Major Events in Israel and the Middle East
A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman
Violence in Gaza, Israeli Cabinet Defers any Decisions
Sunday May 13, 2007
Today was a day of ever increasing violence in Gaza. Events there seem to have almost reached the point they were in before the Mecca Accords. There seems to be both premeditated and random acts of violence taking place at the same time. Five Palestinians died in todayŐs shootings.
In the meantime, the Israeli Cabinet spent three hours debating options to respond to the continued Qassam fire from Gaza. Commentators stated that the discussions were held in the shadow of Winograd, with everyone getting a chance to present, and the Chief-of-Staff bringing three other generals with him to give all possible options and opinions. In the end, the Cabinet decided not to take any major actions, and to just give the army slightly more prerogative to act against the Qassam infrastructure. One of the Israeli commentators stated after showing the pictures from todayŐs fighting in Gaza that Israel has nothing to seek there.
On the other hand, General Amiran Levine, formerly commander of the Northern Command and the deputy chief of the Mossad, criticized the government" for not doing enough. He presented on "London and Kirshenbaum" tonight a comprehensive plan for dealing with Gaza. He suggested on one hand dividing Gaza into hundreds of different areas. If a Qassam falls on an open territory for instance, then one square would be taken over by Israel for a few hours and everything would be destroyed there. If a Qassam was to fall on a populated section, then a populated square would be destroyed. That is the stick part of the plan. He suggested that Israel allow Hamas to declare a state in Gaza, and that together with the US, build new housing in Gaza for the displaced people.
Minister of Defense Amir Peretz was on "London and Kirshenbaum" this evening as well. He was asked why the government spent three hours carefully analyzing the lack of options in Gaza while ignoring Assad's calls for talks, and downplaying the Arab peace initiative. Peretz could not defend the position, and called on the government to immediately begin negotiations with Syria.
At the opening of todayŐs cabinet meeting, which was devoted to celebrating 40 years since Jerusalem's reunification, JerusalemŐs mayor Uri Lupolianski announced that in 20 years the Arabs will be the majority of the city. The New York Times, in the Week in Review, ran an accurate story titled Israeli Riddle: Love Jerusalem, Hate Living There. It explains much of Jerusalem's demographic problems. I would also like to recommend reading Yoel Marcus' article from FridayŐs Ha'aretz called Three Comments on the Situation.