WHY ISRAEL WON'T ATTACK GAZA
by Barry Chamish
In the late '90s, my work on the Rabin murder was a serious discussion topic in certain circles in Israel. One night I was at a very sabra party in Jerusalem when a man in his thirties, well wined up, started a conversation with me. He claimed he worked for Intelligence and began with the execution of Adolph Eichmann. I will now quote him, though years have past and I'm really paraphrasing our conversation as best as memory permits.
"The older guys tell me the Eichmann execution was staged. They released ashes over the sea but they weren't his. His trial was a show and they kept him in a soundproof cage in case he said the wrong thing. The deal with him was to say the right things and they'd let him live."
There was enough logic in this that I published it as a rumor and I said so. The item was well rebutted, especially by a man famously known as Rabbi Pruz, of New Jersey, who hosted Eichmann's executioner at his synagogue.
However, the gentleman continued with a story he claimed to have partially witnessed that made perfect sense. It concerned Defense Minister Rabin in the late '80s:
"Rabin wanted Israel out of Lebanon but the Lebanese government was too unstable to cut an agreement with. The Shiites under Hizbullah were forcing Israel out with a very demoralizing murder campaign against the army and he had to deal with them to make any agreement stick. He insisted on a thin security zone along the border to prevent armed attacks on Israeli territory, but he was willing to pull out of the rest of the country. But his zone was no good against Katyusha rockets or artillery shells flying over it.
"He ended up with a secret deal with Hizbullah and pulled out of Lebanon in stages to test whether they'd keep it. Rabin realized he couldn't demand a full cessation of rocket or artillery attacks against Israel. But he could make them more acceptable if there was only one target, that being Kiryat Shmoneh."
To guide the unacquainted. You drive north from Tiberius, which is below sea level and climb a steep road. You look back and see the The Puddle Of Galilee and imagine the day you can finally walk across the whole lake, perhaps in five or six years. You now have reached the top of the the climb and you turn right. You pass the lovely Bohemian-style town of Rosh Pina, the famous archeological site of Tel Khatzor until you finally arrive at a town of 15,000, resting on a mountain, Kiryat Shmoneh.
"Kiryat Shmoneh is 90% Sephardi and 85% of them are Moroccan. To the establishment, that made the town expendable. As Defence Minister, Rabin's first duty was to protect the Ashkenazi Labor/left kibbutzim around Kiryat Shmoneh, and the Ashkenazi towns along the border. If you want to know the safest places to live in the country they are Metulla, Rosh HaNikra, or Naharia. Rabin's deal means Hizbullah won't touch them."
Call it a one, albeit likely, source, or call it rumor mongering, but this item spread throughout the country. I met the most unlikely people espousing it back to me. It caught on because it fits reality so perfectly. In fact, Hezbullah kept its word for almost 20 years until the second Lebanon War broke out in 2006.
That said, another rumor has arrived, from a likely source. Temporarily gone are the days when I could meet Israelis at parties or they could meet me anywhere with information. For the time being, I rely mostly on electricity for anyone to communicate with me. I quote:
"...Sharon thought the PA would keep the peace in Gaza after he evacuated the Jews from there. Hamas taking over ruined his plan. When they started pounding Israel with crude rockets, the defence establishment wanted to go back into Gaza and stop the attacks. But the Bush administration went ape. That would stop their hopeless peace plans. They ordered Sharon and his Defence Ministry never to threaten the Hamas government militarily. The Pentagon gave Israel tiny border areas where the military could operate and outright banned any operation that could change the status quo and stop the rockets.
"Sharon was forced to enter into secret negotiations with Hamas to hammer out the rules of engagement. His number one concern was Ashkelon. It is Israel's fourth largest city and nearly impossible for rockets to miss from Gaza. And more frightening, the city has a broad political and national population. Something had to be sacrificed to save Ashkelon, and that something was Sderot, a mostly Moroccan town.
"The way I've been hearing it, Israel agreed not to fight a war in Gaza that would end in a regime change. Hamas could shoot as many rockets as it wanted, on condition that they miss their targets. In short, the deal was don't mass kill Jews and we'll keep you in power. Most rockets would be aimed at Sderot, or the desert. It was permitted to do damage there. But Ashkelon, and especially its power station, were to remain no-hit zones. In return, Israel offered an insurance policy. It will not prepare its people for a war against Gaza by refitting public or school bomb shelters, distribute gas masks and the like. Israel is being held captive by Hamas and the Americans.
"Hamas broke the deal once last May when Bush was in Jerusalem. They slammed a Katyusha into a shopping mall, maiming over a dozen. But otherwise, in a city as large as Ashkelon, the rockets always find 'open areas' to land in. If Hamas wanted to, it could aim at crowded football games, fairs, gatherings, just name wherever people gather. And if Israel wanted to, it could pound Gaza militarily and oust Hamas. But the way I've been told, there's a deal floating out there and neither side will break it."
More news but I can name the sources:
The fiesty Jerusalemite, Tova Rubin met with a sales rep from the Steimatzky book chain and convinced her to sell a selection of my books in Hebrew and English. She called to tell me that the rep informed her that all the books had been sold in a week. Tova added, "The buyer said he was your publisher." Thank you, Tova. There is no such publisher and why would he need to buy the books he published?
It's nice to be remembered by the Shabak for my good work.
The next day, my Jerusalem buddy of twenty years, Gemma Blech came to visit me. We had a fine visit and I arranged to have her interviewed on the Stan Monteith and Bill Deagle radio shows.
Gemma is the photographer for the Women in Green and for my book Bye Bye Gaza. http://www.lulu.com/content/575116 She was deeply upset by the provocateurs who had all but wrecked the protest movement and added, "The protest leaders are now getting old, and some sick. They don't appeal to people under 30. And the next generation is not producing future leaders. Our time is limited and when we go, I'm afraid, there will be no one to take over."
She named the leaders she knew, the provocateurs that everyone knows, but one name stood out for me, Yonah Baumel.
"He's doing poorly these days," she noted.
His son was one of three soldiers captured by Syria in the July, 82, Battle Of Sultan Yaacob in central Lebanon. Around the year 2000, the Commander of the soldiers' axis, Gen. Avigdor Ben Gal and his Intelligence Officer Mickey Shatz gave a small but profoundly important piece of information about the incident in the newspaper Kol Ha'ir. It seems that when Ben Gal and Shatz left camp, Ehud Barak, today's Defence Minister, and Amram Mitzneh, former Labor Party head, got on the radio and ordered a religious army brigade to enter a Syrian ambush. Twenty three Israelis died in the Sultan Yacob mess.
Not said was that Labor officers like Barak and Mitzneh were sabotaging Menachem Begin's winning war. And this fact was ignored by Yonah Baumel when I told him what had to be done to save his son. He was a tall, healthy man when I met him. I told him to hunt down Ben Gal and Shatz, verify their facts, call a press conference, and expose then Prime Minister Barak as a murderer of Jews. Sadly, he didn't do what had to be done and I didn't find out why until Barak's most recent appointment as Defence Minister. Yonah, almost, bravely announced that Barak was unfit for the office because he was involved in his son's kidnapping.
I reported on the incident and a priest wrote me from England protesting my piece. I assured him that every fact about Barak was accurate. He replied that I was right about Barak but wrong to write the soldiers' had been killed. The priest was working with Yonah to have his son released, almost a quarter of a century after he was taken prisoner. I wrote back saying that I hoped I was wrong and he was alive.
Few men lived as painful a life as Yonah Baumel, and few men could have remained so faithful to his son, and to the political system that took him away. Yonah believes the Israeli government can retrieve his son. So he remains true to an old ideal. But the truth is it can't because its Defence Minister was the one who stole his son from him.
I'm sorry to hear you're not well, Yonah. We need you to fully recover. You have one more vital task to complete.
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