US Middle East envoy George Mitchell, fresh from his first trip to the region this past week, will be headed back at the end of the month.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who might also make a visit sometime in the near future, announced his return trip at an event welcoming him back Tuesday.
Clinton described Mitchell’s efforts as consolidating the cease-fire, and praised Egypt for its role in working on the issue, with an eye toward an eventual settlement.
“We are looking to work with all of the parties to try to help them make progress toward a negotiated agreement that would end the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, create an independent and viable Palestinian state in both the West Bank and Gaza, and provide Israel with the peace and security that it has sought,” Clinton said, also stressing the need to address current humanitarian concerns in Gaza.
For there to be a cease-fire, the PalArabs have to stop firing rockets. Something they have refused to do. Cease-fires are one-sided to them.
Not for the first time since the “ceasefire” with Hamas terrorists went into effect two weeks ago, Western Negev residents awoke at around 7:00 a.m. to the wail of the Color Red alert siren as another attack was launched from the region.
Within seconds, a long-range Grad-type Katyusha rocket slammed into a residential center in the center of Ashkelon, landing between a group of buildings. Ashkelon is the 13th largest city in the country.
One woman was lightly injured in the attack, and three others suffered severe emotional trauma. They were evacuated to Barzilai Medical Center in the city.
According to an eye-witness, “the entire back part of the bus,” referring to a line #5 bus in the city, was damaged by the blast just after setting out from the Central Bus Station. Several cars in the area were also damaged, and windows in nearby buildings were shattered.
Initial reports that classes were cancelled for the morning in the city’s schools were denied by Mayor Shlomo Cohen, who said city officials would meet during the morning to determine further action. He noted that there was a lot of confusion in the city due to the attack. “Although there was certainly an air raid siren to alert people, there was no prior warning [from the home front command] of an impending attack,” he noted.
Monday evening, Gaza terrorists fired a short-range Kassam rocket sounding off the Color Red siren in the Sha’ar HaNegev region and in the Gaza Belt town of Sderot. The missile hit a kibbutz in the Sha’ar HaNegev region, but caused no damage. No one was injured in the attack.
“We didn’t finish the job,” complained a listener bitterly on the local Radio Darom. “We didn’t finish the job because of the elections, and this is the result. Motivation among the troops and the people was very high, we could have done it, but it didn’t get done. And we still have attacks.”
So Mr. Mitchell, when are these rocket attacks going to end? The Israel of 2009 is not the Israel of 2000 that you knew. It is leaner, stronger and more willing to fight for what it believes right.
Dear Senator Mitchell,
We were very happy to see you arrive and wished you a productive visit. A long time has passed since you left us with the report named after you, in May 2001, and we wish to inform you that we sobered up since then. We’ve sobered up greatly.
That report was complied several months after the outbreak of the second Intifada, when buses were exploding on our streets and suicide bombers were detonating themselves in our coffees shops. We were helpless at the time and Ariel Sharon’s new government did not know how to cope with the terror.
You arrived and left us with an orderly heritage and plan for resolving our problems with the Palestinians, who less than a year earlier refused Ehud Barak’s generous offer in Camp David and embark on the murderous Intifada.
Along with your colleagues, you declared that violence will not resolve the region’s problem and that a mechanism must be created to put an end to violence, rebuild trust, and renew the diplomatic talks aimed at bringing up a permanent agreement and peace between the sides. However, you did not find any evidence proving that Arafat and the Palestinian Authority planned or initiated the “uprising.” If you wish, we can provide you plenty of such evidence today.
Oddly, you compared the terrorists and their victims, while demanding the halt of violence on both sides. Back then already we were surprised to discover that you immorally adopted the same attitude to raging Palestinian terror and to Israel’s response, aimed at curbing and averting terrorism
In that report, you also demanded to curb the “natural growth” in the settlements, at the heart of the Land of Israel, as if the settlers’ babies were the terrorists preventing peace.
Your successor, CIA Director George Tenet, detailed the recommendation and wrote that the Palestinians must completely end the violence, detain terrorists, cooperate with Israel in thwarting terror, siege illegal weapons, and prevent arms smuggling. We won’t deal with all the other recommendations here, yet we wish to inform you that none of these Palestinian obligations was met.
Ceasefires blew up in our faces. However, we Israelis learned a lesson.
In the IDF we say that “safety instructions are written in blood.” You should know that this lesson cost us plenty of blood. We listened to you, we tried many ceasefires, and all of them blew up in our faces.
For a long time, too long, we refused to admit the failure of the Oslo process. However, by now almost every child in Israel knows that Oslo failed. We learned the hard way that Fatah and Abbas cannot be trusted and that they cannot be “given guns,” just like the Israeli rightist camp shouted 15 years ago.
The reports prepared by you and by Tenet are premised on the fundamentally flawed assumption that the Palestinians will fight terror, and that Arafat or Abbas’ troops will prevent the launching of Qassam rockets from Tulkarem to Tel Aviv or the mortar attacks from Qalqiliya on Kfar Saba.
Well, you should know that this never really happened. In the few cases where terrorists were detained, they were jailed for a brief period and later released in line with the “revolving door” policy. All those times it was done just to pretend, in order to appease you, the Americans, and only to deceive us, the innocent Israelis who so badly want calm.
We tried in the past the brilliant idea you proposed – “joint patrols” by IDF forces and Palestinian security forces. These patrols ended when Palestinian forces firing at their Israeli “colleagues.”
Our sobering up process continued when our Navy stopped the Karin A arms smuggling ship that was about to transfer tons of explosives and machine guns to Fatah “moderates” in the Palestinian Authority, so that they can defeat the Israeli enemy.
So, George, we first ask you to examine the results of the previous ideas you proposed. Meanwhile, we had no choice, and in operation Defensive Shield the IDF restored our security control in the towns of Judea and Samaria.
Our sobering up process was long and painful. It also included a rain of Qassams and Grad rockets fired at all southern towns in the wake of the Road Map and the disengagement, which led to the recent war in Gaza.
We hope that during your visit here you were reacquainted with reality and with the sobering up process we personally experienced, so that you won’t force us to repeat the mistakes of the past.
And Israel is will willingly restart Operation Cast Lead in order to finish the job, your presence in the nation or not.
It is just too bad that Mitchell and his team have been bought and paid for by the Saudis. Neither he nor his team is impartial, they are will definitely favor the Palestinians and try to force Israel into concessions that it cannot make. But this is Obama’s plan all along. The destruction of the State of Israel. I just pray that Israel elects a leader with the balls to stand up to Mitchell, Clinton and Obama.