Archive for October, 2010

US angry at Netanyahu for being a Zionist

Wednesday, October 20th, 2010

We are really going to get it after the election, leaks the administration:

Behind the scenes, the Obama administration is still absorbing the fact that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has to date rejected a proposed American compromise package that would have offered various security and other assurances to Israel in exchange for a 60-day renewal of a partial West Bank settlement freeze that expired last month.

The American team is said to be frustrated and upset at Netanyahu’s dismissal to date of the package, which was drafted by the NSC’s Dennis Ross in close consultation with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Israeli negotiator Yitzhak Molho…

“’We put our asses on the line,’” the sense of dismay among the U.S. Middle East team at Netanyahu’s rejection of the U.S. package was described. “’We worked with your defense minister and gave you this amazing deal, all the cover you needed to extend the freeze. And you not only rejected it, but put forward a counterproposal [demanding Palestinian recognition of Israel as a Jewish state] pandering to the right and a stalling tactic.’” — Laura Rozen, Politico

In other words, the ‘team’ is furious that Israel did not accept its package of bribes and promises (here is a sympathetic assessment that details the offer) in return for not insisting that the Palestinian Authority (PA) affirm that an agreement with them is more than a stepping-stone to the replacement of Israel by an Arab state.

Indeed, the ‘team’ views the idea that Israel is the state of the Jewish people as a right-wing idea — when in truth it is Israel’s reason for being. This is like saying that the ideal of individual freedom in the US is a ‘right-wing’ idea!

On May 14, 1948, the state of Israel was established as  “a Jewish state in Eretz-Israel”, and it was immediately recognized by the US. The Palestinian Arabs, who had been at war with the pre-state Jewish settlement for some time, of course refused to accept this. For 62 years they have continued to fight against what they see as ‘occupation’ of ‘their’ land.

The so-called ‘peace process’ is supposed to end this conflict by means of yet another partition of the area of the League of Nations Mandate (the first partition occurred in 1922 when Britain gave 70% of the land to Abdullah, the great-grandfather of the present King Abdullah of Jordan, for an Arab state).

But the conflict will not be ended simply by creating another Arab state if that state and the rest of the world continue to insist that the Jewish state of Israel is illegitimate.

The Obama administration doesn’t put a high priority on ending the conflict. Their immediate objective is the creation of ‘Palestine’, and they will worry about what happens afterward — afterward. They would hate the comparison, but a previous administration made a similar error when it decided to overthrow Saddam Hussein first and worry about the aftermath later.

So now they’re mad at Netanyahu for being a Zionist — how inconvenient — and will need to find some other way to create ‘Palestine’. The leakers continue,

No new plan B is likely to emerge before the November mid-terms. One possibility being mulled — but not decided on – is the administration eventually putting forward American ideas for the basis of an Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement.

In a meeting last week, high level U.S. State Department and NSC officials were asked what’s to stop Netanyahu saying no to such a plan. The answer the officials gave was there are ways to put things forward that he can’t say no to.

Some analysts also see a possibility that Netanyahu might be pushed to consider eventually bringing opposition Kadima leader Tzipi Livni into his governing coalition if he wants to move forward on the peace track. Quiet feelers and conversations have been described taking place.

In other words, the US will dictate terms and force Netanyahu to accept them (if Rahm Emanuel were still there, he could send Bibi a dead fish). Note that despite the fact that the US provides a large part of the subsidy that keeps the PA alive, it is unable or unwilling to pressure it to accept Netanyahu’s condition for extending the freeze — otherwise it would have done that already.

Another option will be to force regime change in Israel, to gain a more cooperative government. This seems to be based on the assumption that the only reason Netanyahu insists on recognition is that he is afraid of the right-wing members of his coalition. I doubt this.

If the sources quoted here really represent the thinking of the administration (and we’ll soon find out), then there is a message for every country that considers itself an ally of the US:

These guys don’t have allies, they have satellites.

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A unilateral declaration of statehood?

Monday, October 18th, 2010
Secretary of State Clinton with a Palestinian flag. What would the US do?

Secretary of State Clinton with a Palestinian flag. What would the US do?

There has been a certain amount of talk about the possibility of a unilateral declaration of the state of ‘Palestine’ within the 1949 armistice lines. Nobody knows what would actually happen if the Palestinian Authority proceeds along this course, but some interesting questions come up:

The Arabs have enough votes in the UN General Assembly to pass almost any resolution that they want. But the Security Council, which is the only UN body that can actually enforce a resolution — by means of sanctions or even military force — is subject to the veto of any of its permanent members: the US, UK, France, Russia and China. What would these nations do?

What would the US do? Barry Rubin says that some Israeli officials expect that the Obama Administration will go all-out to ‘solve’ the Arab-Israeli conflict after the midterm elections. Since this is defined almost entirely in terms of getting a Palestinian state, and there is no overlap between Arab and Israeli positions that can bring this about through negotiations, the US might choose to support a unilateral declaration — or at least abstain.

Would Gaza be part of ‘Palestine’ and if so would Hamas be part of its government?

How many countries would recognize ‘Palestine’?

What would happen next? Would Palestinian authorities immediately demand that all Jewish settlements be evacuated? Would there be a time limit? Would the Palestinians try to expel Jews by force, as the Jordanians did in 1948? Would it try, in particular, to take possession of East Jerusalem (a casus belli if I ever saw one)?

If ‘Palestine’ becomes a sovereign state, it will have the ability to make alliances and even invite foreign troops into its territory to ‘defend’ it.

Such a declaration would be advantageous for the Arabs — if they could pull it off — because it would get them territory without requiring any concessions at all to Israel. ‘Palestine’ could continue to demand that refugees be allowed to ‘return’ to Israel, it could militarize, it could defend its airspace, etc. And it could continue to engage in ‘resistance’ against Israel.

‘Palestine’ already has a constitution, which has gone through several drafts. It tries to take into account the competing visions of Arab nationalism and Islamism that characterize the various factions in Palestinian Arab politics:

Article (1)

The State of Palestine is a sovereign, independent republic. Its territory is an indivisible unit based upon its borders on the eve of June 4, 1967, without prejudice to the rights guaranteed by the international resolutions relative to Palestine. All residents of this territory shall be subject to Palestinian law exclusively.

Article (2)

Palestine is part of the Arab nation. The state of Palestine abides by the charter of the League of Arab States. The Palestinian people are part of the Arab and Islamic nations. Arab unity is a goal, the Palestinian people hopes to achieve.

Article (3)

Palestine is a peace loving state that condemns terror, occupation and aggression. It calls for the resolution of international and regional problems by peaceful means. It abides by the Charter of the United Nations.

Article (4)

Jerusalem is the capital of the state of Palestine and seat of its public authorities.

Article (5)

Arabic and Islam are the official Palestinian language and religion. Christianity and all other monotheistic religions shall be equally revered and respected. The Constitution guarantees equality in rights and duties to all citizens irrespective of their religious belief.

Article (6)

The Palestinian flag, motto, seals, emblems, and national anthem shall be determined by law.

Article (7)

The principles of Islamic Shari’a are a major source for legislation. Civil and religious matters of the followers of monotheistic religions shall be organized in accordance with their religious teachings and denominations within the framework of law, while preserving the unity and independence of the Palestinian people.

Some things are notable here:

Although the leadership has firmly and consistently rejected the idea of recognizing Israel as a Jewish state, ‘Palestine’ is defined as having an ‘official religion’ and its laws will be based on Shari’a! Note also that Article 3 condemns ‘occupation’. I don’t think they were thinking of the Chinese occupation of Tibet when they wrote this.

Hindus and Buddhists, who are not considered “monotheists,” will not be “revered and respected” in ‘Palestine’, should they choose to live there. Article 7, if interpreted in keeping with the traditional principles of Islam, implies that the monotheists will pay a special tax while non-monotheists will be required to accept Islam or leave.

Article (12)

Palestinian nationality shall be regulated by law, without prejudice to the rights of those who legally acquired it prior to May 10, 1948 or the rights of the Palestinians residing in Palestine prior to this date, and who were forced into exile or departed there from and denied return thereto. This right passes on from fathers or mothers to their progenitor [sic — they mean ‘progeny’]. It neither disappears nor elapses unless voluntarily relinquished. A Palestinian cannot be deprived of his nationality. The acquisition and relinquishment of Palestinian nationality shall be regulated by law. The rights and duties of citizens with multiple nationalities shall be governed by law.

Article (13)

Palestinians who left Palestine as a result of the 1948 war, and who were denied return thereto shall have the right to return to the Palestinian state and bear its nationality. It is a permanent, inalienable, and irrevocable right.

The state of Palestine shall strive to apply the legitimate right of return of the Palestinian refugees to their homes, and to obtain compensation, through negotiations, political, and legal channels in accordance with the 1948 United Nations General Assembly Resolution 194 and the principles of international law.

According to this document, there will be even more ‘Palestinians’ than are recognized today by UNRWA, which allows Palestinian status to descend only to those with ‘Palestinian’ fathers. And the state of ‘Palestine’, as part of its constitution, calls for a right of return.

It’s interesting that Article 13 says that ‘Palestinians who left Palestine as a result of the 1948 war’ will have the right of return to the Palestinian state. There were between 550,000 and 700,00 of them in 1948, and there are far fewer today. The rest of the 4.5 million Arabs with refugee status, therefore, will either go to Israel or stay in refugee camps. This is consistent with the Arab position since 1949 — ‘refugees’ will never be allowed to have a home until Israel is destroyed.

Will they do it? My guess is quite possibly, if they think they can get US support. Remember, their goal is the replacement of Israel with ‘Palestine’, not a state alongside Israel. A partition agreement that Israel could accept to would include demilitarization, various security features, and limitations on sovereignty, at least for a time. It would also rule out an influx of ‘refugees’ and would put the Arabs on the wrong side of international law if they violate it.

And the US? Who knows? Foreign policy under this administration is neither consistent nor rational.

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Quote of the week

Monday, October 18th, 2010

This week it’s from Khaled Abu Toameh:

But just as life seemed to be returning to normal in the West Bank and Gaza Strip and Israelis and Palestinians were for the first time in many years beginning to talk about security and economy cooperation, the US Administration stepped in to demand that the “peace process” be resumed.

More evidence of a simple proposition that should be obvious (but isn’t, at least to US officials):

The Palestinian Arabs won’t compromise with Israel unless they are forced to give up the idea that they can get everything they want for nothing.

When the US creates new conditions and demands new concessions, the Arabs are encouraged to harden their demands.  When the US says that it wants to see a Palestinian state within a year, the reaction is “OK, let’s give nothing for a year  and see what we get.”

Of course today the Arabs understand that with an election coming up, Obama is working very hard to keep pro-Israel voters (not just, or even mostly, Jews) in line. So that’s another reason for the them to stand pat.

It’s obvious!

It’s obvious!

What could be more obvious?

And yet, the administration continues to pressure Israel over things like housing plans in existing Jewish neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, without insisting on any reciprocal concessions from the Arabs.

Another way of looking at it is that there is no overlap in the objectives of Israel and the Arabs. Israel wants peace and security, while the Arabs want to eliminate the Jewish state. A compromise can’t be reached without changing at least one of these. The US seems to be trying to change Israel’s goal, not the Arabs’!

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Gilad Shalit and the Chilean miners

Saturday, October 16th, 2010

The 33 Chilean miners were underground for 69 days. Much of the world focused its attention on them, while no effort or cost was spared to get them out into the light after the nightmarish accident that buried them.

Gilad Shalit has been underground for one thousand, five hundred and seventy-four days today (he was taken on June 25, 2006).

He is alone in a bunker somewhere in Gaza, without 32 friends, without communication with his family, and probably believes that he has been forgotten.

His entombment was not an accident, like the explosion that trapped the miners. It was a purposeful act perpetrated by creatures that I can confidently call the scum of the earth.

The President of Chile personally involved himself in the project to free the miners. Other world leaders supported it as well.

In the case of Shalit, the current President of the US applied pressure to Israel to end Operation Cast Lead in time for his inauguration, without rescuing Shalit or overthrowing the Hamas regime. Later, the US, UN, EU etc. combined to force Israel to end its limitation on goods flowing into Gaza, thus legitimizing Hamas and guaranteeing its continuation in power.

A way to save Shalit is to make his continued captivity so painful for Hamas leaders that they will be happy to release him. There are ways to do this: perhaps a complete cutoff of fuel, electricity, and water to Gaza, with the understanding that the embargo will be lifted the instant Shalit is safe. If there is a ‘humanitarian crisis’ as a result, it will be entirely the fault of Hamas.

The people and authorities in Chile did not simply declare the miners dead and move on. They used extraordinary means to save them. So should we.

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The new axis in the Middle East

Friday, October 15th, 2010

Turkey, formerly a close ally of the US and the Muslim country with the warmest relations with Israel, started moving in the other direction with the rise to power of the Islamist AKP party under Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in 2003.

Hostility to Israel reached a high level during the Gaza war in 2008-9, with Erdoğan famously stomping off the stage he shared with Israeli President Shimon Peres at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January 2009.

The hostility peaked with the Mavi Marmara episode this May 31 — most likely orchestrated by the Turkish regime — in which nine Turkish Islamist extremists were killed after they attacked an Israeli boarding party with knives, iron bars and live fire.

In fact, Turkey is now a full partner in the Iran-Hezbollah-Syria alliance against the US and Israel. Erdoğan-friendly foreign-policy commentator Semih Idiz writes,

Consider the recent traffic in the Middle East, with Prime Minister Erdoğan paying a high-profile visit to Syria, and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visiting Lebanon in a similar manner. Add to this the increasingly warm ties between Ankara and Tehran as well as the fact that all three countries are also Hamas- and Hezbollah-friendly, and a picture of some kind of a “new axis” emerges for the region.

Put briefly, there is an increasingly apparent ideological divide that is growing between Turkey and the U.S. in particular, and Turkey and Europe to a lesser extent, and this is most apparent when Iran or Hamas is the subject of discussion.

On one side of the divide we have a U.S. that is prepared to use its influence come what may on behalf of Israel [I wish — ed.]. The same applies to Europe also, up to a point. On the other hand we have a Turkey that is increasingly prepared to use its influence on behalf of Iran and Syria at the expense of angering and alienating its traditional partners and allies in the West and the Middle East.

The loss of Turkey — a NATO member and military power — to the West is an event of great significance which has been almost entirely ignored here. Lebanon, too, has more or less lost its independent status as Hizballah’s influence there has grown, and Iranian PM Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s recent visit to Lebanon reflects his staking Iran’s claim to control that country.

Future historians of the Middle East will point to this period as a turning point.

Here’s how one Israeli cartoonist (exclusively in FresnoZionism!) sees the relationship between the Iranian regime and its satellites:

The new axis in the Middle East

The new axis in the Middle East

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