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June 29, 2006
France Blasts Israel; Palis Invade Egypt

France leveled criticism at Israel this morning for its incursion into Gaza, the Jerusalem Post reports. Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy condemned Israel's arrests of senior Hamas leadership, now up to 60, and insisted that diplomacy should be used instead of violence:

French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy condemned on Thursday the arrest of over 60 Hamas members by Israeli forces early in the morning. He said that diplomacy was the only solution to the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians and that political figures should not be arrested.

Israel stated that the arrests were made as part of a criminal investigation into the Hamas officials' involvement in a terrorist organization. Israeli officials insisted that the detainees would be entitled to legal representation, and would be released if it were to be found that the suspicions against them were unfounded.

Over 60 Hamas members, including ministers in the Palestinian Authority parliament, were arrested overnight Wednesday throughout the West Bank.

Detainees included such senior figures as Finance Minister Omar Abdel Razek, Labor Minister Muhammed Barghouti, parliament member Mohamemd Abu Teir and the mayors of Kalkilya and Jenin. Army Radio revealed that Deputy Prime Minister Naser a-Din Shaer was not arrested, as was reported earlier.

In the cities of Ramallah, Nablus, and Bethlehem security forces arrested the men and took them to a military detention camp to be interrogated under the suspicion of being involved in terror activities against Israel.

This, of course, completely ignores the role that the ruling party of Hamas played in the days leading up to the Israeli incursion. After Palestinians of some faction -- none have really taken credit -- invaded Israel, killed two soldiers and abducted a third, Israel appealed to the Palestinian Authority to release Gilad Shalit. Hamas refused to cooperate and instead demanded a release of numerous prisoners in Israeli jails, criminals who got caught committing crimes and convicted in open trials.

When Hamas decided to act as agents of kidnappers and provocateurs, they gave official sanction to an act of wat against Israel -- as if the constant bombardment of Kassam rockets from Gaza didn't already provide a casus belli. The Israelis took Hamas at its word, decided that diplomacy would not resolve the problem, and took action. The Israelis have used diplomacy for the last fifteen years, and to no avail; the Palestinians have gone backwards in that time. Their ruling party will not recognize Israel nor the agreements that Israeli diplomacy gained during that time.

Is France really that clueless? No; the French have had no problem using military force to resolve their own issues, including a massacre of civilians in the Ivory Coast and hiring mercenaries to conduct a coup in Comoros. The notion of diplomacy has a certain elasticity for the French -- everyone should use it except themselves. That seems especially applicable in the case of Israel, for reasons that should surprise no one familiar with the Jews in French history.

The Israelis owe nothing to France, and their criticism is not only baseless but transparently hypocritical. Diplomacy does not work with people who do not wish to bargain. Hamas made its bed, and now Israel will force them to lie in it.

The Palestinians themselves, meanwhile, simply cannot stay within their own borders. They have blown up part of the wall separating Gaza from Egypt, and the Egyptians have sent troops to the breach to keep Palestinians out. Dozens apparently made it through before it could be secured:

Palestinian militants detonated a land mine near the border with Egypt on Thursday, blowing open a large hole in a wall near the border, witnesses and officials said. ...

Palestinian security personnel formed a human cordon to prevent people from pushing through the gaping hole, and hurdling a second, border wall less than 100 meters (yards) away, witnesses said.

On the Egyptian side, soldiers gathered to prevent people from breaching the Palestinian cordon and officials imposed a curfew near the blast site, said Ahmed el-Masri, director of police in the Egyptian border town of Rafah.

The terrorists apparently created the nine-foot gap to get out of Gaza ahead of the IDF. Egypt has no love of terrorists after the series of bombings in the Sinai, and they will no doubt want to make repairs as soon as possible. Perhaps this might cause the Palestinians to reflect on why no nation in the area wants them around.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at June 29, 2006 8:17 AM

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