As part of the cease-fire announced this morning (Sunday, 26 Nov 2006), Israel has begun withdrawing all of its forces from the Gaza Strip.Israel's ability to deter terror would be significantly enhanced if it would actually act on its tough words. As it is, Israel's promises of retaliation are regarded as a joke by the terrorists who have kept firing rockets since this was written.
This decision was taken in an effort on Israel's part both to bring about a calming of the situation and as a signal of Israel's readiness to contribute to an improvement in the security and political condition of the region.
Israel is interested in maintaining a cease-fire as a means to end the violence and to enable progress in the political negotiations. In doing so, Israel is knowingly undertaking the risk that the terrorist organizations will exploit the cease-fire to rearm and to rebuild their infrastructure.
Despite the fact that the cease-fire came into effect at 06:00 this morning, five Kassam rockets were fired after that hour from the Gaza Strip at Sderot and communities in the Western Negev. It must be pointed out that if the Palestinians do not observe the cease-fire completely, Israel will have no choice but to respond.
It does not matter which organization carries out the firing -- the obligation to observe the cease-fire absolutely applies to the Palestinian Authority, which bears the responsibility to enforce it without exception.
It should also be recalled that Israel left the Gaza Strip last year with no intention of returning, but was forced to act there in order to prevent acts of terrorism. Accordingly, Israel will refrain from operating in the Gaza Strip as long as all acts of terrorism and rearming there cease. Israel will continue to monitor events in the Gaza Strip and will respond in accordance with developments.
The incompetent Olmert government is once again waiting for someone to get killed (or, in the case I linked to, to be kidnapped) before they act.
This is not how one defends one's country. It is as if Olmert feels he doesn't have the political chips to act until someone is dead, reducing Israeli citizens to game pieces.
Every other Israeli govenment had its priorities straight. Even if people disagreed, it was undeniable that the previous governments acted in ways that they passionately felt was the best for the security of their citizens. Olmert is doing the exact opposite.