Each time that I think the situation has come close to rock bottom, another element working against Israel (and the genuine interests of the Western world) surfaces.
Recommendations of the Baker-Hamilton Commission on how to proceed in Iraq have not been formally announced as yet, but they have been leaked. A major — and hugely horrendous — proposal is that Iran and Syria be "engaged" in negotiations in order to work out an exit strategy for the US from Iraq. This we have known for several days.
But Syria also knows this and is now playing its hand with this proposal in mind. Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem began a visit to Iraq today. Reports are that he will be seeing American officials there, and will let it be known that any Syrian cooperation comes with a price. The Sunday Times (London) quotes a Baath official as saying, "Syria will not do anything unless it has secured guarantees from Washington and London that every action Damascus takes to help them will be reciprocated. It will be a step by step scenario: these actions for those actions.”
And guess what Assad’s "top demand" is? That Washington and London pressure us to give him the Golan Heights.
The Syrians are major purveyors of terrorism and unrest in the Middle East. That they should — by virtue of American policy — be able to parlay themselves into a position of demanding something of the US, something that is not in the best interests of Israel, should be of concern to every American, as well as every Israeli.
Should American officials be foolish and shortsighted enough to agree to this demand it would go badly not only for Israel, but for the US, which would be seen by terrorist agencies as totally powerless and thus vulnerable. In the long run this would increase, not decrease terrorism. In fact, what is obvious is that the audacity of Syria in presuming to make such a demand is a result of the perception that has already been fostered that the US is caving. There is only one appropriate response to these Syrians demands, but I’ll refrain from using such language here. The Syrians should understand that what they’d get for stopping their involvement in terrorism is that the US would refrain from actions against them. That would be sufficient if they believed in the power of those actions. They don’t.
Right now, the bad guys are winning…
Unfortunately, I have not an iota of confidence that our present Israeli gov’t would tell the Americans where to get off, if pressured to give up the Golan as a favor to the US (to make it easier for the US to pull out of Iraq, no less — which is not in Israel’s best interest).
On a related note: (Syrian supported) Hezbollah is on the verge of mounting a coup in Lebanon and taking over.
Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter caused something of a furor at today’s Cabinet meeting by stating, "…it’s about time the government instructs the IDF to present a plan on halting the Kassam fire from Gaza….there was not even one case in which the government instructed the IDF to present a plan aimed at halting, and not reducing, the Kassam fire from Gaza to Israel. Therefore, the IDF did not present the government or the cabinet with such a plan."
Defense Minister Peretz, responding defensively (yes, the pun was deliberate), expressed annoyance at those who give the impression that everything possible is not being done against the Kassams. Said he, "I ordered large-scale operations in Gaza … There is no plan that was presented to me to reduce Kassam fire that was not approved."
But did he pay attention to his own words? He has proved Dichter’s point: He approved plans to reduce Kassam fire. The difference between that and truly trying to stop the Kassams is significant.
Yuval Diskin, head of Shin Bet (Security) also briefed the Cabinet today. As to the PA unity government, which may yet come to be, he said that while it would create a new political reality and gain increased international legitimacy, the Israeli government should not kid itself…"when it comes to the pragmatism of the matter, they (Hamas) expect everyone to fall in line with them, that they’ll be able to stick to their principles, despite the fact that the political platform – which is still being negotiated – will apparently meet the demands of the Quartet."
Why am I not surprised?
Diskin said that there is no real power confronting Hamas: "Abu-Mazen without the Fatah behind him – it’s hollow, an inflated balloon without substance."
Note that he reported, additionally, that, "The Palestinian Authority can afford to survive on its own for at least another six months. They’re not in a humanitarian crisis."
Hamas political leader Khaled Mashaal this morning warned that the United States and Israel would suffer serious losses if the "siege on the Palestinian people" continued [after a unity gov’t was formed]. In fact, I read a report that Hamas wants guarantees that economic sanctions would be lifted if they participate in that unity government. Hey, no sense in going to all that trouble for nothing, huh?
Since there is so much foolish talk of re-starting negotiations via the Road Map, I thought it would be helpful if I shared the very first provisions of that plan, with regard to what is expected of the PA:
"Palestinian leadership issues unequivocal statement reiterating Israel’s right to exist in peace and security and calling for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire to end armed activity and all acts of violence against Israelis anywhere. All official Palestinian institutions end incitement against Israel.
"Palestinians declare an unequivocal end to violence and terrorism and undertake visible efforts on the ground to arrest, disrupt, and restrain individuals and groups conducting and planning violent attacks on Israelis anywhere.
"Rebuilt and refocused Palestinian Authority security apparatus begins sustained, targeted, and effective operations aimed at confronting all those engaged in terror and dismantlement of terrorist capabilities and infrastructure. This includes commencing confiscation of illegal weapons and consolidation of security authority, free of association with terror and corruption."
In your wildest, your very wildest, dreams, can you imagine these things happening now?
Then, you may ask, how can the Road Map be used as the basis of negotiations? The answer: They want to skip all of this bother and just go straight to the establishment of a Palestinian state.
I am not being flip.
At the GA (General Assembly of the United Jewish Communities) on November 13, in Los Angeles, MK Binyamin Netanyahu gave an absolutely stunning talk. It can be accessed at:
I strongly recommend that you view it and share it with others.
This posting can be found at: https://www.arlenefromisrael.info/current-postings/2006/11/19/posted-november-19-2006.html