Morning Report: June 30, 2006

Perspectives on Gaza. Analysts discuss what Israel must do in Gaza and beyond.

Aaron Lerner: Cease-fire means harder future. Aaron Lerner, via IMRA: 'Prime Minister Olmert claims that there were periods before the retreat in which the incidents of Qassams were worse than since the retreat. But the reason that there was so much activity wasn't because the IDF couldn't stop the rockets at the time. It was because the politicians didn't let them. Besides halting Defensive Shield, the politicians kept dropping ongoing security measures. Roadblocks with vehicle inspection at key points on the road traversing the Gaza Strip were supposed to play a critical role in controlling the flow of rockets and weapons in the Strip, for example, but the politicians consistently pulled the inspections within days of an attack - only to "close the barn door" after another attack. Since the retreat the entire Gaza Strip the situation is even worse as it has become essentially one big terror training camp.' Lerner argues that the enemy's ability to engage Israel in a costly war of attrition has been growing, and that the time to act decisively is now. (IMRA)

Jed Babbin: Regional problems, regional solutions. Jed Babbin in RealClearPolitics: 'Israel can never settle the Palestinian problem by dealing only with the Palestinians just as we cannot ever settle Iraq's problems by dealing only with Iraqis. Because Israel's neighbors, and Iraq's, are the sources of their problems, so they must be the focus of the solutions. They are regional problems. If they are not solved throughout the region, they will not be solved at all.' This is precisely what Dreams Into Lightning has been saying all along. Babbin further argues that the Gaza withdrawal might have been workable under Sharon, but "Olmert is no Sharon" and Gaza became Hamastan - an incubator for terrorism. Read the whole thing at the link. (RealClearPolitics)

Yossi Klein Halevi: Tactical weakness, strategic strength. Israpundit reprints Yossi Klein Halevi: 'Our obsession with hostages is a tactical weakness but a strategic strength. It allows terrorists a stunning psychological advantage: With a single random kidnapping, they hold an entire society emotionally hostage. Strategically, though, hostage-taking only strengthens Israeli resolve. And resolve is precisely what the public now expects of its government.' Halevi notes that 'Hamas’s adoption of the tactics of Al Qaeda in Iraq comes as no surprise' given Hamas' openly pro-al-Qaeda stance, although the 'international media missed the significance of that moment.' (Why are we not surprised?) Watch for the media to get all excited over a "prisoners' document" - a blueprint for the destruction of Israel. Full article at the link. (Israpundit)

Gaza strikes hit Hamas targets. Debka: 'Israel warplanes pound southern Gaza Strip Friday after more than 20 overnight strikes across the territory. Missiles hit the office of Hamas interior minister Sayid Siyam and Fatah-al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades building, as well as munitions stores and roads and spaces used to launch Qassam rockets against Israel.' (Debka)

Commentary. Israel must act decisively in Gaza; but that is not all that must be done. As long as Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories remains a military necessity, Israel's enemies abroad will use the territories to drain Israel's strenght and launch attacks on the Jewish state. Yesterday's flyover of Bashar Assad's residence was a reminder to all concerned of what Israel could do, if it chose to. As Michael Totten put it, 'He only continues to breathe because Israel feels like letting him continue to breathe.'

Israel and its allies - that'd be the United States - need to make some choices about taking the battle to the enemy. We need to start asking ourselves questions about who gets to continue to breathe.