Israel burns and Bibi dithers

UN car set on fire during riots by Palestinians in Jerusalem

In my comment on my “blood libel” post I noted that the chances are that Bibi won’t decide to do anything, both in regards to the murder of Eyal, Gil-Ad and Naftali, and regarding the huge barrage of rockets and missiles currently being launched at southern Israel.  The violence has only increased after the still-unsolved murder of the Arab teenager in Shuafat. Here is what I wrote:

the cabinet still hasn’t decided on an appropriate response to the kidnapping and murder of the 3 teens, let alone an effective response to Hamas about the rockets besides “we’re giving you 48 hours and then we’re going in”. What the HELL kind of reaction is that?? They should be hammered at every single rocket, and no quarter given to them. They are not children who are warned “I’m going to smack you in 3, 2, 1½, 1¼, 1…”. They are vicious terrorists who should be wiped off the face of this earth.

But Bibi has no backbone and is an impossible ditherer. The only good thing I could say about Olmert was that he made decisions, even if they were wrong ones. Bibi can’t even do that. He just wants a quiet life and to be able to stay in power. He paralysed himself with his stupid coalition, so that instead of neither side being able to bring him down, BOTH sides can bring him down. So he just doesn’t make any decisions at all.

He talks great rhetoric, is a brilliant speaker, and is excellent in defined jobs, e.g. ambassador to the UN, Foreign Minister, Finance Minister. But as a ruler? He’s useless.

Even his rhetoric gets us in trouble when he talks about building settlements – he backtracks from that, thereby angering the right, but meanwhile has inflamed the UN, US and EU and of course the Arabs.

If he can’t make a decision he should not be Prime Minister. Appoint Feiglin or Bennett in his place.

His dithering was seen clearly in Operation Pillar of Defence. The whole world was agog and salivating at the thought of another Gaza war with which they could then castigate Israel. Bibi ordered a massive call-up of reserves, moved armoured columns down to the border, issued warning after warning to Hamas…. and …

Nothing. It was a complete waste of time and huge amounts of money.  The ceasefire, in which Israel ceased firing but Hamas did not, simply enabled Hamas to build up its arsenal of weapons and rockets even further. This is the “dowry” that they have now brought to the Palestinian “unity government”.

As of this moment my prediction of Bibi’s dithering have been proven right this time too.

Bibi is hoping for a ceasefire with Hamas, which the Egyptians are helping to broker.  I’m sorry. We’re going to let them try and kill us for 48 hours and then if they don’t lay down their arms – THEN we’ll go in?” Is he mad? How about going after the leaders, the launchers, the rocketers, the weapons depots.. Bibi should resign if he can’t find a way to defend the south.  This is not what we elected him for. This is not what any elected leader should be doing to defend his country’s citizens.

From the link above:

According to the sources, the understanding that the Egyptians reached with Israel and Hamas is that “quiet will be met with quiet.”

“Neither side is interested in an escalation,” the sources told The Times of Israel.

Commentators in Gaza attributed the escalation in rocket fire over the past 48 hours to the feeling in Hamas that Israel is looking to avoid a fight, and that a cease-fire is impending.

According to the commentators, Hamas is trying to achieve a public relations victory in the eyes of the Gaza public, to be seen as unafraid of an escalation. But, they said, Hamas is itself uninterested in a deterioration into a larger conflict.

The report came as five more rockets from Gaza were fired at Israel early Friday morning. One landed in Palestinian territory. The Iron Dome rocket-defense system intercepted another.

No injuries or damage were reported as the projectiles struck open areas.

The new salvo Friday came after over 15 rockets were fired from the Gaza Strip Thursday evening, leaving one soldier lightly injured. As the southern border continued to heat up Thursday, with intermittent rocket fire striking southern Israel, residents were advised to stay within 15 seconds of bomb shelters.

If that’s what’s called “uninterested in escalation”, I’d hate to see what an escalation looks like.  Here’s a hint from Hamas:

An hour before the evening rocket barrage, Hamas said that in the event of an escalation, Israel would “be surprised” by its rocket arsenal and range.

“We promise that one stupid move your leaders make will constitute sufficient ground to turn all of your towns, even those you wouldn’t expect, into targets and burning cinders,” said Abu Ubaida, a spokesman for the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s armed wing. Israel may initiate the escalation, “but it doesn’t know how it will continue and how it will end,” he said.

Both Naftali Bennett and Avigdor Liberman are against this purported ceasefire:

“The strategy of ‘quiet for quiet’ is hurting Israeli deterrence and is enabling Hamas to gain power,” Bennett said in a statement Saturday night, several hours after three rockets were launched at the city of Beersheba for the first time since November 2012.

“Restraint in the face of attacks on women and children is not strength. Restraint in the face of the execution of three children is weakness,” the minister said, referencing the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens in the West Bank on June 12.

“The residents of the south are not second grade citizens, and we must respond to the rocket-fire at Beersheba just as we would respond to an attack on Tel Aviv, and not wait for an attack on Tel Aviv,” he said.

Bennett’s comments Saturday mirrored those made Friday by Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, who said during a visit to Sderot that “the idea that ‘quiet will be answered with quiet’ is a serious mistake.”

“It cannot be that after the kidnapping and murder of three teenagers and two consecutive weeks of rockets fall, the approach of Israel will be ‘quiet is answered with quiet,’” he said. “There can not be an agreement with Hamas. Ignoring the problem or being afraid to deal with it will lead us to a situation in which thousands of missiles are fired at us, not hundreds.

Over 20 rockets were fired into Israel on Saturday, with three targeting Beersheba. Several of the rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome defense system, while others fell in open areas and did not cause damage, though a soldier was lightly wounded by mortar fire.

Iron Dome intercepts a missile aimed at Ashkelon

Iron Dome intercepts a missile aimed at Ashkelon

Israeli aircraft targeted three Hamas terror targets in the southern Gaza Strip early Saturday evening, as well as a militant the army said was preparing to fire a rocket.

The previous IDF strikes had taken place on Friday evening, also restricted to three Hamas targets with no casualties. The seemingly limited Israeli response to the continuing rocket salvos appeared to indicate that Jerusalem was still waiting to see whether Hamas would curb the rocket-fire as part of a possible ceasefire agreement.

Let’s see how that attempted ceasefire is working out so far. Via The Muqata’s facebook post:

News Roundup for Friday Night 4/July:

9:36pm Rocket launched at Eshkol region. Landed in open area.

9:51pm 4 mortars fired at Eshkol. Landed in open areas.

9:56pm 4 mortars fired at Eshkol. Landed in open areas.

10:42pm Rocket launched at Eshkol…landed in open area.

11:27pm Multiple launches at Sederot at Shaar HaNegev region. Landed in open areas.

More updates from midnight onwards coming soon.

Follow the Muqata’s facebook page for constant updates on the situation. Here are more “rocket roundups” to help us appreciate Hamas’ wish for a Gaza “ceasefire”:

News roundup 5/July…from midnight. ..part 1.

12:25am Two Israelis wounded by Arab rock throwers near Taibe in the Triangle area of Central Israel…taken to hospital for treatment.

1:20am Rockets shot at Sederot and Shaar HaNegev region. Landed in open areas.

3:09am Rocket shot at Shaar HaNegev region…landed in open area.

2:57pm 2 rockets landed in the Eshkol region…open areas.

3:01pm Rocket at Ashkelon….open area.

6:32pm Rockets at Ofakim and Merchavim region. Mortars fired at Kissufim.

[…]

Rocket roundup part 2…Shabbat 5/July

7:18pm Sirens in Be’er Sheva…Omer…Iron Dome intercepts Gaza Rocket.

First rocket attack on Beer Sheva since Operation Pillar of Cloud/Amud Anan.

7:54pm Color red alerts in Hof Sheklon….sedot negev region. Rocket hit on house. 5 barrages of rockets….3 reported Iron Dome intercepts. ..1 person lightly wounded from injury running to bomb shelter.

8:20pm Rockets fired at Eshkol region. Landed in open areas.

The Muqata’s page is full of plenty of other incidents that occurred over the weekend, particularly Palestinian rock-throwing, arson and riots throughout Israel.

In a rather amusing incident but which could have had horrifying results, the Diaspora Yeshiva on Mt. Zion was attacked by a crowd of stone-throwing Arabs. The Yeshiva students defended themselves with boiling water and … pots of cholent! (Hebrew link only).  Surely that would classify as chemical warfare? 🙂 I await an immediate denunciation of the cholent attack at the UN Security Council in 3…2….1…

In a far less entertaining attack, you can watch a video of a bus being stoned in Jerusalem. Here’s a picture too:

Bus window shattered by a rock

In the north of Israel Israelis were attacked and their car set on fire in Kalansawa:

During riots overnight Friday-Saturday in the central Arab-Israeli town of Kalanswa, masked men attacked a number of cars belonging to Jewish Israelis, setting one on fire.

On Friday night and into Saturday morning, Arab Israelis burned tires and clashed with security forces in Kalanswa, and other central and northern towns including Taibe, Tira and Baqa al-Gharbiya, in protest of the death of Palestinian teenager Muhammad Abu Khdeir, 16. Police made 31 arrests and said more were expected.

In Kalanswa, after road 5614 was blocked in both directions due to burning tires, masked men began asking drivers their religion. Two of the drivers who answered back in Hebrew were dragged from their cars and beaten. One of the drivers managed to get back in his car and escape while the other escaped on foot. His car was set on fire.

Rioting at Arara Junction (in the

Rioting at Arara Junction (in the “Triangle” near Um al Fahm”)

The clashes came after a day of violent demonstrations in East Jerusalem on the heels of the funeral of Abu Khdeir whose body was found in a Jerusalem forest on Wednesday in what is believed to be a revenge killing for the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens on June 12.

In Shuafat, Abu Khdeir’s home neighborhood, several men reportedly attempted to cut down an electric pole powering Jerusalem’s light rail with a circular saw, and posted a photo of the act to Facebook, before being chased off by police.

Dozens of people threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at police forces in East Jerusalem, who responded with non-lethal weapons to quell the unrest.

Near the West Bank settlement of Ma’aleh Adumim, some 40 Palestinians also hurled rocks and rolled burning tires at police forces, Channel 10 reported.

Interestingly, Arab residents of Kalansawa are furious at the rioting youngsters (Hebrew only) and want them to apologize to the Jewish victims of their violence. There is yet hope…

Here’s a Price Tag attack you’ll never hear about outside of Israel:

Dozens of swastikas were spray-painted alongside the road to the Western Wall in Jerusalem in the past few days.

On Friday, swastikas and hate graffiti calling for “Death to the Jews” were also found outside the southern town of Rahat, the Ynet news website reported.

Police are investigating the incident.

Right-wing Jewish Home MK Ayelet Shaked posted images of the Jerusalem graffiti.

She added a sarcastic refrain, on the lack of widespread condemnation, on her Facebook page.

“Surely you’ve seen these pictures all over the media,” she wrote. “Tzipi Livni has surely denounced it. Surely President Peres already went on a visit there. Surely the internal security minister called it terror. Oh, sorry, it’s only a swastika. No biggie.”

Swastikas on the road to the Kotel

Swastikas on the road to the Kotel

And another:

Graffiti reads (right to left); Death to Israel; Death to Jews, Price Tag

Graffiti reads (right to left); Death to Israel; Death to Jews, Price Tag

In other completely unsurprising news, clashes broke out on the Temple Mount on Friday.

It is gratifying to note that I am not alone in my frustration. Even a Ynet columnist, Shaul Rosenfeld, is of a similar opinion about Israel’s “restraint“, particularly Netanyahu’s and the cabinet’s. I apologise that the link is in Hebrew only.

However there is one person who is worried about Israel’s reaction – Mahmoud Abbas has run to the world asking its leaders to help restrain Israel.

He needn’t have bothered. We’re doing  a good job all by ourselves.

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13 Responses to Israel burns and Bibi dithers

  1. JudyPT says:

    I, and millions of Israelis are totally fed up with our governments lack of response to all that is going on in our beleagured state.There have been at leastTHREE security cabinet meetings about what to do so far nothing has been agreed!!Surely they must have a list of what to do if such and such contingency arises and if not why not?Are they waiting for a grad to hit Tel Aviv before they do some real damage to Hamas?If Bibi cannot stand the heat he should resign and let a braver person lead us to victory.The World will dissaprove whatever we do to protect ourselves so just ignore them.

    • anneinpt says:

      I’m not sure if it’s international pressure or domestic pressure that causes Bibi to be so dithery. But it’s also the fault of his cabinet. They could easily force him to act via a vote. But they don’t. They’re all just as bad as each other.

      It’s what we find every time – we vote right and get the left anyway. It’s outrageous and undemocratic.

  2. Fay says:

    This is untenable. I had no idea Bibi was/is being such a wimp. We love him here in the West, but from what I’m reading here maybe we shouldn’t???

    • anneinpt says:

      Bibi is brilliant outside of Israel. He’s an enormously gifted speaker, very fluent and eloquent, and he really presents Israel’s case clearly and with passion. And I do believe that he believes every word. He’s not being hypocritical.

      But when it comes to actually taking action? Just look at his record. He’s terrified of his own shadow.

      Edited to add: the trouble is he’s so good at talking that as PM he makes these blood-curdling threats against Hamas or loudly declares more settlement building. He has no intention of actually carrying out these promises, he just forgets that he’s not the ambassador now but the PM, and he has to choose his words more carefully. Either that or act upon them.

      So we end up with a lose-lose situation. The violence against us goes unanswered, but Bibi’s pronouncements get picked up and amplified by the media eager to paint him as “hard-line”, “extreme right”, “hawkish” etc.

      I wish!

      Meanwhile Hamas continue firing rockets, the local Palestinians continue rioting, stoning and burning, and not one settlement or even a house gets built. In fact there is a de facto freeze in several places. And all those building announcements? They’re simply recycled from announcement to announcement.

      It is so infuriating I could spit.

  3. bluewhale11 says:

    I didn’t think it was possible for my disgust with Netanyahu and my hatred for Obama to grow but but they have both reached new depths! It is not surprising that Israel has lost so much respect, not only from other countries, but from Jews in the Diaspora, when she is not protecting her own citizens, but instead acts with “restraint” (I HATE that word) towards its sworn enemies and agrees to cease fires with terrorist groups!!!

  4. Andrea says:

    I hope IDF ( and Netanyahu) know something we do not know . Is Hamas as strong as it seem? Egypt as well is urging for a ceasefire and they are not Hamas supporters.
    Reading the Times of Israel it seems that Jihadist are replacing Hamas. Movements of Israeli troops maybe are not for Hamas… but honestly do not know.

    • anneinpt says:

      There are reports that Hamas is much weakened because of Iran’s troubles. But they can still make plenty of trouble. Egypt wants a ceasefire because stability is always better than violence and volatility. I don’t know what Israel knows. I sincerely hope they know more than they’re letting on.

      The Jihadis are definitely getting to be a big problem in the Sinai. They’ve overtaken Hamas as the #1 enemy I think.

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  6. Brian Goldfarb says:

    I really, REALLY, wanted to believe Elder of Ziyon’s article (http://elderofziyon.blogspot.co.uk/2014/07/there-had-been-previous-attempts-to.html#.U7naUY1dXKg) arguing that there was much evidence, admittedly circumstantial, that fellow Arabs/Palestinians had killed Muhammed Abu Khdeir (for whatever reason or reasons). However, I cannot sustain that belief in the light of the arrest, by Israeli police, of a number of Jewish males (including, apparently, minors) for his murder. Not, that is, if I wish to sustain my self-belief in the efficacy of evidence, logic, rationality and argument based on those three elements.

    However, I am sustained by the report (on the BBC Radio 4 News, of all places) that those arrested are “extremists”: the Israeli equivalent of the British National Party or the French Front National or the German New Democratic Party.

    Not that that is much consolation, except that it shows that Jews are just like any other group of humans: we too have those who behave unacceptably within our ranks. Not that the anti-Zionists and antisemites will let that stop them being anti-Zionist and antisemitic, probably in the same breath (very deep sigh).

    • anneinpt says:

      You’ve pinpointed the big problem. As you say, every society has its murderers and criminals. but the Jews are looked at differently and so is Israel – under a microscope.

      These murderers have irreparably damaged Israel’s reputation and given the antisemites a hook to bait us with. They have discredited us and harmed our cause more than any amount of bombs or missiles or boycotts.

      Besides being completely against the law, civil and Jewish. I’m having a hard time believing it too. See my next post.

  7. Andrea says:

    Territory under PA control is apparently silent which does not mean calm. I have checked on Israeli press and riots are spreading inside Israel, rockets from north and south but not west bank. Assuming this is true, different analysis could be offered : Fatah have already so many troubles someone says, whilst detractor insinuate that are OK with good job done elsewhere. Hardly predictable to say that three boys’ murderers will be caught by PA securities forces . The best we can hope from them is their very thin capability to prevent attacks from West.
    My feeling is that the worst will come from. North …….

    • anneinpt says:

      The PA territory is not really calm. It’s just that there are no Jews there so there’s no point in rioting. The clashes are where there is contact – Hebron, the Triangle (Um al Fahm etc.), and in mixed towns like Nazareth.

      The reason there are no rockets from the West Bank is simply because the IDF is there, unlike in Gaza. Which is one huge reason not to withdraw from the West Bank.

      As for the north – in the Bible it says “from the North will come the evil”. They knew what they were talking about.

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