Archive for the ‘My favorite posts’ Category

The Saudi Initiative

Friday, November 28th, 2008

What’s so wrong with the ‘Saudi initiative’ (more correctly, the Arab League initiative)? Couldn’t issues like the ‘return’ of descendants of Arab refugees be negotiated into return to the Palestinian state and compensation? After all, it does represent a breakthrough in that for the first time the Saudis seem to be saying that under some circumstances they would recognize Israel.

Caroline Glick makes the problem clear, when she writes,

With his enthusiastic embrace of the so-called Saudi peace plan, Olmert is committing Israel to accepting the Arab narrative of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The Saudi plan is predicated on the wholly mendacious claim that there has never been any Arab aggression against Israel – only Israeli aggression against Arabs and legitimate Arab resistance to Israel. With Olmert now giving his stamp of approval to the Saudi plan, he is denying the country its moral right to defend itself both militarily and diplomatically. [my emphasis]

Leaving Olmert aside (how wonderful if this were possible in more than rhetoric!),  her point is well taken. The text of the Arab League approved version of the initiative and the original Saudi version can be found here: “The Arab Peace Initiative“.

There are several reasons that Glick is correct. Consider the introduction and point 1 of the proposal:

Reaffirming the resolution taken in June 1996 at the Cairo Extra-Ordinary Arab Summit that a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East is the strategic option of the Arab countries, to be achieved in accordance with international legality, and which would require a comparable commitment on the part of the Israeli government [introduction]

[The Council of Arab States] requests Israel to reconsider its policies and declare that a just peace is its strategic option as well. [point 1, my emphasis]

In other words,  the Arab states have chosen the ‘strategic option’ of  seeking peace through (their interpretations of) relevant UN resolutions, but Israel has not and must ‘reconsider’. The implication is that the Arabs want peace and Israel does not.

The second point describes the concrete steps that Israel must take — indeed, as the proposal has been presented by the Arabs, must complete — before the Arabs will take action:

I- Full Israeli withdrawal from all the territories occupied since 1967, including the Syrian Golan Heights, to the June 4, 1967 lines as well as the remaining occupied Lebanese territories in the south of Lebanon.  [note that this includes all of East Jerusalem — ed]

II- Achievement of a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem to be agreed upon in accordance with U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194. [This has always been interpreted by the Arabs to mean that all 4-5 million Arabs claiming refugee status have a right to choose between compensation or ‘returning’ to Israel proper — ed]

III- The acceptance of the establishment of a sovereign independent Palestinian state on the Palestinian territories occupied since June 4, 1967 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

And here is the third point:

Consequently, the Arab countries affirm the following:

I- Consider the Arab-Israeli conflict ended, and enter into a peace agreement with Israel, and provide security for all the states of the region.

II- Establish normal relations with Israel in the context of this comprehensive peace.

The third point begins with the word ‘Consequently’, and the Arabs have made it clear that it is to be understood in a temporal as well as a logical sense — “after the above Israeli actions and as a result of them”. Before discussing the content of the third point, let’s look at the implications of this.

One would expect in a compromise made between equals that steps would be taken by both sides simultaneously, or perhaps with each side making a concession in turn. This gives the impression that neither side is admitting that its present position is untenable, but rather that they are moving together in a cooperative fashion. It also has the practical effect of enabling either side to stop the process if it feels that the other is not living up to its commitments.

But the Arab initiative is exactly the opposite. Israel is required to make all the concessions before the Arab states must do anything. This is reasonable only if we understand the first part — in which Israel must “reconsider its policies” as follows: Israel admits that her policies were wrong and agrees to redress the injustices. Then, and only then, will the Arab states grant ‘peace’ (we’ll discuss what this might be later).

So what exactly is Israel asked to redress?

  • By full withdrawal with no adjustments or compromises, Israel admits that the 1967 war was a war of aggression by Israel against the Arabs.
  • By ‘return’ or compensation of  ‘refugees’ Israel accepts that the consequences of the 1948 war are her responsibility. Everyone agrees that if the ‘refugees’ were allowed into Israel it would be the end of the Jewish state. But it’s also true that accepting responsibility for the refugees by compensation — even if not one ‘returns’ — is an admission of guilt.

So Israel is expected to admit her guilt and sole responsibility for the conflict, and give up everything concrete — land, and possibly even her nation itself. As Glick points out, Arab war and terrorism against Israel are therefore excused because they constitute morally and legally (by the Arabs’ interpretations of UN resolutions) justified resistance against an aggressor.

Now let’s look at what Israel gets, assuming that there still is an Israel after the implementation of point 2.

The conflict will be ‘ended’ — there will be no more fighting. There will be ‘normal relations’. The Arabs will ‘provide security’ for all states in the region.

There is no mention of recognition, even less recognition as a Jewish state. Will Israel even have a role in ‘providing security’ for herself? This is a surrender, not a treaty between equals.

The Arab nations have lost every war they fought against Israel and have had the West save them from suffering the consequences of defeat time and again. Yet they try to dictate terms of surrender as though they had been victorious! What arrogance and chutzpah!

But some say that regardless of all this, Israel should take the proposal seriously, at least as a starting point for negotiations. After all, it is the first time the Arabs — in particular the Saudis –have admitted that under some conditions they will live at peace with Israel. This reminds me of a joke: a man proposes marriage to a woman, who responds “I’ll marry you when Hell freezes over!” So the man goes home and tells his mother, “she hasn’t accepted yet but we have a starting point for negotiations. There are some conditions under which she’ll marry me.”

The only form of this initiative that Israel should be prepared to  use as a basis of negotiations should be one turned upside down. Something like this:

Whereas the Arab nations recognize that the state of Israel is fully legitimate and entitled to define itself as a Jewish state for the Jewish people, they agree to end the conflict.

In return, insofar as the Arabs, Iranians and their proxies will prove that they have actually renounced war and terrorism, Israel will negotiate a two-state solution with the Palestinians — those who accept the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state.

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Booth: I’m a celebrity, get me out of here!

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

News Item:

Middle East peace envoy Tony Blair’s sister-in-law, who arrived in Gaza with a boatload of activists protesting an Israeli blockade, said on Tuesday she was stuck there because both Israel and Egypt had denied her entry.

Lauren Booth, sister of the former British prime minister’s wife Cherie, revealed her predicament as Blair visited the region to further Western-backed efforts to achieve a limited Israeli-Palestinian peace deal…

Booth said she has tried unsuccessfully in the past few days to leave through Gaza’s land crossings with Israel and Egypt. “I tried through the proper channels, through the United Kingdom’s embassy, but I was told I was not allowed to come through,” she said after trying in vain to enter Israel.

Overheard on a Gaza beach:

“Hello, Tony? It’s Lauren. Yes, how many Laurens do you know? Guess where I’m calling from!”

“Oh please, not that again. I’m a journalist. This is part of my job.”

“Yes, well, anyway, I’m stuck here.  The beastly Israelis won’t let me in, and neither will the Egyptians. And the boat’s already sailed.”

“Yes, of course, I know. But I was so seasick on the way over, and that absolutely horrid Jeff Halper — don’t ask. The freedom fighters here have been very accommodating, but I’m tired of wearing this thing over my face all the time, and although they are fighting for justice and to end oppression, their attitude towards women is still a little too, er, old-fashioned for comfort. By the way, what’s a sharmuta?

“What? Oh my. Can’t you just get them to send a frigate or something? Something large that won’t pitch about so much. Tony, I’m a celebrity, get me out of here!”


Booth claims that Israel is violating the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which affirms a right “to leave any country and to return to his country”. Of course it doesn’t say anything about the right to enter a third country. Look at it this way:

  1. Booth entered Gaza from which rockets continue to be fired despite a ‘truce’;
  2. She’s done her best to help the murderous, antisemitic Hamas in their war against Israel;
  3. And now she wants to be admitted to Israel?

Lauren Booth with her Palestinian 'passport'

Lauren Booth and her Palestinian passport. This and  a few quid will get her on the Underground, if she can swim that far

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What we can learn from a people’s heroes

Sunday, July 6th, 2008

Monument to the Bus of BloodThe prisoner exchange with Hezbollah, which is expected to happen in a week or so, will include the body of Palestinian terrorist Dalal Mughrabi, according to the Palestinian news agency Ma’an.

They can have her rotting bones.

She was the leader of a unit of eleven Palestinian Fedayeen who  perpetrated a bloody massacre in March 1978. Landing on the beach near Kibbutz Maagen Michael in rubber boats launched from Lebanon, the terrorists met an American nature photographer named Gail Rubin and executed her for taking pictures of ‘Palestine’ without permission.Then they hijacked a bus carrying Egged (the bus cooperative) employees and their families on an outing; there was a shootout with security forces, the terrorists shot many of the passengers and firebombed the bus. Some 35 Israelis, 13 of them children, were murdered before the terrorists were killed. The event is usually called the “Coastal Road Massacre”; Israelis also call it the “Bus of Blood”.

Above is a picture of the monument to the victims along the coastal road near Herzliya, where the bus stopped.

This is an old, familiar horror. There have been more massacres since then, lots of Jewish blood under the bridge. But here’s the important part:

To this day, Dalal Mughrabi is a heroine of Fatah, the ‘moderate’ Palestinian leadership for which my tax dollars are buying guns, ammunition and armored vehicles.  There are several girls’ schools, summer camps, and kindergartens named after her. Her name has been given to soccer teams, to police training courses, and to numerous children. There are annual ceremonies and TV broadcasts celebrating her ‘heroic action’ [Palestinian Media Watch].

Dalal Mughrabi, as well as Wafa Idris, the first female suicide bomber, master bombmaker Yehiyeh (the Engineer) Ayyash, and countless other ‘martyrs’ are venerated in Palestinian culture, and — significantly — by the official organs of the Palestinian Authority. Aaron Klein reports,

An official PA pamphlet obtained by WND asks Fatah leaders in the Gaza Strip and West Bank to prepare victory celebrations for the day Mughrabi’s body is released by Israel.

“We call upon all regional Fatah leaders to make the necessary activities, demonstrations, festivals and symbolic funerals in a very significant way to glorify this big hero. We call upon Fatah sections to form special committees with the mission of coordinating these preparations,” read the pamphlet.

The communication went on to call for Israeli Arabs to also celebrate the release of Mughrabi’s body.

The pamphlet was sent from the PA’s “ideological and organic” department, which is led by Chief Palestinian negotiator Ahmad Qurei, who has been overseeing Israeli-Palestinian peace talks initiated at last November’s U.S.-sponsored Annapolis summit.

According to PA sources, preparations are underway for Mughrabi to be buried in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, which is home to the Church of the Nativity, the believed birthplace of Jesus.

When the official heroes — not the cult heroes of some extremist group, the official heroes of a people that wants to become a nation — are murderers and terrorists, creatures that would kill a nature photographer in cold blood because she had the temerity to take pictures of what they claim as theirs, monsters that would shoot and burn children on a holiday outing, then what does that tell us about that people? And what does it tell us about their leadership that promotes this sickness?

Here is what Israel should say to Fatah: here are the bones of Dalal Mughrabi, whom you hold up as the model for every young Palestinian girl. Have big funerals with lots of shooting in the air and giving out of candy. Talk about her heroism in confronting the Zionist oppressors (like the Zionist oppressor children of bus drivers). Make speeches about redeeming  all of Palestine with your blood, display pictures of ‘martyrs’, and above all of the Original Terrorist, the father of the Palestinian nation and still its inspiration, Yasser Arafat.

And then understand this:

We know that there can be no peace with you. We know that giving you a state, giving you anything, will only bring your terrorist ‘heroes’ closer to our population. We know what’s in your hearts because you tell everyone who is willing to listen, and the message has come through loud and clear. You are our deadly enemies, and peace will not come until you no longer have the power to hurt us. And we are going to do whatever we can to bring about that state of affairs.

Just what this will mean to you in practice is up to you.

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J Street is anti-Israel and anti-Peace

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

The organization which calls itself “J Street” is billed as “pro-Israel and pro-peace”. It presents itself as an alternative to AIPAC, which it says is dominated by the “far right”. It appears to be very well-funded and has numerous well-known liberal Jews among its supporters.

In fact, J Street’s goals are inimical to the continued existence of the state of Israel. Its supporters either desire the elimination of the Jewish state or do not understand the consequences of accepting its principles.

Here is J Street’s Statement of Principles, with my comments.

We support:

  • Consistent and concerted diplomatic engagement by the United States to achieve Israeli-Arab peace. A negotiated end to the Israeli-Arab and Israeli-Palestinian conflicts serves both U.S. and Israeli strategic and security interests. Achieving it must be a priority for any future U.S. administration;

“Engagement” is a code word for pressure on Israel to make concrete, irrevocable concessions — giving up territory — in return for unenforceable promises of peace and normal relations. Whenever the US has been “engaged” — after the 1967 and 1973 wars, the Israeli-Egyptian ‘peace’ deal, the 1982 agreement that let Arafat and his terrorists escape Beirut, and of course Oslo — Israel has been forced to give up gains earned in blood in return for promises, both from the US and the Arabs, that were not fulfilled.

  • An enduring relationship between the US and Israel that promotes their common interests. We recognize and support Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people, a democratic country that promises equal rights for all its citizens and that has the right to defend itself against external threats;

This paragraph makes two points: Israel is the “homeland of the Jewish people”, but not a Jewish state; and it only promises, but does not provide, equal rights for all of its citizens. In order to understand the importance of the juxtaposition of these statements, we need to consider the demands presently being made by the elite of the Israeli-Arab population: their understanding of ‘equal rights’ essentially calls for the elimination of the Jewish character of the state.

  • The creation of a viable Palestinian state as part of a negotiated two-state solution, based on the 1967 borders with agreed reciprocal land swaps. The future Palestinian state will require unprecedented levels of international economic and political support to succeed, including a resolution of the refugee issue within the new Palestinian state and in current host countries;

For various reasons, including the lack of support among Palestinians for any non-rejectionist leadership, majority support for Hamas, and the military capabilities of the Iranian-funded and armed Hamas, a peaceful Palestinian state simply impossible. A fantasy. If we ignore this and create a state anyway, we will be helping set up a terrorist entity like today’s Gaza strip right next to Israeli population centers.

  • An Israeli-Syrian peace agreement based on the land-for-peace formula, security guarantees, and details outlined in previous negotiations;

Another fantasy. Giving up the Golan heights will drastically reduce Israel’s deterrent against Syrian attack, allow renewed terrorism on what has become a quiet front, allow Hezbollah to grow even stronger. In return, Israel will get less than what she got from Egypt, not even a prolonged cease-fire.

  • A comprehensive regional peace that builds on the Arab Initiative, leading to recognition of Israel by all its neighbors in the Middle East and the creation of a new regional approach to cooperation and security;

The Arab (Saudi) Initiative is a surrender document. It requires Israel to return to the 1967 lines with no exceptions and the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Jews from their homes; it calls for a solution of the refugee problem in a way which can only be understood as their return to Israel; and Israel gets nothing until she has entirely met Arab demands. The Arab initiative directly contradicts J Street’s planks calling for land swaps and for refugees to return to the Palestinian state and not to Israel, so one wonders what it’s doing here.

  • An American policy in the Middle East more broadly based on diplomacy, multilateralism and real partnership with the European Union, the Quartet and others. We support dialogue with a broad range of countries and actors, including Iran, over confrontation in order to find solutions to the region’s conflicts.

The European Union and the Quartet members other than the US (Russia, the EU, and the UN) are all quite hostile to Israel. How does involving them help? And what exactly does J Street propose to offer to Iran in order to ‘find a solution’ to Ahmadinejad’s desire to replace US influence in the Middle East with a Shiite Caliphate? Permission to build nuclear weapons?

To advance these goals, we seek to build a broad and inclusive campaign that crosses ethnic and religious lines and in which American Jews play a prominent role.

Yes, it really helps the argument when you can say “See, even the Jews think Israel is intransigent and must be forced to make peace”.

We believe honest discussion of American and Israeli policies is healthy for the U.S., for Israel and for the American Jewish community. We will actively promote debate in the United States that is as open and spirited as it is in Israel.

In other words, Mearsheimer and Walt were right, AIPAC and the Israel Lobby ‘muzzle’ debate about Israel in the US.

In that debate, we will oppose alliances with the religious right or any radical religious ideologues in the name of supporting Israel as well as efforts to demean and fan fears of Islam or of Muslims.

It’s interesting that on the J Street site, there is no mention of any of the real threats faced by Israel from Hezbollah, Hamas, and Iran. No mention of the tens of thousands of Syrian and Hezboillah missiles targeting Israel at this moment, no mention of the liklihood of war with Hezbollah and Hamas. What we find instead is an attack on Christian Zionist John Hagee! Does J Street think John Hagee is a greater menace than Nasrallah and Ahmadinejad?

The statement of principles is not in any way pro-Israel or pro-peace. It is a blueprint to force Israel back to the indefensible 1967 borders and to entirely surround her with armed terrorist entities that will continue to build up their military capabilities with Iranian funding; it encourages the radical elements among the Israeli Arabs in their struggle to turn Israel herself into a Palestinian state from within; it promotes the completely unacceptable Arab Initiative; suggests that dialogue is the way to deal with imminent military threats; makes approving noises in the direction of the antisemitic doctrine of Mearsheimer and Walt; and tries to drive a wedge between Israel and the 100+ million evangelicals in the US who want to support her.

The consequence of allowing a Hamas state to be set up in the West Bank and of failing to firmly oppose Iran and her proxies, to weaken Israel and strengthen its enemies cannot possibly be peace, but its opposite.

The primary goal of J Street appears to be to get Israel out of the territories, even though there is no partner which could create a peaceful Palestinian state. Secondarily it opposes the Jewish character of the state. Its domestic goals in the US are to reduce the influence of the Christian right and to keep Jews from making alliances with right-wing forces.

J Street is just another part of the general offensive against support for Israel in the US that has been taking place for the past few years. This one is aimed at support from liberal or uncommitted Jews, just as Jimmy Carter’s book is designed to weaken pro-Israel sentiment among Protestants.

It would be very interesting to learn the sources of funding for this slick group’s disingenuous propaganda.

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US helps Saudis, gets $128/bbl. oil in return

Friday, May 16th, 2008

News item:

President George W. Bush and [Saudi] King Abdullah formalized new cooperation on Friday between the kingdom and the United States on a range of topics, including the development of civilian nuclear energy in Saudi Arabia and US protection of Saudi oil fields.

The agreements came as Saudi Arabian leaders made clear that they saw no reason to increase oil production until their customers demanded it, apparently rebuffing a request made by the president directly to the king in an effort to stay the soaring US gasoline prices. — Jerusalem Post

I wish I had been a fly on the wall to hear the discussion, but Mr. Bush must have said something like this:

“We’ll help you develop nuclear technology (theoretically only for non-military use), and we’ll use our military forces — already fighting the Iranians for your interests in Iraq — to protect your oil fields. In return, you’ll keep the price of oil high in order to crush our economy. At the same time, you’ll use your windfall profits to finance the most radical forms of Islamic fundamentalism around the world, including in the USA.”

“In the Israeli-Palestinian arena, we’ll continue to support the Fatah terrorists so that they can form a unity government with the Hamas terrorists, splitting the latter from Iran. We’ll force the Israelis to give up land for a new Sunni state on their doorstep. We’re equipping and training its army right now.”

“Maybe we’ll get Israel to fight Hezbollah in Lebanon for you. That will weaken both Israel and Iran.”

What a great deal!

Update — Saudi Arabia has agreed to increase oil production by about 3.3% — a token increase which did not prevent oil from reaching a new high of $128/bbl. today.

Who's in charge here?

Who’s in charge here?

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