Before I discuss that interminable, yet non-existent, “peace process,” I want to go back and provide a link to one more article on Obama in Indonesia. It is too powerful not to share.
Last I wrote on this subject, I provided criticism of Obama by several commentators, because he chastised Israel from a Muslim country. But Daniel Greenfield, writing as Sultan Knish, carries it a great deal further in his blog posting. written on November 9th, called “A Smiling Obama Returns to Bloody Jakarta”:
“The media narrative is that Barack Hussein Obama is returning to the place where he grew up as part of a diplomatic tour. The truth is that Obama is visiting a genocidal country and paying homage to its regime, even while many of the atrocities continue. (Emphasis added)
“While Obama found time to blast Israel for building housing in Jerusalem, he made no mention of the Indonesian genocide in East Timor. No word about the Indonesian mass murder of between 100,000 to 200,000 people in a country whose population totaled little more than half a million..
“But there is a reason you won’t hear about the meat hooks where Indonesian backed militias hung their victims, before mutilating and killing them. You won’t hear about the fields of the dead where the corpses of men, women and children were piled into mass graves. You won’t hear of the machete squads who hacked people to death in full public view and on video. You certainly won’t hear about the ethnic cleansing, the mass deportations, the gang rapes or even the murder of Western reporters. And there’s a simple reason for all that.
“Indonesia is a Muslim country. Their victims in East Timor were Christians.
“…But East Timor isn’t the end of it. The same Indonesian military is still in business.
“The Kopassus special forces, Indonesia’s answer to the German SS, are still out and about. In 1998, Kopassus thugs gang raped hundreds of Chinese women in Jakarta. Some were burnt alive. The victims were as young as 10 years old and some were thrown into burning buildings afterward. The attackers proclaimed to their victims, ‘You must be raped because you are Chinese and non-Muslim.’
“And because of that, because the perpetrators were Muslim and the victims non-Muslim, the whole thing was quickly swept under the rug.
“The Kopassus forces are still up to their old game. Their enemies list has leaked and its top target for assassination is Reverend Socrates Sofyan Yoman, the head of the Baptist Synod in West Paupua. The Deputy Commander of Kopassus, Colonel Nugroho Widyo Utomo, is a war criminal. This is the organization that America will be providing aid and training to– under the authorization of the Obama Administration. These are the Muslim war criminals that we will be helping to become better killers and more efficient monsters. (Emphasis added)
“Recently cell phone video footage of Indonesian forces brutally torturing West Papuan natives surfaced, but this hasn’t halted the resumption of US military cooperation with Indonesian forces– or put a stop to Obama’s visit.
“And once there, Obama did not challenge Indonesia on its continuing occupation of West Papua. Nor did President Yudhoyono ever utter a word of regret. But Yudhoyono did have the unmitigated gall to pressure Obama on an independent Palestinian Muslim state. Because unlike the Christians of East Timor and West Papua, or the Chinese women of Jakarta– Muslims actually matter.
“In response, Obama bragged about a new partnership between America and the Muslim world, and condemned Myanmar [where there was violence], while making no mention of the situation in New Guinea. Or acknowledging that he standing on the bloody soil of a regime that had committed genocide and shrugged it off… (Emphasis added)
“And that denial pervades everything the administration does. In Mumbai, the Jakarta street kid spent ten minutes talking about the terrorist attack, without once mentioning the identity of perpetrators. His only mention of Muslims was as “victims” of the attack. That Muslims had perpetrated the attack remained unspoken.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu has returned home from meetings in the US with Vice President Biden and Secretary of State Clinton, and the only thing that remains unclear is the extent to which he caved. That he did cave is without question.
He apparently hopes to be able to reinstate a 90-day freeze in building in Judea and Samaria. If he does not, it will not be for lack of his trying but rather because of the refusal of his 15-person Security Cabinet to go along with it.
The deal under consideration is not finalized and there is nothing in writing. As Netanyahu put it: “[the proposal] is undergoing a consolidation process on both the US and Israeli sides. If and when the process is completed it will be brought before the proper governmental forum – the Political Security Cabinet, for approval.” (Elsewhere, the Cabinet was cited by the prime minister as the forum to which the proposal would be brought.)
In broad outlines the proposal was presented by Netanyahu to the seven-person inner Cabinet (Septet) last night, and the full Cabinet today.
News has it that this freeze, proposed by Clinton in the course of an exceedingly lengthy meeting with Netanyahu, would not include eastern Jerusalem, but would be retroactive to September 26, when the last freeze ended. That means that anyone who started construction when that last freeze was lifted would have to stop. This alone is sufficient to bring one’s blood to the boiling point.
(A clarification to the best of my understanding: This does not mean counting of the 90 days would start from September 26. Counting would begin on the day agreement went into effect. However, when the previous freeze was instituted, construction that had already reached a certain point, with a foundation in and perhaps walls up, was — at least in theory — permitted to be finished. In this instance, everything started after September 26 — even if the foundation were already in, etc. — would be counted as new construction and have to stop. This would in essence make the freeze a lot more than 90 days and would over-turn the lifting of the freeze on September 27.)
In return, reportedly, we would be given US assurances that no other freeze would be requested subsequent to this three months, the US would veto all PA unilateral actions in the Security Council in the course of the coming year, and similarly would seek to block measures that delegitimize Israel or deny her the right to self-defense. And Congress would be asked by the Obama administration to approve the sale to us of 20 more stealth fighter jets.
Netanyahu, as he presents this, is making a great deal of his care to protect Israeli security. But I tend to view this as political smokescreen.
Aaron Lerner, of IMRA, working directly from Netanyahu’s statement at the opening of the Cabinet session, noted that what he said was: “I insist that any proposal meet the State of Israel’s security needs, both in the immediate term and vis-à-vis the threats that we will face in the coming decade.”
Observes Lerner: “Mr. Netanyahu has children and grandchildren. His only concern is for the next decade?”
What Lerner then determined in the course of the day today was that Netanyahu’s reference to a decade of security was repeated in other contexts. And so, wrote Lerner:
“…this reference to ten years is one of Mr. Netanyahu’s sound bite policy building blocks.
“…And it is a very disturbing policy sound bite. Because policy sound bites typically reflect more than a few minutes of thought.
“So here we are, with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu saying that the test of a deal is if it can be expected to be viable for only ten years.
“This should be taken as a warning to any cabinet member or MK being asked to support any proposal relating to Arab-Israeli relations that comes through Mr. Netanyahu’s office. Anyone, that is, that is interested in Israel’s future beyond 2020.”
But never mind in ten years: this would be an enormously dangerous arrangement now. At a bare minimum, every time we freeze we weaken the legitimacy of our claim to the land. But it’s far worse than this: For, from the US perspective, should this freeze be instituted, the expectation would be that Israel would strike an agreement with the PLO within those 90 days regarding final borders. That’s why the US is content to request only 90 days: after that, there would be no argument about where Israel could build without restriction and where all further construction would be prohibited.
An agreement on final borders for a Palestinian Arab state within 90 days????
Imagine, if you will, what sort of pressure we’d be under to come to that agreement.
I remind one and all what Sultan Knish wrote, above. There is no room for doubt as to what Obama’s allegiances are and how readily he would pressure us.
There are many voices being raised loudly here in Israel in opposition to a new freeze. Those noted first from within Likud were Silvan Shalom, Gilad Erdan, Yuli Edelstein and Moshe Ya’alon, with Ya’alon calling the US offer a “honey trap.” In addition, there are Limor Livnat and Benny Begin — and others.
Coalition head Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) has stated that he believes the majority of Likud ministers and MKs will oppose this new proposal.
Elkin joined MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) in sending a letter today to right wing members of the government, asking them to oppose the freeze. Eldad is not optimistic about opposition to the proposal.
The letter called upon MKs to “stand with [its authors] in this testing time, to oppose every additional freeze and to demand a renewal of building as the cabinet decided. No security package can be as worthy as the security provided by the hills and Jordan valley.”
Additionally, Danny Danon (Likud), Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, began a round of emergency consultations with key cabinet members.
Yesha Council Chairman Danny Dayan (not to be confused with Danon) said, “The unilateral ten-month freeze accomplished nothing other than to make the notion of freezing the rights of our families to build a pre-condition for peace. If Israel is forced into another freeze, our nation will be entering into a trap where we are already addressing final status issues while the Palestinians have never made even a single concession. ”
Shas, as is its norm, is equivocating. Minister Eli Yishai says he would not oppose the freeze (i.e., would abstain) if building in all of Jerusalem were to proceed immediately, and Obama would agree to write a letter stating that after 90 days building would resume in Maaleh Adumim, Ariel, Beitar Illit, and Kiryat Sefer.
Habayit Hayehudi is solidly opposed to a freeze resumption, but questions hang in the air as to whether this coalition partner would leave the government if it were to pass. (My betting, based purely on what I’ve seen to date, is not.)
With all of this, ironically, it is not a sure thing that the Palestinian Arabs would come to the table even if a freeze, as described, were reinstituted. Khaled Abu Toameh writing in today’s JPost, indicated that a Palestinian Authority official said yesterday that “The US failed to convince Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to halt settlement construction in return for the resumption of peace talks.” Allegedly, this came from US Consul-General in Jerusalem, Daniel Rubinstein, who briefed PA President Mahmoud Abbas on Netanyahu’s meetings with Biden and Clinton.
In light of Netanyahu’s efforts to secure approval for a freeze extension, this seems a bit puzzling. Except for the fact that Jerusalem is not — at least officially — included in this proposal.
Today PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat said that the Arab League would be consulted on this. While expressing severe reservations (“they know we have a major problem in not including east Jerusalem”), he said there would be no official PA response until an official US briefing with regard the plan was provided.
More on this and other subjects will follow soon.
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.