January 29, 2006

Greenpeace in Gaza

All this shock and horror at Hamas’s landslide victory in the PA elections … I simply don’t buy it. Ariel Sharon may have been cruel and misguided over the expulsion of Jews from Gaza and Northern Samaria. But whatever my personal feelings about his actions, I have never been in any doubt that he was a brilliant strategist who understood the Arabs perhaps better than they knew themselves.

I believe he must have foreseen the fall of Abbas and the infighting Fatah group and knew perfectly well that the Palestinian street would ultimately reward Hamas for handing out the charity provided by Iran and the territory provided by Israel in appeasement of terror.

The whole expulsion plan – however cruel and brutal – was Sharon’s own special poker game with Bush and Blair. In handing over Gaza to the PA, he was giving Abbas just enough rope to hang himself with. He knew full well that the place would go to the devil before it went to democracy and that the terrorists would take control.

Then he could go to Bush and Blair and say: “See?”
“I’ve made my painful concessions. And look at these guys. Would YOU want them as neighbours? Would YOU trust anything they signed? Do you SERIOUSLY expect us to help these guys with more concessions?”

And that’s exactly the hard talk that would have been going on this week had Sharon not been silenced by that stroke.

Only trouble is, the master tactician and brilliant strategist didn’t allow for his own mortality. He never imagined someone as weak and inexperienced as Ehud Olmert would have to take over his hand at the poker table. And with Simon Peres beside him. A man who didn’t wait 24 hours before acknowledging that there might be a possibility of Israel negotiating with Hamas. Sometimes I believe Peres would negotiate with the Ebola virus if there were a ministerial car and salary on offer.

In making concessions to those who seek to destroy us, the world always takes its lead from our own people. So, whilst none of the major powers was initially expecting Israel to contemplate dealing with Hamas, by next week many will be falling behind Peres and his blind faith in peaceful coexistence with the avowed and unrepentant killing force that lies forever in wait at our shrinking borders.

How ironic that today Olmert put his faith in Germany. Thanking the new Bundeskanzler, Angela Merkel for saying Israel could not be expected to negotiate with Hamas. This is the Germany that freed the Munich Olympic murderers with a staged hijacking and this is the Bundeskanzler who – in one of her first acts as head of the government – freed the hijacker of TWA 847. Watch just how fast she and her European friends change their tune on Hamas. And then on Iran.

Time and again it comes back to the same old saying: its up to us.
"If I am not for myself, then who will be for me?
And if not now... when?"

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