Archive for January, 2014

Misdemeanor terrorism and Jewish sovereignty

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

In today’s “Israel Hayom,” Nadav Shragai describes the situation in Mt. Scopus, in northeastern Jerusalem:

A few minutes’ drive from the National Police Headquarters in Jerusalem, where along the way sits the Hebrew University campus (founded 88 years ago), soldiers, students, policemen, civilians and local residents try braving the drive to arrive safe and sound to school, reserve duty or their homes. Along the way, they may encounter anything and everything from Molotov cocktails, stone throwing, hit-and-run attempts, burning tires and cinder blocks on the road. In this ongoing local intifada, which has known its ups and downs, everything is fair game as far as the youth of Issawiyeh are concerned. …

Female students leaving the campus on foot frequently suffer sexually related assaults. They have tried everything — whistles, pepper spray, self-defense courses, they have written letters to police commanders, held meetings in the Knesset. Nothing has helped them. Take that path, go around that way, protect yourselves like this — these are the answers they hear.

This is not the only place in the Jewish state where Jews are afraid of becoming victims of anti-Jewish violence. About a mile to the south the ancient cemetery on the Mount of Olives, where Jews have been buried for 3,000 years, is also dangerous territory for Jews, not to mention a target of continuous vandalism. Numerous famous rabbis, Henrietta Szold (the founder of Hadassah), Eliezer Ben Yehuda, Menachem Begin and many others are buried there, and a Jew taks his life in his hands to visit their graves!

There are neighborhoods in Jerusalem and Arab towns where a Jewish driver stands the risk of being dragged from his car and lynched. And of course the roads of Judea and Samaria have become arcades for Arab terrorists-in-training to practice throwing rocks and firebombs.

Most of the time — although every few weeks there is an exception — this doesn’t rise to the level of murder. Hence I call it ‘misdemeanor terrorism’; but it is no less terrorism.

The Arabs that perpetrate these offenses believe that the Jewish presence in the land of Israel is illegitimate, and that therefore anything they do is perfectly justified. They have an endless list of exaggerated and imagined atrocities to avenge. Much of the time the terrorists and vandals are juveniles, making it hard to arrest them and impossible to deter them with threats of punishment.

Local Arabs either support and encourage the behavior, or in effect become human shields, because security measures are called ‘collective punishment’. And photographers — often local Arabs employed by international media — lap up the excitement. How would you like to be lynched while these vultures (who may have encouraged your attackers) get their closeups?

Misdemeanor terrorism is just another way in which the Arabs act to chip away at Jewish sovereignty in the land of Israel. What good does it do if the IDF has nuclear weapons at its disposal as long as Jews can’t walk the streets of their capital in safety (or, in another example of the erosion of sovereignty, are not permitted to pray — not even to move their lips — on the Temple Mount, the holiest place in Judaism, in the center of Israel’s capital)?

Meanwhile, since the time of Arafat, the PLO has been promulgating its made-up version of history in which there is no connection between Jews and Jerusalem! Even the Obama Administration seems to have acquiesced in this outrageous lie.

Obviously there are a lot of practical and technical things that can and must be done. But above all, it is necessary for all the institutions of the state — the government, educational system, police, etc. to be on the same page: that Israel is sovereign in all of Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount. It is essential that all degradations of Jewish sovereignty, whether by criminal activity or simply improper situations that are allowed to fester because authorities are afraid of Arab reaction, be opposed.

The Arabs never stop probing for weaknesses, and attacking when they find them. The more they are allowed to get away with, the more they will do. In one of the greatest moments of modern Jewish history, the IDF captured the Old City in 1967, at great cost — and almost immediately, Moshe Dayan began the process of abdicating sovereignty by placing control of the Temple Mount in the hands of the Muslim waqf. Only the Oslo agreement compares with this decision in its disastrous effects for the state of Israel!

Jerusalem is the spiritual center of the Jewish world. Israel needs to ensure that it remains under Jewish control, even if the actions need to ensure this are unpopular with the Arabs, the UN, and the Obama Administration.

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‘Highest levels’ of US Administration deny Jewish history

Friday, January 17th, 2014
Material for canceled UNESCO Jewish exhibit

Material for canceled UNESCO Jewish exhibit

I’ve been complaining about the Obama Administration a lot recently, particularly about its insistence on Israeli concessions to the PLO for an impossible peace deal, and for its enabling Iran’s nuclear program. But even more shocking — because it puts the administration’s ideological opposition to the very foundation of the Jewish state on display — is this:

UNESCO, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, has pulled a Jewish exhibit two years in the making, entitled “People, Book, Land – The 3,500 Year Relationship of the Jewish People and the Land of Israel,” after a zero hour protest from the Arab League, The Algemeiner has learned.

The exhibit, which was created by Los Angeles-based Jewish human rights group the Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) together with UNESCO, was scheduled to open on January 20th, 2014, at UNESCO’s Paris headquarters. The invitations had already gone out, and the fully prepared exhibition material was already in place. The display was co-sponsored by Israel, Canada and Montenegro.

It is not surprising that the Arab League is opposed to anything that suggests that Jewish sovereignty in the Middle East has any legitimacy. But the stunning part is that prior to the Arab League’s objection, the State Department withdrew the US as a sponsor of the exhibition, using language almost identical to that of the Arab League! Here is the US position:

“At this sensitive juncture in the ongoing Middle East peace process, and after thoughtful consideration with review at the highest levels, we have made the decision that the United States will not be able to co-sponsor the current exhibit during its display at UNESCO headquarters,” wrote Kelly O. Siekman, Director at the Office of UNESCO Affairs of the State Department, in an email seen by The Algemeiner. [my emphasis]

J. E. Dyer writes,

What’s so damaging to the peace process … about a Jewish history exhibit?  According to the Arab League, it’s the evidence it would present of the Jewish people’s long association with the land of Israel.  The campaign to suppress that evidence is a new lie, dating only to about the 1960s as a coherent political endeavor.  It started with Yasser Arafat and other Arab politicians, and continues today with such grotesqueries as the assertion – made on occasion by Mahmoud Abbas – that “Jesus was a Palestinian.”

The appalling thing, however, is that the U.S. government is throwing in with this campaign, by tacitly agreeing that the historical truth about the Jews and Israel is inimical to “peace.” [my emphasis]

‘Appalling’ is too kind. I prefer ‘disgraceful’.

Could there be a clearer demonstration of the anti-Zionist, indeed anti-Jewish attitudes of the State Department — and indeed, since the decision was taken after “review at the highest levels,” the President?

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So true

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

Dry Bones: blurting out the truthCourtesy of Yaakov Kirschen, Dry Bones.

Shabbat shalom!

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Take off the golden handcuffs

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

What kind of expression is this – “punishing Israel”? Are we a vassal state of yours? Are we a banana republic? Are we youths of fourteen who, if they don’t behave properly, are slapped across the fingers?Menachem Begin, 1981, after the US ‘punished’ Israel for bombing Saddam’s nuclear reactor

Yesterday, I wrote about Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon’s remarks about John Kerry’s “inexplicable,” “obsessive,” and “messianic” drive to get Israel to agree to a dangerous plan that would “ensure that Ben Gurion Airport and Netanya become a missile target.”

The US State Department exploded, saying Ya’alon’s statement was “offensive and inappropriate, especially given all that the United States is doing to support Israel’s security needs.” Netanyahu gave him talking to, and he apologized.

We know, of course, that every word that he uttered, and more, was true. Ya’alon is a soldier and a soldier has to act on the basis of reality on the ground — otherwise, people get killed. So he forgot that politics and diplomacy are different.

The part about “all the US is doing…” was a nice touch. I presume that was intended as a reference to US military aid to Israel.

US military aid is provided in order to advance the interests of the US, as defined by the administration. Often it also serves the interests of the country receiving it — or, in most cases, the ruling regime — but that is only accidental. There may be real costs to the recipient as well as benefits.

I am starting to believe that in Israel’s case, the costs have begun to exceed the benefits.

The most obvious direct cost is the constant pressure to make a deal, any deal, to get Israel out of the territories and allow the creation of a PLO state there. For simple, obvious reasons that I am tired of repeating, such a state is incompatible with Israel’s security. If the IDF gets out of the territories, as Ya’alon noted, Israelis will die from rockets, from terrorism and perhaps from a new regional war.

Kerry’s pretense that there is a technological solution is simply a smokescreen to obtain an Israeli withdrawal. It sounds ugly, but one could correctly say that the objective is a Jew-free Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem. Can anyone deny this?

There is also the restraint that the US has forced on Israel regarding Iran. Israel has taken the Iranian regime at its word and views its nuclear program as an existential threat. But US policy now appears to be to achieve a rapprochement with the regime, and it has been following a path that it appears will result in a nuclear-capable Iran. The US has pulled out all the stops in its efforts to prevent Israel from taking action against Iran.

The US now treats Israel as a “key target” for counterintelligence (along with Pakistan, China, Iran, North Korea, etc.). It has presented Israel with the ‘gift’ of a super-high-resolution radar system which can detect Iranian missile launches almost as they occur, but can also observe all Israeli air activity, including takeoff of small drones. It is staffed and guarded by by Americans, and its data is filtered in California before it is given to Israel.

It was reported that an Israeli official called the radar station “golden handcuffs.” But perhaps this applies to the entire enterprise of US aid to Israel. It might be a better long-run deal for Israel to pay for its own weapons and develop its own radar systems — and take off the golden handcuffs.

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Kerry’s Potemkin Villages

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

Gregory Potemkin was a favorite and lover of the Russian queen Catherine II. After [the] Russian conquest of modern Southern Ukraine and Crimea from the Ottoman Empire … Potemkin became governor of the region. The area had been totally devastated during the wars by the Russian army, and Potemkin’s major task consisted of rebuilding it and bringing in Russian settlers. As a new war was about to erupt between Russia and Ottoman empire, in 1787 Catherine II made an unprecedented six month trip to New Russia, with her court, several ambassadors, and (according to some sources) the Austrian emperor Joseph II, traveling incognito. The purpose of this trip was to impress Russia’s allies ahead of the new war. In fact, Potemkin assembled a few “mobile villages”, located on banks of Dnieper River. As soon as the barge carrying the queen arrived, Potemkin’s men dressed up as peasants would show up in the village. Once the barge left, the village had to be disassembled and rebuilt downstream overnight. — Wikipedia

A Potemkin Village is thus a false front, an illusion set up to fool observers into thinking there is substance where there is not. The Wikipedia article goes on to say that many historians think the Potemkin story has been exaggerated, fictionalized to make a good story.

The Obama/Kerry peace negotiations, unfortunately are not fictionalized. Kerry has built a Potemkin Village of wishful thinking that he would like to sell Israel. Here are some strong comments, attributed to Israel’s Defense Minister, Moshe Ya’alon, on the subject:

Speaking privately, Ya’alon said an American security plan that could ostensibly facilitate a safe withdrawal by Israel, and which calls for advanced electronic surveillance in the West Bank area instead of an Israeli military presence, would actually “ensure that Ben Gurion Airport and Netanya become a missile target,” which only “our continued presence in Judea, Samaria and the Jordan River” will prevent, according to the report.

“What are you talking about?” Ya’alon was said to have directly retorted to assertions by Kerry recently that his security proposal would render Israel’s eastern border more tranquil that the US-Canada border. “You’ve given us a plan based on advanced technologies — satellites, sensors, war rooms with TV screens — but with no presence in the field of our forces. How is that technology going to help when a Salafist or an Islamic Jihad terror cell tries to attack Israeli targets?” Ya’alon reportedly wondered. “How are satellites going to quash the rocket-building industry that’s developing in Nablus and that will launch rockets at Tel Aviv and the center of the country?”

He also hammered into Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, saying his continued rule of the West Bank was only thanks to Israel.

“The moment we leave Judea and Samaria he’s finished,” Ya’alon was quoted saying. “In practical terms for the last few months we’ve been holding talks not with the Palestinians, but with the Americans.”

Ya’alon points to the two Potemkin Villages created by Kerry: the security arrangements, and the false front that is the Palestinian Authority (PA).

You don’t need to be a former Chief of Staff like Ya’alon to understand that the most that high-tech surveillance devices can do is tell you that someone is firing rockets or infiltrating terrorists into your country. Israel’s small size means that by the time its borders are penetrated, it is too late to take effective action. Foreign troops would be even worse.

And then there is the PA. Ya’alon notes that only the IDF protects the PA from Hamas and other radical groups. Given that, how can Israeli withdrawal be consistent with a PLO-ruled state? I am sure that Mahmoud Abbas understands this, maintaining his maximal demands — particularly for a ‘right of return’ — that no Israeli government could possibly accept. In fact, the PA even passed a law, punishable by death, forbidding any Palestinian leader from abrogating this invented ‘right’!

The PA finds it convenient to continue ‘negotiating’ because that keeps the American money flowing and provides opportunities to make demands of Israel that it sometimes gets the Americans to enforce — like the prisoner releases. It is interesting how this trick seems to work over and over. Meanwhile, the Palestinians never move from their extreme positions.

Finally, there is Hamas. Either Hamas and Fatah (which controls the PLO and the PA) will reconcile or not. If so, then the PA/PLO will become even more hard-line; but if not, then the PA will continue to rule over only about 60% of the Palestinian Arabs, and Hamas will continue trying to overthrow it (and will succeed the moment the IDF leaves the territories).

So 1) no security arrangements are possible short of IDF presence in the territories that would permit the IDF to be absent from the territories, 2) the PA will not agree to anything short of the elimination of the Jewish state, and 3) the PA doesn’t represent the Palestinians anyway (not in Gaza, and not even in Judea and Samaria).

In light of this, we can understand Ya’alon’s remark that Israel is negotiating with the Americans, not the Palestinians!

It must be strange to be an Israeli negotiator and to have to listen to Kerry’s nonsense and pretend to take it seriously (this is probably why Ya’alon had a career in the army rather than as a diplomat). He also is reported to have called Kerry “inexplicably obsessive” and “messianic” — and given what is occurring throughout the Middle East, especially next door in Syria, it is inexplicable that Obama and Kerry are obsessed with screwing up one of the few peaceful spots (and the only democratic country) in the region.

Let me add one more thing: recent Palestinian insistence on the invented ‘right of return’ may lead to ‘compromise’ proposals of the form “we grant them the ‘symbolic’ right of return but they don’t actually return (or only a ‘symbolic’ number do).”

This would be a disaster. It would be like giving someone the deed to your house in return for a promise not to move in. There is no right of return either in principle or in fact. And it would be inconsistent to grant them the former without the latter, so let’s not go down that road at all.

Update [1619 PST]: Ya’alon was forced to apologize for his (true) remarks. In my opinion, any description of Kerry that doesn’t include the words ‘stupid’, ‘ignorant’, ‘dangerous’ and ‘ass’ is too kind.

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