Friday, February 8, 2008

US General Explains How to Fight Terrorism.

by Hillel Fendel

US Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Nick Halley, a veteran Vietnam, Grenada and Desert Storm (Iraq) commander and general, says the war against radical Islam is a no-choice prospect, in which the West must do everything it can to win.

In his book Terrorism: The Target is You!, Gen. Halley calmly but emphatically calls upon the American public to internalize that the war imposed upon them by extremist Muslims is for real.  Each and every citizen has a role to play in this war, Halley says, mainly in understanding that a concerted war effort is crucial.  His list of Do's and Don'ts includes the following: Don't judge progress based on casualty reports; Don't have unrealistic expectations; Don't overreact to bad news or future terrorist attacks; Do be alert; and Do put aside political differences in order to present a unified front against radical Islam.

 What Happened in Somalia
Halley writes that the terrorists were emboldened to begin their war by an incident that occurred in 1993 in Somalia:

"We [the U.S.] went to that country with the purest of intentions - to restore order, end the civil war, and prevent the starvation of tens of thousands of Muslim people. The Muslim warlords were preventing international aid from being properly distributed to the starving people.

"In an Army Ranger operation against one of those warlords, Mohammed Farah Aideed, a Blackhawk helicopter was shot down and 18 Americans were killed in the operation... Our response was to leave Somalia.

"This was the final event that persuaded the international terrorist leaders and their organizations - especially Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda - that the US would not strongly respond militarily to terrorist attacks... The terrorists became convinced that the most powerful country in the world had a very weak will. They were persuaded that we could be defeated in any conflict by turning American public opinion against a particular conflict simply by killing enough Americans over a period of time. In effect, the real target of the terrorist attack is the American people. They want to break the will of the American people. This so-called 'Somalia Strategy' is the basis of their current strategy [emphasis in the original]."

Gen. Halley, who commanded thousands of soldiers in Vietnam, Grenada and Iraq (Desert Storm), writes that this war is the most dangerous and difficult war in US history, for several reasons: The enemies are hard to identify and isolate; they want to kill not only soldiers, but regular citizens and their children; the vast expanses of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans that protected the US in previous wars are not effective against a terrorist war; and the war can be expected to last two decades or more.

Though the strategy of deterrence helped win the Cold War against the Soviet Union, Halley asserts that it is very ineffective against terrorists who want to "kill us and our children, and [are] willing and even anxious to die in that process.  Deterrence simply does not work under those conditions."

Instead, Halley explains, the necessary strategy - though it has its dangers - is that of pre-emptiveness. It calls for attacking any country or group that presents a "clear and present" danger, even if not imminent.  It "basically calls for us to hunt down and destroy any enemies before they strike, not after."

The Media's Role
Halley emphasizes that the media has an important role to play in this war.  "We are doing better in the global war against the radical Muslim groups than most citizens think," he writes. "Unfortunately, the bad news is being over-reported, while the good news is being under-reported. This is causing great confusion and creating divisions in American public opinion that is significantly reducing public support for this critical war. The continuing erosion of support - not defeats on the battlefield - could cause us to eventually lose this war.  The enemy is counting on this."
 
One of its closing quotations was uttered by World War II General Douglas MacArthur: "It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win."

Hillel Fendel

 

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

 

Hizbullah Weapons and Tactics in Gaza

by Nissan Ratzlav-Katz

Palestinian Authority terrorists in Gaza have been emulating the tactics of the Lebanese Hizbullah, according to IDF sources. At least one of the PA weapons suppliers is also the same as that of Hizbullah: Iran.

IDF forces operating in the PA-controlled northern Gaza region on Thursday morning discovered rocket launchers that had been placed in concrete bunkers hidden underground. The launchers could be activated from a distance by remote control, IDF officials said, which allowed terrorists to escape IDF attempts to immediately retaliate against the rocket-launching cells.

According to military sources, the concrete rocket bunkers in Gaza demonstrate that Hamas has been heavily influenced by the Lebanese Hizbullah terrorist organization. As was discovered by the IDF, Hizbullah forces have used similar tactics along Israel's northern border, in southern Lebanon.

In addition to the specific tactic revealed Thursday, intelligence officials have repeated warnings that Iran is supplying jihadists in Gaza with weaponry similar to that the Islamic Republic supplied to the Hizbullah in Lebanon. Evidence of this was provided in January, when a Katyusha rocket fired by Hamas terrorists during an attack on Ashkelon was found to have been manufactured in Iran. The continuing breach in the Gaza-Egypt border has further facilitated the transfer, not only of weapons, according to security sources, but also of Iranian advisers for the PA jihadists.

Intelligence officials say that Iran has used funding, weapons and  advanced terrorist training at camps inside the Islamic Republic to build up a critical influence on the PA's leading Hamas faction.

Rockets Fired From School
The Associated Press, reporting a claim that Israel targeted a Gaza agricultural school, exposed the fact that rockets were being fired from inside the school, using it as a shield. "Associated Press Television News footage showed the school to be a series of huts in a rural area," the AP reported. "A rocket-launching device was spotted between some olive trees, indicating militants had used the school for cover to launch attacks."

Two Rockets Landed Near a School
Despite the IDF activity in northern Gaza on Thursday, PA attacks on Jewish communities in the region continued all day. By Thursday night, Gaza terrorists had fired at least 19 rockets at the towns in the Negev.

Two PA rockets exploded near a school in the Eshkol Regional Council in the afternoon. One hit a factory in the industrial zone of the city of Sderot, igniting a fire and sending a number of people into shock. A rocket fired on Thursday night landed near the residential area of Sderot.

In other attacks by PA terrorists, Israeli workers came under enemy gunfire along the Gaza security fence on Thursday night. The attack took place north of Nahal Oz. No injuries were reported in the incident.

DM Barak: We Will Strike Back 'Until the Problem is Solved'
In the early morning IDF counter-terrorism operation in northern Gaza, seven PA terrorists were killed, among them five members of Hamas and one member of the Islamic Jihad. A rocket factory and weapons storage facility were destroyed, as well. IDF ground forces and IAF war planes carried out the attacks in retaliation for the incessant PA rocket fire directed at Israeli civilians in the Negev.

Speaking at the Tze'elim army base in the south of the country, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Thursday that Israel would take harsher measures against Gaza terrorists if their attacks continue. "We will increase our activity, and the other side's losses, until the problem is solved," he said.

Barak said that IDF operations in Gaza were successful in reducing the number of rocket strikes launched from the PA; however, he cautioned, enemy attacks "will not end today or tomorrow." He advocated a combination of military operations, sanctions on Gaza and fortifications in Israeli cities.

On the diplomatic front, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told US military envoy General James Jones Thursday that Israel has to deal with threats from Gaza before a Palestinian Authority state is established.

"We must provide an actual response to the threat emerging from Gaza before the inception of a Palestinian state," said Livni, adding that Israel's security is a priority, especially if PA Arabs view Gaza as a part of any future state.

Nissan Ratzlav-Katz

Ezra HaLevi contributed to this report

 

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

 

Israel and Hamas: Half a loaf may be poisonous.

By Ami Isseroff

08.02. 2008
Ever since the Hamas triumphed in Gaza, Israel and the quartet have been trying to combat it by a series of limited actions: closing the Rafah crossing, an aid embargo, aid to the rival Fatah, curtailing fuel deliveries, targeted killings, shutting down electricity and the like.

None of these measures has been effective, and none is likely to be. Shlomo Brom explains why:

It might have been hoped that pressure would bear fruit if Hamas were simultaneously offered an acceptable alternative. In this instance, Hamas was offered two options. The first was to disappear and give up control in Gaza in favor of the government of Mahmoud Abbas. The second was to stop being Hamas, that is, to change completely its worldview and accept the three conditions of the Quartet. There was no chance that Hamas would agree to either of these choices, and it was therefore predictable that it would try to break the logjam either by escalating the violence or adopting some other dramatic action, such as breaking down the wall. If Israel intends to offer the Hamas government a more acceptable option, then Hamas has for come time suggested a deal based on a ceasefire, in order to stabilize the situation.

As long as it exists, Hamas is not going to give up its goal of destroying Israel. It is not going to recognize Israel, and it is not going to change its charter, which calls for elimination of Israel and hints strongly that genocide of all the Jews is a religious duty needed to bring on the end of days. Therefore, the alternative option that Brom offers Israel, seems to be nonsensical:

The government of Israel needs to decide whether persisting with the pressure – in the unfounded hope that that will lead to the collapse of Hamas in Gaza – is more promising than a limited deal with Hamas.

This option is nonsensical. It is not an option unless Israel wants to commit national suicide. Hamas would become very much stronger just by virtue of having been legitimized by Israel and would almost certainly take control of the Palestinian Authority. And any deal with Hamas would make it impossible for Israel to stop smuggling of arms. Any such "limited agreement" is a peace now, die later plan.

Today Israel has begun cutting down electricity supply to Gaza. This policy is already bearing the same sort of "fruit" as previous tactics: As of now, at least 22 Qassam rockets have fallen in the Western Negev today, and the day is not over. The pattern that such actions follow has become well established. Any pressure on a terrorist group turns them into heroes. The Second Lebanon War forced Lebanese and others, regardless of their real feelings, to side with the Hezbollah against the "Zionist enemy," as soon as it became apparent that Israel wasn't going to vanquish the Hezbollah. Today, both Fatah and "peace camp" people believe they have no choice other than to join the Hamas demands to "end the siege of Gaza." Of course, Hamas made it absolutely clear that it would only accept an end to the siege that put Hamas in power, and that it rejects international supervision or PNA involvement. Hamas spokesman Abu Zuhri stated that :

"...any international force will be dealt with as an occupation force."

Everyone understands how Hamas treats "occupation" forces: They blow them up. Therefore, there is no chance that any country would commit its troops to such a force. Hamas is not interested in alleviating any humanitarian problems. Hamas even confiscated a shipment of humanitarian aid intended for the Palestinian Red Crescent. They don't have to work. They make a living from what they steal from blind men's cups.

Beyond the rhetoric, there is always a political goal. For the Hezbollah, the goal was control of Lebanon. For Hamas, it is international recognition and control of the Palestinian Authority. Hamas has managed to draft "peace" activists and Fatah into agitating for imposition of a reactionary Islamist regime on the Palestinians, under the banner of "end the siege."

Israeli half-measure actions against extremist groups force domestic opponents of those groups to side with their political enemies. This is true even though, for example, it is obvious that Fatah are committing political and possible physical suicide by calling for an end to the siege of Gaza, which would empower Hamas. It would be even more unhealthy for Fatah to fail to support the Hamas at this point.

Pressure on civilian population is certainly not going to help either. Civilians are either powerless or support the Hamas moves. Hamas' popularity increased significantly when they succeeded in opening the border to Egypt for a brief time.

Amir Oren andRobert Baer both note that the Hamas success in breaching the Rafah barrier makes a large scale Israeli attack in Gaza much more likely. But the options again, are not appetizing. Israel can take over the Rafah crossing, but IDF presence anywhere in Gaza in the long run is going to be an attractant to suicide bombers as well as an issue that is ideal for gathering support for the Hamas war against the Israeli "occupation." Hamas may break out into Israel if IDF controls Rafah. Israel can invade northern Gaza in an attempt to stop the rockets, but of course they will return as soon as Israel leaves. Israel can target Hamas leaders, as it has killed Sheikh Yassin and Achmed Rantissi in the past, but that didn't seem to set the Hamas back very much either.

Hamas is a threat at many levels, not just to Israel, but to the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, the American sponsored peace process and Arab world moderates. Hamas is a strategic threat to Israel. For any such threat, one has to decide whether to contain it and last it out, as the US did with the USSR, or to confront it decisively and eliminate it, as was done with Nazi Germany. If the latter decision is made, the only acceptable "agreement" is unconditional surrender, and the only open option is total war. Hamas will not listen to "persuasion" and half-measures will only make it stronger. Before the decision to go to war is made, every option for solving the problem of Hamas with international support must be explored. Even if no support is forthcoming, as happened with diplomatic efforts that preceded the Six Day War, a serious diplomatic effort will help to explain the Israeli position to the world and garner at least passive support for any military action.

Those who attack government inaction and incompetence in dealing with Hamas are correct. Israel doesn't have either a strategic or a tactical plan. It didn't have a plan to deal with the Hamas breakout or with the consequences of the fuel cut, and it doesn't have a plan to deal with the Hamas PR campaign and international pressure that will result from the electricity cuts. If Gazans overrun the border with Israel, it will be evident that the IDF and the government have no plan to deal with that either.

But those who advocate immediate military action are blowing smoke, because anything short of total Israeli victory in this case will mean defeat, and victory is not possible if Israel acts now. If five Hamas members are left alive and free in Gaza, they will proclaim "victory" as Hezbollah did in Lebanon. In Lebanon, Hezbollah managed to paralyze the government on the basis of its "victory" and the IDF failure. Hamas would certainly take over the West Bank and become undisputed rulers of the Palestinian areas if the Gaza operation is a repeat of the Second Lebanon war for the IDF.

A Gaza operation would exact a huge toll of casualties on both sides. It is impossible to soften up populated areas of Gaza with artillery or aerial bombardment, because the number of civilian casualties would be unacceptable. Hamas may also purposely put civilians in the path of a ground attack, to achieve the PR triumph of showing unarmed Arab women and children facing Israeli tanks.

In order to carry out such an operation, IDF needs time. It cannot be interrupted by UN imposed cease fires that leave the other side in a position to recover. It must not be forced to leave Gaza before the Hamas movement is eradicated in the same way that the National Socialist Workers Party was destroyed in Germany after World War II. That is why the international position must be well prepared before any action is taken. Israel must also have a clear picture of what it is going to do with Gaza after Hamas is liquidated. It won't do to return to the former situation of occupation. In addition to taking its case to the world, Israel should be doing everything in its power to ensure that whatever deterrent measures are taken, are aimed only at Hamas and not at Palestinian civilians, because Hamas uses the "humanitarian" issue to score large propaganda victories. That means that rather than cutting electricity or supplies, Israel should be looking for ways to ensure the welfare of the population despite Hamas.

But there is also a limited window for such an operation. We should not exaggerate the prowess of the Hamas at present. They have small arms, some anti-tank weapons and mines. They don't have artillery and air power. But they have already managed to dig in their rocket emplacements in the same way as the Hezbollah did in Lebanon, and they are probably constructing Hezbollah type bunkers all the time. It will be harder and harder to eliminate them without paying a heavy price. Additionally, if Hezbollah in the meanwhile also succeeds in taking over the government of Lebanon, an attack on Gaza would probably mean a renewal of the Hezbollah rocket attacks, which could be carried out using long range rockets, launched from well behind the lines of UNIFIL.

The price Israel will pay for any action in Gaza will not be measured in lives only. Most of those who advocate immediate action in Gaza are right wing politicians like Benjamin Netanyahu and his supporters. They should take into account that an inevitable consequence of a successful Israeli operation in Gaza will inevitably bolster the peace process and almost certainly lead to a quartet-enforced peace agreement in which Israel will ultimately cede Gaza and most of the West Bank to a Palestinian state. Eradicating Hamas is not only a prerequisite for peace, it will also be an inevitable catalyst for ending the occupation. The United States and other countries could not justify support for an Israeli operation in Gaza to the Arab world unless it had a "happy end" for the Palestinian people and the Arab side.

On the other hand, those "peace activists" who are yelling for an "end to the siege of Gaza" must understand that unless the siege is ended by an Israeli victory over Hamas or international action, if they get their wish, there will be no peace ever. Ending the siege under the terms offered by Hamas will enslave the Palestinians and guarantee the continuation of the conflict.

Ami Isseroff

Original content is Copyright by the author 2008.

 

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Islamists are Intimidating, We are Capitulating

By Raphael Israeli

 

The  new Zawahiri  broadcast tape, where  Islamists pursue their campaign of intimidation against the West  seems nothing new, but what does seem surprisingly new, compared with the legendary  fighting spirit of the British, is the seeming capitulation of  London and other European capitals to their tormenters , and in any case the baffling incomprehension that they exhibit of the Islamist phenomenon which has repeatedly declared itself so clearly as inimical to them.

Just consider the spirit of dhimmitude which has inundated the entire West due to its much-cultivated dependence on Muslim oil and the  humiliating consequences thereof. This state of mind, which dictated caution, surreptitious manoeuvering in order to survive, and a self-humiliating sycophancy toward the Muslim rulers in the hope of gaining their favor, has been inherited from many centuries of Islamic rule on vast swaths of Christendom, from Sicily to the Iberian Peninsula, from the Balkans to the gates of Vienna. This aggressive Islam which attempted, but failed to Islamize Europe, had subjected large Christian communities to the dhimmi regime  in the Near East that was conquered by the emerging new faith of Islam, like the Copts in Egypt, the Assyrians in Iraq, the Maronites in Lebanon  and countless other Christian communities which first became subjugated majorities and then systematically persecuted minorities in their own countries. This had  amounted in the final analysis, after many centuries of oppression and contempt by the rule of Islam, to a self-diminution of the dhimmis, a loss of their pride  and confidence in themselves, self-flagellation that they did not stand up to the standards set for them by their rulers, and a total distortion of their self-image and the image of their oppressors. So much so, that many Christians and Jews, years after being liberated from dhimmitude, continued to think and act as dhimmis, namely to hold themselves grateful to their Muslim masters, who beat, humiliated, and mistreated them.

What is more, the spirit of dhimmitude has been adopted, or taken over, by many Western societies today which, for reasons hard to understand or explain, pretend not to hear or comprehend Muslim threats, smile, and evince "understanding" in the face of those threats, and seem to be marching foolishly toward spiritual and cultural capitulation and enslavement. Take, for example, the regime of self-defense and of intruding into the privacy of the air-passengers, which has been imposed in airports all over the world in the past two decades due to Muslim terrorism. Instead of persecuting it and eliminating it at its roots, the West surrendered to it and adopted, at considerable financial, human and moral cost, measures to live with it, not to fight it, in what has amounted to submission to a mammoth collective punishment of innocents.  Even more ominous is the wholehearted and  even enthusiastic support of Europeans to Muslim fundamentalists on their own turf, when they rushed to sustain Bosnians and Kosovars  and other Albanian Muslims in Macedonia, that have been supported, financed and trained by revolutionary Iran, and many Muslim volunteers from Chechnya to North Africa and the Middle East, were recruited to fight  a Jihad for their cause.

So, again foolishly,  the West substituted  Muslim Jihad  and horrors for Serbian  ethnic cleansing and caused with its own doings, the severance of Christian continuity between the heart of Europe to the Aegean Sea, by creating and sustaining a continuous string of revived Muslim presence from former Yugoslavia  to Turkey, hoping thereby to extend the Turkish model of "Islamic  moderation" and salvaging the European borders from a Muslim onslaught. But it turned out that Kosovo  was totally subtracted  from Serbia under UN auspices, while in Turkey a Muslim fundamentalist party took over government  in 2002.

Now, following the London horrors, the British, who have for years given shelter to Muslim terrorists who clustered in London  under the liberal policies of then-Home Secretary Jack Straw, find themselves "surprised" and "shocked" that  the wind of "liberalism" they had sown now forces them to reap the whirlwind of terrorism. They have been talking about  "criminals", instead of Muslim terrorists or simply Islamikaze , once again making proof of their dhimmi state of mind which refuses to recognize realities or wishes to avoid offending the Muslims. We all know that criminals would take their risks and try to survive and enjoy the fruit of their crime, while the Islamikaze , as Zawahiri has again made evident,  do not expect any economic gains, for they pursue ideological goals and are ready to sacrifice their lives for them, if only they can make the West bend to their will.

So, instead of submitting to their intimidation, as we have shamefully done by yielding to our "punishment" in airports for the past two decades, and in Israel  at the entrance to every public building where we have to submit to thorough searches,  let us call a spade a spade, condemn the Muslim terrorists and the organizations behind them (by their own admission), instead of blaming the horrific acts of terror as if they were earthquakes or tsunami waves. Imputing this wave of evil to individual criminals or "suicide bombers" not only misses the point of identifying them  by name, but may even create some  pervert sympathy for them when one begins "understanding" their motives and deplore the poverty or the frustration that caused them  to go to their death and bring down with them multitudes of innocent people.

There is no prospect to  resist and survive this wave of Muslim evil unless we define it without mincing words. No other group of people, no adherents of any other faith have so relentlessly vowed to destroy Western culture as the modern Islamists have. There are plenty of poor and frustrated people in the favelas of south America, the shack cities of Asia  and the jungles of Africa. But in none of them is this unstoppable desire to kill  Westerners and Jews  as evident,  as   manifested by  the Islamikaze.  We have punished ourselves enough in our squeamishness to act violently against them, and we have tried in vain to skirt the issue of Islamic terrorism in a hope to see it go away. But it does not. Only shedding the remnants of the dhimmi spirit in all  Western minds may help us achieve that.

 

Raphael Israeli

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

 

 

 

Monday, February 4, 2008

PA's Message: In English – Coexist; In Arabic – Destroy Israel

by Leah Morse

The Palestinian Authority (PA) is delivering two very different messages to the Western and Arab world. The message to the West, declared in English in front of media microphones and cameras, glorifies an independent Palestinian state coexisting peacefully beside Israel.

But according to documented videos of PA TV programs monitored by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), the PA is telling its Arab audience that there will be no Israel at all, rather one large Arab Palestine will rule the entirety of Israel.

In the video above, PMW Director Itamar Marcus explains that translated speeches and interviews of Palestinian leaders reveal their true intentions. Even "moderate" PA leaders have no intention of actually making peace with Israel or even recognizing its right to exist. Marcus says that hate-filled messages are rampant in PA culture and even in children's textbooks, which tell young minds that Islam demands the destruction of Israel.

Leah Morse

 

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

The Gaza Breakout

 

by Bret Stephens, columnist bstephens@wsj.com

 

What if Gaza were to conquer Egypt? The possibility is not as remote as it may seem just by glancing at the map.

Egypt has more than 50 times the population of its former colony and 2,800 times the landmass. But Gaza is sovereign Hamas territory, Hamas is the Palestinian branch of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, and Egypt -- not Israel -- is the country that has most to fear from a statelet that is at once the toehold, sanctuary and springboard of an Islamist revolution.

No wonder liberal Egyptians are reacting with near-hysterical alarm to last Wednesday's demolition of the border fence between the Gaza Strip and the Sinai. The Brotherhood organized at least 70 demonstrations throughout Egypt early last week to protest Israel's economic blockade of the Strip, itself a reaction to Hamas's rocket barrages into Israel. "Arm us, train us and send us to Gaza," chanted the demonstrators, along with "O rulers of Muslims, where is your honor, where is your religion?" The independent Egyptian daily Almasry Alyoum also described conversations between Hamas leader Khaled Mashal and Mohammed Mahdi Akef, the Brotherhood's Supreme Guide, to coordinate their activities. "We will take to the streets and defend our brothers in Gaza, even if we are all tried in military courts," Mr. Akef was reported as saying.

As Middle Eastern power plays go, Hamas's decision to dismantle the Gaza-Sinai border was a masterstroke. Gaza's economic woes are almost wholly self-inflicted, but they are real. Dynamiting and bulldozing the border of a neighboring country is legally an act of war, but it was made to seem like a humanitarian necessity and a bid for freedom. Flooding that neighbor with hundreds of thousands of desperate people is a massive economic burden on Egypt, but one that it shirks at its political peril.

Above all, Hamas exploited the myth of pan-Arab solidarity with the Palestinians in order to explode it. Having whipped itself into its usual frenzy over Israel's "siege" of Gaza, it was a delicate matter for the state-run Egyptian press to make the government's case for deploying truncheon-wielding police to turn back the Palestinian human tide. It's an equally delicate matter for the Egyptian government to arrest Brotherhood protesters peacefully demonstrating "for Palestine," even if the Brotherhood's real target is Hosni Mubarak's regime and the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty that it supports.

For Palestinians who have spent squalid decades in the refugee camps of Lebanon (which forbids Palestinians from owning property or having any sort of gainful employment), or have been systematically abused as laborers in the Gulf sheikdoms (Kuwait expelled its Palestinian population en masse following its 1991 liberation from Iraq), or have had a country denied to them by a Hashemite regime in Jordan, the lies of the Arab world are well known.

Still, it must have seemed to Palestinians an especially galling contrast that Israel announced the resumption of fuel supplies to Gaza, just as Egypt was cutting its deliveries of fuel and foodstuffs to its border towns of Rafah and El Arish in the Sinai, in order to keep the Palestinians out. For good measure, Egyptian sources tell me that yesterday the government also arrested 3,000 Gazans who had made their way to Cairo -- yet another betrayal that will surely linger in Palestinian memory for a long time.

For the Brotherhood all this is excellent news. Yesterday, Nabil Shaath, a Palestinian minister in President Mahmoud Abbas's cabinet, reportedly sought a meeting in Cairo with Supreme Guide Akef in order to negotiate a new border arrangement. Mr. Akef declined to see him, a telling indicator of the Brotherhood's newfound political confidence. It can now lay firm claim to the Palestinian cause, never mind that its "brothers" in Hamas are the real source of current Palestinian misery.

 

By contrast, the Egyptian government faces a serious quandary, and not just as a matter of rhetoric. By its treaty with Israel, it is forbidden from deploying its army in large numbers to the Sinai. In previous years, it used this restriction as an alibi in its lackluster efforts to prevent the arms flow from Sinai to Gaza. Now that flow threatens to go in the opposite direction, endangering not just Israel but also Egyptian tourist resorts such as Taba and Sharm el-Sheikh. "The situation in Sinai now poses the greatest threat to Egypt's national security," writes one perceptive Egyptian blogger. "Any Palestinian crossing the border could take with him weapons and explosives and supply them to Al Qaeda affiliated groups in Sinai."

The Egyptian-Israeli treaty may ultimately have to be revised to take account of the changing facts on the ground. Israel, too, will have to rethink some basic strategic assumptions. Supporters of Ariel Sharon's "disengagement" plan -- present company included -- can take a measure of satisfaction in noting that Gaza is increasingly becoming an Arab problem rather than an Israeli one. But in addition to the physical challenge of having to defend against incessant (if so far rarely deadly) rocket attacks from Gaza, and reinforce its long desert border with Egypt, Israel must also now consider the possibility that the current regime in Egypt may not long survive the death of its soon-to-be octogenarian president.

 

Who and what comes next is anyone's guess, though it would be foolish to gamble on Gamal Mubarak, the president's West-leaning son. Egypt is a military regime, and the younger Mubarak, who never served in uniform, is not well-loved among the generals who will have the final say in matters of succession.

A more serious question is whether the military might take a more indulgent view of the Brotherhood, either because it has been infiltrated by Islamist officers, or because it seeks a condominium with the Brotherhood in order to shore up its own legitimacy. (In this connection, U.S. efforts to "engage" the Brotherhood in a political dialogue would have a disastrous effect, as it would signal to the military that it could cut its own deal with the Islamists without having to pay a price in U.S. support.)

In the meantime, the border with Gaza is again being sealed, bringing the crisis to a temporary end. It won't remain quiet for long, and neither will Egypt -- the next great foreign policy crisis on the American horizon.

 

Bret Stephens

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

 

Sunday, February 3, 2008

The Price of Folly.

By Raphael Israeli

 

These days Israel has been paying for the foolishness of the past 13 years, and is being warned against pursuing the march of folly in which we have been trapped. For politicians are so narcissistic that they would rather dig deeper into the marsh than admit their errors, because if they did they would have to disappear from our sight.

 

Indeed, some of us had warned when Oslo was signed that, against all expectations and hopes, the Palestinian leadership did not change, nor did Arafat who continued to vow martyrdom and war for the sake of "liberating" Jerusalem, so that he could once again impose his Pax Islamica and block access  for Jews to their holy places. Arafat certainly got his Nobel Prize for Oslo, and he proved that he deserved it more than anyone else, if one takes into consideration that Alfred Nobel invented dynamite and could not imagine a better customer than the head of the PLO and its founder.

 

However, far from learning  from that unfortunate experience, we invented the misfortune of "disengagement" from Gaza under the pretext that we should separate ourselves from the Palestinians rather than "rule" them.  Some thoughtful Israelis, including former Chief of Staff Ya'alon, begged the decision makers at least to forego withdrawal from the northern Gaza Strip, where there was not one single Palestinian to rule, and where a single hill was located that separated Gaza from the strategic installations of Ashqelon (the oil pipeline that supplies all Israel, a major power plant for the entire south of the country and a precious desalination plant that helps relieve Israel's permanent shortage of potable water). That hill was settled by three booming Israeli settlements and barred the way to terrorism from the Gaza Strip. In addition, we warned against  turning the evacuation the entire Gaza strip into a precedent for  a total retreat of Israel from the West Bank too. But nothing was convincing to the Sharon government, which decided to pursue this useless one-sided retreat, which backfired against us, produced the rise of the Hamas, and vindicated their position that Israeli withdrawals should not be rewarded by any Palestinian quid pro-quo.  However, Sharon pledged before he sunk into his coma that no Palestinian would dare to attack Israel after the "friction was removed", and that if they dared,  a massive and swift Israeli retaliation would silence them.

 

Now it is clear that all the predictions of the government failed while ours proved accurate. Evacuation without agreement proved lethal, bombings of our towns increased, Hamas took over power, our strategic installations are under direct threat, and Palestinians dare to attack Israel inside its territory and kidnap its soldiers. Worse of all, our decision makers are impotent to do anything about these threats and all their bravado proves empty talk.

 

If we end up as the clear losers of the shortsightedness of our leaders, after all their predictions failed, since Oslo and through disengagements, at the very least we expect them to stop at the brink of the abyss and to refrain from any further step that will put our state into jeopardy. The people are smarter and more forbearing than its leadership, and it will know how to stop it before the next foolish "convergence" plan (another euphemism for unilateral withdrawal), which  our leaders consider a great leap forward, but we believe it would precipitate us into the abyss.

 

Since the whole delusory idea of a two-state solution west of the Jordan river has drowned beyond retrieval, with the Palestinian leadership vowing to recover the entire land at the expense of Israel, it is time to reconsider the entire concept of the partition of Palestine/ the Land of Israel and make  an offer that would encompass most of the Palestinian people on the one hand and arrest the erosion of Israel's security needs on the other. That offer can be based on the principles that have been avoided and ignored so far, but have now become inescapable:

  1. The entire land of historical Palestine (Israel, the West Bank and Gaza and Jordan) is up for partition.  The Hashemite Kingdom  is a regime, not a people or a nation,  and for the sake of resolving the Palestinian problem, it must be included in the solution, since half the Palestinian people , which constitutes 70% of the Jordanian population is under King Abdallah (another  Eastern Palestinian who married a Western Palestinian) . Whether dubbed Jordan, Palestine or the Hashemite Kingdom of Palestine, it has become evident that since the 30% of the Palestinians who live in the West Bank and Gaza cannot provide a wholesome solution to satisfy them if they wish to repatriate their refugees, there is no escaping the inclusion of Jordan in the solution.
  2. When the entire expanse of historical Palestine is partitioned through negotiations between the parties, the minority populations which will remain in  alien land (Jews in Palestine and Arabs in Israel) will either be exchanged or given the opportunity to choose between full nationalization in their non-national territory, or opt for permanent residency without the accruing privileges of citizenship.

 

Great statesmanship is not the one that distinguishes between good and bad. That is too easy and too impractical in our complicated world, but the expression of the ability to seize the bad before it grows worse. We are  today in a bad situation, but if we adopt this kind of dramatic program, we will have rescued the sovereignty of Israel from sinking in an ocean of  Arab demography, we will secure Israel's strategic positions that are crucial to our survival by holding on to parts of the West Bank, and we will ensure a large enough territory for the Palestinians to assume their sovereignty , resolve their refugee problem and be self-confident and  sufficiently satisfied to leave us in peace.

Raphael Israeli

 

Raphael Israeli is a Professor of Islamic History at Hebrew University, Jerusalem.

 

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

The Collapse of Political Correctness:Where are the Intellectuals?

By Raphael Israeli

 

Apologia

Western societies  that are dipped in  their Judeo-Christian tradition  draw from the  great Biblical Prophets who used to relentlessly lash out  at their secular authorities, in a remarkable display of moral concern for both the domestic and external policies of their countries, whenever they felt that Truth was violated or the wrong prevailed. In so doing, they also  ached the pains of the entire world, including their own, for they were aware that evil spirits might concoct lies and conspiracies against the Jewish Commonwealth in which they lived. When they defended their turf against outsiders, they did not do so as  servants of their regime but in the name of  their revulsion against outside enemies and evil doers. But those hallowed principles have become the prisoners of political correctness  in recent memory, so much so that when wrong is done to Western culture or to Israel, western, especially Israeli, intellectuals would rather  self-flagellate their public and "admit" sins they never committed, and furnish intellectual rationalizations for the most convoluted arguments raised by their adversaries,  rather than take up their country's defense even when its conduct is beyond reproach.

Particularly distressing is the fact that many of those bleeding- heart critics rely for their education in matters in which they are not versed on committed newspapers and pamphlets, that  more than they are bound by  the truth or what is right ,  would rather submit to their political agendas, shamelessly reneging on the principles and the morality they usually profess . A case in point is the  Israeli daily Haaretz, which is read by intellectuals, professionals and  "thinkers", and routinely advocates decent conduct, "correct" policies,  moral and transparent government,  human treatment of prisoners, permissive behavior and the like. When much-maligned Ariel Sharon run for the top office in 2001, haaretz crowned him with all the  epithets of contempt and hostility possible and campaigned against his election, to no avail. But when he announced after his election that he stood for  disengagement from Gaza, he suddenly became a saint and all his previous sins were forgotten or forgiven. Even when he was interrogated by police for his and his family's corruption, the usually militant and "righteous" haaretz disregarded the evidence that was otherwise widely reported and elected, so admitted its Chief Editor, that for the sake of preserving  a strong Sharon until he performed disengagement, all his corruption would be disregarded, as if one could not be persecuted for corruption while pursuing a "sound" policy ((which proved later disastrous to the country). Intellectuals in the country usually approved  of these hypocritical choices, that exposing as fake their pretenses of being liberal,  righteous, decent and politically correct.

 

A Sampling of  Oddities

A respected colleague  shared the platform with me in a panel that addressed hundreds of donors to the Hebrew University where I am privileged to teach. He spoke brilliantly about his academic domain and was rightly applauded for his remarkable speech. When my turn came to speak about the failures of the Oslo process, he unwarrantedly rose to intervene, arguing that I was talking "politics",  namely  that I was stating a position he could not accept, while I should be talking "scientifically", meaning outlining a position that he could accept as a politically correct professor, whose vast learning in Biblical studies did not afford him any tool to comprehend the situation and counter my analysis, other that the newspaper that he read lately.  Had he conducted research on Oslo, his words would have carried weight, but as a layman, his intervention  had no more significance than mine if I had interfered in his analysis of Biblical Joshua. There is something distorted in the phenomenon whereby that same scholar  who would have traveled to the edge of the world to collect a footnote for his  scientific findings, could so dismissively, without any competence or skill, try to make his unfounded version prevail upon mine. The fact that Oslo did collapse, as I had predicted in my analysis, did not make that scholar change his mind or apologize for his uncalled for intervention. The position of my colleague had nothing extraordinary about it, because it has become a normal practice that whenever I gave lectures for the university, my presentation was always preceded or followed by a remark from the chair that my views did not represent the university. Never was that remark heard when  my commonly politically correct colleagues made similar presentations.

            A few years back, when the Intifada was raging, an Indian delegation stayed in Israel for a bi-national conference on physics hosted by the Weizmann Institute. I was invited to speak to the participants about global terrorism. I mentioned that most terrorist activities in the world today are committed by Muslims and that it was Islamikaze (my appellation for the so-called "suicide bombers"), acted in the name of  Islam. I was not aware that some of the guests were Muslim, and had I known the tenor of my speech was likely to remain unchanged. The convener of the conference, a brilliant Israeli physicist, rose  in "defense" of his guests, claiming that there was nothing like "Islamic terrorism", and that he was "surprised" that I was hired as a university faculty with "political views" like mine. While one can understand his sensitivity to his guests, one cannot help reflecting on his political correctness, for what incensed him was not what I stated, that was founded on facts that he could not refute, but my daring to do it. It was as if I  had risen during the conference of nuclear physics  to deny the existence of neutrons, and castigated  the lecturer for bringing shame on the Weizmann Institute. I remarked, in response, that I respected his right to ignorance but that he was under no obligation to demonstrate it in public. I added that I was invited to talk to the group that a minimal  measure decency on his part would have required better manners towards an invited lecturer. He called the next day to apologize.

            How ironical that the President of the Weizmann Institute, Haim Harari, who cared to devote some research to the question of terrorism, came to the same conclusions as myself regarding Muslim terrorism, though he couched his findings in a much more categorical and less nuanced way than me, as is the wont of hard-core scientists! In another conference in England more recently, I delivered a lecture on radical Islam, which a distinguished professor in physical science  attended. He was less vocal and less insolent than his colleague from the Weizmann Institute, but together with the compliments he showered on the presentation, he intimated that he "did not agree with me". Once again, he was not the author of new research that proved  otherwise, but he was made up of the same political correctness materials which impelled him to state what he stated. But it had exactly the same validity as if I were to intimate to him that "I did not agree" with the brilliant lecture he delivered on  Albert Einstein shortly thereafter, about which I obviously had no say.

            In  intellectual circles in Israel as elsewhere in the West, which include academe, media, artists and some leading left-wing politicians, whose common denominator is often hatred  of their  own legitimate government and adulation of its  often illegitimate enemy rulers,  the above sample of examples has nothing extraordinary to it. Nothing is new, due to the suffocating intellectual ambience that prevails in our universities, where the right of speech is strictly observed, but only to the Left , the "correct" and the conforming, which is often dubbed "scientific", and what is considered as rightist views, which are dismissed as "politics",  has been systematically eradicated, demeaned, silenced, excluded and mocked in conferences, professional gatherings, symposia, op ed pages, and academic discourse in general. A few years ago, when the late Professor Yoram Ben-Porat, a social scientist and one of the declared heads of the "Peace Now " movement, served as President of Hebrew University,  he hosted a group of European parliamentarians, a renowned forum of anti-Israel hostility, together with some faculty from the university. The guests did not hide their support for the Palestinians during their Intifada,  and they elicited our views on the matter, castigating us for  running the routine schedule of our university while BIr Zeit University was shut down and prevented from opening its doors. Expectedly, most of the present academics indulged in self-flagellation of their government for its "injustice" towards the Palestinians, much to the delight of Ben Porat. When my turn came, and I explained that Bir Zeit was closed down, not because it was Palestinian but due to the student violence there which made teaching and studying hazardous, I was shut off  by the chair of the session, under the claim that I had drifted to "politics", implying that the others before me spoke strict "science", and I later learned that he ordered his staff to exclude me in the future from such meetings. So much for freedom of speech.

            Ben Porat's message perked down to other university institutions, either by fiat or by obsequious conformity to the general mood. So much so, that with rare exceptions, every time there was a topic of direct interest to me, even when I published more than others on it,  the boycott on me was strictly enforced. There were days when in the Institute of Research of which I have been one of the veteran members,  a similitude of balance and debate was kept,  even when my view was diluted in many others, and my participation in several research projects was banned as soon as I indicated the direction to which I wished to take my own investigation. For example, it was legitimate to examine all the aspects of a prospective Palestinian state, or the grievances of the Arabs as a minority in Israel. But as soon that one indicated that one should also examine the dangers that the Palestinian state posed to Israel,  or the privileged position of the Arab citizens in Israel who pushed for more rights but  shunned  any duties, one was sure to be pushed beyond the pale. Articles and books by members of the Institute were rightly discussed in symposia, but only  reluctantly, and mostly under pressure, would my writings gain a place in the many discussions that took place in the Institute. For example, discussions about Arabs in Israel too place during an entire year, where all manner of academics and non-academics expressed their views, but almost uniformly on the left. I tried to present my position from the floor since I was given no set on the rostrum despite my three books on the subject, but I was always shut off for "lack of time". What incensed me is not my exclusion, to which I have become accustomed, but the public announcement on each instance, that the panel would be followed by an "open debate", but never was a debate allowed.

 

Some  Consequences and Tentative Conclusions

Obviously, the greatest sin one can commit  towards the politically correct is to be right and thereby to ridicule their dug-in positions and to wipe out their conventional wisdom. The rise of nationalism among Israeli Arabs, the lethality of Muslim fundamentalism and the vanity of Oslo were clear from their inception, but intellectuals preferred to look the other way, to dig in in their world of denial and to build around them a flimsy  web of rationalizations and justifications so as to preserve their narcissistic ego and never admit their misguided delusions, otherwise their aura of authority might be irretrievably lost in the public domain. Ask those people and they will continue to praise Oslo, which has pushed the Middle East to its lowest ebb, and laud PM Rabin its progenitor, as the newfound genius of politics and savvy. They would also condemn his successor Netanyahu for the failure of the process, because of his simple insistence on reciprocity between Israel and the Palestinians, instead of the one-sided  "moves of goodwill" which only increased terror and lessened the likelihood of settlement. It is not that these highly intelligent people lost their mind, they simply naively believed that decency, generosity and goodwill must generate a response in kind from the other party. Most of them never understood the conflict and its Arab premises. They refused to see that every retreat and concession on Israel's part only produced more demands and more violence.

            The best illustration of this Kafkaesque situation was the celebration of the decennial of Oslo at my research institute, at a considerable cost and the sound of the big fanfare that accompanied it.  At the opening session, four lectures were delivered by great scholars who sang the praise of this collapsing edifice, as if it were a monument for eternity and not for their myopia. Not one scholar who  would attack Oslo was invited to take part to show that the King was naked. When I protested before hand, I was dismissed by the usual  excuse that "only academic considerations" dictated the make-up of the panel, something that could lead any fair-minded person to the conclusion that "academic consideration" equaled  a failing one. Conversely, in  Scandinavian universities which I visited thereafter I was allowed to raise all the issues that I was prevented  from debating at home. Shimon Peres and Bernard Lewis, the relentless champions of Oslo, were invited to highlight the conference as Rabin's hagiography was  attaining its apex, but Sharon and Netanyahu who had opposed Oslo, were boycotted and demeaned by some of the speakers. Who said that political correctness is easy to combat?

            One cannot deny that following the outburst of Palestinian violence in 2000, in what became known as the Second Intifada, some politically correct intellectuals were shaken up (that is ironically the literal meaning of Intifada), and they began questioning the world of lies and delusions in which they were immersed thus far, and that had been diffused by the conforming media. There were days when this phenomenon of repentance , some of it in public, would  fill my heart with joy, but I have grown weary of this attitude of fear and hypocrisy among intellectuals, who are ready to whisper in your  ears their "repentance", but cannot  still  mobilize the requisite courage to get up and counter in public the strong lobby of political correctness. Consequently, my response to them is to reject their "secret" repentance and to insist that it must be declared in the open in order to have any impact. In the West , especially following the September 11 events, there are voices that rebel against the suffocating correctness around them which has driven them to low ebbs. When in Australia in Feb-March 2007, I was amazed at the tremendous responses to  my remarks about the dangers of Muslim immigration to the West and at the wide public debate that my words had caused, as if those generally held feelings had been compressed, with few daring to talk about them, but now that the  "safety" valves were open, a mighty current of grievances came gushing forth. So much so, that even the credible military commentator of Haaretz, came forth with a harsh criticism of the Gaza disengagement his paper had been championing for months.

            In the provincial  quagmire of Israel, the politically correct will not hasten to reverse their views in spite of the general collapse of their theses and assumptions. That will happen much longer after the  awakening from denial will take place in America and Europe. In the meantime, they will continue to demean  their rivals as "extremists", dig in deeper into their old positions, dismiss others as non-"scientific" and aggrandize themselves as  the portends of science, and  pursue their closed  sectarian and elitist activities by inviting each other to conferences, recommending each other for fellowships and sabbaticals and injecting poison into the new generations of students. In the public events that universities and their institutes initiate, in ceremonies and meetings of the Boards, allocation of prizes and  designation of honors, only rarely can one find those suspected with politically incorrect views or affiliations. The beaten track or correctness has been the favorite one, much to the growing disgust or a public who is tired of financing the vagaries of its academics. Only when one of those discarded dissidents wins an international honor, like the Nobel Prize, would the university forgive for a moment his "deviations" in order to bathe in the fragrance of his world recognition.

            Everyone knows that truth cannot be blocked, nor can mouths be shut in the long run. Therefore, political correctness and  the damages it inflicts on society  are bound to  be exposed and rejected by free societies. The trouble is that young generations of beginning scholars, who are rightly concerned about their careers and do not dare to rebel publicly for fear of being excluded and boycotted, will  cause the intellectual world, and with it all society, to pay very high prices  before the wrong is redressed.

Raphael Israeli

 

The author is a professor of Islam and Middle East at Hebrew University, Jerusalem.

 

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

           

           

 

 

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