A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman
April 21, 2008 Hamas Attack and Carter
If Hamas would have had its way, Passover would have not been a happy holiday in Israel. On Saturday morning erev Passover, Hamas launched a major operation against the Kerem Shalom crossing with Gaza. They sent three vehicles, including a armored car laden with explosives to destroy the crossing, kill large number of Israelis and try to capture additional Israelis to join Gilad Shalit. The IDF responded quickly, soldiers took cover in time to avoid any deaths and fought off the attackers. In the meantime a second armed vehicle broke through the security fence- an Israeli tank nearby spotted the vehicle and destroyed it.
The attack was a well timed attack that involved a large number of Hamas members. Israeli observers describe it a "strategic" attack. Hamas seems determined to attack the Gaza crossings, forcing Israel to close them and then creating a humanitarian crisis . Thanks to the fact that the IDF was ready and commanders in the field, led by a Bedouin major, acted quickly the event ended well for the IDF and not for Hamas. It is clear that Hamas will try to do anything it can to break the siege on Gaza, even if it means, or especially if it means, bringing about greater suffering on the Gazan people.
While this was taking place, former US President Carter has been visiting the Middle East. He met with Hamas leader Halid Meshal despite the objections of the US and Israeli governments. He attempted to get Meshal to agree to a one sided cease fire, which he refused. Carter also attempted to convince Meshal to agree to a staged release of Shalit, allowing him to go to Egypt in exchange for the release of the Palestinians already agreed to. Meshal refused. The one thing that he was willing to agree to was to allow Shalit to write a letter to his parents, something any civilized group would allow. Carter claimed that Israel and Syria were close to coming to an agreement but it was the US government was stopping Israel from proceeding.
I watched two interviews that Carter gave to Israeli media and in each of them he equated Israeli reactions to Hamas attacks as terrorism. He defended the title of his book on the Palestinian Israeli conflict as "apartheid". Carter, in his role of the defender of the downtrodden, clearly identifies with the Palestinian national narrative.
Israeli television did a segment on the Bedouin Major who averted a major disaster at the Kerem Shalom crossing.They interviewed him and his father. The father was proud of the fact that his children all served in the army. He lamented the fact that the number of Bedouin serving is dropping rapidly, being influenced by the radical Islam. He noted, as did his son, how different his son is treated the moment he removes his uniform. Once he removes it,he considered just another Arab. Israel has not been able to make up its mind on how it relates to the Bedouin.