I would like to paint an upbeat and optimistic picture of the situation here. But I cannot. Not today, at any rate.
My feeling is that the bad guys are winning.
Hamas is presenting itself as more "moderate." Incredible, when one studies the content of the unity platform, which calls for "right of return" and insists Palestinians have a "right" to wage terrorist war against Israel. (Actually, these guys seem to declare more "rights" for themselves than any other group I know of.) But it’s so.
The new PA Foreign Minister Ziad Abu Amr has now said that recognition of Israel is "implicit" within the platform:
"I think this is a very moderate political program. I think it addresses every single condition of the Quartet. There is no reason whatsoever for any country, after this political program is embraced by the new Palestinian government, to continue with the boycott….
"We expect members of the international community…to review their old position, to change it and to start dealing with the new government. I think the Palestinians have made so many steps forward and we expect reciprocity."
Worse yet is the statement of PA Information Minister Mustafa Barghouti, who calls the government’s political program "very progressive."
"This is a government that must be accepted and dealt with by the entire international community, if there is justice in this world. We are recognizing and accepting and honoring the existing agreements. The president [Abbas] is assigned…by the government to negotiate with Israel. This government says that our goal is the establishment of an independent, sovereign and democratic Palestinian state in the 1967 borders.
"If Israel wants recognition, it has to recognize the Palestinians as well. Today there is no excuse for anybody not to accept the government unless they want us to remain slaves of occupation and Israel, which will never happen.
"The question is why all these conditions on Palestinians, who are the oppressed party, while no conditions are put on Israel, which is not respecting any existing agreements. The world must be just and that means a fair attitude and stopping the bias to Israel."
My response to this is something it would not be appropriate to share within this forum.
But there are several things I must point out.
— The goal of establishment of a state in the ’67 borders:
There were no ’67 "borders," there were only armistice lines (called the Green Line); borders were supposed to be set by subsequent negotiations. Jordan, which had control of Judea & Samaria at the time of the armistice in ’49, agreed that the armistice arrangements would not prejudice future negotiations with regard to final borders. Remember, there was no Palestinian entity then — all dealings in this region were with Jordan. Yet these lines are now presented to the world as something sacred. But they are not sacred and are not acceptable to Israel — withdrawing to these lines would mean not only relinquishing all of Judea & Samaria, but also the Golan and eastern Jerusalem, with Judaism’s most sacred site, the Temple Mount, and the adjacent Kotel.
— The Palestinians are recognizing and accepting and honoring the existing agreements:
This is a blatant lie. Honoring previous agreements — in the sense of abiding by them –is one of the Quartet benchmarks that Hamas has refused to accept. The unity platform speaks of respecting agreements, which is slippery language that falls short of willingness to abide by them. The PA government considers itself bound by nothing that is not in its best interest. It specifically says as much within the platform.
— Recognition of Israel "implicit" within the platform:
No it is not. The claim that is being made — that if the Palestinians want a state within ’67 lines then obviously it is intended that there should be an Israeli state on the other side of the lines — is absolutely fallacious. There is nothing in the platform that acknowledges Israel’s right to exist within any lines.
What is more, the charters of Hamas, Fatah and the PLO all call for the destruction of Israel. While the openly declared desire is for a state within those ’67 lines, the goal, finally, is to have all of "Palestine." The insistence on the "return" of refugees inside the Green Line is intended as a major step towards Israel’s destruction.
— The program as "progressive":
This is perhaps most laughable of all. Do not be fooled. The region administered by the PA is devoid of much of what we consider essential human rights, with repression of women severe. What is most notable in the platform is that along with all the requisite but ultimately meaningless statements about being committed to "social justice" and so forth, there is a commitment: "[to] reinforce the values of Shura." What is Shura? It is an Islamic concept, based on injunctions in the Koran, and refers to certain kinds of consultative councils. The Islamic basis for this is significant. It is a reminder that the vision of Hamas is the establishment of a society ruled by Shari’a — Islamic law, which sort of precludes its being democratic, pluralistic and all the rest.
— Official assignment to Abbas by the government of the task of negotiations with Israel.
True, but only in one sense. Abbas is not charged with negotiations with Israel on behalf of the unity gov’t, but on behalf of the PLO. This is one more instance of game playing. For it now turns out that, according to the final gov’t platform, any agreement struck by Abbas on behalf of the PLO must then be brought back to the Palestinian National Council for ratification or submitted to a referendum.
— The tone that is struck.
Please note that when referring to the Palestinians terms such as "slaves" and "oppressed" are used. This is consistent with the effort to present the Palestinians as victims in need of succor, battling an oppressing, aggressive, militant, overpowering Israel.
The reality is painfully at odds with this picture: Israel has been extraordinarily reticent in her use of power (ridiculously so – honoring a non-existent ceasefire); the militancy lies with the PA forces and terrorists. The Palestinians are the cause of their own suffering – if a state were their true goal, they would have had it by now.
Note also the astonishing insistence on what "must" be "if there is justice in this world." This tone of moral superiority, coming from them, is fairly intolerable.
The Israeli Cabinet today voted overwhelmingly to approve Olmert’s position of boycotting the new government. Olmert continues to say he will maintain contact with Abbas on humanitarian issues only.
At present the US is also holding strong and I am grateful for this. A State Dept. spokesman has called the platform "disturbing" and Haniyeh’s first speech "disappointing."
The Bush administration has said they will deal only with Abbas and with other members of the gov’t on a case by case basis. I have read that informal US contact will be maintained with Salam Fayad (Fatah), expected to be the new finance minister, and a man with a reputation for integrity.
I would like to request here that President Bush b
e sent words of appreciation for his strong position with regard to the new Palestinian unity gov’t, and that he be urged to maintain that position. A simple message is fine, but let him hear from you if you are an American citizen.
President George Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500
White House Comment Line (probably open only on workdays):
202-456-1111 TTY/TDD Comment line; 202-456-6213
Fax: 202 – 456-2411
Unfortunately, we there is also the parade of nations and persons willing to buy into this vision of a newly moderating PA government, and thus endorsing support for/dealings with it. This is a process that has not yet played itself out. The new PA foreign minister is beginning to receive invitations to meetings in European capitals.
Here in Israel we are dealing with a fifth column within the Israeli Arab population, and this is exhibited, most distressingly, even within the Knesset. Notions of democracy and free speech, and a sense of political correctness (a fear of being called racist), have prevented strong action in this regard. I do not think this can be ignored much longer.
There are several matters that have arisen of late:
Dr. Dan Schueftan, deputy director of the National Security Studies Center at the University of Haifa, made waves in January when he made a presentation to the Herzliya Conference regarding a document that had been released by the Higher Monitoring Committee for the Arab Population in Israel, a forum of Israeli-Arab leaders. The document, said Schueftan, described the vision of Israeli-Arabs to replace Israel with a bi-national state, along with a mechanism for ultimately turning it into an Arab state.
"The lack of legitimacy of the national Jewish state is the source of the problem…This is a reality for which there is no fix. The Palestinian national minority in Israel has a consensus view demanding recognition by the Jews of their exclusive guilt and their own lack of legitimacy, as well as an agreement to destroy the national Jewish project.”
Now the Higher Committee for the Arab Population in Israel has made the news again, as Strategic Affairs Minister Avigdor Lieberman has begun to address what he refers to as a "worrisome and dangerous union" between this forum and the new PA unity gov’t.
With this we are seeing some very unacceptable actions on the part of Arab Israeli MKs.
MK Ibrahim Sarsur, chair of United Arab List – Ta’al party, went to a "Jerusalem First" Conference in Ramallah. There he called upon Arabs to "liberate" Jerusalem. "If we act in concert, we can become a torrent on the road to liberation." He said that Israeli plans for the al-Aksa mosque must be resisted. "Muslims around the world need to concentrate their energies on Jerusalem…because Jerusalem is the central and most dangerous issue and thus must form the banner and the framework for the struggle."
Another Israeli Arab, MK Mohammed Barakeh, head of the Hadash party, attended the conference. "We need to coordinate Palestinian actions," he told the gathering, "making them more organized and giving them more leverage…Jerusalem is first and foremost a national issue, not just a religious issue. Jerusalem is the capital of the Palestinian state."
Excuse me, but these guys are members of the parliament of Israel. They shouldn’t be, but they are. MK Tzvi Hendel (NU/NRP) has called them treasonous for their support of our enemy, and called for their removal from the Knesset.
And then there is the Minister of Science, Culture and Sport, Raleb Majadele. Majadele, of the Labor party, had been a member of the Knesset for almost three years when Peretz elevated him to a position in the government. First, briefly he was minister without portfolio, and then, when there was a jockeying of positions for which Labor was responsible, he was given the Ministry of Science, Culture and Sport. There was a furor when he was appointed; concern expressed that he would be privy to sensitive scientific information related to defense issues was quickly shot down.
No one is accusing him of anything remotely resembling treason. But Majadele, while a member of a Zionist party, has made it clear that he is not a Zionist. And now he has caused waves because he refuses to sing Hatikva, the Israeli national anthem, because he’s not a Jew.
MK Ariyeh Eldad (NU/NRP) promptly stated that a man who refuses to sing the national anthem should not be a minister of the state. MK Zevulun Orlev (NU/NRP) expressed anger as well, saying, "Majadele’s statements should raise deep concern. They represent a clear violation of his ministerial oath to be loyal to the State of Israel.”
The crux of the issue, of course, is that the state is a Jewish state.
This posting can be found at: https://www.arlenefromisrael.info/current-postings/2007/3/18/posted-march-18-2007.html