Baskin: What the $%#@* Was it All For?

Are you ready to throw your head back and scream to the high heavens? Just read Gershon Baskin’s column in today’s J Post, in which he reveals that prior to Israel’s attack on Gaza, he met with a senior Hamas official in Europe to discuss possibilities for renewing the cease-fire. He returned to Israel ten days before Israel began the war and sent a letter to Olmert, Barak and Livni, informing them…

…that Hamas was willing to open a direct secret back channel for a package deal that would include the renewal of the cease-fire, the ending of the economic siege and the prisoner exchange for the release of (Gilad) Schalit. I further indicated that Hamas would be willing to implement the agreement on Rafah which included the stationing of Palestinian Authority personnel loyal to President Mahmoud Abbas in Rafah and a return of the European monitors. I communicated the same message to (Gilad’s father) Noam Schalit and asked him to make sure that Ofer Dekel, who is charged with the Schalit file by the government, received the Hamas “offer.”

Olmert, et al chose to ignore this opportunity, preferring instead to “teach Hamas a lesson.”
Baskin’s final conclusions:

What did this war achieve? What has changed? Has Israel gained its military deterrence? Has Israel changed the security reality in the South? Is Gilad Schalit at home? Has Hamas reduced its basic demands for the release of Schalit? No, no and no! Israel is negotiating now for exactly what could have been achieved without going to war. Israel spent $1 billion on the war, caused some $2 billion worth of damage in Gaza, more than 1000 people have been killed, thousands of lives have been destroyed. Hundreds of thousands of Israelis lived through weeks of terror; millions of Palestinians suffered the bombardment of their towns, cities and refugee camps – what is the result? More hatred, more extremism and more support for fanatics and their ideas – on both sides of the Gaza border.

Read the whole article and weep…

6 thoughts on “Baskin: What the $%#@* Was it All For?

  1. If Israel can accomplish these goals without even speaking with Hamas (if they lose the upcoming Palestinian election), then it’ll vindicate those who said that Hamas couldn’t be negotiated with.

  2. What reason do we have to believe that Hamas would actually do as they say? And what interest does Hamas have in a continued ceasefire, other than to continue arming themselves, i.e., obtain rockets with even further range and destructive potential? Their history has shown time and again that any action Hamas takes, whether in times of active conflict or of ceasefire, is taken with the intention of attacking Israel or preparing for a future attack.

  3. Gadi, I agree with you. At the same time, I have a Palestinian friend who grew up in the first Intifada, when merely flying a Palestinian flag, or passing literature to boycott Israeli goods was sufficient to have you arrested or beaten or get your legs shot out from under you.
    There were real negotiations going on in the Israeli prisons in the late 1980s with Palestinian student leaders (arrested for organizing rallies or such nonsense) who wanted peace and who had credibility in the villages. Instead, we invited Arafat and his goons back in, who exterminated any moderate faction that opposed him, stole 99% of funds given to him by the EU/US/Arabs/Israel, and created a culture of violence. And what did we do? We gave him more weapons and offered him a state.
    A generation ago, the Palestinians were farmers. They were ignored, ridiculed, and ridden like sheep by the Military Administration. Today they are executing the most sophisticated asymetric warfare being fought anywhere on the planet.
    The lesson being, Israel only negotiates with murderers.
    That said, there is no easy way out of this. We cannot continue to reward murder. We need to finish our wars. Until we do, everyone will continue to suffer, Jews and Arabs. The Torah gives a way to fight just wars. For six days we unleash hell and achieve our objectives. Then we let the population mourn and get back to normal as quickly as possible. Not under occupation, not behind barbed wires, but as normal people.

  4. I live in Canada. I am a supporter of the state of Israel but am finding the growing anti-semitism quite alarming. Christian ministers that I talked to seem oddly happy about it and the recent war in Gaza. It makes me want to scream!

  5. Hang in there Miriam. I have friends in France who say every day something happens on the buses or in the streets. And if anyone tries to claim that anti-semitism is a byproduct of Israeli actions in Gaza or elsewhere, just remember the non-Jews never needed an excuse to pogrom us in the past. All they are accomplishing is bringing the Jewish community together.
    I was talking to a local progressive activist recently about Obama’s stimulus package, and he went off into this rant about how the Jewish bankers fucked up the country, how Madoff is allowed to steal $50 Billion because he’s a Jew and black people aren’t allowed to steal food. I was floored. This was, I thought, a highly educated person, a respected activist. Half his contributions come from progressive Jews. I never heard anything like this from him before. I’m glad I was there to see it for myself. It was a real wake up call.

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