Monday, August 30, 2010


Arlene Kushner those meetings in Washington, which shouldn't be happening at all and can come to no good.

Let's look first at the words of peace from PA Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud Al-Habbash, taken from his Friday sermon of two weeks ago:

"Jerusalem can ignite a thousand and one wars", he warned, and unless Jerusalem "returns" to the Palestinians, "its owners," and unless it becomes the capital of the Palestinian people, "there is no peace."If Jerusalem is dishonored, if Jerusalem is disgraced, if [Jerusalem] is lost, it may leave the door open to all possibilities of struggle, all possibilities of war. The term 'war' cannot be erased from the lexicon of this region as long as Jerusalem is occupied..."

This sermon was delivered in the presence of PA President Mahmoud Abbas. It ran on PA-TV on August 20, and is reported in translation by Palestinian Media Watch. (includes a video that shows Abbas present)

There should be no illusion.


For the record, and to dispel even the slightest doubt: Jerusalem never "belonged" to the Palestinian Arabs. Never.


I rather like Sarah Stern's citation of Henry Kissinger:

“When the pursuit of peace becomes the entire objective of foreign policy, it becomes a weapon in the hands of the most ruthless. It produces moral disarmament.”

This, of course, is what is going on with the Obama administration, and Stern, founder of EMET, tracks some significant history relevant to what's happening now and the dangers we face, in her excellent piece, "Here We Go Round the Cactus Bush":


On the eve of his departure for Washington, Prime Minister Netanyahu has released a statement via his office:

"We have insisted that these talks be held without pre-conditions and thus it will be."

So there's a "problem" to begin with, because (as I've noted before) Abbas insists he is willing to come to Washington based on the Quartet statement, which requires an extension of the freeze in building, among other things. Will things move beyond the "pre-negotiations" meeting on September 2? Will Abbas walk, or will Netanyahu, who still insists the freeze will not be extended, concede some "creative" solution?

Netanyahu says "Our goal is to seriously and responsibly advance a peace agreement that will be based on the following principles:

"First of all, the recognition of Israel as the national state of the Jewish People, the end of the conflict and of claims on Israel, that will stem from recognizing it as the national state of the Jewish People, and the establishment of tangible security measures on the ground so as to ensure that there will not be a repeat in Judea and Samaria of what happened in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip after Israel withdrew from these areas."

Not sufficient, but a solid beginning. If he were to solidly adhere to this, should there be negotiations, we would have no need to fear a "two state solution." Which does not mean the negotiations themselves are without dangers, as Stern, above, points out.


From this the prime minister launches into politically calculated nonsense about a peace for generations that can be achieved if "the Palestinian leadership approaches these talks with the same degree of seriousness."



It seems the right time, given the Abbas demands, to review once again the reasons why the Arabs cannot claim everything beyond the Green Line -- even though they have much of the world convinced that they can:

[] The very areas that the Arabs claim as "theirs" -- eastern Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria -- remain at the heart of ancient Jewish heritage in the land. No spot on earth is as sacred to the Jews as the Temple Mount, where two Temples stood -- the presence on that Mount of a mosque today in no way changes this. (A mosque, it should be noted, that was placed specifically there with intent.) Within Judea and Samaria are such sites as Judaism's second holiest city, Hebron, with the Machpela, the Cave of the Patriarchs, and Kever Rachel (Rachel's Tomb) and Shilo, where the Tabernacle was brought.

[] The Mandate for Palestine of 1922, confirmed within international law by the League of Nations and never superseded, acknowledges all of the land from the river to the sea to be part of a Jewish homeland. It was based on a recognition of this ancient Jewish heritage.

[] The Green Line was never a border, but only a temporary armistice line at the end of fighting in 1949. Written into Israel's armistice agreement with Jordan was an explicit understanding that this armistice line would not prejudice future negotiations on a final border for Israel.

[] After the war in 1967, when Israel took control of Judea and Samaria, UN SC Resolution 242, recognizing that the Green Line was not a secure border for Israel, required only partial withdrawal from Judea and Samaria. And this withdrawal only in the context of full negotiations.

Israel moved into Judea and Samaria in a defensive war, which provides further legal justification for not pulling all the way back: It is understood that in a defensive war acquisition of additional strategic depth is often necessary to reduce vulnerability and preclude further attacks.

[] All understandings -- Oslo, etc. -- require negotiations for determination of the final borders. No where is it written that the Green Line is the border or that the border should be agreed upon prior to negotiations.


As to the whole business about not building in "settlements":

[] The Palestinian Arabs managed to negotiate in 2000 (Arafat with Barak) and then in 2008 (Abbas with Olmert) without a prior stipulation requiring a freeze. This is a new addition to the Arab demands.

[] The bottom-line implication of this stipulation is that a Palestinian state would have to be Judenrein. Somehow the world accepts this, even though 20% of Israel is Arab. There is no logical reason why Jews could not remain in land that might become a Palestinian state.

[] The entire premise of the freeze is to prevent encroachment on what will -- in the PA conceptualization of matters -- soon officially become Palestinian land. But the parameters of that land must be negotiated and are not yet determined.

[] In light of the fact that the borders are not determined, there is an essential injustice at work: Arabs are permitted to continue building in what might, after negotiations, be part of Israel. Only Jews are inhibited from building.

(I trust that my readers understand that the above is hypothetical -- important for the sake of argument -- and in no way an expression of my expectation that a Palestinian state will emerge shortly.)


I end with this, one of the most eloquent and thoughtful essays I've read on the issue of the mosque at Ground Zero:

"The World Trade Center Mosque and the Constitution," by Mark Helprin, in the Wall Street Journal.

"The plan to erect a mosque of major proportions in what would have been the shadow of the World Trade Center involves not just the indisputable constitutional rights that sanction it, but, providentially, others that may frustrate it.

"Mosques have commemoratively been established upon the ruins or in the shells of the sacred buildings of other religions—most notably but not exclusively in Cordoba, Jerusalem, Istanbul, and India. When sited in this fashion they are monuments to victory, and the chief objection to this one is not to its existence but that it would be near the site of atrocities—not just one—closely associated with mosques because they were planned and at times celebrated in them.

"Building close to Ground Zero disregards the passions, grief and preferences not only of most of the families of September 11th but, because we are all the families of September 11th, those of the American people as well, even if not the whole of the American people. If the project is to promote moderate Islam, why have its sponsors so relentlessly, without the slightest compromise, insisted upon such a sensitive and inflammatory setting? That is not moderate. It is aggressively militant.

"Disregarding pleas to build it at a sufficient remove so as not to be linked to an abomination committed, widely praised, and throughout the world seldom condemned in the name of Islam, the militant proponents of the World Trade Center mosque are guilty of a poorly concealed provocation. They dare Americans to appear anti-Islamic and intolerant or just to roll over.

"...constitutionally...there is unquestionably a right to build...we have principles that we value highly and will not abandon. The difficulty is that the principles of equal treatment and freedom of religion have, so to speak, been taken hostage by the provocation. As in many hostage situations, the choice seems to be between injuring what we hold dear or accepting defeat. This, anyway, is how it has played out so far.

"The proponents of the mosque know that Americans will not and cannot betray our constitutional liberties. Knowing that we would not rip the foundation from the more than 200 years of our history that it underpins, they may imagine that they have achieved a kind of checkmate.

"Their knowledge of the Constitution, however, does not penetrate very far, and perhaps they are not as clever as they think. The Constitution is a marvelous document, and a reasonable interpretation of it means as well that no American can be forced to pour concrete. No American can be forced to deliver materials. No American can be forced to bid on a contract, to run conduit, dig a foundation, or join steel.

"And a reasonable interpretation of the Constitution means that the firemen's, police, and restaurant workers' unions, among others, and the families of the September 11th dead, and anyone who would protect, sympathize with and honor them, are free to assemble, protest and picket at the site of the mosque that under the Constitution is free to be built.

" reasonable interpretation of the Constitution means that no American can be forced to cross a picket line in violation of conscience or even of mere preference. Who, in all decency, would cross a picket line manned by those whose kin were slaughtered—by the thousands—so terribly nearby? And who in all decency would cross such a line manned by the firemen, police and other emergency personnel who know every day that they may be called upon to give their lives in a second act?

"Michael Bloomberg, the mayor of New York, says of those who with heartbreaking bravery went into the towers: "We do not honor their lives by denying the very constitutional rights they died protecting."

"Mr. Mayor, the firemen, the police, the EMTs and the paramedics who rushed into those buildings, many of them knowing that they would die there, did not do so to protect constitutional rights. They went often knowingly to their deaths to protect what the Constitution itself protects: people, flesh and blood, men and women, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, sisters and brothers. Although you yourself may not know this, they did.

"The choice is not between abandoning them or abandoning the Constitution, for although the liberties the Constitution guarantees sometimes put us at a disadvantage even of self-preservation, they also make it possible for 300 million Americans to prevail—reasonably, peacefully, and within the limits of the law—against provocations such as this.

"They make it possible to prevent the construction of the mosque at this general location...not by force or decree but by argument, persuasion, and peaceable assembly. These are rights that the Constitution guarantees as well, and clearly it is one's constitutional right to oppose the mosque, not to participate in the building of it, and to convince others of the same."

Hopefully Americans are picking up on this theme and preparing now to respond as described. What a glorious victory it would be if picketing Americans in large numbers stopped mosque construction.

(Thanks, Gordon P.)

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