Archive for November, 2010

Threat or promise?

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

That’s what everybody’s asking about the latest settlement freeze offer/demand by the Obama Administration to Israel. According to the Jerusalem Post, here are the details:

The US said that if the deal was accepted it would not request an additional settlement freeze. The request does not include east Jerusalem.

The date for the new freeze has not been set, but it would be retroactive to the September 26th date, when the previous 10-month moratorium on such activity expired…

Should Israel accept the offer, the US in turn has pledged in the next year to veto any efforts by the UN Security Council to impose on Israel a non-negotiated solution to the Israeli Palestinian conflict, as the Palestinians have requested.

It would further veto any resolutions that deny Israel the right to self-defense or seek to de-legitimize Israel. The US would also oppose such efforts in other UN bodies and forums.

The US administration would ask Congress to approve the supply of 20 additional advanced fighter planes to Israel worth $3 billion so that Israel can keep its qualitative edge.

There are many things to think about here, like why the US believes that an additional 3 month moratorium that does not include Jerusalem is going to cause a breakthrough, when the Palestinians already refused to talk for 9 months of the previous 10-month freeze, when they are demanding that Jerusalem must be included, and when we know that the PA can’t agree to end the conflict on any terms that would be acceptable to Israel. But never mind, there’s a much more important question:

Has it ever been the case before that the US would not veto a Security Council resolution to unilaterally declare a Palestinian state, to deny Israel the right of self-defense or to delegitimize her?

No, never. No American administration since 1948, including that of Jimmy Carter or George H. W. Bush, would have allowed such a resolution to pass. So President Obama has simply made support for Israel at the UN, formerly unconditional, depend on Israel doing his bidding. Yes, this is the most anti-Israel administration ever.

In other words, the answer to the question posed by the title of this post is that it’s a threat. Do what we say or else.

But there is even something worse: the ‘deal’ is only good for one year. So even if Israel gives in and accepts the freeze the process starts all over again in a year. What will the US demand then? Probably Israel’s signature on a highly disadvantageous diktat establishing a ‘Palestinian’ state.  And if Israel won’t go along, then the Security Council will impose it, by threat of sanctions or even force.

The US in the past guaranteed Israel’s sovereignty against threats from the hostile UN. That’s over.

And it is so over that I don’t think Israel should agree to the proposal, which, after all, will only buy a little time. Here are some reasons a freeze is bad:

  • If the PA returns to negotiations, then what happens after three months when the freeze expires? They’ll walk out and it will be Israel’s fault, yet again.
  • An additional freeze will be a betrayal of the Israelis living in ‘settlements’, who (with very few exceptions) accepted the previous freeze and were promised that it was temporary. Now they will be told that work must halt on construction that was begun after it expired.
  • Despite the language used in the media (“settlement construction”) settlements are not being constructed or even made larger. The construction in question is inside existing settlements. So the point of the freeze is not to make more land available to the future Arab state, but rather to delegitimize all Jewish presence east of the line.
  • An extension of the freeze will be yet another blow to the national-religious sector of Israeli society, the same people that were kicked out of Gaza to make room for Hamastan, and who lately have been accepting so much of the burden of Israel’s defense.

I know that Israel’s government faces a very tough decision. Some will say it is  better to play for time, get a few F-35’s –although who knows when delivery will be scheduled — and hold off possible UN recognition of a terror state on Israel’s eastern flank.

On the other hand, in a year the choice may be between signing a dictated agreement approving such a state or having one imposed anyway. And this will be after Israel has in effect abdicated her claim to any land east of the 1948 line, publicly shown herself to be a satellite of the US rather than a sovereign state, and screwed her most patriotic and Zionist citizens.

Hmm, put that way it’s not such a tough decision, is it?

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We are the merchants of death

Saturday, November 13th, 2010
What could possibly go wrong?

What could possibly go wrong?

Wednesday I mentioned that the US was giving $150 million of a planned total of about $740 million (including US funding of UNRWA) to the Palestinian Authority (PA). Much of this money will be spent in Gaza, even though Gaza is under Hamas control. $102.5 Million is going to ‘security’ forces — which Israeli military planners are assuming will likely be turned against the IDF at some point. And some undetermined amount is escaping through the leaky pipes of the PA to arrive at Fatah’s own terrorist militia, the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.

But there is an even more dangerous enemy that is also receiving US funds:

WASHINGTON – Two key members of Congress have decided to lift their holds on aid to the Lebanese military on Friday, clearing the way for $100 million to be transferred to the force.

The money has been tied up since August after the members expressed concern about American funds ending up in the hands of Hizballah, particularly after a deadly incident in which Lebanese Armed Forces soldiers shot at IDF soldiers along the border.

Nita Lowey (D-New York), chairwoman of the foreign operations subcommittee of the appropriations committee, and Howard Berman (D-California), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, had both requested reassurances from the State Department concerning oversight for the money, which helps train and equip the military.

“The administration gave detailed briefings and provided thorough written responses to Congresswoman Lowey’s questions and concerns about the assistance and safeguards in place to prevent it from falling into terrorists’ hands,” a Democratic Congressional staffer said of Lowey’s decision to lift the hold Friday. “Improving Lebanon’s ability to defend its borders, stop arms trafficking, build institutions and fight terrorist elements is imperative to the security and stability of the region.”

The State Department, which lobbied to reverse the holds, has long argued that the funds are an important counter-weight to Hizballah’s growing influence and military might.

As always, the State Department is on the wrong side of an issue that is critical to Israel’s security. Even if it were possible to ensure that US-provided weapons will not be used to cold-bloodedly murder Israelis as happened this August, the political influence of Hizballah and its patron, Iran, in Lebanon has become so great that the control of the army can’t be assumed to be in the hands of pro-Western forces, especially in the event of war. And the probability of a war between Israel and Hizballah remains high, although it’s impossible to predict exactly when it will occur.

Indeed, in 2006, the Lebanese army allowed its facilities to be used in a missile attack against an Israeli Navy vessel. And that was when Hizballah had far less power in the country.  Further, I don’t trust the State Department’s promises that  equipment will not be transferred to Hizballah. After all, the Lebanese army and the UN have been completely unable or unwilling to stop Hizballah from receiving an astronomical quantity of arms smuggled through Syria, reasserting its control on the ground in South Lebanon, and rebuilding its fortifications there ahead of the next war. Many army units and personnel are sympathetic to Hizballah.

What credible assurances could there be? What leverage does the US have, after standing by and watching Iran and Syria support the emasculation of the March 14 movement and Hizballah’s assertion of control — just short of an actual takeover — in Lebanon?

We are also selling large quantities of the most sophisticated weapons to Saudi Arabia and other Arab states, ostensibly to help them defend themselves against Iran.  Although the weapons are truly dangerous and the size of the sales are large, the buyers don’t have the technical skills or military infrastructure to utilize or maintain this stuff effectively. They will therefore not protect them against Iran, but neither will they menace Israel. It’s been suggested that such arms deals happen primarily to provide profitable commissions for well-connected Arabs and an opportunity for the West to get back some of its oil money.

Hizballah and the Palestinian Arabs, on the other hand, are the point of the spear, and represent a very immediate and local threat.

If our president is as firmly committed to Israel’s security as he claims, why is he helping to arm some of her most dangerous enemies?

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Our President and Arafat’s fragrant keffiyeh

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

Item from the Palestinian Ma’an news agency:

RAMALLAH — One and a half million dollars was approved by the PA Cabinet on Wednesday, for the completion of construction on the Yasser Arafat Museum in Ramallah.

The move comes as the PA prepares celebrations marking the 6th anniversary of the death of the former president, with provisions made in Wednesday’s cabinet meeting for free public transportation for West Bankers heading to the Ramallah festivities.

According to a statement released by the cabinet, officials called upon “all the Palestinian people at home and abroad to commemorate the sixth anniversary of the death of the late President Yasser Arafat,” and noting the importance of continued support for the celebration from the PLO, which was founded by Arafat in 1964.

[Actually, the PLO was created by the Nasser-dominated Arab League with Ahmed Shukeiri as chairman. The Fatah movement, of which Arafat was one of the founders in 1954, took control of the PLO in 1969. You’d think they would know their own recent history].

The museum will contain many artifacts — relics, really — of Arafat’s life, including his “last keffiya,” which — I’m not making this up — hasn’t been washed since his death and is reported to still smell like him. The total cost of the museum will be $3.4 million.

In other news,

WASHINGTON – The US sped up delivery of $150 million in direct aid to the Palestinian Authority Wednesday, citing the need to fill an urgent budget shortfall.

“This figure underscores the strong determination of the American people and this administration to stand with our Palestinian friends even during difficult economic times,” declared US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in announcing the aid, which was taken from the $200 million the Obama administration plans to allocate to the PA in 2011.

One of the most mysterious and surreal aspects of US policy is the way we prop up the PLO regime of Arafat’s successor, Mahmoud Abbas, as though a) it is moderate and desirous of peace with Israel, b) it represents a majority of Palestinian Arabs, and c) arming it will help ‘fight terrorism’. Nevertheless, we keep pumping it up.

Maybe the best policy would be to let it fall and get out of the way. Either the Palestinian Arabs would find a way to get along with Israel, or the next war — which is inevitable anyway — would sort things out.

Nope, our President prefers to ‘bolster’ Abbas’ PLO with money and weapons (and now museums). But when they don’t play along, he says the problem is Israel’s fault — Jews announcing that they are thinking about planning to start building apartments some day in Jewish neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, despite the fact that ‘the Palestinians want East Jerusalem for the capital of their state’ (the chutzpah of it!)

Note that he doesn’t complain about Palestinian construction, much of it illegal, in East and West Jerusalem. The President seems to think that Jews living east of the armistice line are obstacles to peace, while Arabs on either side of it are just exercising their rights  — and all that stuff about building permits, deeds, etc. is just a way to protect racist apartheid colonialist fascist white privilege.

The fact that the PLO-run Palestinian Authority won’t stop its official antisemitic propaganda, won’t recognize Israel as belonging to the Jewish people, won’t even agree to sit down and negotiate without preconditions — none of that, apparently, is an obstacle worth mentioning!

I might suspect that Obama’s one-sided remarks about Jerusalem ‘settlements’ in Indonesia were merely part of his campaign to improve relations with the Muslim world. But that would be cynical. Anyway, he talks like this all the time.

In case you don’t get to visit the museum in Ramallah, here’s a short video which includes loving closeups of Arafat’s radio as well as the fragrant keffiya.

If you can see this, then you might need a Flash Player upgrade or you need to install Flash Player if it's missing. Get Flash Player from Adobe.

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Quote of the week: Melanie Phillips on today’s malshinim

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

The always-pungent Melanie Phillips writes,

At a time when Iran is building its genocide bomb against Israel, when Arab children are being indoctrinated in medieval and Nazi Jew-hatred, when similar blood libels and deranged ‘Jewish conspiracy’ theories are now rampant throughout a ‘civilised’ world which will accordingly look the other way should the rockets start falling on Tel Aviv or Haifa, it is hideous beyond measure that some Jews (including Israelis on the left too) should themselves be lining up behind such forces of evil, providing them with the cynical and spurious camouflage of ‘Jewish conscience’ to enable them to do their infernal business.

She’s thinking, in part, of the hecklers from Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) who tried to disrupt PM Netanyahu’s speech at the Jewish Federation’s General Assembly today. She continues,

Alas, it was ever thus. Most tragically, throughout the history of anti-Jewish persecution there have always been Jews who volunteered to do the Jew-haters’ dirty work for them. Like Jew-hatred itself, what we are seeing in the [Jews for Injustice Against Jews] is merely yet another mutation — of the racial treachery that has centuries-old blood on its hands.

For once I don’t agree with Ms. Phillips. I don’t think it was ever thus. I’m sure its possible to dig up a few Jewish Nazis, and there are those malshinim* that are mentioned  in our daily liturgy, but the wholesale abandonment of the Jewish people and their homeland by so many who are by some definition Jewish is unprecedented.

In fact, it would probably be correct to say that the anti-Zionist movements in the US and the UK are led by Jews as much or more so than by Arabs (a great deal of the money comes from Arab sources, but the public face of the movement is mostly Jewish).

Maybe the reason is that in, say, 1938, the Nazis weren’t exactly accepting of Jews who were willing to come over to their side. Today’s Nazis have learned how useful it is to have a chorus of fools who are prepared to say “As a Jew… [insert slander here].” So they are happy to let them join the dark side and receive their psychic ‘get out of Auschwitz free’ cards. All in the name of peace, justice, human rights and even, as Phillips notes, “Jewish conscience”.

JVP was recently added to the ADL’s list of the top ten anti-Israel groups in America. They have the distinction of being the only ‘Jewish’ group to make the cut.


* Malshinim originally referred to ‘slanderers’ or informers who betrayed forbidden Jewish worship to the Romans. The shmonesreh prayer which is said three times daily on weekdays includes a request to frustrate their designs (literally, “for the slanderers, shall there be no hope.”)

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Shorts: banditry, Hamas, AP shenanigans

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Another kind of  war of attrition

Friday I wrote about the construction — rather destruction — that’s taken place over the past decades on the Temple Mount, and is going on right now.

In answering a reader’s email, I realized something important: this and many other incidents are part of a pattern which represents a theme of the Israeli-Arab conflict that doesn’t get much attention.

It’s this: the Arabs haven’t been able to roll back time before 1948 by war or diplomacy — although they continue to try — so they are doing it piecemeal, by simply taking what they want. Here are some examples to add to the de facto loss of Israeli sovereignty over the Temple Mount:

It’s ironic that so much emphasis is placed on construction within existing Jewish towns and neighborhoods across the Green Line as creating ‘facts on the ground’, when Palestinian Arabs in and out of Israel are creating ‘facts’ every day, just by committing crimes.

And concerning the Temple Mount and the Old City:

How can we let these places slip away, not only because of their importance to Jewish culture — not just ‘religious’ Jewish culture — but because of the blood that was paid for them in 1967?

Israelis enter the Old City by the Lions Gate, 1967 (illustration: Judah Rosenthal)

Israelis enter the Old City by the Lions Gate, 1967 (illustration: Judah Rosenthal)

If Americans Knew department

Just to make sure that everyone understands who Israel is dealing with in Gaza, here are some recent remarks from Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders:

Al Qassam website (Gaza) — Senior leader of the Islamic Resistance Movement “Hamas” Dr. Mahmoud Al-Zahar says Jews were kicked out by France, Britain, Russia and Germany “because they betrayed, stole and corrupted these countries.”

The Jews will soon be expelled from Palestine that same way they were kicked out by France, Britain, Belgium, Russia and Germany, Hamas leader Mahmoud Al-Zahar said over the weekend…

Meanwhile, Ramadan Shallah, leader of Islamic Jihad, called on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to step down for abandoning the armed struggle against Israel. Shallah was speaking in Damascus on the 23rd anniversary of the establishment of his group.

“The negotiations [with Israel] have ended and there’s no alternative to jihad and resistance,” Shallah said. “The present leadership of the Palestinian Authority is not authorized to negotiate on behalf of the Palestinians. If Mahmoud Abbas can’t adopt the option of Yasser Arafat resistance, we recommend another option which is more honorable: to quit and sit at home.”

The Islamic Jihad leader said that “Palestine is all ours and we won’t give up one inch of it. We won’t participate in or accept any settlement that limits our rights only to the 1967 borders.”

If you haven’t already, make sure to check out the Hamas covenant here.


The AP plays fast and loose

This morning, an AP dispatch written by Diaa Haddad appeared in my local newspaper, the Fresno Bee. Here is how it began:

JERUSALEM – A string of Israeli governments has helped cement the Jewish presence in Arab areas of Jerusalem by selling or leasing property to settler groups at bargain prices, court documents released Sunday show. [from Google cache]

When I searched Google for it, I found that had been replaced with an entirely different story, one about Israeli plans to build new homes in East Jerusalem.  The original was still present in Google’s cache, where it will probably be available for a week or so.

The same item appeared in the Jerusalem Post, where the first paragraph read as follows:

JERUSALEM — The Israeli government sold or leased property in the pre-1967 Jordanian-controlled Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem to Israeli settlers at exceptionally low prices, helping them cement a Jewish presence there, court documents published in English on Sunday show.

I don’t know if the AP revised the item or the Post did, although I suspect the latter. This is because the areas in question had Jewish residents before 1948, when they were driven out by force when the Jordanian Army ethnically cleansed the areas they occupied.

Guess what? Nothing’s changed since 1948, except that this time Israel is expected to kick the Jews out. The story continues,

…if borders are agreed on, a small number of Israelis in a few dozen buildings on the Palestinian side would not likely scuttle implementation of a peace accord. Israel removed 8,000 settlers from the Gaza Strip in 2005 when it withdrew.

It is naturally assumed that Jews (not ‘Israelis’) will have to move if they live on the ‘Palestinian’ side. Of course Israel would never dream of expelling Arabs living on the Israeli side — can you imagine the outcry from the UN, the EU, the Obama Administration, Ha’aretz, etc. if such were suggested?

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