It’s difficult to know where to begin.
In my last report I indicated that matters had cooled just slightly with regard to Syria and our alleged invasion of their airspace. But now that seems to not be the case after all. Yesterday, the Syrian Vice President, Farouk al-Shara, while in Italy, provided an interview for La Republica, in which he indicated that "the military and political echelon is looking into a series of responses as we speak. Results are forthcoming." Today there have been unconfirmed rumors of a partial mobilization of reserves in Syria, which, if true, may or may not be connected to the incident with the planes.
Meanwhile, Turkey is making inquiries of Israel with regard to fuel tanks dropped at its border with Syria. These, presumably, would be what the Syrians referred to as "munitions," but the tanks bear no Israeli identity. And while there has been inquiry, there has been no formal protest by Turkey.
And so, this all gets curiouser and curiouser . No information is forthcoming from the government, which refuses to acknowledge or deny that Israeli planes were in Syrian airspace. The only breach in the silence was from Israeli Minister Ghaleb Majadle, minister of culture and sports, who told an Arab newspaper in Nazareth on Friday that Israeli planes enter Syrian all space all of the time and this would not start a war. (He was then advised to refrain from further comment.)
Did Israel do something risky? Was this something routine that the Syrians are using to foment tensions or justify attack? Have no answers.
As to what hit the news at the end of last week regarding the offer made by Ramon to Fayyad: It makes no sense with regard to the rights and the security of Israel, and is nothing short of obscene. On every issue except "return of refugees" — which no government here could accede to — the government seems to be caving.
Remember that famous (or infamous) letter given by Bush to Sharon before the "disengagement"? Sharon kept insisting that Bush was guaranteeing our right to retain major settlement blocs. There were those of us who didn’t believe it. We were correct. The push from the US is to get us to accede to a plan that pushes us back to the Green Line. And so, because the government is making a bid to retain 3% – 8% of the land beyond the Green Line, where some major settlements are (with other major settlements projected to be dismantled), the government — according to what Ramon proposed — would also offer land WITHIN the Green Line to the Palestinians to compensate. As if we have no right to anything beyond the Green Line.
The Green Line was a temporary armistice line never intended to be permanent. In fact, the armistice agreement signed with Jordan in 1949 specifically says that the armistice line is not to prejudice subsequent talks on final borders.
Additionally, Resolution 242 in 1967 indicated that there should be withdrawal from lands taken, but not from ALL lands taken. The understanding was that we had a right to secure borders and that the Green Line (which Abba Eban called the "Auschwitz Border") was not a secure border for us.
World opinion not withstanding, Judea and Samaria is NOT Palestinian land. It is land that has no legally defined ownership — unclaimed land from the period of the Mandate. And, it should be noted, Israel’s claim to this land — because of the Mandate and because it was taken by Israel in a defensive war — is stronger than the Palestinian claim.
And yet, our government is playing along. The US wants to make the so-called "moderate" Arab states happy, and this is what is being demanded.
With this, it should be noted (for the millionth time, and I’ll note it for the billionth time if necessary) that the Palestinians don’t have their act together. They are a terrorist entity without a civil infrastructure. Thus, even if (and I don’t buy that "if") the Palestinians were entitled to a state, they wouldn’t be entitled to it now. No government in its right mind accedes power to a terrorist entity at its border that is sworn to destroy it.
I’m speaking about Fatah here. Their charter calls for Israel’s destruction.
This is without considering Hamas strength in Judea and Samaria — with its 80,000 guns and plans to take over.
And yet our government, which is NOT in its right mind, is offering the PA territory and ultimately establishment of what would be a terrorist state.
There is a very dangerous game being played here. Olmert and company are alluding to this offer as only a "political horizon" — offered in order to motivate the Palestinians to moderate and get their act together. Ostensibly, unless the PA came through on its part of the deal, we would have no obligations. Sounds good, but it is not realistic. It has been shown again and again that the world cuts the Palestinians slack. Once we commit to something, we would be pushed into giving it, even if Fatah didn’t get its act together. Take a look at the Oslo process if you doubt this: Arafat never came through on any commitment and we kept doing more and more.
We are being warned by some very savvy analysts that we’re going to be walking into a serious trap when we attend that conference.
Olmert and Ramon have already shown they themselves don’t take seriously the need for the PA to deliver before receiving anything from us. Ramon has offered that "good faith" gesture. He says as soon as a deal is signed — BEFORE the PA has delivered on anything — we’ll turn over three Arab neighborhoods of eastern Jerusalem to them. Does it get any crazier? To divide Jerusalem and put terrorists in charge of part of our city? To give it to a weak/terrorist-affiliated Abbas, who might be co-opted by Hamas?
On this subject, I provide a link to an article "We’ve been warned," by Elyakim Haetzni, an attorney and former MK living in Kiryat Arba. It needs to be read.
There is a major anti-terrorism conference in Herzliya at present. Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter, in remarks at the conference opening last night, said:
"Now is not the time to discuss a permanent agreement with the Palestinians. After the [Hamas takeover] in Gaza, it’s inappropriate to talk of a permanent agreement. The basic precondition for talks on a permanent agreement is a partner in these talks whom we know is solidly grounded.
"There isn’t a chance to have a comprehensive permanent agreement under the existing conditions and anyone who thinks it’s the way to go needs to open their eyes and stop dreaming."
When asked about what steps he thinks should be taken to strengthen Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, he responded that "we don’t need to think about how to mold them. We need to think of how to mold ourselves."
Well, mazel tov!
Dichter told the Post that the PA is surviving in Judea and Samaria because of IDF actions there. If the PA turns a blind eye to terrorist activities, he concluded, they could lose Judea and Samaria as they lost Gaza.
But, at the end of the day, Dichter is part of Kadima, and so, in spite of the clear-eyed vision he has on much of this issue, he slips at the end. When asked about Olmert-Abbas talks, which continue in spite of all he has described, he explained: "Wh
at is happening now is not a final status agreement but rather a temporary agreement. It is conditioned on processes that need to be carried out in the West Bank."
And I’m saying not to buy this: A so-called "temporary agreement" spells trouble. Once we commit, we’ll be seen as tied into certain arrangements.
And here’s the trap: According to the Post, "PA Prime Minister Fayyad has just made a statement that the conference in November must produce an ‘explicit agreement on the establishment of a Palestinian state,’ as well as a binding timetable and international guarantees for the completion of an Israeli-Palestinian agreement."
Get us to agree to certain things , tie us to a "binding" timetable (binding = binding on us, not dependent on PA actions), and get international commitments so that there is plenty of pressure on us to follow through.
Secretary-General of the Arab League Amr Moussa in Italy (most certainly for the same conference that brought the Syrian Vice President there) has, according to YNet, made a statement regarding the peace negotiations and the November conference. Everything can be on the table, he says, but the evacuation by Israel of the settlements must come first, i.e., before negotiations on the other issues in November.
If this is accurate, then it occurs to me that it creates what may be the necessary stumbling block. Even Olmert’s government cannot evacuate the settlements by November. This has happened before: Israel offers concessions that are enormous, but they turn out to not be enough for the Arabs, who want it all. And, expecting to get it all, they get nothing.
Abbas is due here in Jerusalem tomorrow to meet with Olmert again. Abbas associates say he will raise the issues of Jerusalem, refugees and borders. Olmert’s spokeswoman said the "political horizon" would be discussed, along with economic and security issues. This is comes ahead of a planned visit by Condoleezza Rice, who is due here next week.
At the end of September the Quartet is to meet in Washington with members of the Arab League.
Reports surfaced last week from Palestinian sources that members of the IDF working inside Gaza and disguised as Arabs captured Muhawesh al-Kadi, a senior Hamas terrorist directly involved with the Shalit kidnapping. Reportedly, they were then picked up by an IDF helicopter.
The IDF has denied the story.
Last Thursday, the IDF and Shin Bet (Israeli Security) caught terrorists trying to smuggle a car bomb and several suicide bombers into Israel at the Kissufim crossing in central Gaza. Security forces intercepted the car, and blew it up, killing the seven terrorists who were inside.
Today, a Palestinian youth was caught at the Beit Iba checkpoint, near Nablus (Shechem), with three pipe bombs that were going to be used in a terror attack in Tel Aviv.
Yuval Diskin, head of the Shin Bet is reporting that terror groups in Judea and Samaria are increasing their attempts to carry out terror attacks.