Friday, July 23, 2010
He’s still at it. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is becoming famous for his “outside the box” thinking about Israel’s challenges. Today we’ll take a look at the latest.
Here’s what we’ll do. The following is the Ynetnews.com article by Shimon Shiffer. We will add our own commentary inside brackets “[ ]” and sum up at the end.
FM presents: 2nd disengagement from Gaza
Plan aimed at ridding Israel of any responsibility for Strip calls to lift blockade entirely, rehabilitate Hamas-ruled territory with European assistance
… Lieberman is troubled by the fact that despite the evacuation of all Israeli settlements in Gaza and a full IDF withdrawal, the disengagement was not acknowledged by the international community, which still demands that Israel provide the Strip's residents with their basic necessities.
[EDM: When then-PM Ariel Sharon forcefully removed all Jewish Israelis in 2005 (a plan that Ehud Olmert claimed was his own after Sharon’s stroke) the world applauded the grand gesture. Now though, Lieberman is right. The UN, who maintains a big presence still, and the European Union’s liberals want Israel to take Gaza’s residents to raise.
[Certainly not all of Gaza’s residents are Hamas terrorists. In fact what many outsiders do not know is that there are many independent Arab family “tribes.” These are often involved in massive smuggling operations and other nefarious activities.
[It is a solid rumor that it was one of these tribes that went through a tunnel, outside the Gaza border fence, killed some IDF soldiers and nabbed Corporal (now Sgt. Gilad Shalit. He was then turned over to Hamas leadership.
[The situation in Gaza is much like Arab areas in the West Bank. You have the “insiders” who are connected to government and live well. You have the very wealthy Arab businessmen who live like royalty. And then there is the rest of the people who live in real poverty, depending on the largess of charity organizations, etc. You can go to our piece on the new shopping mall to see how the top layer shops.]
According to the FM's plan, Gaza – with European assistance – will become an entirely independent entity. In this way, Lieberman believes, the world will finally recognize the end of the Israeli occupation there.
[EDM: Here’s Israel’s problem. At one time Egypt and Israel discussed Gaza becoming an Egyptian “protectorate” (my word). Then PM Menachem Begin reportedly answered that Israel would handle the Gaza problem. That was bad news for Israel and now Egypt and others feel free to Monday morning quarterback everything that happens between Israel and Gaza.
[To their credit, Egypt has worked in league with Israel on security, smuggling control (at times) and border control. The government almost seems like they need a larger dose of Librium. First they deal with smuggling, for instance, and the next moment they are facilitating. For instance all the weapons smuggling could not occur without Egypt’s passive permission. With seventeen (count them – 17) different intel and security forces under Mubarak’s control, there is no way such activity could go on at that scale without the government’s permission.]
A confidential document sent to Lieberman recently states that "we must discreetly approach the US, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and renowned international law experts to examine their terms for international recognition of an end to the occupation."
In essence, the FM's plan shifts the focus from Israel's relations with the Palestinian Authority to its relations with Hamas – the Islamist movement that rules Gaza.
[EDM: It is here that we question Shiffer’s conclusion. I believe that Lieberman is actually serious in his comments about Hamas and Gaza. Of course all of this will make Abbas nervous. But in actuality we don’t see it making him change his tactics. To us it sounds like Lieberman wants to deal with the PA as usual and change the way Israel handles Gaza.]
Lieberman is against making further concessions to the Palestinian Authority, which governs the West Bank's Palestinians. "Regardless of what we offer them (PA), they'll only increase their demands without the Israeli side getting anything in return," the FM recently said in closed meetings. "Even if direct negotiations with (Palestinian President Mahmoud) Abbas are launched, we should not expect anything to come from them."
[EDM: This cynical statement by Lieberman is dead on. We have echoed this for years.]
In contrast to the policy which sanctified the blockade on Gaza, Lieberman's plan calls to fully lift the siege and allow ships to dock in the Strip without being inspected in Israel first. Ships that will undergo inspection in Cyprus or Greece will be allowed to continue towards Gaza.
[EDM: You are likely asking “What about the importing of weapons by sea, if the blockade is lifted?” Of course it will bloom and blossom. That would mean more rockets fired at Israel. And the Iron Dome missile defense system is a long ways from being operational. It is not yet even in action. The testing is good, but that is the end of the story for now.
[What will Israel do if attacks increase? What they always do. They will target the people involved. I remind you that Hamas’ top man, Sheik Yassin was hit by a missile from an Israeli jet when terrorist attacks were used inside Israel in 2004. When his replacement did not learn from that he was taken out the next month. The next man in line responded and the attacks diminished.]
The late Sheik Yassin
According to the proposal, Israel will also allow European countries to implement plans aimed at improving the lives of the coastal enclave's residents. Israel's border with the Hamas-ruled territory will be hermetically sealed.
The FM plans to present his plan to Catherine Ashton, the European Union commissioner for foreign affairs, during her scheduled visit to Israel next week. Ashton will be accompanied by six European foreign ministers.
Lieberman is expected to ask his European counterparts to propose that Hamas construct a new power plant to generate electricity, a seawater desalination plant and a wastewater purification plant.
The FM also supports any international plan for the mass-construction of apartments for Gaza's residents.
[EDM: Lieberman is being very smart here. We all know that liberals are quite happy to spend other people’s money to fix a problem that they constantly point out. Here, Lieberman is calling the Europeans out. Let them come to Gaza and deal with the horrible corruption and try to build housing and improve the lives of the poor there.]
Furthermore, Lieberman will propose that the Europeans send an international military force to the Israel-Gaza border crossings to enforce any agreement reached.
The Foreign Ministry's confidential document also calls on the government to request that a force from the French Foreign Legion and commando units belonging to other European armies be deployed in the region to prevent the smuggling of weapons to Gaza.
[EDM: Here, too, Lieberman is challenging the UN and EU. Israel does not want foreign troops in Gaza or the West Bank. (Abbas is now calling for exactly that – before he will come to the negotiation table.
[The Europeans want to send their sons even less. They well remember that an American human aid convoy was blown to bits in Gaza in 2004. These people are kill crazy, and no one is immune.]