Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Desperation Summit

by Benjamin Kerstein

http://newledger.com/2010/09/the-desperation-summit/


The strangest thing about the newest round of talks between Israel and the Palestinians is that neither side wants them. In fact, there is only one party to these negotiations that does want them, and that is the United States or, more precisely, the Obama administration.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is currently sitting on a relatively comfortable status quo. Both the Israeli and Palestinian economies are doing well, violence is at a minimum, Fatah is cornered politically between Israel and Hamas, and the rightwing members of his coalition who are opposed to any territorial concessions on principle are relatively happy. Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas is not in nearly as sanguine a position, but he is not doing particularly badly either. He has maintained his office despite his unpopularity, prevented Hamas from taking power in the West Bank, and led the Palestinians into a growth economy that is finally reversing some of the damage done by the second intifada.

Neither man, in short, has the slightest interest in upsetting the apple cart.

In fact, only one man does. With the American economy still sluggish, his administration distracted by what it considers to be peripheral issues like the Park51 mosque, his poll numbers collapsing, and with no substantial foreign policy achievements whatsoever to boast of, Barack Obama is put simply, desperate for a win.

This is particularly true in regard to the Middle East. Despite campaigning on a pledge to bring revolutionary change to the region by reversing his predecessor’s ostensibly disastrous policies, Obama’s record on the Middle East thus far is not only inferior to that of George W. Bush, but inferior to that of nearly every other president in recent memory. If he cannot achieve something here by the midterm elections, his presidency, at least in terms of this region, is probably doomed to complete failure. Hence, one imagines, the sudden push to bring the two sides to the bargaining table; as well as the not coincidental use of Hillary Clinton to do it. The president appears to have accepted, at least temporarily, his complete lack of credibility among the parties involved.

Unfortunately, this latest push by Obama, like his previous attempts at tackling the Arab-Israeli conflict, is likely to achieve precisely the opposite of the president’s intentions. Its most likely short-term outcome is the destabilization of a workable status quo and a possible resurgence in violence. Two deadly shootings on the roads of the West Bank over the past week may be warning signs that this has already begun. Ironically, Obama has sold his position on the Middle East on the grounds that “the status quo is unsustainable,” as his vice-president put it; but as a result of his policies, mostly driven by electoral considerations irrelevant to the Middle East, it is Obama himself who has rendered the situation unsustainable. A status quo may not seem like much to a man with messianic pretensions, but in the Middle East it is usually hard won and nothing to be trifled with.

The alternatives, one fears to say, are usually much worse, as this particular chief executive appears determined to learn for himself.

Benjamin Kerstein is Senior Writer for The New Ledger.

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

Rachel Corrie Trial Restarts. Key Questions Need Repeating



by Lenny Ben-David

http://lennybendavid.com/2010/09/rachel-corrie-trial-restarts-key.html

The Rachel Corrie trial restarted in Haifa yesterday. Her parents, Craig and Cindy Corrie, are using the civil trial to confront and vilify Israel. It is perfectly in character: in May Craig Corrie blessed the naming of one of the Gaza flotilla ships after his daughter Rachel. She had been a member of the Palestinian-led International Solidarity Movement, and the radical group was of the sponsors of the Gaza flotilla.

[Later this week ISM founder Adam Shapiro will be speaking at Stanford University. He is touted as a "co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement (along with this wife, Huwaida Arraf), Board member of the Free Gaza Movement, and organizer of the U.S. Boat to Gaza project."]

1. Where did the Rachel Corrie bulldozer incident take place?

Few people recall that the IDF's ground-clearing operation was carried out only 50 meters from t
he Egyptian border -- near the infamous Philadelphi road. [See map and diagram. All graphic material is from IDF sources.] Up until Corrie's death, the IDF had uncovered more than 40 tunnels from Egypt used to smuggle weapons and terrorists into Gaza. In recent years, after the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, the number of tunnels approached 1,000.

Why was the ISM trying to block the bulldozers seven years ago? Presumably, they were attempting to protect Hamas' tunnels.

2. Couldn't the bulldozer driver see or hear Corrie?

The noise generated by the bulldozer is deafening, and Corrie had a megaphone only at an earlier confr
ontation with the Israel Defense Forces. It was not with her the afternoon she died.

The field of vision on the armored bulldozer is exceptionally limited (as the chart on the left indica
tes), and the driver could not see her.

Corrie's comrades claim that she was standing in front of the bulldozer -- and she was not -- but even if she were, the driver's line of vision is limited as the diagram shows.


The fact is, witnesses at the time of the incident reported that Corrie was sitting.

“When the bulldozer approached a house today,” wrote the New York Times, “Ms. Corrie, who was wearing a bright orange jacket, dropped to her knees.”

“The bulldozer drove toward Rachel slowly, gathering earth in its scoop as it went,” an
ISM friend stated in 2003. “She knelt there, she did not move.” Another ISM colleague related: “She did not ‘trip and fall’ in front of the bulldozer. She sat down in front of it, well in advance.‎“ [Emphasis added.]

3. Was there a deliberate attempt by the IDF to kill Corrie, as her parents claim?

Indeed there was a plan to escalate the confrontation between the bulldozers and the "peace activists." But it was the ISM members who decided to escalate, as described by Newsweek writer Joshua Hammer in a lengthy article in
Mother Jones. Why? One possible reason was because of the sexual tension that was hurting their relations with the local Palestinians.

"An anonymous letter was circulating," Hammer reported,
"which referred to Corrie and the other expatriate women in Rafah as 'nasty foreign bitches' whom 'our Palestinian young men are following around.' That morning [of Corrie’s death], the ISM team tried to devise a strategy to counteract the letter’s effects. 'We all had a feeling that our role was too passive,' said one ISM member. 'We talked about how to engage the Israeli military.' That morning, team members made a number of proposals that seemed designed only to aggravate the problem. 'The idea was to more directly challenge the Israeli military dominance using our international status,' said the ISMer."

4. But why was Corrie singled out?

She wasn't. At least two ISMers had to be pulled out from under the bulldozers' blades after they started acting in accordance with their more aggressive policy. Newsweek’s Hammer reported on “Jenny’s” close call: "An Irish peace activist named Jenny was nearly run down by a D9. 'The bulldozer’s coming, the earth is burying my feet, my legs, I’ve got nowhere to run, and I thought, ‘This is out of control,’ she told me. 'Another activist pulled me up and out of the way at the last minute.'”

5. Does anyone believe this story that the ISMers were suicidal?

They should believe that the International Solidarity Movement is homicidal. The ISM has a long record of putting its members, particularly young Western women, into harm's way. Some are unbelievably naive and just plain dumb. Like Corrie, they were encouraged to confront the Israel Defense Forces. Not surprisingly, some were injured and killed:

* On 2 April 2002, Australian Kate Edwards was shot and wounded in Beit Jala near Jerusalem from where Palestinians were firing on the Jewish neighborhood of Gilo. She and other volunteers marched on Israeli lines to protect their Palestinian friends. The clearly logic-challenged
Edwards complained, "I never thought for a moment that they would fire live ammunition at us."

* In April 2002, Irish ISM member Caomhe Butterly served as a human shield in Yasir Arafat's compound in Ramallah during the intifada. Later, on November 22, 2002, she inserted herself as a human shield again and was wounded during an IDF operation in Jenin. One of her admirers described how
Butterly "would walk up to a tank and place her hand over the muzzle." Butterly was an organizer and spokesperson aboard the 2010 Gaza flotilla.

* April 13, 2003, ISM member Thomas Hurndall was shot and killed when he challenged an Israeli tank force in Gaza.

* On April 24, 2010 Bianca Zammit, a Maltese national, j
oined a group of Palestinians who charged the security fence between Gaza and Israel. That area of the fence has often seen terrorist attacks. Zammit was shot through the thigh by a sniper, but was back to her comrades an hour later (pictured, right).

* On May 31, 2010, Emily Henochowicz, an American Jewish ISMer, lost her eye after she was hit by a tear gas grenade that ricocheted off a highway divider during a violent demonstration near Qalandia in the West Bank. She had been a regular at Palestinian demonstrations at Sheikh Jarrah, Bilin, Nilin and Nabi Saleh.

As the Haifa trial proceeds, it is clear that the International Solidarity Movement should be the one on trial for reckless endangerment. Yet, when young Western women are injured, arrested or killed, the media pays attention.

Maybe Rachel Corrie wasn't so dumb, after all. She wrote to her mother about the possibility of an American activist’s death as a propaganda tool: "You just can’t imagine it unless you see it, and even then you are always well aware that your experience is not at all the reality: what with the difficulties the Israeli Army would face if they shot an unarmed U.S. citizen."

Middle East Peace Talks: Where is Fayyad?

by Khaled Abu Toameh

http://www.hudson-ny.org/1533/peace-talks-fayyad

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad was conspicuously absent from last week's ceremony in Washington, where direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians were launched under the auspices of the US Administration.

Fayyad's absence is a sign of the limited role that the Western-backed prime minister plays in the process of decision-making in the Palestinian Authority.

Fayyad was not in Washington because the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority leaders did not want him to be there.

These leaders see Fayyad as a threat to their exclusive hegemony over the Palestinian issue. They want a prime minister whose role is limited to inaugurating new cinemas, roads, shopping malls and Turkish baths.

The leaders in Ramallah would rather see Fayyad help prepare the largest Knafeh, a traditional Middle Eastern sweet, than sit at the negotiating table with Israel.

The argument that Fayyad was not taken to Washington because it Is the PLO, not the Palestinian Authority, that is negotiating with Israel, is irrelevant. In the past, Prime Ministers Mahmoud Abbas and Ahmed Qurei played an active role in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Contrary to the widely-believed perception in the West, Fayyad does not decide on important issues related to the peace process.

There Is a feeling among many Palestinians that in the West Bank that there is more than one authority: one headed by Mahmoud Abbas and another by Fayyad.

Sometimes one gets the impression that the two authorities are in competition or are functioning separately and speaking in two voices.

Fayyad was not consulted about the decision to launch direct talks with Israel unconditionally. Some Palestinians say that because of tensions between the two, Abbas and Fayyad rarely meet or talk.

Important decisions in the Palestinian Authority are taken either by Abbas's office or other bodies such as the PLO Executive Committee, the Fatah Central Committee and the Fatah Revolutionary Council.

The two have separate offices and hold separate meetings in Ramallah with visiting dignitaries.

Fayyad seems to be the man whose job is to talk to the West, while Abbas's main mission is to address Palestinians and Arabs.

Following last week's terror attack in which four Israelis were killed near the West Bank city of Hebron, Fayyad and Abbas issued different "condemnations."

Fayyad called the attack a "disgraceful act" and said that the Palestinian people are "united in non-violent, pacifistic resistance against settlements, the occupation and the terrorist behavior of settlers."

Abbas, on the other hand, issued a statement in which he said that he condemns all acts of violence against Palestinian and Israeli civilians. Abbas added that the deadly attack was designed to "disrupt" the peace process."

The two men even seem to disagree on Fayyad's plan to unilaterally declare a Palestinian state after creating irreversible facts on the ground. His grandiose plan for building state institutions has yet to be fully endorsed by the Palestinian leadership.

Despite the progress he has made on the economic front in the West Bank, Fayyad still has no real power over the various branches of the Palestinian security services, whose commanders report directly to Abbas's offices. Nor does he have real power over the Palestinian media, whose representatives continue to receive instructions from Abbas's office as to what they are allowed or not allowed to publish.

Fayyad can maybe lay the corner stone for a new orphanage in a Palestinian village, but he still does not have the power to appoint even a deputy governor or a commander of a police station.

True, the Palestinian Authority has "lowered the tone" regarding anti-Israel incitement, but that is mainly because of pressure from Western donors, not because of Fayyad's influence. However, the general tone in the Palestinian Authority's message to the Palestinians continues to regard Israel as an enemy and not a peace partner.

Fayyad's plan to build state institutions seems to be remarkable, but there is no way it can succeed when Fatah and other forces are breathing down his neck and placing obstacles in his way.

The Palestinian Authority wants a powerless prime minister like the ones in Egypt, Syria, Jordan and other Arab dictatorships where presidents and monarchs have the final say on all important matters.

Khaled Abu Toameh

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

Peace Process Progress Report

by Rick Richman

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/blogs/index.php/richman/353961

One week into the new peace process and the results so far: four Israeli civilians murdered (Yitzhak and Talya Ames, parents of six children, expecting their seventh; Kochava Even Chaim, a married teacher and mother whose husband was on the first-aid team that arrived to find that his wife was one of the victims; Avishai Shindler, a newly married 24-year-old); Talaya’s baby, a month from being born; seven new orphans, a new widow and widower; and their community (Beit Hagai, a small settlement of 95 families, formed 25 years ago near the biblical city of Hebron) without recourse.

A second attack occurred a day later, with two wounded, one seriously.

Yitzhak Rabin used to say that Israel would fight terrorism as if there were no peace process — and conduct the peace process as if there were no terrorism. Several peace processes later, only the latter part of that aphorism remains in effect. The first part has become a casualty of the peace process.

Israel cannot fight terrorism as if there were no peace process, because fighting terrorism would jeopardize the peace process. The peace process cannot progress as long as terrorism exists, but terrorism is safe from response as long as the peace process is in progress. Since the process is so important, any retaliation would by definition be disproportionate.

So it will not happen – even though the perpetrator is known, proudly claims responsibility, and promises to do it again. The peace process, which causes the deaths for which there cannot be any response other than to continue the peace process, will continue.

In other peace process news, the speeches in Washington last week were excellent.

Rick Richman

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

How to Communicate Concern to the Government of Israel Over the Latest Round of Negotiations



by Arliene Kushner

http://sultanknish.blogspot.com/2010/09/we-wont-let-terrorism-stop-us-from.html

The ambivalence about where Netanyahu is headed is quite pervasive. His signals are not clear. As someone knowledgeable I spoke to said, "He's dancing between the raindrops." That is, there is no clearly defined, straight-ahead policy. There is, rather, an attempt to keep from getting "wet," which leads to a zig towards the left and a zag towards the right.

Analysts' columns are replete with the suggestion that there is a "new Netanyahu." This new one, if he exists, would not, at least from my perspective, be an improvement on the old one.

Carolyn Glick spoke about this in her column last Friday. She cited him as having said in Washington:

"I have been making the case for Israel all my life. But I did not come here to win an argument. I came here to forge a peace...."

Uh oh. Glick suggests that if he means what he is saying, we should be very worried.

But then, in his defense, she noted that he also said, "We left Lebanon, we got terror. We left Gaza, we got terror...a defensible peace requires security arrangements that withstand the test of time."

~~~~~~~~~~

Will the real Binyamin Netanyahu please stand up. Is there a "real" one?

And it's not only we "common folk" who are in the dark, Silvan Shalom (Likud), who is a deputy prime minister, as well as minister of regional cooperation, complained a couple of days ago that the prime minister is not properly informing his cabinet of what has been said in meetings with Obama and Abbas.

Not a comforting thought. Leads one to suspect that Netanyahu is playing it close to his chest because he assumes his cabinet wouldn't like what he has to say.

~~~~~~~~~~

In the midst of all of this, a situation has arisen that involves Netanyahu only peripherally. A situation of potentially enormous import:

Last week, Defense Minister (and sometimes de facto foreign minister) Ehud Barak gave an interview to Ari Shavit in Haaretz that caused quite a stir.

According to a misleading Haaretz headline, which was repeated in many venues, Barak revealed that "Israel ready to cede parts of Jerusalem in peace deal."

That's not exactly the case, however, when one reads the interview. (This is a signal lesson on how not to take headlines at their word.) Barak, of course, would be perfectly happy to see us cede parts of Jerusalem. Actually, he attempted to do so himself in 2000, when he made such an offer to Arafat and was spurned. And so, we must begin by remembering that Barak speaks for himself and his own political predilection and not for the government.

Shavit actually wrote that Barak, until Netanyahu took off for Washington, had been attempting to convince him to "cross the Rubicon," and move towards a settlement. But, Barak didn't know if he succeeded or not. And so, he could not have been speaking for the government.

In the course of the interview, Barak indicated that he thought amazing changes were underway that made peace more likely now: "I'm not saying that there is a certainty for success, but there is a chance. This chance must be exploited to the fullest."

OK. He may believe this. Or at least want to promote this perspective.

~~~~~~~~~~

Barak was then asked what he believed a deal would look like. (What he believed.) He mentioned many aspects including a solution for Jerusalem.

When asked what this solution would look like, he responded:
"West Jerusalem and 12 Jewish neighborhoods that are home to 200,000 residents will be ours. The Arab neighborhoods in which close to a quarter million Palestinians live will be theirs. There will be a special regime in place along with agreed upon arrangements in the Old City, the Mount of Olives and the City of David."

~~~~~~~~~~

This sets bells clanging, even as we remind ourselves that Barak may have been speaking only for himself and what he believes.

The troublesome part of this is the silence that followed. There was no denial issued from the prime minister's office, as might have been expected.

That's when it's possible to start asking if Barak spoke with Netanyahu's sanction, and if this is a trial balloon.

It could be. But we still don't know.

~~~~~~~~~~

My gut tells me that precisely because Netanyahu is a political animal first, this is not an issue he would be inclined to go out on a limb for now. It is the single issue that would be most likely to bring his government down, as the Likud platform is for a united Jerusalem, and the positions of a solid percentage of his coalition, as well as of the Knesset, are opposed to a division of the city. Dividing Jerusalem is perhaps the hottest issue there is.

I've spoken to two politically savvy people who speculate that this may be a part of Netanyahu's game-playing -- similar to what I've written about in recent days: That Netanyahu saw that it fit his purposes not to issue an official denial of what Barak said, because it allowed people to believe he had shifted left (thus keeping the more leftist faction of the coalition as well as the Obama administration content or optimistic), while he, having committed to nothing, remained "clean."

It makes sense in a way, but it is in the end only speculation.

In fact, another speculation I've encountered is that this is a smoke screen, so that we'll not notice that he's preparing to give away Judea and Samaria.

~~~~~~~~~~

In any event, we who love Israel and are determined that she not be divided -- not Jerusalem, most of all, but not Judea and Samaria either -- cannot take chances based on speculation.

And so this is the time to begin to yell. And we will not stop until we're confident that our nation and our holy city are safe. If this IS a trial balloon that Netanyahu has sent out via Barak, he has to know we will shoot it down. If he is simply allowing a misimpression to be floated for political advantage, he, and Obama, and Abbas, have to know we will not sit still for it.

After Rosh Hashana I hope to have information on the start up of a more sizeable campaign for a united Jerusalem.

Here, I want to begin with something else. I implore all of you who care to take the time to send a few messages, and to then share this with as many others as possible. Particularly is this true for those who are in Israel.

I know I've said it a hundred times before, but numbers do matter and what has to be done is that we have to create a deluge.

Below you will find a handful of names of persons of significance or power within our nation. The message is not exactly the same for each, and so I ask you to attend closely to the instructions.

As always, I beg you to keep the messages polite, short, and clear. No lengthy paragraphs. No historical reviews. Using your own words, get to the point, succinctly and graciously, and forcefully:

Jerusalem must not be divided. It would be a disaster for the Jewish nation and the Jewish people. It would represent a surrender of our heritage and our rights and would create a security risk as well. This message or a variation on it should be sent to each person below, along with the personalized words for that individual.

~~~~~~~~~~

Minister of Strategic Affairs Moshe Ya'alon (Likud).

We have every reason to believe he is solidly with us, and we don't know what objections he's been making to Netanyahu privately. But we're not hearing his voice publicly and we need to. Please convey the message to him that he is greatly respected and that his voice is important at this time. Ask that he make a public statement regarding the necessity to keep Jerusalem united, and that he persist in sending this message publicly.

Best way to reach him is via his aide Anat: AnatT2@pmo.gov.il

Minister Without Portfolio Bennie Begin (Likud)

Same approach, same message here as for Ya'alon.

I'm advised that he reads his own e-mail: bbegin@knesset.gov.il

Minister of Diaspora Affairs Yuli Edelstein (Likud)

Ask him to work in every way that is possible to help prevent a division of Jerusalem -- both by speaking out and what he does inside the Likud. Let him know you're counting on him.

Best to reach him via his aide Olga: olgada@pmo.gov.il

MK Ze'ev Elkin (Likud), Head of the Knesset Coalition

Ask him to act in every way that is possible for him, inside the Knesset, to keep Jerusalem safe and united. Let him know that he is a man with a solid reputation and that what he does now is exceedingly important for the nation.

Contact him at: Zelkin@knesset.gov.il or by fax: 02-649-6438

Uzi Arad, National Security Advisor for PM Netanyahu (he solidly has his ear).

Implore him to use his influence to the utmost to make certain that Jerusalem remains united no matter the circumstances.

You can reach him via the e-mail for the prime minister's office.pm_eng2@it.pmo.gov.il (underscore after pm). Put "For Uzi Arad, National Security Advisor" in the subject line.

You can also use the fax number for the prime minister's office -- 02-670-5369 -- with a clear note at top that it is "For Uzi Arad, National Security Advisor."

Tzvi Hauser, Secretary of the Cabinet.

Ask him to convey to the prime minister and other ministers of the Cabinet the enormous distress and anger felt with regard to any suggestion that Jerusalem might be divided, and the absolute necessity to ensure that this never happens.

He can be reached using the same contact information for the prime minister's office as for Arad, above: pm_eng2@it.pmo.gov.il (underscore after pm) and fax number 02-670-5369, with a clear note in either case indicating that this is "For Tzvi Houser, Cabinet Secretary."

~~~~~~~~~~

My friends, I thank you. This needs to be done quickly, before Rosh Hashana. There will be much more to do in the course of matters later.

~~~~~~~~~~

Arliene Kushner is Senior Research Policy Analyst, Center for Near East Policy Research.

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

We Won't Let Terrorism Stop Us From Appeasing the Terrorists



by Daniel Greenfield

We Won't Let Terrorism Stop Us From Appeasing the Terrorists

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu arrived in Washington D.C. over the bodies of four of his citizens and one unborn child, murdered by Islamic terrorists. The media had spent a busy two days worrying that the murders might in some way interrupt the latest phase of the tragic farce euphemistically referred to as, "The Peace Process". Luckily for the terrorists, who are the sole and only beneficiaries of these and all other negotiations, killing Israelis did not prevent the Israelis from showing up at the negotiating table anyway.

Extending a hand
The media however doesn't think much of it, with multiple stories arguing that Netanyahu really doesn't want peace. Time Magazine took it further with a cover story arguing that Israel Doesn't Want Peace. Which is an inevitable assumption given that over the last two decades, Israel has turned over territory, weapons, houses, factories and cold hard cash to the terrorists. In exchange the terrorists have occasionally agreed to show up at the negotiating table, denounce Israel and demand more-- in between calling for a Jihad. Clearly Israel doesn't want peace.

Of course when it comes to walking across the bodies of his own dead citizens in order to shake the hand of a terrorist and a murderer, Netanyahu is a piker. Past Prime Ministers have shown up to negotiate after bus bombings with two digit casualties. They have sat across from Arafat, even as that greasy thug's henchmen were busy firing their AK-47's into the air in Ramallah to celebrate the last batch of arms and legs strewn across a shopping district by another martyr for Allah, Al Quds and Palestine. Perhaps when the terrorists manage to do more than kill four people, an unborn baby, wound a Rabbi, his wife and 12 year old girl-- and the Prime Minister of Israel still shows up ready to give away the store to the terrorists, then the US government and the media will be convinced that Israel is absolutely serious about peace.

Not that there's anything to actually negotiate. Abbas is an unelected dictator being propped up by the Obama Administration, and doesn't represent anyone. Also Abbas has announced that he will make no concessions to Israel whatsoever. He also announced that he absolutely refuses to recognize Israel. Naturally you won't find mention of this in the media. Certainly not in Time Magazine. There won't be any covers reading, "Why the Terrorists Don't Want Peace", just as you won't see any Time covers reading, "Why is Islam Bigoted?" The terrorists always get a pass. Their victims always get the shaft.

According to the media the biggest problem is Israeli towns (aka settlements) in areas that the terrorists want for themselves. One of those towns happens to be Jerusalem. If you believe the media, the obstacle to peace is not the murder of Jews by the terrorists, or that the leader of one of the terrorist factions has already announced that he is not willing to actually concede anything at the negotiations. No, the real problem is that there are Jews living in areas where they used to live before the armies of five Arab countries invaded their land, and ethnically cleansed the Jews from those areas.

In order to show good faith, Netanyahu agreed to freeze construction in those areas. What that means is Jewish residents can't build an extension to their house and farmers can't add a barn or a garage out back. People who have paid for a mortgage and began building a house for their kids have had to stop and wait. Because according to the terrorists, Obama and the media-- their home is an obstacle to peace. After the latest terrorist attack, some of the residents have decided to take matters into their own hands and begin construction work on their own. The media has run sensational stories about this "illegal construction", as if cement mixers and power drills, are more evil than drive by shootings and beating a man to death.

Lance Wolf beating caught on tape

In Jerusalem, two Arabs beat Lance Wolf, a 60 year old American from Seattle, to death. Near Hebron, Islamic terrorists murdered Yitzchak and Talia Imas, along with Avishai Shindler and Kokhava Even-Chaim. Rabbi Moshe Moreno was driving with his wife when terrorists opened fire with an assault rifle from a passing car. Their car overturned and the terrorists approached to finish them off, just as had been done to the Imas family. But the terrorists' assault rifle jammed, Rabbi Moreno got his wife out of the car and took shelter behind a boulder. The media hasn't even bothered to cover their near death escape. And in Washington D.C. everyone nods and gets down to the serious business of deciding how much the terrorists need to be appeased this time.

Obama described the killings as "senseless slaughter". Given his loose attention to the words coming out of his mouth, it's hard to say whether this was another malapropism or cynical pretense. Because everyone knows exactly what the "sense" behind the slaughter is. You can see it on Palestinian Arab TV, read it in the speeches of their leaders and the charters of their organizations. You can find it in the Koran and Abbas' own veneration of terrorists as "martyrs". The sense is simple enough. Kill the Jews. Kill the non-Muslims. Subjugate the rest.

That is the sense behind the slaughter. That was always the sense behind the slaughter.

On the 1st of August, the last month of her life, Talia Imas wrote a blog post in which she quoted the following;

In the Arabic language and Arab-Muslim mentality the word "peace" doesn't exist in its European sense. There is peace among Muslims. There is peace when the infidels are subjugated and beg for mercy-- then they can be granted peace. And there is Hudna, when the infidel enemy is strong and his destruction is postponed for a time. Hudna, the long-term truce, that is the best we can get-- and only if we are strong.

A month before she and her husband were murdered, Talia Imas understood clearly why it would happen. Negotiating with Muslim terrorists is a sign of weakness. And weakness means the time is ripe for attack.

The Imas Family
In November 2009, the Israeli authorities took away Yitzchak Imas' weapons permit, because of his participation in the Temple Institute, a peaceful organization that attempts to preserve the Jewish claim to the Temple Mount, the site of two temples, which Muslims hijacked in order to build their Dome of the Rock. Yitzchak led groups to the Temple Mount to remind them that the site is part of the Jewish cultural and religious heritage. An act that upset and enraged the Muslims. To the Israeli authorities that made him an extremist, as anyone who upsets Muslims is considered to be an extremist.

Yitzchak Imas was disarmed and left unable to defend his pregnant wife and the other passengers in his car. Because by upsetting Muslims he had demonstrated that he was an "extremists" and had to be disarmed. Similarly by upsetting the Muslim world, Israel has demonstrated to the international community of diplomats and appeasers that it is an "extremist state" and must be disarmed as well. The same cowardly Dhimmi psychology that cost Yitzchak Imas and his wife and their unborn child their lives-- is driving Israel, and any country targeted by Muslims over the abyss.

Four days before her murder, Talia Imas recorded her thoughts on watching a documentary on the expulsion of Jews from Gaza, and on seeing the last remains of the Jewish towns and villages there.

"Except for mosques in which there are Islamic Universities, nothing is left. In place of all the towns, gardens, greenhouses, there is only sand, sand and sand. There is not even a sign of the life that was formerly there. Only at the end, the photographer reported that he had found the gray skeleton of a building, but he could not identify it. He sent me the photos and my breath stopped. It had been the synagogue in Neve Dekalim.

Job. This was the comparison I made. "The LORD has given and the LORD has taken away. Blessed be the name of the LORD."

These are the words with which Bruriah also comforted her husband, R. Meir on the death of their sons. And the words with which Jews have so often accepted tragedy and loss.

That same day Yitzchak made plans to lead a group back to the Temple Mount in September. Four days later he and his wife were murdered. When the Muslim terrorists opened fire on his car and returned to finish them off, he could not fire a shot in self-defense. His weapons had been taken away.

Hillary Clinton described the Imas' as "Lost", but they were not lost. They were found. They had come out of the Soviet Union and the dark heart of Communism where religion was forbidden, faith was a crime and Jewishness an offense-- and found where they belonged. To the Clintons and Obamas, they are lost. To the left they were a blot on the land. To the media, they are a crime. And in Washington D.C., Obama and Clinton are working to turn over the home of their orphans to the terrorists who murdered their parents.

The Imas, who defied two totalitarian ideologies, Communism and Islamism, are not lost. They found the faith to defy evil. It is those who side with evil, like Hillary Clinton and Barack Hussein Obama, who are truly and irrevocably lost. It is the Hadash mob in Israel, the petty actors and writers waving their hateful little signs and vowing a boycott in the name of a socialist solidarity with their Arab Marxist colleagues, now turned Islamist, that are lost. It is the politicians of the free world, in America and Europe, Australia, Israel, Canada and anywhere in the world who bow to evil-- who are lost. And if they are allowed to remain in power, those countries that they rule over will be lost too.

And now the "Lost" once again head off to more talks. Talks with terrorists whose leader has already announced that he make no concessions and that he will not even recognize Israel. And these are the "moderate" terrorists. The ones supported by American money and weapons, and Israeli electricity and tax revenues.

"We won't let Terrorism stop us from appeasing the Terrorists", proclaim our leaders. They may kill as many of us as they like, and we will take their side in every dispute. We will give them land and money. We will let them build a mosque at Ground Zero. We will betray our own, let them divide and conquer us, community by community, state by state and nation by nation. We will denounce anyone who resists as extremists. We will fight with our very last breath for the right to go on surrendering to terrorists. We will go on appeasing them until we are all dead or slaves. Then they will finally know that we were the "good ones", the tolerant and enlightened people. Good enough. Good as dead.

Which of these is not like the others?
The Peace Process is the process of Islam. The process by which Islamic supremacy is achieved through guile. The Arabic word for peace is Salaam or السلام . The Hadiths describe Salaam as one of the six rights of a Muslim. As-Salaam is also the name of Allah, the Muslim deity. Non-Muslims cannot be granted Salaam, unless they Taslim, submit to Muslims and their deity. To ask Muslims for peace, is to offer to submit to them. Is it any wonder if they take you at your word?

The Peace Process is only a fingernail on the gnarled hand of Islam reaching out for the world. Nations like Israeli, India and Thailand which have large Muslim minorities and share borders with Muslim countries are on the frontier, the firing line. But the invasion force has not stopped there. It is in Europe and Australia. It is in America and Canada. It is here right now. And those who insist that they will not allow terrorism to stop them from appeasing the terrorists, are worse than the terrorists. Because the only thing worse than a murderer, is the man who is paid to stop him, but lets him do his bloody work instead. In the name of peace. In the name of Islam.

Daniel Greenfield

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

For the Jews in Israel, Money Trumps All?







by Victor Davis Hanson

http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/245734/jews-israel-money-trumps-all-victor-davis-hanson

I know it’s commonplace to read in the latest issue of Time or Newsweek that Obama is a god, that Islamophobic Americans are collectively prejudiced against Muslims, that the response after 9/11 was overblown and unnecessary (over 30 subsequent terrorist plots have been foiled, and, for some reason, renditions, tribunals, Guantanamo, Predators, intercepts, etc., have all been embraced by the Obama administration), but the recent Time piece on Israel by a Karl Vick is probably the most anti-Semitic essay I have ever read in a mainstream publication.

Among Vick’s interviewees is Heli Itach, a modern-day Shylock who brags about the money to be made selling condos in Jerusalem (“‘Even when the Qassams fell, we continued to sell!’ says Heli Itach, slapping a palm on the office desk”). The accompanying photo shows carefree Israelis on the beach.

In fact, Vick argues, the Jews are so obsessed with making money that they don’t much care what happens in the future: “The truth is, Israelis are no longer preoccupied with the matter. They’re otherwise engaged; they’re making money; they’re enjoying the rays of late summer. A watching world may still define their country by the blood feud with the Arabs whose families used to live on this land and whether that conflict can be negotiated away, but Israelis say they have moved on.”

You see, Vick has discovered that the rather worldly Israelis, after stealing their land from Arabs, don’t much care for the hard negotiations that the Obama administration is now engaged in (“big elemental thoughts”), not when it is a matter of — yes, making money: “With souls a trifle weary of having to handle big elemental thoughts, the Israeli public prefers to explore such satisfactions as might be available from the private sphere, in a land first imagined as a utopia.”

And this near-suicidal, clueless Jewish preoccupation with money-grubbing has got Vick pretty upset: “But wait. Deep down (you can almost hear the outside world ask), don’t Israelis know that finding peace with the Palestinians is the only way to guarantee their happiness and prosperity? Well, not exactly.”

Finally, at the end of Vick’s piece, we discover why this is all so. Jews, we are told by interviewee “Eli,” can’t help it; it’s in their DNA. They like making money at the expense of everything else, from peace to justice: ”Another whack for the desk. ‘The people,’ Heli says, ‘don’t believe.’ Eli searches for a word. ‘People in Israel are indifferent,’ he decides. ‘They don’t care if there’s going to be war. They don’t care if there’s going to be peace. They don’t care. They live in the day.’”

Victor Davis Hanson

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7-Sep-10: A rocket this morning, and a response

by Arnold/Frimet Roth

http://thisongoingwar.blogspot.com/2010/09/7-sep-10-rocket-this-morning-and.html

Another"natural response" this morning from the terrorists who control the Gaza Strip. Barely reported anywhere, they launched one of their numerous Qassam rockets early this morning into an Israeli military installation, a nearby Israeli armored vehicle, the fence that separates the Gaza Strip from the hated Israelis any reachable civilian space at all, no real matter where, just so long as it is in Israel, and preferably where Jewish civilians are asleep or working.

Today's Qassam was fired in the dark of night. There were reports shortly after 2 am of a rocket crashing into an area just outside Sderot's city limits. Fortunately no injuries or damage were reported. But as we have noted many times, this - explicitly - was not the intention of the jihadists.

The timing of today's rocket seems to be connected to the same factors that underlie last week's shooting attacks (see 1-Sep-10: Real people, real terror) on Israelis traveling the roads - namely, the need to express a violent Hamas statement to those taking part in, or watching from a distance, the Washington peace talks between delegations representing Israel and the Palestinian Arabs.

As expected, the Palestinian Authority prime minister Salam Fayyad sees such matters through a PLO lens. His forces have arrested hundreds of Hamas members since last week's fatal terrorist attack - a cold-blooded murder of four Israelis for which Hamas proudly and publicly claimed credit. Fayyad says that attack "was politically motivated and intended to embarrass the Palestinian Authority".

That, and not the loss of innocent lives, is why the PA acted. Nice to know.

Arnold/Frimet Roth

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90.7% of PalArabs want to destroy Israel

by Elder of Ziyon

http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2010/09/907-of-palarabs-want-to-destroy-israel.html

As Time magazine castigates Israel and Israelis for not truly wanting "peace," a recent poll by AWRAD (Arab World for Research & Development) shows how Palestinian Arabs think.

This poll gives a long list of possible answers and asks which ones are "Essential," "Desirable," "Acceptable," "Tolerable" or "Unacceptable."

Some of the results are at odds with the conventional wisdom, to say the least.

IMRA highlights a few of the results. To put it mildly, they show an unwillingness to compromise that are orders of magnitude worse than the most intransigent, hawkish, right-wing Israeli leaders have ever been:


With regards to the final status of Palestine and Israel please indicate which of the following you consider to be Essential, Desirable, Acceptable, Tolerable or Unacceptable as part of a peace agreement.

Historic Palestine – from the Jordan River to the sea as a national homeland for Palestinians
Essential 78.2% Desirable 12.5% Acceptable 4.3 Tolerable 3.1 Unacceptable 2.0

Two state solution – two states for two peoples: Israel and Palestine according to UN resolutions
Essential 17.7 Desirable 15.7 Acceptable 13.6 Tolerable 15.2 Unacceptable 37.7

The number of refugees returning to Israel should be limited to family members and numbers agreed between Israel and Palestine

Essential 3.7 Desirable 7.8 Acceptable 11.9 Tolerable 16.9 Unacceptable 59.6

Palestine should be demilitarized, including the disbanding of militias and
the standing down of the military.


Essential 7.8 Desirable 5.5 Acceptable 4.0 Tolerable 7.6 Unacceptable 75.0

All of Jerusalem (East and West) should remain in Palestine

Essential 84.1 Desirable 10.3 Acceptable 2.2 Tolerable 1.6 Unacceptable 1.7

Other results include:

A majority saying that Israel should be de-militarized (41% Essential, 26% Desirable)

All the settlers should leave the Occupied Territories and settlements closed
Essential 90.8 Desirable 6.3 Acceptable 1.4 Tolerable 0.8 Unacceptable 0.7

Dismantle most of the settlements, move settlers to large blocks and exchange land
Essential 9.6 Desirable 9.0 Acceptable 10.0 Tolerable 17.9 Unacceptable 53.6

Resist occupation through violence to achieve a state
Essential 36.7 Desirable 18.7 Acceptable 16.8 Tolerable 14.0 Unacceptable 13.7

This is not some Israeli right-wing commissioned poll, but from a Palestinian Arab institution.

All of the conventional wisdom that says that Palestinian Arabs want a two-state solution and to live in peace with Israel is wrong. Other polls are constructed in such a way so that it appears that this is what they want, but that is a means to an end, not the desired end itself.

Which is why this poll will not get any publicity in the mainstream media. This is why there will be no Time articles about how Palestinian Arabs do not want peace and how compromise is not in their vocabulary. The mdeia simply cannot deal with these simple truths, so it will ignore the facts.

And, instead, blame Israel.

Elder of Ziyon

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Green-Lined: A counting and an accounting

by Yisrael Medad

http://cgis.jpost.com/Blogs/greenlined/entry/a_counting_and_an_accounting

As Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu made clear in Washington last week, recalling the 2009 speech he gave at Bar-Ilan University in Israel when he had outlined the two pillars of peace that he presumes will enable all the outstanding issues of peace negotiations to be resolved, he last week announced with Hillary Clinton and Mahmoud Abbas at his side:

And these are legitimacy and security. Just as you expect us to be ready to recognize a Palestinian state as the nation state of the Palestinian people, we expect you to be prepared to recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. There are more than a million non-Jews living in Israel, the nation state of the Jewish people, who have full civil rights. There is no contradiction between a nation state that guarantees the national rights of the majority and guaranteeing the civil rights, the full equality of the minority."

And the issue of security, being currently different than it was a dozen years ago, Netanyahu tclarified in that Bar Ilan speech:

a real peace must take into account the genuine security needs of Israel that have changed; they've changed since I was last here...In these 12 years, new forces have risen in our region, and we've had the rise of Iran and its proxies, and the rise of missile warfare. And so a peace agreements - a peace agreement must take into account security arrangement against these real threats that have been directed against my country."

I am aware that his words were meant mainly for the American Administration and the media. Nevertheless, we Israelis were listening closely. With the Rosh Hashana High Holiday season upon us, I have two comments on his words.

First, despite the attempt to clothe Arab violence as some form of "resistance" which could be, in certain circumstances, justified, Israel's representatives must make it clear that Arab terror was and is different from any previous form of national liberation struggle. Terror is an intimidating force that appears to be indiscriminate but one which has a political goal. Arab terror is a form of violence whose goal is simply to kill Jews. It is not political in character but quite personal. It is not primarily intended to alter a regime or government or policy but rather to cause the death of Jews as Jews. During the Mandate, the Arab terrorists tried to claim a distinction between Zionists and non-Zionists but it was false. Arab terror is the ultimate form of indiscriminate death: men, women, children, old, young, religious, secular, Zionist or post-Zionist, peace campers or Yesha residents. It is evil and those who employ it can never be peace partners of whatever level and without regard to any future security safeguards.

Secondly, the "two-state solution" has really little to do with Israel. It is a smokescreen that hides the real problem to be solved which is, I suggest, a goal of foremost shoring up the Hasemite Kingdom of Jordan and preventing a Muslim Brotherhood takeover of Egypt. Israel has to pay up for the problems of these two Arab countries. This is the real "two-state solution".

Jordan fears the status quo which only increases the pressure on it to solve the problem of an Arab state in the former Mandate territory. Jordan is an artificial state entity which has almost a 70% population that could be characterized as "Palestinian." Egypt, the most repressive regime the Arabs who refer to themselves as "Palestinians" have suffered (military rule of Gaza; no granting of citizenship), fears the influx of Hamas in Egypt, already meeting with success in the Sinai Peninsula.

Moreover, the present Obama-driven "two-state solution" does not solve the winds of change among Israel's Arab intellectuals who are demanding a break-up of Israel, whether through ethnic autonomy other forms of administration prefering to refer themselves as Palestinians who are citizens of Israel rather than the former "Arab Israelis" (much of which is served by radical Jewish funding from abroad). Their future vision is subversive and the establishment of a second Arab state within the former Mandate borders not only is unfair (three states for two people) but dangerous for Israel.

All talk about "territorial compromise" but Arabs are excluded from this framework. They refused the 1947 partition, set up the fedayeen terrorists of 1949-1956, launched PLO terror in 1965, precipitated the 1967 war and they refuse to be responsible for being part of the solution but rather solely the recipients of largesse: diplomatic pressure on Israel, foreign donations (which are embezzled), continuation of the refugee camps and the championing of a fictional 'right of return', the boycott of Israel and the fomenting of a campaign of apartheid libel but will not yield.

As Mahmoud Abbas has now made clear, again:

[His approach to borders would begin with the 1967 lines and demarcating a Palestinian state from there]. Once we have the borders set, we can find a solution for Jerusalem, the water and the settlements... I will not give up on any of the constants and if they ask me to make concessions on the right of refugees or the 1967 borders, I will leave. I will not accept it on myself to sign on one single concession."

Israel led by Netanyahu may presume to be involved in negotiations but they are not about peace or security. They are a diktat of capitulation.

Israel needs to count and realize there are already two Arab states that define themselves as "Palestinian": the Gaza Hamastan and the Fatah "West Bank". The thrust of Arabs within Israel only point to the danger for Israel if a "Palestine" becomes a reality. We need to make an accounting of this situation and announce that given these circumstances, there is no need for Israel to yield or compromise.

Yisrael Medad resides in Shiloh and has been in Israel since 1970. Currently in charge of Information Resources at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center, he was Director of Israel's Media Watch and a parliamentary aide to Members of Knesset.

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

Americans Wake Up to Islamism


by Daniel Pipes

http://www.danielpipes.org/8850/americans-wake-up-to-islamism


The furor over the Islamic center, variously called the Ground Zero Mosque, Cordoba House, and Park51, has large implications for the future of Islam in the United States and perhaps beyond.

An artist's rendering of the proposed Islamic center near Ground Zero.

The debate is as unexpected as it is extraordinary. One would have thought that the event to touch a nerve within the American body politic, making Islam a national issue, would be an act of terrorism. Or discovery that Islamists had penetrated U.S. security services. Or the dismaying results of survey research. Or an apologetic presidential speech.

But no, something more symbolic roiled the body politic – the prospect of a mosque in close proximity to the World Trade Center's former location. What began as a local zoning matter morphed over the months into a national debate with potential foreign policy repercussions. Its symbolic quality fit a pattern established in other Western countries. Islamic coverings on females spurred repeated national debates in France from 1989 forward. The Swiss banned the building of minarets. The murder of Theo van Gogh profoundly affected the Netherlands, as did the publication of Muhammad cartoons in Denmark,.

Oddly, only after the Islamic center's location had generated weeks of controversy did the issue of individuals, organizations, and funding behind the project finally come to the fore – although these obviously have more significance than does location. Personally, I do not object to a truly moderate Muslim institution in proximity to Ground Zero; conversely, I object to an Islamist institution being constructed anywhere. Ironically, building the center in such close proximity to Ground Zero, given the intense emotions it aroused, will likely redound against the long-term interests of Muslims in the United States.

This new emotionalism marks the start of a difficult stage for Islamists in the United States. Although their origins as an organized force go back to the founding of the Muslim Student Association in 1963, they came of age politically in the mid-1990s, when they emerged as a force in U.S. public life.

I was fighting Islamists back then and things went badly. It was, in practical terms, just Steven Emerson and me versus hundreds of thousands of Islamists. He and I could not find adequate intellectual support, money, media interest, or political backing. Our cause felt quite hopeless.

Richard H. Curtiss in 1999 predicted American Muslims would follow Muhammad's path to victory.

My lowest point came in 1999 when a retired U.S. career foreign service officer named Richard Curtiss spoke on Capitol Hill about "the potential of the American Muslim community" and compared its advances to Muhammad's battles in seventh-century Arabia. He flat-out predicted that, just as Muhammad once had prevailed, so too would American Muslims. While Curtiss spoke only about changing policy toward Israel, his themes implied a broader Islamist takeover of the United States. His prediction seemed unarguable.

9/11 provided a wake-up call, ending this sense of hopelessness. Americans reacted badly not just to that day's horrifying violence but also to the Islamists' outrageous insistence on blaming the attacks on U.S. foreign policy and later the election of Barack Obama, or their blatant denial that the perpetrators were Muslims or intense Muslim support for the attacks.

American scholars, columnists, bloggers, media personalities, and activists became knowledgeable about Islam, developing into a community, a community that now feels like a movement. The Islamic center controversy represents its emergence as a political force, offering an angry, potent reaction inconceivable just a decade earlier.

The energetic push-back of recent months finds me partially elated: those who reject Islamism and all its works now constitute a majority and are on the march. For the first time in fifteen years, I feel I may be on the winning team.

But I have one concern: the team's increasing anti-Islamic tone. Misled by the Islamists' insistence that there can be no such thing as "moderate Islam," my allies often fail to distinguish between Islam (a faith) and Islamism (a radical utopian ideology aiming to implement Islamic laws in their totality). This amounts not just to an intellectual error but a policy dead-end. Targeting all Muslims conflicts with basic Western notions, lumps friends with foes, and ignores the inescapable fact that Muslims alone can offer an antidote to Islamism. As I often note, radical Islam is the problem and moderate Islam is the solution.

Once this lesson is learned, the new energy brings the defeat of Islamism dimly into sight.

Mr. Pipes is director of the Middle East Forum and Taube distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University.

Related Topics: Daniel Pipes autobiographical, Muslims in the United States, Radical Islam

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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Incitement Double Standard Strikes Again


by Tamar Sternthal

Karake honors mother.jpg
PA's Karake honors the mother of four terrorists [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 28, 2010, courtesy of Palestinian Media Watch]

As we noted last week, any incident whiffing of Israeli incitement, including Rabbi Ovadia Yosef's vitriolic remarks make big news, but Palestinian incitement, including Abbas and Fayyad's honoring of a mastermind of the Munich massacre, continue to go unreported.

With a new week, we are confronted with fresh examples of officially-sanctioned Palestinian Authority incitement, and yet again, the continuing silence of the Western press corps.

In the first incident, the Palestinian Authority's Minister for Prisoner Affairs Issa Karake honored a mother whose four sons were involved in suicide bombings and other terror attacks. He praised her:

The Palestinian mother is a central partner in the struggle... It is she who gave birth to the fighters, and she deserves that we bow to her in salute and in honor.

Karake also visited the home of Ayyat Al-Akhras, who murdered two Israelis in a 2002 suicide bombing attack in a Jerusalem supermarket.

Second, the Palestinian ambassador to Tehran, Salah Zawawi, called for "eradication of the fabricated regime [ie, Israel] in due course."

While this information is published in the government controlled Palestinian and Iranian media, and translated into English thanks to Palestinian Media Watch, Western journalists simply can't be bothered to report Mideast incitement unless they can point a finger at Israeli Jews.

Tamar Sternthal

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


Israeli-Palestinian Direct Talks Will Lead Directly to Failure


by David Solway

If the peace talks fail, they fail; if Israel surrenders to Palestinian demands, Israel fails.

The “Israeli-Palestinian direct talks” are now underway in Washington in which, yet once again, the intractable dilemma that bedevils the region will be addressed and hopefully resolved, at least in part. All the parties have expressed a guarded optimism, to a greater or lesser degree, that this latest round of talks will bear some kind of fruit. Everything, apparently, is on the table — even, according to some reports, the division of Jerusalem. With clearly anti-Israeli figures like Barack Obama and Ban Ki-moon — let’s be honest about this — fanning the proceedings, it should be evident things will not go well for Israel, and that the country will be blamed for not offering sufficient giveback to the Palestinians and for the inevitable derelictions that will ensue. Indeed, the UN secretary-general is on record urging that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas be “given full support” and international recognition. Nowhere does he extend the same counsel on behalf of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Nor does Ban acknowledge that Abbas has no legal authority to participate in the peace conference since his term as president expired in January 2009 and he has not called new elections.

Netanyahu is obviously keeping his gaze fixed on the big picture: the so-called “peace process” which to date has been all process and no peace, envisioning the chimera of two states living side by side in sandaled amity; intense American pressure; the discriminatory media ready to pounce upon Israel for every pretext they can manufacture; and the international trend toward delegitimation of the Jewish state. But sometimes the smaller portraits are just as important, and sometimes even more important, than the larger picture that monopolizes the attention of the usual suspects: diplomats, officials, negotiators, and, of course, the usual cohort of “liberal” agitators both in the West and among Israel’s arguably treasonable left-wing academics.

Given enough time, the little cameos add up and eventually come to crowd the entire frame, a development which the big picture people refuse to consider. They tend to neglect or to put out of mind the implicit assumption of an intimate contract between the state and the nation, the filaments that bind the government to the individual citizens it represents, which can fray and snap if the government is no longer perceived as honoring that contract, of holding up its end of the bargain. Speaking before a Tel Aviv audience on January 28, 2009, Aviva Shalit, the mother of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, faulted the government for abandoning her son, stating that the unwritten covenant between Israel’s leaders and its soldier-citizens “has cracked.” This is the unspoken peril now confronting the Israeli leadership.

The Israeli administration under Ariel Sharon waited too long to respond to the suicide attacks of the Second Intifada provoked by arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat, which claimed 1,100 little portraits. When it finally sent the IDF into the Jenin terrorist nest, it sacrificed 13 of its young soldiers to booby-trapped buildings instead of doing what the Americans do regularly, striking from the air. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert waited years while the town of Sderot came under fire from thousands of Hamas-launched Kassam rockets and the community was effectively paralyzed, before giving the order to launch a retaliatory incursion into Gaza. Apart from the fatalities, statistics show that nearly 80% of Sderot’s children suffered from PTSD and required intensive medical treatment. Many still do. These tiny portraits obviously did not figure in Olmert’s big picture calculations.

Another little portrait, Gilad Shalit, still remains in captivity in Gaza, when a credible threat to destroy Hamas root and branch, clearly within Israeli capability, would lead to his release. On August 31, as the latest Washington exercise in futility was just getting underway, Hamas operatives murdered four Israeli civilians, Kochava Even-Chaim, Avishai Schindler, and Tali and Yitzhak Ames. Seven children lost their parents. On the following day two more Israelis, Moshe Moreno and his wife, were wounded in yet another drive-by shooting. One recalls Shalhevet Pass, aged 10 months, drilled in the head by a Palestinian sniper; Dorit Aniso, aged 2, and Yuval Abedeh, aged 4, playing under an olive tree, killed on the festival of Sukkot by a Gaza rocket in the Western Negev; and pregnant Tali Hatuel, shot point blank in her car by gunmen from Rafah, with her four young daughters, Hila, aged 11, Hadar, aged 9, Roni, aged 7, and Meirav, aged 2. These and many thousands like them are the smaller portraits filling up the canvas. They have now become the big picture.

And what that real big picture tells us is that it is time to cease the useless and increasingly bloody parlor game that goes by the name of a “peace process,” a “road map” to nowhere. It is time to solve the political and military stalemate from which Israel suffers and will continue to suffer by letting it be known that, in the event of another provocation, it will not hesitate to administer an all-out, crushing military defeat upon its enemies, as it should have done during the Lebanon war of 2006 and Operation Cast Lead in Gaza in 2008. For Israel’s enemies have their own big picture, the annihilation of Israel, whether in a “single storm,” as Iran has promised, or by stages and slices, the strategy of the Palestinian Authority carried over from the days of Yasser Arafat.

What goes by the name of “Peace Now” is only an evasive sobriquet for War Later. Hamas and Hezbollah must and can be neutralized sooner rather than later, for the longer that reckoning is put off, the more devastating the consequences will be for Israel. As for the West Bank, Israel must ensure that it retains the necessary strategic depth and establishes an armed presence on the West Bank hill terrain, the “prominent high ground” that, following the Six Day War, the American chiefs of staff agreed Israel should control for defensive purposes. And as for Jerusalem, it must remain the indivisible Jewish capital, for solid historical and political reasons. Ramallah, by all accounts a thriving city, is a good enough Palestinian capital.

The time to act with fortitude and determination is now and the stage is not in Washington. Naturally, the temptation will be to fall back on geopolitical considerations, on the necessity of not alienating the United States — which means Barack Obama, a hostile administration, and the nefarious State Department, aka Foggy Bottom — and on the argument that negotiations and concessions actually reduce the number of casualties or, in other words, that the big picture is to the advantage of the little portrait.

But Menachem Begin did not genuflect to the U.S. or crawl abjectly before the “international community,” and as a result, despite setbacks, achieved more than any of his successors in the political arena. He negotiated from a position of strength, without which the peace agreement with Egypt would never have come to pass. The Oslo Accords that led to great Israeli suffering, and Bill Clinton’s Camp David fiasco, should serve as an object lesson to anyone who still credulously maintains that peace in the Middle East can be brokered in a spirit of gentlemanly accommodation, sacrificial deference on the part of the Israelis, and handshakes on the White House lawn. Peace will come only — should it ever come — in the wake of a massive Arab defeat or, in the best case scenario, if the Palestinians, including Hamas, as well as Hezbollah, truly understand that what is on the table is not a few lukewarm dishes presumably shared by Israel and the Palestinians but their very existence. They must be brought to realize that continuing to serve as Iran’s sock puppets will lead to neither prosperity nor conquest but to their destruction. As I say, this is a best case scenario.

And as it should go without saying, Prime Minister Netanyahu must revive in himself the spirit of Ze’ev Jabotinsky, the practical, hard-headed, and unwavering patriot who helped bring a militarily strong Jewish state into being. Netanyahu must recognize that no Israeli concessions will satisfy the insatiable appetite of the “international community” or the Palestinians, who will always clamor for more until the country becomes the rump state proposed by the Peel Commission of 1936-37 and eventually ceases to exist as an independent Jewish state altogether. Israel must project power, not weakness. In a region which understands only sinew and nerve, tenacity and violence, Israel has no choice but to act like the strong horse, not like a spavined mare.

Plainly, these are not pleasant options I am proposing, but it is not as if Israel is blessed with a variety of agreeable choices. While the negotiators dither and compromise, while officials shuttle back and forth between the diverse capitals with fantasy-driven proposals, and while ever more pressure is brought to bear upon Israel to diminish its chances for survival, another Israeli is shot here, another family is obliterated there, another soldier is kidnapped in the Negev or killed by a sniper on Israeli soil near the Lebanese border. To quote Kurt Vonnegut from Slaughterhouse-Five, “so it goes.” The cameo casualties keep piling up.

Whether one likes it or not, the fact is that the diplomatic canvas as it is currently being painted is a snare and a deception, and a prohibitively costly one at that. The prime minister must flex his muscles, resolutely further the country’s material and security interests, and demand substantial concessions from the Palestinians if they are candidly devoted to peace rather than, as was the case with his predecessors Ariel Sharon, Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert, offer to give up the store in pursuit of a will o’ the wisp. He must not flinch from making it clear to all that he is prepared to react immediately and with force majeure to the next Kassam or Grad, the next mortar shell, the next suicide bombing, the next kidnapping, the next stabbing, the next drive-by shooting of civilians, the next sniper who fires on an Israeli soldier trimming a bush, the next traumatized child in Sderot or Ashkelon, the next flotilla, the next guerrilla intrusion from Gaza. Otherwise, for every next there will be another next.

The prime minister of Israel is responsible for every Israeli citizen. For this reason, he must toughen up and fix his gaze on the smaller portraits which, when all is said and done, constitute the big picture.

David Solway is a Canadian poet and essayist. He is the author of The Big Lie: On Terror, Antisemitism, and Identity, and is currently working on a sequel, Living in the Valley of Shmoon. His new book on Jewish and Israeli themes, Hear, O Israel!, has just been released by Mantua Books.

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


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