Wednesday, March 09, 2011

"Lest There Be Doubt"

Arlene Kushner

My subject line is with regard to recognizing our enemies, without qualification.

But, as I promised for the month of Adar, whenever possible, we'll do the good stuff first. Today is a very wintry day, with rain and hail. We've had heavy rain in the north, and snow on Mt. Hermon, which is all to the good.

But the past week, we've had spring, and a glorious profusion of wildflowers. Let there be no doubt about this: The hills around Jerusalem are magnificent. Below are three of the flowers commonly seen in this area, this gift that is G-d's country. Now as to our enemies.

On Monday, PA negotiator Nabil Sha'ath revealed that the PA was working towards getting both the US and the EU to remove Hamas from their list of terror organizations.

This is the height of duplicity, and a sure sign of PA intentions. Please understand carefully. Hamas has promised no changes in its terrorist policy (see below), nor has the PA promised to work to convince Hamas to genuinely moderate. Hardly. This is all about a paper change that, it is hoped, would enhance international acceptance of a unity government.

According to Sha'ath, writes Khaled Abu Toameh, "a Fatah-Hamas reconciliation would embolden [the]Palestinian struggle against Israeli occupation." This statement is ominous, as it indicates a tilt by the PA towards Hamas, as would be expected.

But I have no doubt that PA leaders also believe that a unified front that includes all Palestinian Arab areas (i.e., Judea and Samaria and Gaza) would stand a better chance of being recognized internationally as a state.


This quote by Sha'ath might be considered really funny, if not for its very unfunny implications:

"My fear is that Hamas's calculations about the Arab revolts are different than ours. We see that these revolutions' main demand is unity and support for Palestinian rights."

Sure...the crowds have been/still are in the streets in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, etc. because Arabs all over are worried about Palestinian rights. But a comment like this feeds those who have been making just such ludicrous claims. Or, perhaps more accurately, Sha'ath's statement plays to these people.


Might the US and the EU cooperate? I see this as a bit of a stretch because of recent statements by Hamas.

According to AFP and the Jordan Times, a speech was delivered in Khartoum, Sudan, on Sunday, by Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal, in which he called for reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah based on "jihad" against Israel:

"The first step [to liberating Jerusalem] is refusal to negotiate with Israel...and to establish a new, reconciled Palestinian position based on jihad."


But in the end it would depend on how much the US and the EU were willing to sacrifice what semblance of principles they still have in order to promote the illusion of that "peace process." Getting rid of a Hamas that is labeled as "terrorist" (and thus not to be dealt with) would solve a lot of pesky problems.

We've had hints in the past of how this might play out: "Well, Hamas is supposed to recognize Israel's right to exist, and while it doesn't exactly do that, it does admit, de facto, that Israel exists, and that's almost the same thing. If we include them in the peace process we'll see a moderation over time." And so on...

Not saying this will happen, but I am far too cynical to think it's not possible.

The Obama administration seems to be maintaining a strong position in favor of a negotiated settlement.
However, pushing negotiations rather than sanctioning unilateral action does not preclude support for a unity government. Quite the contrary.


And then there's the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. In response to all those who might still think that the Brotherhood has moderated, or might moderate, or whatever, I share this:

Kamal El Helbawy is an Islamic scholar and Brotherhood representative situated in London: he is widely referred to as the Brotherhood's face in the West. He has certainly seemed moderate, on the surface. Not long ago, for example, he told a BBC interviewer that he supports giving women in Egypt the vote and would think it marvelous if someone like Margaret Thatcher would lead Egypt.


But now the NY Post reports that he has visited Iran, and told his hosts that he hopes to see Egypt become a "true Islamic state" like Iran. A "true Islamic state" does not allow women to vote.

During the Egyptian street protests, he told Iranian TV that, "The only foreign intervention in this revolution is that of Israel. They destroyed the gas pipeline, so that the revolutionaries would be accused of using explosives."

Now in Iran he is reported to have said, "Every night when I go to bed, I pray to wake up the next day to see Israel wiped off the map."

A signal lesson here. Do not be taken in.


We're still largely in the dark with regard to what Netanyahu's alleged new initiative will look like. What we do know is that Barak is urging him not to wait until May, although key sources are saying that the new proposal is still a work in progress and not ready to be unveiled yet.

What Barak has alluded to in a radio interview (which may be his version of what should be and not necessarily what Netanyahu will say) is not pleasing, in any event. He's talking about:

[] "Ironclad security arrangements." Give us a break! This would be only a chimera if there is pullback in Judea and Samaria. "Ironclad," yet. And if we were to allow -- Heaven forbid! -- an Arab presence in any part of Jerusalem, does Barak imagine the Jewish part of Jerusalem, immediately adjacent, would be safe from rockets, small weapon attacks and terrorist infiltration?

[] Preserving a good relationship with the US. This is where I leave my computer to bang my head against the wall. Typical suicidal left-wing thinking. We must not make decisions that affect our national future based on the opportunity to make Obama happy.

[] Making "painful decisions" in order to achieve "separation" from the Palestinian Arabs. Uh oh. How I hate that phrase, "painful decisions." What he's talking about is retaining the major settlement blocs, with a border drawn according to "demographic considerations" and bringing home residents of those in communities over the border in an "orderly" fashion over the course of years. The best to be said for this unacceptable proposal is that this is not "doing a Sharon."


And Netanyahu himself? He has just told his Likud faction, in a closed door session, that they shouldn't take seriously what they see in the press. "I am sometimes just as surprised as you are by what the press reports."

He says that he is still "evaluating the impact of the changes in the region." Seems to me that the changes, which have greatly increased instability, make it not the time for concessions at all.


The prime minister let it be known in this meeting that he would seek"guarantees of security and land."

The mention of land here is exceedingly important and something I'd like to elaborate upon. Yes, we need land for security. Yes, moving back to the '67 armistice line would give us an "Auschwitz border" as Abba Eban called it. We require the Samarian high land and strategic depth for security.

But our right to retain land should not be only on the basis of security. There is another issue that is too often obscured:

Even in instances in which we don't require land for security, we have a claim to the land on the basis of our ancient heritage and legal rights. Take, for example, Hevron. It would be an incredible sin, to relinquish Jewish control within the city - the second holiest to us, where the Machpelah, the Cave of the Patriarchs is situated -- should it turn out we don't need it from a security perspective.


Yesterday, in a statement on the scene in the Jordan Valley, Netanyahu made the declaration that:

"Our security border is here, on the Jordan River, and our line of defense is here. If this line were to be broken, this would mean that it would be possible to bring in terrorists, missiles and rockets, and infiltrate them into Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Haifa, Be'er Sheva and throughout the country. Our line of defense starts here and it has no alternative..Therefore, in any future...arrangement...the IDF must stay here...The IDF must remain along the Jordan River."

Good, but not good enough. Because there is no talk about the Jordan Valley remaining as part of Israel. The implication here is simply an arrangement that allows our troops to deploy there for security reasons -- which arrangement PA Prime Minister Fayyad has already rejected.

Netanyahu has addressed -- or presumed to address -- the issue of security, but not that of "land."

Aaron Lerner's on-the-mark comment: "history teaches us that the IDF ultimately only remains where there are Israeli civilians."


I began with something good, and I will similarly close with news that I consider good:

Prime Minister Netanyahu has decided to appoint Maj.-Gen. (ret.) Yaakov Amidror as National Security Council Chairman, replacing a retiring Uzi Arad.
See full size image

I know and respect Amidror, and am pleased by this announcement. You can see more on his credentials and background here:


© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.

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