hands.” Wow. That’s pretty good knife play for a mere diplomat. Maybe he learned to rough his victims up verbally with some prior training in the Israeli Border Police.
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.