Sometimes the PA comes out with a statement that is so ludicrous that the impulse is to simply laugh at it. This is the case with the statement made by Jibril Rajoub, President of the Palestinian Olympic Committee, in a letter sent to President of the International Olympic Committee, Jacques Rogge, thanking him for his stand in refusing a moment of silence for the Israeli Olympic athletes massacred 40 years ago in Munich:
"Sports are a bridge to love, interconnection, and spreading of peace among nations; it must not be a cause of division and spreading of racism between them."
You know why Rajoub considers a memorial to the Israeli athletes to be a "cause of division"? Because it's better not to remind anyone that Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, had a direct connection to the Munich massacre. According to Mohammed Daoud Oudeh, a.k.a. Abu Daoud, mastermind of that attack, not only did Abbas raise the funds for it, he also kissed him and wished him luck when he set out on his mission.
The laughter dies quickly on the lips in the face of this.
And as for Rajoub himself, who served as Arafat's head of West Bank Security Services:
In 2002, in response to a horrendous spate of terror attacks that originated in Palestinian Arab areas of Judea and Samaria, Israel initiated Operation Defensive Shield. On April 19 of that year, then Deputy Prime Minister Natan Sharansky called a press conference to describe what was going on with this very successful Operation. He said:
"...we went to the base of Jabil Rajoub. This is an army base, but we also found a lot of costumes for people that are going to make suicide bombings -- fake hair and kippas for people who are going to put them on so they can get into Israeli streets and make suicide bombings."
It is with these consummately evil people that the world thinks we should make "peace."
As to the Palestinian Authority...
The World Bank released a report yesterday indicating that the PA cannot sustain statehood at present because it depends on heavily on donor funds and does not have a thriving private sector.
I don't know if there has ever been a political entity aspiring to statehood that has depended as heavily on donor funds as the PA does -- it is the organizational equivalent of the welfare-dependent individual, and the PR it puts out describing the "suffering" of its people is designed to foster this status.
This, hopefully, will have a dampening effect on the eagerness of some nations to embrace a "Palestinian state" that has been declared unilaterally. Those nations that are more than happy to give lip service to the cause, are not going to want to be left paying the bills for "Palestine."
Said the report, only "a political settlement [i.e., 'two state solution'] that allows the private sector to experience rapid and sustained growth," would change the situation. What is not clear to me is why it should be assumed that were the Palestinian Arabs to have a state established via negotiations it would mean that rapid private sector growth would follow. For the PA has not taken "enough steps to educate a skilled work force."
Not only has the PA failed to develop a sufficient economic base, says the World Bank, "The situation is unsustainable, and aid levels have already begun to fall." The nations of the world, I would suggest, struggling during tough times, are growing a bit weary of the PA.
It seems to me, then, that this situation provides evidence for the viability of Israeli annexation of Judea and Samaria, or some part of it. As there is not adequate job training in the PA, and the economic situation for residents of PA areas is bad, there are likely a growing number of Arabs who would welcome falling under the authority of one of the most economically viable nations in the world today. For them, I strongly suspect, feeding their families trumps the need for a "state," especially as this "state" would not be fiscally robust (not to mention oppressive).
Once people begin to view this situation with a different set of lenses, a whole lot becomes possible.
Danny Dayan, chairman of the Yesha Council of Jewish Communities in Judea and Samaria, wrote an op-ed in the NYTimes yesterday, entitled, "Israel's Settlers Are Here to Stay."
"...The American government and its European allies should abandon this failed formula once and for all and accept that the Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria are not going anywhere.
"On the contrary, we aim to expand the existing Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria, and create new ones. This is not — as it is often portrayed — a theological adventure but is rather a combination of inalienable rights and realpolitik.
"...Given the irreversibility of the huge Israeli civilian presence in Judea and Samaria and continuing Palestinian rejectionism, Western governments must reassess their approach to resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."
Facts on the ground, as shared by Yisrael Hayom:
"Some 350,143 Israelis live in Judea and Samaria, according to ...the Interior Ministry's Population Administration... This represents a 4.5 percent increase from last year and is the first time that number has gone beyond 350,000 people.
"This figure does not include Jerusalem neighborhoods that lie over the Green Line, such as Pisgat Zeev, Neveh Yaakov, Ramat Eshkol, Ramot, Armon Hanatziv (East Talpiot), Gilo and others where the Jewish population is an estimated 300,000. The international community considers the Jewish neighborhoods in north and east Jerusalem as settlements.
"The figures show that 15,579 Israelis moved to Judea and Samaria over the last year, mostly to areas outside the main settlements blocs, areas which are not expected to remain under Israeli authority in the event of a peace agreement with the Palestinians.
"Ariel has close to 50,000 residents, while just over 45,000 live in Maaleh Adumim and 22,000 in the Etzion Bloc of settlements. In total, 116,824 Israelis live in the main settlement blocs, while more than 233,000 live outside the blocs.
"The figures show that the Jewish population in the Judea and Samaria has virtually doubled since 2000, when there were 190,206 Jews living over the Green Line."
The face of Israel's future is here. This is an issue I'll be dealing with on an on-going basis.
The feeling here in Israel right now is one of being on the cusp of an explosion.
Yesterday, was graduation day at the National Defense College, and both Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Barak made statements.
Netanyahu listed the five major threats to Israel, maintaining that ultimately, Israel can counter "any one of these threats." At the top of his list, of course:
"The Iranian nuclear program is a threat to us and to the entire Middle East. But there is also a closer threat – there are chemical weapons in Syria that are currently in certain hands, and tomorrow could be in different hands."
As to Iran, Barak said:
"I am well aware of the difficulties involved in thwarting Iran's attempts to develop a nuclear weapon. However, it is clear to me that, without a doubt, dealing with the threat itself will be far more complicated, far more dangerous and far more costly in terms of both resources and human life." (Emphasis added)
That is, quite simply, that it's better to take out Iran's ability to go nuclear, whatever the difficulties, than to cope with a nuclear Iran. This is Israel's unequivocal position.
And Barak said something else that is just as important: at the moment of truth, Israel can only rely on itself.
Whatever his statements regarding the need for the international community to rally with regard to Iran, he knows full well that this is not going to happen.
Iran is moving ever forward: reports are that Iran now has 11,000 centrifuges active in enrichment facilities, which is 1,000 more than what an IAEA report in May indicated.
One must wonder how long we'll wait.
With regard to Syria, Barak said:
"We are monitoring the events in Syria very closely. We have said this and we mean it: The State of Israel will not accept the transfer of advanced weapons systems from Syria to Hezbollah."
And so I'll close here with a link to an interesting article on the multiple ways in which Israel does monitor Syria, including spy satellites, advanced reconnaissance aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles, and moles on the ground.
There is, for example, the TecSar satellite, which is able "to create high-resolution images of objects on the ground in any weather conditions, as well as at night, and to see through certain rooftops that are not made of concrete."
Or reconnaissance aircraft that uses "an advanced and long-range electro-optical camera that enables operators to search and track land and sea targets, day or night and in all weather conditions.
"Developed by Elbit Systems subsidiary El-Op, the camera is said to be one of the most advanced of its kind in the world. While the exact specifications of its resolution are classified, it has amazing resolution, enabling operators to track targets even from standoff positions of dozens of kilometers.
"This would mean that Israel could potentially use these planes to gather intelligence on Syria while still flying in the Golan Heights or while flying over the Mediterranean Sea."
I would classify this amazing hi-tech capacity we have to protect ourselves as definitely good news.
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.