Archive for the ‘My favorite posts’ Category

Hopeful Palestinians and manufactured nonsense

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

There are real problems and there is nonsense manufactured to keep our minds off the real problems.

A real — and immediate — problem is the fact that Iran’s wholly-owned subsidiaries Syria and Hezbollah have tens of thousands of missiles, short, medium, and long range, all aimed at Israel. Another real problem, although slightly less immediate, is that Iran is moving along on her nuclear weapons program.

In the category of nonsense, Condoleezza Rice has said that “Young Palestinians are losing hope for an agreement with Israel”.

Losing hope? Were there ever “young Palestinians” (or even old Palestinians) pining away for a deal between Israel and the US-armed, Western-financed Fatah faction that they don’t support?

Here is what Palestinians think, young ones and old ones:

A public opinion poll [March 2008] reveals that an overwhelming majority of Palestinians – 84 percent – support the shooting attack at the Marcaz HaRav yeshiva on March 6 that left eight Jewish boys dead.

The most recent Israeli and Palestinian public opinion poll conducted jointly by the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah, describes Palestinians’ ‘staggering’ support of violent acts against Israel. Support for the shooting attack was greater in the Gaza Strip – at 91 percent, compared to the West Bank at 79 percent.

A further 64 percent of Palestinians polled support launching rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israeli towns, such as Sderot and Ashkelon.

The idea that Palestinians want a state in the territories is a wish-fulfillment fantasy of the Israeli Left and a useful fiction for the US State Department. The ongoing negotiations between Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah faction and Israel, in which Abbas continues to insist on impossible conditions (like 1967 borders and a right of return for descendants of 1948 refugees), and which Israel pretends to take seriously, are manufactured nonsense.

What almost all Palestinians, young and old, hope for is the collapse of the state of Israel, brought about by a combination of their ‘armed struggle’, regional war with Syria and Hezbollah, and diplomatic pressure from the oil-addicted and — at least in the case of the US — Saudi-subverted West.

Hopeful young Palestinians

Hopeful young Palestinians

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US reneges on commitments to Israel

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

When Caroline Glick was here yesterday I wanted to ask her about the 2004 letter from President Bush to then-PM Ariel Sharon. At that time, immediately before the withdrawal from Gaza, Bush made two ground-breaking statements. First, he said that

In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli population centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949…

And then he added this:

It seems clear that an agreed, just, fair and realistic framework for a solution to the Palestinian refugee issue, as part of any final status agreement, will need to be found through the establishment of a Palestinian state and the settling of Palestinian refugees there, rather than Israel…

I wanted to ask Ms. Glick how she understood the first of these statements, in the light of the continued complaints by Condoleezza Rice that Israel is “violating the road map” by constructing new homes inside existing settlements such as Elkana and in Jewish neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, places which certainly count as ‘Israeli population centers’ which would remain in Israel in any reasonable final agreement.

And I wanted to ask why, considering the second statement, the US insists that ‘everything is on the table’ for negotiations, including the unacceptable and absurd demand for a right of return for millions of descendants of Palestinian refugees, something that is equivalent to ending the Jewish state.

I have written about this contradiction before (see “Annapolis is an irrelevant joke“), but I remained profoundly mystified by my own government’s schizophrenia with respect to its ‘valued ally’, Israel.

I didn’t have an opportunity to ask Ms. Glick what she thought, but in her column today she has answered my question without being asked:

According to last Thursday’s Washington Post, Bush administration officials are doing everything they can to try to get out of the President’s commitment to Sharon. Justifying the letter as an insincere piece of political maneuvering used to help Sharon expel the Jews from Gaza and Northern Samaria in 2005, they explain that the letter is no longer politically necessary. It served its purpose of drumming up domestic Israeli support for the now completed withdrawal and expulsion and ought to be set aside.

From the Washington Post item referenced by Glick:

National security adviser Stephen J. Hadley, at a news briefing in January, suggested that Bush’s 2004 letter was aimed at helping Sharon win domestic approval for the Gaza withdrawal. “The president obviously still stands by that letter of April of 2004, but you need to look at it, obviously, in the context of which it was issued,” he said. [my emphasis]

So there’s nothing to be mystified about. Bush wrote the letter to help smooth the path to Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza, and now that that is done it has become ‘inoperative’.

The Washington Post, by the way, consistently refers to ‘settlement expansion’, but in fact the boundaries of the ‘settlements’ and neighborhoods in question are not being expanded; homes are being constructed within them.

There is apparently a disagreement between the US and Israel about unpublicized understandings of what constitutes ‘good’ and ‘bad’ settlement construction. The US claims there are no such understandings, and that any construction outside of 1967 borders is a problem. Israel says that there is an understanding that unsubsidized construction can continue within settlements and neighborhoods that are expected to become part of Israel.

But if the Bush letter has any significance, it certainly must imply that what Israel does within the boundaries of Elkana, for example, is none of our business. If it doesn’t mean at least that, then what does it mean? What exactly is it that President Bush “stands by” in the letter?

Present State Department positions seem to be indistinguishable from those of Mahmoud Abbas, who continues to insist on 1967 borders and a right of return.

If Hadley’s remarks are taken seriously, the word of the President of the United States is no better than that of Yasser Arafat, who lied about recognizing Israel and renouncing terrorism in order to get his foot in the door when he signed the Oslo Accord.

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Palestinians have been made into moral monsters

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

The NY Times reports:

RAMALLAH, West Bank — A new poll shows that an overwhelming majority of Palestinians support the attack this month on a Jewish seminary in Jerusalem that killed eight young men, most of them teenagers, an indication of the alarming level of Israeli-Palestinian tension in recent weeks.

The survey also shows unprecedented support for the shooting of rockets on Israeli towns from the Gaza Strip and for the end of the peace negotiations between Palestinian and Israeli leaders.

“There is real reason to be concerned,” [pollster Khalil] Shikaki said in an interview at his West Bank office. His Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research, which conducts a survey every three months, is widely viewed as among the few independent and reliable gauges of Palestinian public opinion.

His explanation for the shift, one widely reflected in the Palestinian media, is that recent actions by Israel, especially attacks on Gaza that killed nearly 130 people, an undercover operation in Bethlehem that killed four militants and the announced expansion of several West Bank settlements [building within existing ‘settlements’ near Jerusalem that are expected to be retained by Israel in a final agreement — ed.], have led to despair and rage among average Palestinians who thirst for revenge.

How did it get to this point? Why has it been impossible for Jews and Arabs to reach an accommodation in the region?

Palestinians never accepted the presence of the Jewish state, and always believed that the land on which it was built was stolen from them. They never accepted any of the responsibility for the events of 1948 and thereafter. The Arab nations and media always presented this distorted view of historical events, and Arab and Palestinian leaders — the Mufti, Arafat, Nasser, etc. — consistently rejected any attempts to make peace or solve the refugee problem.

According to the Palestinian story, they are entirely the victims, and everything is the Jews’ fault. Therefore there is no reason to compromise, since real justice would require the elimination of Israel and the removal of the Jews from their land.

Over the years, under the guidance of such as Arafat, Palestinians tried to achieve their goals by murder and terrorism. Israeli attempts at self-defense have always been interpreted as aggression, both for external consumption — to create sympathy for the Palestinians in the West — and in their own minds. After all, since the Jews are entirely culpable for Palestinian suffering, anything may be done to them in order to obtain justice and end the suffering.

The Oslo debacle demonstrates this clearly. While Israelis were prepared to make concrete concessions and to re-educate themselves to the new reality of a Palestinian state, Arafat was not prepared to give anything — not recognition of Israel, not a cessation of terrorism, and, probably most significant for today’s situation, not a reduction in anti-Israel incitement.

In fact, Arafat created a massive indoctrination machine which included all Palestinian media, the educational system, PA-associated mosques, etc., all focused on delegitimizing and demonizing Israel, and preparing young Palestinians for their roles as soldiers in the coming war.

The truly remarkable thing about this period was the way that Israel and the US managed to ignore all this, to ignore Arafat calling for jihad in Arabic while talking peace in English, to discount his sponsorship of terrorism — even after it was proven beyond a doubt — and to offer him an unprecedented deal in 2000 in which the Palestinians would receive between 95 and 97 percent of the West Bank and all of Gaza for their state.

But anyone who knew the Palestinian story could have predicted that Arafat would reject even this, because it did not redress the primary Palestinian grievance, the creation of Israel on ‘their’ land.

And in the same way, the Palestinian story implies that anything that Israel does in self-defense — the security barrier, arrests of terrorists, incursions to stop rocket fire — is done to perpetuate the injustice, and will only create more outrage.

So here we are, 60 years after 1948 and the Palestinians are furious and want revenge. 60 years have passed, during which time the Palestinians have focussed on themselves and the historic injustice that they understand to have been done them so narcissistically that they are now unable to see that slaughtering innocent teenagers and randomly bombing civilians is evil. We have a situation in which a majority of a population has been turned — by systematic manipulation and indoctrination — into moral monsters.

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Common knowledge

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

YNet reports:

The US is transferring $150 million in aid to the Palestinian government in coming days, the Palestinian Prime Minister announced Wednesday.

The payment is part of a total of $550 million the US pledged to pay to the Palestinians over three years, part of a total of $7.7 billion in pledges from international donors made at a conference in Paris in December.

[Palestinian Authority PM Salam] Fayyad said the US money would go directly to the national treasury, to be used for running the cash-strapped government.

Everybody knows that the Palestinian Authority (PA) under Mahmoud Abbas and Fayyad does not represent a significant number of Palestinians, is not capable of making a peace deal with Israel that both sides could accept, and could not enforce such a deal if it were made.

Everybody knows that the only thing keeping the PA from losing control of the West Bank as happened in Gaza is the presence of the IDF.

Abbas’ frustration at the failure to make progress in talks that are supposed to lead to an independent Palestinian state is disingenuous: he knows that Israel cannot accept a right of return for refugee descendants, and he knows that Palestinians will not recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

Israeli PM Olmert’s pretense at negotiating with Abbas is just that, because he knows the same things.

President Bush knows that “a peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians that defines a Palestinian state” will not be signed this year, at least not a meaningful one.

Everybody knows that Hamas is more popular among Palestinians than any other political entity.

Everybody knows, even Javier Solana of the EU must know by now, that Hamas is committed to destroying Israel, not ‘liberating the Palestinians’ from the 1967 occupation. And everybody knows that Hamas is funded by Iran, which is also committed to same goal.

And everybody knows that establishing a peaceful Palestinian state — especially one which is “viable, contiguous, sovereign, and independent” in President Bush’s words — while Hamas controls Gaza and threatens to take over the West Bank — is simply impossible.

So why are millions, indeed billions, earmarked for this project, when everyone knows it is entirely a charade?

Why do we continue to hear the same nonsense from politicians and media about the importance of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, when the greatest problem — the problem that threatens to engulf the world in nuclear war — is the struggle between Iran and its allies and proxies and the West for control of the Middle East and its resources? Why is less attention paid to the nuclear weapons presently in the hands of the highly unstable Pakistan and those soon to be built by Iran than to the importance of a ‘contiguous’ Palestinian state?

Good questions.

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‘Great’ newspapers and Fresno Bee have something in common

Saturday, February 23rd, 2008

I’ve been suspecting this for a long time, but now someone has come along and proven it:

The New York Times, LA Times (may its name be erased), and Washington Post’s op-ed sections are heavily biased against Israel:

A 19-month CAMERA study, from January 2006 through July 2007, of guest Op-Eds about the Arab-Israeli conflict found that in these three papers pro-Arab Op-Eds and/or those critical of Israel overwhelmingly outnumbered pro-Israel Op-Eds and/or those critical of Arabs. Even more telling is the striking fact that during the 19-month period, none of the newspapers ran even a single Op-Ed by an Israeli official. In contrast, each of the three papers ran four Op-Eds by Arab officials, including multiple pieces by Hamas leaders…

It should be noted that many of the Op-Eds generally supportive of Israel also contained criticism of the Jewish state. In contrast, virtually none of the Op-Eds expressing a pro-Arab point of view contained criticism of the Arab side.

While CAMERA inexplicably left our local paper, the McClatchy-owned Fresno Bee, out of the study, I have no doubt that it falls into the same category. Notable are periodic unsigned editorials which supposedly represent the opinion of the editorial board, although they are not written locally. And from time to time there is a particularly objectionable reader submission. Two weeks ago the Bee gave a prominent place to a poorly-written 700-word piece by a local pastor, a rehash of every libel and slander made against Israel, including accusations of murder, atrocities, ethnic cleansing, racism, apartheid, persecution (of Christians yet), etc.

I’m not the first one to note that journalists at media outlets great and not-so-great all do their best to get people to read their papers. And the op-ed page is, after all, the place where opinions are expressed, and strong opinions are interesting.

Nevertheless we know that the Timeses, the Post, or the Fresno Bee would not print an article which defames a racial or ethnic group. The editors would rightly judge this to be irresponsible.

So why is it acceptable to print hateful material that defames a nation?

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