Sunday, May 23, 2010

"Beyond Infuriating"

Arlene Kushner

Last Wednesday night, Nabil Shaath, a member of the Fatah Central Committee and a close associate of PA president Mahmoud Abbas, spoke at a conference in Ramallah, at which he said:

"There is a need to create and endorse new struggling tools, such as the popular resistance, and to increase our efforts in the international arena to isolate and punish Israel, prevent it from deepening its relationship with the European Union and attempt to expel it from the United Nations." By Thursday, according to news reports, our government was "furious," and denouncing Shaath's words.

So what do we learn from the Friday report on this in the JPost by Khaled Abu Toameh and Herb Keinon? That we will be raising this with Mitchell -- just as, on Thursday, we had raised the issue of the PA attempting (unsuccessfully) to block our admittance into the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.


Beyond exasperating. Beyond comprehensible.

Why are we continuing with this ridiculous game-playing called "proximity talks" if our ostensible partner, which claims to seek establishment of a state at our side that will live in peace with us, is trying to destroy us?

Where is our national dignity? Our instinct for national self-preservation? Why aren't we calling a halt, saying boldly and publicly that we have no one to negotiate with in good faith?

You don't suppose Netanyahu's fear of displeasing Obama has anything to do with it, do you? Or Barak's concern that the international community might not like us?


Perhaps there's one "redeeming" element here. If we "must" continue these talks, at least the PA behavior should stiffen backs of our government officials somewhat and make it easier to refuse more concessions. You would think so, would you not? When they're acting this way, we should do more?

After all, Minister of Strategic Affairs Moshe Ya'alon (Likud) on Thursday evening, speaking at a celebration to mark the completion of a small new neighborhood in Maon, in the South Hebron Hills, insisted that we would start building after the freeze ended in September:

"We will renew building after the moratorium ends. We will not evacuate settlements. We will not move Jews. We will not sacrifice Jews from any place in Israel.

"The settlements have never been a stumbling block to peace. The absence of that peace is for reasons that are not connected to us. Our neighbors do not recognize the right of Jews to their land. They do not recognize the right of Israel to exist as a national homeland for the Jewish people.”


But, alas, it turns out that this statement from Ya'alon was only Ya'alon speaking -- I seriously doubt that he was speaking for the government.

For, also on Thursday, after Prime Minister Netanyahu (who DOES speak for his government) had met with Mitchell, his office released a statement regarding what had been discussed. And, incredibly, one of the things it is said they talked about in the first part of the meeting was "gestures Israel might make to the Palestinians."

Nah! That can't be. But apparently it is.

Let's get the chronology straight here: This discussion took place after Shaath had made his speech and our government was reportedly "fuming." After this, in a talk with Mitchell, Netanyahu was willing to discuss possible gestures we might make to the bums who want to destroy us.

If he won't quit the talks, could he not at least say, "Nothing. Zero. Effes. I will not even consider a single gesture, unless and until they clean up their act"?

Apparently not. I am ashamed, on behalf of Israel.


There is a great deal of analysis in the media regarding a turn-around on the part of Obama, who is doing a mea culpa and admitting he handled Israel badly at the start of his efforts to promote peace. He's learned now, he and his flunkies are telling Congresspersons, Jewish leaders and even some rabbis. Things are different.

Well, I don't buy it for a second. And I don't trust Obama a bit more now than I ever did. That would make me very foolish indeed, although I imagine many will.

I believe that Obama is playing it the way he thinks will work. It is being said that the new, kinder Obama is what convinced Israel to enter those talks. But if he suddenly decides again that "throwing Israel under the bus" (Melanie Phillips' words) is the way to go, he'll revert back to where he was. Because his heart is not with us and his intentions towards us haven't changed. Just wait until it is September, and he wants us to continue that freeze in building.

One sure way to gauge Obama's intent is to note that while he is now "nicer" to Israel, he has not come down tougher on the PA in any visible way. It's obvious that PA leaders are still counting on him, and that he hasn't sent Mitchell to tell them, enough of this garbage already, get real. Mitchell met with PA officials in Ramallah on Wednesday and Wednesday night Shaath gave his talk.

It's extremely likely that this "nicer" Obama has something to do with why Netanyahu won't quit the talks now, when he should. And is even willing to discuss "possible gestures."

Those of a certain age and American cultural background will remember these words: "What a revolting development this is."


Just to show you how revolting it all really is: After Mitchell met with Abbas this past week, Khaled Abu Toameh reported that Abbas complained about Israeli "provocations."

Abu Toameh cited one "senior Israeli official," who said Jerusalem hoped the Palestinians were not looking for an excuse to scuttle the talks. “We want this process to succeed.”

How's that again? They full well KNOW it won't succeed.


Rahm Emanuel, a key Obama aide, and most definitely no friend to Israel, has arrived here on a private visit, during the course of which his son will celebrate his bar mitzvah. Ain't that great?


We end Shabbat with the traditional greeting, Shavua tov, good week. And so will I end it here. Perhaps in my next post there will be something encouraging to report.

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