Tonight is Christmas Eve and to my Christian friends I extend greetings of peace.
I only regret that the news isn’t more in accord with this spirit. But it doesn’t pay to get too hopeful about improvements in the world situation, for that hope is likely to be dashed in one way or another, in the near future at least. We all must hold on to hope for the long term.
The UN Security Council at long last has imposed sanctions against Iran. Resolution 8928 says that "all States shall take the necessary measures to prevent the supply, sale or transfer directly or indirectly from their territories, or by their nationals or using their flag vessels or aircraft to, or for the use in or benefit of, Iran…of all items, materials, equipment, goods and technology which could contribute to Iran’s enrichment-related, reprocessing or heavy water-related activities, or to the development of nuclear weapon delivery systems…"
This is fine. This is good. But it came too late in the game. And it is an open secret that there are nations that will ignore this and proceed to work with Iran anyway.
Bottom line: Only military intervention is going to make a difference.
Ahmadinejad, in typically bellicose fashion, responded by saying that those who voted for the resolution would soon regret it. "We will celebrate our atomic achievements in February [rather than March as broadly hinted until now]," he declared, vowing to step up the pace of his uranium enrichment.
Prime Minister Olmert had an official visitor in his Jerusalem residence last night: PA President Mahmoud Abbas. They kissed each other on meeting, and then sat and talked over dinner, with Israeli and Palestinian flags hanging in the room. A Palestinian flag hanging in the room.
A revolting turn of events from where I sit.
There are analysts who are saying that there’s nothing much in this directly for either Olmert or Abbas. In fact, it was pointed out by one commentator that Abbas’s association with Israel, given the radical mood in the PA, would not serve him well. It was thought that this was primarily a show to keep the West happy: Look everyone, we’re talking! And indeed, a representative of the EU has put out a statement: "The EU supports any moves that can contribute to reinvigorating the peace process." Right, that again.
But, unfortunately, this analysis does not seem to be on the mark. It appears as if Abbas is coming out ahead here, and we’re looking dumber and weaker by the day. It pains me to write this:
The first thing Olmert announced is that he would be releasing $100 million of the tax revenues frozen by Israel since Hamas came into power. Olmert was quick to offer assurances that this money would go only for humanitarian purposes and would circumvent the Hamas government. Forgive my cynicism, but money is fungible. Apparently he has also agreed to taking down some checkpoints in Judea-Samaria.
Then Olmert came to the Cabinet today to discuss the possibility of releasing prisoners in a "good will gesture" before the coming Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, even before Shalit is released — apparently in response to a request made by Abbas.
He began with this introductory statement: "From the first day I went into office I expressed my desire to meet Abu Mazen [Abbas], but due to pressures, internal problems and other issues, the meeting did not take place.
"Yesterday, after I expressed my desire more than once to hold the meeting without any preconditions, the PA chairman accepted and was a guest at my home…"
This is sickening. There is no dignity here. It’s such a great honor to have Abbas in your home?
Then, when he addressed the issue of releasing prisoners, he declared, ""It’s time to show flexibility and generosity on this issue." What??
Ministers Peretz, Mofaz and Peres seem to think it’s just a peachy keen idea. Said Peretz, "The gestures are an interest of Israel, and we are willing to extend some more."
This issue will be decided by a divided Knesset.
Rather than comment myself, I cite MK Effi Eitam (National Union), who says it just right: "Olmert granted a reward to the Palestinians while under fire and thereby invited additional violence. As long as the cease-fire is not being kept and Gilad Shalit is not home, Olmert basically gave a prize to Abbas for not respecting agreements."
It should be noted that we’ve now had 51 rockets launched at us from Gaza since the start of the "ceasefire." What is more, by the end of last week Olmert declared that he didn’t want to respond to the rocket launchings because this would work against Abbas.
Everything we do, it seems, is for Abbas’s sake. That Abbas hasn’t done much of anything for us, and is not likely to, is something that Olmert conveniently ignores. Abbas has been in bed with the terrorists from the day he took office and has demonstrated no moderation.
So what is going on here and what is in Olmert’s mind, such as it may be?
It’s possible that Olmert has some notion that Hamas will go down and Abbas will gain ascendancy. But as I have just indicated, there is no reason to think we’ll end up in a good place even if he does.
There are reports — alarming reports — that the Bush administration, in response to international pressure, is considering the promotion of a temporary Palestinian state without final borders by the end of 2007. Please understand that this will ostensibly be done within the framework of the Road Map. However, the Road Map calls for the dismantling of terrorism as a first step (a step Israel has always insisted upon) and the Bush administration would skip right over this.
As the Forward reported: "A diplomatic official argued that, because of the chaos in the Palestinian Authority, the Israeli demands are no longer relevant, since it is clear that there is no Palestinian leader who can deliver on the issue of fighting terror."
Can you believe this? There’s no leader to stop terrorism, but they can have a state. In the midst of the chaos that is being acknowledged, a state. What kind of state could it possibly be? They don’t care, as long as they helped bring about a "two state solution." It is a sort of insanity that I would never have imagined could prevail.
And in the face of this disaster, Olmert plays the good guy to the international set.
The important thing, you see, is that it would help Bush curry favor with "moderate" Arab states and presumably secure greater stability in Iraq. If Israel suffers in the process — Hey! It’s only Israel. That doesn’t have to concern the US too much. We are, unquestionably, expendable.
And Israel has a prime minister that does not know how to protect her. Or doesn’t wish to.
According to the Middle East Newsline, the State Department has blocked the transfer to Israel of weapons and technology over the last three months. One source cited in the MENL report said, "…there is a serious problem that reflects the marginalization of Israel in U.S. strategy." The marginalization of Israel…
Friends of Israel reading this in the US: Know that your role will be very important in the weeks and months ahead as responses to the gov’t will be called for. We cannot sit still in the face of this. If
I did not know you were all there, I would be considerably more bereft.
This posting can be found at: https://www.arlenefromisrael.info/current-postings/2006/12/24/posted-december-24-2006.html