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It’s Bibi


Benjamin Netanyahu has won the Likud primary with 47% of the vote, beating out rival Silvan Shalom for the leadership of a party that suddenly finds itself in third place.

When Netanyahu visualized the circumstances under which he’d regain leadership of Likud, somehow I don’t think that’s quite what he had in mind.

Still, he will lead a party that is the voice of Israelis who felt betrayed by Sharon’s disengagement plan or who believe that Sharon led Israel down the wrong path. Unfortunately for Netanyahu, they aren’t in the majority. And come March, in all likelihood, he will find himself in a situation that is nominally different but factually familiar: the opposition. Only this time, it will be from without instead of from within.


Meryl has Hamas’s answer to those who dared hope that the Gaza withdrawal would be a step towards peace:

Hamas leaders vowed to continue fighting Israel as tens of thousands cheered and waved the group’s green flags and masked gunmen hoisted assault rifles, rockets and anti-tank missiles.

“We will not rest and will not abandon the path of Jihad and martyrdom as long as one inch of our land remained in the hands of the Jews,” said Raed Saed, a senior Hamas leader in Gaza City, using the Arabic term for holy war.

“We are celebrating our victory in Gaza and now we are headed toward Jerusalem, Nablus, Akko, Haifa, the Galilee and all of Palestine,” he said.

“Sharon, you should know that we will win – the only language spoken will be the language of weapons. We are young people who aspire to die for Allah and for the weapons we are carrying.”

Catch that language? Jerusalem (not “East Jerusalem”), Nabulus, Akko, Haifa, the Galilee and all of Palestine.

For the uninitiated, that means Israel.

I was cautiously optimistic at the start of the pullout plan, figuring that Sharon had a strategy and that this could at the very least break the stalemate and get Israel out of a region it didn’t want in the first place. I have to sadly concede that those opposed to the plan were probably right – not for religious or ideological reasons, but because it set a very dangerous precedent in rewarding terrorism.

Just when the violence was starting to wane, just as the Palestinians were starting to believe that maybe their approach was a mistake, the Gaza pullout handed them a victory to re-energize their ranks and start up the bloodshed all over again.

I’d hoped I was wrong about that. It sadly appears that I was right.


We all knew this would happen, but it’s still hard to witness


The situation in Gaza post-pullout is pretty much what most rational people predicted, and is a shattering disillusionment for those who’d held out hope that the pullout would jump-start the peace process. Meryl, of course, is all over the story – here, here, and here are a few recent postings. And Lynn had no illusions […]

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Why does this sound like a really bad idea?


Israel will be entrusting the Egyptians with the task of ensuring border security in Gaza: The Israeli parliament on Wednesday approved a deal to hand control of a buffer zone along the Gaza-Egypt border to Egyptian security forces after Israel completes its pullout from the territory. The agreement, sanctioning the deployment of 750 Egyptian border […]

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Big Lies


A CBS News column is claiming that the onus is not on the Palestinians to make the next move in the mideast, now that Israel disengaged from Gaza, because settlers are still moving to the West Bank: For Palestinians, the Gaza pullout is a little like a settler shell game. The settlers have disappeared from […]

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Gaza pullout: a step towards peace?


Abbas and Sharon are making the usual meaningless statements about “working towards peace” and starting a “new page” in Israeli-Palestinian relations. In the meantime, Hamas is giving the real picture: Hamas and Islamic Jihad announced on Monday that they have reached an agreement with the Palestinian Authority according to which the two groups would not […]

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Disengaged from disengagement


Imshin says we should not avert our eyes. She’s probably right. Israelis – and those of us who consider ourselves in solidarity with Israel – need to be engaged during this painful time of disengagement. But Meryl describes perfectly how horribly difficult it is: I have found myself unable to read the stories, or watch […]

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In Brief


I still don’t have time to properly blog, but I wanted to at least mention some of the newsworthy items in the passing show these days. Disengagement is depressing. I can barely read the news – from any perspective – because it just gives me a giant headache. The whole issue is so clearly lose-lose […]

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Pop quiz: who said this?


Here’s the quote: [Syria is a] threat to the stability of the region . . . [I have] great concerns about the Syrians. Their psychology cannot be comprehended.” Was it: a) George W. Bush b) Ariel Sharon? c) Tony Blair? d) Jacques Chirac? Believe it or not, the answer is d: Jacques Chirac. Yeah, I […]

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Shock, anger and sadness


Scenes like this are sadly and unacceptably almost commonplace in some parts of the world. We’re nearly numb to the news of terrorist attacks in Iraq these days. The scene is horrifyingly familiar to Israelis. But in London, despite the history of IRA attacks, this is not commonplace and it still has the power to […]

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