Saturday, January 28, 2006

So here is the situation with Israel & Hamas.

Hamas' victory is not very important. There were no talks with the Pals before, there will not be any now. There will also be no pressure on the Israelis to talk to the Pals. It is a shift, but I am not sure whether its that much worse for the Israelis. Before there was discussions of whether the PA isn't acting against terrorism because it doesn't want to or because it logistically can't. Now that question is moot. There is no way to make Hamas act against terrorism (ehh itself?). Because there is no question of the possibility of negotiations, Israel will proceed with unilateral steps. Israel will continue building the wall and separating from the Pals. It will set up checkpoints in the West Bank and there will not be any traffic between Gaza and the WB for a long time.

Hamas will try to maintain a cease-fire, but its in a worse position to do so than the former government. While Israel probably will not target Hamas targets its still open season on Islamic Jihad. In order to maintain a cease-fire Hamas will have to pressure Islamic Jihad into submission (unlikely). It should be understood that the Israelis will continue killing Islamic Jihad ppl.

Hamas also needs to maintain 500 mil. euro / year coming in from Europe. Even if this money is received Hamas will have lots of trouble paying everyone on the PA payroll. The PA payroll consists of tens of thousands of armed men, mostly affiliated with Fatah and al-Aqsa. Fatah also has its own armed groups which will in any case will not come under the supervision of a Hamas gov't.

If Hamas doesn't maintain a cease-fire or put a cork in Islamic Jihad Israel will reinvade all areas under PA control.

The PA should collapse pretty soon. I don't know what happens next.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Reminder to self:

Don't do at home what you can do at work.

Don't do at work what you don't have to.

Try to not have to do anything at work.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

I got bored and went to Ynet to read about Sharon. One of the articles is titled "You wrote: We love you Arik" and it has a few responses picked out by the Ynet editors followed by responses from the readers. Obviously there are plenty of comments wishing him health and a speedy recovery. Some are more detailed.

Here are some translations:

"My 3 1/2 year old daughter came back from kindergarten crying and stormy. The teacher spoke about the PMs health. She was very upset and it took us a long time to calm her down. She asks all the time about his health and asked us to go visit him."

"Dear Arik. When I heard about your harsh prognosis I got very upset... I want to cry but I try to hold back the tears that eventually conquer my face. Though I have now surrendered to the tears, I hope that you will not give up. Maybe you lost a battle, but the war hasn't yet been decided. Please don't give up".

"If I could only hug you, you wouldn't leave my arms for a long time. You are like a father to me. Like a father you were and will be for me, you are the man that I admire most, more than any movie star or singer. Just wanted you to know that the whole country is behind you .. and you will never be forgotten. I pray for your health when I go to school and when I come home. Arik please get healthy, don't die. Love you very much." <16 year old>

"Dear Prime Minister, your people love you and appreciate you and above all need you to lead our country and look to her security. Please win also this battle..."

"I gave my son your name. Today my son is 33 years old and when he was born I called him Sharon. When you were still just a general in the army I knew you would be a leader... All those that angered you, god will make them pay. Dear and beloved man we pray for your health."

"Arik Sharon, I am a Palestinian Arab. As an Arab I am considered your enemy. However, I wish you a full recovery, because after all you were a man that loyally represented your people in governing the country. Get up from the bed and make a strong peace."

"Personal story. 5 years ago I was a bride with sad eyes about to be married. Why sad eyes? Because my dream was always that my father would lead me down the aisle. But fate struck and he was no longer alive. A minute before I got called to the Hoopa my cellphone rings and on the line is PM Ariel Sharon... Hecalled me to wish me mazal tov. At that moment the sadness disappeared and instead tears of happiness came to me and I knew this was a sign that my father is watching over me and is taking care of me. ... That day I wrote a thank-you letter that I never sent... My name is Sharon. My brother's name is Arik. My father was a soldier that served under Sharon. They were injured in the same battle and were in the same room in the hospital. Because my father was alone in Israel Arik's first wife took care of him while he was in the hospital like he was family. My father promised her that when he ahd children he would name them after Arik and so it was. I never met him personally but my father was always telling me stories. Whenever they met they would always carry on as good friends though they didn't stay in contact. When I heard about Sharon's condition my conscience started hurting because of the thank-you letter that he never received and maybe never will. So, I hope that he recovers, not only because he is the PM, but also because I must get him this letter that I have been carrying around for 4 years and haven't sent. Get well and come back to us.."

[ and this one is my favorite]
"Arik, I hope for all of us that you are again lying to us and that everything is fine. I am willing to forgive you for everything. Just please become healthy again and don't leave us in the hands of Bibi and Peretz"

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Ariel Sharon is done. As of this moment he is still alive, but he will not be able to continue to be Prime Minister, and an acting PM has taken over the job. I wish him good health, but the prognosis isn't good.

The man shook up the entire political establishment and has left the scene before it stabilized again. What happens to his party - Kadima? Kadima and Ariel Sharon were the same. The major reason for people to vote for that party was so that Ariel Sharon would be prime minister. Its only real pledge to the voters was 4 more years of Arik. And now no more Arik. Kadima doesn't even have a candidate list made up. There were no plans for any procedure to do so. Sharon was just going to make it up himself based on who would get the most votes. Kadima doesn't really have any branches in the country or any regular members. All it is right now is a bunch of politicians that are led by a man who is certainly out of political life as of now.

In national elections Sharon would have swept the floor with both Netanyahu and Peretz, and now what? Ehud Olmert as prime minister? Olmert isn't terribly popular. He has the reputation of being a slimy bastard. Ideologically he is probably very similar to Sharon and has been acting as his mouthpiece for the past 3 years. But he doesn't have Sharon's military background to be much of an authority on security matters. He has also been implicated in several major corruption scandals. Netanyahu is probably even worse. he is an incapable prime minister with a terrible personality. Completely egotistical and lacking any real principles, his only interest seems to be personal gain. When he lost the election to Barak in 99 he just quit politics and only came back when Sharon brought the Likud back to power. Peretz has no experience on the national level. He is a labor organizer and has risen to prominence through the Israeli national labor union organization. His political and economic ideas are half-baked. So, effectively all the current choices for prime minister - Peretz, Netanyahu, Olmert - are shitty. If Silvan Shalom had won in the Likud then there would be at least one reasonable candidate.... But he lost to that moron Netanyahu. If Peres won in Labor, ....... Come to think of it Olmert isn't that bad when compared to his alternatives. Question is whether he will actually be in charge of a credible real party, or whether Kadima will start to fall apart in the coming weeks. Its hard to see some of these personalities going back to the Likud so soon after they made their dramatic departures, but in Israeli politics these things are doable. Israelis, like Americans, have very, very, very short memories.

This is going to be an interesting election... If they actually do happen. So much uncertainty and Knesset members that are sure to lose their seats. Without Sharon there is a chance for a national unity government that could come together to prevent elections in 3 months.