Israel prepares "assertive" response to Shalit kidnapping.
years of Israeli “self-restraint” in the face of Palestinian terrorist actions and a succession of Israeli missteps:
--- The pullback from Gaza belatedly admitted as reckless by most military experts;
--- The concomitant metamorphosis of the Philadelphi border zone dividing Gaza from Egyptian Sinai from an enclave controlled by Israeli forces to the main highway for replenishing Palestinian terrorist groups with weapons and fighters;
--- The rise of Hamas as head of Palestinian government;
--- Al Qaeda’s incursion of the Gaza Strip;
--- The ill effects of Israeli dithering over measures to stamp out the Palestinian Qassam blitz on Israeli civilians living within range of Gaza launch pads;
--- The need to eclipse the impact of the successful combined Palestinian operation against the IDF’s Telem post inside Israel and their capture of an Israeli hostage;
--- The hope of scaring the Palestinian terrorists into appreciating the weight of the iron colossus about to hear down on them if they refuse to give up the Israeli corporal and instead insist on haggling.
Olmert says he means business. '"We need to all be focused on bringing home [kidnapped IDF soldier] Gilad Shalit," Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told the Knesset Tuesday. "We are ready for a long and assertive operation. We will fight terror and we won't negotiate with the kidnappers," the prime minister declared.'
IRIS carries the words of Binyamin Netanyahu:
The abduction of Gilad Shalit, as well as the deaths of two comrades is not an isolated incident. Rather, it is the product of a long process, during which Israel has lost its power of deterrence against the Palestinian enemy. The new government's so-called "policy of restraint" has been interpreted as weakness – and Israel cannot afford to appear weak.
Last Sunday I visited Sderot, an Israeli city well within the Green Line. In the 10 months since disengagement, Sderot and other Negev towns have suffered approximately 600 Qassam Rocket attacks. I met mothers who send their children to nursery schools and kindergartens with fear in their hearts, who harbor only one prayer for the rest of the day: "Please, let them come home safely." ...