There is of course plenty of reason to be pissed, but mostly because this current set of hostilities is happening as a result of the confluence of myriad threads in the web of bullshit that is the Middle East; a depressing combination of necessity and nonsense. There is only one reason why Ehud Olmert, the Prime Minister formerly known as Ariel Sharon's trial balloon, has launched this offensive: because the elections are coming, and Olmert's Kadima Party is in danger of losing to Likud and Benyamin Netanyahu. Yes, this offensive is happening because there is no reason that a sovereign nation should have to live with a territory controlled by a body that is dedicated to her destruction, but Olmert could have engaged at any time, the residents of Sderot have been begging Olmert to take action. Now that he thinks it is politically expedient, he has done so. If the way he conducted the Lebanon fiasco in 2006 is any indication as to Olmert's acumen, there is absolutely no reason to think that he is capable of finishing this in a way that provides long term security for Israel. No, it's better to just say that he is doing this to try and save the Kadima party. The irony is that the only reason Kadima exists is because of what Ariel Sharon did to save himself from being indicted and prosecuted on corruption charges as a result of becoming involved in a scheme with wealthy investors, and crooked Israeli and Palestinian politicians.
When Ariel Sharon was still Prime Minister of Israel I referred to his lapdog, Ehud Olmert, as "The Trial Balloon." Whenever Sharon had a hair brained idea, or one that he thought might be unpopular, he'd let Olmert float it in the Knesset (Israel's three ring circus...I mean parliament). Olmert's most famous float was the withdrawal of settlers from Gaza. Contrary to popular belief, this was not a move that was designed to move the peace process forward, or make it easier for the IDF to kill Palestinians and drink their blood (which I'm surprised I haven't heard about from some of the brainless dingdongs commenting on certain blogs lately). No, the real reason Sharon pushed "disengagement" was money money money, specifically in the form of casinos, and saving his corpulent ass.
An Israeli business man, Shmuel Flatto-Sharon, claimed in 2005 to be in negotiations with Palestinian Authority officials regarding the building of a casino in the Elei Sinai settlement area after the evacuation was complete. According to Flatto-Sharon, PA officials wanted Israel to destroy the settlement housing to decrease their costs in building the casino, which a noted Las Vegas tycoon would also be investing in (and the synagogues that were left standing were not to be an insult to the Palestinians, as Leftist assholes are muttering to each other in their racist echo chamber of bullshit, but as houses of worship for Israeli tourists...I don't really know of many religious Israelis who would go to Gaza to gamble and then daven, but having them there makes for another amenity to list in a brochure at your local travel agent's office I suppose). All of this needed to be approved by the Israeli government of course, as Israelis would be the casino's primary visitors.
Now, let's take a little ride in the Wayback Machine to 2003. Israel's favorite fat man, Ariel Sharon, was facing indictment on corruption charges involving his idiot children Gilad and Omri. In their book Boomerang, Aviv Druker and Ofer Shelach spin a tale of how Sharon the Rotund managed to wheel and deal his way out of being nationally disgraced and indicted.
Anyone who has done even a cursory examination of Israeli politics remembers Ariel Sharon and the immovable object when it came to Gaza, Judea, and Samaria. He pushed the building of settlements, and the concept of unilateral withdrawal was completely off the table. But in December of 2003, almost as if my magic, or divine inspiration, Sharon suddenly reversed his position to the shock and dismay of the Israeli Right, and the stupified amazement of Israel's Left. Sharon advocated the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza and northern Samaria.
According to Drucker and Shelach, Sharon's motivation for adopting the radical left-wing plan --overwhelmingly rejected in the January 2003 elections -- was to avoid indictment for his alleged role in corruption scandals for which police were already investigating him and his sons Gilad and Omri. They write: "In private conversations [Sharon] said he was convinced that [state attorney Edna] Arbel would try to bring about his indictment and his resignation from the premiership." Sharon's aides, first and foremost among them his personal attorney and chief of staff Dov Weissglas, told Sharon that to avert indictment he had to take a bold initiative "to change the public agenda away from the media's focus on the investigation."
What could possibly be more "bold" than pissing off the base that put you in power, and supported your settlement encroachment offensive in the territories, by turning your back on them and advocating the expulsion of 3000 Jewish settlers from Gaza? Perhaps cannibalism, as if Sharon needed to put on any more pounds. The Sharon agenda of disengagement was born. Now we're going down a corruption rabbit hole that might only be regionally surpassed by Sharon's nemesis, the Grand Master of Political Corruption; Yassir Arafat (contrary to the Left's romantic notions, Yassir Arafat, an Egyptian by birth, was not the George Washington of the Palestinian people, but more like their Victor Lustig).
Sharon appointed Arbel to the Israeli Supreme Court. With Dame Edna effectively out of the game, Sharon now had to deal with the ornery Attorney General who was fixing to prosecute. Well, when you're the Prime Minister the fix is easily done. You could take him out to Highway 61, or just simply replace him with a toady. The latter sufficed. Sharon replaced the A.G. with one Menachem Mazuz.
In a million billion years Sharon would never have pushed disengagement had it not been for the investigations and the threat of indictment. And guess what happened next?
Again from Shlomi Whitbord:
...the disengagement plan was Weissglas's brainchild, concocted without staff work, discussion with the army, or debate by the cabinet. Weissglas presented it to then US national security adviser Condoleezza Rice without any discussion with or alert to the IDF, Shin Bet and against their vehement objections. To counteract the security establishment's fierce opposition, Sharon effectively fired the IDF chief of general staff, Lt.-Gen. Moshe Ya'alon, and Shin Bet director Avi Dichter by not extending their tours of duty, as is routinely done for both positions. He then stacked the General Staff and the Shin Bet with commanders who, like Mofaz, owe their personal promotions to Prime Minister.
So the disengagement nonsense opens the door for Flatto-Sharon's Gaza casino scheme, but wait...Gaza is not the only place where casino concerns are being eyed. Arutz Sheva reported that one Cyril Kern was an investor in the Gaza casino scheme. He also happened to be a wartime pal of Sharon who gave the Sharon family a reported $1.5 million (another source of investigation into Sharon's dealings). Kern and a Saudi investor inspected the proposed site for the casino.
So now we have a former Israeli MK (Flatto-Sharon), a big money buddy of Ariel Sharon, a Saudi, and the Palestinian Authority involved in the Gaza casino scheme. But...there's more. Kern was also involved in another casino push in the city of Jericho in the West Bank.
Then IDF Chief Moshe (Boogie) [I love that] Ya'alon was shit canned by Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz, right before the Gaza disengagement was scheduled to begin, according to a "security source," because of the Jericho Casino. Apparently Ya'alon was getting uppity about his concerns about turning over Jericho to Mohammed Dahlan and Palestinian Authority control.
The source noted that Yaalon and other senior security figures have expressed concern in the past that Jericho's casino profits --that have been estimated at more than one million dollars per day even after the start of the Al Aksa terror war in 2000- had also been used as a prime funding source for Palestinian terror activity against Israel. As recently as this month on Channel One's Friday evening program with Amnon Zichroni, journalist Uri Dan, a close associate of Sharon, said that the Jericho casino is a source of funding for Palestinian terror groups and should not be reopened now. Dan also said the Israeli underworld and their Palestinian counterparts are cooperating in the Jericho Casino racket." The problem, Dan added "is that the Palestinian underworld is also part of the current leadership of the PA."Oh what a tangled web we weave. Now, let's get back to the Kadima Party. Keep in mind that Sharon was elected with the Likud Party. When he pushed disengagement Likud freaked out. He was facing the real possibility of losing control of the party and the Knesset. And Likud voted down the party referendum on disengagement. In order to save his ass, and keep his scheme juggling alive he formed Kadima with politically left elements who supported disengagement because they saw it as an opportunity to move the peace process forward, along with his political pals who wanted to make sure they were in line to get a piece of the casino action.
Israeli concerns aside, Palestinian sources confirmed this week that returning Jericho to PA hands and its casino to full operation is now "at the top of the Palestinian agenda." West Bank strongman Jibril Rajoub and former senior Arafat financial advisor Mohammed Rashid, who is known to control Arafat's several billion dollar portfolio -top the list of Palestinians believed to have among the heaviest financial interests in the casino. It was also reported on radio Palestine in Arabic this week that Dahlan has been appointed Palestinian Minister for Local Government Affairs-- a post that would logically include responsibility over Jericho.
It is also well known in Israel that MK Omri Sharon, the Prime Minister's son and closest confidante, and Former Sharon Bureau Chief Dov Weissglass have been long time associates of Rashid. The younger Sharon and Weissglass were reportedly Rashid's guests at his swank Tel Aviv Apartment on the night of Sharon's election victory in February 2001 according to Israeli journalists Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff in their 2004 book, The Seventh War.
An Israeli source with close ties both to the Palestinian Authority and Jordan noted this week that some Israelis and Europeans may also be interested in reopening the Jericho casino as soon as possible. A very senior Israeli security source said this week that he and others in the IDF remember "with a cynical smile the repeated approaches Weissglass made to the IDF and security establishment after the closing of the Jericho Casino in 2001 to convince them to reopen the casino."It was well known to us that Dov Weissglass had personal interests in the Jericho Casino, the senior security source added...
What I'm wondering is this, when Weissglass (who seems to be the real puppet master here) presented the disengagement plan to Condi, what piece of the action did he offer her and the Bush administration? I can't help but feel there must have been something. The only way the Gaza/Jericho casino scheme was going to work was with Fatah in control of the Palestinian Authority, and it was Condi who pushed the elections in the territories, thinking that Fatah would win. They didn't count on Hamas, who ran as the "Reform and Change" ticket (fuckin' scary right?) to be so appealing to Palestinians. Why? Because either they had no idea how badly the PA was fleecing their people, being ginormous kleptocrats, or they were so blinded by their disdain for radical islamists that they ignored all the warning signs (just pick all of the above). Is it possible that Condi's involvement was motivated simply by post 9/11 fanaticism? Sure. But "economic motivation is paramount in man," so anything is possible.
So what happened?
Fat ass Sharon's flabitude caught up with him. He suffered a massive stroke and, as far as I know is still in a coma somewhere in Israel.
Hamas won the fraud election and then ousted Fatah from Gaza, winning the pitch-your-enemy-off-the-roof contest.
Omri Sharon got sentenced to 9 months and 9 months suspended for political contribution violations, and perjury.
Palestinian Authority leaders are still involved in the Palestinian underworld.
Ehud Olmert is most likely planning on seeing Fatah reinstalled in Gaza (which would be an unmitigated disaster for both Israelis and Palestinians (would you want the mafia running your country? I didn't think so), if he doesn't manage to completely screw Operation Cast Lead and turn it into Operation We Killed Hundreds of People For Nothing. Olmert, using his status as Sharon trial balloon took credit for pushing disengagement (typical Olmert to stake claim to a decision that angered Israel's religious Jews, and left Israel open to increased rocket fire which he chose to do nothing about until 10 weeks before elections). The only really good thing about Olmert at this point is that he won't be Prime Minister anymore.
Rockets are still falling on Israel.
The Palestinians are still fucked.
Benyamin Netanyahu, who was also facing corruption charges but was never prosecuted, will most likely end up being elected Prime Minister next month. After that, who the hell knows what will happen?
My assessment: There can be no peace with Hamas in control of Gaza, period. It will be up to Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia who have a vested interest in breaking Hamas, to put an end to them (we should assume that Israel will not be allowed to do it and will be put in timeout) unless of course they want to face continued threats from radical islamists, emboldened by an ever growing threat in Iran. This is more a problem for Jordan and Egypt who are not rolling in oil money, but make no mistake, Saudi Arabia is compromised by a nuclear Iran. Having surrogates in Lebanon and Gaza are not in anyone's interest except the fasco-Islamists.
The Kadima party is just as corrupt as the Palestinian Authority so there's really no hope for peace with Kadima and Fatah, unless Hamas is gone and the casino scheme returns. Ironically, if done right, it could potentially be of great benefit to rank and file Palestinians who would build it, and work there. Other resorts would be open, and Gaza could potentially become the new Riviera of the Middle East (the key to success is the fact that the Palestinian Authority would finally have found something more profitable than terrorism against Jews. Unfortunately, if the players in Israel and the PA stay on the scene the Palestinians would no doubt get screwed in multitudinous ways.
So yes, the current fighting is because of a casino scheme involving a vegetative ex-Israeli Prime Minister.
Yes, the current fighting is because Ehud Olmert is wagging the dog on behalf of Tzipi Livni.
Yes, the current fighting is because Hamas has been firing rockets into Israel unabated, without so much as a fart from the UN or anyone else for that matter, and Israel and Palestinians will never have peace while Hamas is a player due to their infantile, genocidal bullshit. But if Ehud Olmert wasn't such an ass, and the world community actually gave a damn about Israelis and Palestinians, this would have been dealt with, possibly without the current loss of life.
Is it any wonder why I hate politicians? They suck everywhere. And now you have a much better idea as to just how fucked up this mess really is. I told you it wasn't black and white. It's a big ugly mess and everyone is guilty, everyone has played a part. How long will Palestinians and Israelis put up with this incessant flowing river of bullshit?
There are several loose ends and related stories on this that I will be presenting later on so stay tuned, and keep praying that this is resolved with a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians, and that the asshats on both sides responsible for this bullshit end up with painful ass boils.