Sunday, May 25, 2008

IDF in Retreat

Terror pays and do not let anyone tell you otherwise. The Gaza Strip missile barrages and truck bombs have now worked their magic along the Israeli-Gaza border. The IDF has ordered the evacuation of an IDF base inside Israeli proper - reports the Jerusalem Post.
In a move that has the residents of communities near Gaza worried, the coordinator of government activities in the territories, Maj.-Gen. Yosef Mishlav, decided Sunday to reduce the number of personnel from the Gaza Coordination and Liaison Administration based near the Erez crossing to the northern Gaza Strip. Part of the staff was moved to the Julis Base, some 17 kilometers from the Gaza border.

"It seems that the IDF has forgotten that its role is to protect citizens - not vice versa," said MK Arye Eldad (NU/NRP) in response. Eldad added that the IDF, which he said was evacuating soldiers "because they are close to an enemy," would "eventually forfeit the citizens, and misappropriate its obligations to defend the State of Israel."

The MK urged Defense Minister Ehud Barak to order the army to immediately "refresh the army's memory as to its obligations," and to remind them that "the best defense of all is offense." Also responding to the IDF's announcement, Likud MK Yuli Edelstein attributed the evacuation of troops to the IDF having "internalized the government's lack of strength," adding that the army "prefers not to pay with the lives of soldiers." He said that the move sends a "defeatist message" to Israel's enemies.

Officials said the decision was made following Thursday morning's car-bomb attack against Erez, but had been under consideration for several weeks. The attack caused serious damage to the Liaison Administration's offices. The base and the surrounding area have been the target of almost daily Kassam rocket and mortar fire from Gaza; in one such mortar shelling about a year ago, four soldiers were wounded.
There is just no good way to spin this. It is hard not to see this evacuation as anything other than an abandonment by the IDF for the Israeli citizens who live in the kibbutzim, moshavims, or outlying towns like Sderot and Ashkelon which surround the Gaza Strip. Perhaps, it shouldn't really be so shocking considering Labor leader and current Israeli Defense minister, Ehud Barak is best known for retreating. Time to deploy the Gush Katif refugees around the Gaza Strip and show the IDF how to fight rather than retreat in the face of terror.

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