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Saturday, April 3, 2010



Two examples in recent Israeli history can tell us much about "unintended consequences": The Gaza Withdrawal, and the Gilad Shalit Kidnapping.

Despite legitimate rights to live in Gaza, the State of Israel imposed a forced withdrawal of every Jew from Gaza, expecting that Gaza would be a peaceful neighborhood that would soon along with the "West Bank" become a Palestinian [Arab] State. Instead, Israel has suffered repeated terrorism from Hamas controlled Gaza, terrorism including ten-thousand Qassam rockets fired into Israel for years, which not so long ago caused Israel to finally respond in the form of a forceful invasion of Gaza. Many had warned the Sharon/Olmert government that withdrawal from Gaza would have only negative effects. Sharon and Olmert did not listen. What happened in Gaza is clearly an unintended consequence of the Olmert/Sharon decision to withdraw from Gaza.

Who would have thought that a simple, daring kidnapping would lead to a full scale war? And yet such was the unintended consequence of the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit. Tomorrow will mark the 1400th day of Gilad Shalit's captivity. In a daring raid via tunnels dug underground across the Israeli border from Gaza, Arab terrorists attacked and murdered most of Gilad Shalit's unit and took Gilad Shalit captive. In the north Hezbollah sought to mimic this act, killing several Israeli soldiers and capturing Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, whom they later murdered. Attacked from south and north by Hamas and Hezbollah, including the daily barrage of Qassam rockets from Gaza targeting Sderot and then more advanced rockets from southern Lebanon that could reach as far as Haifa, Israel found itself embroiled in a full scale war with Hezbollah in Lebanon, known as the Second Israel-Lebanon War. That war may or may not have been inevitable. It is not likely that this War was an intended consequence of the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit.

Simultaneous to the visit of Vice-President Biden to Israel barely three weeks ago, Israel announced construction plans for 1600 housing units adjacent to the Arab Quarter of Jerusalem on an undeveloped hillside. Biden condemned this announcement, as if it were a deadly terrorist attack, taking personal offense, taking offense on behalf of the Obama Administration, and thus lighting a fire of such condemnations around the world. A diplomatic response could have finessed even the appearance of insult and lent focus on the purpose of the Biden Peace Mission. Instead Israeli-American relations have become strained, the Peace Mission has been set back, and America's Image has weakened in the world, while traction has been given to the world image of America as Bully. Arab militants now have propaganda ammunition by which to justify stepped up terrorism against Israel. In the past two or three weeks such stepped up terror has cost the lives of Israeli Soldiers and Arab Terrorists. The Arabs have resumed the firing of Qassam rockets from Gaza into southern Israel, and Israel has responded with air attacks into Gaza. A Third Intifada is a real possibility, perhaps an unintended consequence of the failure of Vice-President Biden to respond with positive diplomacy to the surprise Israeli Construction announcement.

Vice-President Biden went to Israel, ostensibly on a Peace Mission.

Nothing Vice-President Biden did or said furthered peace, nor did anything he said or did lead to the release of Gilad Shalit. Perhaps this too is an unintended consequence of Vice-President Biden's lack of diplomacy.

Israel has just celebrated Pesach (Passover), which Holiday Commemorates Liberty from the Slavery of Ancient Egypt, which Holiday concludes on Tuesday Evening, which would be Day 1402 of Gilad Shalit's Captivity. Let Gilad Shalit Go! Set Gilad Shalit Free!