Those of you who know me, know that it is not a common situation for me to be rendered “speechless.” I think that I am feeling that way, figuratively, because my professional standards prohibit me from saying some of the things I might like to say, and from describing the US president and secretary of state in terms that would be most cathartic. Sometimes anger sticks in the throat.
What we are seeing, quite simply, is a deliberate attempt to stoke the fires of what should have been a minor dispute with Israel in an attempt to put us on the defensive and push us into making concessions we would not otherwise make.
After I wrote yesterday, the news broke with regard to what Hillary Clinton allegedly demanded of Netanyahu during her 45 minute phone harangue last week:
First, and not surprisingly, she wanted the plans for building the 1,600 apartments in Ramat Shlomo cancelled.
But then, she demanded a “meaningful gesture” towards PA president Abbas before Mitchell returns to this area on Friday. This is being broadly interpreted as a demand for a prisoner release. And this is the sort of information that can render one speechless. All that talk about commitment to Israeli security, followed by an apparent demand that would appease Abbas at the price of putting Israeli lives at risk.
Lastly, she wanted Israel to declare that “core issues” would be put on the table during the four-month proximity talks, something that Israel has not agreed to.
The very worst thing we could do would be to cave on any of this. Standing strong now is imperative.
Journalist Moshe Dann, writing in YNet, thinks that what is going on is a blessing in disguise:
“Supporters of Israel should rejoice that Biden and Clinton have emerged from Obama’s closet hatred of Israel. Their wild attack, as deadly as it seemed initially, however, did little or no damage. It clears the way for a robust Israeli response, one that will set the course of Israeli policy and the guidelines of future discussions.
“PM Netanyahu now has the opportunity to defend Israel’s position, not only on Jerusalem, but other issues of Israeli sovereignty that have been disputed. This includes the right to decide on what Jewish heritage sites include and the right to preserve those historical and archeological sites, the right of Jews to live in Judea and Samaria, and the right of self-defense.”
And Dann may well be correct. The mask has been dropped from the Obama administration. Claims that its representatives love us and have our security uppermost in their minds can only fall on deaf ears.
The key is a strong government here.
And indeed, at a Likud faction meeting today, Prime Minister Netanyahu said:
“Construction in Jerusalem will continue in any part of the city as it has during the last 42 years.
“In the past 40 years, there was no government that limited construction in any Jerusalem area or neighborhood. Establishing Jewish neighborhoods did not hurt Jerusalem’s Arab residents and was not at their expense.”
Additionally, Netanyahu said that at the end of the ten months, the freeze on construction would be lifted.
So, once again I ask that you contact the prime minister. Tell him, Right on! Don’t cave. Stay strong no matter what. The future of our nation depends on this strength.
Fax: 02-670-5369 (From the US: 011-972-2-670-5369)
Phone: 03-610-9898 (From the US: 011-972-3-610-9898)
Meanwhile, our “partner for peace,” the Palestinian Authority, is ratcheting up the incitement at every turn. It’s difficult to know what to focus on first.
 I’ve written about the reconstruction of the Hurva synagogue, in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City. (See more about this below.) At a press conference today, Mohammad Dahlan, a member of the Central Committee of Fatah, charged that the synagogue is built on the ruins of the Mosque of Omar.
The press conference, by the way, had the theme, “Judaizing Jerusalem.” That oxymoron is absolutely my favorite charge against us. How do we “Judaize” a city that at its very core IS Jewish?
 Ahmed Qurei, former PA prime minister and member of the PLO executive committee, warned that “If Israel continues these practices, another intifada will break out. If matters remain at this level, regardless of whether we take the decision or not, it is coming. If Israel continues these practices, it is coming.”
 Then there is the hot issue of the Temple Mount. This time the Palestinian Authority has joined the radical Islamic Movement of Israel in calls for Israeli Arabs and residents of eastern Jerusalem to go to the Temple Mount to “protect it from the Jews.” Both Dahlan and Khatem Abdel Kader, who holds the Jerusalem portfolio in Fatah, are involved here.
Palestinian Media Watch reports that the PA is fanning the flames by bringing back an old libel. In 1969, a non-Jewish Australian started a fire in the Al Aksa mosque. It was extinguished and damage to the mosque was repaired. Ten years ago, the PA spread the lie that it was a Jew that set the fire with the help of the Israeli government. That charge was reiterated on PA TV this week.
There have been on-going Palestinian Arab riots in Jerusalem and elsewhere in response to all of this. Police are out in force.
The incitement by the PA is so blatant, and the US silence in response to it so deafening, that finally we can only laugh at American charges (building homes!) against us.
Marwan Barghouti, in Israeli prison for five life terms, has just completed his doctoral degree in political science at Cairo University. According to Khaled Abu Toameh, “Barghouti was able to complete his thesis with the help of hundreds of books and documents that Israeli authorities allow inmates to bring into prison.”
There is something seriously wrong with us.
In an incursion into Ramallah, the IDF has caught Maher U’dda, the terrorist responsible for the bombing of the Jerusalem Cafe Hillel in 2003. I rejoice for this bit of retributive justice.
This was the attack that killed seven people, including Dr. David Applebaum, the much-loved doctor for emergency services (who often treated victims of terrorist attacks), and his daughter, Nava, who was about to be married. (Family that had traveled to Israel for her wedding went to her funeral instead.)
This is also the attack that I heard from my apartment, only blocks away. It was obvious from the size of the explosion what was happening and my blood ran cold.
According to Israel National News, the PA had held U’dda at one point, but then released him.
Let the world say what it will. I still think our foreign minister, Avigdor Leiberman, is a good guy. True, he is not diplomatic. Rather, he operates from his gut.
We are currently hosting the president of Brazil, Luis Lula Da Silva. Da Silva refused to visit the grave of founder of modern Zionism, Theodor Herzl, and lay a wreath.
Today Lieberman boycotted the special Knesset session held in Da Silva’s honor.
I end here on an upbeat note with a Jerusalem Post editorial on the symbolism of the Hurva synagogue:
“Twice destroyed and twice rebuilt, the Hurva synagogue is a symbol of the Jewish people’s tenacious insistence on returning to its rightful land against all odds.
“…More than just a house of prayer, the Hurva was a venue for key historical events – Herzl’s visit to Jerusalem, a recruitment ceremony for Ze’ev Jabotinsky’s Jewish Legion, the honoring of pro-Zionist British High Commissioner Sir Herbert Samuel – leading to the reestablishment of Jewish sovereignty.
“It symbolizes, perhaps more than any other site, the Jewish people’s yearnings to return to its homeland. It is concrete proof that Judaism cannot be reduced solely to an abstract religious faith devoid of national aspirations, as some – most notably German Jews of the 19th century and contemporary Jewish anti-Zionists – attempted to claim.
“While the Western Wall has been the focal point of prayers for redemption, the Hurva has been at the center of Jewish activism to maintain a presence in the Land of Israel.”
A dedication ceremony was held today. Read the entire editorial, with historical information: