Motzei Shabbat (after Shabbat)
“A Ray of Hope”
Just a ray, which I caught shining through a very dark sky.
First, a bit about that dark sky:
The notion that we’re going to start shuttle diplomacy “peace negotiations” soon is a joke, because it’s clear that the Palestinian Authority is gearing up for war. Abbas doesn’t want negotiations: he wouldn’t have the backing of his party for a negotiated settlement and Hamas is criticizing him severely. But he’s tired of being seen by the US and the EU as a stumbling block — as obstinate in his refusal to go to the table.
So the Arab League gave him some very insincere cover, and he agreed to those “proximity talks,” which are expected to start soon.
The news yesterday was that Israel would not be willing to start talks where Olmert left off. And I should hope not. Nor are we willing to start by discussing borders, as the Palestinians Arabs wish.
Defense Minister Barak met with special envoy George Mitchell tonight to discuss the protocol for the talks.
Seems a huge charade.
For at the very same time that the “peace talks” are being promoted, Abbas and Fayyad have ratcheted up their incitement, in an attempt to appear the victim of Israeli non-peaceful acts. See, they’re willing to give peace a chance, but we keep behaving in a non-peaceful fashion, which promotes anger in their people. Is anyone in the world wise to what’s going on? Do Obama and Clinton and Mitchell give a damn as long as they can advance that charade?
The hook that Abbas and Fayyad found for this, as we know, was Netanyahu’s announcement that the Machpelah and Kever Rachel would be Heritage sites. The violent response that has followed this might have been appropriate, perhaps, to an announcement that we were planning to launch a raiding party into Ramallah. As it is, the invective of PA statements, and the violent acts, are way over the top and a pretty good sign of what’s coming down the road.
On Friday, matters escalated. Young Arabs on the Temple Mount, having left their Friday prayers (and, according to an Arutz Sheva report, having been “encouraged” in non-peaceful directions by the sermon they had heard), began to throw stones down at Jewish worshippers at the Kotel (Western Wall), below. Stones pitched from this height are not simply an offensive nuisance, they can wound and kill.
Israeli police ascended to the Mount to restore order, and used stun grenades in the process. The violence was such that 15 police were lightly injured.
So, you get one guess as to what happened next. We are being condemned for protecting our worshippers.
Today the Organizations of Islamic Conference said what our police did — surrounding the Al Aksa Mosque — was “a sacrilegious act of profanation of the holy Islamic site” and “a violation of international law and a flagrant attack on the freedom of religion.” It called for international intervention to end “Israeli aggression.”
And Abbas, not for the first time in recent days, said the way Israel was behaving could spark a “religious war.” That’s where he’s headed.
Add to this the not-unexpected stupidity of the international community with regard to Iran.
The US, Britain, France and Germany, under pressure from Russia and China, have apparently agreed to draft a watered-down proposal for UN sanctions against Iran that would not include a ban on trade with the Central Bank of Iran.
This is so weak as to be pointless.
But then we have this potentially hopeful news from the Jerusalem Post:
“Deputy Minister of the Negev and Galilee Ayoub Kara on Saturday said that several fundamental Muslim states have informed Israel that they will cooperate overtly with any Israeli or American action against Iran,
“‘These are secret, positive messages, saying they will back any action,’ Ayoub said at a Beersheba event.
“While the deputy minister would not name the states, he said there would be a wall-to-wall coalition within Muslim states against Iran.”
Kara, who is Druze, is a right-wing member of Likud. He has in the past seemed to me to be solid and have his head screwed on right (something I don’t say about too many MKs). But I do wonder about making these “secret” messages public.
IF this is accurate information it could be enormously important.
The fear of Iran in such countries as Saudi Arabia is huge. If we would have support for an attack it considerably shifts the equation.
And ponder the bitter ironies here: that our enemies (Saudi Arabia is even technically at war with us) would support us in this action because they understand the dangers of a nuclear Iran, while our ostensibly close ally, the United States, would not, because its administration is totally obtuse on the matter.
I cannot help but wonder, as well, exactly how our taking on Iran would impact Arab support for the PA. But that is perhaps jumping ahead too far.
One final thought here, in terms of how Obama has blown it. He has courted the Muslim/Arab world from the beginning. He bowed to the Saudi king, in his Cairo talk he spoke repeatedly about what the “holy Koran” says, and so on. But he has not had a positive response from these countries.
This is, very simply because, with all his posturing, he has failed to be a true ally to these nations by taking the lead in a strong stance against Iran. He has let them down, as well as Israel. The only one that is coming out ahead here is Iran.
I wonder how many of those who still support Obama realize this.
It’s not too late for him to redeem himself, should he truly wish to be redeemed (a big question). I hear a great deal about how the US cannot undertake another war with existing American commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan. But it’s my clear understanding that there would not need to be any commitment of ground troops. It would be a matter of several serious and sustained hits on nuclear development sites with the bunker busters that can do the trick, and perhaps bombing of certain other strategic locations. Intense but short term. Not a war to the end to take out the regime, but a destruction of their capacity to control the region — and threaten beyond the region — with nuclear weapons. America has the wherewithal and logistical capacity to do this.
If he fails to do it, and fails, as well, to give support to Israel, then America will pay the price down the road, and everyone in the US needs to understand this.