No, I cannot say, “…so good.” It’s more like, “So far, we’re hanging in there.” Who knows what tomorrow brings.
One gets the feeling that if he could — without losing his coalition — Netanyahu would: cave on extending the freeze, that is. And so, it is the strength of those coalition members we must pray for.
It is with deliberate consideration that certain members of the coalition (and most notably members of Netanyahu’s own Likud party) have spoken out publicly against extending the freeze.
Take, for example, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, who said in an interview on Monday that it would be “very difficult” to renew a freeze on the basis of American assurances: “It was a unilateral gesture. You don’t negotiate on unilateral gestures. You negotiate on a peace settlement.” Steinitz said there was no “reciprocity” or flexibility from the PA during the freeze. “To come now and to demand more is very problematic.”
Yesterday I picked up a report citing some of those ubiquitous “unnamed Israeli officials.” Admittedly, the source was CNN, but consider:
“One senior Israeli official said that Netanyahu is ‘determined to make sure talks go forward,’ and is ‘cautiously and discretely’ discussing the settlement issue with the U.S. and his own cabinet. The official said Netanyahu is also considering a set of confidence-building measures to offer the Palestinians in lieu of a full settlement freeze. ‘Something has to be agreed on to keep [the Palestinians] at the talks, but not put a full freeze on settlements,’ another senior Israeli official said.”
Confidence building measures. How weary I am of that expression. There seems to be no end to the groveling. Either the PA wants to negotiate a state, or it does not. And if it genuinely does not, then temping its leaders to come to the table is going to achieve absolutely nothing good.
What this does is shine a spotlight on what we know to be the truth: This fawning is for Obama’s sake, not Abbas’s.
And what is this business about Netanyahu being “determined” that talks will go forward? It takes two to negotiate, Mr. Prime Minister, and by yourself you cannot make sure of anything. This is posturing — one more effort to show the world how cooperative we are. An attempt to protect us against the day when Abbas points a finger and says the failure of talks was all our fault.
I would not want to be in Netanyahu’s shoes. I am forever mindful of the difficulty of dealing with Obama, who is not only determined but ruthless. Who knows what the threats have been, and will yet be.
There are suggestions that Abbas might be biding his time until after the US midterm elections, confident that Obama, when he no longer requires the goodwill of supporters of Israel, will come down even harder on Israel.
And yet, it is time — no, past time! — to call a halt to the nonsense.
The PA is now saying that Obama is working on getting the freeze extended by three months, to save the talks. But the same question emerges here as with that letter said to have been written by Obama that sought a two-month extension. Three months is no more likely than two months to be enough time to allow the parties to resolve all major issues. (Three years, or, I daresay, three decades, would likely not be enough time.)
What would happen at the end of three months, when the Arabs would scream (guaranteed) that things were just starting to go well, and now Israel will ruin it all?
I had pondered recently why Abbas would be seeking the opinion of the Arab League on the question of continuing to negotiate, when the PLO — officially the negotiating agency for Palestinian Arabs — had already said there should not be further talks under the present conditions. The answer is that Abbas is not seeking a possible go-ahead from the Arab states; quite the contrary, he is looking for their support as he declines to negotiate.
Khaled Abu Toameh, writing in the JPost today, says that PA officials have already secured support from Jordan, Egypt, and “several other Arab countries;” announcement of this was made in Cairo after a meeting between Abbas and Mubarak.
PA negotiator Nabil Sha’ath has offered some reasons as to why the freeze is essential, and they are real winners:
First, in a replay of an old refrain, he protests that it is pointless to negotiate “land for peace” “while the land is being stolen and settlements are growing.”
Everyone needs to be reminded that Abbas negotiated with former prime minister Ehud Olmert just fine even though there was no freeze.
But the most essential counter-argument here is that we are not “stealing” land because it doesn’t belong to the Arabs. The land under discussion in Judea and Samaria is unclaimed Mandate land — given to the Jews by the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine, which designated it for a Jewish homeland.
All UN resolutions on this issue (not to mention the 1949 armistice agreement between Israel and Jordan) say that determination of Israel’s final border can be reached only via negotiations. And yet, the PA would have the world believe that everything beyond the Green Line (an armistice line only) already belongs to them.
The cry that we’re taking all the land and leaving nothing for them because of building is a gross misrepresentation. ALL of the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria combined take up less than 5% of the land, with major blocs of communities adjacent — or near adjacent — to the Green Line.
As far as taking “more land” is concerned,” Israel had an agreement with the two US administrations prior to the current one that permitted us to build WITHIN existing communities, as long as the borders of those communities were not expanded. Obama refused to honor this agreement. I cannot say with certainty that no building is going on now beyond existing borders, but I do know that in the main this is not the case. The image of Israelis spreading out all across Judea and Samaria is simply erroneous. Deliberately erroneous, I will add.
The freeze, as imposed by Defense Minister Barak, was so stringent over the past months that residents of Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria couldn’t close in an open porch or add a bathroom to a house.
The flip side of this issue is that while Jewish building has been frozen for the last 10 months, the Arabs have been on an internationally bankrolled building spree.
Please see Caroline Glick on this, in a very informative article, “Do Jews have civil rights?”:
“The presumptive purpose of the freeze was to prevent Israel from creating ‘facts on the ground’ that would prejudice the outcome of the so-called peace talks with Fatah [the PA]. This goal is justified on the basis of the Palestinian misinterpretation of a clause in the 1995 agreement between Israel and the PLO in which they agreed that ‘neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiations.’
“The clause was never intended to refer to construction, and ‘neither side,’ of course, relates to both Israel and the Palestinians.
“But since the agreement was signed, while the Palestinian misinterpretation has been widely adopted, only one side has been held to account.
“Whereas every Jewish home built since 1995 has evoked a storm of international criticism, the Palestinians have built thousands upon thousands of buildings throughout the areas. They have done so in total disregard for planning and zoning ordinances and even the basic considerations of supply and demand. For instance, a motorist traveling from Jerusalem to Ma’aleh Adumim will pass hundreds of empty five-story buildings in Issawiya and other Arab neighborhoods built for the sole purpose of preventing Israel from connecting the two.
“So too, Fatah-appointed Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad has been absolutely clear that the Palestinians are building the new city of Rawabi to ‘change the status’ of Judea and Samaria and prepare the ground for the establishment of a state outside the framework of the negotiations.”
Returning for a moment to Sha’ath’s “reasons” why the freeze is necessary, we find this outrage:
“No US-sponsored peace process would have credibility when the Americans can’t force Israel to fulfill one of the principal obligations — to stop settlement construction.”
From the time of the Oslo Accords — which permitted settlements — a “principal obligation” on the Arab side was the cessation of all incitement. To this day, PA agencies are rife with incitement. There are, of course, the textbooks, which encourage jihad and deny Jewish legitimacy in the land. But, by way of example, let’s look at a song and dance routine shown several times recently — the last time less then a month ago — on PA-TV. Its lyrics:
“From my wounds, my weapon has emerged.
“Oh, our revolution, my weapon has emerged.
“There is no force in the world that can remove the weapon from my hand.
“My weapon has emerged. My weapon has emerged…
“This revolutionary people has sacrificed and offered in order to live in freedom!
“My weapon has emerged. My weapon has emerged…
“He who offers his blood doesn’t care if his blood flows upon the ground…
“As the weapon of revolution is in my hand, so my presence will be forced [upon Israel].
“My weapon has emerged. My weapon has emerged.”
While members of the US Consulate in eastern Jerusalem have routinely gone into Judea and Samaria to check on whether we are building, the Obama administration has never intervened to “force” the PA to stop incitement. This is the case even though teaching people to hate is most clearly a bigger threat to peace than building homes.
Of course the “peace process” does not have credibility, and the US administration is not an honest broker.
Yet, sadly, it is for the sake of this process and in deference to this administration that our government is panting with eagerness to proceed.
One of the things that bothers me greatly is that our own government does not speak out loudly for our rights: does not point out that Arab building has continued, or that incitement — which the PA was committed to eliminate — is still going on.
There are analysts who believe that the US is reluctant to take on the PA on some of these issues for fear of weakening the case for the “two-state solution,” to which it is so committed. If the world knows what the PA is really like….
But what’s our excuse?
Can it be? Is Bill Clinton really that ignorant, or is he just giving a boost to his wife’s boss?
Yesterday, in a talk in Egypt, he said that solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would “take about half the impetus in the whole world – not just the region, the whole world – for terror away. It would have more impact by far than anything else that could be done.”
His further claim, according to AP, is that the founding of Israel and the”dispossession” of the Palestinians more than six decade ago has long been a rallying cry among Arabs and Muslims in the region.
Shocking. Either way — because he’s terribly misinformed, or because he is knowingly spreading dangerous untruths –he should hang his head in shame.
Can he truly not know about radical Islam’s goal of a world-wide caliphate, ruled by Sharia — and that advancement of this goal precipitates terrorism? A peace treaty between Israel and the PA would have zero effect on Al-Qaeda or the Taliban or Iran’s advancement towards nuclear weapons. Is he not aware that the presence of a Jewish state in the region is anathema to many Muslim states and groups for religious reasons, so that — rather than embracing it — they would be upset by a treaty that further legitimized Israel? Does he not realize that most Arabs don’t really care about the Palestinian Arabs — no matter how they use the issue as a convenient rallying cry? We know this because of their failure to contribute to Palestinian Arab wellbeing via such conduits as UNRWA and their reluctance to make Palestinian Arabs welcome in their lands.
Shall we all chip in and buy Bill Clinton a “Terrorism for Dummies”?
In just a couple of short statements by Clinton there is so much to take on. But I won’t deal here with the suggestion that we “displaced” the Arabs. That’s a posting for another day.
“The Good News Corner”
Known for its health benefits because of a high level of antioxidants and other factors, the pomegranate — rimon — is very popular in Israel.
And so it was that in the Galil, a winery (called Rimon) for producing a unique tasting pomegranate wine was established by Gabi Nachmias. It has grown enormously, putting out a port, a bubbly wine, a dry wine and a sweet wine. Over 750,000 liters of wine are bottled annually, with some shipped as far away as Japan.