It does appear that we are going to stand strong on the issue of settlements. That is reportedly the word that Mitchell got from Bibi when he was here yesterday. Even Kadima is not on board for a settlement freeze.
This isn’t just one issue of many: it’s a key issue, speaking to our legitimacy and our right to maintain a presence in Judea and Samaria.
Daniel Greenfield, who blogs as “Sultan Knish” has an excellent piece on the settlements, complete with photos, which I highly recommend.
Of the several important issues he addresses, let me here mention two.
First, the strong element of defense with regard to establishment and maintenance of the settlements:
“The Settlements occupy the high ground, creating defensible communities surrounding Israel’s capital and moving outward…
“…a new outpost has gone up named mockingly after Obama. Like the other ‘illegal’ outposts, it is an attempt by patriotic Israelis to hold the high ground against the terrorists who would otherwise use it to wreak havoc even deeper inside Israel. Their message is that Obama may push for the destruction of their homes, but they intend to keep building long after he is gone.
“And the high ground they hold forms a chain, a chain of hilltops that protects the larger cities and towns, which in turn protect major cities such as Jerusalem and Tel Aviv…like the handful of young men and women who daringly fought the Egyptian Army to a standstill, the hilltop youth are prepared to serve that function again, living on the front line in the war against terrorism.”
The second issue of significance is that some of the communities in Judea and Samaria were in existance before 1948, destroyed by the Jordanians or the Egyptians, and then rebuilt after 1967. The Sultan refers to the community of Kfar Darom, but this is true also of most of the communities in Gush Etzion and others.
What Mitchell is holding forth on, in the face of the Israeli stance on settlements, is the need for that “two state solution,” which he repeatedly declares to be a major tenent of Obama policy. After leaving Jerusalem, he went to Ramallah and met with heads of the PA. And there he declared that Obama will not turn his back on the “legitimate aspiration” of the Palestinians for a state.
In his statement in Ramallah, Mitchell referred to the obligations of the parties under the Road Map. So it’s time to raise the issue again with regard to Palestinian incitement. It must continue to be raised until it penetrates public consciousness and becomes a real issue.
It is written in Phase One of the Road Map: “All official Palestinian institutions end incitement against Israel.” That’s pretty straightforward.
Last time I looked, the PA Ministry of Education was an official Palestinian institution. But the textbooks published by the PA and utilized under Ministry auspices are rife with incitement. Maps in the textbooks have no Israel. Jihad — martyrdom for Allah — is praised. All Jewish history in Jerusalem is denied.
There are no plans in the PA to publish new textbooks.
And so, my American readers, please, contact the president and ask him how he imagines there can be peace under these circumstances. Demand that this be made a top priority in his search for peace. Decry his emphasis on a settlement freeze while this is going on and an entire generation of Palestinians is being taught that Israel is not legitimate.
Fax: 202-456-2461 White House Comment line: 202-456-1111
e-mail form via: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/
Contact each of your elected representatives in Congress with a similar message.
For your representatives in Congress:
For your senators:
And, perhaps most importantly, write letters to the editor on this subject. Brief, clear, factual, and to the point. Most people have no clue. The more newspapers across the country run such letters, the better.
I cannot emphasize enough how important widescale participation in the US is with regard to something like this. Make noise, make noise, make noise. Reach out within your own networks and seek the help of others. It’s time to be on the offensive.
Below is a link to my article about the texts. You might want to refer to a few specific details when contacting senators and congresspersons, and when writing letters to the editor.
Khaled Mashaal, head of the Hamas politburo in Syria, has now called on the international community to recognize Hamas as a “positive instrument” in the search for peace. You could fall down on the floor laughing, this is so ridiculous — except for the fact that it’s a deeply serious situation we face.
Said Mashaal, “President Obama is speaking a new language, but we expect real pressure on the Israelis.”
Closer to home, the biggest obstacle we must contend with, in regard to standing strong against this pressure, is Ehud Barak, our defense minister, who today said he hopes Netanyahu will come out for a “two-state solution” in his talk.
No surprise here. But frustrating, none the less.
Returning to the issue of US-Israeli agreements on what a “freeze” on settlements means…
I alluded yesterday to the fact that after the Bush letter went out to Sharon, there was a Concurrent “Sense of Congress” Resolution that endorsed the letter. What I have learned is that, as a senator, Hillary Clinton — who now, as secretary of state, is insisting a freeze means no growth at all — voted FOR the endorsement of this letter, which acknowledged population centers that change the picture with regard to negotiations. Hillary, a purely political animal, has never been known for consistency. (Thanks to Jeff Daube, head of the Jerusalem office of ZOA for this information.)
As the subject of Obama’s Cairo speech doesn’t go away, I have provided here links to some of the key analyses on the subject, with brief citations from the text of each. I hope those of you who have not already read these pieces will find them helpful:
Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.
American’s First Muslim President?
“The man now happy to have his Islamic-rooted middle name featured prominently has engaged in the most consequential bait-and-switch since Adolf Hitler duped Neville Chamberlain over Czechoslovakia at Munich…
“In the final analysis, it may be beside the point whether Mr. Obama actually is a Muslim. In the Speech and elsewhere, he has aligned himself with adherents to what authoritative Islam calls Shariah — notably, the dangerous global movement known as the Muslim Brotherhood…
“Even more troubling were the commitments the president made in Cairo to promote Islam in America…He also pledged to enable Muslims to engage in zakat, their faith’s requirement for tithing, even though four of the eight types of charity called for by Shariah can be associated with terrorism. Not surprisingly, a number of Islamic ‘charities’ in this country have been convicted of providing material support for terrorism.”
Obama’s stunning offense to Israel and the Jewish people
“President Obama’s Cairo speech was nothing short of an earthquake — a distortion of history, an insult to the Jewish people, and an abandonment of very real human-rights victims in the Arab and Muslim worlds. It is not surprising that Arabs and Muslims in a position to speak were enthusiastic. It is more surprising that American commentators are praising the speech for its political craftiness, rather than decrying its treachery of historic proportions.”
The End of America’s Strategic Alliance with Israel?
“From an Israeli perspective, Pres. Barack Obama’s speech today in Cairo was deeply disturbing. Both rhetorically and programmatically, Obama’s speech was a renunciation of America’s strategic alliance with Israel.
“Rhetorically, Obama [has] sugar coated the pathologies of the Islamic world, from the tyranny that characterizes its regimes, to the misogyny, xenophobia, Jew hatred, and general intolerance that characterizes its societies. In so doing he made clear that his idea of pressing the restart button with the Islamic world involves erasing the moral distinctions between the Islamic world and the free world.”
The Cairo Deception
“OBAMA: ‘Given our interdependence, any world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will inevitably fail.’
“REACTION: Thank you, President Obama, for that clear statement of cultural and moral relativism that infects so many of our elites and obviously shapes the way you deal with the world. So you want a world order, where no nation or group is elevated over another, where America is to be considered no better than North Korea, Syria, or Iran. All cultures and nations are not equal. Some believe in liberty and the dignity of individuals. Some believe people are cattle to be herded by government. That you don’t understand that your own nation is preferable and better than the thug states of the world is tragic and dangerous. How I long for the days when President Reagan regularly reminded us that we were to be a ‘shining city upon a hill.'”
‘The Muslim World’ One-way multiculturalism
“Would Obama be comfortable mandating ‘no natural growth’ to Israel’s million-and-a-half Muslims? No. But the administration has embraced [the commitment of] the “Muslim world” to one-way multiculturalism, whereby Islam expands in the west but Christianity and Judaism shrivel remorselessly in the Middle East.
“A wealthy nation living on the accumulated cultural capital of a glorious past can dodge its rendezvous with fate, but only for a while. That sound you heard in Cairo is the tingy ping of a hollow superpower.”
And for a different style, this, from Shaul Behr’s blog (with thanks to Debbie B.):
Free Thought: Barack Obama as John Lennon
“But to call him naïve would disrespectful to naïveté.
“The leader of the free world, in front of billions of viewers, metaphorically sat down, lit up a joint and started singing ‘Imagine’ by John Lennon.
“The real kicker was his vision of a world free of nuclear weapons. The man sounds like an 18-year-old at a university ‘Ban The Bomb’ protest!
“I feel an icy chill when I consider that for the next 4 years at least, we have a guy with the maturity and subtlety of a teenager leading the greatest world power at a time of international crisis.”