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DogPoundPup Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 05:28 PM
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Gaza raids make Israel more ambitious
Craig Nelson, Associate Editor

* Last Updated: January 25. 2009 9:30AM UAE / GMT

For as long as we can remember, it seems, Israel has said give us calm and we will do right by the Palestinians.

This assertion is undergoing another test, after a 22-day military operation that laid waste to large swathes of the Gaza Strip and ended with its decision to spare the United States the embarrassment of fresh images of suffering Palestinians on the day it was joyously swearing in a new president.

For the moment, Israel appears to be failing the test. There are no immediate signs that it feels either more secure or more predisposed towards a settlement with the Palestinians.

In fact, the unexpectedly low costs of Operation Cast Lead one Israeli officer quoted in the left-leaning Israeli daily newspaper Haaretz called it a training exercise has aroused the opposite: revanchist dreams of recovering lost territory and anachronistic hopes that its neighbours will take the Palestinian problem off its hands. The war, far from reviving talk of peace in Israel, seems only to have brought back its swagger.

The results of opinion polls last week showed the renewed bravado. Before the war started on Dec 27, many longtime observers of Israeli politics viewed a Gaza military operation as little more than a campaign stop for two aspiring leaders, the foreign minister, Tzipi Livni, and Ehud Barak, the defence minister, to prove their mettle before elections on Feb 10.

Indeed, as Israeli troops withdrew from Gaza last week, opinion surveys showed that Mr Barak made gains. More tellingly, they indicated that the wars big political winners were Avigdor Lieberman and his far-right party, Yisrael Beiteinu.

In other words, what appears to have attracted the most new support from Israelis during the conflict were not the tender two-state sympathies of Ms Livni and Mr Barak, but the anti-Arab sentiments of a man who says Israel should transfer Israeli Arab towns to Palestinian jurisdiction and annex large Jewish settlements in the West Bank to Israel.

The issue of reconstruction aid to Gaza also illustrates the renewed strut in Israels step.

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Hydra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-24-09 05:53 PM
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1. "We kill people! Yay!"
Humankind never ceases to disappoint me.
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