On November 19, Ido Zoldan, an Israeli father of two from the village of Shavei Shomron, was killed in a drive-by shooting. Quickly, Al Aksa Brigades, which is part of Abbas’s Fatah, took credit, saying it was an act of protest against Annapolis. Bad enough, as Abbas has declined to disarm the Brigades.
But it’s worse: It’s now been announced that everyone in the cell responsible for this murder has been arrested, and that they are members of the PA Security Forces. These are the forces that we’re supposed to be strengthening. (It was supposed to be some sort of comfort that they didn’t use official Security Force weapons.)
How can one respond to this? How do the members of the government hold their heads up, when they have dealings with such people? Have they no shame and no sense?
According to the Post, "[defense] officials said…the IDF expected the political echelon to rethink its policy of strengthening Abbas."
Rethink its policy of strengthening Abbas? How about calling off negotiations because there is no one on the other side to be trusted? (Abbas is responsible for placing Al Aksa gunmen in the security forces.)
But that’s not going to happen. According to Arutz Sheva, when two of the three terrorists were first arrested by the IDF, the very day after the killing, their identities were determined. But it was not publicly revealed until after Annapolis so as not to upset matters.
This echoes a story I heard just today . I was at a lecture on Muslim Arab persecution of Christian Arabs. An American who works with the Christian Arabs got up and told a story about going to the US Consulate here in Jerusalem some years ago to provide information about this persecution. The woman he met with told him that they were aware of the persecution, "but President Clinton has invested so much effort in the peace process." In other words, justice be damned, don’t rock the diplomatic boat.
It happened then, and it happens now. It happens with the US government, and with the Israeli government. Once there is a serious investment in a diplomatic process, it takes precedence over other matters and every effort is made to keep matters looking smooth. Obscene. But part of the reality we must contend with.
Meanwhile, on Friday the IDF caught youths at the Hawara checkpoint near Nablus (Shechem) with three bombs.
So, shall we proceed with removing checkpoints?
A "good faith" measure intended to bolster Abbas that took place today was the release of 429 prisoners — 408 to Judea and Samaria and 21 to Gaza. (Chief of Staff Ashkenazi had specifically objected to releasing prisoners from Gaza when Shalit is still held there.) All had committed security offenses and had been serving sentences of at least 10 years.
Apparently Abbas thinks he’s doing very well and is very confident of international support for his efforts towards "peace." Never mind that I can’t name a single thing he’s done towards that goal. Later this month, nations and agencies that support the PA will be meeting in Paris. Abbas intends to ask them to double their current levels of giving. He wants $5.5 billion from 2008 – 2010.
Now get this: according to credible reports, PA Planning Minister Samir Abdullah says that this money will be spent not only in Judea and Samaria, but also in Gaza, controlled by Hamas.
Meanwhile, as had been predicted , there is talk now of reconciliation meetings being planned between Fatah and Hamas. I’m really fascinated to know what will transpire with regard to "the process" if Abbas signs on with Hamas again. Will this, too, be excused away?
A word on what has been a running theme here regarding Annapolis: The fact that negotiations are supposed to be structured so that we will be negotiating core issues before there has been compliance on dismantling terror represents a serious threat to us. David Bedein, who was at Annapolis, writes that Olmert essentially misrepresented this matter to the Cabinet yesterday when he said that Israel wouldn’t have to take steps towards the creation of a state until the terrorism is dismantled. In theory that may be so. But what Olmert failed to say is that we might be required to agree via negotiations to the parameters of that state while the terrorism is still extant. And once we’ve agreed in principle to the parameters, as they say, oi v’voi.
I was unsettled, as well, by a talk I heard last night from which I learned that diplomats in the US and Europe consider it a foregone conclusion that we will in the end be pulling back to pre-’67 lines.
We’ve got our work cut out for us.
Once again, good people in the US , I want to ask you to contact President Bush. This is with regard to the fact that the US — host to the Annapolis conference — tolerated apartheid on American soil in order to appease Saudi Arabia. When the Saudis demanded that the Israelis enter the main hall by an alternate door, the Americans should have told them that this is not the American way and that if they didn’t like it, they could stay outside. Instead, the American subverted American values and humiliated a key ally. This is what the US has fallen to?
A succinct and focused message is all that is required. Fax or phone call is most effective. Deluge him with outraged protest, for this IS an outrage.
President George Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500
White House Comment line: 202-456-1111 Fax: 202-456-2461
Please, also register protest with your own Senator and Congressperson.
You can find your Senator and contact info. here: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
And your Congressperson here: http://www.house.gov/house/MemberWWW.shtml
In 2001, Daniel Pipes wrote a piece on "The Muslim Claim to Jerusalem." It is exceedingly relevant today. Pipes demonstrates powerfully the political rather than truly religious connection that Muslims have with Jerusalem:
"No foreign Arab leader came to Jerusalem during the nineteen years when Jordan controlled East Jerusalem…Perhaps most remarkable is that the PLO’s founding document, the Palestinian National Covenant of 1964, does not once mention Jerusalem…
"This neglect came to an abrupt end after June 1967, when the Old City came under Israeli control. Palestinians again made Jerusalem the centerpiece of their political program. The Dome of the Rock turned up in pictures everywhere, from Yasir Arafat’s office to the corner grocery. Slogans about Jerusalem proliferated and the city quickly became the single most emotional issue of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The PLO made up for its 1964 oversight by specifically mentioning Jerusalem in its 1968 constitution as ‘the seat of the Palestine Liberation Organization.’
"…Politics, not religious sensibility, has fueled the Muslim attachment to Jerusalem for nearly fourteen centuries…This pattern has three main implications. First, Jerusalem will never be more than a secondar
y city for Muslims…Second, the Muslim interest lies not so much in controlling Jerusalem as it does in denying control over the city to anyone else. Third, the Islamic connection to the city is weaker than the Jewish one because it arises as much from transitory and mundane considerations as from the immutable claims of faith."