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The Israel Air Force killed two terrorists preparing to launch rockets against Israeli civilians from Gaza.
Former U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates recently warned that, “The results of an American or Israeli military strike on Iran could, in my view, prove catastrophic, haunting us for generations in that part of the world.” During Thursday's Vice Presidential debate the statement was read to Vice President Joe Biden and Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan at the start of segment on Iran. What exactly Gates meant by “catastrophic” I’m not sure (Muslim/Middle East resentment towards the U.S.? Lack of access to oil? Increase in global terrorism?), but during the debate, both Biden and debate moderator Martha Raddatz seemed to argue that it meant going to war with Iran.
JERUSALEM – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is reportedly considering a preemptive military strike against several Syrian chemical weapons storage depots and Scud missile sites. The goal is to prevent embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad from transferring the unconventional arsenal to Hizbullah or the Iranian Revolutionary Guards if Assad appears on the verge of being toppled from power by opposition forces.
“They do not think it’s possible. They do not think it’s in the cards. I think that is one of the reasons diplomacy has failed – and it has failed,” he said.
JERUSALEM – In a column appearing in the Israeli daily Yisrael Hayom, David Wurmser, who served as senior Middle East adviser to former vice president Dick Cheney, warned the Israeli government that President Obama would not assist the Jewish state if it launched a preemptive strike against Iranian nuclear and military installations.
When four of out four newspapers in Israel deal with any single subject one can count on the fact that there is a deliberate effort by some personnel to set the headlines on fire.
The most realistic and helpful comments on Iran came today from Gabi Ashkenazi. He says that the military option is and should be the last option and yet it must remain on the table because if other options are to succeed, the only way it can succeed is if the threat of military action remains.
Avraham Nocham, an artist, explained that he has decided to join the strike out of empathy and identification with the strikers’ objectives. "I am very sensitive to these issues. Many times the development of these incidents is frightening. I have come to join the struggle and strike in hope of a positive outcome."
The revelation is particularly disturbing because Israel recently agreed to ease restrictions on Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails so that they would end their hunger strike. An explicit term of the agreement required the prisoners to sign a pledge forswearing terrorist activity.
For the United States, issuing attack threats in the manner of Hugo Chavez is not a convincing posture. I don’t know if the Israelis will find it reassuring; I suspect the Europeans and Iranians will find it annoying, and decide to ignore it.
On Monday night, hundreds of Palestinian prisoners agreed to end their hunger strike after winning concessions from Israel to improve their conditions, both sides announced. Earlier in the week, concern had been rising about the effect the death of one of the strikers might have on Tuesday's 'Nakba Day' protests.
You will recall that over 1000 prisoners, including some multiple murderers, were released in the ‘exchange’ for kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit. Many of the ones that are left were not part of the deal because they were considered more dangerous or because their crimes were more vicious.
Ranking Islamic Jihad official Khader Adnan, who went on a 66-day hunger strike over his detention by Israel, has been released in keeping with the deal reached with him to end his hunger strike in February. One day before his release on Tuesday, some 2,300 Palestinian inmates in Israeli jails began an open-ended hunger strike, synchronized with Palestinian rallies marking "Prisoners' Day."
"Palestinian Prisoner's day" is the latest attempt to load the Palestinian calendar with days of mass mobilization and action, with the higher aim of embarrassing Israel and pressuring it to make concessions. Among the demands being made are an end to administrative detention and access to newspapers and more television channels.