By “normal” I mean post-Purim. What it’s like when we have no celebrating, no costumes, no seudot (special Purim meals). But do I know what “normal” is? Seems to me that we don’t have a whole lot of what should be normal with respect to politics, diplomacy, or defense.
Now that the laughter has died down, and I look around, I’m afraid that what passes for “normal” is very somber and ugly indeed — if not totally insane.
Seems, for starters, that violence is normal for Palestinian Arabs. It’s their fall back position, and any excuse will do. As we are all well aware by this point, the announcement by our prime minister that the Machpelah and Kever Rachel will be included in our Heritage sites prompted days of rioting in Hevron. But then yesterday clashes spread to Har HaBayit (the Temple Mount) and Arab parts of Jerusalem’s Old City. There is concern that this will spread to Judea and Samaria more broadly.
Now here’s the really perverse part: the Israeli defense establishment is saying that senior PA officials and PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in particular are encouraging “popular resistance” against Israel.
Fayyad likes to pretend that “popular resistance” means non-violent demonstrations, but don’t believe it for a second.
Back on February 12, Faiz Faraj, a Palestinian in Hevron, attempted to stab an Israeli soldier who was on patrol. Other members of the IDF opened fire on him after he pulled out a knife and lunged at the soldier, and Faraj died on the way to the hospital.
According to Palestinian Media Watch, Fayyad then paid a condolence call to the family. And, reported the PA daily, Al Hayat al-Jadida (as translated by PMW), he “denounced in extremely harsh terms the actions of the occupation forces, carried out as part of the ongoing campaign to suppress the non-violent protests of residents…”
Attack with a knife as “non-violent protest.”
According to one Israeli official cited by the Post today, Fayyad wants to continue cooperating with Israel on economic issues, and with the US and Israel with regard to the training of “security forces.”
“But,” reports the Post, “at the same time [Fayyad] has made a decision to retain the right to use violence against Israel.”
Been there, done that. This is how Arafat conducted himself during the Oslo years. He pronounced words of peace, but never relinquished what Dennis Ross once referred to as his “terrorism card.”
Fayyad is the darling of the West. He’s considered the most moderate of all the PA officials. He’s not even Fatah, and he doesn’t have terrorist credentials. But at the end of the day he’s cut from the same deceptive, violent cloth.
Consider: According to one Israeli official, “We need to remember that Fayyad’s ultimate plan is to unilaterally declare statehood within a year and a half if negotiations do not reach an agreement by then. The current cooperation between Israel and the PA is assisting the Palestinians in establishing the institutions that Fayyad will use one day to show the world that he is ready to declare statehood.”
This will be just fine with the EU and with the US, but are we so stupid as to sit still for this? For Fayyad is gearing up for major violence down the road. The scenario is fairly clear. “Declaring a state” means declaring it along the ’67 lines with east Jerusalem, at a minimum, as its capital. And when we refuse, it may well mean attack, utilizing the troops that the US has trained, and that we have benignly smiled upon and cooperated with. Every single time there has been training of PA forces, they have at some point turned on us. This would be the same, but bigger.
Already, the PA is blaming Israel for sparking the violence, for — according a Palestinian spokesman — “inciting the Palestinian public.” Any excuse will do.
In 2000, after Arafat refused the insanely generous offer of Ehud Barak (then prime minister) with regard to a Palestinian state, the second intifada started. Ostensibly, it was “spontaneously triggered” by Ariel Sharon’s visit to the Temple Mount — as if we have no right to be there. But documentation exists that shows clearly that it was planned and premeditated, and that Sharon’s visit was used as a hook.
Painful “business as usual.”
The bitter truth is that within the ways of the world, “normal” also means Jew-hatred (the oldest and most persistent hatred in the world), which today often takes the form of hatred of Israel. Today some of the most virulent anti-Israel stances are found on campuses in N. America.
I think it’s important that we all see and then share this video:
Please be aware, as well, that today marks the beginning of “Israeli Apartheid Week” on campuses in 40 cities around the world. This is to protest “injustices” against Palestinian Arabs, of course.
What passes for “normal” with regard to sanctions against Iran is also painful. China and Russia are holding tight on their reluctance to cooperate meaningfully. And the Obama administration is saying it does not want to “cripple” the Iranian people — but just target the Revolutionary Guard. But what Obama envisions is not likely to do the trick.
Netanyahu has been alone in his call for sanctions against the energy sector of Iran, which he believes is the only approach that will work.
Today, however, he found support from what I would have thought an unlikely source: Senator John Kerry, here in Jerusalem, stated at a press conference, after meeting with Netanyahu, that he “absolutely” supports sanctions against Iran’s energy sector. “I believe that the most biting and important sanctions would be those on the energy side.”
Sounds like our prime minister was effective in convincing Kerry. What’s important is that he is the powerful chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Let’s see if this leads anywhere.
Defense Minister Barak, in Washington last week, expressed the view that the first concern is not that a nuclear Iran would bomb Israel (fear of Israeli retaliation being a factor that would discourage this), but that Iran would then destabilize the entire region and promote radicalism and terrorism.
One gets a sense of this with the visit to Damascus last week of Iranian President Ahmadinejad: Iran would be in an enhanced position to utilize Syria and Hezbollah as its proxies.
Israel is taking this visit as a clear sign that Syria is not about to separate itself from Iran — a pie-in-the-sky notion that those promoting “peace negotiations” between Israel and Syria continue to embrace.
Perhaps the joke of the day (and what passes for “normal” in the Obama administration):
The US has asked Syrian President Bashar Assad to immediately stop transferring arms to Hezbollah.
Asked. Politely, I’m sure.
According to Ha’aretz, this request came by way of Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman during a meeting with Syrian Ambassador to Washington Imad Moustapha.
What I do not quite understand is why the Americans thought this request would be productive. For, also according to Ha’aretz, when Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs William Burns met with Syrian president Assad on February 17, “Assad denied that his regime was providing military aid to terrorists in Iraq, or to Hezbollah and Palestinian terror groups. Assad essentially told Burns that he had no idea what the American was talking about.”
Meanwhile, the Israel Air Force is undergoing special training for long range missions, including rapid refueling operations.
The issue that refuses to go away: the assassination in Dubai. The Dubai police are now up to an alleged 26 people who were involved, including most recently some bearing Australian passports. The number grows bewildering and cumbersome. Twenty-six people to take out one man? In spite of declarations by Dubai police that they have DNA evidence that the Mossad did it, etc. etc., they themselves provided the evidence that (if true) makes it clear that it wasn’t Mossad: Three of those involved then went by boat to Iran. Right…
The light side of this: The police chief of Dubai has declared that no Israelis were going to be allowed to enter the country, no matter what passport they used to enter. How would they know who was Israeli? The police will “develop skills” to recognize Israelis by “physical features and the way they speak.” Is he truly unaware that Israeli immigrants hail from all over the world, have diverse appearances and diverse ways of speaking?
My apologies. I had recommended last week that US citizens contact the president and the secretary of state. But apparently the e-mail address I gave for Secretary Clinton is no longer in operation. Seems she really isn’t eager to hear from us. I consider State Department website pages not productive with regard to reaching the secretary.
The good news? Over the last three days we’ve had absolutely incredible rain. A deluge. This, on top of recent heavy rains.
A great blessing for our land. And, according to our tradition, a sign of pleasure with us in Heaven. May it be that we’re doing something right. And may our strength and our wisdom for doing what is right increase.