Senator Mitchell, the special representative of President Obama visited Israel. He came and went off again - and no provocation? That's a bit strange. The tradition of holding a provocation for the sake of visiting U.S. representatives goes back to the days of Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, when a new settlement was inaugurated at every visit of then Secretary of State James Baker.
Actually, there was a provocation. Not so far from the office where Netanyahu met with Mitchell, on the main street of Silwan, the Kahanists marched and called for a mass destruction of Palestinian homes. Of course they could not have gone in there without the accompaniment of thousands of Israeli police, brought in to spray tear gas at anyone who dares to protest.
True, the Prime Minister did not want this provocation to happen. He had even asked the police to prevent it. At least, that's what he said. It just happened that on the same day there was something which Netanyahu really wanted to prevent, a bill which would have slightly reduced the millions-monthly salaries of senior Israeli directors. This Netanyahu really wanted to prevent, and he did. But it's another issue altogether.
And an execution, too
"It was a beautiful operation," boasted yesterday a Border Police officer. At the village of Beit 'Awa soldiers killed the 42-year old Ali Suweiti, presented as a senior activist of Hamas' military wing, destroyed the house where he was hiding and noted with great satisfaction that this avenged the death of a Border Police sergeant six years ago.
"We intended to arrest him, but he resisted and had no other choice," said a military spokesperson. Nowadays, Anat Kam is no longer serving in the bureau of the general on charge of the IDF central command, so there is no one left to leak confidential documents on high-level discussions and instructions on the subject of executions without trial. One can only cast doubts and make all kinds of wild guesses.
The TV evening news last night featured Suweiti's funeral, with relatives crying bitterly and calling for vengeance (a revenge for a revenge for a revenge for...). Later on the same news PM Netanyahu declared (like yesterday and the day before yesterday): "We are ready at any moment to open negotiations with the Palestinians, without preconditions. Our hand is outstretched in peace."