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      Fundamentally Freund
      by Michael Freund
      An alternative approach to Israeli political commentary.
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      Michael Freund is Founder and Chairman of Shavei Israel (www.shavei.org), which reaches out and assists "lost Jews" seeking to return to the Jewish people. He writes a syndicated column and feature stories for the Jerusalem Post. Previously, he served as Deputy Director of Communications & Policy Planning in the Israeli Prime Minister´s Office under former premier Benjamin Netanyahu. A native of New York, he holds an MBA in Finance from Columbia University and a BA from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He has lived in Israel for the past decade.
      Adar Bet 17, 5765, 3/28/2005

      Hello! Is Anyone Listening?


      If only they would listen.

      If only Israel’s leaders would pay attention, and start taking a little more seriously just what the Palestinians themselves are saying. If they did, they might actually learn a thing or two about just how ill-advised the planned withdrawal from Gaza and northern Samaria really is.

      Take, for example, the remarks of Hamas leader Ahmad al-Bahar, who told the Jerusalem Post the other day:

      The painful and qualitative blows which the Palestinian resistance dealt to the Jews and their soldiers over the past four-and-a-half years led to the decision to withdraw from the Gaza Strip… Hamas's heroic attacks exposed the weakness and volatility of the impotent Zionist security establishment. The withdrawal marks the end of the Zionist dream and is a sign of the moral and psychological decline of the Jewish state. We believe that the resistance is the only way to pressure the Jews.

      In other words, as far as Hamas is concerned, the “lesson” they have learned from Israel’s plan to withdraw is that violence is the most effective way for them to achieve their objectives. For obvious reasons, that is a very dangerous message – one that is definitely not in Israel’s interests to be sending.

      Moreover, take a look at what Abu-Musab, a senior Palestinian terrorist who serves as commander of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in northern Gaza, had to say about the current “calm” prevailing in the region: "What’s happening now isn’t considered a calm. It’s merely a warrior’s rest. When the confrontation renews, we’ll be back with methods and tools never before seen."

      Thus, even the current “lull” in attacks, as the terrorists themselves make clear, is merely a tactical ploy designed to give them a chance to rest and fight another day. It does not represent a strategic move by the terrorists away from violence. Nonetheless, the government continues to adopt a softer approach, refraining from carrying out targeted killings of terrorists or large-scale counter-terror operations.

      Anyone_listening I guess that our Government is simply so smart that they feel they need only to listen to themselves – but if past experience is any guide, they would do well to pay attention to what our foes are saying.

      Because unlike our own leaders, the Palestinians usually mean what they say.