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April 27, 2006
Israel Responds To Hamas

As I predicted after the suicide bombing in Tel Aviv last week, Israel has decided on its response to the attack and the Hamas response praising it by finishing the security barrier through Jerusalem and shutting out the Palestinians, apparently permanently. Hamas gave the Israelis all the justification they need to complete the project with its endorsement of suicide bombings on Israeli civilians:

Israel's prime minister-designate, Ehud Olmert, told top security officials today to swiftly plug the gaps in the separation barrier around Jerusalem. His order came nine days after a Palestinian suicide bomber struck again in Israel.

Israel's separation barrier still has numerous openings around Jerusalem, and Israeli security officials consider the city one of the places most vulnerable to attack. ...

Mr. Olmert ordered "all gaps be closed immediately by means of temporary fences until they are permanently closed by the security fence," according to the prime minister's office.

The Israelis have wanted to close off the barrier through Jerusalem for some time, but the West has opposed it, considering it too provocative and a potential negotiation-killer for peace talks. Israeli courts have also held up progress on the security wall, although they have given the green light to everything but its route by now. Ariel Sharon probably figured the proposed wall had more effect as a threat than as an actuality in getting the Palestinians to take peace talks seriously.

All of that flew out the window when Islamic Jihad conducted its last bombing, but especially when Hamas praised the operation as "self defense". Rather than conduct a military strike on Hamas and bolster their popularity among the Palestinians, Olmert has shrewdly selected a tactic that will stab at the heart of their enemy and create a backlash against the incompetent terrorists who govern them. Not only will Hamas and its intransigence on adhering to previous treaties and recognition of Israel left the Palestinian Authority completely bankrupt, but now their diplomatic fecklessness has lost them Jerusalem. The barrier will complete their humiliation.

The Palestinians might finally wake up once they realize that their government has left them even more poor and even more isolated than Fatah could have dreamt. They will have no one to blame but themselves. Their insistence on supporting terrorism and war has brought them international scorn and abject poverty, and now they will watch as the security wall separates them from the one supposedly overriding goal of their struggle. Thanks to Hamas and their own benighted support, they may never see Jerusalem again.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at April 27, 2006 6:19 AM

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