Public Comment

Letters to the Editor

Friday August 04, 2006


Editors, Daily Planet: 

If somebody doesn’t come up with $125 by Aug. 7, I’m out of the mayor’s race.  

I wasn’t running to be mayor, of course, but as a candidate I’d be able to get some ideas out to people. 

On July 25 I found out I had two days to get 150 signatures to the city clerk’s office, or pay $1 by Aug. 7 for each signature I didn’t get.  

Nobody told me about this. They posted it on their bulletin board June 2, and it was, they said, my responsibility to know about it. 

But they hadn’t told me that either. 

So I’m 125 signatures, or $125, now, short. 

I’ve had some pretty good ideas in the past. I thought up and organized the North Berkeley Plan, the Intercollective Network, the Berkeley Farmers’ Market, the original Berkeley Food Conspiracy. 

I ran John Denton’s campaign for re-election to the City Council, and was the author of three successful administrative complaints, on behalf of the poor, proving the City of Berkeley was out of compliance with Federal Community Service regulations.  

I found the Ecology Center a new home when it lost their lease and went defunct, and over three million copies of the community newsletters that I founded and edited have been distributed free to the people of Berkeley. 

There’s more, but that should give you the idea. I have a few more ideas for our city, that I think are pretty good too, but if I’m not a candidate, well, who cares? 

I can’t afford the $125 fee. 

Who else can I ask? 

You can call me at 355-4873. 

Richard Berkeley  




Editors, Daily Planet: 

So Latinos are taking jobs from Americans! Do they come on horses with rifles, and say gimmie your jobs? Do they sneak into town at night, mug you, and say I want your job. No, the newly arrived immigrants do back-breaking work in the fields, kitchens and factories that Americans won’t touch. 

The next time intolerant white folk, Republicans and anti-immigrant forces say Mexicans are taking our jobs tell them their prejudice is showing and to take their bigotry and shove it. 

Ron Lowe 

Grass Valley 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

From the day I heard that a secret deal had been struck between the city and the university I have been concerned that Berkeley gave away too much in its haste to settle its LRDP suit. Berkeley signed away its ability to collect additional fees from UC if the recently decided lawsuit (City of Marina vs. Board of Trustees of the CSU, S117816) came down in Berkeley’s favor.  

Based on Monday’s state Supreme Court decision, it seems that my concern was more than just academic. According to the settlement Berkeley’s city government signed, we will have to bide our time for another 14 years before we will be able to negotiate for any money from UC. 

It was interesting to see that Assistant City Attorney Zack Cowan who filed a brief in the city’s behalf in the original suit, filed another brief opposing the citizen’s suit seeking to overturn the settlement and to reopen negotiations. What a waste of city money. 

Vincent Casalaina 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Now that all but a handful of us have made it through climate change, I am reminded that about 20 years ago I interviewed a handful of local ecology editors on the subject of global warming. Two answers were memorable. 

One was that “the best and hardest working people trying to save the planet say it can’t be done.” The other was that “we can plant trees until kingdom come, the planet can not last past 2050.” 

The latter was from the inestimable Gar Smith, long-time editor of Earth Island Journal. Some years later, Gar changed his coda to 2010. 

Arnie Passman  




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Sandra Horne’s letter of Aug. 1 is not only inaccurate, but egregiously so. The Berkeley Unified School District is audited annually by an independent auditor, licensed by the state of California, which adheres to standard and widely accepted governmental practices. The annual audit includes findings and recommendations that the board has, over the past few years, addressed and implemented. In addition, since I have been on the board the district has had independent audits performed on its business office, our food services department, the independent study program, and has performed an asset management study. Our budget is also reviewed by the county Office of Education, which makes a determination on its legitimacy, accuracy, and the district’s ability to meet all obligations (including a required reserve). 

In comparison, the city does not regularly conduct outside audits, does not have to balance its budget nor have it approved by any entity or agency other than itself, and can in fact spend more money than it has revenues to cover (and in fact often does). Which system has more accountability and credibility? 

John Selawsky 


Berkeley School Board 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Michele Lawrence is part of the management culture at the BUSD that consistently conflicts with Berkeley’s cultural values. Closing the achievement gap sounds like a hot button sound byte to efficiency experts but it is integral to the philosophy that continues to provide a world class education to the students of Berkeley High School. The Berkeley schools management team should be nurturing a cooperative relationship with its unions, not only because it reflects our values, but because working together we can make necessary changes while honoring our traditions. Lawrence fails to acknowledge the needs of students from under-represented populations in the District. She encourages an adversarial relationship with non-management faculty and union staff. This is counter to the interests of Berkeley’s parents because it interferes with the diverse, challenging, and progressive educational priorities of our hard-working Berkeley teachers. Lawrence rarely appoints Berkeley residents to management positions. Her appointees are typically from the same efficiency regime mentality that causes the incredibly high turnover rate currently rising within administrative teams district-wide. The qualification she seems to value most highly in her appointments is a lack of reluctance to make enemies among existing faculty and staff. 

Melinda Zapata 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Having grown up on Panoramic Way and also going to football games for 45 years at Memorial Stadium, I think you might be interested to know that not everybody on the hill is against the proposed renovations to the stadium. And as far as moving the stadium or playing the games at the Oakland Coliseum because of an earthquake during a game, guess which stadium would have its soil liquify? Let me give you a hint: It’s not in Berkeley.  

Matthew Shoemaker 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

It would be great if City Planning Director Dan Marks would add the occupants of Hesse, McLaughlin and Davis Halls to his list of potential victims were the Hayward Fault to experience an earthquake (“City Planning Director Issues Scathing Critique of UC Stadium Expansion Report,” Aug. 1). 

All three buildings, which are near the stadium, have been rated “poor” by the university’s own seismic evaluation program, and all three have yet to be scheduled for actual seismic upgrades (as opposed to “planning” for them). In the case of McLaughlin, the building keeps getting pushed down the list. In contrast to the stadium, which is occupied by large numbers of people only a few days a year, these buildings house offices, labs, at least one library, and classrooms that are in use year-round. 

Obviously, as evidenced by the fact that we are surrounded by new construction, it’s easier to raise money for new buildings (or at least to start them) than to take care of what the university already has. In the long run, that approach is short-sighted. Even if staff are considered expendable or replaceable, the students and faculty represent a considerable university investment. Perhaps there should be a seismic surcharge on capital project donations for retrofit projects, similar to the new surcharge non-unionized employees will start paying next July to keep the pension fund solvent.  

Phyllis Orrick 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Now that educational institutions do have to pay for their impacts, or otherwise mitigate them, (cities won the Marina decision), why not require UCB to fully mitigate the traffic impacts of their LRDP and SEQSS expansions? Pay full transportation demand management nexus fees like other developers? 

Our legal footing is now sound and the city has the right to withdraw from the settlement agreement and require a no new net increase in ADT (average daily traffic) to campus from UC or payment of all of the infrastructure changes required to accommodate the planned UCB growth—sewers, roads, sidewalks, stormwater, etc. 

Let’s hold UCB to their promise to be a good neighbor and a good citizen of Berkeley. 

Wendy Alfsen 

DAPAC member 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I have always voted in favor of tax increases for Berkeley schools, but unless something changes this time, I’ll be voting no this November. 

Based on your recent news story, the district administration is taking a far too casual approach to interdistrict transfers. Superintendent Michele Lawrence is quoted saying that Berkeley’s policy isn’t any more or less strict than other districts. 

If Berkeley is just as strict as Oakland, it’s not enough. Oakland kids are desperate to get into Berkeley schools. The reverse is not true. 

I feel bad for those Oakland kids, but Berkeley taxpayers shouldn’t have to subsidize the Oakland system’s disfunctions. 

The BUSD had better take this issue seriously before the November election. Clearly, the documents that Berkeley demands to prove residency are not adequate. And I question the superintendent’s claim that the district makes house calls to verify residency. Does she mean spot checks or something systematic? Did they make two house calls this year or 200? We need the district to communicate to the community what’s up, in very clear terms. 

Taxes are very high. If taxpayers are subsidizing the education of outside students, and the district takes a lax attitude toward the issue, why should we vote to tax ourselves further to keep this sham going? We shouldn’t. If the district can’t fix this problem, I predict a big “no” vote for the parcel tax in November. 

Tom Case 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

I am pleased that Mr. Selawsky is looking into changing documentation required to enroll in BUSD schools. I also agree with him when he says, “If people go to that length to forge utility bills, they’ll go to the same lengths with lease agreements.” That is why BUSD must hire someone devoted to making home visits and checks on enrollment paperwork. Parent and taxpayer confidence depend on it. 

Lorraine Mahley 



PROP. 89 

Editors, Daily Planet: 

Our citizens’ group, Californians for Sensible Political Reform, originated in Berkeley and supports ending “pay to play” politics and “leveling the political playing field.” So do backers of Prop. 89 like Mr. Miller and Mr. Townley (see the Planet’s July 17 and July 21 editions). However, unlike they and other proponents of Prop. 89, we don’t think taxpayers need to spend hundreds or even tens of millions of dollars to achieve these objectives (visit our blog-site, We can’t imagine why Mr. Miller and others in his organization keep insisting that the much more expensive and therefore wasteful approach taken by Prop. 89 is preferable, unless it’s because Prop.89 would also give the keys to the State Treasury to politicians Mr. Miller or Mr. Townley support (perhaps including themselves!). 

Yet we live in an era of inexpensive websites (which can be set up for a few hundred dollars) and free blog-sites (such as ours!). We also live in a state where a candidate for statewide office who accepts campaign contribution limits can present his or her qualifications and positions to every registered voter in the Secretary of State’s Official Voters Guide for less than $5,000. No other source of information about candidates, we suspect, is distributed more widely nor read as carefully by California’s voters. So why would Mr. Miller and Mr. Townley have us believe that giving candidates tens or hundreds of millions of dollars under Prop. 89 isn’t wasteful? Perhaps they and other supporters of Prop. 89 and public campaign financing want us to believe perceptions instead of realities. 

Keith Winnard 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Rick Caruso, the Los Angeles mall developer, ignores an important fact: Albany voters do not want a shopping mall next to Golden Gate Fields. Not to be deterred by public opinion, the racetrack on the one hand filed suit to stop our Albany Shoreline Protection Initiative, while on the other hand Mr. Caruso, a Bush Ranger who reportedly, “recently met with Karl Rove” (page 19), has returned with additional tricks up his sleeve: First, blame others for his own failings. Mr. Caruso blames the City Council for not accepting his formal application. For more than a year he has been pitching incomplete development plans at “coffees” held in the living rooms of his few but vocal supporters. Meanwhile, he repeatedly breaks serial promises to submit the actual application to the city—no application has ever been submitted. Second, create a “McGuffin”—an Alfred Hitchcock movie device that gets the characters together, pits them against each other, but in the end turns out to be as worthless as the Maltese Falcon. The McGuffin here comes in the guise of an over-reaching resolution to grant unprecedented, special privileges to one developer. Drafted by Caruso for submission by Councilmember Okawachi, the motion to adopt failed for lack of a second, but the blame game rages on. And lastly, threaten that Albany’s loss will be Berkeley/Richmond’s gain. If the mall leaves us for another suitor, then Albany suffers the under-reported traffic consequences, but receives none of the exaggerated tax revenues. In reality, Berkeley has measures on the books that basically preclude development of this mall at the stable area on the Berkeley side, south of the racetrack. And the purported Richmond site to the north sits atop an un-remediated toxic waste dump. So much for other suitors. In conclusion, protecting the shoreline is a global challenge being fought largely locally in Albany. Citizens throughout the East Bay are invited to join to protect the shoreline, which belongs to all of us. See our website at for information. 

Bill Dann 

Co-chair, Citizens for the Albany Shoreline 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

In July 2006 democracy died in Albany, California. Several years ago Albany voters approved Measure C, which gives them the authority to approve or decline any development on the Albany waterfront. What the voters did not know was that the Albany City Council, City Hall staff, and special interests in Albany and El Cerrito were determined that one thing would never happen on the Albany waterfront; nothing that generated any revenue for the city would ever be built. The small amount of waterfront land that is public in Albany is such a polluted and unsanitary dump that the city has been unable to give away the land for free to the East Bay Regional Park District. Despite this fact, when a developer offered to, on a privately owned unused parking lot which is also at the waterfront, clean up the area, build a 17-acre park, extend the Bay Trail, expand an existing wetland, provide low-income housing, build shops and restaurants, and permanently pay all costs to maintain the area, the city refused to accept his application for review, turned down his offer to pay for an EIR, which he is required by law to do, and severely criticized him for meeting extensively with citizens to show them his proposal and modify it according to their suggestions.  

At a July 17 City Council meeting one councilmember, Jewel Okawachi, tried to pass a resolution which would have allowed an EIR to be done and thus given Albany voters extensive information on which to base a decision as to whether they wanted this development. The four other City Council members refused to vote on her resolution. By their actions the city and its cohorts made sure the developer’s proposal would never be voted on by Albany citizens. They were afraid it would be approved. And what is it City Hall wants done with the waterfront? They want to close the Golden Gate Racetrack, lay off its many employees, give up the tax revenue generated by the track, buy the Racetrack land, valued by the city’s own attorney at over $100 million, and use taxes paid by Albany homeowners to maintain only a park. And how will they pay for the land? At the July meeting Councilmember Robert Lieber suggested the city could get “bond money or maybe a grant.” I’m sure allocating millions of dollars to build a park in Albany is a high priority for funding agencies. The track generates approximately $700,000 in tax revenue and the development would have generated another $2 million. City Hall wants to forfeit that revenue when the its own budget is going into deficit, it has million of dollars in unfunded needs, and it wants voter approval in the November election for millions in new bond debt. It’s time for a tax payer revolt in Albany and a new City Council. 

Stephanie Travis 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

Today, the Oakland City Council should lead the United States toward better elections that use the “instant runoff” (IRV) vote-counting system. More accurately termed “Inclusive Ranked Voting,” IRV allows many benefits:  

Because ranked voting can count any of our choices instead of just one, IRV implies that more ballots will counted to determine the winner. More voices of more voters will be included in govt. decisions, the goal of democracy.  

When voters’ second and third choices are also needed to win, politicians will have to reach out to everyone instead of catering to polarized special interest groups.  

Ranked voting empowers minority voters and groups instead of splitting votes between narrowly focused candidates. IRV reform has strong support from Sen. Barak Obama and U.S. representatives Cynthia McKinney and Jesse Jackson Jr. Modernizing from the old-fashioned “lesser-of-two-evils” election system cuts costly hostile mudslinging and the influence of campaign money. Voters do not have to risk their only voice on only one candidate  

Starting in San Francisco and Berkeley, the Bay Area has already at the forefront of ranked voting reform. Oakland voters can now get national attention by making an informed decision on IRV modernization this fall.  

Making more votes count can only help improve turnout and help bay area priorities. All Alameda county cities should follow Oakland and consider IRV measures for the November ballot.  

Sennet Williams 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Some home-safe spectators and far-from war-zone dangers “experts” opine that Israel’s reactions are “disproportionate. What proportions do they propose to apply when a rocket explodes on their heads?  

War is ugly-no question about it, not following rules of ethics, proportions or “fairness”!  

And please: No evasions, camouflage and smokescreens anymore! Hezbollah’s social services (schools, clinics, etc.) have always had religious strings (of extreme Shi’a) attached to them! Had they given their unconditional charity “candies” lovingly—there wouldn’t have been any such strings attached! And the Lebanese recipients of such “charity bait” ate it, lovingly accepting them (as if they could not have created/replicate such rewards to themselves, on their own), forgetting, in the process, that there’s a price to pay! Some Lebanese say they deplore/comdemn Hezbollah’s actions (cheap talk equals no walk)!  

Well, someone has had to welcome, allow Hezbollah in, host them, etc., or has the Hezbollah “snuck” in “overnight” to their territories without their knowledge during the six years since 2000, when Israel has completely withdrawn from Lebanon? 

The Lebanese people took to the streets in masses to protest Syria’s presence in their country (until they succeeded in expelling it)! Where have these Lebanese been when the Hezbollah (whom they “didn’t like/want”) was ushered into their territories? Otherwise, if they allowed them in, that makes them Israel’s’ avowed enemy, doesn’t it?  

Well, please help me out here! I need clarity: have the Lebanese welcomed/invited/hosted Hezbollah or not? If the first is applicable then, they’ve got to know: every action has a reaction (price)! Yet, if the second option is the truth—where has their action of defiance and rejection of the Hezbollah been—to back up their “anti”-Hezbollah rhetoric? 

Abe Plamer 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

If Thomas Paine were alive today he’d tell us that it is not the times that try our souls but the news of the times. Print and electronic news outlets devote half their time giving us entertainment disguised as news and the other half giving us persuasion and opinion disguised as information. Events in the Middle East are especially disguised and although instances are too numerous to count, two characterizations might suffice: “Crisis in the Middle East” and “Mass Migration in Southern Lebanon”. 

What’s deemed crisis involves a sovereign state (Israel) with a 10-to-1 advantage in military resources and an NGO (Hezbollah) with a 10-to-1 population advantage. Characterizing killing and maiming hundreds of civilians, one-third of them children, with bombs and rockets and destroying buildings, roads, homes, bridges, airports, etc. as a crisis reduces savagery and barbarism to “unstable” and “stressful” conditions.  

By using the words “mass migration” news outlets imply that commanding civilians across the border in a neighboring state to leave their homes or be killed merely amounts to several hundred thousand people setting out to “settle” in a “new location.” 

Thus, does print and electronic media merit being compared—a la Thomas Paine—to “summer soldiers” and “sunshine patriots,” and he’d probably allege further that those who cheapen human misery cheapen themselves. 

Marvin Chachere 

San Pablo 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

There are three disturbing elements of hatred facing Jews today. All of them are related. The first and perhaps most ubiquitous in many corners of the world is vicious, pronounced anti-Semitism. Anti-Semitism is historically popular with angry paradigms searching for a convenient target to blame. Mel Gibson, the son of a genuine Holocaust denier, reveals liquor-loosened feelings about Jews causing wars. In many unfortunate societies today, you’ll find Jew-hating virtually institutionalized in school curriculums, popular media, and by heads of state, who project and deliver their hate with vigor and effervescence while other heads of state watch and approve. 

Holocaust denial, the second disturbing thread, is not just the domain of fools like Gibson’s father. Ever-popular and disseminated widely throughout Muslim chords, it remains appallingly unchecked, which means it becomes reality for millions of the uninitiated. 

A third and most viciously hostile category of hate is venomous anti-Israel sentiment, endorsed and promulgated by many who read and contribute to this newspaper. The Berkeley Daily Planet, along with strident local radio stations, openly and frequently gratify, support, encourage, and reinforce those whose sole purpose is to wipe out Israel. In spite of Israel’s moderation and withdrawal from Gaza, destructive, inherently violent groups have made it clear: Israel simply has no right to exist, and many on the Local Left have become alarmingly proficient at justifying those groups.  

What gets overlooked here is that by eloquently broadcasting the anti-Israel tirades, this newspaper and the associated support mechanisms serve all three categories of hatred. If an angry skinhead or rageful Islamist listens to these stations or reads articles by people like Homayun or O’Malley, they find resonating redemption and reinforcement for not only the genocidal destruction of Israel, but also for their hatred toward Jews everywhere, and for their imbecilic belief that the Holocaust never happened. Supporting one tenet of hatred serves to buttress all three. 

For those who share the venom of anti-Israel fervor under a mask of locally brewed progressive fulfillment, beware of your ideological bedfellows. Hezbollah wrote the book on murder and terror and their Lebanese collaborators are paying a dear price. 

Leon Mayeri 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Anyone in Congress who supports this genocide does not represent me and many others in this country. Destroying a country’s infrastructure, killing millions of innocent civilians, including children, is inexcusable. I will never vote for anyone who supports this insanity. What Israel is doing to Lebanon is worse than what Hitler did in Germany. Hezbollah is merely an excuse for Israel to wipe out Palestine. 

Linda Stewart 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

There is no civilized excuse for ignoring the international rules of engagement that prohibit states from targeting and killing civilians. Israel and any other state that kills civilians and destroys civilian infrastructure must be condemned, not defended. 

Michael Jacob 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

In Becky O’Malley’s most recent attack on Israel she suggests that there is something fundamentally wrong with an Israeli war plan in which so many more civilians are killed than fighters. But this is not factually correct. The press has reported that some 500 civilians have been killed. There is no authoritative estimate, much less exact tally of Hezbollah’s dead, so no civilian to fighter ratio can be calculated. The reason is that causality figures come from the Lebanese government. But the only government in Hezbollah controlled areas is, well, Hezbollah itself. And they aren’t saying. 

Becky again fails to even mention in passing that every single Hezbollah rocket that is fired at Israel is intentionally aimed at woman and children. The Nazis blitzed London’s civilians, and wreaked their reward in Dresdan. That wasn’t proportional, either. But the difference is more profound, yet. Unlike the Allies at Dresden, Israel is desperately trying to avoid civilian casualities in this war that Hezbollah, together with Iran and Syria, has declared upon it. And Becky should not forget that, whereas Israel is happy to leave Lebanon to its peaceful fate, Hezbollah, Hamas, and Iran overtly call for the destruction of Israel, and soon, if left unchecked, they will have the nuclear weapons to achieve this. But readers should expect no retrospective tears from O’Malley if the unthinkable does happen. 

John Gertz 




Editors, Daily Planet: 

Becky O’Malley would have one believe that Israel is fighting Hezbollah simply as revenge for its kidnapped soldiers. What utter nonsense! Israel knew that Hezbollah was accumulating deadlier and deadlier missiles provided by Iran. Should it have waited until Hezbollah acquired rockets capable of hitting major population centers such as Tel Aviv and Jerusalem? After all, by Hezbollah’s own declaration the rationale for garnering such deadly weapons was to ultimately fire them at Israel. 

Of course, O’Malley spouts the typical “disproportionate” rubbish we have heard from the lips of consistent Israel-bashers like Kofi Annan and his anti Semitic Muslim friends at the UN. Yes, there have been more civilian casualties in Lebanon than Israel. But only an idiot would believe this to be Israel’s intent. O’Malley might try to use some logic: it does Israel absolutely no good to kill civilians—quite the contrary when it comes to world opinion. 

What O’Malley somehow fails to comprehend is Hezbollah’s cynical and craven strategy of storing and launching missiles from within civilian neighborhoods. Correspondingly, is Israel supposed to simply sit back and have its citizens murdered because the rockets are launched from Lebanese neighborhoods? One might conclude that O’Malley doesn’t believe Israel, unlike any other nation in the world, has the right to defend its citizens. 

While Israel time and again has given the Lebanese due warnings to leave said neighborhoods (what other nation at war ever does that?), you don’t hear of Hezbollah offering any such warnings to the Israelis, do you? Why is that? Critics like O’Malley might consider the following pertinent point, indeed the true heart of the matter: Hezbollah leaders such as Nasrallah have said time and again that their intent is “the disappearance of Israel.” 

But then again, there does appear to be a salient sense of “proportion” which O’Malley and her fellow Israel demonizers might find most acceptable: the obliteration of Israel. In this vein, their arguments appear congruent with Hezbollah... 

Dan Spitzer 





Editors, Daily Planet: 

Let’s face it, we’re Israel’s bitch. We invaded Iraq, in part, to protect Israel’s “Eastern Front” and to establish permanent military bases there, for which Prime Minister Ariel Sharon expressed his gratitude. We routinely protect our “client” from world public opinion for the consequences of its heinous acts in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and, now, Lebanon by threatening to use our veto in the UN Security Council. Currently, we are expediting the delivery of bombs to our “friend” and, at its request, oppose a cease fire. Shortly, as the “neo-con” war mongers in the Administration and Congress ratchet up the rhetoric, we will probably be given the “green light” by our “proxy” to bomb the smithereens out of Iran.  

Bill Tilden 






Editors, Daily Planet: 

Becky O’Malley’s editorial of Aug. 1 on the Israel-Lebanon war was based on a grave misunderstanding. The war is not about getting revenge for two kidnapped soldiers. In the big picture, they are minor importance. The war is about the chances for attaining peace and justice in Israel-Palestine in this generation. 

The end game for decades of war was in sight: Israel withdraws—whether unilaterally or in deals—from Lebanon, Gaza, and 90-plus percent of the West Bank; and the Palestinians get a state for the first time in history. But this scenario works only if Israelis get peace on their borders in return, something they have not had for 60 years. 

The cross-border attacks by Hamas from Gaza and by Hezbollah from Lebanon deliberately threaten this plan. They state that the war against Israel goes on even after withdrawals, even across international borders. If that stands, then Israel would have to return to her previous strategy of occupying neighboring territory in order to push her enemies back from her heartland.  

The current hope is that a fierce response in Gaza and Lebanon will establish the principle that borders are real and secure and quiet. If that is established, then withdrawal and the rest of the peace plan can proceed. 

C. Fischer