Monday, May 17, 2010

"As Shavuot Approaches"

Arlene Kushner

Tomorrow night at sundown we begin Shavuot, the festival that marks our coming to Sinai and receiving of the Torah. It is traditionally a time for all-night study, and a time for marking who we are as a people and what our purpose on this earth truly is. I didn't want to go into the holiday without having written. And yet I am finding it difficult to write, because it seems I deliver so much news that is heavy, and gets increasingly so.


Before I move to some of that news, I want to share the link to the Arutz Sheva "Tamar Yonah Show" from Sunday. I was interviewed with regard to what the PLO and the PA are truly like. Don't know how long this will be up.


Saeb Erekat, chief PA negotiator, delivered a talk to the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv on Sunday. If we examine his words -- which are cloaked in conciliation and "longing" for peace -- we can see very readily what the PA position is. He actually said:

"We, as Palestinians, decided to give Mitchell, Clinton and Obama a chance...I talk with Mitchell about the core issues.

"There's no need for negotiations. There is a need for an agreement. All the alternatives are on the table. This is the moment of truth. We are all experiencing birth pangs. We need leaders ready to make sacrifices. My options are two states according to the 67 borders, with territory exchanges and security arrangements. If you've come to the conclusions that you can't offer this because you don't have anyone to rely on – I'm not afraid.

"... Don't miss the opportunity… The negotiations are over. The time has come to decide. Not interim decisions, not future decisions, not past decisions. A final agreement."

Translation: We don't need negotiations because that implies give and take, and compromise, and we're not into compromising. We will hold out for what we demand, and we're counting on President Obama to shove what we have demanded down Israel's throat. That's why we support "proximity talks." We get to deal with the US and not Israel. Either Israel takes what we demand, or we'll see what comes next.

Words of genuine peace, no?


Of course, he flatly refused to consider issues that have been Netanyahu demands: "We will not agree to a military presence in the Jordan Valley, we will not agree to (Israeli) control of water, we will not agree to settlements there or Israeli industry there."


Then, please, see this by Khaled Abu Toameh, on the Hudson NY site, with regard to how the "proximity talks" actually benefit Hamas and Iran.

"The Obama Administration is making a mistake forcing Israel and the Palestinian Authority to discuss 'core' issues such as Jerusalem, refugees, borders and settlements when the two sides are crying out that the gap between them on these explosive topics remains as wide as ever.

"There is no doubt that the talks will fail. Mahmoud Abbas and Fayyad will be the first to pay the price because Palestinians will turn to them and demand that they stop talking about peace and coexistence with Israel. The only ones who will benefit from this are Hamas and its friends in Tehran and Damascus. The “proximity talks” will eventually undermine the moderates and boost the extremists among the Palestinians.

"By insisting on putting the issues of Jerusalem and refugees on the table, the Obama Administration is placing Israelis and Palestinians on the course of collision."


The news from Barry Rubin -- in his recent piece "Russian traps - and moves" -- is grim as well.

"If America’s Middle East position collapses in the forest will anyone hear it? The answer is either ‘no,’ or ‘just barely.’ As I’ve predicted, Russia is coming back into the region and it is going to play a very bad role. Moscow is linking up with the emerging Islamist alliance of Iran, Syria, Hamas and Hezbollah.

"Meanwhile, the Obama administration praises Russia for allegedly supporting sanctions against Iran. Russian support, at best, consists of throwing a bucket of fluid over the sanctions’ plan to water it down.

"Back in the real world – the Middle East, not Washington – let’s begin with Syria. The Obama administration says it is going to pull Syria away from Iran, but the two countries are coming closer together. Syria’s open goal is to pull the US away from Israel, but meanwhile it is finding still another ally to back its ambitions.

"The recent visit of Russia’s President Dimitry Medvedev with a huge entourage was a major step toward reestablishing the old Soviet-Syria relationship. There were broad economic talks, including the possibility of Russia building a nuclear reactor for the Syrian dictatorship."


Have you picked up on the common denominator of these two "bad news" pieces? In both cases the situation is being fueled by an obtuse or damaging Obama policy.


Defense Minister Barak, who seems to be working as Obama's buddy these days, has delivered a statement to his Labor party faction that literally makes me sick to my stomach:

"The Americans are trying to organize sanctions against Iran, are busy stopping North Korea, and other countries like Somalia and Yemen.

"Therefore, they expect Israel, too, as a friend, to mobilize in the areas in which it can help the overall effort – in other words, in a peace agreement with the Palestinians.

"A fundamental change is required in our relations with the US. We cannot do this without a far-reaching political initiative on our part."

He warned against Israel being depicted as refusing peace, and explained, "Our real challenge is to look over the small things and march toward the challenge and opportunity encased in Israeli political initiative towards negotiation and agreement."

So, in order to be Obama's friend, and to be sure we are not "depicted" as "refusing peace," we should overlook "small things." What small things? Like a united Jerusalem and full expression of our rights to the land?

This is the man who offered Arafat an incredible deal in 2000 (from our side, incredibly bad) and was turned down. But it seems he learned nothing. How can he see "opportunity" given what Erekat is saying (above)? How can he even pretend to see opportunity?


And so, as Shavuot approaches, I pray that the Almighty will protect not only from our enemies, but from "leaders" such as this.


Good news:

There is a campaign begun, headed by Eli Avidar, to downgrade perks for Arabs in our prisons to conform with international law. (Yes, we do much more than is required by the Third Geneva Convention.) This is long overdue, and I hope the campaign succeeds.

It is hoped that this will help to secure the release of Gilad Shalit: “If we do not cause a situation in which they [Arab families of those in our prisons] pressure their leaders...the chances to free Gilad will continue to diminish.”


Israel Military Industries has developed a rocket -- named the Enchanted Spear -- that can hit targets up to 40 kilometers (25 miles) away with a precision of 10 meters (32 feet). It can carry various heads and is constructed to destroy ground targets.

More significantly, an Israeli start-up, Eltics Ltd, has developed the Black Fox Active Adaptive IR Stealth System.

Night vision equipment is commonly used these days and is certainly in the possession of our enemies, such as Hamas. This technology renders helicopters, armored personnel carriers and ships invisible to thermal night vision systems and guided missiles.

As was explained by Israel National News, "The equipment analyzes the thermal signature of the environment, and then screens the exact same signature on to plates fitted on to the machine."

Pretty neat, and it would be difficult to exaggerate the importance of our having the advantage as we approach prospects of war down the road. The Black Fox is in the advanced prototype stage and developers are seeking additional funds.


Let me end here with a YouTube video about Israel. I picked up this link on a site call "My Israel -- Israel Sheli." It's in Hebrew, but you can readily get the sense of it without much language. Stunning and moving footage of our history -- from Ben Gurion's declaration of a state, through early years of our founding, and our wars, to the present.


see my website

No comments: