Current Postings

October 1, 2014: Following

My critique of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech at the UN stands. 

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu speaks to the UNGA, Sept. 29, 2014.

Credit: webtvun.org

In particular, I was distressed that he spoke about a readiness to make territorial concessions for an agreement with “rock solid security.” 

This seems to me a very poor time to talk about such a thing – when Abbas is in bed with Hamas and the world is upside down.  It feels like a sort of super-eagerness to demonstrate readiness for concessions.  And it primes the world, not least the Arab world, to demand such concessions.

Yes, there are those who have pointed out to me that he almost certainly said it knowing it will never happen.  That may be true, but I confess to a distinct weariness with this sort of diplomatic game-playing.  I am looking for a bit more candor: we cannot negotiate with a unity government that enfolds a terrorist organization. Nor do we consider Abbas a legitimate partner for peace when he can libel Israel as he has just done, throwing all truth to the wind.  But then, this expectation may be why I am a writer/analyst and not a politician.

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What is being said is that his talk about a new template for peace that involves Arab states - who today see Israel differently - effectively threw out the “two-state solution,” as he had espoused it in his 2009 Bar Ilan talk.

It would be nice to think so, but it seems to me a bit of stretch.  There are many in the international community who could well have interpreted his words as simply meaning that he needs Arab help in crafting a “two-state solution” that works.  Precisely because Netanyahu spoke in free-wheeling and amorphous terms that lacked specificity, they may still believe that in the end the “two-state” paradigm is the solution.

In point of fact, this may be precisely what Netanyahu did mean in his UN speech. For in preliminary remarks for the press today in Washington, before he met with President Obama, Netanyahu said,

“I remain committed to the vision of peace of two states for two peoples, based on mutual recognition and rock solid security arrangements.”  So there it is and too much should not be read into what he said at the UN.  His clarification is that the path to two states might be different from what has been tried until now: “we should make use of the new opportunities [in the Middle East], think outside of the box, and see how we can include the Arab countries to advance this very hopeful agenda.”

http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Politics-And-Diplomacy/Netanyahu-arrives-at-White-House-for-meeting-with-Obama-377795

“Very hopeful agenda.”  Let us hope he means the new relationship with Arab states, and not the “two state solution.”

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One thing he was clear about at the UN – and is to be applauded for – is saying that ISIS and Hamas, in their ideology and their intentions, are one and the same.  This is not going over well with the Obama administration.

Yesterday, I had cited Ben Shapiro, whose remarks on Obama’s UN speech I had hoped to run, but which I passed on because of the size of my posting.  Today I will return to just one thing he discussed (all emphasis was his in the original):

Referring to ISIS, Obama said: “No God condones this terror. No grievance justifies these actions. There can be no reasoning – no negotiation – with this brand of evil. The only language understood by killers like this is the language of force…"
 
Then, speaking of Hamas, the president said: “the violence engulfing the region today has made too many Israelis ready to abandon the hard work of peace. But let’s be clear: the status quo in the West Bank and Gaza is not sustainable.”
 
Observed Shapiro: “Self-defense for America, but not for the Jews, according to the President. The Jews must continue to pursue the ‘hard work of peace,’ even if they’re experiencing rocket fire every day; America, however, can bomb the hell out of ISIS even if ISIS is located thousands of miles away and largely threatens other Muslims. The hypocrisy is rank, and [the] moral equivocation repulsive.” (Here it is my emphasis.)

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This position was put forth by Obama before Netanyahu spoke, and what the prime minister subsequently said directly countered the president’s stand on the matter.  Needless to say, this is not being well received at the White House or the State Department.  Because Obama is bombing ISIS. And Obama also wants Israel to negotiate with the unity government that includes Hamas.

What we are seeing here is a serious difference of opinion between the two governments.   It was reflected in comments made by Jen Psaki, State Department spokesperson, yesterday:  “Certainly we see differences. We would not agree with that characterization.”

http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Politics-And-Diplomacy/US-disagrees-with-Netanyahu-on-Iran-ISIS-and-Hamas-376648

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And indeed, we see this echoed by Obama today as well, in his statement prior to his meeting with Netanyahu.  Referring to Gaza, he said:

...ways have to be found to “change the status quo” so that Israelis are safe in their homes and schools and “also so you don’t have the tragedy of Palestinian children being killed as well.”

He indicated that he wants to extensively discuss the situation in Gaza, and finding a more sustainable peace between Israelis and Palestinian Arabs.

This is exceedingly bothersome.  No, infuriating.  There is a moral equivalency reflected in the president’s statement - between Israelis being threatened by rockets flying while they are in their schools and homes, and Palestinian Arab children being killed.  He choses not to perceive, or acknowledge, that if Israelis aren’t threatened with rockets flying, Palestinian Arab children, used as human shields by Hamas, will not be inadvertently killed as Israel takes on a necessary self-defense.  That is, he does not acknowledge that Hamas behavior generates this entire situation.

What is more, in speaking about a “sustainable peace,” Obama is making assumptions that are untenable and unreasonable.  How does Israel forge a “sustainable peace” with an entity that is sworn to destroy it?  Why should anyone assume that such a “peace” would bring the end of genocidal intentions Hamas has towards Jews?  And what right does the president have to ask us to try to reach such a “peace,” which would clearly entail suicidal concessions on our part?

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Ben Shapiro had it exactly right:  Obama’s “There can be no reasoning – no negotiation – with this brand of evil. The only language understood by killers like this is the language of force…” does not apply to Israel’s confrontation with Hamas.

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But the really big bone of contention here – the one with the heaviest implications - is with regard to Iran and ISIS.  There have various suggestions, various rumors, about the US going easier on Iran in return for help in taking on ISIS.

Said Netanyahu, going into his meeting with the president:

“Iran seeks a deal that would lift the tough sanctions that you worked so hard to put in place and leave it as a threshold nuclear power. And I firmly hope under your leadership that would not happen.”
 
http://www.algemeiner.com/2014/10/01/at-white-house-netanyahu-warns-obama-not-to-ease-up-on-iran/

Yet there are signs that this may be happening.  In coming days, I will be tracking this.  Netanyahu is correct that concern about the threat of a nuclear Iran trumps the other concerns in this area, as considerable as they are.

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The Netanyahu – Obama meeting has not ended, as I prepare to put this out.  When it does, I doubt there will be much of import announced that hasn’t already been touched upon here.  If there is, I will, of course, pick up on it in future postings.

What is interesting here is that reports indicate that the body language of the two leaders reflects a more relaxed atmosphere than has been the case before.

US President Barack Obama, right, speaks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a bilateral meeting at the White House in Washington, DC, October 1, 2014. photo credit: AFP/ Jim WATSON)

Credit: AFP/Jim Watson
 
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© 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. 
 
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.

Posted on Wednesday, October 1, 2014 at 03:14PM by Registered CommenterArlene in , , , , | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

September 29, 2014: UN Season

You will find that during this High Holiday season – and extending through Sukkot – my postings will be less frequent.  I hope that all who celebrated Rosh Hashana found it meaningful and joyful.
 
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Besides being the High Holiday season, this is also the time of year when a new session of the UN General Assembly starts (hardly to be compared in one breath!).  This means – aren’t we lucky? – that various heads of state and assorted other persons address the GA. 
 
Last Wednesday (which was the eve of Rosh Hashana), President Obama spoke.  Ben Shapiro, a skilled and perceptive analyst – as well as a Harvard-trained lawyer – has written a piece on that speech that summarizes the important points neatly. 
 
Shapiro says Obama’s speech was “chock-full of moronic platitudes, internal contradictions, and morally disgusting sentiments.” He then proceeds to demonstrate this with considerable effectiveness.  I had hoped to cite extensively from this critique, but realize I must focus on other matters here.  And so I will simply call this to your attention, and suggest you read it:
 
http://www.frontpagemag.com/2014/ben-shapiro/obamas-15-worst-moments-at-the-un/
 
His opening paragraph is not quite my style, but he is on the mark.
 
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And then, sigh, there was the horrendous, and long-winded speech of Mahmoud Abbas before the General Assembly on Friday.  It was fraught with lies and accusations against Israel:
 
Most reprehensibly, he accuses Israel of having conducted a “war of genocide” against the Palestinian people in Gaza.
 
First speaking about the fact that three wars have been “waged by the racist occupying State in five years against Gaza...,” he then declares that (emphasis is mine):
 
“The difference today is that the scale of this genocidal crime is larger, and that the list of martyrs, especially children, is longer...
 
”And, the difference today is that the devastation caused by this recent aggression is unmatched in modern times...
 
”This last war against Gaza was a series of absolute war crimes carried out before the eyes and ears of the entire world, moment by moment, in a manner that makes it inconceivable that anyone today can claim that they did not realize the magnitude and horror of the crime.”
 
You can see the entire speech (if you have the stomach for it) plus commentary by IMRA director Dr. Aaron Lerner, here:
 
http://imra.org.il/story.php3?id=64980
 
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Abbas uses buzz words – genocide, martyrs, war crimes, occupation – without the remotest attention to factual reality. 
 
Of course there is no mention of Hamas – either Hamas’s aggression against Israel or its use of human shields - for he is thoroughly in bed with Hamas (about which more below). 
 
And his exaggeration is stupendous – e.g., “recent aggression unmatched in modern times,” when modern times are witness to Syria, the genuine genocide of Christians, and more.
 
Declaring that Israel “did not miss an opportunity to undermine the chance for peace,” Abbas says, “The occupation’s campaign specifically targeted the City of Jerusalem and its inhabitants, attempting to artificially alter the spirit, identity and character of the Holy City, focusing on Al-Aqsa Mosque.” 

This is of particular note because it is of a piece with the on-going theme I’ve been writing about  - the attempt by the Palestinian Arabs to undermine and delegitimize Israeli sovereignty, most especially in Jerusalem. (About this exceedingly worrisome situation, too, I will have more to say soon.)
 
When he refers to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, he means the Temple Mount, which in Arabic is actually Haram al Sharif (often translated as Noble Sanctuary, which has a more generic meaning).  What he has done is attempt to conflate the Mosque with the entire Mount, as if it has no other history or significance.
 
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Of particular note is this comment by Abbas (emphasis added):
 
”I affirm in front of you that the Palestinian people hold steadfast to their legitimate right to defend themselves against the Israeli war machine and to their legitimate right to resist this colonial, racist Israeli occupation.”

 
He is claiming the right to be violent.  “Resistance” is a code word for jihad and terrorism.
 
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Threats of violence aside, with this speech, Abbas has begun the game of attempting to secure international backing – via the UN - for a Palestinian state, while delegitimizing Israel.  He says (emphasis added):
 
“And now, where do we go from here?

“...It is impossible, and I repeat - it is impossible - to return to the cycle of negotiations that failed to deal with the substance of the matter and the fundamental question...
 
There is no meaning or value in negotiations for which the agreed objective is not ending the Israeli occupation and achieving the independence of the State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital on the entire Palestinian Territory occupied in the 1967 war. And, there is no value in negotiations which are not linked to a firm timetable for the implementation of this goal.

“The time has come to end this settlement occupation...
 
”During the past two weeks, Palestine and the Arab Group undertook intensive contacts with the various regional groups in the United Nations to prepare for the introduction of a draft resolution to be adopted by the United Nations Security Council on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to push forward the efforts to achieve peace...

“This endeavor aspires to correct the deficiency of the previous efforts to achieve peace by affirming the goal of ending the Israeli occupation and achieving the two-State solution, of the State of Palestine, with East Jerusalem as its capital, over the entire territory occupied in 1967, alongside the State of Israel and reaching a just and agreed upon solution to the plight of the Palestine refugees on the basis of resolution 194, with a specific timeframe for the implementation of these objectives as stipulated in the Arab Peace Initiative. This will be linked to the immediate resumption of negotiations between Palestine and Israel to demarcate the borders, reach a detailed and comprehensive agreement and draft a peace treaty between them.”

 
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Well...
 
This venture is pie-in-the sky.  And I will enumerate here the most basic reasons why:
 
[] The United States has already called Abbas’s speech “unconstructive,” “provocative,” and “disappointing.”  The American position is that final borders must be resolved via negotiations.  The US almost certainly will veto what Abbas proposes.
 
[] The United Nations, including the Security Council, cannot create states.  It is not in the hands of the SC to declare a Palestinian State.
 
[] There is no “1967 border” (it was a temporary armistice line) and no legal justification for the claim that everything to the east of that line “belongs” to a Palestinian state.  In point of fact, SC Resolution 242 does NOT require Israel to return to that line, as it would not provide a secure border; it instead calls for the final border to be determined via negotiations.  What is more, SC Resolution 242 does not MENTION a Palestinian state or a Palestinian people at all.
 
[]  Resolution 194, to which Abbas refers, does NOT, as the Palestinian Arabs claim ad infinitum, mandate a “right of return.”  It was a resolution of the General Assembly, which can only make non-binding recommendations, and, in fact, put forth a variety of possible ways to resolve the situation, including settlement in a third country.
 
[] Abbas made no mention of this, but the PLO is in theory committed to the terms of the Oslo Accords, signed with Israel.  The Palestinian Authority, which was supposed to be a temporary administrative entity only, was actually created by the Accords.  Those Accords call for a final status agreement to be achieved VIA NEGOTIATIONS.  Abbas, by this action, is abrogating the Oslo Accords.   Nowhere in the Accords is there any statement that defines all of the land beyond the armistice line as “belonging” to the Palestinian Arabs. That is clear on the face of the matter, as Area C was assigned to Israel fully with regard to civil and military control. It does not spell out a “state” as the necessary conclusion of a final status agreement and it does not preclude building by Israel in area C.  
 
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The entire matter of Israel not being an “occupier” is at the core of the Legal Grounds Campaign.  I will come back to this again and again, but here simply note that there is significant legal backing for this position.  Judea and Samaria, at most, are unclaimed Mandate land.  Israel cannot be termed an occupier of this land, which was given to her under international law in the first place.
 
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I note here that Abbas ends by saying that after the UN forces terms on Israel, the Palestinian State and Israel will immediately go to negotiations to settle final matters. What he is doing here is obvious: he knows the PA is supposed to negotiate terms, and, wary of being called on this, has proposed these “negotiations” after the fact.
 
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Abbas spoke at the UN on Friday.  The very day before - after two days of negotiations in Cairo - Fatah and Hamas had announced that they had come to terms for a final agreement on a unity government, under Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah.  That unity government will be taking charge in Gaza. 
 
http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Report-Fatah-Hamas-agree-to-cede-control-of-Gaza-to-unity-government-376331
 
There are serious questions as to how long this will last, but right now this deal serves them both – it makes Abbas a “player” in what goes on in Gaza, and it allows reconstruction materials and funds to come into Gaza, which suits Hamas and which would not happen in the same way were Hamas alone in charge.  But this might be more realistically viewed as a temporary fiction, destined to ultimately fall apart.
 
Right now it is of no comfort that PA security forces will join with Hamas forces in Gaza to oversee the Gaza crossings.
 
http://imra.org.il/story.php3?id=64981
 
There is no question in my mind about the fact that the tone Abbas assumed at the UN reflects this brand new unity reconciliation: he played down negotiations, defended the right to “resist,” focused heavily on Israeli “crimes” in Gaza, etc.  Not only is he factoring in Hamas positions, he certainly knows that there will be no negotiations with Israel as long as Hamas is a participant in the unity government.
 
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Prime Minister Netanyahu is in New York.  He had a very positive meeting with of Indian Prime Minister Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi last night, to discuss Iran and strengthening of bilateral ties.  Earlier yesterday, he lunched with Sec. of State Kerry, at which time. according to news reports, he lashed out regarding Abbas. And he has yet to meet with Obama. 
 
But his primary purpose in coming was to address the UN General Assembly and, presumably, to counter the slanders of Abbas.  This he did early afternoon NY time ( evening Israeli time) – just a short while ago as I write.  He had promoted this talk as one that would be a “razor sharp” retort. And so I held off sending out this post until after he spoke.  But for me the razor was more than a bit dull.
 
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I would not say that Netanyahu’s speech was without good points. They were there, and they make Israel’s case. But they are points we’ve heard from him before:
 
The possibility of peace is at risk because of militant Islam, whose goal is to dominate the world.  This cancer must be eradicated in all its forms.  But it seems that countries that support hitting ISIS oppose Israel’s attacks on Hamas – even though at bottom Hamas and ISIS are one and the same in their radical Islamic vision.
 
One place where the militant Islamic dream may be realized is Iran, which will be enormously more dangerous if it has nuclear weapons.  If you wouldn’t let ISIS have such weapons, you cannot let Iran have them either.  Iran’s nuclear capability must be fully dismantled.  To defeat ISIS and leave Iran as a threshold nuclear power is to win the battle and lose the war.
 
Every time militant Islam succeeds, militants everywhere are emboldened.  Israel’s fight against Hamas is not just for Israel, it is the world’s fight.
 
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Netanyahu then described the propaganda war that Israel had to fight as it was battling Hamas rockets.  In the course of doing this, clearly he was answering the charges of Abbas, but unfortunately was not explicit in saying so. What he did say:
 
The reality is that Gazan citizens were inadvertently and regrettably being killed because of Hamas’s use of human shields.  Israel sought to minimize the deaths – warning civilians with notices, etc.
 
“No other country has ever gone to greater lengths to protect civilians of its enemy.  The IDF upheld the highest moral standards of any army in the world.  It deserves admiration, not condemnation.”
 
What Hamas did was a war crime.  And Abbas, as the head of the unity government, bears responsibility.
 
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He turned then to accusations leveled at the UN Human Rights Council, which – in deciding to investigate Israel and give Hamas a free pass – has things upside down.  The Council has given a clear message to terrorist regimes – use human shields, it works.
 
What the Council is doing is a manifestation of the return of anti-Semitism that we are now seeing. 
 
Abbas at the podium accused Israel although he himself called for a Judenrein Palestine. “In what moral universe is warning civilians to get out of the way considered genocide?”
 
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So far, OK, if unexceptional.  Some good lines, some good points.
 
But then... then he began to talk about “historic opportunity.”  We’ve heard this before as well: the new recognition of leading Arab states that they have concerns in common with Israel.  This has the potential for partnership.  These Arab states may help facilitate an Israel-Palestinian peace.
 
An Israeli-Palestinian peace?  The old template for peace must be updated to allow for Arab participation.
 
He is willing to make an historic compromise for peace.  Some territorial concession would be necessary. But what is important are “rock solid security arrangements.”  Withdrawal from Lebanon and from Gaza led to terrorist entities in these places.  We cannot allow ISIS into Judea and Samaria.
 
In any peace agreement, Israel has to be able to defend itself by itself.
 
This, I would presume, is Netanyahu’s way of countering Abbas’s proposal regarding “Palestine” to the 1967 line.  Such a formulation would not provide the strategic depth that is necessary for Israeli self-defense.  But he does not actually say this.
 
For me, this is insufficient, a cop-out.
 
What I had hoped to hear was a crystal clear statement that a Fatah that is joined with Hamas cannot be considered a partner for peace. That there can be no talk of negotiations, as fervently as Israel hopes for peace, until Fatah’s leaders renounce violence. As it is, just days ago, Abbas, right on the UN dais, defended Fatah’s right to violent resistance.  Before there can be peace, Fatah must demonstrate a genuine desire for it.  And this is something we’ve yet to see.
 
Did Netanyahu – always eager to please – feel the need to mention a willingness to compromise for peace because Abbas had accused Israel of undermining peace?  Truly do I hope that is not the case. 
 
You can see his entire speech here:
 
http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Full-text-of-Prime-Minister-Netanyahus-UN-speech-376626
 
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© 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. 
 
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.

http://arlenefromisrael.squarespace.com/current-postings/2014/9/29/september-29-2014-un-season.html

 

 

Posted on Monday, September 29, 2014 at 04:44PM by Registered CommenterArlene in , , | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

September 23, 2014: Rosh Hashana Approaches

I want to begin by wishing blessings for the New Year to all my readers who observe Rosh Hashana: The blessings of inner peace, spiritual growth, good health, love and companionship, and secure livelihood.
 
Please, after you pray for yourselves, pray for the Jewish People and the State of Israel with special intensity.  May the Almighty give us strength for the hard times, the wisdom to make the right decisions, and, ultimately, security and peace.  May He hold us in His hands.


Rosh Hashana begins Wednesday at sundown. 
 
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I put aside other news I had wanted to feature, to report on this first:
 
Eyal Yifrah, Gil-Ad Shaer, Naftali Frenkel (Photo: Shaul Golan)

Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Sha'ar, Naftali Frenkel
 
Eyal, Gilad and Naftali are gone.  We cannot bring them back. But now justice has been done:
 
The two men from the Hevron area - Marwan Kawasmeh and Amer Abu Eisha - who had abducted and then murdered them were located early this morning.  In the course of an attempt to arrest them, a gun fight ensued, and they were killed.
 
It was the Shin Bet that located their hideout.  Hamas suspects who were believed to be sheltering them had been arrested and questioned.  The operation itself was carried out by the IDF and, Yamam, a special unit of the Border Police.
 
Other members of the Kawasmeh family have been arrested for involvement in the kidnapping/murder.  The mastermind, Mahmoud Kawasmeh, had been released in the Shalit prisoner exchange (a very clear reason to NEVER release a terrorist in an exchange again).  Operating from Gaza, he proceeded with Hamas instructions and cash; he is still at large.
 
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/185434#.VCEbw5txnIU
 
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With a few exceptions, even if it takes time, in the end we get the perpetrators of heinous crimes against innocent Israelis.  Here, it has brought a sense of relief.  That this has happened immediately before the new year is being taken in some quarters as a sign, please God, that we may see better times in the new year.
 
Paula Stern, writing as “a soldier’s mother,” commented on this. She says it so beautifully that I wanted to share (emphasis added):
 
There is no more we can do for the three boys, other than to hold on to the love and the unity that in their deaths was born. But in their memory, our government can pledge that no one will ever think Jewish blood is cheap again. We promised we would hunt them down...and we did. For this ending, there is a new beginning - a new year.

”May the memory of Gilad, Eyal and Naftali always be blessed; may their families know no more sorrow, and more, may they know our gratitude. In their grace, with their faith, they led us through what was, without question, the worst moments of their lives. May they go from strength to strength with our love.”

 
http://israelisoldiersmother.blogspot.co.il/
 
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Now Israel must – absolutely must! - respond with a similar degree of determination in dealing with another sort of problem being generated by Palestinian Arabs.  This is a critical situation and one that I am eager to bring to your attention:
 
Since the summer we are seeing increased Arab violence and vandalism in the eastern parts of Jerusalem. 
 

Credit: Reuters
 
In the main, the perpetrators are Arabs with Jerusalem residency cards, not citizens of Israel. (Note: these Arabs have the opportunity to acquire citizenship, but prefer the residency papers because they provide many of the same perks – health care, etc. - but are more “politically correct” from their perspective than Israeli citizenship.)
 
There have always been two hotspots with regard to this situation. 
 
One – at the very heart of what this is all about – is Har Habayit, the Temple Mount.  You’ve heard it from me, and I will come back to it again and again:  Jews are not allowed to pray on the Mount even though it is the holiest site in Judaism, because this causes Arabs who are up there to riot.  Perish the thought that they should riot.  But what is happening now is that Jews are being increasingly harassed on the Mount by Arabs.
 
I shared this video in the spring, showing the obscene harassment of children by Arabs on the Mount:
 
http://www.timesofisrael.com/ultra-orthodox-children-heckled-by-temple-mount-mob/
 
There have been many other incidents since then.
 
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The other hotspot is the cemetery on Har HaZeitim, the Mount of Olives. This is the oldest and largest Jewish cemetery in the world.  An integral part of our ancient heritage in the land, with 150,000 graves, it is still in use.
 
File:Jerusalem Mount of Olives BW 2010-09-20 07-57-31.JPG
Credit: Berthold Werner
 
Here, we are dealing with two problems.  One is the desecration of graves and the other is threats upon those attending funerals on the Mount or visiting graves:  Arabs throw “stones” that are sometimes chunks of concrete or almost boulders – creating a serious risk.
 
There has been much done in recent years to improve the situation in the cemetery but of late the attacks have grown worse.  Just months ago Tova Richler, an American, missed her own father’s funeral on Har HaZeitim because she was so traumatized by an attack upon her as she was on the road adjacent to the cemetery that she could not continue.
 
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And then there’s more: Rioting and rock-throwing, Molotov cocktails, attacks and vandalism in and near largely Arab neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem. 
 
In Wadi Joz, an Israeli family was besieged by Arabs throwing rocks at their van when they stopped at a traffic light; three members of the family were hurt.
 
In Shufat, enormous vandalism has taken place.  The Light Rail goes through Shufat and I’m reading – depending on the source – that some 30% to 50% of the Rail cars are out of commission because of this vandalism. This is mind-boggling.
 
Last week, a bus carrying Jewish children from the Ma’aleh HaZeitim neighborhood (which is on the Mount of Olives and adjacent to Arab villages) was attacked by masked Arabs throwing stones.
 
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I could continue with further examples, but it is not necessary.  Everyone reading this should be thoroughly outraged by now.
 
The question is what will be done about this.  For it is not only (only??) a matter of risk to Jews in Jerusalem, there is the over-riding issue of Israeli sovereignty in all of Jerusalem.
 
If we lose control of parts of the city, we lose control of the sovereignty of those areas. And this is precisely what is intended.  Make no mistake about it.
 
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What has been done to date is – on the very face of it – sorely insufficient.  Some hundreds of Arabs have been arrested. But I have it on very good authority that there is a revolving door and many are released without being prosecuted.
 
We cannot afford to operate out of fear, and yet this is what seems to be happening: Fear that if we send in the police in sufficient numbers to control the rock-throwers with sufficient force, somehow something will go wrong and some Arab will be severely injured or killed. Then there will be more rioting. Or the world will carry on about how we “treat” the Arabs.  The US or the EU will demand an “inquiry,” and reprimand us.
 
On his Facebook page Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat has now said:
 
“I want to qualify this decisively: a heavy and uncompromising hand should be applied against all those who employ violence of any kind...”
 
Don’t tell us, show us.  It is time for action at a municipal and a national level on this.  Without fear of repercussions, with firm belief in our rights in our land.
 
My take, my friends, is that the mindset in our government that promotes stepping softly here is precisely the same mindset that promotes stepping softly with Hamas in Gaza. 
 
I will be returning to this.
 
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Please see a piece by David Weinberg on this issue:
 
http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_opinion.php?id=10023
 
And then one by Nadav Shragai:
 
http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=20241
 
Both writers allude to what is happening as an intifada.  But each has a different perspective.
 
Shragai says that this is not spontaneous, but organized (emphasis added):

In each of the villages [Arab neighborhoods] of east Jerusalem, there is at least one dominant player on the ground. In A-Tor, it's Fatah. In Issawiya‎, it's the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. In Jabal Mukaber, it's Hamas. In the Shuafat refugee camp, both Fatah and Hamas are in charge. Somebody -- and it is still unclear who -- is subsidizing the thousands of packs of fireworks that are being launched at a dizzying pace by Palestinians in Jerusalem.

Each bundle of fireworks, which costs hundreds of shekels, isn't being paid for by the rioters themselves. The rioters' legal fees are covered by the Palestinian Authority. Hamas websites are calling this phenomenon by its real name: "the third intifada." There are almost no lone wolves. The countless disturbances are being carried out in groups.”

All the more reason, then, for a strong hand.  This truly is a battle for Jerusalem.

~~~~~~~~~~

Weinberg further says (emphasis added):
 
A critical element for regaining control of the entire city has to be enforcement of civic law. Somehow, in the Arab neighborhoods of the city, building codes and noise pollution bylaws don't apply. The Arab residents know how to take national insurance payments from the government of Israel and to enjoy excellent health care privileges in the city's clinics and hospitals, but they know nothing of municipal taxes, building permits, or yielding to stop signs.

“This has to change. Part of regaining security control of the city is disciplining the Arab public to be law-abiding residents in all spheres.

“The bottom line is that to hold on to a united Jerusalem, Israel must act forcefully to restore its full and active jurisdiction in all parts of the holy city. It must wield a big baton against Arab insurgents that are threatening the stability of the city. And there is no better time to act than now.”

~~~~~~~~~~

Weinberg ends by citing Isaiah 61:
 
"For the sake of Zion I will not hold my peace, and for the sake of Jerusalem I will not be still. … I will set watchman on the walls of Jerusalem all day or night. ... Go through, go through the gates, prepare the way of the people; bank up, build up the highway, clear the stones; lift up a standard for the people."
 

Credit: KeepJerusalem

 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
© 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. 
 
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.

http://arlenefromisrael.squarespace.com/current-postings/2014/9/23/september-23-2014-rosh-hashana-approaches.html

 

Posted on Tuesday, September 23, 2014 at 05:47PM by Registered CommenterArlene in , , , , , , | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

September 21, 2014: Duplicity

The news appeared recently in several media sources, that major think tanks in Washington DC are being funded by foreign governments.  This is huge.  But you may have missed it.

It was the NYTimes that broke the story, and I quote here (emphasis added):

“The agreement signed last year by the Norway Ministry of Foreign Affairs was explicit: For $5 million, Norway’s partner in Washington would push top officials at the White House, at the Treasury Department and in Congress to double spending on a United States foreign aid program.

“But the recipient of the cash was not one of the many Beltway lobbying firms that work every year on behalf of foreign governments.

“It was the Center for Global Development, a nonprofit research organization, or think tank, one of many such groups in Washington that lawmakers, government officials and the news media have long relied on to provide independent policy analysis and scholarship.

More than a dozen prominent Washington research groups have received tens of millions of dollars from foreign governments in recent years while pushing United States government officials to adopt policies that often reflect the donors’ priorities, an investigation by The New York Times has found.

“The money is increasingly transforming the once-staid think-tank world into a muscular arm of foreign governments’ lobbying in Washington. And it has set off troubling questions about intellectual freedom: Some scholars say they have been pressured to reach conclusions friendly to the government financing the research.

The think tanks do not disclose the terms of the agreements they have reached with foreign governments. And they have not registered with the United States government as representatives of the donor countries, an omission that appears, in some cases, to be a violation of federal law, according to several legal specialists who examined the agreements at the request of The Times.

“As a result, policy makers who rely on think tanks are often unaware of the role of foreign governments in funding the research.

“Joseph Sandler, a lawyer and expert on the statute that governs Americans lobbying for foreign governments, said the arrangements between the countries and think tanks ‘opened a whole new window into an aspect of the influence-buying in Washington that has not previously been exposed.’

“’It is particularly egregious because with a law firm or lobbying firm, you expect them to be an advocate,’ Mr. Sandler added. ‘Think tanks have this patina of academic neutrality and objectivity, and that is being compromised.’

The arrangements involve Washington’s most influential think tanks, including the Brookings Institution, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and the Atlantic Council. Each is a major recipient of overseas funds, producing policy papers, hosting forums and organizing private briefings for senior United States government officials that typically align with the foreign governments’ agendas.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/07/us/politics/foreign-powers-buy-influence-at-think-tanks.html?_r=1

~~~~~~~~~~

This is a serious matter on several counts and should be of concern to every American citizen for a host of reasons, including the fact that these think tanks may be breaking the law but, to date, have not been prosecuted.

But it is of very specific concern to those who support Israel.  For it has now been exposed that the Brookings Institution signed a four year agreement last year with Qatar that will provide Brookings with $14.8 million.

Qatar is pro-Muslim Brotherhood.  As Daniel Pipes has written, it also "funneled hundreds of millions to Hamas-led Gaza and encouraged its rocket and tunnel assault on Israel."

And Brookings?  This is “where Martin Indyk serves as vice president and director of the Foreign Policy Program. Indyk worked for Secretary of State John Kerry from July 2013 to June 2014 as special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations...how could Indyk be expected to act in a neutral way?” (Emphasis added)

http://www.danielpipes.org/14918/think-tanks-foreign-money

You may remember, when Israeli-PA negotiations fell apart, Indyk said it was Israel’s fault.

That Indyk is guilty of duplicity barely touches the surface of what might be said about him.   His career should be totally down the tubes, but – given Washington DC realities – it won’t be. 

~~~~~~~~~~

Then, I want to share a level-headed and informed assessment of Mahmoud Abbas’s recent threats. You’ve heard much of this from me, but better still to hear it from an international lawyer.

Alan Baker - director of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and director of the International Action Division of the Legal Forum for Israel - says, in his piece - “Is Abbas Serious?” - that (emphasis added):

“The Palestinian Authority leadership’s fixation on ‘internationalizing the conflict’ by ‘going back to the UN,’ joining various international conventions and taking Israeli political and military leaders to the International Criminal Court sounds dramatic and even threatening. But it involves a large degree of self-delusion...

“The latest ploy by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for frightening the Israelis – going to the UN Security Council with a resolution demanding withdrawal by Israel from ‘Palestinian territory’ to ‘the 1967 borders’ within three years and threatening to go to the International Criminal Court if it isn’t passed – would appear to be no less misguided legally, no less self-deluding and fraught with non-sequiturs than previous abortive Palestinian UN forays.

“Despite all the annual politically generated UN resolutions, which do nothing more than represent the political opinions of the states voting for them, the territories of Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip have never legally or historically been declared to be ‘Palestinian.’ There has never been a sovereign Palestinian state, and no treaty, agreement, or binding resolution has ever determined that the territories belong to the Palestinians.
 
“To the contrary, even the Palestinians themselves agreed in the 1993-1995 Oslo Accords, guaranteed by the US, the EU, Russia, Norway, Egypt and Jordan and endorsed by the UN, that the permanent status of the territories would be determined in negotiations. To determine in advance that these territories are Palestinian is to prejudge an agreed-upon negotiating issue.
 
“Similarly, there is no such thing as the ‘1967 borders.’ The parties have agreed to negotiate ‘secure and recognized boundaries,’ as demanded by UN Security Council Resolution 242, and the question of ‘borders’ is also an agreed negotiating issue pursuant to the Oslo Accords...
 
“Moreover, Abbas’s ostensibly serious ammunition – his threat to go to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and have Israeli leaders and military officers tried for war crimes in the event that his Security Council ploy fails – appears almost certain to backfire.
 
“Even if the ICC prosecutor, as she has promised, accepts a Palestinian request for standing in the Court...that, in and of itself, cannot guarantee that Abbas and his associates will be able to advance any serious criminal claims against Israeli political or military leaders.
 
“This is because of the Court’s complex evidentiary rules, specifically the rule of ‘complementarity,’ which prevents the Court’s exercising its jurisdiction if the case in question is already subject to investigation and potential juridical process by the nation state of the accused...Thus it is highly unlikely that any such attempt to bring Israeli leaders to trial would succeed.
 
“Even more noteworthy is the likelihood that the Palestinian leadership, in giving the Court jurisdiction over the territories, including the Gaza Strip, would be placing itself – as well as senior Hamas commanders and tacticians – at the mercy of anyone who chooses to initiate claims against them for serious war crimes and terrorism.”

http://www.jpost.com/Jerusalem-Report/Is-Abbas-serious-375478

 

Credit: inthelastdays

You may wish to save this information, and share it.

~~~~~~~~~~

Hasan Khreisha, the second-deputy speaker of the Palestinian parliament, has said that Abbas is holding off on joining the ICC in order to press charges against Israel.  This, in spite of encouragement from several Palestinian Arab parties for him to do so.

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/185068#.VB76p5txnIV

Says Khriesa, this is because Abbas prefers to push forward a bid for new peace talks. Sounds nice. But my guess is that Abbas knows exactly what Alan Baker has written: that attempts to have Israelis prosecuted in the ICC are likely to fail. So he talks the talk and then balks at moving ahead.  The Abbas M.O.

~~~~~~~~~~

”Israel believes Syria has retained caches of combat-ready chemical weapons after giving up raw materials used to produce such munitions under pressure from foreign powers, a senior Israeli official said on Thursday.

”Summarizing Israeli intelligence estimates that were previously not disclosed to avoid undermining the Syrians' surrender of their declared chemical arsenal, the official said they had kept some missile warheads, air-dropped bombs and rocket-propelled grenades primed with toxins like sarin.

"’There is, to my mind, still in the hands of Syria a significant residual capability ... that could be used in certain circumstances and could be potentially very serious,’ the official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.”
 
http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Israeli-official-Syria-kept-significant-chemical-weapons-375756

Surprising?  Not at all. It would have been more surprising if a vicious and duplicitous Assad really had surrendered everything.  There are numerous lessons to be learned here.
 
There is little concern here in Israel that Assad would use such weapons against us because of Israeli deterrence power:  Said one Israeli official, this would not be a game changer for Assad, it would be a “game-ender.”  He is more likely to use these chemicals in his civil war.
 
But there is concern about what would happen if radical rebels were to get their hands on this material.
 
~~~~~~~~~~

No end of subjects to write about.  Yet my time is limited in these days leading up to Rosh Hashana.  I hope to do one more posting before the holiday.  Some of the subjects that may merit serious attention:

[] We have a very serious problem with increasing Arab violence here in Jerusalem.  I want to emphasize the import of this and would like to look at the issue in some detail. This is with regard to the possibility of a third intifada. But even more so, with regard to the absolute need for our government – state and municipal – to be tough if we are serious about our own sovereignty in the land.  This is not something to be taken lightly.  The Arabs, for the most part with Jerusalem residency, must be  handled with with a very strong hand.

[] There is much political turmoil in Israel right now, including unrest within Likud.  Gideon Sa’ar – who headed the Ministry of Interior - has resigned from the government, and this was a political bombshell. There is much speculation as to where he is going.  Where Likud is going. Where Netanyahu is going. And whether Naftali Bennett – head of Habyit Hayehudi - can succeed in ways he hopes to.  There is unrest inside of his party as well.

[] There is also much political turmoil within the Palestinian Arab world, with tensions growing between Fatah and Hamas.

[] And...on Tuesday indirect ceasefire talks between Israel and Hamas are to begin in Cairo.

~~~~~~~~~~

© 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. 
 
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.

http://arlenefromisrael.squarespace.com/current-postings/2014/9/21/september-21-2014-duplicity.html

 

Posted on Sunday, September 21, 2014 at 01:38PM by Registered CommenterArlene in , , , , | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

September 17, 2014: Surreal

Much of what goes on in the world these days has a surreal quality.  But here’s a case that is sort of emblematic of a host of situations:
 
“Syrian rebels linked to Al-Qaeda have seized UN weapons, uniforms and vehicles from peacekeepers in the Golan and set up a ‘safe zone’ to wage attacks, the Syrian ambassador said Tuesday.
 
“The United Nations on Monday was forced to pull back hundreds of peacekeepers to the Israeli-occupied sector of the Golan (sic) after Syrian rebels advanced on their positions.

 

“Syrian Ambassador Bashar Jaafari said fighters from Al-Nusra ‘had succeeded in occupying all of the Syrian side’ of the Golan, driving out the troops from the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF).
 
“’The terrorists are now using United Nations cars, which hold the emblem of the United Nations forces in the Golan. They are using the uniform of the UNDOF, the weapons of UNDOF, the positions of UNDOF to shell on the Syrian army as well as on the civilians in the villages,’ Jaafari told reporters.”
 
http://news.yahoo.com/syrian-rebels-seize-un-weapons-golan-ambassador-193552981.html
 
UNDOF peacekeepers in the Golan Heights
Credit: Reuters

 

~~~~~~~~~~

UNDOF is charged with monitoring a buffer zone that runs across the Golan, between Israel and Syria.  Its 1,200-strong force is comprised of troops from Fiji, India, Ireland, Nepal, the Netherlands, and the Philippines.
 
This is the clearest map I was able to locate.  Note: In 1981, Israel applied civil law to the Golan, which has been in Israeli hands since 1967:

 

Credit: Searchingforami
 
“Jaafari accused Israel, Qatar and Jordan of being behind a ‘very big plot’ to destabilize Syria by letting the Syrian rebels take control of part of the buffer to set up a ‘safe zone’ from where it can wage attacks.”
 
Israel cooperating with Hamas-funding Qatar in a “very big plot”??  Well, the story would not be complete if Israel were not blamed somehow.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
From here we can segue to another task that the UN is assuming:
 
The UN is brokering an agreement for the reconstruction of Gaza. 
 
According to a report just released by Robert Serry, UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process:
 
Reconstruction, recovery, governance and security in the Gaza Strip must take place in the context of the return of one legitimate Palestinian Authority to the Strip... (emphasis added)
 
“The formation of the GNC [Government of National Consensus] under President Abbas and in accordance with the PLO principles was welcomed by the international community. The UN has long underscored the need for progress towards Palestinian unity in line with existing resolutions, within the framework of the PLO commitments and the positions of the Quartet and the Arab Peace Initiative.”

http://www.timesofisrael.com/un-report-calls-for-palestinian-unity-govt-control-of-gaza/
 
If I were able to make genuine sense of this diplomatic double-talk, I would gladly explain it.  Apparently the UN is endorsing the Palestinian Unity government - which is on the verge of falling apart and which Hamas does not truly acknowledge in Gaza in any event – as the legitimate authority in Gaza.  That is, if the unity government works within the framework of the Quartet positions, which Hamas refuses to accept.
 
Got it?
 
The Ad Hoc Liaison Committee, the body coordinating development assistance to the Palestinians, will come together in New York in a meeting hosted by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.

Oh joy.

~~~~~~~~~~

But there’s more:
 
Reconstruction will also involve the private sector, and the UN will do “monitoring to ensure that construction materials will not be diverted from civilian to military uses.” (Emphasis added)
 
The UN?  I’m sure they will function according to their well-recognized standards. 
 
Apparently Israel has agreed to this.  Did we have a choice?  Did we seek alternatives?  ARE there alternatives?
 
The decision was made not to re-take Gaza.  Are we stuck with this, which will lead to no good? IF it happens.
 
Serry said the UN considers the “temporary mechanism [the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee]” to rebuild Gaza “a signal of hope to the people of Gaza.” According to the Washington Post, he considers this “an important step toward lifting all remaining closures of crossings into the Strip.”
 
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/un-brokers-agreement-to-start-gaza-rebuilding/2014/09/16/677de484-3dbb-11e4-a430-b82a3e67b762_story.html
 
Excuse me?
 
Please note, there is not a word about demilitarization of Hamas.  He has the unmitigated gall to talk about lifting all remaining closures without addressing the dangers to Israel. 
 
I would remind you: Monitoring the reconstruction project to make sure reconstruction materials (primarily concrete) will not be diverted to military purposes (construction of tunnels) in no way addresses the wholesale smuggling of rockets into Gaza (in pieces that can be easily smuggled), were all closures to be fully opened.
 
Where is our prime minister in all of this?  The fact that Serry – no friend to Israel – imagines that the crossings should soon be opened fully in no way indicates that Netanyahu has signed off on this.  He perhaps finds it wiser – more politic, in his style - to let Serry et al make pronouncements to which Israel has not agreed without bothering to contradict. There surely must be intention, as well, to do monitoring on our side – although Serry, of course, mentions no role for Israel.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
Serry said the reconstruction project “must get up and running without delay.”
 
But a key source of mine says it’s not going to happen.  He seemed quite sure.  He was not fully explicit but here are are a couple of the reasons why not:
 
“The deputy Palestinian prime minister, Mohammed Mustafa, said last week that international donors are hesitant to fund Gaza’s reconstruction so long as Hamas remains in control there and the specter of future wars looms. Mustafa, a top official in the West Bank Palestinian Authority, said international bodies are eager for President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah forces to take on a leading role in Gaza.” (Emphasis added)
 
Hamas already took out Fatah forces in Gaza once.  Are we due for a re-run?
 
It occurs to me here that Netanyahu may read the situation much as my source does.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
Serry is under the illusion that if the Security Council supports the project, it will reassure donors that the project they invest in will be implemented “expeditiously, and solely for their intended civilian purpose.”
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
Now that I’ve stopped laughing, I will close with a bit of recent UN history:
 
After the Lebanon war in 2006, during which Israel seriously degraded Hamas capabilities, the Security Council passed Resolution 1701.  It set in place UNIFIL – UN forces that were intended to work with the Lebanese army to prevent Hamas from re-arming (smuggling rockets in from Syria).  Today Hezbollah has some 100,000 rockets.  (And I’ll address this major problem soon.)
 
At one point, some years ago, I learned that UNIFIL did no operations – no monitoring or patrolling - at night.  The smuggling, needless to say, was done at night.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
My friends, did I not say this was surreal?  Let’s watch how it plays out now...
 
We have not yet heard from Hamas – and remember that there is no final ceasefire agreement yet. 
 
I note here as well that there is no mention of a role for the EU, which was supposed to be solidly on board with assuring that Hamas did not re-arm, etc. etc.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
© 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. 
 
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.

http://arlenefromisrael.squarespace.com/current-postings/2014/9/17/september-17-2014-surreal.html

 

 

Posted on Wednesday, September 17, 2014 at 02:26PM by Registered CommenterArlene in , , , , , | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

September 15, 2014: Hitting Bottom?

Things have been really awful for some time now.  Horrendous. Here in this region we’ve had the murder of an American ambassador by a group Obama previously claimed had been undone; the wholesale murder by Assad of Syria of tens of thousands of his own people; the heartless and manipulative use of human shields by Hamas in a manner that they parlayed into something of a PR victory – because dead babies “sell.”  And on, and on, and on.  Those of us who don’t have blinders on have been watching, and asking, in anguished tones, “Don’t they get it?”  There has been so much apathy, such refusal to confront painful realities.

~~~~~~~~~~

Well, folks, I believe something has now shifted.  Now in Syria and Iraq there is ISIS (aka IS, ISIL), which has beheaded Westerners and marched hundreds of people to their deaths by wholesale shootings, all on video. They have declared a state that is a “caliphate,” to be run according to Sharia law – with declarations of intention of expanding that caliphate. 

And there’s something else happening that makes ISIS more frightening for Western nations: Muslims from their own citizenries have gone to fight with ISIS and will be returning radicalized and ready to do damage from within.  Damage?  Wreak terrorism.

Have we hit bottom?  Not sure, but I’d like to think so – would like to think it isn’t going to get even worse. Whether this is the case or not, what I am seeing is that it has gotten sufficiently horrendous so that people are now getting up from their chairs and rousing themselves.

And so, it’s very horrible, but there are just glimmers, sparks, of hope.

~~~~~~~~~~

Very briefly, what we are seeing happen:

Obama is very reluctant warrior. But he’s assuming the stance of warrior in a manner that most of us never believed we’d live to see.

As Daniel Greenfield, writing as Sultan Knish, said recently:

“Winston Churchill, quipped, ‘The United States invariably does the right thing, after having exhausted every other alternative.’

“It’s not true of the United States, but it is true of Barack Obama who, having exhausted every alternative that involved appeasement or pretending that ISIS wasn’t a threat, has decided to do the right thing.”  (Emphasis added)

http://sultanknish.blogspot.co.il

Will he do the “right thing” with sufficient strength?  There is reason to doubt this, precisely because he remains reluctant.  He’s committed at the moment to airstrikes only and not to boots on the ground.

As Mark Steyn wrote:
 
“When it comes to war, he [Obama] suffers from an additional burden: before he can persuade anybody else, he first has to persuade himself. And he can't do it.”

http://www.steynonline.com/6560/coalition-of-the-unwilling

But his turn-about, I suspect, has genuine significance, none-the-less.

~~~~~~~~~~
 
Now 30 countries have come together in Iraq to discuss what to do about ISIS. There is a determination here – a sense of urgency - that hasn’t been reflected in international attitudes towards Syria’s civil war and other crises:

“Diplomats from around the world pledged to fight ISIS militants ‘by any means necessary.’

“An American official said Sunday several Arab countries had offered to conduct airstrikes, speaking on condition of anonymity...

“...’The threat is global and the response must be global,’ French President François Hollande said, opening the diplomatic conference intended to come up with an international strategy against the group. ‘There is no time to lose.’

http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/isis-must-be-fought-by-any-means-necessary-diplomats-say-1.2766247

~~~~~~~~~~

What we are seeing then, with all of the political machinations and problems (about which more below), is a suggestion that the world may be waking up.

Israel has come out fully supportive of Obama’s efforts. While we will remain in the background on this, the current scenario puts us on the same side as the US and multiple other nations – there is less of a tone of “Israel vs. the world.”

Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein, in Prague last week, told Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (emphasis added):

When Islamic State reaches Europe, everyone will understand what Hamas meant for Israel.  We must eradicate Islamic terrorism for the good of humankind.”

,
http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Edelstein-in-Prague-Europe-will-understand-Israels-problems-when-Islamic-State-reaches-it-374978

Presidente del parlamento israelí: Acción en Gaza está 'justificada' y la considera 'vital'
Credit: Emol

We’re not talking about Israel’s problem, we’re talking about a world problem – one that Israel shares with others.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) gave a speech in the Senate last week in which he condemned Hamas and declared it to be no better than the Islamic State (ISIS).

Reid called the failure to condemn Hamas as one would condemn the Islamic State group "stunning hypocrisy." (Emphasis added)

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/185111#.VBcZ5JtxnIV

~~~~~~~~~~

Before turning to the situation closer to home, I did want to mention one other factor here:  It would be a danger of considerable dimensions if the global concern about ISIS were to eclipse concern about Iran – which has not been nearly strong enough in any event.  Or if action against ISIS were to put Iran – which is on the verge of getting the bomb - in a better place.

Claire Lopez expresses concern that Obama will end up supporting Iranian puppets in Iraq and Syria in the process of weakening ISIS.

http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/2014/09/12/obama-pledges-additional-support-for-iranian-puppet-regimes/

~~~~~~~~~~

Here in Israel, I confess to being amused by the problems generated for the Palestinian Authority by the global focus on ISIS:  The Palestinian-Arab problem is no longer the focus of world concern. Shock.  Horrors.

But they keep trying:
“Speaking to the Fatah television channel, Saeb Erekat said on Sunday that the reason behind the extremism in the Middle East was the continued Israeli occupation, the suffering of the Palestinian people and the ‘terror acts’ committed by Israel and the settlers, the report further added.

“Meanwhile Adnan Damiri, the official spokesman for the Palestinian Authority's security forces, has urged the United States and Europe to form a coalition against what he called ‘the terror of the Israeli occupation.’"

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4570785,00.html

Does anyone take these clowns seriously?

I’ll be following with a great deal more on what Abbas is doing, hopes to do, says he’ll do, might do.

~~~~~~~~~~
 
© 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. 
 
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.

http://arlenefromisrael.squarespace.com/current-postings/2014/9/15/september-15-2014-hitting-bottom.html

 

 

Posted on Monday, September 15, 2014 at 04:29PM by Registered CommenterArlene in , , , | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

September 11, 2014: Never Happened

You may well have read various news items in the last few days about how Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, president of Egypt (pictured below), offered a deal to Abbas:

What was said was that al-Sisi was prepared to turn over to Abbas a considerable swath of land in the Sinai adjacent to Gaza, in which Palestinian “refugees” could settle, and which would – unified with Gaza - become the Palestinian state.  In return, Abbas would withdraw demands for Israel to return to the 1949 armistice line (which is commonly and erroneously referred to as the “1967 border”).  The areas of Judea and Samaria that were already under PA control – primarily the major Arab cities such as Ramallah – would become an autonomy.

Word was that Abbas turned it down.

Much was written about how this proved Abbas didn’t really want a Palestinian state (that indeed is the case – but not because of this) and how this offer by al-Sisi signaled a new diplomatic era.

~~~~~~~~~~

But I am here to tell you that this never happened.  My source is a very highly credible Arabic-speaking Israeli with connections in the Palestinian Arab world. 

The one who made this offer, he says, was former president Morsi, who is Muslim Brotherhood.  The offer back then, my contact explained with consider logic, was made with the idea that Hamas would be in control of the area that would become the Palestinian state, while Abbas would be sidelined.  There would then have been two Muslim Brotherhood states – Egypt and Palestine.

At present, there is no way that Abbas and his PA could take control of Gaza and an area adjacent to it in the Sinai -  Hamas remains firmly in control in Gaza.  And al-Sisi has absolutely no desire to strengthen Hamas.

 

Credit: Ahram


~~~~~~~~~~

As for Abbas himself, I must return to the Yiddish expression I have used previously: You cannot ride on two horses with one tuchis.  (Yes, I like this expression because it so colorfully describes the situation.)  Seems he is still attempting to do just that.  With very limited success.

During the recent conflict, he was thoroughly on the side of Hamas, in public.  Participated in the indirect ceasefire talks with Hamas and even led the negotiations.  At that time I was advised that he was doing this in order to stay “relevant.”  He wanted to remain in the public eye as a player of consequence.  Thus, he did not break the unity agreement with Hamas or come out critical of Hamas.

Now that the conflict is on hold, he has switched sides.  Sort of.  Wants to appear as the one to be embraced as a “moderate.”

Four days ago, during a meeting in Cairo, he declared:

“If Hamas won't accept a Palestinian State with one government, one law, and one weapon - then there won't be any partnership between us. This is our condition, and we won't back away from it.
 
“We will only be talking to Hamas if they meet our requirements. The partnership with Hamas depends on arms being under the control of the Palestinian State."

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4568206,00.html

~~~~~~~~~~

If Abbas truly thinks that Hamas will relinquish control of their weapons to a unity government he heads, he’s dreaming. 

The April 23 reconciliation agreement signed by Palestinian leaders did not address the most contentious issue between them: the weapons of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing. Both Fatah and Hamas thought it best to pass on the issue to avoid it posing an obstacle to reconciliation.” (Emphasis added)

http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/05/qassam-weapons-hamas-fatah-reconciliation.html#
 
Since Hamas never agreed to turn over its weapons, he is on thin ice with his demands. And what I observe is that so far he is all talk.  He has not broken with Hamas, he has merely threatened to do so.

~~~~~~~~~~

According to an analysis by Malcolm Lowe, Abbas is not nearly as smart as he imagines himself to be, and has maneuvered himself into a corner (emphasis added):

“The recent hostilities between Hamas and Israel have prompted various Israeli figures...to advocate an enhanced role for Mahmoud Abbas, the President (sic) of the Palestinian Authority [PA], in an eventual solution for Gaza. The implausibility of this idea has been pointed out elsewhere. What both the proponents and the critics of this idea have not asked, however, is a more fundamental question: To what extent was Abbas complicit in the aggression of Hamas?”

Lowe then documents the multiple ways in which Abbas was clearly complicit – thereby demonstrating that it is not as easy to switch horses as Abbas apparently imagined it would be.
 
“Previously, [Abbas] had been using security collaboration with Israel to weaken Hamas, his chief rival [in Judea and Samaria].  Now [March 2014] he chose the reverse tactic: by forming a Palestinian unity government...he hoped to use Hamas to weaken Israel to the point of succumbing to his demands.

This was a catastrophic miscalculation on the part of Abbas Hamas had its own reasons for joining a unity government.  Above all, Hamas had been made bankrupt by the Egyptian decision to eliminate the tunnels between Egypt and Gaza, so it relied on the promise that the unity government would pay the long overdue salaries of its 40,000 civil servants..

“...as the Israeli Security Service (Shin Bet) has discovered, Hamas exploited the formation of the unity government for a scheme to overthrow Abbas in the West Bank, while brutally injuring Fatah operatives in Gaza.
 
“Worst of all, an opinion poll shows that the Palestinian public -- in its characteristic mode of collective insanity -- accepts Hamas's claim of ‘victory’ over Israel. Whereas until recently Abbas enjoyed clear superiority over Hamas's Ismail Haniyeh in opinion polls, now Haniyeh is projected to defeat him by 61% to 32% in the upcoming election for the Palestinian presidency. Remember that the agreement to form a unity government stipulated that fresh elections for both the Palestinian parliament and the presidency should take place within six months. The same poll ascribes even greater popularity to Haniyeh in the West Bank than in Gaza (66% versus 53%)...
 
“In another misjudgment, Abbas finally opened his mouth to denounce Hamas's responsibility for the destruction of Gaza just days before that poll was published. That is, he was silent when the destruction could have been prevented, but chose to criticize it precisely when the broad Palestinian public had euphorically decided that it was a price worth paying.

“...the Palestinian government has now recommitted itself to paying the 40,000 Hamas officials in Gaza in addition to the 70,000 PA officials who have been receiving salaries in Gaza since 2007 without actually working.  In other words, the proposal is to pay 110,000 employees for the work that is currently done by 40,000 – and this is out of a Palestinian budget that is already (as usual) in deep deficit....”

http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/4679/evaluating-mahmoud-abbas

I suggest you save this URL and send it to anyone who promotes Abbas as the solution to the current situation in Gaza.

 

Credit: The Guardian


~~~~~~~~~~

At the time of the ceasefire, Izzat al-Rishq, a member of the Hamas politburo who was part of the Hamas negotiating team, said: “the resistance maintains its finger on the trigger.”

http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/08/gaza-war-ceasefire-cairo-hamas-israel.html#
 
Nothing else was expected.  Most clearly, we are in a hiatus, but have not seen the end of hostilities.  Not only is Hamas refusing to surrender its weapons, there are reports that it is already working to replenish its weapons cache.

~~~~~~~~~~

“A senior political source warned on Sunday that Hamas has renewed its rocket manufacturing and smuggling operations and has begun rebuilding the terror tunnels destroyed by the IDF.”

“On Friday, Yedioth Ahronoth's political analyst Shimon Shiffer said that the Military Intelligence Director is expected to present in the coming days a comprehensive report to the political establishment regarding Hamas' rehabilitation efforts.”
 
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4568482,00.html

Now, there are claims that these reports are in error.

And then we’re told that it takes time for rebuilding to be done. Plus there is talk of methods to be put to use to detect tunnel construction.

It does not matter.

Once commercials goods start coming into Gaza, it is possible to smuggle parts of rockets inside commercial supplies.  I’ve even read about schemes to utilize a submarine to bring materials to Gaza (have no idea if this is viable).  Hamas – which is very determined - is aiming for more sophisticated equipment, not just replenishment of lost supplies.  Remember, it has a deal with North Korea.  It is not thinkable that down the road there should be equipment in the hands of Hamas that Iron Dome is not equipped to deal with.

It is Israel’s job now not only to track what is going on, but to respond to it quickly if re-arming is detected.
 
In the past, we sat still while arming went on in Gaza, waiting until Israel was attacked first – so that we would not be labeled the aggressor.  This would be deplorable in the current situation.

Israel is currently in negotiations with Hamas for a final truce.  We haven’t even reached that stage yet.  The maximum in vigilance and in responsiveness is required.

~~~~~~~~~~

There has been so much talk about a new diplomatic situation that would help us manage the situation in Gaza, with new alliances and new distress about jihadi regimes.  We’re part way there - witness the difference between Morsi and al-Sisi and expressed concerns of the EU regarding jihadists - but so far I have not seen anything of substance I can write about, although I would dearly love to do so.

All I see at present is a morass of confusion.

~~~~~~~~~~

You may well have seen one or more hysterical articles about how Israel is involved in a “land grab.”  I would like to close with a link to an article that refutes this (emphasis added):

“Last week, the Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria declared that some 1,000 acres in the area of Gush Etzion was public (state) land.
 
“As expected, the extreme left-wing NGOs in Israel, led by Peace Now, exploded with an intensive campaign against this step, and shortly thereafter, the US, the UN and certain European countries began to condemn the move and demanded that Israel repeal its decision.

In a malicious manner intended to throw sand in the eyes of the international community, and to blacken the name of Israel, Peace Now purposely misrepresented this step – which was simply the formal completion of a well-known process – as expropriation of land, and another example of ‘occupation, expulsion and theft.

However, an accurate analysis of this declaration and its basis in law completely disproves the claim that Israel has taken over privately owned land. The opposite is actually true – this entire process, implemented by the government, of surveying and officially declaring land to be state land, is intended to ensure that no private property rights will be harmed and that new or expanded communities will be established only on land that belongs unequivocally to the sovereign power according to international law, and not to a private individual.”

http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Get-a-grip-Theres-no-grab-374894

Another article to save, my friends. Share it and utilize it to defend Israel.  Please!

~~~~~~~~~~

© 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. 
 
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.

http://arlenefromisrael.squarespace.com/current-postings/2014/9/11/september-11-2014-never-happened.html

 

Posted on Thursday, September 11, 2014 at 12:52PM by Registered CommenterArlene in , , , , , , | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

September 5, 2014: Briefs

Here I want simply to share information and analyses provided by others that will enlightened you – and, in one case, even entertain you.
 
The subject at hand, first, is the issue of the land in Gush Etzion that has been declared state land – in the process generating a horrified response heard round the world.
 
Daniel Greenfield, writing in his typically incisive manner as Sultan Knish, addresses this issue with tongue-in-cheek.  
 

 

Credit: Frontpage

 
It’s a piece worth reading and sharing:
 
”There are few weapons as deadly as the Israeli house. When its brick and mortar are combined together, the house, whether it is one of those modest one story hilltop affairs or a five floor apartment building complete with hot and cold running water, becomes far more dangerous than anything green and glowing that comes out of the Iranian centrifuges...
 
“Forget the cluster bomb and the mine, the poison gas shell and even tailored viruses. Iran can keep its nuclear bombs. They don't impress anyone in Europe or in Washington. Genocide is a minor matter when in the presence of the fearsome weapon of terror that is an Israeli family of four moving into a new apartment.”

http://sultanknish.blogspot.co.il/2014/09/the-deadly-israeli-house-strikes-again.html
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
Ari Briggs of Regavim, observing the paucity of solid information regarding this issue, has put together material- including a map - that is exceedingly valuable for anyone seeking to understand what is going on.
 
From that material (italics in the original, bold added):
 
[] The area of the land is 1.46 square miles (990 acres, 380 Hectares, 3799 dunams)
 
[] Nobody lives on this land, neither Palestinian Arabs nor Israelis.
 
[] This land has been classed as public land since before 1948.
 
[] In 1967 all public lands including this piece in the West Bank came under Israeli control.  As an extra precaution, to ensure the protection of private property rights, the authorities put in place an additional process to double and triple check that no private land was mistakenly included. This process of investigation and final declaration is what the government announced recently. The declaration does not change the status of the land.
 
[] The land is situated in the Etzion bloc which is acknowledged and widely accepted to be included on the Israeli side of a future land swap in any negotiated peace agreement.
 
[] The land straddles the 1949 Armistice lines and is in Area C under full Israeli administration and security control based on 1993 Oslo Accords.
 
[] Pre-1948 there were Jewish communities in the Etzion bloc that were destroyed by the Jordanian Arab Legion and Egyptian Army in Israel’s Independence War.
 
[] As a general rule in Western countries there is either public land or private land. Thus the concept of ownerless land is not familiar. As a rule a sovereign power owns all land that is not privately owned. This is based on Ottoman land law and British land law and is also enshrined in Israeli land law. The process of final declaration as proscribed by the authorities is in place as an extra protection of private property rights. As such in the case where the sovereign power wants to advance building plans in an area where the land registry record is not complete it has to do an in-depth survey of the land by law, to ensure 1000% that the land is not privately owned.
 
After decades of due process the land was surveyed and determined to not be privately owned, yet even so a 45 day window of appeal is available by law.

Anyone seeking additional information is welcome to contact me.
 
~~~~~~~~~~

Lastly, on the subject, I invite you to see this fine article by international lawyer (and member of the Legal Grounds Legal Advisory Board) Eugene Kontorovich (emphasis added):
 
Israel’s declaration of certain open, uncultivated areas near the 1949 Armistice Line as ‘state land’ has been widely mischaracterized as an ‘appropriation’ of private Palestinian land, and a promotion of settlement activity. It is neither.

A determination that land is ‘state land’ is a factual, administrative finding that does not change the ownership of land. In the West Bank–like in the American West–massive amounts of land have no private owners. There is nothing unusual about this...

“An ‘appropriation’ involves taking something that is someone’s. A designation of land as ‘state land’ requires a determination, based on extensive investigation, that it does not have a private owner. The determination can be challenged administratively and judicially, as Palestinian claimants often do, and sometimes prevail.

“In other words, nothing has been taken from anyone, or given to anyone. Thus a ‘state land’ determination does not create any new facts or change ownership.

”Moreover, designating an area state land does not mean that a Jewish community can be built on it...Authorizing a new residential community would require a vast number of additional administrative and political permissions...

“The hysteria over this announcement illustrates several points. First, it reflects how detached discussions of “illegal settlements” are from international law...”

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2014/09/04/defining-settlements-down-the-false-appropriation-hysteria/
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
Switching gears now to what went on in Gaza, I want to provide this important information “Israel vindicated by UN damage assessment in Gaza.” It is so very different from the impression lent by most media reports and I advise saving this for reference (emphasis added):
 
”An analysis of the damage assessment data collected - on the Gaza War - by the UN Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (which has never been biased in Israel's favor), confirms that Israel attacked Hamas targets in a restrained manner.
 
”Israel bombed areas which harbored Hamas missile launching grounds and facilities, command posts, terrorists homes and hideouts, operational bases, weapon inventory and tunnels.

”Most of the damage concentrated in very limited areas of 25 square meters of less, while most of Gaza was not damaged at all or in a very limited manner.  Less than 5% of Gaza was hit by The Israel Defense Forces.

”The most populated areas of Gaza City, Jabaliya, Khan Yunes, Rafah and Deir el-Balah were disproportionally-undamaged: damaged in a very limited way or not damaged at all.
 
“The areas highlighted by the UN damage assessment report are compatible with the Israel Defense Forces briefings on the location of Hamas facilities, especially in the Shuja'iya area, which was the arena of the most intense battles.

”While Hamas concentrated its terror facilities...in densely populated urban areas in Gaza, the vast majority of these urban areas were undamaged.”

 
http://send.hadavars.com/index.php?action=message&l=2090&c=30525&m=28855&s=a6cb16d3b3816334978bf4ecf04fe6e1
 
I’ve been writing about standing strong for Israel.  Here is information that provides clarity and enables you to stand up for Israel in letters to the editor, talkbacks and the like.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
In closing, some good news:  Israel and Jordan have signed a $15 billion natural gas deal.  This benefits Israel economically and creates ties of Jordan to Israel that can only serve us well:
 
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/184721#.VAmp5pvlrIV
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
More to follow soon.  Shabbat Shalom!
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
© 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. 
 
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.

http://arlenefromisrael.squarespace.com/current-postings/2014/9/6/september-5-2014-briefs.html

 

Posted on Saturday, September 6, 2014 at 06:23PM by Registered CommenterArlene in , , , | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

September 3, 2014: A Lonely Mandate

These are particularly tough times for Israel (and for Jews more broadly). The situation demands steady nerves and absolute determination to pursue our course with conviction.  Is is difficult, indeed, not to be deflected by rage, which enervates, or to fall into depression, the flip side of that rage. 
 
The world, which has turned upside down, is smoldering, and on the cusp of bursting into flames.
 
But in the face of consummate and breathtaking evil, attacking Israel occupies the attention of the western world.  For we have done something that is deemed terrible: we have allocated close to 1,000 acres in the Gush Etzion area as state land available for future housing. 
 
Shocking, isn’t it?  Never mind that Islamists are raping women in large numbers, or that there are hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees, or that ISIS has beheaded two American journalists.  Or that Khaled Mashaal, head of the Hamas politburo, has said Hamas will never relinquish its “sacred” weapons, and is prepared, as necessary to return to “resistance” until its goals (destruction of Israel) are reached.  The EU and the US have time to harshly criticize Israel:
 
The US has formally asked Israel to reverse the decision on this land.
 
The EU has said this decision constitutes “an obstacle to peace and threatens to render the two state solution impossible.”
 
There has been “condemnation” of Israel’s action in several quarters, and Britain warned that this would “threaten” our “standing” in the international community.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
Allow me, then, to respond with pertinent background information.
 
The land in question is largely in Gush Etzion, a bloc of Jewish communities south east of Jerusalem that is solidly tied to Israel’s history – and to the modern history of Jews in the Land even before the founding of Israel.  See: http://www.gush-etzion.org.il/history.asp
 
It is unthinkable that this area would ever be part of a “Palestinian state,” and the notion that building here would render the “two state solution” impossible is unmitigated nonsense.
 
It is simply that the world has decided we have no rights to land beyond what is referred to as the “pre-1967 border” but is in fact a 1949 temporary armistice line.  An irrational fixation with that “Palestinian state” persists at all costs.  A fixation that we must counter.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
In point of fact, the Oslo II Interim Agreement, as elucidated in a briefing by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, “established a division of the West Bank into three areas: Area A, where the Palestinians had full control, Area B where there was mixed Israeli and Palestinian security control but full Palestinian civil control, and Area C, where Israel had full military and civilian control. Israeli responsibilities in Area C included the power of zoning and planning.  The territory which Israel declared as state land is within Area C.” (Emphasis added) 
 
http://jcpa.org/israels-988-acres-of-west-bank-territory/
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
Oslo aside for the moment, matters of land allocation in Judea and Samaria are complicated precisely because Israel has not annexed the area. There is a layering of laws going back to the pre-Mandate Ottoman period; the Mandate period (1922 – 1948), when Great Britain was the administrator; through the period of illegal Jordanian occupation (1949 – 1967; and since to the present with Israel as administrator.
 
Broadly, land in Judea and Samaria falls into one of three legal categories: state land, private land, and land whose status is to be determined. The area in question had the status of territory whose status is to be determined.  However, an investigation was required before the change of status to state land could be announced: That lengthy investigation, completed this summer, determined its status.  No private Arab ownership was uncovered. Now there will be a window of opportunity for those who might wish to contest this finding.  And as we are looking at a bureaucratic process, it will be some time before any actual building is done.
 
This, then, is what the furor is about.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
All of this has to do with the resumption of the “peace process.”  A linkage that is without reason has been made: now that there is a ceasefire (still temporary) between Israel and Hamas, Israel must go back to the table to negotiate with the PA.  How that is – when Abbas sat at the table with Hamas in Cairo and has not pulled out of the unity agreement – is unclear.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
I’ve written several times lately about the difficulty of determining where our prime minister stands, as his statements and policies do not seem consistent.  I wrote this with regard to the goals of the war with Hamas, but it applies, as well here with Israel’s stand against the international community. 
 
I do not for a moment consider the pressures being brought to bear on Netanyahu to be anything less than horrendous.  But this is what I’m seeing:
 
According a report in Arutz Sheva two days ago, in response to the June 12 abduction and murder of Gilad Sha'ar, Naftali Frenkel and Eyal Yifrah, Netanyahu had ordered for bids to go out on 2,500 housing units – in the southern Jerusalem neighborhood of Givat Hamatos in the Judea and Samaria communities of Ariel, Emanuel, and Beitar Illit.
 
“The bid publications were prepared and ready to go - until Netanyahu at the very last minute waffled and changed his mind, canning the plan right before it was to be published. (Emphasis added)
 
According to Cabinet Secretary Avichai Mandelblit “the international pressure placed on Israel during and following Operation Protective Edge...led Netanyahu to fear an international ‘crisis’ if he were to announce plans for new Jewish houses.”
 
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/184641#.VAdBTJvlrIV
 
These were plans for new housing in areas where Israeli development already existed and yet were deemed too controversial.  Yet now an announcement has been made for a new area to be considered state land, and Netanyahu has allowed this to go through.
 
Gil Hoffman of the JPost says that Netanyahu permitted this for political reasons: with Naftali Bennett besting him in polls as the right wing leader of the nation, he had to show his nationalist credentials.
 
Perhaps. But the fact is that he did it.  He presumably made the judgment that it is possible to withstand the international furor.  A lesson that should not be lost.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
On the issue of negotiations, Netanyahu is showing strength right now.
 
In the face of Abbas’s peace plan (which I will track in more detail in following posts), our government has made it clear that we will not deal with a PA government that has Hamas backing.
 
http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Israel-insists-it-will-not-deal-with-Hamas-backed-PA-government-374282
 
This is precisely as it should be, for starters.  (I can think of many reasons not to negotiate with a PA government even if it were no longer backed by Hamas.)
 
In addition, according to Israel’s Channel 2, yesterday, before the Gaza war Netanyahu had told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that his government would no longer release prisoners convicted of terrorists acts as a gesture to Abbas. 
 
http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/No-more-prisoner-releases-for-Abbas-Netanyahu-says-374301
 
Considering the disasters we’ve encountered as a result of terrorists who were released (and never should have been), no other position is possible. 
 
This is not going to play well with the US, or with the PA.  Or, I would assume, with the EU.  But it is a position that absolutely must be maintained – and which may, in and of itself, preclude negotiations because of what Abbas will demand.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
It is, I believe, the mandate of our prime minister and his government to stand strong for Israel – for Israeli rights and Israeli security both. A tough mandate, given the pressures and the complex decisions that must be made, and a very necessary one.  More necessary, perhaps, than at any other time.  Appearance of Israeli weakness or doubt as to Israel’s rights would be a disservice to the nation.
 
Along with this, there is a mandate to present Israel’s positions in a clear, forthright manner, in public forums and for the media.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
And it is, then, the mandate of all who care about Israel, to stand with the prime minister in this time as he stands for Israel’s rights and security.  This means speaking out in a forthright way for Israel and missing no opportunity to broadcasts the facts. which are so little understood.  It also means exposing the evil and the duplicity of the PA, which continues to be embraced by the international community.
 
~~~~~~~~~~
 
Here I ask, please, that you communicate with Prime Minister Netanyahu.  Do it with courtesy and brevity.  Encourage him to stand strong against a perverse international community that will never be pleased no matter what Israel does.  Implore him to speak for Israel’s rights and security.  And ensure him that you will salute him for this, and stand with him – and speak out for Israel in your community.
 
E-mail: Memshala@pmo.gov.il and also pm_eng2@it.pmo.gov.il (underscore after pm) use both addresses. 

~~~~~~~~~~ 

Do not write to ask Obama or Kerry to support Israel – it would be an absolute waste of your energy, as they have an agenda that will not change.  But please do reach out to your elected representatives in Congress in support of Israel, as often as it seems necessary to do so. 

For your Congresspersons: 

http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/ 

For your Senators: 

http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm 

~~~~~~~~~~

 I will, to the best of my ability, continue to provide information on the political/diplomatic situation – so that ramifications and processes might be understood, and on the devious machinations of Abbas.  Please, my friends, use my material.

~~~~~~~~~~ 

And there is something else I expect to do, as well: 

As many of you know, Jeff Daube, head of ZOA in Israel, and I co-chair “Legal Grounds – the Campaign for Israel’s Rights in Judea and Samaria.”  During the war we were silent, because we understood what came first and where attention had to be focused.  

Now it’s time to begin the campaign again.  I will be providing information on what we have done to date and what we yet hope to do. I encourage the interest and the participation of my readers. With the international push to get us to surrender our rights in Judea and Samaria, and to negotiate a “Palestinian state,” this campaign assumes enormous importance for Israel’s future. 

~~~~~~~~~~

© 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. 
 
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.

http://arlenefromisrael.squarespace.com/current-postings/2014/9/3/september-3-2014-a-lonely-mandate.html

 

Posted on Wednesday, September 3, 2014 at 04:14PM by Registered CommenterArlene in , , , | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint

September 1, 2014: Discontent

While I am mindful of constraints on my time and the fact that it is Labor Day, I post to do follow-through and share some important perspectives.

Netanyahu has now made additional comments as to why he chose to embrace certain positions regarding Hamas, and what he might still do.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu

Credit: Flash 90

First, he explained why he called a halt to the fighting with Hamas when he did:

“...today, when I look around and I see Al Qaeda on the [border] fence, and ISIS galloping into Jordan and already in Lebanon, and in Lebanon there is Hezbollah that is a little larger than Hamas, and Iran that backs it, and Iran [itself] – and I say, in the face of these combined threats, we set a goal in the Cabinet, to deal Hamas a very severe blow, and we did this, with the thousand terrorists we killed, the senior commanders, the tunnels, the rockets... I decided not to put all of our resources into this single arena and not into other arenas.”

He alluded to Fallujah in Iraq. where American troops fought against the Islamists.  Once the US pulled out of Fallujah, the Islamists came back in and took over.  He didn’t want to create such a problem in Gaza – where Israel would take out Hamas, and then pull out, only to leave space for Islamists in Gaza to take over.
 
And he explained his reluctance to do another ground operation: “Why do I need to go in? If I can hit them from the air and get the effect of grinding them without risking soldiers' lives, why should I go in?”
 
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/184577#.VAOg95vlrIV

~~~~~~~~~~

And you know what?  I understand all of these reasons.  In fact, I enumerated them myself just days ago – when I explained why taking out Hamas completely might not be the best way to go. 

However...I remain unsettled because the decision to terminate the fighting was made in a way that felt precipitous.  A beautiful and much-loved four year old child had been killed by Hamas mortar.  This saddened the heart of Israel. And then very shortly before the ceasefire was called, two other Israelis - Ze'ev Etzion, head of security for Kibbutz Nirim, and his deputy, Shahar Melamed – were killed and some four others wounded by mortar fire.

What is more, there was no reduction in the number of projectiles fired from Gaza into Israel in the hours before the ceasefire.  There was, instead, a horrendous barrage that persisted until the last second and I believe even a bit beyond.

That a ceasefire was agreed to precisely then gave the Israeli populace a sense that governmental resolution was lacking – that an adequate job had not yet been done.  It wasn’t, after all, an either/or question of stopping that very instant or having to go into Gaza and take out Hamas completely.  A continuation of the punishing bombing might have been possible for some additional days.  Perhaps another high level terrorist might have been taken out.  Or there might have been a foray of ground troops that headed for a specific target inside of Gaza and then pulled back.

Instead, what it felt like was that we took that last minute beating – with the deaths and the furious barrage – and then said, that’s it, guys, we’re done. And that didn’t feel like victory – no matter how accurate the prime minister’s description of the beating Hamas had taken.  It felt like caving. And, as I’ve said before, perceptions do matter.  Not just for our own populace, but because al-Qaeda and ISIS and all the others are watching.

~~~~~~~~~~

The fact that the agreement to accept the ceasefire was made just then, with that sense of precipitousness and lack of resolution, leads me to believe, still, that Netanyahu was under duress – that he did not decide this unilaterally, but had some “guidance” from the White House.

It is pretty much a given that presidential pressure was part of the picture – it would not be something unexpected.  The question remains (and we will likely never know) what the import of the threat was.  Was Netanyahu, for his part, too quick to concede – for indeed, it is the job of the prime minister to stand strong for Israel’s sovereignty? Or was the threat of a serious enough nature that what he did was prudent? 

~~~~~~~~~~

I am mindful of the fact that Netanyahu did not take a vote in the Security Cabinet before deciding to agree to the ceasefire, it is said because he was unsure of securing its approval.  Were the bottom-line issues the ones he now enunciates regarding other dangers to contend with, etc., one would think that he would have discussed them with the members of the Cabinet; the fact that this didn’t happen also leads to questions as to what was going on.

The reason he now gives for not taking it to the Cabinet: he saved the ministers who would likely have opposed the ceasefire - Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Economy Minister Naftali Bennett, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch and Communications Minister Gilad Erdan - the “dilemma of opposing a proposal whereby Hamas gave up all its demands.”  They were secretly pleased not to have to vote on this, he said.

http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Politics-And-Diplomacy/Netanyahu-Toppling-Hamas-remains-an-option-372828

Well. These ministers will have to speak for themselves on this, but it sounds more than a bit hollow. 
~~~~~~~~~~

Netanyahu has said that a “drizzle” of rockets launched from Gaza will not be tolerated.  This – tolerating a “drizzle” - has been a problem since the Hamas takeover of Gaza: “So, Hamas launched two rockets today.  No one was hurt. Are we going to start up over that? Let’s make a statement (or bomb an empty field where a launcher had been)   and then let it go.”  Thus was deterrence lost, as Hamas observed the Israeli readiness to be shot at, a little. 

Now the terrorists must know that there cannot be even a single rocket launched or single instance of firing of mortar shells.  This is not only for deterrence, it is to provide a very necessary sense of security to the residents of the south.   

What he has indicated is that the bombing Gaza has endured until now would be nothing compared to the attack that would ensue if they started launching rockets again.  This is by way of deterrence.  There is reasonable likelihood that Netanyahu will be tested on this: the negotiations in Cairo are due to begin and Hamas intends to demand a seaport, an airport, release of prisoners and all the rest.

http://www.algemeiner.com/2014/08/31/report-indirect-cairo-talks-to-resume-this-week/

~~~~~~~~~~

Netanyahu is also saying something else:  “I never removed the goal of toppling Hamas, and I am not doing that now.”  (JPost citation above.) 

And here, again, his statements lead to a confusion as to what his plan was, or his specified goal.  For he is still saying that the goal was to remove the danger of the tunnels and strike a hard blow to Hamas – goals he says we achieved. 

This latest comment is presumably intended as deterrence: What he means, I trust, is that he didn’t want to focus on Gaza sufficiently to take out Hamas all the way, but if Hamas persists in its aggression, then he will have to adjust his goals and topple this terrorist group.  Would that he had been more precise in saying this.

~~~~~~~~~~

When I last wrote, a report from a Jordanian paper had surfaced that claimed Netanyahu and Abbas had met in Amman.  At that point there was no denial from Netanyahu’s office and it was most unsettling.

There have since been denials here in Israel:

http://www.jerusalemonline.com/news/politics-and-military/politics/the-prime-minister-and-abbas-did-not-meet-in-jordan-7741

I was asked by an associate if this makes me feel better.  My answer: only marginally.  For Netanyahu did make inane statements about how he hopes Abbas will be a partner for negotiations.  That is, he hopes that Abbas will chose peace with Israel and not unity with Hamas.  But, as I have repeatedly pointed out, Abbas has already made his choice and is no moderate peace partner. The fact that Netanyahu – well knowing this - feels the need to make such a statement tells us a good deal about the duress he faces and what may be coming down the road.

There was a bit of a flap when Abbas allegedly claimed that Netanyahu had agreed to negotiate based on the pre-1967 border.  When it was vehemently denied here, a correction ensued.  There had been a mistake – it was Obama who agreed on this line, not Netanyahu.  And, indeed, this has been Obama’s position from the start.

~~~~~~~~~~

My wish for a long time now has been that Netanyahu would have the courage to state forthrightly and publicly that it is a mistake to talk about negotiations based on the pre-1967 border, because there was never such a border: There was only a temporary armistice line.

How can we remotely expect the world to understand this, if our head of state will not clarify?

~~~~~~~~~~

This, however, is encouraging, if true:

According to the London-based Al-Quds al-Arabi, Kerry and Netanyahu recently had a conversation about restarting the peace talks, and Israel’s release of the fourth group of prisoners.  As Netanyahu was not receptive, Kerry apparently decided to cancel plans to come to this area.
 
http://www.jpost.com/Arab-Israeli-Conflict/Report-Kerry-and-Netanyahu-discussed-restarting-peace-talks-4th-prisoner-release-373069

Release of prisoners?  Netanyahu knows this would fly here in Israel like a lead balloon.

Reportedly, a PA delegation will be going to Washington, instead, to discuss “a new peace initiative.”

Actually, Abbas is falling back into his habit of making threats – re: the Security Council and the ICC now - in order to frighten us into making “peace” on his terms.  This will not work.

~~~~~~~~~~~

Israel has just designated about 4,000 dunams (988 acres) of land in Judea and Samaria, mostly in Gush Etzion, as state land.
 
This paves the way for construction to be done on the land, and, as could be anticipated, the US has objected because this is “counterproductive” to the “peace process.”
 
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/184623#.VAREY5vlrIU

What else is new?

~~~~~~~~~~
 
Reportedly -  there was no official word on this - the land will be used for building a community in memory of the three students kidnapped and murdered in June.
 
While I am all for memorials to the students, I object to the notion that we need a pretext to build in Judea and Samaria.  It is simply our right to do so.  In point of fact, Israel has been talking since 2000 about a community to be called Gva'ot, to be built on that land, starting with 1,000 housing units.  I hope to have more on this.
 
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4566227,00.html

~~~~~~~~~~
 
I want to end here with information about the dangers of encroaching radical Islam, which in the end is not only a major problem for Israel, but for the entire world.

I note, first, that Islamic rebels have taken the area on the other side of the Golan border, and that from time to time shelling spills over.  With the war with Hamas, I did not focus on this but now hope to watch the situation with greater attention.  As I write, there is fierce fighting at the Quneitra crossing.

In a picture taken from the Golan Heights, smoke billows from the Syrian village of Quneitra following an explosion during fighting, between forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad and rebels, near the Quneitra border crossing on August 31, 2014.

In a picture taken from the Golan Heights, smoke billows from the Syrian village of Quneitra following an explosion during fighting, between forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Assad and rebels, near the Quneitra border crossing on August 31, 2014. (photo credit: AFP/MENAHEM KAHANA)

 Credit: AFP/Menahem Kahana

~~~~~~~~~~

And then there is the issue of ISIS (the “Islamic State” in Iraq and Syria), which in its determination and viciousness, makes the threat of Hamas pale considerably.

Please see this video of a news program on the issue by CBN (with thanks to Dov Shmuel Freedman for posting this on his FB page.):

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10154600234650393&set=vb.140647865392&type=2&theater

If can watch this with equanimity, you just do not get it.  Every single American ought to be terrified at this point, for ISIS is aiming for the United States, which is very vulnerable.  This is because the southern border of the US is porous and will permit the infiltration of ISIS terrorists, and because there are reported to be at least 100 people with US citizenship fighting with ISIS, who – thoroughly indoctrinated - may then return to America to generate terrorism. 

With this all, Obama does not have a plan.  Obama does not have a plan.

CBN is a Christian station.  Their broadcasters have a vision that is clear – a vision that mainstream liberal media lack.  They end their program with prayer – and it is prayer that my Christian readers will embrace.  For my Jewish readers, I heartily endorse prayer, as well, of a Jewish nature.

~~~~~~~~~~

Clare M. Lopez, Vice President for Research and Analysis at the Center for Security Policy and a former CIA agent, is an entirely reputable analyst with a strong background in issues of terrorism. 

 

Credit: familysecuritymatters

I have had direct communication with her, and I respect her greatly – as it turns out, not just for her knowledge but her courage in speaking truth (emphasis to her quotes added):

Just days ago, she cautioned against a strong US response to ISIS before the US has an overall strategy in place.  “Any military action would be further complicated...if it were not clear which side the U.S. is on, either in the short term or in the overall war on terror.

“In any case, and for whatever motivations, there is no doubt this administration switched sides in what used to be called the Global War on Terror.”

Lopez believes Obama has essentially the same goals in the Mideast as the late Osama bin Laden: “to remove American power and influence, including military forces, from Islamic lands.”

http://www.examiner.com/article/cia-now-admits-that-president-obama-is-a-radical-islamic-enemy-of-america

Reports the Examiner:

According to a report by the Center for Security Policy, Mohamed Elibiary, a senior member of the Department of Homeland Security Advisory Council, supports brokering a US partnership with the Muslim Brotherhood. “Two months ago, a firestorm erupted online after Elibiary tweeted that a ‘Caliphate’ is inevitable and compared it to the European Union.”

(With thanks to Andrew B.)

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Is it too late to save America?  I pray not. But in the end, only Americans can answer this question.

Coming full circle, I suspect that the state of affairs in the American administration, as we’re seeing it, provides clues as to what Netanyahu likely must cope with.  This is with regard to what Obama might stoop to in making threats.  But it is also an indicator of how very alone Israel stands: America does not have our back at all but quite the contrary. 

~~~~~~~~~~

© 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. 
 
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.

http://arlenefromisrael.squarespace.com/current-postings/2014/9/1/september-1-2014-discontent.html

 

Posted on Monday, September 1, 2014 at 08:10AM by Registered CommenterArlene in , , , , , | CommentsPost a Comment | EmailEmail | PrintPrint