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October 14, 2010: It Doesn’t Stop

February 14, 2011

Sorry.  Before I touch other bases, as I indicated yesterday I would, I must follow up just a bit more on the “offer” made yesterday by PLO official Yasser Abed Rabbo.  To whit, that if the US and Israel would provide a map of Israel showing the pre ’67 lines as the borders of Israel, then the Palestinian Arabs might recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

It seems the State Department jumped on this with delight, with spokesman PJ Crowley declaring at a press conference last night that “this is exactly the right conversation that the Israelis and Palestinians need to have to be exchanging ideas on how to advance this process to a successful conclusion.” 

But he was just a tad premature. For Khaled Abu Toameh, writing with Herb Keinon, reports in the JPost today that Rabbo “has come under attack for expressing his willingness to recognize Israel as a Jewish state….A number of Palestinian factions, including the ruling Fatah movement, condemned Rabbo and called for his dismissal.”

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I didn’t consider Rabbo’s suggestion serious from the get-go, for it’s clear that we are not about to present a map defining the Green Line as our border in exchange for getting the PLO to acknowledge that we are a Jewish state.  And Rabbo darn well knows this.

Actually, Rabbo was countering something that Crowley had said earlier: that the Palestinian Arabs should respond to Netanyahu’s suggestion that he would consider another short freeze if Israel were recognized as a Jewish state.  We wouldn’t do that for a freeze, he was saying, but maybe if you acknowledged the ’49 lines as your true border, we might. Flippant, really.

But a desperate US doesn’t let go, grasping for ways to keep the “process” alive.  This is even as Crowley acknowledges the core of the problem. When asked at the press conference if a map as suggested by Rabbo could be presented, he answered, “what they’re asking for is the essence of the negotiation – what are the borders of a future Palestinian state, and conversely, what will be the borders of the Israeli state.”

Well…good morning!  The Palestinian Arabs do not want honest negotiations, they want everything promised to them before they sit down at the table.  That’s why a freeze was so wrong-headed as well, for it presumed to provide an implicit acknowledgement, up front, that the land on which our communities sit is going to be part of a Palestinian state. 

It’s all a bit tiresome.  Because the Obama administration continues to play the game as if it’s real.

Rabbo, you should know, has — unsurprisingly — since denied he ever offered to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

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For the record, UN Security Council resolution 242, of 1967, says that borders must be determined by negotiations, and that Israel is not required to withdraw at all within Judea and Samaria until that issue is resolved.

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Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon, speaking to Army Radio on Tuesday, said, “I don’t know a single minister in the Septet [the seven-person inner Cabinet] who thinks it’s possible to reach a deal [with the PA] in the foreseeable future.”

The realism of these words is heartening.  Dare we hope this means they would balk at further “gestures for peace”?

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Charles Levinson, writing in the Wall Street Journal, reports that as prospects of a peace deal dim, opposition to PA President Mahmoud Abbas is mounting within his own party, Fatah. There is increased pressure for bringing in a new generation of leaders.  The emerging faction is not supportive of peace negotiations with Netanyahu.  Favored to replace Abbas, according to Levinson, is Nasse al-Qudwa, 51, a nephew of Yasser Arafat (which fact perhaps tells us all we need to know). 

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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is currently visiting in Lebanon, to our north.  It is an official visit; he was reportedly invited by Lebanese President Michel Suleiman.  The fact that it is not merely an informal connection between Hezbollah, supported by Iran, and the president of Iran make this all the more unsettling.

Mark Regev, Netanyahu’s spokesman, commented, “Iran’s domination of Lebanon, through its proxy Hezbollah, has prevented Lebanon from being a partner in peace and turned Lebanon into an Iranian satellite and a hub of regional terrorism and instability.”

Once a renegade terrorist group, Hezbollah now sits within the government — first participating in elections in 2005.  After gaining 57 of 128 seats in the legislature as of the 2009 elections, and essentially establishing veto power, Hezbollah was asked by Prime Minister Saad Hariri to join a unity government.  While Sunnis in Lebanon continue to voice opposition to Iranian influence in Lebanon, Hezbollah represents a powerful Shiite Lebanese faction in alliance with Iran. The Shiites were out in force, too, cheering on Ahmadinejad.

It should be noted that President Suleiman is himself a Christian Maronite.

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Analyst Jonathan Spyer, who says Ahmadinejad has come to deliver a message, quotes Fares Soueid of the Lebanese March 14 alliance: “The message is that Iran is at the border with Israel… Ahmadinejad, through this visit, is saying that Beirut is under Iranian influence and that Lebanon is an Iranian base on the Mediterranean… The Iranian president is here to say that Lebanon is a land of resistance and to reaffirm his project of a continuous war with Israel.”

Spyer notes that this is not news for Israel, which has been on alert in the north.  But I will say this is unsettling in its bold implications. Ahmadinejad, speaking in Beirut yesterday, called Lebanon a “university for jihad.”  Today he is due to speak at Bint Jbail, which is just a few kilometers from Israel.  Originally he had been scheduled to come down to our border and throw a stone at Israel, but that statesmanlike act was scratched from the schedule. 

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Some analysts see Ahmadinejad’s presence as a bid to either have Hezbollah completely take over Lebanon and/or start another civil war there.

What we cannot forget, however, is the likely desire to also influence what happens to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, which is charged with investigating the 2005 assassination of former prime minister Rafiq Hariri. Reportedly, indictments by the Tribunal, which include charges against Hezbollah operatives, are close.  The intent would be to get the present government to dissociate itself from this judicial process.

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In August, after an unprovoked ambush attack by the Lebanese army on an IDF unit, resulting in the death of one Israeli officer, US Representatives Nita Lowey (D-NY) — who chairs the Foreign Operations Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee — and Howard Berman (D-CA) — Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee — moved to hold up the release of $100 million in funds that had been approved for Lebanon.  Now with the Ahmadinejad visit, they are more adamant than ever regarding the inadvisability of releasing those funds.

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The term Pallywood was coined a few years ago by Richard Landes, Boston University professor and Israel advocate.  It refers to alleged filmed news reports of violence by Israel against Palestinian Arabs that is actually staged. 

See can see an example of it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zTX3CZqDyOA  (The voice over is that of Landes.)  The Al-Dura case represents the most blatant instance of this.

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But now we have a new case of Pallywood, involving a Jew — David Be’eri — in a car, in the area of Silwan in Jerusalem, surrounded by rock-throwing kids, one of whom was hit by the car and lightly injured as he sought escape. 

Lenny Ben David has a good overview on his blog — complete with pictures, and video of a second attack on a woman and her daughter at the same site almost immediately after the first.  He offers important analysis of what happened during this staged attack– such as the observation that there were multiple photographers present and waiting. 

Lenny says it, but let me repeat it: rocks can kill.  It is not innocuous pebbles that are being aimed at the windshield of the car in question.  (I believe you can see one of those rocks on the front seat of the car of the woman who was attacked.)

http://lennybendavid.com/2010/10/mohammed-dura-redux-another-attempt-at.html

(If the above doesn’t open, go to the website — http://lennybendavid.com/ — and scroll down.)

Caroline Glick provides a perspective with more background on the incident:

http://www.carolineglick.com/e/2010/10/the-rise-of-the-suicide-protes.php

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On Monday, the Knesset Committee on the Rights of the Child held an emergency session precipitated by this incident.  There was concern about the child who was hit, but also a broader concern about children involved in destructive and aggressive behavior.  Since July, there have been 450 (this is not a typo) cases of rock-throwing in Silwan.

Border police and policeman in the area regularly contend with attacks by rock-throwers.

There is concern, in particular, about rock-throwing incidents on the road to Mount of Olives cemetery, where Jews go to visit graves.  Meir Indor, head of the Almagor Terror Victims Association, testified that twice he has been at the funerals of terror victims at the cemetery, only to find that people were stoned as they left. On both occasions it happened when the funerals ended at the same time that school in the area let out.  “It’s like rock-throwing is part of their school program.”

On Tuesday, a large rock thrown by Arabs hit the front windshield of a minivan carrying a delegation of Knesset members who had toured Silwan.

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You undoubtedly remember the horrendous terror attack near Hevron that killed four innocent people (one of whom, Talia Eames, was nine-months pregnant).  Talia and her husband Isaac left behind six orphans. 

People here in Israel please note:  A musical program, “The Renaissance Show, “will take place in Hevron to benefit these orphans:

The program will be held at 8:30 PM on Tuesday October 19th, in Hevron, at the Gutnick visitor center next to the Machpela, in the “Field of the Patriarchs .”

For additional information, contact Hava Shmulevich:  054-572-2904, hebron69@gmail.com

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A new American Jewish Committee survey shows that the approval rate for Obama among American Jews is dropping. 

Currently, 51% of Jews approve of the job Obama is doing, compared to 44% who disapprove.  The last time the AJC did a survey, in March (six months ago), 57% approved, and back in May of 2009, there was a 79% approval rating.

As to the way Obama is handling US-Israel relations, only 49% approve, with 45% disapproving. Six months ago, 55% approved his handling of US-Israel relations.

A full 95%, believes that the Palestinian Arabs should recognize Israel as the Jewish state.

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