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From the Twilight Zone

By Michael Freund
1/15/2007, 12:00 AM

Here's an item straight out of the Twilight Zone for you:

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January 15, 2007

IDF said curbing West Bank raids for duration of Rice visit

By Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondent

Israel Radio reported Monday that the IDF has ordered curbs on operations in the West Bank during the current visit of United States Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
"The commander of IDF forces in Judea and Samaria, Brigadier General Yair Golan, has ordered his brigade commanders to arrest Palestinians only in cases of vital necessity," the radio said.

Over the past two days, a divisional commander has refused to authorize a number of initiated operations, it said.

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So Israel puts its war on terror on hold, and gives the terrorists a respite, all because Condi Rice is visiting town? What is going on here?

Ostensibly, the "logic" behind this decision is that the government wants to avoid a repeat of what happened earlier this month, when a military operation in Ramallah went awry during a summit meeting between Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Egyptian autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

That would seem to make sense, except for one thing: the terrorists are sure to exploit this "rest stop" to their advantage. They know that Rice's visit, and Israel's meek response, give them a lull they most certainly do not deserve.

And so, once again, we find our decision-makers placing more importance on how Israel looks than on how it acts, with image taking precedence over more fundamental concerns such as safety and security.

Rod Serling would be proud.