Netanyahu: Deterrence loss was greatest failure in Lebanon war

Israel admits that it has now been severely weakened by Hizbullah due to the Second Lebanese War. Interesting admission.

Opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday lashed out against Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s Knesset speech that touched on the Second Lebanon War.

Netanyahu addressed the plenum after Olmert spoke and said the prime minister’s functioning during the crisis had weakened Israel’s position.

“The greatest failure as a result of the war is that Israel’s deterrent capability has been severely harmed,” Netanyahu told the Knesset plenum.

The opposition had given the government “full support to achieve the [war’s] goals, but [it] failed to do so,” he said.

Focus on Palestine talks, Israel told

Good luck trying to tell that to Israel, Ms. Rice.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has cautioned against a growing sentiment in Israel to pursue peace with Syria instead of with warring Palestinian factions, saying there is “no substitute” for creating a Palestinian state.

Rice, who was to discuss the stalled peace process with diplomats here yesterday, has worked for months to lay the groundwork for Palestinians and Israelis to begin discussing what she calls a “political horizon” – the parameters of a possible Palestinian state.

A complication of adverse conditions

Ghassan Khatib

The eruption of internal clashes between Fateh and Hamas last Sunday in Gaza was a renewal of the fighting that blighted the Strip in the months before the agreement to form a unity government. It came as little surprise since tensions have been running high and the Mecca agreement failed to deal with the underlying causes.

From the beginning, Hamas’ armed wing, the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, adopted a highly critical position of that agreement and the subsequent unity government. Prominent members argued that the Mecca agreement involved political concessions that would expose Hamas to public criticism since the platform of the Palestinian national unity government marked a significant departure from the Islamist movement’s original political positions.

In fact, an interesting debate has emerged inside Hamas since its election victory in early 2006. Immediately after that election, Hamas was united around the idea that the movement could combine forming a government and undertaking any consequent political task with continuing the resistance. With time, and with the difficulties in running the government, those in Hamas who won the election and assumed positions in the government started to realize the difficulties in combining governance with resistance.

That view was not shared by the military cadres, who argued that sacrificing the resistance for the sake of running the Palestinian Authority would undermine the popularity of Hamas,

Continue reading A complication of adverse conditions

Israel may step up strikes in Gaza: Livni

Israeli terrorism continues. Israel to step up military strikes in the Gaza Strip which they had earlier left, in order to crush the Palestinian resistance fighters.

Jerusalem. Israel may step up military strikes in the Gaza Strip in response to a surge of Palestinian cross-border rocket salvoes, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said on Wednesday, Reuters reported.

“Until now, we have demonstrated restraint, but this situation is not a tolerable situation,” Livni told reporters after holding security consultations with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defence Minister Amir Peretz.

Earlier on Wednesday, Israel destroyed a Hamas position in Gaza which it said had been used to plan rocket attacks. At least four Palestinians died in the air strike, which came as Hamas battled rivals from the Palestinian faction Fatah.

A Political Marriage Of Necessity: A Single State Of Palestine-Israel

Ali Abunimah

As Israel celebrates 59 years of independence, Palestinians on May 14 commemorate the Nakba, the catastrophe of expulsion and decades of exile that continue to this day.

When my mother was nine years old, she and her family mounted the back of a pickup truck and left their village of Lifta, adjacent to Jerusalem, under threat from Zionist militias. My grandmother covered the furniture in the family home that my grandfather had built. Anticipating a short absence until fighting in the area died down, they took only a few clothes. That was almost six decades ago. Like hundreds of thousands of other Palestinians, they were never allowed to return, and their property was seized by Israel.

My mother remembers her early childhood and the Jewish neighbors who rented the apartment her father owned. She recalls helping them on the Sabbath and playing with their daughter after school. A life such as this is no more than a distant memory for most Palestinian refugees, who, with their descendants, now number more than 5 million.

But a better life needn’t be just a memory. It is feasible for Palestinians to return to their homeland while peace with Israelis is built at the same time. Another diplomatic push will not bring about the fantasy of neat separation of Israelis and Palestinians into two states. This would only perpetuate inequality and division. Instead, international pressure should be put on Israel to drop its insistence on supremacy over Palestinians. Then both parties can come together to begin building a single, multiethnic state where Jews and Palestinians can again live side by side.

One of the hard — but not impossible — tasks will be convincing many Israelis of the viability of a single-state solution. In 2004, for example, Israeli historian Benny Morris, who has written several books documenting the forced expulsion of the Palestinians, said that a “Jewish state would not have come into existence without the uprooting of 700,000 Palestinians. Therefore it was necessary to uproot them.” But Mr. Morris is no bleeding heart. He added, “There are circumstances in history that justify ethnic cleansing.” If Israel’s founding prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, could be faulted, Morris said, it was because he “did not complete the transfer in 1948.”

Continue reading A Political Marriage Of Necessity: A Single State Of Palestine-Israel