The Arabs are playing games, but there is nothing funny about it. They’re attempting to put the squeeze on Israel as a step towards destroying her. And a prime facilitator of this squeeze is the "moderate" Saudi Arabia.
The issue is the Saudi peace plan. They’re not happy that Israel wants changes, primarily with regard to the "return of refugees." Saudi foreign affairs minister Saud Al-Faisal indicated that there was nothing to talk about. “This is not a good way to do business,” he declared. “We have no desire to negotiate over this…"
Another of the regions vaunted "moderates," Jordan’s king Abdullah, commented last night that extremism would increase if Israel refused to come to the negotiating table. (Actually, I’ve observed that terrorism increases when we are too conciliatory in negotiations.)
And a spokesman for that third "moderate," Mubarak of Egypt, said ”Israel cannot pick and choose from the initiative and then jump into establishing normal relations with Arabs.”
Farouk al-Sharaa, vice president of Syria, which isn’t even pretending moderation, made a fairly straightforward statement: ”We have the Arab peace plan and we are committed to it as a whole. Talk about amending it is baseless. What we want is returning all the occupied land including Jerusalem [eastern Jerusalem and the old city].” (emphasis added)
Including Jerusalem: No sharing of holy places. They want it in their hands exclusively.
On the one hand, I am infuriated by their deviousness and lack of sincerity. They are talking about negotiations, but they have set non-negotiable terms before coming to the table. What would we negotiate — the speed with which we were to pull out?
But their lack of genuine desire to negotiate peace is clear for all to see. And ultimately this intransigence is going to save us from ourselves just one more time. Even Olmert — who would love to give them Judea and Samaria — cannot accede to what they propose.
A recent Shabak (Shin Bet — secret service) report touches upon a matter of considerable importance and sensitivity. An internal Shabak document that has been released says that Israeli Arabs are a long term threat to the nation because of their increasing solidarity with terrorist elements. It suits the purposes of terrorists in Judea and Samaria to recruit Israeli Arabs for their operations as they have greater mobility and are useful for such things as transporting weapons. Last year 21 small Israeli Arab terror cells were uncovered.
But there is also another factor at play here. It is not simply a matter of Arabs who are Israeli citizens being recruited by terrorists. The document indicates that some 40% of the Israeli Arabs who were found to be involved with terrorism had originally come from Judea or Samaria. They married women who were Israeli citizens and were then granted residency. I don’t know if all of them married these women specifically to gain mobility within the Green Line — though most assuredly some did. It may be that those whose roots are in villages in Judea or Samaria are more susceptible to recruitment by terrorists from those areas, terrorists they may even know.
Because of this situation, Israel has set in place in recent years restrictions on the circumstances under which Arabs from outside of the Green Line can gain entry by virtue of marriage to an Israeli Arab. Human rights activists occasionally protest that this represents a deprivation of human rights, but it makes perfect sense to me.
Another contentious issue. Peace Now, the organization that strives mightily to delegitimize the settlement endeavor in Judea and Samaria, made a charge last November that 86% of Maale Adumim, the largest of the "settlements" (a city of some 30,000 just 4 miles east of Jerusalem) had been built on private Arab land.
A word of explanation: I wrote yesterday about Israel’s right to build in Judea and Samaria — with certain stipulations. This is probably the major one. Building is legal if done on public lands. (There are even different catagories of public land. It is complex because this was Ottoman Empire land and then British controlled land under the Mandate and then Jordanian occupied land; there are land records and rules from different time periods.) It is not OK to take land that belongs privately to Arabs. If 86% of Maaele Adumim were taken from private Arabs then it would be an illegitimate venture.
At the time the charge was made, Peace Now demanded to see a military database and was backed up by the courts. Turns out that the database shows that 0.5% of Maale Adumim was built on private Arab lands. That’s one half of one percent.
Apparently Peace Now had previously acquired faulty data. So, I guess Maale Adumim can stay put, huh?
There are two factors with regard to this that I would like to examine further:
The entire business of what land is privately owned by Arabs is not nearly as clear cut as one might assume. The reason for this is that an Arab caught selling his land to Jews is a dead Arab. (I do not mean this figuratively.) Thus, when an Arab wants to sell his land, he does it with enormous subterfuge, transfering it to someone else out of the country, perhaps, who acts as an agent for the sale. The process is convoluted and lengthy. But this process does occur. The problem is proving that it occurred when the Arab does not want it known; he might swear that no sale took place or might flee the area entirely for reasons of health. Thus…when a Jew is accused of having illegally confiscated private Arab land it is not necessarily so. I am aware of cases in Judea where Jews legitimately acquired land from Arabs and were then accused of providing false documentation, so that they had to enter an extended battle to keep the property.
Then the matter of the courts. I have written about the left-wing involvement of the courts, and this is a case in point, even though matters did not turn out here as had been expected. There is a question as to why the court backed up the Peace Now demand to see military records. Peace Now routinely brings all sorts of suits against those Jews attempting to settle in Judea or Samaria — challenging the Jews’ rights, legal procedures, etc. The courts entertain these suits.
I have been advised by a lawyer here, who originally practiced law in the US (US lawyers are welcome to contact me on this), that many of these suits would be thrown out of court in the US. Peace Now enters the fray without being a party to the conflict. Jews build a house on land that had once been owned by Arabs, and say they had purchased it. The Arabs have not come forward to contradict this statement or to demand their land. The Arabs are silent. Along comes Peace Now, acting not as an agent for the Arabs, but out of "principle." A court might well ask, Who are you? The willingness of the courts to support Peace New involvement reflects a bias.
UNESCO is a UN organization, and so its stance towards Israel comes as no surprise. A team from UNESCO came at the invitation of the gov’t to inspect the site of the Mughrabi bridge construction. On completing that inspection they concluded that this work is not damaging to the Temple Mount and was being done with full transparency.
However… they recommended that Israel stop work until an international inspection team can be put in place. We can’t win with these guys, can we?
According to Khaled Abu Toameh of the Post, Hamas is on the verge of a split over the Mecca A
ccords. Opposition is growing as some senior Hamas officials — fearful of a "trap" by Abbas and the US that will cause them to dilute their ideology — are speaking of a revolt and refused to participate in unity gov’t negotiations. They point to the evidence of a shift in Hamas policy: a willingness to abide by a "truce" and to accept a temporary state in Judea-Samaria and eastern Jerusalem (i.e., instead of fighting for a state in all of "Palestine" immediately). They are concerned about Haniyeh’s announcement that he will be attending the Arab summit in Riyhad, at which the Saudi peace plan will be discussed. And so they are campaigning within different segments of the party. Some clergy are now preaching from the pulpit against the Accords, while leaders of the militia groups are sounding their own warnings.
The irony here, as they protest that too much was surrended in Mecca, is that Abbas did all the caving and Hamas got almost everything it wanted.
Haniyeh has announced that unity gov’t negotiations are complete and the decisions are to be brought to the Palestinian Legislative Council shortly.
Clashes in the street between Fatah and Hamas are growing.
Javier Solana, foreign policy chief for the EU, went to Damascus for meetings today. At a press conference with the Syrian foreign minister, Solana said, "We are interested in working for your country to return to itself the territories that were captured in [the 1967 war]."
Needless to say, this has generated something of a furor here in Israel, especially as this statement was not consistent with what he said to the Knesset not long ago.
Commented MK Nissan Slomiansky (NU/NRP), "Solana should know that if he wants to continue to be a neutral mediator between states in conflict with each other, it is inappropriate that he should choose to travel to a known terror-supporting country and make one-sided statements. If he continues to present a one-sided view the European Union will become irrelevant,"
The notion of an irrelevant EU rather appeals to me.
This posting can be found at: https://www.arlenefromisrael.info/current-postings/2007/3/14/posted-march-14-2007.html