April 05, 2008

"Mr Security" feels the heat

It is the prayer of all those poor Israeli citizens whom the Kadima government has thrown out of their homes and left to shelter in tents. It's also the prayer of residents of Sderot abandoned by the cabinet to a life under constant rocket fire; for which Olmert told them last month he had no solution and which they would simply have to get used to.

And the prayer?

Simply that those heartless and spineless ministers who make these callous decisions from the comfort and safety of their cabinet room should just once come under fire themselves and feel what it is really like for ordinary folk.

Happily their prayers have been answered, and in the best possible way.

Who better to fall victim than "Mr Security" himself - former Shin Bet chief, Avi Dichter.

And not just once - but twice!

A month ago an Iranian-made long-range Grad rocket landed within yards of Dichter's family home in Ashkelon. And just yesterday morning he again came under fire from Gaza whilst visiting a lookout point north of Gaza. Fortunately the snipers
caused only light injury to one of Dichter's security men, but it is to be hoped the bullets will hit more vital organs within the Israeli cabinet.

Here is an extract of an interview Dichter gave to the Independent newspaper in August 2005 in support of the Gaza disengagement:

He[Dichter] argues that withdrawing from Gaza drastically reduces the "carpet of targets" open to militants in Gaza in the first place. He is optimistic that there won't be an organised outbreak of violence - as opposed to sporadic attacks like that on Kfar Darom yesterday - during the disengagement process against settlers and soldiers by Palestinian militants, who have been warned to expect heavy retaliation if there is. More importantly perhaps, he is sceptical that there will be after disengagement too.

Almost every settler you speak to in Gaza mentions the likelihood that Hamas will soon have the range to fire Qassams at Mr Dichter's own home town. Yet he professes bemusement that the international community sometimes seems disproportionately exercised about the militants' use of its makeshift artillery when its success has been so - relatively - small.

"From 600 to 700 Qassam rockets fired we suffered eight fatalities and from 3,500 mortar shells we suffered five fatalities. Which is one suicide bomber."

By contrast, he says, without withdrawing from Gaza the militants can attack both Israeli settlements and military positions. "They can use snipers on the settlements and the vehicles on the road. They know that they can put some bombs along the Green Line against Israeli military vehicles. Which means the probability to hit civilians or carry out successful terror attacks, is going to decrease dramatically."

And this man is now Minister for Israel's Internal Security.

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