It’s a huge question with no easy answers. But this posting is going to start with the good stuff, which we find in some considerable measure here in Israel.
You have read numerous times about the Legal Grounds Campaign, which I co-chair with Jeff Daube. We have just put out an Interim Report, describing our exciting programs. It has been sent to supporters, and thus some of you may have already seen it. But if you have not, I encourage you to do so, here:
If you would like this report in an email format, for sharing with others (which I encourage!), or have questions, or want more information, please contact me directly.
The fact that we have legal rights in Judea and Samaria and an organization fighting for those rights is no small matter. Stand with us in this work, please!
New Wave Research recently conducted a poll of 11th and 12th grade Israeli high school student for Israel Hayom. The results are marvelously encouraging (emphasis added):
“Some 85% said they loved Israel, and 89% said they saw their future in Israel. The popularity of the Israel Defense Force was also evident: 88% said they planned on enlisting, and more than 50% said they believed the IDF was the most moral military. Some 65% endorsed the saying, “It is good to die for our country,” attributed to Zionist icon Joseph Trumpeldor. Almost 60% said they subscribed to right-wing views, with 23% saying they were centrists. Only about 13% said they considered themselves left-wing.
“What is behind Israeli youngsters’ great love of their homeland? The respondents said the best thing about our country was the sense that we are one big family and our tendency to close ranks in times of crisis.”
This is our future.
On Monday, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems unveiled the Drone Dome. This is a system designed to detect and neutralize hostile drones“used by terrorists to perform aerial attacks, collect intelligence, and other intimidating activities.”
“Drone Dome has 360-degree circular coverage and is designed to detect, track and neutralize drones classified as threats flying in no-fly zones.” It has a very fast response time.
Just one more addition to our ever-growing arsenal of defensive equipment.
This is neat: A secret wedding was performed on Har Habayit (the Temple Mount) recently. It would have caused the Wakf no end of apoplexy had it been known. See details here:
Credit: Temple Institute
Col. Richard Kemp, former commander of UK forces in Afghanistan, spoke about Israel when addressing a Gatestone Institute gathering in New York recently:
“I don’t believe there can be a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel wants to live in peace, but what the Arabs want is its annihilation.”
Kemp, referring to the Jewish State as “an outpost of strength,” said that the IDF had a “unique morality,” and that “when Israel fights, it stands in isolation.”
The colonel believes that Israel “should initiate an offensive strike on Iran, whose nuclear program it has the capability of delaying.”
Credit: Raymond Hamlin
I found disturbing, however, Kemp’s comment on Minister of Defense Ya’alon’s and Chief of Staff Eizenkot’s condemnation of the solder who shot dead a subdued terrorist before the facts were known: Their condemnation came, he said, out of their awareness of the “continual and unjust international pressure on Israel, no matter what it does.”
In fairness, perhaps he felt obliged to support top Israeli military leaders. But there is a contradiction inherent in what he said. If we are attacked no matter what we do, we should not be attempting to appease the ever-judgmental international community. It’s a no-win situation in which we risk weakening ourselves. I worry about this state of mind in Israel’s putative leaders.
No one realizes what is going on better than the soldier who did the shooting himself. Indicted for manslaughter now, he recently said:
“If he [the terrorist] actually had a bomb belt and he detonated, what would have happened? How many would have been killed?…
“Only because they’re afraid maybe of the papers and what the world will say [they act] to clean the hands of the IDF, [and say] that the soldier didn’t act properly.” (Emphasis added)
Turkey, under the Islamic stewardship of Prime Minister Recep Rayyip Erdogan, is no friend to Israel.
The cordial diplomatic relationship that existed between Israel and Turkey in prior days is not going to be restored under current conditions. And yet, each nation has motivation for trying to re-establish ties. Whenever I read about negotiations taking place, I become uneasy, lest our government concede matters that should not be conceded, and fall into a situation that might come to no good.
Last week, the Turkish Foreign Ministry announced that the two countries were “finalizing rapprochement,” and I thought, “Uh oh.”
But earlier this week, a spokesman for the prime minister declared that there would not be a final rapprochement until Israel lifted the maritime blockade of Gaza.
Well then, as this is not about to happen, perhaps there is no need for immediate concern…
Mahmoud Abbas – as I had indicated recently – has switched tactics, in several respects. All of a sudden, he’s against violence, presenting to the world the face of the “good guy.” He is also attempting the international route once again:
It has been confirmed that he has circulated a draft resolution which reportedly condemns Israel’s construction in the “settlements” to some members of the Security Council. His ultimate intention, according to some reports, is to convince the Security Council to set a three-year timetable for Israeli withdrawal from those “settlements.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu’s response was that this resolution would make peace less likely:
“The Palestinians teach their children everyday that the settlements are Tel Aviv, Haifa and Acre,” said Netanyahu. “Abu Mazen’s [Abbas’s] actions will push peace talks further away. The only way to advance peace is through direct talks and Abu Mazen is hiding from that.”
Abbas is currently on tour – to Turkey, France, Russia, Germany and the US – attempting to garner support for his resolution. He apparently plans to be in NY (ostensibly for another reasons) when a session of the Security Council is scheduled – Friday, April 22, the eve of Pesach. At that time, as I understand it, he plans to deliver a speech, following which, he would circulate the proposal.
Credit: Telegraph (UK)
Key here, my friends, is the position of the Obama administration, which has the ability to veto this resolution in the Security Council. Representatives of the government have been playing it close to the chest, offering little in the way of indication as to what Obama might decide to do. There are reports that he might decide to abstain on the vote, but we do not really know yet.
Apparently, one reason US government spokespersons are reticent to discuss the matter is because there is no clarity on precisely what the resolution will say – they have been refusing to discuss ‘hypothetical” proposals still in draft form.
Mark Toner, a State Department spokesman sort of/kind of brought a bit of clarity to the matter today. He said that the door is “firmly shut” against any resolution the US considers biased against Israel.
Oh. Although this is being interpreted as meaning the US will veto, what Toner said is not exactly the same as saying the US is opposed to addressing the Israeli-Palestinian Arab conflict via the UN rather than negotiations. Now we just have to speculate on what Obama and Kerry would consider a biased resolution.
Alan Baker, International lawyer and Director of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, had an op-ed in yesterday’s JPost, called “The indecisive and confusing state of the Palestinian leadership.”
Suffice it to say that Baker writes that everyone is utterly confused by the Palestinian [Arab] leadership because of the mixed messages it is sending out. According to him, the draft to the Security Council under discussion calls for renewed negotiations.
Maybe it’s so convoluted that it refers to negotiations and enforced withdrawal both, which would really make no sense.
I do not advocate cutting Obama any slack here – by all means possible the message should be conveyed to him that it is essential to veto this resolution.
But it is comforting to know that Baker, in an in-house JCPA interview, said that the resolution would not be binding on Israel in any event. Should the Obama administration decide not to veto it:
“The resolution will have no basic effect…If the resolution isn’t mandatory according to the seventh chapter of the UN Charter – and no Middle Eastern resolutions have been adopted according to the seventh chapter – it can’t lead to sanctions.” (Emphasis added)
If the above item is worrisome, the following is stomach-turning:
The Palestinian commission for Prisoners, the Palestinian Prisoners Club, and member of the Palestinian Legislature are launching a “world-wide campaign” to nominate Marwan Barghouti for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Barghouti is a terrorist – a Fatah terrorist, it should be noted, from the Tanzim, Fatah’s so-called militant wing – who is sitting in Israeli prison, serving out five life sentences for terrorist murders. And that’s just the acts they were able to nail him on – he orchestrated many more terror attacks and was a key instigator of the second intifada.
The Nobel Peace Prize??
Of course, Arafat, who was also a terrorist, received the prize, but that was ostensibly because he turned “peaceful” when he signed on to Oslo. On what basis are they suggesting this low life should be nominated? A massive campaign is said to be in the works, with the involvement of international media.
As I understand it, there is hope that if Barghouti’s release can be secured, the release of other terrorist murderers in Israeli prisons would not be far behind. Apparently we’re holding a bunch of really great people in our prisons.
Avi Issacaroff, writing in the Times of Israel, presents a more troubling scenario regarding Barghouti:
A small group of people close to Marwan Barghouti has reached an agreement with Hamas and Islamic Jihad leadership regarding a “comprehensive plan” to jointly campaign against the Israeli “occupation.”
“The plan includes unprecedented steps within the framework of what is dubbed ‘nonviolent resistance’…The goal is to force Israel out of all areas beyond the pre-1967 lines via a nonviolent intifada coordinated by a unified Palestinian leadership under Barghouti…”
Secret meetings have been held in recent months in which in which four “Fatah officials” – all considered senior members of the Tanzim during the 90s and three of whom are known to be personal friends of Barghouti – participated. They have met with Hamas officials, including Khaled Mashaal, head of the Hamas politburo in Doha, Qatar.
The intention is to institute this plan after Abbas has left the scene: Barghouti would run for the PA presidency and everything would proceed under his leadership. The Oslo Accords and all cooperation with Israel (notably security cooperation) would be cancelled. There would then be only a “peaceful resistance” via such acts as blocking all roads in Judea and Samaria or destroying infrastructure in the communities of Judea and Samaria. (This is peaceful?)
Marwan Barghouti never goes away. This is not the first time it has been proposed that he run for the PA presidency from his prison cell. What happens is that he is represented as a “hero” who has suffered at the hands of the Israelis while fighting the “occupation.” Black becomes white and white, black. It works because the international community is ready to accept that black is white, and white is black.
See here a picture of a mural that existed (I don’t believe it is there now) outside of Ramallah, representing Barghouti as the “Palestinian’s Mandela”:
Credit: Kobi Gideon/Flash90
The assumption that Barghouti would win a PA presidential election (which might indeed be the case) perhaps tells us everything we need to know about the Palestinian Arab electorate. They have been conditioned by the PA leadership – first Arafat and now Abbas – to venerate terrorists, after all.
I report this not to cause undue anxiety but rather to promote watchfulness. We are reminded once again about Palestinian Arab deviousness, and, yes, ingenuity. Anything but a sincere effort to build a productive and genuinely peaceful state.
This “plan” is full of holes, starting with the fact that it is predicated upon interparty cooperation – which historically never holds up. Sooner or later they are at each other. We know that within Fatah itself there is dissention and division, and as it is, only four Fatah members have participated in the meetings. There are prominent members of Fatah who are eager to succeed Abbas.
In addition, there is some foolish assumption that the hands of Israeli security would be tied because the protests would be “peaceful.” But if they imagine we would sit still while the infrastructure of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria was uprooted, they had best think again.
I have long been troubled by the fact that Barghouti has had too much prominence from within his prison cell. He has given interviews to the media via his attorney, and at one point – do not believe that this is still permitted to him – used a cell phone.
What is required here is enormous stringency on the part of the Israeli government in terms of how this man is handled. Bottom line: he is a murderer many times over, and sits in prison because he has been sentenced by a court; he should never be released.
Reports are that terrorism is way down, and where terrorist acts are concerned, this is the case. But I must mention that there are regular reports of planned attacked that were prevented or blocked because of good intelligence or swift action. Today, two terror attacks – a knifing in Judea and an axing in the Old City of Jerusalem – were thwarted within minutes of each other.
We’ve looked at enough regarding “where we are all going” for one posting. The news does not stop, and the head begins to spin.
I close with this amusing item from an astute Elder of Ziyon:
“Hewlett Packard is one of the companies always targeted by Israel-haters, because it does business in Israel and for the IDF.
”In a new video showing off their high-tech military skills, masked Fatah terrorists are seen in a room using HP laptops.
“So what do self-respecting BDSers do when they find out that their freedom fighters are using the equipment that they demand everyone to boycott?”
Credit: Elder of Ziyon
Sim Shalom, with IDF Cantor Shai Abramson:
What better a prayer that the Almighty will establish peace, goodness, blessing, life, grace and mercy.
© 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.
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