Micah Halpern Has Been Thinking About The Middle East
Quiet Now in Israel
Wednesday March 14, 2012
After four days of a constant barrage of missiles from Gaza into Israel, there is finally a lull. Israel says that they will “answer quiet with quiet.”
222 rockets were shot from Gaza into Israel. 56 rockets, about 25%, were intercepted by the Iron Dome anti rocket battery system.
Israel struck Gaza 37 times. Israel acknowledges 26 Palestinian deaths, fourteen of them members of the same Islamic Jihad cell, four of them civilian Palestinians.
In a stroke of unbelievable wonderment, the Palestinians also assert that four civilian Palestinians were killed. Never have the two sides agreed on casualties.
During the four days of bombardment over a million Israelis were in range of the rockets. 200,000 school children were kept out of school.
In Israel there were 40 casualties, two, both foreign workers, sustained serious injuries. Most of the injuries are a result of broken glass, and shock.
The situation is bad. Thankfully, it isn’t worse.
Tuesday March 13, 2012
I’ve Been Thinking:
Saudi Arabia is really ticked off at the United States because of two huge policy decisions. So Saudi leadership wants to make President Obama pay at the gas pump – and higher gas prices may just be the kiss of death for Obama’s re-election campaign.
The current US policy of advancing talks with Iran is seen by the Saudis as just giving the Iranians more time to enrich their uranium and develop their nuclear weapons. The Saudis also feel that the US policy to wait and watch in Syria is destructive to the region. Saudi Arabia wants to oust Assad of Syria as a message to Iran.
Their frustration with the United States is so intense that it may even drive the Saudis into a defense and intelligence alliance with Israel.
The Saudis believe that the US must stop Iran. If the US is unwilling, they will do it together with other players in the region. And that might be very upsetting to the United States.
Monday March 12, 2012
After several days of rocket fire from Gaza Benny Gantz, the Israel chief of staff, made a comment that was somewhat surprising.
Gantz said that Israel would continue to respond to the rocket fire with “force and sensitivity.”
What a poor choice of words. So many expressions could have been used – but to say sensitivity?
He could have said “with force and surgical precision.” He could have said “responsibly.” He could have used the international league term “commensurate force” or said “proportional response.”
He could have coupled the term force with “wise” or “justifiable.”
But sensitive? That is not what the IDF should be when it comes to Gaza and the indiscriminate shooting of rockets into Israel.
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