Friday, March 11, 2011

Queen's Students to Anti-Israel Rector: Not In Our Name!

Maayana Miskin
A7 News

A controversy has erupted at Queen's University in Canada, where student rector Nick Day recently accused Israel of genocide – and claimed his views represented those of Queens students. Now many students have accused Day of misrepresenting his role, and their views.

In a letter he wrote in support of Israeli Apartheid Week in response to a critic, Day said, “I was elected to represent the approximately 20,000 students of Queen's University. If ever I used the influence of my office and the power of my public voice, as you have, to insulate from criticism the perpetrator of mass-slaughter, I would have a very difficult time sleeping at night.”
Day went on to accuse Israel of “genocide” and of creating “the biggest human rights tragedy of my generation.”

Queen's Principle Daniel Woolf later announced, “Mr. Day's views do not and should not be seen as being representative of those of the University or Queen's students.” He said it was “inappropriate” for Day, who was elected to advocate for students' education, to use his position to back a political view.

However, Woolf said Day's accusations against Israel are not an issue in and of themselves. “The views... are not the issue – agree or disagree, he is entitled to them,” Woolf stated. Woolf and Day met Thursday to discuss the matter.

Students groups, among them Israel on Campus, have gathered thousands of signatures calling for a referendum on whether or not Day should be allowed to continue to serve as rector.

Israeli Apartheid Week is being held soon for the 7th year in a row. During the week, anti-Israel activists take to college campuses with lectures and exhibitions accusing Israel of brutality and oppression against Palestinian Authority Arabs.

Last year, journalist David Bedein called for Israel to “put the shoe on the other foot” by pointing out that the Arab world, and the PA, advocate apartheid policies against Jews.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

No Appeasement: 11 Reasons Why Israeli Concessions Will Not Bring Peace

Eldad Tzioni
Eldad Tzioni has blogged as The Elder of Ziyon since 2004
The peace process.

For years, we’ve been hearing how important the peace process is. We are constantly being told that the Palestinian/Israeli conflict is the root of all the problems in the Middle East (and, sometimes, the world). Even if a solution were to be found, we are constantly led to believe, the entire Arab world will become friendly and cooperative with the West. The Europeans are frustrated, because they think they know what the major obstacle to peace is. Of course, it is Israeli intransigence. It is the existence of Jews wanting to live in the so-called West Bank, it is the hardheadedness of the Israeli government (especially the Likud,) it is “occupation,” it is Israeli refusal to negotiate on water, and Jerusalem, and descendants of refugees. it is a whole host of seeming issues. Once Israel sees the light and gives a few more concessions, the thinking goes, then the Arab world will welcome Israel with open arms as a full member of the Middle East. Terrorism will stop, Westerners will no longer need to go through security checks on airplanes, birds will sing Bach concertos in harmony and the lion will lie down with the lamb.

There is only one problem: peace is impossible.

Not “difficult.” Not “unlikely.” But literally impossible, at least for the foreseeable future.

Israeli concessions will not bring peace. They can bring temporary lulls, they can bring short-term goodwill from Western nations, but they cannot and will not bring peace.

Here are the top eleven reasons why this is so.

And we’re starting with: The Islamo-fascists from Gaza…

11. Hamas and the other terror groups

All of the negotiations that Israel has done has been with Fatah and associated groups. People are ignoring the small fact that Hamas controls Gaza, and it is not going to give that up any time soon. Hamas is implacably opposed to Israel’s existence and it explicitly plans to destroy Israel – not to mention all Jews, as its charter says.

Peace is not possible while Hamas is in power, by the group’s own definition. Israel cannot have a peace agreement with only half of the Palestinian Arabs. Judging from how Hamas killed hundreds of Fatah members back in 2006, without Fatah putting up a credible fight, there is no way to expect that the latter will defeat Hamas militarily.

So as long as Hamas is a major player in Palestinian politics, peace is simply impossible. No amount of wishful thinking can alter that inconvenient fact.

And even if Hamas would extend a temporary truce, all that means is that the other major terror groups – the Islamic Jihad, the DFLP, the PFLP, the various Salafist groups – would redouble their attempts to attack Israel and consider Hamas a traitor to the cause.

This is not hyperbole. Already today, Hamas is being bitterly criticized by the other terror groups for not being terrorist enough. Not only by the groups mentioned above, but by Fatah as well!

10. Palestinian Arabs freely elected a terror government

The one time that ordinary Palestinian Arabs had a chance to vote freely for any party, they chose the terrorists.

One could argue that this is an unfair characterization of the 2006 elections, because the Palestinian Arabs really voted against the corruption of Fatah more than the terrorism of Hamas. Yet even so…they knew what Hamas represented. Rather than choose, say, Salam Fayyad’s party, they still went for Hamas.

More importantly, in every poll where the so-called Palestinians are asked how they feel about specific terror attacks against civilians in Israel, they overwhelmingly support those attacks. They name schools, streets, parks and public squares after people whose only notable accomplishment is that they’re internationally known terrorists.

Even so-called “moderate” president Abbas has praised the architect of the Munich Olympic massacre. He has even gone out of his way to pay homage to Samir Kuntar, a man who murdered a little girl by bashing her skull.

How can anyone imagine that there could be peace between Israelis and those who openly support and celebrate those who murder Israelis?

Next: And the official leadership of the Palestinians has no legitimacy…

9. The current Palestinian government was not democratically elected

Even if you believe that the Palestinian Authority is flexible and wants a peace agreement with Israel, they have no mandate from their people.

Firstly, Fatah was not elected. As we just noted, Hamas won the last elections.

Secondly, Mahmoud Abbas is breaking Palestinian law every day because his official term in office expired in January of 2009. He is not the legitimate president, even though everyone ignores this.

Thirdly, the Palestinian Authority prime minister Salam Fayyad was not elected either – he was appointed. Practically no one voted for him when he did run for office. He has practically no followers. While he is the only Palestinian Arab leader in history who is not tainted with terrorism, he is only in his position in order to make Western powers happy – which is easier for him to accomplish because he has a U.S. education and a background in economics.

Fourthly, the entire idea that the Palestinian Authority has any power is a carefully nurtured lie. Officially, the PA reports to the PLO, which still defines itself as the sole legitimate representative of the Palestinians. The PLO is the organization that does all of the diplomacy and all of the negotiations. And the PLO is not even almost democratic.

What all of this means is that if world pressure succeeds somehow in forcing the Palestinian leadership to make real concessions and sign an agreement, the people will not support it, simply because the government has no mandate to make any concessions (and no Israeli government will give in to all the demands being made.)

Any peace plan signed by the PLO, that involves the concessions that are necessary for Israel to survive, would be worthless in the eyes of the Palestinian people.

8. The PLO itself remains a terrorist organization

Don’t be fooled by the smooth-talking Saeb Erekat, former chief negotiator for the Palestinians. Even though the PA has been working to arrest members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the West Bank, there are some terrorists who they mostly stay away from: their own Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades.

Back in 2007, the PLO announced that the Al Aqsa Brigades had been dismantled. Yet that group still makes statements, still takes credit for terror attacks and still issues threats – and the so-called “moderate” PLO doesn’t do anything.

This is because Al Aqsa is a part of Fatah and gets its funding from Fatah. Fatah is the major party that dominates the PLO. So while terror has definitely decreased, the terrorist arm of Fatah is still alive and kicking – and almost certainly funded with money that comes, in one way or another, from the PLO.

Peace is not possible with those who actively support terror. How else can you characterize the PLO?

Next: Guess what happens when Israel decides to compromise?

7. Israeli concessions have been answered with terror

It is an axiom in diplomacy that when one party makes concessions or goodwill gestures, they will be reciprocated by the other party. The thinking goes that this turns into a cycle of goodwill that would lead to real peace.

In August 2005, Israel forced thousands of its citizens to move out of their homes along the Mediterranean Sea. Every single Jew left Gaza. By diplomatic logic, this move – decided unilaterally, but implemented with the full cooperation of the Palestinian Authority – should have been followed by major concessions from the PA and from the Arab leaders in Gaza.

Instead, the Jewish residents of communities in the Negev were rewarded with thousands of rockets. The Palestinian residents of Gaza chose Hamas to lead them in their local elections. Greenhouses left behind to help Gaza build a peaceful economy were smashed and looted.

The Gush Katif communities were turned into terrorist training camps. Gaza has turned into a giant arms cache run by a terror government that is dedicated to destroying Israel. Ultimately, Israel was forced to invade its former territory to give the Israeli residents of the Negev a chance to live normal lives.

And this is not the only time that Israeli concessions led to more war. In 2000, Israel withdrew from Lebanon, using the UN to demarcate the border between the two states. The thinking was that there is no way any Lebanese group could possibly make a plausible claim that Israel is still holding onto any Arab land, and use that as a pretext for attacks.

Yet that is exactly what Hezbollah does, insisting that Israel is still occupying parts of Lebanon. The bogus claim is one reason why Hezbollah maintains its army and provokes Israel with border incidents, such as the kidnapping of soldiers that lead to the Second Lebanon War. Only last August, the Lebanese army ambushed the IDF and killed one officer in an unprovoked attack.

Even though these prove that Israeli concessions do not lead to peace, diplomats and wishful thinkers in the West still stubbornly hold on to their fantasies that if only Israel would give up a little more, then peace will come naturally. For Arabs, unfortunately, there is nothing natural about peace.

Next: The Holy City…

6. Jerusalem

It is no coincidence that the 1929 Arab riots were concentrated in the ancient holy cities of Jerusalem, Hebron and Safed, and not in the newer towns like Tel Aviv. If the early goal of Palestinian Arab nationalism was to fight against the Zionists and not Jews, then why were these old Jewish communities attacked and not the newer Zionist ones?

The fact is that ever since Haj Amin al Husseini was appointed to be the Mufti of Jerusalem, the overarching goal of the Palestinian leadership was to evict Jews from their holy places. And nowhere is this more apparent than in Jerusalem.

Like a mantra, the current Arab leadership says they require a Palestinian Arab state with Jerusalem as its capital. But when Arabs controlled the city, it was in ruins. Even Jordan didn’t do anything to beautify it (although they spent quite a bit of effort to destroy every synagogue and much of the historic Mount of Olives cemetery.) The Arab interest in Jerusalem begins and ends with getting rid of the Jews.

If there is any consensus in Israel today, it is that the Western Wall, much of the Old City and the Jewish neighborhoods that surround Jerusalem remain a part of Israel. But that is not what the Palestinians want. Even in the Palestine Papers, after years of arm twisting by the US, the Palestinian position remained that completely Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem like Maaleh Adumim should go to the Arabs.

Also, as has been documented by Yaacov Lozowick, it is literally impossible to divide Jerusalem even if the parties could somehow agree.

Since 1967, Jerusalem has turned from an ugly slum into a beautiful city that keeps in touch with its rich historic past and the modern day. Under Israeli rule, the number of Arabs living in Jerusalem more than tripled since 1967, proving that allegations of ethnic cleansing are baseless.

One thing is certain: Jerusalem would simply wither and die if it became divided again.

Next: Without unity among Palestinians there can’t be peace. But with it not either.

5. Palestinian unity

Everyone agrees that Israel cannot make peace with Fatah alone, and that eventually somehow the Palestinian Arabs must be united again before any peace agreement can go into effect.

What would this mean? Hamas simply cannot accept Israel’s existence, which means that Fatah would be forced to become even more intransigent than they have been to accommodate Hamas in any unity government. Yet the current Fatah leadership has been unable to make peace with Israel despite nearly two decades of negotiations; if Hamas is part of the government they would be even more extreme.

Beyond that, there is no way that the two groups will unify. Hamas refuses to allow any elections that might prove that they have lost popularity and it similarly refuses to give up the stranglehold it has on Gaza. Years of unification talks have yielded nothing. And you can be certain that Hamas would not actively arrest members of Islamic Jihad and other terror groups, as would be required in any agreement.

There have been recent rumblings of a new initiative to unify the two parties, but it is as useless as the previous attempts. Hamas is addicted to power and the only way they can join Fatah is if the PA and PLO renounce some of their promises under Oslo and subsequent agreements – which Israel would never agree to.

Next: Arabs don’t really want a ‘Right of Return’, but they won’t give it up either…

4. The “right of return”

One of the many fictions that Palestinian leaders tell their people, and the world, is that they have a “right of return” to Israel. There is no such human right for descendants of refugees to go back to their grandparents’ lands, but this lie has taken on a life of its own by sheer repetition.

Depending on how you want to count them, there are between 7 and 10 million Palestinians who are considered “refugees” by the UN. The vast majority remain stateless, forced by their Arab hosts to live in misery, in anticipation of their “returning” to Israel.

Israel will never accept more than a tiny token amount in the context of a peace agreement.

The Palestine Papers showed that – surprise! – the Palestinian Authority doesn’t want these “refugees” either.

But the propaganda of “return” has become an integral part of Palestinian Arab identity, and any agreement that does not allow them to go back to Israel will be rejected by the so-called “Palestinian diaspora.” This means that they have no incentive to stop terrorism until they get their impossible demands met. Peace with the leaders of the PA will only radicalize the people who have been lied to for decades.

The result will not be peaceful.

This means that a peace agreement, meant to end all claims that Palestinian Arabs have against Israel, is literally impossible.

The assumption – again mentioned in the Palestine Papers – is that Arab governments will naturalize most of their Palestinian population in the context of any peace agreement. Yet have never been part of the negotiations, and they will never allow such a condition to be imposed on them.

Lebanon is rightly worried that another 250,000 Sunnis will upset its demographic balance. Syria will not agree to anything as long as the so-called “refugees” can still be used as pawns against Israel. Even the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians living in Gulf states will not be welcomed by their hosts. Six decades of keeping them stateless has worked well for the Arab world, and their leaders have no incentive to take in millions of new citizens.

The only solution is to tell the people the truth and force the Arab nations to naturalize their Palestinian population. That will not happen, as evidenced by the firestorm that occurred last year when a UNRWA official mentioned that it will have to happen eventually.

Next: No agreement is permanent…

3. Lessons from Egypt

Ever since the Egyptian revolution began, all the potentially new leaders of this country have been unanimous: The Camp David Accords will need to be reviewed.

Whether the peace agreement with Israel holds up or not, the fact that it is in question points to a very uneasy fact: Any agreement Israel makes with the leader of a country is only a bullet or an uprising away from becoming worthless.

When negotiations were still alive, the Palestinian Authority did not prepare its people for concessions or compromise. Quite the opposite. The public statements of Mahmoud Abbas have been very much at odds with the private negotiations indicated in the Palestine Papers, which means that the people would never have accepted the deal. One only has to look at the uproar that the release of the papers caused – Palestinians were shocked that their leaders were apparently willing to compromise on issues that everyone knows must be dealt with.

The PA leadership has not been preparing its people to live in peace with Israel, and as a result the people would not willingly accept any peace agreement thrust on them. As soon as the leadership would change (Abbas is 75 years old) then all agreements would be endangered again depending on the new leaders. In other words, peace with “Palestine” would not be permanent, just as peace with Egypt only lasted as long as it did because of billions of dollars that the US shoveled into Egypt to keep the peace.

Peace has to ultimately reflect the desire of the people to be lasting. The Arab people will never, ever accept a permanent Jewish state in their midst.

2. Gaza demographics

Gaza has a very high birth rate. It also has nowhere to expand.

So even if there is a peace agreement, there would be a powder keg waiting to explode on Israel’s border. Gazans would generally not want to leave their families and move even to the West Bank, where the culture and even the Arabic accent are different. While smart land and water management might be able to forestall the problem, it won’t take long before Gazans look towards Israel to solve their demographic problem.

This is only one small example of how peace negotiators are fixated on an agreement as if that would be the end of the matter, not realizing that there will be a myriad of Day One problems that are not being considered.

And the number 1 reason that proves why Israeli concessions will never bring real peace…

1. The lessons of the Arab uprisings

At the moment, the world is witnessing unrest in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Jordan, Syria, Bahrain, Iraq , Iran, Oman and Yemen – for starters.

None of these events have the slightest relationship to the Israel/Arab conflict.

The major motif of journalists, politicians and diplomats for the past few years has been that a peace agreement between Israel and Palestinians would result in peace throughout the region and the world. Yet the Arab world has had deep-rooted problems for hundreds of years, with war and oppression being the norm.

This has never been more apparent with the current uprisings. In fact, it shows how gullible Western analysts have been to Arab lies, as it was the leaders of these countries who would blame Israel for their problems to avoid dealing with their own domestic issues. Their constant lie that “Palestine” must be solved before they can possibly attack their own problems was eventually believed by otherwise intelligent people, who could not believe that someone would lie to their faces so consistently.

If Israel would be at peace – or if Israel would disappear – the major problems of the Arab world would still be there. Iran and Turkey would still be there, opposing the West. Russia would still be selling missiles to Syria. There would still be problems of poverty, of no freedom of speech, of religious discrimination, of restrictions on freedom of assembly, and above all of discrimination against women in the Arab and Muslim worlds.

This should be obvious, but it doesn’t stop stupid world leaders and pundits from still claiming, even today, that Israel must make more concessions to bring peace to the region.

For these (and other) reasons, there is nothing Israel can do that would bring the peace everyone craves. It is not fun to contemplate that some problems are insoluble, but wishful thinking does not create reality.

The irony is that if you define peace as the absence of war, then Israel has been at peace with Syria for decades, she has been at peace with the PA for four or five years, and even Hamas has not been very aggressive since the Gaza war. Things are not so bad right now for Israelis – or for West Bank Palestinians. And things would improve rapidly for Gazans if they would stop lobbing rockets towards Israel. (Only this week, Israel started allowing Gaza to export cherry tomatoes, on top of the carnation, bell pepper and strawberry crop.)

In other words, managing the conflict can bring real benefits to everybody. But a peace agreement, as it is defined today, cannot.

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.

see my website

PA TV talk show: Quran says Jews worry over money; Israel's destruction is "hope of all Palestinians"

Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook

A talk show on official Palestinian Authority television recently promoted the classic Antisemitic stereotype of Jews being overly concerned with "accumulating money." The guest attempted to validate his defamation by claiming that it is corroborated in the Quran. In addition, the guest's call for the destruction of Israel, in his words, "to liberate the entire stolen Palestinian homeland," met with approval by the official PA TV host: "I join my voice to yours; of course, unity and liberation are the hope of all Palestinians." PMW has documented the ongoing denial of Israel's right to exist by the PA.

The program Personal Encounter featured an interview with Abd Al-Rahman Abu Al-Qassam, a Palestinian actor living in Syria. He described the PLO's discovery that "the pen and the stage" can be effective weapons, and says his enemies are the Zionists "who were taken by World Zionism, and were transformed from the old Jew into the Zionist Jew, full of fascism." [PA TV, Jan. 23, 2011, rebroadcast Feb. 27, 2011]

He conceded that early Palestinian theatrical portrayals of the Jews as bent-nosed, weak and cowardly were not accurate, but insisted that the other early stereotype connecting Jews with money was indeed true:

"Of course, he [the Jew] is interested in accumulating money - the Jews throughout history, and in the religions, and the Quran tells us about the Jews and their worry over money."

His Antisemitic statements were not challenged by the PA TV host. PA TV is controlled by the office of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Click to see more examples of PA demonization of Jews and Israelis.

Following is an excerpt from the program:

Click to view

[The PA TV host asks about "theater as weapon."]

Abd Al-Rahman Abu Al-Qassam, actor: "The PLO... discovered that theater has a pioneering role, and just as we fight on the battlefields with guns, so we should fight using the pen and the stage..."

PA TV host: "What is your opinion of people who draw a distinction, who say that a Jew is not [like] the Israeli?"

Al-Qassam: "The Neturei Karta [an extremist sect of religious Jews who deny Israel's right to exist until the Messiah comes]. . . Those people are not my enemies. My enemies are the other Jews, the Zionists, who were taken by World Zionism, and were transformed from the old Jew into the Zionist Jew, full of fascism. . ."

Host: "You also said, at the same time, that there must be a 'new reading' of the Zionist enemy, since we generally describe him as a weak person... But there are people who say the opposite: Our problem with the Israelis is that we empower them and amplify their power to mythological proportions."

Al-Qassam: ""30 or 40 years ago, we presented the Jew in the theater as someone with a bent nose who lends with interest and who understands nothing except money matters, and is cowardly, ugly, interested only in collecting money and controlling the people around him. However, this is not accurate or correct: The Jew doesn't have a bent nose, and isn't cowardly, and is not interested only in accumulating money.

Of course, he is interested in accumulating money - the Jews throughout history, and in the religions, and the Quran tells us about the Jews and their worry over money. But that's not everything. Everything, for these people, means keeping what they've managed to attain, in other words, occupation of territory, of a homeland, of history, of geography...

My brothers... in Gaza and in the West Bank... I want to urge you strongly to unite ... this enemy [Israel] is not an easy enemy, and if we want to defeat this difficult enemy, we have to be united so that we can strengthen our abilities... to liberate the entire stolen Palestinian homeland [i.e., all of Israel]. May Allah bless you."

Host: "Thank you very much... I join my voice to yours; of course, unity and liberation are the hope of all Palestinians."

[PA TV (Fatah), Jan. 23, 2011, and Feb. 27, 2011]

Checkpoints Harrass? Not Really



Israel Border Police uncover explosives ready to be used in a Palestinian terrorist's bag. Other weaponry was recently found at the same checkpoint

Israel Border Police forces discovered five pipe bombs and three Molotov cocktails ready to be thrown in a Palestinian terrorist's bag at the Tapuach checkpoint, south of Nablus on Tuesday (Mar. 8).

Now recall the whining about those interfering checkpoints as well as this UN claim - "The absence of a satisfactory security explanation for these checkpoints leads to the inevitable conclusion that they are principally designed to humiliate and harass the Palestinian people": 2006:

Israeli checkpoints in West Bank frustrate Palestinians


In West Bank, Checkpoints Splinter Palestinian Economy


Israelis Agree to Reduce West Bank Roadblocks


Israel's military has eased some of its checkpoints in the occupied West Bank in recent weeks and agreed to allow Palestinian security forces more room to operate. The moves reflect a growing Israeli confidence in the actions of the Palestinian forces...

And contemplate these security 'experts':

Israeli generals oppose checkpoints

Former Israeli generals say roadblocks in the occupied West Bank feed "terrorism".

So, are you for or against checkpoints?

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Obama puts his obvious hostility to Israel right on the table!

Israel Commentary

Now how many Jews will vote for him or help the Democrats in the 2012 elections?

And, the question is, whose soul should be searched?

Obama tells Jewish Leaders that Israel bears responsibility for advancing peace!

The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has expressed concern over some of President Barack Obama's remarks to American Jewish leaders at the White House this week, including his statement urging Jewish communal leaders to speak to their friends and colleagues in Israel and to search your souls' over Israel's seriousness about making peace. This strongly suggests that President Obama holds Israel, not Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian Authority (PA), responsible for the lack of peace, as was indeed the reported impression of many attendees who said that the President stated 'that Israel bears primary responsibility for advancing the peace process.' We were pleased that President Obama affirmed his deep commitment to Israel's security but troubled by his stating that Jerusalem would be divided when he reportedly said that the Jewish sections of eastern Jerusalem would remain in Israeli hands as part of any peace deal, strongly implying that the Arab sections would not.

It was also troubling that President Obama also reportedly said that the Palestinians don't feel confident that the Netanyahu government is serious about territorial concessions. Some participants interpreted the president's comments either as hostile, naive or unsurprising. One participant also said that many people felt that their worst fears about Obama were confirmed with respect to Israel. They felt an enormous hostility towards Israel.

President Obama also said that Israel has not sufficiently tried to make an acceptable offer to Mahmoud Abbas, a remarkable statement in view of the peace offers of former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak and Ehud Olmert, who offered statehood to the PA on 93% and more of the territory of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, only to be rejected by Yasser Arafat and Abbas. This meeting thus suggests that President Obama's view have changed little since the July 2009 meeting he had with selected Jewish leaders when he also said that he wants to help Israel, but that in order to do so, Israel would need to engage in serious self-reflection. Obama and his Administration repeatedly condemn, criticize and pressure Israel to make unilateral concessions and almost never condemn, criticize or pressure the PA to make concessions. The President has not even criticized the PA over its refusal to negotiate with Israel.

In a detailed interview in TIME Magazine in January 2010, President Obama also indicated that he holds Israel responsible for the failure of his peace efforts when he ignored Israel's unprecedented concessions - a 10-month unilateral freeze on Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria and qualified endorsement of the idea of creating a Palestinian state - and said that the Israelis still found it very hard to move with any bold gestures.

This week's meeting between President Obama and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, which was attended by ZOA National President Morton A. Klein, was respectful, outwardly cordial and without any public display of tension, although some attendees strongly disagreed with some of what they heard and in fact privately acknowledged feeling strong, internal tension that was not visible to the group.

Leaders of the group thanked the President for his veto of the recent vicious anti-Israel resolution in U.N. Security Council. This occurred despite the fact that the Administration stated in casting its veto that we reject in the strongest terms the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity which has corroded hopes for peace and stability in the region¦ We therefore regrettably have opposed this draft resolution, as well as the fact that the Administration sought to obtain the agreement of the Arab states to a different resolution, which it would have supported, condemning these Jewish communities as illegitimate

Also worrying was President Obama's belief that the present time presents a great opportunity for peace - a remarkable view in light of the fact that, across the region, long-established autocrats are falling, even relatively stable states like Jordan are experiencing rumbling, and within the PA, there are calls for Salaam Fayyad to step down, while Mahmoud Abbas is threatening resignation.

In such circumstances of great uncertainty, turmoil and instability, in which Arab signatories to existing agreements might be swept away from one moment to the next, the ZOA wonders whether seeing to achieve signed agreements with such leaders is appropriate.

UK to upgrade Palestinian diplomatic status: Hague


LONDON — Britain will upgrade the status of the Palestinian delegation to London to the level of a mission in line with a number of other EU countries, Foreign Secretary William Hague said on Monday.

"Given the extent of our aid to the Palestinian Authority and our work with them, we will join many other countries in upgrading the status of the Palestinian delegation to London to the level of a mission," he told parliament. The decision puts Britain in line with fellow European Union members France, Ireland, Portugal and Spain.

Norway, which is not a member of the EU, has also upgraded, in a move which gives the head of the Palestinian diplomatic delegation the rank of ambassador.

Hague is due to hold talks Tuesday in London with Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas, who is also scheduled to meet Prime Minister David Cameron.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Netanyahu to PA: Sit Down and Talk Already!

Hillel Fendel
A7 News

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu explained succinctly on Sunday why the negotiations with the PA have gone nowhere. He answered a question during the joint press conference he held with visiting Chilean President Sebastián Piñera.

The questioner asked about the lack of direct negotiations between Israel and the PA, implying that Israel could do more to get them going. Netanyahu answered as follows: Well, we've been calling for direct negotiations from day one of this government.

On day one, we called for direct negotiations. On day two, I made a speech in Bar Ilan University calling for two states for two peoples.

On day three, we removed about 400 checkpoints, earth barriers, and other things to facilitate the growth of the Palestinian economy.

On day four, we agreed to a ten-month moratorium on new construction in the settlements, something that no government did for 18 years before that.

On day five, we agreed to an extension of that moratorium by three months.

Unfortunately, everything that we did, these five things, were met with no response by the Palestinian Authority. They just placed preconditions and terms, every way to avoid sitting down and discussing peace. They tried to go around the peace negotiations.

I'll tell you why: It's because peace is hard. It's been hard for me. It will be hard. You have to make concessions and you have to look at the people in the eye and tell them not everything that we'd hoped for would be possible; there have to be compromises on both sides.

But whereas Israel and I have been willing to move on this road, I've not seen the parallel [Palestinian] willingness to do the same. Because they’re relying on a Pavlovian reflex of the international community.

Basically they say: We don't have to negotiate, we can sit back, we can teach our children to idolize mass killers – they named a public square in Ramallah ten minutes from here, for a terrorist who murdered 400 innocent Israelis. They can do that and get away with it.

Well, they can only get away with it if you let them get away with it. If you tell them clearly, as I think Chileand a few other countries have said: No, come to negotiate, you can't avoid a negation. Come and talk peace. Talk peace to your own people, not only to foreign diplomats or foreign journalists. Talk peace to the Palestinian people.

Tell them they'll have to give up [hoping for Israel’s destruction]. Tell them Israelis here to stay. Tell them there's going to be a Jewish state next to a Palestinian state forever. Tell them that Israel will not be swamped by the offspring of Palestinian refugees, because we accepted the offspring of Jewish refugees here, and we've made a life for them, you will make a life for them there.

Tell them that there will be genuine demilitarization of the Palestinian area, so that what we saw in Lebanon, where we walked out and Iran walked in doesn't happen again. So that what we saw in Gaza, when we walked out and Iran walked in, doesn't happen again. So that it doesn't happen a third time.

A demilitarized Palestinian state that recognizes a Jewish state – that is the solution. But we cannot get to the solution; we cannot get to the end of the negotiations if we don't get to the beginning of the negotiation.

Israel is prepared to begin this negotiation. Israelis prepared to end this negotiation. Therefore the question should be addressed not to me, not to the Prime Minister of Israel. It should be addressed squarely to the Palestinian President and to the Palestinian government. You have another opportunity. Next time you're there, ask them this question.

"Based on Rights"

Arlene Kushner

I begin here where I left off yesterday: My post focused on the need for Netanyahu, should he address Congress with a new "initiative," to begin by stating Israel's rights and correcting historical misrepresentations that have prevailed.

But even as I wrote, I realized that -- while it was deeply important for him to do this -- more was needed. For it falls to each and every one of us, if we care about Israel, to also state Israel's case. A dear friend of mine in the States, who understands the issues well, alluded to "the '67 border," in phone conversation with me recently. Wait, I told her, it's not a border. "I know," she replied, "but it's written that way in the news so frequently that I just tend to think that way."

I understood then precisely what we're up against: The lies have been so thoroughly and successfully promoted that they've been internalized. Reversing this will not be easy, but it must be done. And we all have our part to play in making this happen.

Please, carefully read and then internalize the information that I provide below. Save it for future reference. And use it -- in discussions with others, in writing letters to the editor, in call-in radio shows, wherever you find the opportunity to confront Arab distortions that diminish or deny basic Israeli rights.

As well, share this as widely as you can, so that others can do the same.


After the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE, and the dispersion of much of the Jewish population, the Romans re-named ancient Judea "Palestine." In all the years between this destruction and the founding of the modern state of Israel in 1948, "Palestine" was only an appendage to one empire or another -- Roman, Byzantine, Mamaluk, Ottoman, etc. etc. -- and was never an independent entity. There has never been an independent "Palestinian" state.


In April 1930, at the end of WWI, the allies met in San Remo, Italy, to determine the future of territories -- including Palestine -- formerly controlled by the defeated Ottoman (Turkish) Empire.

It was decided that a Mandate was to be established in Palestine and given to Great Britain. This Mandate acknowledged the Jewish people's historical connection to the land: It spoke about the Jews reconstituting a homeland in Palestine. And it gave the Jewish people the right to settle everywhere in Palestine between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. In fact, immigration by Jews was to be facilitated and "close settlement" encouraged.

On July 14, 1922, the entire 51-nation membership of the League of Nations unanimously approved the Mandate for Palestine, thus establishing the Jewish right to Palestine in international law. It has never been superseded. (The UN assumed all obligations of the League.)


In 1947, when the British decided to withdraw from their responsibility under the Mandate, the UN General Assembly voted to partition Palestine into a state for Jews and a state for Arabs. Because the resolution was passed in the General Assembly, it had no status in international law. Resolutions of the General Assembly are only recommendations, and this in no way legally superseded the Mandate.

Ultimately, the Arabs rejected it, in any event.

The Jews, however, who had accepted the plan, adhered to it when they declared the independent sovereign state of Israel on April 14, 1948.

The remainder of "Palestine" was unclaimed Mandate territory.


Within a day, the Arab League declared war on the nascent Jewish state, with the intention of destroying her.

In the course of that war, Jordan seized Judea and Samaria and eastern Jerusalem. That seizure was illegal, because it occurred during an offensive war.

In April 1949, Israel and Jordan signed an armistice agreement that established an armistice line -- called the Green Line -- that determined respective areas of control.

This line was based on the ceasefire line. It was not intended to be permanent. The armistice agreement specifically stated that the armistice line would not prejudice future negotiations on a permanent border.


This, my friends, is at the heart of the issue. All that I wrote before sets it into historical context so that it can be understood. But the bottom line: The Green Line was not a border, it a was a temporary armistice line.

Yet Abbas insists that everything to the east of that line (Judea and Samara, and eastern Jerusalem) belongs to the Palestinian Arabs. And, Heaven help us, he's got a good part of the world believing it.


Let us keep in mind, as well, that it was not the Palestinian Authority on the other side of the Green Line. There was no Palestinian Authority then and the Palestinian Arabs were not players in a political sense. In fact, back in 1948-49, the Arabs who did live in Palestine considered themselves simply to be part of the Arab nation, or Greater Syria.

That this area has come to be considered "Palestinian" -- and that the world can go on about "Palestinian rights" -- is something quite incredible.


In June 1967, Israel fought a defensive war, the Six Day War, in the course of which eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria were liberated. (I'm leaving Gaza out of this discussion, although it was very much included.)

In no sense, however, can it be said that Israel became an "occupier" of that area. "Occupation" occurs when forces are moved into the territory of another sovereign nation. But Judea and Samaria were not part of any sovereign nation. Jordan's presence was illegal. The territory remained unclaimed Mandate land. And no one has greater claim to it than Israel.

What is more, Israel secured this area in the course of a defensive war. This is not the same as Jordan's acquisition of the region in an offensive war (a war of aggression). It is not uncommon for states that acquire land in the course of defending themselves to retain at least part of that land, for defensive purposes. This was recognized by Security Council Resolution 242, passed after the Six Day War. Israel was not expected to return to the Green Line.


What Resolution 242 did say was that final determination of a border would be via negotiations. But let me be very clear about this: The expectation was that Israel and Jordan would negotiate. Security Council Resolution 242 mentions neither a Palestinian people nor a Palestinian state. "Palestinians" were not part of the political/diplomatic picture then, either.


As to the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria, known as "settlements," they are not illegal.

This is obvious on the face of it, as the prevailing international law is the Mandate, which grants Jews the right to settlement between the river and the sea.

But let me add here that the Oslo Accords in no way rendered the "settlements" illegal or illegitimate. In fact, the Oslo Accords didn't speak specifically of a Palestinian state at all, but suggested something more along the lines of an autonomy. And there was certainly no indication that everything beyond the Green Line would some day belong to the Palestinian Arabs.


The more the history and the legalities are understood, the clearer it becomes how the situation has "morphed," with Palestinian Arabs and their supporters distorting and inflating the reality, bit by bit.

For a background on the above information that provides additional legal citations, see this piece by Eli Hertz of Myths and Fact, "World Leaders Ignore International Law":


© 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.

see my website

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Why U.S. Policy is So Bad: An Analysis of the Current Policymaking Process

Barry Rubin

The Obama administration has an internal split. On one hand are the people with relatively more experience and a more realistic view of the situation. This would include Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. This is certainly true for the uniformed military. If one reads their remarks carefully one often sees deviations from the White House line. They tend to see Iran as more of a threat and favor(ed) alignmens with existing Arab regimes while being more skeptical of change and of Islamist groups.

They seem to have been opposed to openly and quickly throwing Mubarak's regime--not just Mubarak himself--under the bus. That approach is contrary to many decades of U.S. practice. As a student of the history of the U.S. foreign making process (my book, Secrets of State covers that from1789 to 1980) I'd say we now face a unique situation. The president doesn't fully trust Clinton (a former political rival who'd like to be president and who strongly criticized him in the past) and Gates (a holdover from the Bush Administration). Lacking any experience in foreign policy,

One often sees in Clinton's statements some different viewpoint immediately followed by lavish praise for Obama.

Nevertheless, Obama does not respect the State or Defense departments, their experience, or certain traditional principles of international affairs.

To put it less politely, he has no idea what he's doing.

The alternative camp is focused on the NSC, not so much the current advisor but some of the more junior and White House staff who have strong ideological views and little experience. Susanna Power is a good example with strong, even wacky, views. A prominent figure here is John Brennan, the president's advisor on terrorism and apparently also on Islamism. Brennan has long been an active advocate of the "win over the moderate Islamists idea. He has been outspoken regarding Hizballah and has apparently said in private he'd like to do the same with Hamas but knows that the pro-Israel forces in Congress and elsewhere make that impossible. The former national security advisor, Jones, also had this perspective.

For some reason, the CIA, Brennan's former agency, seems to be a key factor in pushing this view. Note that national intelligence chief Clapper's briefings obviously sugar-coatedthe nature of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Dennis Ross, whose name is often mentioned by outsiders, seems to have no influence at all.

A central issue in the American policymaking process is always who in an administration has the greatest influence on the president. Usually it is either the secretary of state or the national security advisor. At present, though, the secretary of state has little influence while the national security advisor is very weak. That means the president, with his personal relatively junior White House advisors are making it up as they go along.

Professor Barry Rubin, Director, Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center
The Rubin Report blog
Editor, Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal
Editor Turkish Studies,

Countering Assad: Syria’s Love Revolution

Op-ed: Syria uprising to be led by women unable to find economically independent husbands

Farid Ghadry
Israel Opinion

Do you think Syrians would accept that every other Arab country embraces freedom and democracy and we would continue embracing the tyranny of Assad? The world better prepare for that day of reckoning and no higher power, no matter how determined, will be able to stop us. This is our country, these are our people, and it is about our dignity.

Bashar al-Assad told the Wall Street Journal he is immune to what happened in Tunisia and Egypt. Just one fact should throw some doubt upon this claim of his. Every year, over 150,000 young Syrians from a graduating class of 300,000 begin their hopeless journey under a regime more interested in designing suicide car bombs, plotting the occupation of other countries, supporting terrorist organizations of all creeds and affiliations, and staying afloat through sheer terror and violence than to provide any comfort for their people. The coming Syrian revolution will be led by two million young Syrian women unable to find economically independent husbands and forced to embrace celibacy (Ansa'a) because of rampant unemployment and economic deprivation; in our culture, buying a sheltering home, offering one's bride a token of gold, and providing for your family at least one weekly meal with meat are essential to the stability of our Syrian society.

What do you think these young women will do when they find out that Assad has pilfered more than $40 billion from the Syrian treasury while their future husbands walk endlessly the streets of our cities? Syrian young women already know about the tens of billions pilfered by Ali of Tunisia and Mubarak of Egypt, they are trading stories as I write this article. They will be an essential component in the coming revolution and this is why Asma al-Assad chairs a women's organization in Syria whose real purpose is to gauge their anger.

An impromptu large demonstration was sparked recently in Damascus over the beating of a young man by four policemen and the video shows clearly that the crowd refused to turn it into an Assad propaganda demonstration. The next one will be sparked by a young woman committing suicide because she cannot marry the man she loves. It is not a color or a flower; ours will be the Love Revolution.

But hardened policy makers and analysts around the world keep producing articles and speeches to sway and deflect from the deficiencies of the Assad regime and strike fear in our hearts that the Islamists are coming. We were told a similar tale in Egypt. It turned out that there is a template after all for a peaceful transition from tyranny to democracy, one that RPS has called for repeatedly over the last seven years. In fact, one of the subjects I personally discussed at the Knesset in June of 2007 revolved around a formula of transition that would protect Syria from harm by providing the layers below Assad the opportunity to transition the country while it protects all Syrians from violence and more importantly from the Islamists ever hijacking a nascent democracy.

The formula was rejected by some and intrigued others. The year 2007 is not 2011 and it behooves us today to re-open that file instead of waiting for Jimmy Carter and John Kerry, in their zest to pursue peace at any cost, to impose upon the region an order that would perpetually subject the women of Syria to the prisons of the Islamists and more importantly to another Gaza in the Golan Heights. These Arab Revolutions are crying out "This is not about religion but about freedom and human rights", yet some still find ways to inject the Muslim Brotherhood on the basis of faulty analysis.

Say no to peace with Assad

There is nothing in common between the gray-haired, bearded men screaming for Israel's destruction and the young Arab man on the street screaming for economic justice and equality and the Islamist formula, which has tested badly in many parts of the world, will certainly not sway our youths from their determination to sing Britney Spears, watch Hollywood on-demand movies, and marry on their own terms.

Organized they are, but popular they are not. These Arab revolutions are not about the Palestinians, land swaps, peace, Jerusalem, settlements, or even water. It's about our freedom, our dignity, and our future. The dictators kept pointing to Jerusalem but the youths in the Arab world kept pointing to the food on their tables. Who would have thought Jerusalem would cause the downfall of tyrants?

Peace is magical but selling a signed document with a dictator as peace is unconscionable. The peace Israelis want and we Syrians need can only happen if we agree to it in a train station already linking Damascus to Jerusalem. No paper, no ceremony, and no intent will bring glory to those in pursuit of peace unless its purpose is perpetually guaranteed by mechanisms supported by democratic institutions. Real peace can only happen between two free peoples, equally motivated by their economic and social needs. Democracy in Syria is the path to real peace.

Arab and Farsi dissidents seeking freedom, democracy, human rights and the respect of the law in their own countries were called dreamers. With these revolutions, it turned out we are the realists. We know the root cause of the ills of our societies and they are certainly not resolved by sending a US ambassador

to Damascus to legitimize terror and oppression against our people, or by seeking peace with our violent dictator, or by empowering Islamists as some US senators are doing. In light of what is going on today, how unwise are these decisions?

A free and democratic Syria is the antidote to the violence Assad has been procreating and will continue to procreate for generations to come. The opportunity is here, the tide is on the right side of history; let us both not waste it again by fantasizing over peace with Assad.

Farid Ghadry is the President of the Reform Party of Syria. He can be followed on Twitter