A piece by Jerusalem Post editorial page editor Saul Singer — "Peace = Capitulation" — that appeared in Friday’s paper provides significant insights with regard to our current situation. Singer writes (all emphasis has been added):
"…The assumption [on the part of officials from the West promoting peace between Israelis and Palestinians] is that both sides want the same thing, yet are too hampered by historical baggage to take the other side’s yes for an answer. But what if this assumption is wrong?
"This reigning hypothesis is unconsciously based on a misunderstanding of the Arab side. As hard as it is for us to comprehend, we must accept that in the Arab mind, peace with Israel – far from success – still represents capitulation, humiliation and defeat.
"…the Arab-Israeli peace that is a shining prize in Western eyes would be a source of shame and mourning for much of the Muslim world.
"In Western eyes, peace is so obviously desirable that the idea that it could be seen negatively is rarely considered. But try, for a moment, to look at the situation through Arab eyes. Peace would be the ultimate ratification of Israel’s existence. It would be seen as an abject surrender to the West’s bid to dominate the Arabs.
"Today, Hamas leaders openly say that their dreams of Israel’s destruction are closer to fruition than any time since 1967. They see the struggle as not only, or even primarily, one of military strength, but of legitimacy. And if it is suddenly and increasingly more legitimate to speak of a world without Israel, why should the Arabs, at this very moment, throw in the towel?
"In this context, what we think of as a ‘political horizon’ designed to tempt Arabs has the opposite effect. How does dressing up defeat make it more tempting?
"Unfortunately, there is no direct way to change the fact that, to the bulk of Arab opinion, peace equals capitulation. All that can be done is to tip the scales of inevitability: from a world where it seems that Israel can be waited out, to one in which Israel is not only growing in strength but in legitimacy.
It may be counterintuitive, but the Palestinians’ many allies who think they are promoting peace by vilifying Israel are doing the opposite. The same goes for Western governments who assume that "evenhandedness" advances peace.
The most pro-peace policy is the one that most convinces the Arabs of Israel’s permanence.
"…When it comes to a "political horizon," the problem is not that the Arabs cannot see a Palestinian state, but that they can see a Jewish one. The Arab world will settle for a Palestinian state only when it is convinced of the permanence of Israel."
Please, read the entire piece at:
Everything has been quiet for some weeks with regard to release of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, but now comes news of "progress" on negotiations. Word is that Israel has offered to release "a few hundred" prisoners (I’m guessing a lot of hundreds) in return for Shalit, but that discussions, which will require several weeks yet, are still going on with regard to which prisoners.
Hamas is blaming Israel for the hold up (which means Israel is balking at release of certain prisoners), and Hamas’s Mashaal, playing about as dirty as he could, appealed to Noam Shalit, Gilad’s father, to pressure the Israeli gov’t to be forthcoming. A vile scenario. My heart goes out to this father, suffering an on-going misery that no parent should know. And yet… and yet… there are limits to what can be legitimately done to free Gilad. Release of terrorists brings with it almost a certainty of more suffering, and more parents who will be mourning.
It certainly seems that this sudden "progress" is connected to the upcoming formation of the unity gov’t and the desire of Hamas to appear "cooperative."
Khaled Abu Toameh of the Post has done an analysis of Abbas’s current situation. Seems Sec. of State Rice, in her recent meeting with him, rebuked Abbas for signing on with Hamas. That would have come as a blow, as Abbas, who claims he had to do this in order to stop Palestinian civil war, had expected the Saudis to sell the US gov’t on the plan. That’s what King Abdullah bin Abdel Aziz had said he would work to do.
According to Abu Toameh’s information, the Saudis pushed Abbas to sign, and a top Abbas aide claims that a deal more favorable to Fatah might have been achieved under other circumstances.
Every time we hear about how "moderate" the Saudis are now, I think it wise to remember this.
Abbas, for his part, is weakened even more than was the case until now. He is facing the ire of Jordan and Egypt, who are not happy with what he did, as this increases the role Iran can play in the region, and he has to deal with the anger of members of his own Fatah party, who are furious because he made too many concessions to Hamas. Reportedly the Fatah Central Committee is boycotting him; one of the prominent members of Fatah taking a stand against him is former PA prime minister Ahmed Qurei (Abu Ala).
Not surprisingly, Abu Toameh says it’s unclear that the unity gov’t will achieve stability. Hamas and Fatah militiamen are still roaming the streets and there are daily incidents. In Gaza City last Friday night and Saturday, four were killed and over 20 wounded. "The feeling on the street is that the two sides have taken a recess and are preparing for the next round of fighting…"
There is one bright spot in the middle of Abbas’s difficulties: France. Abbas has been trotting about Europe trying to sell his version of things, and yesterday France pledged to cooperate. Chirac called the unity agreement the "first step" towards lifting the sanctions against the PA.
Then Philippe Douste-Blazy, French foreign minister, went a lot further in a statement to the press: "I encouraged Mr. Abbas to persevere in his efforts to quickly form a national unity government. If the government is formed according to the power-sharing deal worked out in Mecca last month, France will be ready to cooperate with it. And our country will plead on its behalf within the European Union and with other partners in the international community."
That’s what you call a revolting development. Revolting, but hardly surprising. But at least for now France has not backed up those words with a pledge of funds.
In Shechem (known by the Arabs as Nablus) in Samaria, there have been violent clashes between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers in the last two days as troops from the Reconnaissance Battalion of the Nahal Brigade entered the city and mounted operations aimed at taking out the terrorist infrastructure there, which has served as the major focus for terrorist activities in the region. Two weapons factories have been uncovered in the course of the operation; the one discovered today had an intact anti-tank guided missile launcher (called a LAW), five pipe bombs, a large explosive device, two bottles of TNT, magazines and four sacs of fertilizer to be used in bomb manufacture. Several bulldozers were brought in to demolish the labs. It should be noted that these were the seventh and eighth bomb factories found
by the IDF this year, and it’s only February.
The current operation was motivated at least in part by the fact that last Wednesday a would-be suicide bomber coming out of Samaria was caught in an apartment south of Tel Aviv. Said one officer, "They are persistently trying to send terrorists into Israel…"
Actually, what he said was that they did this, "without any consideration for the so-called diplomatic process." IDF officials involved did not miss the opportunity to refer to the Palestinians as "two-faced" with regard to their talk about diplomacy.
The IDF has imposed full closure on the city — with concrete barriers set up and air cover provided — and has taken several buildings where terrorists are known to be hiding. A house to house search for some seven or eight wanted Al Aksa Brigades members is being conducted and at least one so far has been arrested. The IDF said the operation will continue until its goals have been achieved.
This is good news — that we are taking necessary action to protect ourselves. Would that I could impart such news more often.
But allow me to share the response of Palestinian leadership. Said Saeb Erekat: "We condemn this military incursion. This will undermine the efforts that are being made to sustain the cease-fire with Israel." Said Abbas: “This is a violation of the agreements of the three-way summit. Israel is trying to sabotage efforts to mend confidences and to threaten the implementation of the Mecca deal. Israel must stop its aggression against the Palestinians.”
Could it be any more ludicrous? Is the world willing to see it? Palestinians build weapons intended to kill innocent Israelis. When Israel takes out these weapons, and hunts down those who would launch the attacks, WE are accused of being aggressive, and undermining confidence between the sides. If there is one thing the Palestinians have in huge supply it’s chutzpah (effrontery).
As to our threatening the Mecca deal with this — hey, it’s shaky anyway and from the Palestinians’ perspective it’s good to have us to point fingers at. If the Mecca deal falls apart, this will be our fault, just as everything always is.
Not a word, not a single solitary word from PA leadership about the terrorist operations. They are totally and absolutely without shame.
Military Intelligence, the Mossad, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), the Foreign Ministry’s intelligence division and the National Security Council today presented an annual intelligence summary to the Cabinet. Consensus was that the greatest danger we face now is of a major confrontation in Gaza, as the Palestinians continue to arm there. Security heads agreed that ultimately the unity government of the PA will be accepted by the international community even without adhering to stipulated benchmarks.
The Daily Telegraph of London has reported that Israel is negotiating with the US with regard to an air corridor through US-controlled airspace for Israeli warplanes to utilize on a mission to Iran. The paper quoted an "unnamed" Israeli defense official as saying that planning for all scenarios was being done. There has been a vigorous denial by deputy defense minister Ephraim Sneh, which does not necessarily amount to a hill of beans, especially as no other gov’t official has been heard from on this.
Most Israelis — while agreeing that Iran cannot be permitted to go nuclear — would rather see the US handle the situation. However, according to analyst Anshel Pfeffer, a growing minority of Israelis are starting to think that there might be advantages to having Israel go it alone in spite of greater risks of repercussions. We would be doing a favor for our American ally at time when the president’s hands may be tied, and would be rebuilding our deterrence.
See my latest piece, on the fight for the Temple Mount, at:
This posting can be found at: https://www.arlenefromisrael.info/current-postings/2007/2/25/posted-february-25-2007.html