1. No country in the world would sit around and watch one of its cities being bombarded for six years, powerless to bring the violence to an end.
2. With all due respect to the Palestinians, they must be complete idiots to be fighting one another. As Abba Eban famously put it, the Palestinians have never missed an opportunity to miss every opportunity.
3. The dreams spun at Oslo have been shattered for good. All the stars of this show have died, become weaklings or disappeared from the stage. Challenged by Hamas and Islamic Jihad, Fatah has lost the reins of government and the confidence of its people. The handshakes on the White House lawn and the Nobel Peace Prize have faded away like a dream.
4. Ariel Sharon's unilateral disengagement turned out to be a serious mistake. It gave terror a boost, allowed the Iranians to call the shots in Gaza instead of the Egyptians, fueled anarchy in the Palestinian street and pushed the chances for an agreement even further away.
5. At the same time, our settlers have become more radical. The next evacuation, if there ever is one, could end in bloodshed. Extremists on both sides are nourishing one another: The Jews have gone back to their dream of not giving up an inch, and the Palestinians have gone back to their dream of a greater Palestine.
6. After six years of Qassam rockets, Sderot has become an item on the international news. At first, these weapons were pooh-poohed as primitive metal pipes. They could not be aimed; they did not always explode; and they could not hit Sharon's ranch. From there, they moved up to primitive but lethal. Israeli defense officials were so dismissive of Qassams that they would not spend money on an interception system. They were right: We need to be getting ready for intercontinental missiles.
7. Very few people in this country of soaring stocks and high-rolling officials have ever stopped to consider what their homes might look like and how their kids might grow up if Qassams were landing in Ramat Aviv and Herzliya Pituah.
8. We cannot wipe out the Qassam launchers because they are much too primitive for a sophisticated army like ours.
9. The people launching the Qassams are not exactly quaking in their boots. They do not give a hoot when we say: "If we don't have quiet, you won't have quiet." What we need to get rid of over there is their motivation.
10. Every time we evacuate Sderot rather than Beit Hanun, we have lost the battle.
11. All this grumbling about bomb shelters is a bunch of hot air. First of all, shelters signify weakness. Second of all, this is like giving an aspirin to a cancer patient and resigning ourselves to the fact that Palestinian terror will be with us forever. Are we going to let a primitive hunk of pipe dictate how we live? Jacob Perry is right when he says that spending on shelters, in our case, is like throwing in the towel and giving up on the war on terror.
12. Major General Yisrael Tal is in favor of the "hate for hate" approach: Set up guns facing the "sources of rocket fire," and for every Qassam launched at us, we give back double and triple. Citizens might be killed? And Israeli citizens aren't?
13. An improvement on the Tal approach is the ultimatum: Every time a Qassam is fired, Israel will issue an immediate announcement that within three hours buildings x, y and z, on this or that street, will be blown up. This will give the tenants time to leave and no one will accuse us of killing women and children.
14. Moshe Ya'alon and a few other old-time generals think that we should carry out a Defensive Shield-type operation in Gaza - just mop up and leave. On the other hand, we would have to be idiots to go into teeming Gaza when we pretty much know that they have stashes of long-range Katyusha rockets capable of reaching Kiryat Gat and Ashkelon and knocking out power in half the country.
15. So what are we going to do with Gaza? Occupy it? We have already done that. What have we achieved by that, apart from occupation? Haven't we learned that occupation is like riding on a tiger's back? All the fleas go along for the ride. There are no overnight solutions. What we need are leaders endowed with both brains and brawn - courageous leaders prepared to talk to Syria, Saudi Arabia and all the Sunni Islamic countries in order to reach a comprehensive agreement. Only that will put an end to Hamas.
16. The time has come to stop going into a panic every time Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad threatens to destroy Israel. He is just a show-off with a very big mouth. The ayatollahs are the ones who say what's what and make the decisions in Iran. They will cut off his hands before he ever reaches the red button.
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