Fantasy-Based Policymaking Update. Peace is at hand!
By Benny Avni in the New York Sun (thanks to Ruth King):
UNITED NATIONS “” A barrage of rockets hit a southern Israeli town yesterday just as Israeli and Palestinian Arab representatives officially launched the diplomacy that was set in motion at Annapolis last month, leading the mayor of Sderot to tender his resignation in protest, and many other Israelis to wonder about a familiar linkage between peace diplomacy and an increase in violence.
The dramatic resignation was announced during a live interview on Israel Radio’s popular “Morning Show,” when Mayor Eli Moyal said he could not “face alone” the rocket attacks on Sderot, Hamas’s most frequent target since Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005.
Israel’s army chief of staff, General Gabi Ashkenazi, said yesterday that the military is weighing a large-scale operation to seize land in Gaza. But a government official who spoke on condition of anonymity told The New York Sun that Prime Minister Olmert’s Cabinet, which dedicated its meeting yesterday to the unending rocket attacks from Gaza, ordered no such an operation yet.
Israeli officials, meanwhile, made a clear distinction between the current diplomacy and that of the 1990s, often characterized by a late prime minister, Yitzhak Rabin, as “we will conduct peace talks as if there is no terror and fight terror as if there are no peace talks.” Unlike Yasser Arafat’s tactic of using terrorism to bolster his diplomacy, the officials said, the current Fatah leadership is a real peace partner, while a separate entity, Hamas, strives to undermine successful peace talks.
“Hamas is responsible for the violence that comes out of Gaza, whereas we see the legitimate Palestinian government of Abbas and Fayyad as a true peace partner,” Mr. Olmert’s spokesman, Mark Regev, said…
Yes, good luck with that, Regev.