Friday, July 30, 2010

"Yes, But..."

Arlene Kushner

July 30, 2010

It's nothing but political theater that we're witnessing, but theater with heavy implications.

Setting the scene:

Netanyahu has been grandly announcing to the world, "We're ready. We'll begin negotiations with the PA tomorrow, without preconditions." This has felt more than a bit cavalier to me (I wince inwardly at his demonstrated eagerness), but I see our prime minister walking a tight rope. He believes it important that the world see Israel as the willing partner. It has been Abbas who has been obstructionist -- refusing to come to the table unless Israel first agreed to certain by now well-known parameters, and realizing, surely, that we would never agree. This man really really doesn't want to negotiate. I mean really: the talks hold out the promise only of major tsuris (real trouble) for him. But he has been trying to structure it so that it's Israel's fault, since we won't agree to some perfectly reasonable things -- such as all the land beyond the '67 line being Palestinian land. If we don't agree upfront, he argues, it's pointless to sit at the table because the talks will go nowhere, and they want the talks to genuinely progress.

Anyone with half an eye (half an eye?) can see that the PA leaders don't want to negotiate a compromise settlement at all. Their maximalist demands remain and they simply want us to sign on to them. Is Obama (or the EU for that matter) lacking that half an eye? Or does it just suit his political agenda to ignore the obvious?


And so, enter Obama from stage left. He had been courting the PA so effusively that had he simply strengthened the obstinacy of this group. Finally it dawned on him that this wasn't working, and he switched tactics. Be clear: it's only tactics, not his ultimate goal or his underlying attitude that changed. He began publicly courting Israel in a love fest. Great theater.

And, for the first time, he began applying real pressure on Abbas, with regard to finally coming to the table.

Note that he hadn't pressured Abbas to stop incitement -- something he was committed to attending to. And he was still making nice to the PA with regard to a change in the status of the PA/PLO mission that now permitted a flying of the flag in Washington DC. This was a reflection of closer relations between the PA and the US, a State Department spokesman said. Huh? What it represented was a step towards PA statehood, perhaps a psychological step or an inducement.

If you don't negotiate, said Obama, I can't promise to help you found your state. Implicit here is the PA threat to found that state unilaterally. At least try, it seems Obama was saying, and then we'll see what happens next.

On top of that, the EU was applying unprecedented pressure on Abbas.

Uh oh. The heat was getting intense. And if Abbas fell out of favor with the EU, some of the European largesse upon which the PA depends might be withdrawn.


Abbas, who had already received sanction from his Fatah party to refrain from negotiations, went to a meeting of Arab League foreign ministers in Cairo yesterday, hoping that this group, as well, would back his refusal to negotiate. But this is not what happened, in part because of intense pressure also being brought to bear on the Arab states. They played their role with, I must admit, a certain cleverness. They didn't want to appear to be obstructionist -- they were warned by Obama (for whatever that is worth) that they'd better not be.

So they came out with a position that gave a semblance of supporting negotiations. See, they're good guys after all.

However, what they actually delivered was a "Yes, But..." position that was hardly unequivocally supportive of direct negotiations. Talks have their blessings, they said, in a statement that was deliberately vague. But it is up to Abbas to decide when to start those talks and under what conditions.

Cute, no?


At this point, Abbas is saying nothing has changed, and he's holding out for those same parameters. The question is whether he can hold on, or, now that the Arab League has given a tentative nod, he will ultimately cave and come to the table.

He knows that his Fatah party thinks he shouldn't negotiate directly. Additionally, Hamas has come out with a statement condemning movement towards those talks. And we should not minimize the effect that Hamas has on the thinking in the street -- this radical terrorist group actually sets the tone of political discourse in the PA areas. Abbas's fear is being branded a traitor, if he sits with a Netanyahu administration and then makes any concessions. He's got reasons for his reluctance.


I'm reading some predictions that Abbas will agree to negotiate by the beginning of September. But something else must be considered: The end of September marks the end of the 10-month freeze on construction. As one of his preconditions, Abbas has demanded that this freeze be extended everywhere including Jerusalem. Netanyahu has pledged that the freeze will not be extended, and it would be difficult to overestimate the fury likely to ensue within his own coalition and within the nationalist community here, should he renege on this pledge. Just as Abbas is afraid of the anger in the street, it is possible that Netanyahu's hands may be tied to some degree with regard to how much latitude he has here if he wishes to sustain his coalition.

What we may be looking at are mutually exclusive political constraints that preclude negotiations at this time. We'll have to wait for the next act, mindful that things can change in an instant. But I continue to ponder precisely what it is Obama thinks he's doing and imagines he can achieve (that would accrue to his political benefit).


A comedy interlude here: There was a big hullabaloo with regard to something Haim Ramon (Kadima) is alleged to have said to PA chief negotiator Saeb Erekat at the American Colony Hotel, earlier this month: Don't agree to negotiations, a witness claims Ramon -- who was acting like an advisor -- said, "because Bibi won't agree to anything."

Both Erekat and Kadima are denying this discussion took place, which, of course, does not mean that it necessarily did not. There is one sentence attributed to Ramon that I consider particularly enlightening (if, indeed, he said it): "There is no way the prime minister of Israel would agree to accept 100,000 to 2000,000 Palestinian refugees."

Well, why in hell SHOULD we accept these so-called refugees, who are likely to be highly radicalized (thanks to UNRWA policies)? If there were to be a Palestinian state, it is there that these people would belong. Acceptance signals a token acknowledgment that the refugee situation (the "Nakba") was our fault, and not the fault of the Arabs who attacked us.

And why does someone significant to the Kadima party think we should do this?


Of course, the whole issue of "right of return" is non-negotiable for Abbas, and one of the reasons he won't come to the table. This is a no-win situation for him.


This allows me to turn to an excellent article by Sol Stern on that very issue of the "Nakba" and how Arab obsession with it is the stumbling block to peace. It touches a good many important points:

(Thanks Craig K.)

PMW and Deputy FM Ayalon release report on PA glorification of terrorists


The PA's policy of naming schools, summer camps, sporting events, streets and ceremonies after terrorists fundamentally undermines the chance for peace

by Itamar Marcus, Nan Jacques Zilberdik, Barbara Crook
and PMW staff

"For this report, PMW chose 100 examples of places and events named after 46 different terrorists in order to show the scope of the phenomenon. Twenty six of the examples have been reported in the Palestinian media in 2010." The report documents that: "Terror glorification is highly visible in Palestinian society. A Palestinian child can walk to school along a street named after the terrorist Abu Jihad, who planned a bus hijacking that killed 37, spend the day learning in a school named after Hamas founder Ahmad Yassin, in the afternoon play football in a tournament named after suicide terrorist Abd Al-Baset Odeh who killed 31, and end his day at a youth center named after terrorist Abu Iyad, responsible for the killing of the 11 Olympic athletes in Munich. A young woman can join a university women's club named Sisters of Dalal, after Dalal Mughrabi, attend a week at Al-Quds University honoring suicide bomb builder Yahya Ayyash, and participate in university rallies named after numerous terrorists. Honoring terrorists envelops and plays a significant part in defining the Palestinian world."

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said at the press conference:
"I thank PMW for this research. We will study it and give our response. I welcome the activities of this organization, which exposes Palestinian society and the Palestinian Authority as they present themselves, not to the world but to themselves."
[ accessed May 3, 2010]

The Deputy Minister further stated that:
"True peace must be built on a foundation of trust between the parties. The continuation of incitement on the part of the Palestinians will not help build trust and understanding between us. Therefore, before the start of the talks, the PA must decide if it is a partner for true peace and stop the ongoing incitement and boycotts against Israel."
[ accessed May 3, 2010]

Click here to see the full PMW report on the PA's glorification of terrorists in PDF.

The following is the executive summary of the report:

Executive Summary
The Palestinian Authority has named numerous locations and events after Palestinian terrorists responsible for killing Israeli civilians. In this special report, Palestinian Media Watch investigates the breadth of this phenomenon and to what extent it continues in 2010. Furthermore, PMW will assess whether this represents activities of a fringe group within society, or represents Palestinian Authority policy.

The Palestinian Authority's recent naming of a square in Ramallah after the terrorist Dalal Mughrabi, who led a terror attack that killed 37 civilians, was not an isolated incident. It is one example among many of how the PA has institutionalized incitement by systematically turning terrorists into role models.

In this report, Palestinian Media Watch documents the ongoing Palestinian Authority policy of glorifying terrorists through the naming of places and events after them, especially after those responsible for the most murderous attacks. Dalal Mughrabi, whose bus hijacking killed more Israelis than any other Palestinian terror attack, has been immortalized through the naming of numerous places and events, including: Two elementary schools, a kindergarten, a computer center, summer camps, football tournaments, a community center, a sports team, a public square, a street, an election course, an adult education course, a university club, a dance troupe, a military unit, a dormitory in a youth center, a TV series, a TV quiz team and a graduation ceremony. And Mughrabi is just one example among many.

For this report, PMW has chosen 100 examples of places and events named after 46 different terrorists in order to show the scope of the phenomenon. Twenty six of the examples have been reported in the Palestinian media in 2010.

Terror glorification is highly visible in Palestinian society. A Palestinian child can walk to school along a street named after the terrorist Abu Jihad, who planned a bus hijacking that killed 37, spend the day learning in a school named after Hamas founder Ahmad Yassin, in the afternoon play football in a tournament named after suicide terrorist Abd Al-Baset Odeh who killed 31, and end his day at a youth center named after terrorist Abu Iyad, responsible for killing the 11 Olympic athletes in Munich. A young woman can join a university women's club named Sisters of Dalal, after Dalal Mughrabi, attend a week at Al-Quds University honoring suicide bomb builder Yahya Ayyash, and participate in university rallies named after numerous terrorists. Honoring terrorists envelops and plays a significant part in defining the Palestinian world.

Two types of incitement: Direct calls to kill vs. honoring terrorists who killed
The PA practice of honoring terrorists is a very dangerous form of incitement, because it praises the killer and the act of killing after the actual murder has taken place. When an Imam on PA TV calls to kill Jews, the murder is at that point a possibility. No one has yet been killed. Honoring a suicide terrorist does not refer to a possibility, but glorifies an actual murder.

When PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas funded a computer center named after Mughrabi, he was telling Palestinian society that killing Rebecca Hochman and her sons, 6-year-old Roi and 3-year-old Ilan, along with 34 other civilians in a bus hijacking, was not merely acceptable, but an act worthy of honor. When the PA Ministry of Education held a football tournament named after suicide terrorist Odeh who killed 31, it was saying that the act of murder is what turns Palestinians into heroes. The PA's message that terrorists are role models is as damaging to peace as it is disturbing. Honoring a murderer is incitement to murder.

PA leaders honor terrorists
The terror veneration that this report documents is not of a fringe group but is policy of the PA, the Fatah party and the Palestinian leaders. PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad in April 2010 sponsored a sports event named after Abu Jihad, who orchestrated Dalal Mughrabi's bus hijacking and many other terror attacks. And Abbas, in addition to funding the computer center named after Dalal Mughrabi in 2009, also publicly supported the naming of the square in her name in 2010.

Palestinian Authority defends policy of honoring terrorists
In response to PMW's exposing the plans to name a square near Ramallah after Dalal Mughrabi, the Palestinian Authority defended this practice at the highest levels, acknowledging that this terror veneration is part of PA policy:

Mahmoud Abbas, PA Chairman, on naming square after Mughrabi:
"Of course I did not go myself, but I do not deny [the naming]. Of course we want to name a square after her." [Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Jan. 17, 2010]

Siham Barghouti, PA Minister of Culture, on naming square after Mughrabi:
"Honoring them in this way [by naming public places after them] is the least we can give them, and this is our right." [Al-Ayyam, Jan. 11, 2010]

Mahmoud Al-Aloul, member of Fatah Central Committee, defending immortalizing terrorists:
"It is important to continue commemorating the memory of the Shahids (Martyrs) and the Palestinian acts of heroism, and most importantly the anniversary of the Martyrdom of Dalal Mughrabi, heroine of the Coastal Road operation [attack that killed 37], which falls on March 11th... Al-Aloul said that Fatah has acted and continues to act to immortalize its Shahids (Martyrs) and heroes... He added: 'It is our right and our duty to take pride in all of the Shahids (Martyrs), and it is our duty to convey this message in the most direct manner to the generations to come.'"
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 25, 2010]

Speaking on behalf of Mahmoud Abbas, about street named after Abu Jihad:
"In his speech on behalf of the President [Abbas], Tayeb Al-Rahim said: 'Today we are celebrating the inauguration of a street named after the leader Abu Jihad, Prince of the Shahids... He had the honor of introducing the idea of the armed Palestinian struggle... We say that the entire [Palestinian] nation has become Abu Jihad, and that our people are proud of him. His name has been given to hospitals and schools and centers and streets. Abu Jihad did not die; he lives on in our midst. Abu Jihad is the engineer of the revolution; the first bullet." [Emphasis added]
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, April 21, 2010]

Defining a terrorist for this report
In this report, a terrorist is defined as a person who carried out, planned, organized or assisted in attacks that deliberately targeted civilians for the strategic goal of killing civilians and/or terrorizing a civilian population. It does not include as a terrorist act the attacking of military or terrorist targets for the purpose of eliminating a real or perceived threat, even though civilians may have been killed. The strategic purpose is critical in the definition of terror. Attacks intentionally directed at civilian targets are terror. Attacks targeting military targets are not terror, even if civilians were also killed.

Furthermore, this report does not include individuals who participated in terror activities but later turned to political activity. The many places and events named after Yasser Arafat are not included, even though he planned numerous terror attacks whose sole purpose was the killing of civilians, because he later received the Nobel Peace Prize.

Non-Palestinians included in this report
It is not only Palestinians involved in violence who are honored in this way by the PA. Iraqi insurgent Ali Al-Naamani committed the first suicide bombing attack in Iraq, killing four American soldiers. The Palestinians named a square in the center of Jenin after him. Likewise, Saddam Hussein has a Palestinian school and a road named after him. While these two do not fit the strict definition of terrorists, they have been included in the report because they are important for showing the range of people involved in violence who have been honored within the PA.

Methodology - general terrorist glorification not included in this report
This report is documenting only the naming of places and events in honor of terrorists that have been cited in the PA media. PMW has not investigated all the PA schools or all street names and therefore the full extent of the phenomenon is certainly greater. In addition this report does not include the PA practice of glorifying terrorists directly through events in their honor, such as, assemblies, rallies, or TV specials on anniversaries of terror attacks. For example, on the annual anniversary of Dalal Mughrabi's bus hijacking, PA TV has broadcast many special reports, interviews and programs about her and the attack. While all this greatly compounds the problem, it is beyond the scope of this report.

The explicit and unmitigated rejection of terror on moral grounds is a basic condition for a sincere and lasting peace. Whereas the PA leadership has publicly committed to fight violence, this message can only be seen as insincere by their own people, when numerous terrorists who murdered Israelis are repeatedly glorified by the PA leadership even in 2010.
Indeed, there is no more fundamental statement of support for violence and terror than when the single act of intentionally targeting and killing Israeli civilians is enough to immortalize the name of the killer.
If there is to be any chance for peace, the Palestinian leadership must convince their own people that terror is rejected -- not merely because it is damaging to Palestinian interests in 2010, but because it is immoral and wrong at all times. For peace to have a chance, terrorists must be ostracized as immoral outcasts, not immortalized as heroes and role models.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

House Republicans Giving Green Light for Israeli Strike on Iran

Gil Ronen
A7 News

Nearly one third of the Republican congressmen in the U.S. House of Representatives have introduced a resolution that would support Israel's right to use “all means necessary to confront and eliminate nuclear threats posed by Iran”, including military force. he resolution was introduced by Rep. Louie Gohmert [R-Texas] and 46 co-sponsors.

House Resolution 1553 “condemns the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran for its threats of ‘annihilating’ the United States and the State of Israel, for its continued support of international terrorism, and for its incitement of genocide of the Israeli people.”

It “supports using all means of persuading the Government of Iran to stop building and acquiring nuclear weapons” and pledges that the U.S. will ensure that Israel “continues to receive critical economic and military assistance, including missile defense capabilities, needed to address the threat of Iran.”

In addition, it “expresses support for Israel’s right to use all means necessary to confront and eliminate nuclear threats posed by Iran, defend Israeli sovereignty, and protect the lives and safety of the Israeli people, including the use of military force if no other peaceful solution can be found within a reasonable time.”

Iran lobby alarmed

The National Iranian American Council (NIAC), a pro-Iranian lobby group, is up in arms over the proposed resolution.

“Obviously we are reaching silly season in Washington with the elections in November,” NIAC's founder-president Trita Parsi told RN, a news venue that focuses on Russian issues. He added that “there have already been some signs that Israel is going to be a major element that some Republicans will use to get both voters as well as finance, donations to campaigns, away from the Democrats.”

However, Parsi said, “even silly season has real repercussions on the real world.” The resolution would send “a dangerous signal” to Israel, that some in congress would welcome military action by it against Iran, while the White House and U.S. military oppose such a strike, he argued.

NIAC's website warned that the “game plan” behind HR 1553 was spelled out earlier this month by former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton in the Wall Street Journal, when he wrote: “Having visible congressional support in place at the outset [of an attack] will reassure the Israeli government, which is legitimately concerned about Mr. Obama's likely negative reaction to such an attack.”

“The Obama Administration quietly resisted Congressional efforts to pass unilateral economic sanctions for over a year, before ultimately giving in to Congressional pressure,” NIAC wrote. “Now that 'crippling' sanctions have been put in place, the far-right wing and Iran-hawks have begun openly advocating for what has always been their ultimate objective: war with Iran.”

NIAC warned that an attack on Iran would ignite a regional war that would put the lives of “innocent Americans, Iranians, and Israelis” in harm's way, as well as risking the pro-democracy movement in Iran, U.S. national security and the stability of Iraq and Afghanistan and the global economy, which relies on oil from the Persian Gulf.

NIAC denies allegations that it is used as a tool by the Iranian regime, citing its condemnations of human rights abuses in Iran.

Cameron's Despicable Toadying to Turkey

Daniel Greenfield

It is sadly unsurprising that Prime Minister Cameron's highly publicized trip to Turkey went with no mention of that country's continued denial of the Armenian Genocide, and its suppression of Kurdish and Armenian minorities. Indeed when Turkish leader Erdogan discussed his threats of ethnically cleansing Armenians in the UK, Gordon Brown made no more comment on the matter than if Erdogan had been discussing his favorite television programs. t is in keeping with that conspiracy of silence, that Cameron made no mention of the thousands of political prisoners in Turkish jails, there often for merely expressing an opinion at odds with the state, for singing a folk song, or delivering an official speech in Kurdish. Naturally Cameron did not think to raise the issue of Leyla Zana, the first Kurdish woman elected to the Turkish parliament and a winner of the Sakharov Prize, who is still in jail today. Cameron could have at least raised the subject of Aysel Tuğluk, a member of the Turkish Human Rights Association, who was illegally stripped of her parliamentary immunity and sent to jail for handing out leaflets in the Kurdish language, and is now due to be sent to jail yet again.

But rather than standing up for human rights, Cameron instead pandered to the radical Islamists who were his hosts, by feeding their appetite for hate directed at Israel. And it did not begin or end with Israel.

Instead Cameron sold out the rest of Europe, declaring that he was "angry" at how long the negotiations to bring Turkey into the EU were taking, and declaring himself the "strongest possible advocate for EU membership". He slammed France and implicitly Germany, for refusing to rush forward to support bringing Turkey into the EU. Cameron sided with Turkey, over France and Germany, betraying allies for enemies. And worse was yet to come.

Not only did Cameron ignore Turkey's ongoing occupation of Cyprus, but he signed a strategic agreement with Turkey that calls for ending the "isolation" of the Turkish Cypriots by upholding their "right to representation" in the European Parliament, and promoting political and cultural contacts with the Turkish Cypriots. What that means is that Cameron committed himself to supporting Dervis Eroglu from the radical National Unity Party, which calls for Turkish annexation of occupied Cyprus. The strategic agreement signed by Cameron, moves the UK closer to recognizing the Turkish occupation of Cyprus, which currently only Turkey itself recognizes.

Again Cameron makes no criticism whatsoever of Turkey's illegal occupation of Cyprus. He does not mention the fact that he signed an agreement promoting the flow of goods from occupied Cyprus to the UK, while Turkey refuses to accept goods from Greek Cyprus. Of course not. No more than his predecessor was willing to.

Did Cameron do any of this out of principle? Nonsense. Cameron knows as well as anyone about Turkey's state of domestic terror, its persecution of the political opposition, and how unworkable Turkish membership in the EU would be. Instead like Brown before him, Cameron pandered to the Turkish thug-in-chief for a few pounds, hoping to boost British exports to Turkey. In the hope of a few million pounds, Cameron betrayed fellow European nations, signed off on Turkey's occupation of Cyprus, ignored the thousands of political prisoners in Turkish jails, and whitewashed Turkey's real record on Islamic terrorism. And while he and his businessmen friends beamed and shook hands with Turkey's chief terrorist-- others were left to stand up against the violence and brutality of the Turkish regime on their own.

In his rambling speech, Cameron praised Turkey for fighting against terrorism. The reality however is that the only "terrorism" that Turkey fights against, is Kurdish guerrillas, from its large Kurdish minority who want to have their own state, or at least some basic human rights. And when Cameron shook hands with Erdogan, he was shaking hands with a man whose patron, Yassin Qadi, funneled millions of dollars to Al Queda, and whose own advisor, Cuneyt Zapsu, donated 300,000 dollars to Al Queda. Al Queda operates its magazine freely in Istanbul, which is convenient because Erdogan claims there's no such thing as Islamic terrorism.

If Turkey, as Cameron says, is guarding the flank of Europe... then who in G-d's name is guarding Europe from Turkey? Certainly not Cameron.

Cameron's despicable toadying to Turkey's Thug-in-Chief was one long collection of lies. In his speech, he claimed that "Europe will draw fresh vigour and purpose from a Turkey that embraces human rights and democracy". Turkey's democracy is such that its opposition is routinely jailed. Its human rights has sent 12 year olds to prison for singing folk songs. It has no concept of democracy or human rights. Its 10,000 political prisoners could testify to that. Almost a 1000 of them opposition politicians.

The sham continued as Cameron congratulated Turkey on "its efforts to achieve the ambition of zero problems with all its neighbours, including Iraq". This after Turkish troops repeatedly invaded Iraq just just last month, murdering a 15 year old girl, among others. The Iraqi government protested, to no effect. Cameron, who is supposed to be committed to guaranteeing Iraq's security, instead shamelessly praises the invaders. The only casualties he mentions are those of the Turkish invading forces, not their victims. Never their victims.

And so it goes. Cameron babbles on about Turkey's religious tolerance, while the level of hateful incitement spirals out of control. He talks about the true tolerant Islam, to a man who was at one point imprisoned for his own Islamic radicalism. He takes up arms against all those damned obstructionists who are preventing a lovely regime like Erdogan's Turkey from joining the EU. He vows to fight them everywhere, like a latter day Churchill, proclaiming not, "There will always be an England", but rather, "There will always be a Turkey in the EU".

If there was any Turk in that room who had the slightest respect for England before Cameron began to speak, it was sure to have vanished in a whiff of contempt. Cameron's speech reminds one of English socialists visiting the Soviet Union and heaping praise on Stalin and the wonderful revolution, before going off to collect their blood money. And now Cameron has done them one better, demanding that a radical Islamist regime share open borders with the EU.

In a speech given while Erdogan prepares to round up political opponents before the election on fraudulent charges of "inciting" Kurdish riots-- Cameron made only one criticism of human rights. Not of Turkey of course. Or of Erdogan, who has jailed about as many of his opponents as Saddam Hussein. No, Cameron courageously blasted Israel, for standing up to Erdogan's IHH thugs, after they beat and stabbed Israeli soldiers inspecting their flotilla carrying aid to Hamas run Gaza.

Cameron blasted the response of Israeli soldiers who fired back after they Turkish Islamist thugs tried to murder them, as "completely unacceptable" and called Gaza, a "prison camp". He demanded a "swift, transparent and rigorous" inquiry. No such demand was of course issued to his hosts for their 10,000 political prisoners, their illegal invasion of Iraq and murder of civilians-- or that Armenian genocide matter. Of course no inquiries are demanded there.

Let us be clear what Cameron has done. He has sold out Europe and the free world by signing on the dotted of an agreement which explicitly trades English support for EU membership for increased exports. This is about money, pure and simple. There are no principles of any kind here. And what does Europe get out of all this? Here is a brief preview of coming attractions;

It is mainly young people who take to the streets, with Turkish flags in their hands, whistles in their mouths and hatred in their eyes.

"We have waited long enough," reads one poster. "Allah wants this war," is the message on another.

European tolerance Islamized Turkey. The pandering of unprincipled leaders like Cameron will take it to the brink and beyond.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Arabs Riot Over Jerusalem King's Garden Project

Hana Levi
A7 News

Hundreds of Arab demonstrators rioted Tuesday in Jerusalem over the city government's plans to demolish 22 Arab homes that were built without permits.

At least 200 Palestinian Authority Arabs were involved in the violence, according to an AFP news photographer. Eyewitnesses said that some of the rioters were hurling rockets at police and border guard officers, who fired tear gas and rubber bullets at the mob. No arrests were made, according to a police spokesperson. Local Arab officials eventually convinced the demonstrators to disperse. Five protesters were reportedly injured in the melee.

The city's project to upgrade the crumbling, crowded Arab neighborhood into an archaeological park has inflamed passions among the local residents, many of who built their homes without permits.

Another 66 similarly-built illegal structures in the King's Garden area, also known as the Al-Bustan neighborhood, would be allowed to remain and under the plan would be retroactively legalized.

The neighborhood is located in a part of the city known internationally as the so-called “Holy Basin,” which houses the site of ancient Jerusalem during the time of the Biblical kings David and Solomon. The area was restored to Israel during the 1967 Six Day War in a move not recognized by the international community.

Rapid Unraveling in the Middle East

JINSA Report No. 1010 -, July 27th, 2010

1) The PLO flag is flying in Washington. The administration downplayed the change – it is a “delegation” office not an Embassy. The change implies “no enhancement in diplomatic status,” and does not provide “any diplomatic privileges or immunities,” said State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley. It is about the same as the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office (TECRO) that represents 27 million democratic Taiwanese. That is, by its nature, an enhancement for a terrorist organization. White House spokesman Thomas Vietor added, “This decision reflects our confidence that through direct negotiations, we can help achieve a two-state solution with an independent and viable Palestine living side by side with Israel. We should begin preparing for that outcome now, as we continue to work with the Palestinian people on behalf of a better future.”

The best way to give the Palestinians a better future would be to liberate 1.2 million of them from Hamas in Gaza. Hamas is NOT a member of the PLO – the flag of which is flying in Washington – and it ousted Fatah from Gaza in a bloody and ongoing civil war. This appears to be why we are building Fatah an army. The State Department is busy executing its two-state vision while the Palestinians are busy executing one another.

2) Assistant Secretary of Defense Alexander Vershbow was in Lebanon to meet government officials and UNIFIL representatives and discuss the next installment of American military aid to the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF). A U.S. embassy statement reported by the Lebanese news agency quoted Mr. Vershbow as saying Congress has approved 100 million dollars in aid for 2010, including aircraft, tanks, light arms and training to help the LAF “combat cross-border smuggling” and “prevent militias and other non-government organizations from resorting to violence to undermine the authority of the Lebanese government.”

Mr. Vershbow was late. Last week, Lebanese Prime Minister Sa'ad Hariri made his third pilgrimage to Syria where Syrian and Lebanese ministers signed a total of 17 accords covering justice, tourism, education and agriculture. And cross-border smuggling.

Mr. Vershbow was late. The indispensable MEMRI, translating from Lebanese media, reports that on 13 July, Hezbollah and its allies in Parliament rejected a France-Lebanon agreement for cooperation in internal, civil and administrative security – even though the agreement had already been effectively approved by both the government and the Lebanese President… Hezbollah MPs rejected the agreement's first clause, which calls for French-Lebanese cooperation in “the fight against terrorism,” because, they said, France's definition of the term “terrorism” was vastly different from the Lebanese and the Arab definition.

But France was late, too. French soldiers in UNIFIL have born a disproportionate share of Hezbollah's ire recently. Hezbollah has been restricting UNIFIL patrols and even attacking UNIFIL soldiers in the south as it moves weapons into the 160 or so villages of southern Lebanon in violation of UNSCR 1701. Since France voted in the UN for increased sanctions on Iran, French soldiers have come under particular attack.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

UN Out to Lynch Israel? Hey, They're Not Even Subtle About It!

Barry Rubin

The UN is sending a committee to Israel to follow up on the biased Goldstone Report. The report, you might remember, found Israel guilty because Palestinians who are seeking to destroy Israel said so. Oh, and the report's staff and leadership were rather intensely prejudiced themselves.

Now it turns out that the coordinator of the committee, Ahmed Motala, a South African lawyer, is not exactly non-partisan. In fact, during the very fighting he is asked on to judge now, he'd already made up his mind. On January 5, 2009, he wrote on a South African site

“The war in Gaza and the killing of innocent Palestinians is not about Hamas, but entirely about the forthcoming elections in Israel….What better way to gain the support of the Israeli electorate than to…kill innocent civilians….The costs of victory in an election in Israel are being paid for by the blood of innocent Palestinians.” Now this is the kind of nonsense written about Israel that should permanently bar anyone dumb enough to say such things barred permanently from dealing with the issue. The war had nothing to do with the elections but with the fact that--despite Israel's government pleas--Hamas publicly tore up the existing ceasefire and began firing dozens of rockets at Israeli civilians.

If someone can't even understand this, they are hopeless. For one thing, they have turned Israel from a democratic country to a land ruled by comic-book villains. Mu-ha-ha! chortled Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Let's kill some Palestinian children in order to get more votes!

Motala's whole understanding of how international affairs works is defective. But he got caught. Suppose he had never actually written these words but merely said so to colleagues in conversations? He'd be the key person deciding that Israel was guilty of war crimes and incapable of investigating itself (because it was concealing that demonic murder-for-votes scheme).

But that's far from all. What about the chairman of that same Goldstone follow-up committee, Christian Tomuschat? On one or two occasions he did work for then PA Cahriman Yasir Arafat, advising him on how he could more effectively get his way over Israel. In a 2002 study he did, Tomuschat hs already said that countries cannot investigate their own militaries, precisely the issue he is supposed to decide on as a fair and neutral judge in this situation. Oh, and in 2007 he stated that Israel's targeted killings of terrorists who had murdered Israelis was an act of state terrorism.

Mr. Tomuschat insists he is unbiased and refuses to resign.
But when you have the Jordanian businessman appointed by the UN secretary-general (who is a relative moderate compared to some of his recent predecessors) as vice-chairman of the UN Global Compact talking about Zionist conspiracies to control the world and dominate America (no doubt he won't be removed from that post by the UN) this is just one more example of the true scope of the insanity.

Doesn't this kind of thing get it across to people--and especially to anti-Israel Jews as well as leaders of various Western countries--that the lynch mob is running wild, following old patterns of Jew-hatred, and possibly one day going to come after them? Don't they see that they are ruining all the basic principles on which democratic law has been based: a fair hearing, equal treatment, impartial judges?

Prerequisites for a two-state solution
Jewish World Review July 26, 2010 / 15 Menachem-Av, 5770

By Mort Zuckerman

Will the world applaud Israel's just-announced decision to restrict its military forces by imposing even more stringent rules to avoid accidental civilian casualties? Don't bet on it. The world remained silent as Israel endured hundreds of Palestinian suicide bombers, stabbings, drive-by shootings, and kidnappings. No censure or demands for a cease-fire impeded Hezbollah in the north and Hamas from the south as they rained thousands of missiles on almost 40 percent of the Israeli population. On the contrary. The common response of a world professedly eager for peace was to criticize Israel's measures of self-defense in setting up checkpoints and building a security fence along the West Bank. For six years, rockets from Gaza forced a major portion of Israel's southern population to sleep in bomb shelters. When Israel entered Gaza, after repeatedly warning Hamas to desist, the outcry revealed that the capacity of Israel's critics for hypocrisy is infinite. Every Israeli effort at self-defense is treated as aggression.

The multiple injustices of these years, compounded by the abysmal performance of the media in separating truth from propaganda, have produced a political transformation in Israel that the administration of President Obama has accelerated. Israelis have lost trust in the possibility of peaceful coexistence. They have observed that every effort to make peace breeds new aggression. They have realized, with understandable bitterness, that every defensive military operation that leaves the aggressor still in control of the attack base results only in the enemy being better prepared the next time.

It is not on the world's agenda to dream of doing anything, even to make a murmur of protest, when the Hamas leadership in Gaza continues to smuggle in rockets capable of threatening Tel Aviv. Rockets with a range increasing to as much as 60 kilometers can be fired from a mobile launcher fitted on the back of a truck, or from a stationary launcher hidden in a building, as was Hezbollah's in Lebanon.

How do the Israelis, without absolute control of the territory, prevent Hamas from turning into the Palestinian version of Hezbollah? Iran has supplied Hezbollah with more than 40,000 rockets, many of them long-range, such as Scud and M-600 missiles. The Israelis know that the gun or rocket that is hung on the wall in the first act will be fired in the third. They simply cannot tolerate living alongside an entity owning a terrorist infrastructure and hosting hostile military forces.

When the Israelis consider evacuating their military forces from the West Bank for the sake of a "two-state solution," they fear leaving another base for terrorism. If Hamas takes over the West Bank from the Palestine Liberation Organization, as it did Gaza, then it and other al Qaeda-type groups may well have access to the overlooks of Jerusalem's suburbs and Tel Aviv's beaches. The Israelis cannot forget that the last time Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas received control of an area—namely Gaza in 2005—PLO forces ran away and left it to Hamas. Currently Israel's military freedom of operation in the West Bank allows the Israel Defense Forces to reach every place where prohibited arms are manufactured or hidden. Thus they have prevented terrorists there from manufacturing and launching them at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, not to mention intercepting innumerable suicide bombers.

The nightmare scenario for Israel is that the West Bank becomes another failed Palestinian state. The West Bank is as near as 8 to 12 miles from the Mediterranean. Any sustained rocket assaults from the West Bank would seriously threaten Israel's interior. What's more, there is the critical advantage of the West Bank's ridge line. From the higher terrain, even a Palestinian teenager with such simple weaponry as a Kassam rocket could hit Israel's main airport and major cities, making the defense of Israel impossible.

I have stood on that ridge. It is hard to explain to Americans how close everything is. That is why any Middle East settlement would require a fully demilitarized Palestinian entity and a method for Israel to verify that. International forces cannot be relied on for demilitarization. They have historically been unsuccessful where one party is ready to ignore the fulfillment of its international responsibilities. This has been especially so in the Middle East where the peacekeepers have been killed, breaking the political will of states who contribute.

Perhaps it would be different if the Israelis had confidence that the current U.S. administration would make up in security for whatever Israel might cede in territory. They were given that assurance when they took the risk of leaving Gaza in 2005. Then there was a written commitment by President George W. Bush that the United States would not expect Israel to withdraw to its pre-1967 borders and that any future settlement would reflect Israel's right to secure, recognized, and defensible borders. (So too did President Obama pledge support for this same right, in these same words, in a public speech when he was campaigning for presidency.)

Yet the Obama administration disavowed this commitment—with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton saying that Bush's pledge "did not become part of the official position of the United States government." This ignores the fact that recognized boundaries "and defensible borders" were enshrined in the U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 after the 1967 war and that Bush unequivocally provided a presidential guarantee to then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in exchange for Israel's 2005 withdrawal from Gaza. "The United States," Bush said, "reiterates its steadfast commitment to Israel's security, including secure, defensible borders, and to preserve and strengthen Israel's capability to deter and defend itself, by itself, against any threat or possible combinations of threats." The Bush letter was approved by both houses of Congress—and yet it has been repudiated by this administration.

The scene is even more menacing if we consider the regional scenario of a Palestinian state inspired by Iran and Islamic radicalism. Iran is getting close to obtaining nuclear abilities and already has ballistic missiles that can menace Israel as well as its Arab neighbors. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard serves as a strategic umbrella for radical groups that move across the Middle East, including Shiite militias in Iraq, Hezbollah in Lebanon, as well as Hamas in Gaza and the West Bank.

The Israeli experience in Lebanon is a case study of the dangers. After the 2006 war, Israel withdrew and 10,000 U.N. peacekeeping troops came into southern Lebanon, authorized by U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701. With what effect? Hezbollah has rearmed at a rapid pace, accumulating more than 40,000 rockets and missiles that, according to recent reports, have now moved down to the southern part of Lebanon without any Hezbollah operatives being arrested. U.N. forces have simply been ineffective, even when the Lebanese government wanted the U.N. to curb Hezbollah.

A sovereign Palestinian state that refuses to accept an international force is bad enough. Worse yet is that, in practice, organizations like Hezbollah and Hamas can render any international force ineffective. This is what occurred when European monitors were placed at Gaza's Rafah crossing. The monitors fled their positions as soon as internal fighting between Hamas and Fatah heated up after the Hamas victory in the 2006 elections. The monitors themselves fell victim to local Palestinian kidnappings. When the Palestinian president says he will not accept Israeli forces but might accept an international presence, his statement might seem reasonable or negotiable. In truth, it has about as much value as the "peace in our time" document that Neville Chamberlain waved on his return to London after meeting Adolf Hitler. Bottom line: The only successful security forces that Israel can rely upon are its own. Israelis feel they have read the book in Gaza and don't want to see the movie in the West Bank.

Paradoxically, the presence of U.N. forces creates an obstacle to Israel's ability to defend itself, by itself. Look at what happened to the force that was dispatched to Lebanon in August 1982. The U.N. mission was made up of units from Britain, France, Italy, and the United States, but in October 1983 both the French paratrooper barracks and the U.S. Marine headquarters were attacked by Shiite suicide bombers, killing a few hundred French and American service members. Within a year, both forces withdrew from Lebanon, reflecting the reality that foreign forces will quickly leave the theater when attacked. The states that volunteer them soon lose political support for keeping them there.

Let's not forget the Oslo Accord and its 1995 interim agreement. The PLO failed to honor the agreement. In fact, Yasser Arafat, Abbas's predecessor as PLO leader, supplied competing security organizations with thousands of weapons that were prohibited in the agreements he had signed. Again contrary to the Oslo agreement, the PLO gave its national security apparatus all the trappings of an army, which it was not permitted to have. Then in 2000, in the second intifada, it launched a terrorist attack on Israeli civilians.

Israel must prepare for the possibility that even after agreements are signed, and a demilitarized Palestinian state is established, groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad would act in contravention and an international force would likely not take action. Iranian-backed rocket assaults against Israel would place its coastal plain in range and make Israel uninhabitable. And if U.N. forces were present on Palestinian territory, the Israeli army couldn't open fire against the enemy without first verifying the location of the U.N. personnel. It would thus be even more difficult for Israel to act against terrorists.

There is an old saying: "Nobody ever washes a rental car." Only Israel would have the will to defend itself. When you think about the failure of NATO forces in Afghanistan, you have to wonder about the efficacy of NATO troops in this theater.

Israel knows that a threat will evolve when hostile intentions join with aggressive capabilities. Given that it has been virtually impossible to alter hostile intentions, with the split between Abbas's Fatah in the West Bank and Hamas in Gaza—the latter allowing non-state actors to emerge—classic principles of deterrence and punishment are far less effective. There is no unified government to exert control over people, weapons, and terrorist groups.

Israel has prudently maintained its uncompromising policy of disarming the terrorist infrastructure within and along its borders. But Israel's success in this relies on high-quality, precise military intelligence, along with full freedom of operation to enter Palestinian city centers and villages to locate and destroy bomb-producing factories. This is the only way that Israel can deal with the asymmetrical threat of terrorist groups able to attack Israel at will.

Until this same kind of security is assured, the two-state solution is not a solution at all, but a dramatic escalation of risk.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Air Force Hits Gaza Weapons Plant following Attacks

Maayana Miskin
A7 News

The Israel Air Force demolished a weapons plant in northern Gaza early on Monday morning. The operation came in response to recent attacks by Gaza terrorists on Israelis in the western Negev. Planes also took out two smuggling tunnel along the border between Gaza and Egypt. Pilots reported direct hits, and all planes returned safely back to base.

The IDF released its usual statement for such incidents, saying, “The IDF will not tolerate attacks on Israeli citizens or IDF soldiers, and will respond with determination and strength to any entity using terrorism against the state of Israel.” The statement also noted that “the IDF sees the Hamas terrorist organization as bearing sole responsibility for what happens in Gaza, and for maintaining quiet in the area.”

On Sunday, terrorists fired at least four rockets and mortar shells at communities in the Gaza belt region. One of the weapons used in the attacks was more advanced than the usual rockets; experts who examined the rocket found that it was produced outside Gaza and smuggled in.

On Sunday evening, an IDF reserves force arrested five Palestinian Authority Arabs near the Jewish town of Elon Moreh in Samaria. The five are thought to have been on their way to commit a terrorist attack.

Soldiers arrested an additional terrorist overnight.

The Terrorist Whose Daughter Was Cured

Barry Rubin*

July 26, 2010

You might also like to read:
Faked Photograph Shows How The Middle East Hasn't Changed Much

This is a remarkable story in human terms but there is an extremely important point for understanding the Middle East embedded in it as well.

On June 14, Palestinian terrorists opened fire on a police car travelling on a road, en route from Beersheba to Jerusalem. One policeman, Yeheshua Sofer was killed. Two others were wounded. Sofer was due to be married in three months. It took a month but members of the cell were finally captured. They spoke quite freely about this attack and others they had planned for killing Israelis. During the interrogation, one of the leaders remarked that only two weeks earlier his six-year-old daughter had been given a free operation in Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem to remove a tumor from her eye. The operation had been paid for by an Israeli organization.

Reading this, I recall a number of similar past instances. In one famous case, the Palestinian who later attacked Israel had been saved from injuries inflicted by another Palestinian in a quarrel. There have also been examples of terrorists playing on the sympathy of Israelis claiming they needed medical attention--especially in one bloody attack on the Gaza-Israel border--not to mention the use of women and children to smuggle weapons or even to carry out suicide attacks.

The Western reader--if he doesn't go in for some elaborate theory in which somehow Israel is still to blame--might see this and other such cases as examples of human ingratitude, the kind of thing often found in private life. There is also a psychiatric explanation: the person involved is in some way deranged, causing him to behave in an "illogical" manner.

Yet beyond irony and insanity, both falling short of the needed explanation, this kind of situation is important because it challenges the common Western theme of kindness and concession as inevitably leading to moderation and peace. There is another misleading flip side of this view, too: the concept that what seems like inexplicable violence or "fanaticism" is a direct response to ill treatment.

Thus, for those locked into the kindness breeds kindness model (which often does work in personal life), terrorists must be shown to be suffering from poverty or personal suffering (even though statistics show this to be untrue) or understandable outrage at bad treatment (ignoring the possibility of their engaging in alternative behavior, like making a compromise peace or building a democratic society).

Yet the main missing explanation explaining such behavior is ideology and world view. If you think that the divine being has ordered you to wipe out Israel and the Jews (or Christians and the West also), if you have no self-critical facility whatsoever, if you believe (and are told by the West) that you are always a victim, if you put a priority on revenge rather than improving your situation, and if you view your opponent as sub-human (racism is more frequently deployed by elements in some parts of the "Third World" against the West than vice-versa nowadays, whatever was true in the past), then your conscience will be untroubled by having your daughter healed as a gift and trying to kill the maximum number of Israelis thereafter.

Where have things been different? Obviously, one can insist on one's dignity and right to have a country of one's own without developing such behavior. We have seen this in dozens of cases over previous decades. You don't have to invoke such names s Nelson Mandela or Martin Luther King Jr or Mahatma Gandhi in this case. Quite average nationalist leaders far from sainthood have pulled it off repeatedly.

Indeed, such an approach is not only more moral but more effective. After all, if you are willing to compromise with your opponent, the latter is more willing and able to give you more of what you want. If the Palestinian movement had adopted such an approach--which is still lacking to this deay--there would have been a Palestinian Arab state in 1948 (UN partition), or in 1979 (Anwar al-Sadat peace initiative) or in 2000 (Camp David/Clinton plan), or at many other times in history.

Of course, there are cases--fewer but genuine--of individual Palestinians saving the lives of Israelis who would otherwise have been murdered. But here's the catch: those people have to hide their identities from other Palestinians while to kill deliberately Israeli children, even in 2010, makes one a hero.

Moreover, it is also misleading to conclude that people want to wipe out Israel because it is doing something so horrible--that there is a proportionality at work here--as to justify such treatment. Again, the problem lies in the ideology and worldview of the radicals, as well as their expectation of total victory, that drives the process. Israelis as a whole discovered this between 1992 and 2000. Sympathy, an attempt to provide a balanced narrative, aid, payments, concessions, compromises, offers all failed. Indeed, not only did they fail but in many respects these actions made things worse--at least more dangerous--for those who tried that method.
One of the times I came closer to being killed so far was when an Arab driver returning from taking supplies to the Gaza Strip or bringing workers into Israel so they could make living smuggled in a suicide terrorist. Six months after the day I saw the dead killed by that attack in the street around the corner from my home, a high-ranking U.S. diplomat told me--with pomposity and a slur on Israel that would have marked him as a vicious antisemite if he weren't a Jewish careerist--that no terrorist had ever come into Israel that way.

Incidentally, and this is an absolutely true story, the day before the March 1996 bombing, I had passed by a woman in full Islamist dress (by no means normally dressed for an Israeli Arab Muslim woman who might merely wear modest clothing and a hijab) outside the Dizengoff Center mall looking at the door (and possibly checking out the security) about 20 yards from where the suicide bomber blew himself up some hours later. I thought to myself: what a great democratic and open country this is that in the midst of a terrorist bombing campaign she could walk through Tel Aviv without anyone bothering her in the least. I wondered later if this was coincidental or part of the terrorist operation. If you want to compare the reality of Israel from the way it is portrayed in biased media and academic writings, ponder that story.

These stories are in no way to say that you don't treat children with eye tumors, or not let people make a living or send in supplies, or look askance at people merely because they belong to a specific national or religious group.

But you also let wishful thinking take over your mind or allow hopes of gratitude to bolster your expectations in an irrational manner.

And you never ever strengthen individuals or organizations who want to kill you and wipe you out on the basis of believing that generosity will make them moderate.

This basic calculus, of course, does not apply just to Israel's situation but to a West facing attacks by revolutionary Islamists--including the September 11 terrorists and those in Britain's tube or Spain's railroad attacks--as well. The idea that compromises, concessions, flattery, and gifts are going to buy popularity or immunity will simply not work.

Note to Western leaders, academics, and journalists reading this: Remember to condemn the people who commit deliberate terrorist murders and refuse to make real peace, not the ones who operate for free on the "enemy" side's children and take risky concessions to try to achieve peace.

*Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), with Walter Laqueur (Viking-Penguin); the paperback edition of The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan); A Chronological History of Terrorism, with Judy Colp Rubin, (Sharpe); and The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley).

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Obama's failure in Burma

By Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro
Friday, July 23, 2010

With Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attending the ASEAN Regional Forum this week, it is an opportune moment to examine U.S. efforts to engage with Burma (also known as Myanmar). When President Obama was inaugurated, many in the international community were particularly enthusiastic about a return to U.S. multilateralism to address global problems. Nowhere was this more necessary than in the case of Burma, where a brutal military dictatorship has for decades both oppressed its people and failed to yield power, despite losing democratic elections in a landslide in 1990. Many observers of the nascent administration, myself included, applauded Clinton's announcement in early 2009 of a full review of U.S. policy toward Burma. I understood that some creative thinking would be valuable, having spent eight years as the U.N. special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, trying to address the problems created by the junta. Yet since those early days, the Obama administration has made a series of inexplicable missteps.

First, the administration took some eight months to develop its new policy. As the junta increased its repression in the run-up to elections it scheduled for this year, the United States was absent in the global debate on how to respond. Not only did Washington fail to communicate its intentions, but this silence left many diplomats confused. This disengagement resulted in reduced pressure on the Burmese junta as other countries awaited the results of the U.S. review. When a new policy was finally announced last fall, it was remarkably uninspiring and uninspired: keep sanctions and increase engagement. Why it took eight months to develop such an obvious result is unclear.

Second, the administration has left unfilled the congressionally mandated position of special coordinator on Burma policy. While Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell has all the qualities necessary to lead the State Department's engagement with the junta, he is also responsible for all U.S. policy relating to Asia, so he has limited time to focus on Burma, and the lack of sustained focus has been lamentable.

Finally, when the United States got around to engaging directly with the junta, it took a surprisingly unilateral approach. I do not understand why the administration would think it would have any leverage with this regime without bringing partners to the dialogue. The Burmese junta knows it has support from China and Russia in the U.N. Security Council. It is making billions of dollars annually from its natural resources. And the United States will get no leverage from existing sanctions against Burma until it exercises its leadership to bring into the process others whose views do matter to the regime.

If the United States wants to influence the junta, it must immediately change its entire approach. Beyond appointing an envoy, it must make Burma policy a high-level priority. The junta has the upper hand. Without the kind of pressure the United States can bring to bear multilaterally, the junta will have no incentive to come to the table, let alone change its behavior.

Specifically, the United States should reach out to its allies, beginning at the ASEAN Regional Forum, to ensure that most nations will reject the results from Burma's upcoming "elections," which by every indication will be neither free nor fair. It should publicly embrace the call of my successor, Tomás Ojea Quintana, to create a commission of inquiry through the United Nations to investigate crimes against humanity and war crimes committed by the junta, and then work multilaterally to make this inquiry happen. It should fully enforce existing U.S. sanctions and target Singaporean and Dubai banks that do business with the regime. It should work to impose a global arms embargo on Burma. And it should take full advantage of being one of three countries to lead the cross-examination of Burma's human rights record in the Universal Periodic Review process taking place in the U.N. Human Rights Council early next year.

Some will say it is unrealistic to expect the United States to put in this kind of concerted diplomatic effort, particularly given its other foreign policy priorities. I have dealt with the Burmese junta and understand better than most how hard it is to influence the generals. I am certain that if the United States actually wants to affect this regime, its efforts must be strategic, focused and unrelenting.

Given the forthcoming "elections" in Burma, President Obama and Secretary Clinton have limited time to turn around their policy. As a start, they need to take Burma and this situation seriously. Then they need to show the world that the United States means what it says.

The writer, an adjunct professor of international relations at Brown University's Watson Institute for International Studies, was the United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar from 2000 to 2008.