It's like ant scientists working to develop new insecticides. The Olmert government of Israel, as a"confidence-building gesture" in advance of the Annapolis peace conference, has announced that it will allow the transfer of 25 Russian armored vehicles and two million bullets to the Palestinian Authority headed by President, and Fatah Chairman, Mahmoud Abbas.
This brilliant diplomatic move comes just 5 months after Hamas took control of Gaza by force, in the process capturing armored vehicles and other weapons stores that the U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice had arranged to be transferred to the Palestinian Authority in Gaza back in December 2006. Those weapons were quite promptly redirected at Israel, which is the probable future as well of the weapons shipments approved this week by the Olmert government.
In a well-reasoned editorial, the Jerusalem Post notes that the latest one-sided Israeli concession came just one day after the funeral of Ido Zoldan, a 28-year old father of two, shot to death in his car by Fatah terrorists [see "Israelis Begin to Pay the Price for Annapolis", The Hedgehog Blog, Nov. 20, 2007], thereby proving that Abbas does not even control his own faction, much less exercise enough control to deliver on any Palestinian peace promises. "This is an abuse of the word 'gesture,' which usually means something inconsequential and easily reversible," the Post editorial writer notes.
The Post also observes that while Olmert continues to make concession after in concession in advance of Annapolis, Egypt, probably as a deliberate policy aimed at weakening Israeli security, continues to allow, or even encourage, massive smuggling of arms across the Egyptian border to Hamas in Gaza. While the world condemns Israel for having turned Gaza into the "world's largest prison," the fact that Gaza shares a long border with Egypt, apparently permeable only to weapons shipments, somehow escapes international notice.
UPDATE: DryBones gives notes what Israel may expect from the Palestinians in return: