Saturday, October 30, 2010

Failing memory, false hope

In his final Knesset address, Rabin rejected two-state vision, return to ’67 borders

This Saturday night the Rabin Square will once again be the site of the ritual rally marking Yitzhak Rabin’ assassination. Notably, it will take place under the theme "Remembering together; Preserving the Hope" – a slogan that could hardly be more inappropriate and misleading.

For as PM Netanyahu pointed out in his speech in the Knesset on the 15th annual commemoration of Rabin's assassination, in which he cited portions from Rabin's final parliamentary address, much of his political credo has been forgotten - and givens today's reality, it would have induced little hope for any settlement with the Palestinians. Unfortunately however, Netanyahu did not seize the moment with adequate force. Regrettably he let slip the chance to drive home several points of critical importance that would have contributed greatly to dispersing the deceptive fog of misconceptions the shroud what has become know, as "Rabin's Heritage."

There is indeed much in "public memory" regarding that "Heritage" that is in dire need of clarification - particularly in view of how it has been cynically distorted for partisan ends that diverge strongly from the positions Rabin himself stood for to his very last days. It is thus crucial that the public in Israel, and beyond, be reminded of the contents of this speech, for nothing else can more be more legitimately deemed "Rabin's Heritage."

This need is particularly acute as roughly half the today's population was not yet in its teens at the time and has no real personal recollection of realities that prevailed at the time - except of course what was provided by highly misleading media reportage. But no less than the substance of the speech, it is important to recall both the time at which, and the context in which, it was delivered.

The address was made on October 5th, 1995 exactly a month prior to Rabin's assassination. As such, it was his last major policy statement and final articulation of his vision of the "permanent solution" with the Palestinians. Those believing that he would have abandoned it for a less conciliatory course might feel that their case was considerably strengthened by the recent declaration from his daughter that "on the eve of his death…he was considering a u-turn" and "stopping the Oslo Accords because terrorism was rampant, and… Arafat was not delivering on his promise."

As for the context, the speech was delivered after Rabin was awarded the Nobel Peace prize and after he was hailed as a courageous champion of peace. Significantly, the address was made during the debate on the Oslo II Accords for which Rabin was seeking Knesset ratification. At the time, the vision he set out was considered an unprecedented dovish/"leftist" prescription for far-reaching Israeli concessions and a doctrine which produced such dismay and dissension, it divided the nation into two roughly equal camps.
Rejecting 2-state solution

In that address, Rabin, the recently announced Nobel Peace laureate, rejected the two-state formula. In his view of the permanent solution regarding the Palestinian entity, he stipulated that this should " …be an entity which is less than a stat… and which will independently run the lives of the Palestinians under its authority."

Referring to the final frontiers of the country, he was unequivocal: "The borders of the State of Israel, during the permanent solution, will be beyond the lines which existed before the Six-Day War. We will not return to the 4 June 1967 lines."

As for what was to be included in Israel's permanent borders he prescribed that, at minimum, four elements must be ensured: A united Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty as the nation's capital; the Jordan Valley as Israel's security border; the incorporation of existing settlements across the 1967 "Green Line" into the sovereign territory of Israel; and the establishment of new settlement bloc across the Green Line like those later destroyed in the Gaza disengagement.

No less noteworthy - especially given the current ballyhoo over the "building freeze" - was Rabin's position on issue of construction in the trans-Green Line settlements. Before the Israeli parliament and public he declared: "…we committed...ourselves before the Knesset, not to uproot a single settlement in the framework of the interim agreement, and not to hinder building for natural growth."

These were Rabin's last recorded commitments to the nation. However, today if anyone were to adhere verbatim to the very prescription articulated by Rabin at the end of his days - he would certainly not be lauded by the folks in the square as Rabin's successor, but, paradoxically, condemned for abandoning "Rabin's Heritage"…and dismissed as an unrealistic extremist

Crucial lessons emerge from this anomalous and ludicrous state of affairs, which the Israeli public will ignore at its peril. Firstly, even though the positions espoused by Rabin were considered excessively concessionary, inducing fierce repudiation by many, Israel has retreated from every position set out by him in his vision of a "permanent solution."

Yet despite this dramatic erosion of every single principle enshrined in Rabin's last legacy, Israel is still accused of intransigence - not only by its foes but by those who feign friendship. Still it is pressed for ever more far-reaching concessions - now not even to reach a permanent settlement, but merely so the Palestinians might deign to resume negotiations.

This situation clearly reflects catastrophic defeat for Israel's public-diplomacy and a scathing indictment of those responsible for conducting it.

But even more ominous is the imperceptible accumulation of dangers that this continuous capitulation entails for the nation. This is perhaps best conveyed by the by the parable of the "boiled frog" portrayed in Daniel Quinn's The Story of B:

"…if you place (a frog)… in a pot of tepid water…, it will float there quite placidly. As the water gradually heats up, the frog will sink into a tranquil stupor …and before long, with a smile on its face, it will unresistingly allow itself to be boiled to death."

Given the relentless retreat in Israeli positions that we have witnessed over the last decade and a half, how far can we be from boiling point?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Reclaiming Rabin’s Legacy
Date: Thu, Oct 28, 2010

How did the man who declared that he would “break the bones” of the Palestinians become the Mahatma Gandhi of the Israeli Left? Like every year, the commemoration of Yitzhak Rabin’s murder is an exercise in historical falsification and emotional intimidation. It is time to set the record straight.

Rabin grew up in the nationalistic Palmah movement. He was a pure sabra: a Jew from Sparta, not Athens, who was told to fight rather than to think. A talented officer, he followed the ideal career of the Ashkenazi ruling class: IDF Officer, Chief of Staff, Ambassador to the US, Labor MK, Prime Minister —a true WASP (White, Ashkenazi, Sabra Paratrooper). In his two three-year stints as Prime Minister (1974-1977 and 1992-1995), Rabin was maneuvered into foreign policy decisions he had originally opposed, and in both cases he paved the way to the electoral victory of the Right. In 1975, Rabin was basically coerced by Gerald Ford and Henri Kissinger to withdraw from about 20% of the Sinai Peninsula in order for the US to convince Sadat that abandoning the Egyptian-Soviet alliance made sense. And when Rabin came back to power in 1992, he was not a leader who had “seen the light” as some would have us believe, but rather a man who was manipulated into signing a deal he rightly suspected to be risky.

Rabin wanted to organize elections in the territories to set up a local Palestinian leadership with which Israel would negotiate the interim status of the West Bank and Gaza, as outlined in the 1989 Israeli Peace Initiative. Rabin believed that a moderate, non-PLO Palestinian leadership could emerge in the territories. By contrast, Peres was of the opinion that Israel should establish direct contacts with the PLO and test the seriousness of the Palestinian leadership in Tunis.

Upon the presentation of his government to the Knesset in July 1992, Rabin declared Israel’s commitment to the strengthening of “strategic” settlements in the West Bank (“The Government will continue to enhance and strengthen Jewish settlement along the lines of confrontation, due to their importance for security, and in Greater Jerusalem”). Rabin also ruled out any negotiation over Jerusalem (“The Government is firm in its resolve that Jerusalem will not be open to negotiation;” “whoever believes that any Government of Israel can compromise on united Jerusalem fools himself. We, Israel, the Jewish people, will never negotiate the fate of Jerusalem. It is ours and ours forever”). And he warned that Israel would favor its security over its search for peace (“Security takes preference even over peace”).

After the June 1992 elections, Rabin reluctantly gave the Foreign Affairs portfolio to his rival Shimon Peres. It was agreed between Rabin and Peres that Rabin would be responsible for Israel’s relations with the United States and for the bilateral negotiations with the Palestinian delegation in Washington, and that Elyakim Rubinstein would remain head of the Israeli delegation in Washington. Peres’ role with regard to the peace process was to be confined to the BS “multilateral negotiations.” One month after the formation of his government, Rabin reluctantly agreed to nominate Yossi Beilin as Deputy Foreign Minister.

In September 1992, as Beilin was frustrated with his lack of control over the bilateral negotiations, his Norwegian counterpart Jan Egeland paid a visit to Israel and reminded Beilin about the idea of the secret channel on which he had agreed three months earlier with Yair Hirschfeld, Faisal Husseini and Terje Larsen. Beilin and Egeland agreed to start secret talks between Israel and the PLO in Oslo. Since Rabin had forbidden Peres himself to meet with Faisal Husseini, Beilin could not reasonably expect Peres to allow him to meet with PLO representatives in Oslo. Consequently, Beilin asked Hirschfeld to travel to Oslo and to start secret negotiations with the PLO. Rabin himself was unaware of these secret talks.

When Peres reported to Rabin about the Oslo channel, Rabin was not enthusiastic, and he warned Peres not to torpedo the Washington talks. However, Rabin apparently did not believe that the secret discussions in Oslo would bring substantial results, and so he let Peres go ahead.

During his elections campaign in 1992, Rabin had committed to sign an interim agreement with the Palestinians within nine months. In March 1993 (eight months after the elections), there was no prospect of an interim agreement with the Palestinians through the Washington talks. By contrast, Hirschfeld (together with Ron Pundak) had agreed on a declaration of principles with Mahmoud Abbas, and all they needed was Rabin’s green light.

In early May 1993, Peres managed to convince Rabin that the Oslo track was the Government’s last hope, and Rabin agreed to send the Director General of the Foreign Ministry, Uri Savir, to Oslo. However, a few days later, Rabin sent a letter to Peres, in which he denounced the Oslo process. Rabin claimed in his letter that the secret Oslo talks were actually undermining the peace process and that the PLO in Tunis was manipulating Israel in Oslo in order to torpedo the Washington talks.

Eventually, Rabin gave his green light to Oslo because he had been unable to reach an agreement with the Palestinians in Washington. But he did not initiate this process and he had serious reservations about it.

Rabin was an honest and decent man who cared about the well-being of his soldiers and the safety of his country. He was a talented army officer; as a political leader he was altogether uncharismatic, gauche, and pragmatic. He eventually endorsed and signed an agreement which others had conceived and negotiated without his knowledge and against his electoral platform. The fact that he paid with his life for the controversial Oslo Agreements is a tragedy, and nobody has a monopoly over the pain and shame that fell upon us in November 1995.

Turning Rabin into a born-again peacenik is a factual and historical fraud. The two gigantic doves that ornate the Rabin Center in Tel-Aviv are a mixture of esthetical bad taste and intellectual dishonesty. As we commemorate Rabin’s tragic death, let us honor his memory by respecting him for what he was rather for what he wasn’t.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Ministers and MK show support for Hebron

Hebron Jewish Community // Maariv/NRG - Ben Caspit
October 28, 2010

Shabbat Chaye Sarah in Hebron
Ministers and Members of Knesset Offer Congratulations, Moral Support, and Assurances
No fewer than fourteen ministers, five deputy ministers, and twenty-four Members of the Knesset from the coalition and the opposition, headed by the Speaker of the Knesset, MK Reuven Rivlin, responded to the request of the Jewish community of Hebron and the Kiryat Arba Local Council by sending congratulations on the occasion of Shabbat Chaye Sarah. In their remarks, these elected officials demonstrated much knowledge of the history of the City of the Patriarchs, recognized the city’s value and importance, expressed strong appreciation of its residents, and, no less important, gave commitments to the building and development of Hebron and the reinforcement of its status as a proud and flourishing Jewish town Knowledge of the History of Hebron
· MK Menachem Eliezer Mozes quotes the adage in Zohar that describes the Tomb of the Patriarchs, situated “near the gateway to the Garden of Eden,” as the burial place of Adam and Eve as well.
· The Minister of National Infrastructures, Uzi Landau, is reminded of the Shlah-Lekha Torah reading, of all things: “Calev ben Yefuneh walked to Hebron alone and prostrated himself at the tombs of the Patriarchs there. The leaders of the Israelite tribes did not visit Hebron and failed the test when the time for action came. Only Calev ben Yefuneh, who imbibed the sublime power of Hebron […] said, “Surely we will ascend to and inherit [the Land of Israel] … the Land is very, very good.”
· The Minister of Culture and Sports, Limor Livnat, notes, “The city lost none of its importance and grandeur throughout the entire biblical era; it served as one of the country’s largest and most populous cities and even as King David’s capital in the first years of his reign.” MK Danny Danon quotes Rabbi Kook: “Hebron is the foundation of the Jewish monarchy; it was there that David’s timeless kingdom, which is everlasting and will be so forever, was established and perfected.”
· MK Rabbi Haim Amsalem notes, “Hebron has been a city of Torah and Judaism for centuries, the home of magnificent communities and towering rabbis such as the authors of Sede Hemed and Hesed le-Avraham, to name only two.”
· The Vice Premier and Regional Development Minister. Silvan Shalom, writes, “For hundreds of years our ancestors were not allowed to cross the seventh step and enter the Tomb of the Patriarchs.” He mentions “the riots of 1929 […] that serve as an urgent reminder that our enemies around the world have not yet given up on the idea of slaughtering and killing our people.” The Minister of Education, Gideon Saar, notes, “The Jewish community of Hebron existed uninterruptedly in all generations and was tragically cut down due to the massacre in 1929.” MK Zeev Elkin, Chair of the Coalition and of the Land of Israel Lobby, notes, “Jewish settlement in Hebron persisted for thousands of years until the Jews there were murdered and evicted in the events of 1929.”
· MK Zion Pinyan says, “The restoration of the Jewish community of Hebron after the town’s liberation in the Six-Day War is a historical act of justice that was deserved. We will never allow lowly murderers to expel Jews from the Land of Israel. The Jewish community of Hebron is flourishing and developing. Additional families are moving into town; children play in its streets. It’s a vision coming true.”
Recognizing the Value and Importance of Hebron
· The Speaker of the Knesset, MK Reuven Rivlin, writes, “Our right to the Land [of Israel] as a just right, as a moral right, [and] as an unchallengeable property right was established in Hebron.”
· The Minister of the Interior and Chair of the Shas Movement, Eli Yishai, notes that the Tomb of the Patriarchs is “the gateway to the Garden of Eden” and writes, “It is one of three places where the nations of the world cannot cheat the Jews by saying that we’ve stolen it.” The Minister of Science, Rabbi Daniel Hershkowitz, also quotes this rabbinical dictum and writes, “At a time when the nations of the world subjecting the State of Israel to political pressure and attempting to deal a blow to Jewish settlement, it is especially important for the unity of the entire [Jewish] people to strengthen and intensify our toehold in the Land of Israel.”
· The Minister of Communications and Chair of the Likud Central Committee, Moshe Kahlon, writes, “From Hebron all prayers from all over the world ascend to heaven. In other words, Hebron is our ‘communication center’ vis-à-vis the Holy One; we must look after it with the utmost of care!!!”
· The Minister of Education, Gideon Saar, notes,“Our nation’s link to Hebron generally, and to the Tomb of the Patriarchs particularly, has a historical, religious, and emotional dimension.” Minister Michael Eitan wrote instead about “the relationship and the continuity that exist between the Hayei Sarah Torah reading and Israel’s Declaration of Independence. The two texts combine religious sanctity and the national ethos to create one of the most important fundamentals in the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.”
· The Minister of the Environment, Gilad Erdan, writes, “When one visits Hebron and, above all, the Tomb of the Patriarchs, one cannot leave without understanding that the roots of the Jewish people have been deeply planted in the Holy Land for thousands of years.” The Minister of National Infrastructures, Uzi Landau, notes that Hebron has been “the source of the Jewish people’s strength for generations.”
· The Minister of Finance, Yuval Steinitz, writes, “Hebron is the stone from which we were hewn.” Deputy Minister Gila Gamliel writes, “Hebron is one of the four holy cities, it’s the very soul of the Jewish people, it’s the Jewish people’s birth certificate, its ID card, and its pledge of allegiance.”
· Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon writes, “Hebron embodies the Jewish people’s connection with the Land of Israel.” Deputy Minister Ayoub Kara writes, “Hebron reminds us of the Jewish people’s right to dwell, settle, and live in all parts of the Land of Israel.” MK Michael Ben-Ari mentions “the commandment to inherit and dwell in the land.”
· MK Uri Orbach writes, “Hebron is the City of the Patriarchs, the city where the monarchy began and where the reestablishment of a toehold in the entire Land of Israel began.” MK Alex Miller terms Hebron “the first Hebrew city, the cradle from which the Jewish people arose.”
· MK Uri Ariel notes that Hebron symbolizes “the second dimension of eternal possession of the Land of Israel: the human essence, the test of action, to fulfill the divine promise via human action. And the action is to return and to build.” MK Moshe Mutz Matalon writes, “The Tomb of the Patriarchs was the first Jewish possession […]. In Israel of 2010, there is not only the right of possession but also the obligation of possession—one that we as Jews are duty-bound to fulfill.”
· MK Tzachi Hanegbi writes, “The Tomb of the Patriarchs is the first Hebrew possession in the Land of Israel. Practically speaking, its purchase by our Patriarch Abraham thousands of years ago determined the worldview of the Jewish National Fund—buying land at full price in order to cement our historical entitlement and divine promise in property rights as well.”
· MK Rabbi Nissim Zeev writes, “This is the true location of the Jewish people’s most exalted figures and the site of the nation’s roots in the Land of Israel.” MK Ronit Tirosh wrote, “We can derive inspiration from our Patriarchs, who are interred in Hebron, for the importance of educating in the timeless Jewish values.”
· MK Yoel Hasson writes, “In the religious sense, Hebron is the second most important city for the Jewish people, surpassed only by Jerusalem. For generations, Jews prayed to return to Hebron and dwell there. The city is a symbol of the connection between the Jewish people and its land.”
· MK Yaakov Katz (Katzeleh) writes, “Hebron is the city of the living, a city that gives life and that links parents with their offspring.” MK Carmel Shama Hacohen adds, “Hebron symbolizes the past, the present, and the future rolled into one.”
Strong Appreciation for Its Residents
· The Speaker of the Knesset, MK Reuven Rivlin, wrote, “Due to your actions, your ardent faith, your motivation, and your resolve—pioneer-brethren who march before the camp—the country is being built and is sharing its fruit with its offspring.”
· The Minister of Information and Diaspora Affairs, Yuli Edelstein, writes, “It is you who enable hundreds of thousands of Jews to ascend to our Patriarchs’ graves.” MK Miri Regev noted, “By virtue of the Jewish community of Hebron and its devotion, Jews from all over the world and in Israel are able to ascend to and worship at the tombs of the holy Patriarchs and Matriarchs.” MK Rabbi Nissim Zeev congratulates the residents “for their steadfastness amid the ordeals of the time and their faith in and adherence to the city of our Patriarchs […]. More than half a million Jews from all over Israel and abroad visit Hebron each year. There is no doubt that there were no Jewish community in Hebron, such a flow of visitors could not exist.”
· The Minister of Religious Affairs, Yaakov Margi, defines the settlement project in Hebron as “a pioneering settlement enterprise for the safeguarding and security of the Land of Israel, a symbol and paragon for the entire Jewish people.”
· MK Arieh Eldad, Chair of the Land of Israel Forum, noted that the residents of Hebron “wage a daily heroic struggle to strengthen their grip on the cradle of the Jewish people and to resist anyone who wishes to loosen this grip.” MK Rabbi Haim Amsalem mentioned“their steadfastness against opponents from within and without,” and MK Zevulun Orlev, Chair of the Jewish Home faction, writes, “By doggedly clinging to this location, they are making a meaningful contribution.”
· MK Danny Danon termed Hebron “the vanguard of settlement in Judea and Samaria [. . .]. The steadfastness of the people of Hebron in the past few decades despite being targeted by waves of terror is a miracle and a paragon for us in the process of the Jewish repatriation.”
· MK Tzipi Hotovely wrote, “Dear residents of Hebron, you are the true heroes of the Jewish people, you are the torch that leads the camp, that reminds us all where we came from and who the national patriarchs are.”
· MK Yariv Levin wrote, “The residents of Kiryat Arba are an outstanding example of the rebirth of the Jewish people in the land of our Patriarchs […] a spearhead.”
Commitment to Building and Development Hebron and to the Reinforcement of Its Status as a Proud and Prosperous Jewish Town
· The Minister of Construction and Housing,, Ariel Atias, wrote, “As the person who oversees the Ministry of Construction and Housing […] I am committed to strengthening the place where the nation’s Patriarchs lie in rest [. . .]. Hebron has deep historical and Jewish roots; we do not wish to disengage from it, nor can we.”
· The Minister of the Environment, Gilad Erdan, promised “to continue doing everything I can to help and support this wonderful community and its inhabitants.”
· The Minister of Communications and Chair of the Likud Central Committee, Moshe Kahlon, wrote, “Saying that Hebron isn’t ours is like saying that Jerusalem isn’t ours. Anyone who wants to hand Hebron to foreigners is cutting off the branch on which we sit […]. Hebron is ours, on deposit from the Holy One, and we have no authority to hand it to anyone.”
· The Minister of Transport, Yisrael Katz, wrote, “The Jewish people’s return to its land and the restoration of the settled Jewish presence in Hebron and Kiryat Arba are one and the same, inseparable […]. In my capacity as Minister of Transport, I undertook to reinforce Hebron, Kiryat Arba, and the Tomb of the Patriarchs and to bring them closer to the entire Jewish people—a physical connection that in turn will reinforce the psychological connection […]. [I promise] to continue acting to build roads to the hearts and to the Tombs of the Patriarchs, and we will assure the strength of the Jewish community in Kiryat Arba and the City of the Patriarchs.”
· The Minister of Culture and Sports, Limor Livnat, notes, “I am firmly confident that we will continue, as before, to appreciate the strength and solidity of the Jewish community of Hebron, and the State of Israel will continue to develop and build in Judea and Samaria and ensure the inhabitants’ security and well-being.”
· The Minister of Education, Gideon Saar, notes, “I have decided to include Hebron and Kiryat Arba among localities that entitle their residents to subsidized preschool education for children aged 3–4.”
· The Minister of Finance, Yuval Steinitz, writes, “Now more than ever, we need to continue building, developing, and striving in Hebron and the Kiryat Arba area.”
· The Vice Premier and Regional Development Minister, Silvan Shalom, writes, “It is our commitment as elected officials to make sure that the city of Hebron will continue to exist as the very heart of the State of Israel [. . .]; we are sovereign at the Tomb of the Patriarchs and we will be here forever.”
· Deputy Minister Gila Gamliel writes, “We came this Shabbat to pledge allegiance and tell the entire world, aloud and erect, that this is our land and the inheritance of our forefathers. Hebron is the eternal city for the eternal people; it is not an object to be partitioned, transferred, or leased out.”
· Deputy Minister Lea Ness wrote that we, much like the Patriarch Abraham, “bear the heavy responsibility of settling the Land of Israel and keeping it in Jewish hands, as an adjunct to the divine promise that we were given.”
· The Deputy Minister of Education, Rabbi Meir Parush, wrote, “I will continue to do whatever I can, as I have in the past, for the building and development of the renewed Jewish community in the holy city of Hebron.”
· MK Zeev Elkin, Chair of the Coalition and of the Land of Israel Lobby, notes, “The Land of Israel Forum struggled successfully to have the Tomb of the Patriarchs included on the list of heritage sites […]. It is our obligation and privilege to support and assist the residents of Hebron and Kiryat Arba.”
· MK Zevulun Orlev, Chair of the Jewish Home faction, notes, “To make sure that Israel continues to control Hebron and the Tomb of the Patriarchs and to keep them from being handed over to the Palestinians, I have presented the Knesset with a Hebron and Tomb of the Patriarchs Bill.”
· MK David Azoulay wrote, “As a member of the Knesset of Israel, I feel committed to the city of my patriarchs, Hebron—to its building, development, and preservation as Jewish city of cardinal importance.”
· MK Tzipi Hotovely wrote, “We elected officials must act in every way to keep Hebron [...] a safe, flourishing, and prosperous Jewish locality.”
· MK Yoel Hasson wrote, “Due to its value and importance to the Jewish people, I am convinced that the Jewish people’s special relationship with the city of the Patriarchs will continue in the future as well.”
· MK Yariv Levin wrote, “I am determined to continue helping to ensure the prosperity and safety of Kiryat Arba as a proud and thriving Jewish town […] and to strengthen the settlement enterprise in all of the Land of Israel.”
· MK Avraham Michaeli wrote, “As our rabbis’ emissaries, we have been ordered to preserve and develop the city of Hebron as far as possible and will do everything that we were told.”
· MK Alex Miller wrote, “It is our privilege and duty to support, strengthen, and develop the Jewish presence in Hebron.”
· MK Zion Pinyan, coalition whip in the Knesset Finance Committee, wrote, “We will act for the continued building and development of Hebron and the Jewish community, for the Jewish people and for posterity.”
· MK Carmel Shama Hacohen wrote, “Governments of Israel in all generations have resolved to strengthen the Jewish community of Hebron, and it’s our privilege and obligation to apply these resolutions in actions […]. It will be my pleasure to help in all matters.”

Ministers show support for Hebron
by Ben Caspit

Prior to the arrival of tens of thousands to the city this Saturday, 43 ministers and MKs from the coalition and the opposition sent letters of support. "We will ensure the community’s might"

Talk of the continued freeze in the territories and the renewal of direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians does not impress Knesset members and ministers: not less than 43 ministers and MKs, from the coalition and the opposition, including three MKs from Kadima, "bombed" the Jewish Community of Hebron and Kiryat Arba with letters of support and encouragement for the coming Shabbat, when the weekly Torah portion, Chaye Sarah will be read, "dealing with the purchase of the Tomb of the Patriarchs by the Patriarch Abraham. These political supporters competed for the best superlatives, eternal loyalty declarations, promises to continue building and so on.

Tens of thousands of worshipers are expected to visit Hebron on Shabbat for a huge show of support. It turns out that despite the political contacts and expectation that the prime minister intends to declare another moratorium on the territories, the political support for the Hebron Jewish community was not hurt (and still, we must not forget that these letters of support haven’t any real value, or votes in the Knesset).

This year, despite or perhaps because of sensitive political situation, the heads of the Hebron Jewish community asked elected officials to send them letters of support for the events of this Shabbat. Between ministers and MKs evolved a "race" of letters of support and sweeping statements of allegiance. Some ministers and MKs requested that Kiryat Arba and Hebron leaders wait with the release of the full list to allow them to complete their letters.

The entire operation was directed by Orit Struk, the director of the Political Department in the Jewish community of Hebron. Mayor of Kiryat Arba, Malachi Levinger, said yesterday: "The support of the Knesset Speaker, cabinet ministers and Knesset members proves that Hebron, the city of the fathers, is at the heart of the Israeli public support and that the State of Israel will never abandon the mothers and fathers buried thousands of years ago in Hebron and the thousands of sons who rebuilt this city in Israel. "

Surprise: Kadima also

Among the writers are Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin, Ministers Moshe Kahlon, Silvan Shalom, Yuli Edelstein, Michael Eitan, Gideon Saar, Gilad Arden, Israel Katz, Limor Livnat, and Yuval Steinitz - all Likud ministers. Ariel Atias, Eli Yishai, and Jacob Margi of Shas, Minister Uzi Landau, from Israel Our Home and Minister Daniel Hershkowitz of HaBayit HaYehudi.

Interesting absences from the list are most of the Ministers from Yisrael Beitenu, including Avigdor Lieberman (apparently he didn’t make the deadline). Another strange absence from the list is one of the biggest supporters of the settlement, the Minister Moshe (Bogie) Ya'alon, and Minister Benny Begin.

More letters of support were sent by Deputy ministers Danny Ayalon, Gila Gamliel, Leah Ness, Meir Porush, Ayoob Kara, and MKs Uri Orbach, Zevulun Orlev, David Azoulay, Arieh Eldad, Zeev Elkin, Chaim Amsellem, Uri Ariel, Michael Ben-Ari, Danny Danon, Nissim Zeev, Tzipi Hotovely, Yaakov Katz, Yariv Levin, Menahem Moses, Moshe Matalon, Avraham Michaeli Alex Miller, Tzion Fenian, Miri Regev and Caramel Shama.

The real surprise is the presence of three MKs from Kadima: chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Tzachi Hanegbi, MKs Yoel Hasson and Ronit Tirosh.
Here is a sample statements of letter-writers: Minister Gideon Saar said: "I decided to include Hebron and Kiryat Arba with communities whose residents enjoy subsidizing preschool for ages three - four. "

Katz: We will continue to pave the way to the ancestral graves
Finance Minister Steinitz wrote: "the continued construction, development and action in Kiryat Arba and in Hebron are needed now more than ever." Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom wrote, "our commitment as elected officials is to ensure that Hebron will continue to exist as the heart of Israel."

Minister Israel Katz: "We will continue to pave roads to the hearts and the graves of ancestors and ensure the resilience of the Jewish settlement Kiryat Arba and the city of the fathers." Communications Minister Moshe Kahlon: "Anyone who says that Hebron is not ours, as if to say that Jerusalem is not ours. Who wants to give the Hebron to foreigners, is chopping off the branch on which we sit... Hebron is ours in trust from God, and we have no authority to give it to anyone" .

MK Tzachi Hanegbi from Kadima: "The Cave of the Patriarchs is the first Jewish property in the country, This purchase by Abraham thousands of years ago is actually the foundation of the Jewish National Fund, the purchase of land at full price to anchor our historic right and G-d's promise of our land rights, too. "

Yoel Hasson, from Kadima: "Hebron is the second city of religious importance to Israel after Jerusalem, and for centuries Jews prayed to return to the city and live in it. The city is a symbol of the connection between the Jewish people and its country."

I wonder how these ministers who signed the letter will act shortly, when they may have to vote on the continuation of the freeze.

"Not Good News, No How"

Arlene Kushner

Leaders of Judea and Samaria are warning of a "silent, de facto building freeze."

Naftali Bennet, director-general of the Yesha Council, has reported that "The cities of Judea and Samaria are effectively frozen. The government has promised to stop the freeze, yet it is continuing it." There are 4,321 planned units that relevant government ministries have not officially sanctioned. Two of the biggest cities -- Ma'aleh Adumim and Beitar Illit -- are almost out of permits for building. In fact, building will soon stop in 14 of the 19 largest communities of Judea and Samaria unless the Defense Ministry authorizes more construction and the Housing and Construction Ministry issues more tenders. In nine communities all that is required is the political OK, as all technical arrangements are in place.

The Yesha leaders say that the media have been so focused on the few hundred building starts that have gone ahead that no one is paying attention to the fact that things may come to a dead stop soon. They aim to change this with their "Save the Cities" campaign, which is pushing for building permits to be issued.


So what is going on? Wish I could tell you. This sort of "silent" freeze, which is not total in any event, is not sufficient to allow Abbas to climb down from his tree and sit at the table. Nor can Obama get many points for this before the election, because it's so much under the table, so unofficial.

Who is satisfied by this? What goals are achieved and by whom?

I suspect that in looking at Abbas or Obama for clues may, we may, in fact, be looking too far afield. As I've noted, what is required are permits from the Ministry of Defense, which is headed by our "good friend" Ehud Barak. Surely, we see his heavy-handed approach here. Barak often takes steps like this to mollify his Labor party, so that he can retain the position of party leader, and so that the party doesn't pull out of the coalition, thereby costing him his ministry.

The whole story? Probably note. But I do not discount this. Nor do I discount Barak's eagerness to be good buddies with Obama.


The bottom line, however, is that the buck truly does stop with the prime minister. If Netanyahu weren't signing off on this somehow, or turning a willfully blind eye, this would not be happening. And so we must also ask what he has agreed to, what comes next, and what his intentions truly are.


Once again, it's time to raise our voices. Please!

Let PM Netanyahu know (politely, of course!) how deeply enraged by this you are. Let him know that you hold him responsible for the lack of building in Judea and Samaria, and that his credibility is on the line. Tell him that you consider such building to be imperative, and that you will do everything in your power to promote such building and those Israeli leaders with the courage to support it. If we stop building, we will compromise the human rights of Jews in the area, the Jewish claim to the land, and Israel's broader security.

Fax: 02-670-5369 (From the US: 011-972-2-670-5369)

E-mail: and also (underscore after pm) use both addresses


Alan Baker, a lawyer and former legal advisor to the Foreign Ministry, does not think much of the PA threats regarding unilateral establishment of a state via the UN.

Most recently, the PA threatened that if the Security Council didn't sign off on a state, they would go to the General Assembly, whose resolutions are not binding in international law in any event. Says Baker, This threat "shows either ignorance of or contempt for the UN system."

Any attempt to circumvent the agreed-upon negotiation process stipulated by Oslo would undermine the basis of Oslo, he says, and with it the legal basis for the Palestinian Authority. This would provide grounds for voiding the agreement and "open the door to potential Israeli unilateral action..."

There is a question as to whether the parties who are signatories as witnesses to Oslo -- the US, the EU, Egypt, Jordan and others -- would in the end agree to sanction recognition of a state in a process that runs contrary to what they had signed.

What is more, claims that "settlements" are illegal -- because they violate Article 31 of the Accords, which prohibit alteration of the status of the territory that is subject to negotiations -- do not hold up. That is because legal arrangements between individual Israeli residents and the government authority that is administering the area under question does not alter its status.

As to the Security Council, Baker is not so sure it would sign on to unilateral declaration of a state either, for this would fly in the face of its own Resolutions 242 and 338, which call for the need to determine borders via negotiations.

And there are other problems as well: The call for the Security Council to recognize the state within "the 1967 borders" would be severely problematic because (as I've pointed out innumerable times) there are no such borders, only armistice lines. Says Baker, "Determining borders is an essential component in interstate relations. The principles of peaceful coexistence and bon-voisinage ["good neighbor" treaties that seek to bind countries to border cooperation], whether pursuant to the Charter of the United Nations or the peace treaties between Israel and Egypt and Jordan, respectively, determine the necessity for mutual recognition of a common border."

see my website

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Reneging on the Oslo Accords

Isi Leibler

The Palestinian Authority renowned for its bizarre proclamations has now threatened that it would unilaterally abrogate the Oslo Accords if the peace talks break down. or ten months, Mahmoud Abbas refused to indulge in direct negotiations with us, relying on the Obama Administration to act as their interlocutors and pressure us into providing further concessions without reciprocity. Now, after the ten month settlement construction freeze expired, Abbas informs us that if we do not extend it, he refuses to negotiate. The man on the moon would surely conclude by such behavior that the Palestinians won the war of aggression designed to annihilate us and that we Israelis are the supplicants.

But topping the absurdity of this theatre of the absurd is the threat by PA spokesmen, Yasser Aboud, to abort the Oslo Accords if the negotiations break down. Needless to say a "breakdown" is regarded as Israel not acceding to all Palestinian demands.

We know the Palestinian end game in negotiations. Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had offered Abbas concessions that neither the Knesset nor the people of Israel would ever have endorsed. These included foregoing indefensible borders by returning to the 1949 armistice lines, enabling the Palestinians to assume control of the Temple Mount and even making a preliminary offer to accept 100,000 Palestinian "refugees". Yet these offers were rejected by Abbas.

I am reminded of the last conversation I had with Rabin before his assassination. I asked him: "What would your response be if the Palestinians made absolutely unreasonable demands?" Rabin replied that if Arafat sought to divide Jerusalem or was not prepared to concede that Israel needed defensible borders he would conclude that his "gamble for peace" had failed and would feel obliged to inform Israelis that they would have to await a new generation of Palestinian leaders before making tangible progress towards attaining a durable peace.

To be fair, no-one can say with any certainty what Rabin's views would be today as the entire political spectrum has changed dramatically. However, I am bemused when I hear people on the far left exploiting Rabin's memory and distorting his views in order to promote policies to which, at least during his lifetime, he would have adamantly opposed. Indeed, on the basis of his previous record, Rabin would probably not have placated the Palestinians or the Americans to the same extent as Netanyahu.

The current rumors mills suggest the long suffering Netanyahu is still seeking to mollify Obama by offering to limit major construction in the major settlement blocs that will unquestionably remain within Israel along the lines of de facto agreement which prevailed between the Israeli government and the Bush administration.

But aside from placating the Americans, Netanyahu is under no illusions and must realize that there is absolutely no chance of achieving a real settlement. Indeed, some say that a total breakdown might be a blessing in disguise because if negotiations do take place, nothing is more certain than the fact that whatever is offered to the Palestinians will not satisfy them, we will be blamed for the breakdown and be subject to even greater global pressure to make unilateral concessions.

This scenario will apply irrespective of the outcome of the Congressional elections. Obama will still control foreign policy and being weaker on the domestic level may even encourage him to intensify his involvement in foreign affairs. When the negotiations inevitably break down, many predict that he will begin pressuring us to return to indefensible borders based on the 1949 armistice lines.

It does not take a genius to realize that this entire process is designed to extract further concessions from Israel which the Palestinians would insist become the benchmark for the next round negotiations as they doggedly pursue their objective of dismantling us in stages.

Despite all the concessions that we made, the Palestinians and Arabs refused to even reciprocate with gestures. Abbas has a forked tongue and conveys nice words to the foreign media and Diaspora Jews which are never expressed in Arabic to his constituents. There, he continues to incite hatred against us, sanctifies suicide bombers as national heroes and condemns us for defending ourselves against terrorists.

In this context it is both incomprehensible and nauseating when senior analysts and political leaders repeat the absurd mantra that the PA and Abbas are moderate peace partners.

However, should the PA formally repudiate the Oslo Accords, few of us would shed tears.

This column was originally published in the Jerusalem Post

Serry slammed for equating Israeli and Palestinian 'terror'


Israel reacts to UN envoy's comparison of settler vandalism to terror: Does Serry pretend Israeli suicide bombers attack Palestinian buses?

Israeli officials slammed UN special envoy Robert Serry's comments Tuesday equating alleged settler vandalism against olive trees to terrorism, saying such an equation was "absurd" and "reprehensible."

Serry, attending an olive harvest event with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in the West Bank village of Turmus Aiya, near the Shiloh settlement, said the olive tree was a significant Palestinian symbol. There could be nothing more symbolic here in Palestine than to participate in the olive harvest. The harvest is an act of identity and self-reliance. It is a symbol of a people’s unyielding attachment to their homeland,” he said.

The settler violence against Palestinian olive farmers, he continued, has only served to underscore the urgency to end Israel’s “occupation of the West Bank.”

“In recent weeks in this village alone, settler extremists have destroyed hundreds of trees by poison or by knocking them down,” Serry said. “The same story can be told by villagers in many other places. I am appalled at acts of destruction of olive trees and farmlands, desecration of mosques and violence against civilians.”

He called on Israel to protect the Palestinian farmers against such violence.

“Israel states its condemnation of attacks, and I welcome this,” Serry added. “But its record in imposing the rule of law on settlers is lamentable. Israel must combat violence and terror by Israelis, as is expected of the Palestinian Authority in the case of violence and terror by Palestinians.”

It was Serry’s characterization of “terror by Israelis” as similar to that of the Palestinians that infuriated some Israeli officials.

“We understand Robert Serry’s condemnation of violent action by a certain number of settlers, but the Israeli government strongly condemns them and [has] instructed the law enforcement agencies to crack down on the perpetrators, even before this advice from the UN envoy,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said.

“As for the use of the word ‘terror,’ does he want to make believe that there are Israeli suicide bombers attacking Palestinians buses?” he asked. “One cannot understand this absurd equation. The Israeli government has acted with determination against violence directed against Palestinians, with a number of offenders brought to trial and an unambiguous approach by the Israeli justice system to this problem.”

Another government source said he found “reprehensible” a comparison of vigilante actions against trees, actions which he condemned strongly, “with the murdering of civilians.”

He added, “This is a problematic comparison that just shouldn’t be made.”

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Israel’s right to exist is nonnegotiable


As long as Palestinians continue denying the ancient connection between Jews and the land of Israel any agreement will be written in sand at the edge of the ocean.

When Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu offered to press his cabinet to impose a freeze of settlement construction if Palestinians would recognize Israel as the national home of the Jewish people, I had mixed feelings about the proposal. After all, there is little doubt that Israel is the Jewish homeland. The United Nations established it that way, and the international community recognizes it as such.
Why ask Palestinians, who dislike that fact, to restate the obvious? And yet, the intensity of the Palestinians’ rejection of the idea has uncovered such a fundamental challenge to the “two-state solution” that I am now persuaded that true, lasting peace may never come unless Palestinians and other Arabs openly accept Israel as a Jewish nation.

Jewish nation, of course, does not mean special rights for Jews or second-class status for non-Jews. Israel is a democratic country whose laws clearly spell out equality for all citizens. Like other democracies, it doesn’t always achieve its goal of equality, but its courts, citizens groups and others continuously work to reach it.

And Israel is hardly the only country that includes a religion or nationality in its selfdefinition.

Scores of states embrace a religion or a nationality while maintaining diversity and striving for equal rights. Jewish citizens of the United Kingdom are loyal to a country whose flag has not one but two Christian crosses. There are dozens of self-described Christian countries, most of them fully functioning democracies with minority rights.

The democracy-deprived Arab League counts 22 members self-identified as Arab states, while 55 countries define themselves as Muslim nations belonging to the Organization of the Islamic Conference. Only one minuscule nation on Earth is a Jewish state.

FOR ALMOST a decade the United States has urged Palestinians to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Last year, President Barack Obama told the UN General Assembly that, “The goal is clear, two states living side by side in peace and security – a Jewish state of Israel, with true security for all Israelis.”

And yet, when Netanyahu – like his predecessor – asked Palestinians to recognize the Jewish character of Israel, not as a prerequisite for talks but as a trust-building measure, their almost-instantaneous reaction was vehement rejection. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declared, “We will never sign an agreement recognizing a Jewish state.” Chief negotiator Saeb Erekat insisted, “This is completely rejected.”

And when a Palestinian official hinted it might be doable, he was immediately overruled.

Nabil Sha’ath, an adviser to Abbas, noted, “We are not going to do it. Forget it.”

Palestinians seem unwilling to even recognize Israel as the state of another “people.”

PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad furiously stormed out of a meeting with Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Danny Ayalon after he suggested a summary of their discussions include the term “two states for two peoples” instead of just “two states.”

As long as Palestinians continue denying the ancient connection between Jews and the land of Israel, as long as they reject the Jewish people’s right to a state, any peace agreement will be written in sand at the edge of the ocean: The smallest tide will wash it away.

Israelis want to know that if they make the sacrifices required for peace and a Palestinian state is created, the conflict will have been resolved; that peace will mean the end of efforts to destroy the Jewish state.

As long as Palestinians and others refuse to accept that Israel is, indeed, a Jewish state, that Jews have a right to their own country, there can be no certainty that those sinister designs will end.

THE REJECTION of Netanyahu’s proposal – and of American demands – for such recognition, came at the same time as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited the Israeli-Lebanese border to reaffirm his call for Israel’s destruction. Lebanon’s Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Hizbullah, told the cheering crowd that “President Ahmadinejad is right when he says Israel is illegitimate and should cease to exist.”

A recent poll in the United States found that more than three-quarters of American Jews believe the goal of the Arabs “is not the return of occupied territories but rather the destruction of Israel.”

Whether Palestinians like it or not, Israel already is the national state of the Jewish people.

Israelis have already recognized the right of Palestinians to have their state. As long as Palestinians fail to recognize the right of the Jewish people to have theirs, true peace may never come.

The writer writes about global affairs for The Miami Herald. – MCT

Monday, October 25, 2010

Anger as IDF Collects Israeli Weapons in Jordan Valley

Maayana Miskin
A7 News

IDF officials have announced that they plan to collect weapons from members of emergency security teams in several Israeli communities in the Jordan Valley, and place them in central weapons stores instead of the squad members' homes. The decision, made by Brigade Commander Yohai Ben-Yishai, follows the theft of two weapons from private homes in the town of Shdemot-Mehola on Saturday. The weapons had been secured with two locks as the law requires. The Land of Israel Legal Forum protested the decision. “As far as we know, the weapons that were stolen had been properly secured,” the organization said in a letter sent to top IDF officials. “There's no doubt that [the theft] must be investigated, but to take away the ability for residents of the Valley to defend themselves from harm is unreasonable."

“Not only does this order not increase security, it undermines it, and is dangerous. A delay in the security teams' response could cost lives,” the Forum concluded.

Residents of the area requested that if the IDF follows through with the weapons collection, additional IDF soldiers be sent to Israeli towns in the area to offer protection in place of the local patrols. Their request was sent to several senior officials, including Defense Minister Ehud Barak and IDF Central Command head General Avi Mizrachi.

“If the army wants to take responsibility for security here, they're welcome to do so, but it's a huge area,” said regional council head David Elchiani. “The IDF arrives at the scene after 40 minutes on average, so our people need to be able to provide an instant response.”

Elchiani termed Ben-Yishai's decision “highly unusual,” and expressed hope that he would reconsider or would reach a compromise with local residents.
Comment: And of course the Arabs will do the same-what nonsense-people will now be killed

Grovelling alone

Melanie Phillips

Angela Merkel has got the point. Multiculturalism has failed, she states flatly, as she surveys western Europe going down under the tide of radical Islam. Rather than liberal society creating the utopia of harmonious cultural pluralism, it is being swallowed whole by the giant predator whose voracious mouth it encourages, in the spirit of tolerance, to open ever wider in the unshakeable belief of western liberals that the jaws about to snap shut around their necks are actually stretched wide in a smile. All over mainland Europe, a few shoes are belatedly – maybe too late -- starting to drop.

France and Belgium have banned the burqa and other countries are debating doing the same.

Switzerland has banned minarets.

Denmark has imposed ferocious limits on immigration.

In the Netherlands the prosecution in the case against the Dutch politician Geert Wilders for allegedly inciting religious hatred -- through his criticism of Islamic hatred -- has thrown in the towel and asked the judges to acquit him of all charges. See here for an authoritative analysis of the significance of this.

And so what of dear old Blighty, the country which in 1940 stood alone against the threat to democratic life and liberty and the values of western liberalism? Is the shoe of reality starting to drop in the UK too?

A report by Quilliam about City University, central London, states that a hard-line Islamist ideology is being promoted through the leadership of the university’s student Islamic Society, leading to increased religious tensions on campus and to the intimidation and harassment of staff, students and members of minority groups by extremists and increasing the risks of students turning to terrorism.

Ahmadi Muslims in south London have been targeted by Islamists in a hate campaign, and a Muslim woman in Bradford has died after being set on fire (via JihadWatch, and also here), underlining the fact that Muslims are themselves front-line victims of Islamic jihadis and sharia law.

And in the Sunday Telegraph, Andrew Gilligan continues to chronicle the remorseless takeover of an entire London borough, Tower Hamlets, by the radicals of the Islamic Forum of Europe using intimidation, infiltration and corruption:

According to one of its own leaflets, the IFE – based at the hardline East London Mosque in Tower Hamlets – wants to change the ‘very infrastructure of society, its institutions, its culture, its political order and its creed … from ignorance to Islam.’ The group is accused by one of the area’s Labour MPs, Jim Fitzpatrick, of infiltrating and ‘corrupting’ his party in a way similar to the Militant Tendency in the 1980s.

The response of other newspapers to what’s going on in Tower Hamlets? As far as I can make out, deafening silence. And what is the response of the rest of the British thinking classes to this and countless other signs of increasing Islamisation and Islamic radicalisation in Britain?

The hitherto resolutely counter-counter-cultural think-tank Civitas, which in the past has produced some outstanding social and cultural analysis, has just published a set of essays on Women, Islam and Western Liberalism in which one author, Alveena Malik, states that the full-face Islamic veil, or niqab, should be regarded

‘ part of a modern British way of life.’

She continued: ‘The wearing of religious symbols, including the full veil, should be a fundamental human right of an individual in both the public and private sphere. The real test for religious symbols in the public sphere should always be: “Does the wearing of a symbol (such as the kirpan, turban, yarmulke, crucifix and the veil) hinder a citizen’s ability to perform their public civic duties?”’ Britain is in a ‘unique’ position to embrace such a public display of faith because of the role the church plays in the affairs of the state and its ‘multicultural diversity’.

To be fair, the Civitas pamphlet contains other views which profoundly disagree with this. Even so, the idea that advocating as ‘part of the British way of life’ the niqab, which presents such an obvious danger to security as well as intimidating non-radical Muslim women, inciting religious subversion by serving as a symbolic call to arms against western values and destroying the equality inherent in human interaction by virtue of the simple act that we can all see each other’s faces – the idea that this is, as Civitas appears to suggest, a contribution towards liberal diversity, is simply grotesque.

And here’s the thing: the Telegraph also tells us:

Mrs Malik was appointed by last government to a panel of faith advisers for the Department for Communities. She has overseen British Council guidance on ‘intercultural dialogue’.

It looks horribly like, seventy years on, Britain is now once again alone -- this time, though, not standing but grovelling on its knees before those bent upon the extinction of freedom.

"Not Getting Any Easier"

Arlene Kushner

My friends, I wrote the other day about the fact that there has been now a wave of ten years duration, which shows no signs of abating, of the most severe violence against Jewish property and persons that we've seen since the Holocaust. That report was provided by a social scientist who had done considerable research. While I, sitting at my computer, and garnering information on what is being said about Jews and Israel, am seeing another aspect of this same phenomenon of Jew hatred. It is, indeed, with us always, and it behooves us now to be on our guard and to fight back hard. I know it is not my imagination -- that anti-Israel and anti-Jewish comments that would have been unacceptable in polite company not so long ago have become politically correct.

Take, for example, Kaukab Siddique, who is a tenured professor of English at Lincoln University in PA. At an anti-Israel rally in September, he said:

"We must stand united to defeat, to destroy, to dismantle Israel-- if possible by peaceful means. Perhaps, like Saladin, we will give them enough food and water to travel back to the lands from where they came to occupy other people.

"[Muslims must] unite and rise up against this hydra-headed monster which calls itself Zionism.

“...Settlements are only the tentacles of the devil that resides in Tel Aviv.

“...For the Jews, I would say see what could happen to you if the Muslims wake up."
Says Lincoln University: Freedom of speech.


I was especially irked by a recent column, "Just Knock It off," by Tom Friedman, writing in the NY Times. He refers to Israel as a "spoiled child" for not acceding to Obama's demands for a continuation of the freeze. Israel, which has made all of the concessions to date, and not the PA, which not only has made none, but has been cut slack at every imaginable turn. And as if this wasn't bad enough, he had the gall to refer to some of the members of our Cabinet as "lunatics."

I was planning to take Friedman on in some depth, but have found sufficient quality critique from others so that I've decided to begin by sharing:

Evelyn Gordon, writing in Commentary, says, "Extending the Settlement Freeze Would Undermine a Vital Security Interest."

"Israel has a valid security-based claim to these areas, and a onetime, temporary building moratorium as a goodwill gesture to promote peace, like the one Israel instituted last November, doesn’t undermine it. But extending the freeze would, because that implies the moratorium isn’t a onetime goodwill gesture on Israel’s part, but — as most of the world indeed claims — a necessary condition for progress, since this land a priori belongs to the Palestinians, and Israel has no right to it.

"Israel can’t stop other countries from rejecting its claim to this land. But for Jerusalem to itself denigrate this claim by extending the freeze would undermine its negotiating position on a vital security issue: defensible borders. And that is something no country with any vestige of a survival instinct should agree to do."

I will add here that while the security claims are certainly valid and significant, they should not obscure that we have rights to the land that extend beyond this.


Also in Commentary, Rick Richman writes:

"Thomas Friedman unloads on Israel, asserting that it is 'behaving like a spoiled child' because Netanyahu will not agree to a new settlement-construction moratorium without additional assurances:

"Just one time you would like Israel to say, 'You know, Mr. President, we’re dubious that a continued settlement freeze will have an impact. But you think it will, so, let’s test it. This one’s for you.'

"I think he means that just two times he would like Israel to say it.

"Last year, Obama demanded a settlement freeze — after reneging on agreements about such a freeze that had governed the peace process for the prior six years and refusing to endorse the presidential letter given to Israel in exchange for the dismantlement of every settlement in Gaza. The proposed deal was a construction freeze in exchange for small steps toward normalization with Israel that the U.S. would obtain from Arab states. Obama failed to get anything from the Arab states, but Israel announced a 10-month moratorium anyway. It had no impact at all.

"Friedman writes that he has 'no idea whether the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, has the will and the guts to make peace with Israel' but thinks Abbas should be tested with another moratorium. No idea?

"He knows that Abbas’s term of office expired nearly two years ago and that Abbas is 'President Abbas' only in the sense that George Mitchell is 'Senator Mitchell.' He knows Abbas declined an offer of a state on 100 percent of the West Bank (after land swaps) with a shared Jerusalem. He knows Abbas has stated he will 'never' recognize Israel as a Jewish state nor negotiate any land swap. He knows Abbas cannot make peace even with Hamas, which controls half the putative Palestinian state. He knows Abbas has repeatedly canceled elections and that the idea of the Palestinian Authority as a stable democratic entity is a joke. He knows Abbas has declared he will never waive the “right of return,” which makes a peace agreement impossible even if every other issue could be resolved. He knows Abbas has taken no steps to prepare his public for any of the compromises that would be necessary for a peace agreement. How many tests does Abbas have to fail before Thomas Friedman has an idea?

(Here I offer thanks to readers Bud and Phyl, who forwarded a post by a "Bookworm" blog, "Why Tom Friedman is an Idiot," that referred to the two commentators above.)


This still leaves me with one other Friedman comment that I would like to address:

"At a time when the president has made it one of his top priorities to build a global coalition to stop Iran from making a nuclear weapon, he took the very logical view that if he could advance the peace process in the Middle East it would give him much greater leverage to get the Europeans and U.N. behind tougher sanctions on Iran."
Give me a break! Too many people have gone around the block with this argument, for which there is not a scintilla of evidence.

The president's exceedingly foolish policy of attempting engagement with Iran caused the loss of a great deal of significant time. And, in point of fact, many of those nations that might have been in a "global coalition" grew weary of his approach, which smacked of appeasement.

Several times here I have reported on the fact that "moderate" Arab states that are fearful of Iran are angry at Obama for shifting the balance of power in Iran's favor by refusing to wield the power necessary for deterrence. Saudi Arabia, which is terrified, is now beginning "dialogue" with Iran. And last week it was reported that Egypt, which equally fears and detests Iran, has resumed commercial traffic with this Shiite nation -- traffic that had been halted since the 1970 Iranian revolution.

Syria is not in the "moderate" Arab camp, certainly, but must be mentioned here as well. That state is more solidly in Iran's camp today because Assad took a look around him and decided he'd place his bet on Ahmadinejad and not Obama.

This is deeply, deeply unsettling. Because it sure looks as if the bad guys are winning, thanks to a weak US that has not provided much-desired leadership. Without question, this demonstrated weakness by the US has done irrevocable harm to Israeli security.

And none of this has anything remotely to do with whether we are on the verge of establishing a Palestinian state, or, even more ridiculously, whether we have frozen construction in Judea and Samaria.

If you want to know how much the Arab states care about "the Palestinians," take a look at the miniscule amounts they donate to UNRWA, which is supported by American and EU funds in the main. And consider how unwilling they have been to offer full rights to Palestinian Arabs living within their borders.

Anyone who seriously believes that Arab leaders exceedingly eager to see a dangerous Iran contained would refrain from cooperating in restricting Iran's ability to go nuclear because Abbas didn't have his state is delusional.


So where are we now, with regard to the "progress" on establishing that Palestinian state?

The PA says it will renege on Oslo commitments if talks fail. The latest in a series of jokes, as the PLO never properly ratified those Accords in the first place back in 1993, and has consistently reneged on its stipulations, such as the requirement to halt all incitement. And -- as I was discussing with Ted Belman of Israpundit today with regard to what he had written -- the Accords called for a final resolution of issues by 1999, which leaves open the question of what their legality is now anyway. (Not that the world pays attention to legalities.)

Of course, this threat followed a warning by Israel that if the PA takes unilateral action, so will we. Who knows what comes next.


Israel has for some months now opened up the crossing into Gaza for not only humanitarian materials but commercial goods as well. The one thing Israel maintains control over is permission to bring building materials into Gaza -- out of concern that such materials might fall into the hands of Hamas for use in constructing weapons or bunkers for storing those weapons. While much construction material has gone into Gaza, each building project is considered independently.

Now Israel's Defense Ministry has vetoed an UNRWA building project because -- are you ready? -- UNRWA wanted to build a number of new schools in the Tel al-Hawa neighborhood in southern Gaza City on land that was donated by Hamas, and was next to a Hamas military installation.

Defense Ministry officials, explaining that they were shocked at what they discovered, asked UNRWA personnel if they were aware that a Hamas installation was near by. The answer was that, yes, they were aware of this, and, in fact, Hamas had donated the land.

It is hardly necessary to belabor the obvious here, in terms of what leverage Hamas would have over UNRWA in this situation and what direct influence on the school kids (something I've documented at length in the past).

UNRWA's defense: Gee, many nations have contacts with Hamas.


Guess we should have seen this coming. Remember Lauren Booth? That's Tony Blair's sister-in-law, the purported journalist who went into Gaza and lamented about how they were starving there -- and then was inadvertently photographed in a Gaza store with shelves generously stocked with food stuff.

Lauren has gone native: She's converted to Islam after a spiritual experience at the shrine of Fatima al-Masumeh in Qom, Iran, where she felt "this shot of spiritual morphine."

I saw a video this evening in which she declared her devotion to "Palestine," and her determination to not permit people to accuse Islam of promoting violence because she knows first hand what a loving and peaceful religion it is. "Alahu Akbar," she said.

Oi vey. But she should only be our worst problem.

see my website

Sunday, October 24, 2010

From the good grief Department: Catholic Cleric: Jesus Cancelled Biblical ‘Chosen People’

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
A7 News

The Creator’s promise in the Bible that the Promised Land belongs to the Jewish People is no longer valid, a Catholic synod declared. An American archbishop at the Synod explained Saturday that the promise of the Creator was "abolished by the presence of Christ."

In a decision that is bound to set off a furious reaction from many Jewish leaders, the synod concluded that “recourse to theological and biblical positions which use the Word of G-d to wrongly justify injustices is not acceptable.” However, an inherently contradictory Synod statement also declared, “The same Scriptures unite us; the Old Testament, the Word of G-d is for both you and us... We believe in the promises of God and his covenant given to Abraham and to you. We believe that the Word of G-d is eternal.”

The Catholic church in recent years has been trying to overcome centuries of anti-Semitism and proof that it exploited the Holocaust to try to convert Jews who were saved.

U.S. archbishop Cyril Salim Bustros, who heads the commission that issued the Synod statement, is a Lebanese native. He told reporters, "For Christians, one can no longer talk of the land promised to the Jewish people… There is no longer a favored people, a chosen people; all men and women of every country have become the chosen people.”

The term "chosen people" does not symbolize superiority in Judaism, rather it means chosen to be obligated to the 613 commandments in the Bible and to inherit the Land of Israel.

After two weeks of meetings, the Synod also said that a two-state solution of a Palestinian Authority country, in place of most of the Land Israel, would help stem the exodus of Christians from the area.

Concerning Jerusalem, the Synod said it is “anxious about the unilateral initiatives that threaten its composition and risk to change its demographic balance.” After Jordanian-occupied area of Jerusalem were restored to Israel in 1967, the Israeli government opened all Christian holy sites after Jordan had banned non-official visits and closed the sites to tourists from 1948.

The Synod recognized "the suffering and insecurity in which Israelis live" but focused on what it called Palestinian Authority “suffering [of] the consequences of the Israeli occupation: the lack of freedom of movement, the wall of separation and the military checkpoints, the political prisoners, the demolition of homes, [and] the disturbance of socio-economic life and the thousands of refugees."

Samir Kuntar pushes for more kidnapping

Convicted terrorist tells Hamas conference more IDF troops needed to haggle for Palestinian prisoners

Ali Waked
Israel News

Samir Kuntar called Saturday on Palestinian terror organizations to kidnap more Israeli soldiers. The Lebanese terrorist, who was released from Israeli prison in exchange for the bodies of IDF soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, gave a satellite-transmitted speech to a conference supporting Palestinian prisoners, which took place in the Gaza Strip.

Kuntar spoke after Hamas's prime minister in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh, stressed that he would continue efforts to release prisoners in Israeli jails.

"I call on the resistance organizations to kidnap more Israeli soldiers and not to make do with just one, because the number of prisoners is large," Kuntar said.

The convicted terrorist insisted that the end justified all means. "We will never feel entirely free unless we bring on the release of all prisoners. The persistence of resistance organizations in the Gilad Shalit affair is the best proof of the responsibility we feel towards the issue of prisoners," he said.

Haniyeh, on his end, said Israel was holding 8,000 Palestinian prisoners as part of a Zionist effort to get rid of the Palestinian people.

He also criticized the Palestinian Authority, saying that while some were working to release the prisoners it insisted on holding 650 such political prisoners in its own jails as part of its illicit cooperation with Israel.

Haniyeh denied that the Hamas government was also holding political prisoners, or those charged with attempting to carry out terror attacks.

The conference focused on the legal aspects of Israel's imprisonment of Palestinians, as well as with the alleged torture they undergo at the state's hands. A former prisoner detained at Hadarim Prison related a tale of suffering and woe to those present.

The larger context of the conference was the rift between Hamas and Fatah. The latter claims Hamas has no real intention to arrive at a truce, after recently uncovering an arms cache near Ramallah.