Wednesday, November 26, 2008

"Lunacy Continued"

Arlene Kushner

The craziness -- some laughable, much deeply malevolent -- simply continues.

Yesterday was "Solidarity with the Palestinian People" day at the UN. Understand, the Palestinian people (such as they may be) are the only ones celebrated by the UN this way. The Kurds, for example, are ignored. This tells us all we need to know about the UN.
Former secretary-general Kofi Annan, marked it as "a day of mourning and a day of grief, and the "inalienable rights of the Palestinian people" were discussed.

"The event is an annual reminder that the UN's real agenda is to delegitimize the birth — and the perseverance — of the state of Israel," says Anne Bayefsky, editor of Eye on the UN.


Actually, because of scheduling conflicts, this day of solidarity was marked a few days early. The real day is November 29, which is the day the UN voted the partition of Palestine in 1947. From this followed the official founding of the State of Israel, which -- it might be noted -- was not only founded with UN blessings but also is a full member of the UN today.


One sees signs of desperation in the words and acts of several players in the area.

There is, for example, PA president Mahmoud Abbas. This past week he placed ads in several Israeli papers -- Hebrew press and The Jerusalem Post -- reaching out to the Israeli populace to tell them that they would benefit greatly from the Saudi "peace plan," which would bring them peace with the members of the Arab League and not just the PA.

The Saudi "peace plan"? That's the plan that says if we agree to terms that guarantee our destruction, the Arabs will be happy to deal with us. It calls for total return to pre-67 lines (including relinquishment of all of eastern Jerusalem and the Golan), release of all prisoners, and return of refugees.

Abbas has already admitted that there will be no peace deal in 2008, and yet he seems to be grasping at straws in his last days in office (see item below).

At a statement made at the UN (for the above mentioned event), he blamed Israel for blocking the peace process by not going along with the Saudi plan. He spoke about the need for this plan so that there would be 'the return of our land," and I never let such occasions pass without mentioning that it isn't their land and never has been and cannot be "returned" to them. Anyone needing elucidation of this point is invited to contact me.


Abbas, reversing himself, has made another statement of political interest: He says that if there is no real progress in dialogue between Fatah and Hamas by the end of the year, he will go to general elections -- presidential and legislative -- in early 2009.

Well, right now there is no dialogue between Fatah and Hamas, because Hamas boycotted a scheduled meeting in protest against PA arrests of Hamas people in Judea and Samaria. How likely is "real progress" in just a bit over a month?

The Arab League is scheduled to meet in Cairo next week to discuss the Fatah-Hamas conflict. Hamas people are angry because they haven't been invited.


There are two observations to be made here: With regard to the presidential election, Abbas has now reversed himself. While Hamas has been insisting that he is supposed to leave office in January, he has been claiming that his presidential term runs another year.

The argument arose over the fact that while PA presidential and legislative elections are supposed to run together (at least in theory, every four years), Abbas was elected president in January 2005, a year before the last legislative elections were held, because Arafat had died. Abbas has been saying his term runs until the next legislative elections in 2010. Hamas is saying he has had four years and his term is over.

However, Abbas cannot hold general elections because he doesn't control Gaza and Hamas will not cooperate. All denials to the contrary aside, there are two Palestinian political entities. Abbas's claim consistently has been that a Palestinian state must encompass Judea and Samaria, and Gaza. But if elections are blocked, he is stymied. The scuttlebutt is that in January 2009, Hamas will appoint or elect its own president. It does not see legislative elections (in which it won a majority in 2006) as being called for until 2010, and maintains that Abbas does not have the authority to call for elections without Palestinian Legislative Council approval.

The finger pointing goes on without end: Hamas is saying that Abbas's declaration of intent to hold legislative elections means he wishes to sabotage reconciliation efforts.

So...stay tuned.


As to Hamas, it seems they have now accepted an Israeli offer (you read this correctly) with regard to an extension of the "ceasefire." The deal is that if no rockets are fired for 24 hours, Israel will open crossings.
Who is the desperate party here?

According to Hamas sources (which I have not yet seen confirmed by Israeli sources officially), mediation for this deal was done by Egypt after Barak's office contacted Cairo to express readiness to cooperate. And according to Haniyeh, other terror groups are on board with this. But a Kassam and two mortars were launched on Sunday mere hours after Haniyeh's announcement, and another Kassam landed near Ashkelon late yesterday.

Other Hamas sources are saying the "ceasefire," which terminates on December 19, will not be automatically renewed but must be renegotiated (i.e., the renewed quiet is just until the 19th of December). Hamas is looking for increased readiness on Israel's behalf to keep the crossings opened.


Whatever the outcome with regard to full implementation of opening of the crossings for bringing in of commercial goods, Barak decided that the crossings would be open yesterday for permitting humanitarian aid to get through: food, medicine and fuel.


Abbas is about to get yet another concession from Israel: Just days ago Olmert promised Abbas to release 250 prisoners for the holiday of al-Adha next month.


Olmert is in Washington, where he had a final meeting with President Bush. They did the usual routine of praising each other, and lauding the important "peace process."


According to a report in Time Magazine, relying on Israeli sources, the US has warned Israel not to launch a major operation in Gaza -- which would jeopardize "peace efforts" -- or to attack Iran in the final days of the Bush administration.

Most troublesome, if it is true.


An item that puzzled me even as I wrote about it the other day has been clarified. This concerns King Abdullah of Jordan, who called in Olmert and Barak the other day and, went the original report, asked them to refrain from a major military operation in Gaza, as this would unsettle his kingdom. I struggled with this, saying it was a complete reversal of the previous Jordanian position -- which was that IDF control of Hamas was a good thing because the Islamic radicalism was what would threaten Jordan. Seems, I surmised, that the king has reversed himself, in essence, to appease Hamas, which might be at Jordan's border one day soon.

Well... the clarification is this: King Abdullah was furious that Olmert and Barak reported he was nervous about an operation in Gaza unsettling his kingdom. The reality, it seems, is that he was doing this at the behest of the US. At the same time, Abdullah warned Hamas that if they didn't cool the rocket fire, Israel would invade Gaza.


Is there greater lunacy than the continuing push to "negotiate peace" with Syria?

Arch Lebanese terrorist Samir Kuntar was in Syria on Monday, when he was honored by Syrian president Bashar Assad. Said Assad:

"Kuntar was not merely the most senior prisoner in jail, but is also senior among free men and honoraries. His being here with us and his determination to promote Arab rights, despite everything he's been through, has turned him into a symbol of the struggle for freedom across the Arab world and the whole world.

Of course, letting Kuntar go was madness as well. He told Assad that he brought with him the blessings of the great freedom fighters of Hezbollah, and he later assured the Druze of the Golan that they would soon be under Syrian control again.


Syria is refusing to let the IAEA in for another inspection of the site that Israel took out, which almost certainly was a reactor. Another sign of a peaceful nation with which we can deal, yes?

Right now the US and ElBaradei, head of the IAEA, are at odds over the fact that ElBaradei says Syria has the right to assistance from the UN nuclear agency in developing a reactor for producing power. The US maintains, with solid reason, that this is patently ridiculous given the larger context here.


An ominous word about Hezbollah. Yesterday Barak announced that Hezbollah now has 42,000 missiles, three times the number it had before the Lebanon War. Some can reach to the south of Israel.

Additionally, head of the research division of Military Intelligence, Yossi Baidatz, told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Monday that Hezbollah was attempting to purchase surface-to-air missiles in order to try to bring down Israeli airplanes flying over Lebanon.

This situation has evolved because Livni proudly promoted resolution 1701 (a reason in and of itself to not vote for her!) that put useless UNFIL forces in place in Lebanon instead of letting us finish the job. And, because Syria (with Iranian assistance, of course) has been doing the re-arming.

Unless we get tough, get real, we will be in considerable trouble. We are in considerable trouble that could have been prevented.

Israel has informed the Lebanese government that now that Hezbollah is part of that government and not a renegade terrorist force, Lebanese government infrastructure is a fair target if we are hit.

It should be noted that Hezbollah now claims several villages in northern Israel, saying they don't abide by the Blue Line -- the line the UN established as the Lebanese-Israeli border. There is no end, you see, in dealing with groups such as this. First it was Shaba Farms (which some actually advocated conceding) and now this.


There are reports that Hezbollah, seeking to avoid a strong Israeli response is not planning to directly avenge the assassination in February of Imad Mughniyeh. Instead, they have paid tens of thousands of dollars to Palestinian terror groups to carry out large scale terror attacks against Israel.


Israel has consented to the presence of 1,000 Palestinian security forces in Bethlehem before Christmas.


Gen. James Jones, who is widely expected to become Obama's national security advisor, is touting the idea of NATO forces in Judea and Samaria instead of the IDF -- an admission that the PA cannot handle matters on its own and a very bad idea. More to follow on this in due course.

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