Monday, December 29, 2008

Ehud Barak channels Barack Obama:

Facing catcalls from Arab lawmakers, Defense Minister Ehud Barak told a stormy Knesset session on Monday that the operation in Gaza will be "widened and deepened as is necessary."

"We have an all-out war against Hamas and its kind," Barak said, using a term he has employed in the past to describe a long-term struggle against Israel's Islamist enemies. [-]

Barak also cited a comment made by U.S. President-elect Barack Obama, who visited Sderot during his election campaign earlier this year.

"Obama said that if rockets were being fired at his home while his two daughters were sleeping, he would do everything he could to prevent it," Barack told the plenum.

Here is the occasion quoted:

"At the Sderot press conference, Obama said that Israel had every right to defend itself against attacks on its civilians, referring to the Qassam rockets that plagued the southern town and neighboring communities until a recent cease-fire with Gaza's Hamas rulers.

"If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I would do everything in power to stop that, and would expect Israelis to do the same thing," he said."

Norman Spector, in the Toronto Globe and Mail today, opines:

On the mess in Gaza, Mr. Axelrod (and other Obama advisers) were far less forthcoming, for the most part repeating, ad nauseam, the mantra, "there is one president at a time."

A report in this morning's Jerusalem Post will only serve to increase Mr. Obama's case of heartburn.

"The Israel Air Force used a new bunker-buster missile that it received recently from the United States in strikes against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip on Saturday, the Jerusalem Post learned on Sunday.

The missile, called GBU-39, was developed in recent years by the U.S. as a small-diameter bomb for low-cost, high-precision and low collateral damage strikes.

Israel received approval from Congress to purchase 1,000 units in September and defence officials said on Sunday that the first shipment had arrived earlier this month and was used successfully in penetrating underground Kassam launchers in the Gaza Strip during the heavy aerial bombardment of Hamas infrastructure on Saturday. It was also used in Sunday's bombing of tunnels in Rafah.

The GPS-guided GBU-39 is said to be "one of the most accurate bombs in the world."

Mr. Obama is in a real pickle. During the Democratic primaries, he repeatedly criticized President Bush for waiting too long to engage Israelis and Palestinians in peace talks. And during a July visit to Sderot, the Israeli town that has been hardest hit by Hamas rocket fire, he said:

"If somebody was sending rockets into my house where my two daughters sleep at night, I'm going to do everything in my power to stop that," Mr. Obama said in July. "And I would expect Israelis to do the same thing."

Notwithstanding sky-high hopes for a new U.S. approach to the Mideast under President Barack Hussein Obama, I suspect he'll have an easier time living up to the commitment to bring a puppy to live with his daughters in the White House.


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