In a nasty bit of electioneering yesterday, acting Israeli PM Ehud Olmert sent the IDF into the PA to storm a prison in Jericho in order to arrest some Palestinian terrorism suspects who were already locked up. The story is that the Brits and Americans who were guarding the prisoners, in a special arrangement brokered a few years back, left because of security concerns and the Israelis fearing the PA would let them escape came crashing in to get them. During the 10-hour siege, the streets of Palestine predictably exploded and protests in the West Bank and Gaza turned violent, resulting attacks on the British Council buildings in Gaza and Ramallah and the kidnapping of 17 foreigners, according to the AP.
My question is, what the hell were the Israelis doing deep inside the PA to begin with? And how did they know to go in the second the international monitors left? It's all very fishy. In my opinion, the British and the U.S really blew it. The two countries claimed they had been complaining about the security situation at the prison for quite a while, but this is the first anyone has heard of it. If it was such a problem, why didn't they come out publicly and say something before they just up and left. This is now going to turn into yet another political crisis. You can't exactly claim you're an honest broker when you reinforce the perception that you're wrapped around Israel's little finger by allowing something like this to happen. The use of American Apache helicopters and Caterpillar bulldozers in the attack, doesn't help either.
There had to have been a better way to handle this. Now, the bomb-throwers and fire breathers are all fired up and there's likely going to be some kind of retaliation, which will then lead to a heavy handed response from the Israel and then the Palestinians will hit back and so on and so on and so on....But, hey, Kadima's sagging poll numbers went up, so know we know Olmert is capable of using overwhelming force against unarmed targets, just like Sharon always did. And he's way mas macho than Bibi.