Saturday, August 06, 2011

September surprises

Reuven Berko

In his campaign for a unilateral declaration of statehood in September, which is fast approaching, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has painted himself into a corner. He now has a choice between bankruptcy or getting bogged down in the mud. Everyone knows that the morning after the declaration will be dull and uninspiring, whether his bid is accepted by the General Assembly or not. The declaration will not change the reality on the ground. Palestinians know that if Abbas takes unilateral measures against Israel, Israel will respond with tough measures of its own, including economic ones. Palestinians realize that a unilateral declaration of statehood would release Israel from the Oslo Agreements. It would also release Israel from cooperating with the Palestinians on issues of sovereignty, economics, the return of refugees, partitioning of Jerusalem, borders, passageways, and a thousand other crucial details. Nor can they avoid the fact that the declaration of a Palestinian state in pre-1967 borders, constitutes de facto recognition of Israel. A declaration would inevitably strengthen the status quo in the West Bank and Gaza, leading to a dead-end of no future negotiations.

In response, will the Palestinian Authority try to set the region alight? Palestinian officials are well aware of the Islamic devil waiting in the wings for its opportunity to take over the West Bank, just as it did Gaza. They are not anxious to commit collective suicide through a third Intifada that could quickly spiral out of control. At most, they will turn a blind eye to localized "legitimate" outbreaks of violence, and may even let an occasional terror attack on Israel "slip" past their radar.

Palestinians can expect overwhelming U.N. General Assembly support for their statehood declaration, but they also know that their bid will likely be thwarted by an American veto. Those Palestinians who oppose the declaration do so because they believe the timing couldn't be worse. In their view, a declaration would leave them without a single gain on the ground while perpetuating the current situation. This pessimism derives from the current political turmoil in the Arab world, which prevents it from investing time and effort in the Palestinian cause. In addition, Palestinian territory is still divided. There is the Islamic 'Hamastan' on the one hand, in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, and 'Fatahstan' on the other, ruled by a more secular leadership under Mahmoud Abbas.

Palestinians retain a clear memory of Gaza's loss to Hamas during the second Intifada. The savviest Palestinians realize that if they steer themselves wrong they will have to go back to square one, that is, to direct negotiations with Israel as the only method for obtaining results. Nevertheless, Abbas will most likely choose the statehood declaration out of desperation and populism.

The danger is that the Palestinians will trip up the naive Obama, embarrassing him by forcing America to veto the declaration, and underscoring America's role as a Zionist supporter. Moderate Palestinians who oppose the declaration believe that an American veto could play into Al-Qaida's hands, an organization that is gathering steam in Libya, Yemen, Egypt, Syria, and elsewhere throughout the world. They believe an unprecedented wave of terrorist attacks could be unleashed against many countries, including Israel, on the heels of a thwarted Palestinian state declaration in the U.N. General Assembly.

Friday, August 05, 2011

NRA Chief LaPierre: Eric Holder Must Go

Wayne LaPierre

Patience is a virtue that Americans practice perhaps better than any other civilization on earth. However, when our own Attorney General is at the forefront of a criminal scheme so unbelievable that you would only expect to see it in a B-level mobster movie, the time for patience is over. Now is the time for all Americans to demand Eric Holder’s immediate resignation, firing, or impeachment.

Recall that two years ago, Attorney General Holder embarked on an anti-gun PR blitz that blamed the Second Amendment and law-abiding gun owners for violent drug crime and murder in Mexico. According to Holder and the Obama administration, 90 percent of the guns used by Mexican drug cartels were being supplied by American gun dealers. For its part, the mainstream media shouted Holder’s propaganda from the rooftops, without ever bothering to do its homework and check the facts. But the facts surfaced anyway in the form of leaked communications from Obama’s State Department, which proved beyond any doubt that the main source of guns and artillery for Mexican drug cartels was Central America and not the United States.

Holder’s lie was exposed, but the Obama administration had another trick up its sleeve: An operation dubbed “Fast and Furious” which established an illegal pipeline for funneling guns into Mexico.

Officials at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATFE), an agency under the direct purview of Eric Holder’s Justice Department, forced American gun dealers to sell guns illegally to straw purchasers who would then supply the guns to Mexican drug cartels.

Over 2,000 illegal guns in all were permitted to “walk” across the border under this scheme.

Law-abiding Americans were blamed for drug crime and murder in Mexico, meanwhile, our own government was putting guns in the hands of known Mexican drug cartels. Now, more than 150 Mexicans and U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry are dead as a result of this criminal enterprise.

Carlos Canino, Acting BATFE Attache in Mexico, called Fast and Furious “The perfect storm of idiocy.”

“We armed the [Sinaloa] cartel,” says Canino. “It is disgusting.”

House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif) and Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) are relentlessly trying to uncover the corruption and conspiracy behind this scandal, and it hasn’t been easy.

When questioned by Sen. Grassley about how these illegal guns ended up at the murder scene of Brian Terry, Holder responded, “I frankly don’t know.”

Whether Holder knew about “Fast and Furious” or not, he continues to stonewall Congress’s investigation into the matter by refusing to turn over any documents that could give insight into how such a monumental scandal was allowed to flourish. Even worse, at least two witnesses scheduled to appear before Congressman Issa’s Oversight Committee have received intimidating letters from BATFE officials warning them to limit their testimony.

Either Holder is truly incompetent and had no idea about the massive, illegal gun-walking operation that was taking place right under his nose, or he’s lying to protect the Obama administration. Either way, he must cease to be our nation’s top law enforcement official immediately.

When NRA first began our campaign to fire Eric Holder we were one of just a few voices in the wilderness.

Now, over 100,000 Americans have signed NRA’s petition to President Obama, the U.S. Congress, and the disinterested mainstream media demanding Eric Holder’s “immediate and unconditional removal from office.” If you have not yet signed the petition, please click here and do so now.

I have no doubt that if the mainstream media was doing its job and simply reporting what is easily the biggest, deadliest and most despicable government scandal to take place in the past two decades, Eric Holder would not be Attorney General today.

But we know the media won’t do its job, so it’s up to every freedom-loving American to call for Eric Holder’s immediate termination from his post as Attorney General. It is our duty to keep up the pressure.

Holder needs to go before one more brave American law enforcement officer ends up dead…before one more law-abiding gun dealer is forced against his will to make an illegal gun sale…and before one more illegal firearm is allowed to “walk” into the hands of a murderous Mexican drug dealer.

We as a nation can no longer afford to be patient. Eric Holder must go. I urge you to sign the petition today.

Wayne LaPierre is the executive vice president and chief executive officer of the National Rifle Association of America.

If You Repeat A Lie Enough Times…

Rabbi Kaufman

For a while now, there have been discussions in the United Nations Security Council and in the General Assembly in which envoys advocating for the creation of a Palestinian state have referred to “Israeli Occupation of Palestinian Lands.” I’m sure we will hear at lot more of that talk as September approaches. It is said that if you repeat a lie often enough people begin to accept it as truth. There are no “Palestinian Lands” if such a term means lands which legally belong to a Palestinian state because no such state has ever existed, nor does one exist today. As part of the peace process, an attempt is being made to create such a state. The correct language to use to apply to territories over which Israeli control is not internationally recognized but over which no other nation has both had previous sovereignty and a recognized legal claim is “disputed territories.” The correct way to refer to the Palestinians living in those territories, in my view, is as “Palestinians living in disputed territories under Israeli occupation.”

The peace process has wrongly come to be seen as primarily about the creation of a Palestinian state rather than about the preservation of the Jewish one and even more wrongly, has come to be seen as a process of restoring to the Palestinians lands that were taken from their state (they were not) rather than correctly being seen as a process in which a nation that has never existed, Palestine, is being created out of disputed territory controlled by Israel so as to preserve the Jewish and Democratic nature of Israel.

Some will argue that the differences are just semantics, but those who play down these issues or ignore them entirely are really causing harm to the peace process. “Two states for two peoples” is fundamentally about maintaining a viable state for one of them, the Jewish people. The premise of the peace process should be as I have written before “First, do no harm.”

"Those Tel Aviv Demonstrators"

Arlene Kushner

I want to return to the issue of the housing demonstrators, because there continues to be a good deal of misunderstanding -- in no small part because of media coverage -- regarding who they are and what they are about.

Let me begin with a description by Sarah Honig from her column in last Friday's Jerusalem Post magazine. Honig -- who is far closer to the situation than I am -- pulls no punches:

"News flash: There’s cheap rental housing in Tel Aviv. Dirt cheap. So cheap, in fact, that illegals from Ghana and Nigeria, Guatemala and Columbia, Thailand and Outer Mongolia, can afford it. But that’s not where the privileged children of the well-heeled classes wish to fulfill fantasies..." Their preference, she explains, is for the equivalents of fashionable, upscale Manhattan: "'Heart-of-Tel-Aviv' neighborhoods...But topping it all for prestige and desirability is Tel Aviv’s 'Old North,' radiating from the upmarket Habimah Theater-Mann Auditorium hub.

"At that posh pivot, trendsetters and groupies pitched their tent city to campaign for lower/subsidized rents. We, wage-earners in the rest of the country, are presumably required to foot their extravagant bills and make Israel’s Manhattan ambiance more affordable...

"I personally know some of the Rothschild Boulevard protest-instigators. I also know their affluent families (whose incomes far exceed my own meager salary)...

"Several of the tent-happening’s ringleaders are my daughter’s erstwhile schoolmates and friends to this day. Their exceptional good tastes have always meant shopping for the most impressive brand-names and running up bills that annoyed even their prosperous parents. They also gravitate to pricey eateries, drinking holes and clubs...

"Some are chronically 'between jobs' and/or between schools, seeking to find themselves and their true calling. Some dabble in showbiz...Some smoke funny things, and all, without exception, are trendily left-wing – as befits rebels against bourgeois mom and dad (who nonetheless help pay the rent and provide laundry services)...

"They flaunt political affiliations like Hadash – the largely Arab remnant of the local Communist Party...

"Political patrons purchased nifty tents for the sons and daughters of our well-to-do compatriots. These pampered radicals, with less-moneyed hangers-on, hanker after thrills...Note the pervasive anti-Bibi/bring-the-government-down slogans chanted by the mobilized/manipulated thousands who joined their march last weekend."


Meir Indor, head of Almagor, a terror victims association, has spent time visiting the tent cities and has this additional information to provide:

"...having discovered who the lead protesters are, I am not surprised by their antidemocratic tendencies. The disturbances were initiated by Daphne Leef, an employee of the New Israel Fund, which is known for funding organizations that work to stigmatize Israel and the IDF, and to promote boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel.

Another leader is Stav Shafir, a self-avowed semi-anarchist in the employ of the news company Yediot Aharonot, which opposes Netanyahu and has been covering the protests nonstop.

Other prominent participants include Asaf Nadiv, who was convicted in 1989 of membership in the Trotskyite terrorist group Derech Hanitzotz; writer Anat Rosilio, who in December 2008 strongly opposed Operation Cast Lead against rocket fire from Gaza; Tzvika Besor, a self-described devotee of communist Dov Khenin; and more than a few other communist and anarchist activists."


I want to reiterate here what I wrote about earlier: there really is a housing problem, both with regard to availability and cost. I don't know any one who would dispute this. And some of those who have joined the demonstrations truly are hurting and hope for redress of their housing situations.

However, the problems with these demonstrations include:

[] An ideological predisposition toward bringing down the government rather than negotiating for an understanding that would ameliorate the situation. With this has come a tendency to take on more and more issues, so that it is not just about housing and it becomes near impossible to resolve problems.

[] The unreasonable expectation of the demonstration leaders that -- as so forcefully put forth by Honig -- they have a right to housing they can afford in upscale population centers. The protest leaders claim to represent the middle class, not poor people.

[] Some notion of totally restructuring the Israeli economy in accordance with leftist/communist ideology -- a restructuring that would destroy the free market economy that has brought Israel to such financial success.

Their demands, in line with this, are counter-intuitive and non-productive:

Because they are ideologically opposed to private builders making a profit, they insisted that Netanyahu had to withdraw proposed legislation that was intended to ease the situation. (He didn't and more on this follows.) They don't want contractors to construct new housing in a free market situation; they want the government to step in and provide rent supports for that upscale housing. They are adamant that housing construction should not be permitted in Judea and Samaria, even though this would go a good way to solving the housing shortage. And they are pushing for more refugees/illegal immigrant workers from Africa to be brought into the country even as they are charging that there is insufficient housing for Israelis.


Caroline Glick's most recent video satire, Latma, addresses this same issue. In her introduction, she writes:

"...a consortium of the New Israel Fund, various other leftist pressure groups, the Communist party, the media, Israeli celebs, and Tzipi Livni have been organizing large protests replete with NIF-funded props including tents to bring down the government..."

The video -- -- pokes fun at the fact that the poor who are most in trouble are being left out of the current housing demonstrations.


As to the housing bill, after lengthy and contentious debate, it passed in the Knesset yesterday, the last day before the summer recess, by 57-45.

The prime minister, addressing the Knesset, said that Israel was enjoying unprecedented growth, with the average Israeli salary higher than that of many European countries. The socioeconomic problems, he maintained, are caused by high prices, and it is this that the reforms instituted by the legislation are meant to address. There will be reforms, but the market will remain free.

A key element of the bill is the formation of six temporary national housing committees, for different regions of the nation, that would work over the next 18 months to bypass the bureaucracy that stalls housing projects. These committees will provide all authorizations necessary for beginning construction for projects with more than 200 units to be built on state land. Some of the homes will be designated for rentals for the next 10 years.

The tent city leaders responded by announcing their intentions of continuing to protest; a mass rally is scheduled for Tel Aviv on Saturday night.


Just today, the Interior Ministry announced that approval has been finalized for 930 units in Har Homa C, on a hill adjacent to the current Har Homa neighborhoods. It had been two years since approval for this project was originally sought. Twice final approval was delayed for political reasons, as Har Homa is beyond the Green Line. It is solidly within the municipal boundaries, in a strategic location, and built on Jewishly owned land.

Even with this approval, it will be something like two years before the apartments are constructed: tenders have to be published and a contractor approved, and then infrastructure must be set in place.

Interior Minister Eli Yishai (Shas) has announced that 20% of the apartments will be smaller ones, making them more accessible to young couples. (It is my understanding, which I am unable to confirm as I write, that the new housing bill is supposed to encourage this same approach -- with some priority given to those contractors who will build smaller or more accessible apartments.)

Peace Now has objected to the project.


Within a variety of forums, a number of Palestinian Arab spokespersons responded almost immediately and most negatively to news about the new offer being worked on by the US and Israel to bring the PA back to the negotiating table. They are bound for the UN, they declared decisively.

However, Khaled Abu Toameh, writing in the JPost, now reports that the US administration has invited PA officials to discuss the resumption of negotiations. For the second time in a matter of weeks, chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat and Nabil Abu Rudaineh, a spokesman for PA President Mahmoud Abbas, will soon travel to Washington.

According to an PA official cited by Al Hayat (London), the US is searching for a formula that would bring the Arabs back to the table, but has not found it.


What can we assume from this information, when so there is so little transparency? Netanyahu was said to be considering a package that would involve Israeli compromises. Has it moved beyond "considering" to "has agreed to"? Does that package, as is frequently indicated in press reports, include '67 lines with land swaps -- a formula that is not acceptable? Has it been put into a written document? Or is Obama first sounding out the other side?

What we have been told is that Netanyahu is linking the concessions he's made to a demand that the PA recognize Israel as the Jewish state.


A report done for the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on the possible repercussions of the declaration of a Palestinian state in the UN is due to be published next week. But the Committee has already been advised that findings were inconclusive, with different defense experts and professionals offering different opinions.

Why am I not surprised?


Steve Rosen, director of the Washington Project of the Middle East Forum, has written a piece, "The Palestinians' Imaginary State," that is enlightening with regard to this issue.

Rosen outlines the legal standard for determining a state, as spelled out in 1933 Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States: a) a permanent population; b) a defined territory; c) government; and d) capacity to enter into relations with the other states.

Says Rosen, "From a narrowly legal point of view, the Hamas Gaza entity could become a state, another miserable addition to a very imperfect world." It "controls a permanent population in a defined territory (i.e., Gaza within the armistice lines of 1949). Gaza has a functioning, if odious, government. And Hamas-controlled Gaza already conducts international relations with a large number of states. "

"The Fatah Palestinian entity in the West Bank also could meet the legal requirements for statehood...It has a functioning government in the Palestinian Authority (PA), a permanent population, and international relations with a very large number of states. It also controls a defined territory, which comprises what are called areas A and B as defined under the Oslo II agreement of September 1995, plus additional territory subsequently transferred by Israel in agreed further redeployments. (Area A is the zone of full civil and security control by the Palestinian Authority, and Area B is a zone of Palestinian civil control and joint Israeli-Palestinian security control.) The Fatah West Bank entity within these lines also could be recognized as a state under international law."


However, Rosen goes on to say:

"Fatah, the PA, and the broader PLO do not seek statehood for this West Bank entity that arguably could meet the legal requirements. Their minimum demand is a state that includes Gaza along with the West Bank, the eastern part of Jerusalem, and all the other parts of mandatory Palestine that were under Jordanian and Egyptian control before 1967. Fatah, the PA, and the PLO are demanding title to lands and authority over populations they do not they are under the rule of Hamas and Israel. (Emphasis added)

"Unlike the two Palestinian entities that already exist...the Palestinian entity that a General Assembly majority will recognize as a state this September does not actually exist on Earth. It is imaginary and aspirational, not real. And it does not meet the legal requirements. (Emphasis added)

"First, it will have two rival presidents pursuing incompatible policies. Mahmoud Abbas is presenting himself as the president of the Palestine that is pressing the claim in the U.N. General Assembly, but he is not considered to be the president anymore by Hamas, the largest political party in the putative state."

When Abbas's term of office expired in 2009, he unilaterally extended his term by a year. Hamas did not recognize that extension, but it has expired, in any event. "...the legally empowered president of Palestine, since January 2009, has been Palestinian Legislative Council Speaker Abdel Aziz Dweik," who represents Hamas.

"Second, the Palestine that the General Assembly will recognize also will have two rival prime ministers pursuing incompatible policies. Hamas denies that Abbas has the authority to appoint Salam Fayyad as prime minister, because Abbas is not legally the president..." Ismail Haniyeh, a senior political leader of Hamas, is viewed by Hamas as prime minister, and, says, Rosen, "has the law on its side."

"Third, this putative state of 'Palestine' will also have a legislature that never meets..."

"Fourth, this Palestine that the General Assembly will recognize will also lack the ability to hold presidential or legislative elections as required by Article 47 of its Basic Law...because the rival Palestinian rulers will not allow them to happen...Neither of the rivals wants an election to be held under the electoral rules recognized as legally binding by the other, and neither will permit the other to compete freely on territories it controls as required by both sets of regulations.

"So there you have it. The General Assembly will make a remarkable decision about all this in the next few weeks. Instead of recognizing either of the two state-like entities that already exist...the General Assembly will create an imaginary state that has two incompatible presidents, two rival prime ministers, a constitution whose most central provisions are violated by both sides, no functioning legislature, no ability to hold elections, a population mostly not under its control, borders that would annex territory under the control of other powers, and no clear path to resolve any of these conflicts. It is a resolution that plants the seeds for civil and international wars, not one that advances peace."

How crazy can it get? We've got an inkling 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.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Hip and trendy anti-Israel hatred

CiF Watch

I not only remember the compilation songs to raise money for starving Africans, ”We Are The World“ and ”Do They Know It’s Christmas?“, from the mid-80s, but even attended one of the Live Aid concerts in support of the campaign, in Philadelphia.

Though the cause (helping to feed starving children) would fail to move only those with the hardest of hearts, what was notable in retrospect is how the songs, concerts and accompanying publicity focused solely on helping the African victims of hunger in Ethiopia (around one million people died during the country’s 1984–1985 famine) and didn’t delve into the politics – despite the fact that the Marxist Ethiopian government’s policy of enforced ‘resettlement’ programs, utilized as part of its counter-insurgency campaign, was one of the major causes of the starvation. My guess is that there was a conscious decision not to wade into politics in order to protect the purely humanitarian intent of the endeavor.

Today’s efforts to aid Palestinians, whether by NGOs, professional activists, or journalist activists at the Guardian, are not only unconstrained by such considerations, but something approaching the opposite is true: The pro-Palestinian cause is almost entirely monopolized by those possessing an unmistakable desire to demonize the Jewish state.

Harriet Sherwood’s latest blog post, Palestine campaign song generates controversy ahead of release, notes the latest row over a new compilation song and video, called “Freedom for Palestine”, and focuses on the rock band Coldplay’s participation in the project, as well as the subsequent removal of the song from the band’s Facebook page following complaints that the video violated Facebook’s’ user terms of service.

While the post is classic Guardian, and classic Sherwood (conjuring a conservative villain for the story by highlighting Glenn Beck’s criticism of the video) what’s much more instructive about the song and video itself is that it serves as a perfect example of how Palestinians become an abstraction totally divorced from any moral agency which would complicate the simple story of their immutable victimhood and Israeli villainy.

The intent of the song and video isn’t to “aid” Palestinians – as the song says nothing about how a fan could assist Palestinians in need of aid – but to demonize and delegitimize Israel. It conjures a caricature of a malevolent Goliath oppressing innocent Palestinians – reinforcing the steady drip of such delegitimization efforts that has become one of the defining ideological passions of the Guardian left.

The song doesn’t burden itself with such inconvenient realities as the oppressive treatment of Palestinian refugees in neighboring Arab countries, Hamas’ despotic rule of their Palestinian population, nor the culture of violence and terrorism which has long characterized the Palestinian cause. (Also, the song refers to 6 million Palestinian refugees – a very suggestive number, and one, it should be noted, which is contradicted by the accepted number of 4.8 million)

The song speaks of Israeli “crimes against humanity”, “prison camps”, and even levels the ugly charge of “racial segregation” – all in service of imputing Israeli malice in the context of a feel-good charity endeavor. Hatred with a hip, progressive veneer.

The video flashes between scenes of the studio recording of the song, video of Israel’s security fence, the Palestinian territories, along with animation meant to illustrate Israeli villainy.

Here are a few screen shots:

Here, the IDF is shown presumably targeting Palestinian civilians with tank fire. (An interesting moral inversion in the context of Hamas’s use of an anti-tank missile at an Israeli school bus in April.)

Here we’re treated to the sight of inhumane Israelis who appear to be denying entry to a Palestinian mother and her sick child:

Not only is the Israeli soldier unmoved by the mother’s pleas regarding her sick child, but the soldier is then seen striking the woman. (Notice both the expression on the face of the soldier striking the innocent woman, as well as the additional faceless Israelis behind him):

Sherwood may breezily mock Beck’s characterization of the song as evil propaganda, but – whatever one’s thoughts about the hyperbolic American pundit – the video’s crude portrayal of cruel, sadistic Israelis inflicting harm on helpless Palestinians serves as nothing more than malicious agitprop against Israel.

And, there’s nothing even remotely cool, fashionable, or hip about the vicious hate which is continually directed towards the Jewish state.

Over 1,000 residents quit jobs

Health system disruptions reach boiling point as striking residents carry out threat, turn in letters of resignation; call Treasury's offer 'empty'

Tomer Velmer
Published: 08.04.11, 15:06 / Israel News

Over 1,000 medical residents took their struggle to the next level Thursday, staging a mass resignation despite reports of a breakthrough in the doctors' wage negotiations.

"We love our profession but unfortunately we cannot continue doing it in the current conditions, and that is why we are submitting our resignation," Dr. Nadav Haim, who represents residents at the Sheba Medical Center, said during a press conference convened by the residents.

"Our hand was trembling when we signed the documents, but as doctors we have a public responsibility to ensure a better medical future for generations to come," he added. According to Haim, the framework of the agreement between the Treasury and the Medical Association is "empty of any substance, while the suggested salaries are degrading."

Haim argued that "the State of Israel has, for years, abandoned the public health system and in order to fix it, real change is required and not merely a trickery of numbers."

Attorney Tal Kerret, who will formally submit the letters of resignation on behalf of the residents, said that the letters will be turned in to the Chaim Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer first, with all other relevant hospitals following, by Thursday evening.

She further expressed hope that during the 30-day period before the letters take effect, "We'll be able to save the public health system."

Last week, the residents – whose organization was not recognized as a formal party in the negotiations – announced that they had entrusted hundreds of letters of resignation with a third party, saying that putting the letters into effect would be their last resort.

Assaf Harofeh Director-General Dr. Benny Davidson said the move aims to pressure the government: "I can’t imagine that this will come to an actual, collective resignation. Their careers and futures are at stake.

"We also have to be very carful and not allow this to become a reality – it will mean the total collapse of the health system. There's no health system without residents. Doctors can't perform residents' duties… as the manager of a hospital I can attest to the fact that we are standing on the edge of an abyss. This move is like a loaded gun – we can't accidently pull the trigger – it would spell disaster," Davidson warned.

'All options are viable'

Earlier, the residents' representatives called an emergency meeting meant, according to a resident at Assaf Harofeh Medical Center in Zerifin, to "update everyone on the talks. Over the past few days there has been an attempt to shut us out of the negotiations.

"The information we've received indicated that the Treasury has no intention to negotiate wages, which we find totally unacceptable. We have to decide about our next move and as far as we're concerned, all options are viable – even a mass resignation."

Meanwhile, Medical Association Chairman Dr. Leonid Eidelman declared an end to the hunger strike he began on July 24th.

Doctors have criticized Eidelman, claiming that his agreements with the Treasury fail to truly meet their demands.

The protesting doctors alleged that Eidelman's compromise with the Treasury was reached from a position of weakness and that he has failed them.

The embattled Medical Association chair issued a letter to all striking doctors Thursday, warning them to avoid escalating the situation: "Don't make this into a 'Let me die with the Philistines' situation," he cautioned.

"I understand your need for personal expression and your feeling that the government fails to listen to you," Eidelman wrote. "You must remember that various protests which result in a strike are de facto illegal… and thus cannot be defended."

He further stressed that the negotiations "were handled by an experienced team of doctors, over the course of several months. We did not yield to any directive."

Elder of Ziyon

From Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times:

Next month, Palestinians are expected to seek statehood at the United Nations. It’s a stunt that won’t accomplish much for anybody, but it’s more constructive than throwing rocks at Israeli cars — or, on the Israeli side, better than expanding illegal settlements.

Yet the American House of Representatives voted 407 to 6 to call on the Obama administration to use its diplomatic capital to try to block the initiative, while also threatening to cut the Palestinians’ funding if they proceeded to seek statehood.

Similarly, when Israel stormed into Gaza in 2008 to halt rocket attacks, more than 1,300 Gazans were killed, along with 13 Israelis, according to B’Tselem, a respected Israeli human rights group. As Gazan blood flowed, the House, by a vote of 390 to 5, hailed the invasion as “Israel’s right to defend itself.”

Such Congressional tomfoolery bewilders our friends and fritters away our international capital. It also encourages the intransigence of the Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and reduces the chance of a peace settlement.

Kristof apparently believes that an explicit abrogation of the Oslo Accords is praiseworthy. e also apparently believes that Netanyahu was Prime Minister during the Gaza war.

He also believes that it has been Israeli intransigence, not the Palestinian Arab adding preconditions to negotiations in 2008, that has been the obstacle to moving forward towards an agreement.

And he believes, like many, that Israel has been "expanding" settlements - one of the biggest lies out there. Israel has not been building Jewish communities on land outside existing boundaries for many years, and the lie that Jewish communities are today continuously encroaching upon and taking over Arab-owned land is one of the more brilliant propaganda victories of the anti-Israel side.

(A good argument could be made that Israel should indeed do that - because that would lend some urgency to the PLO to restart negotiations. As it is, adding more apartments to existing communities does not affect Palestinian Arabs in the slightest way - except for providing many of them with construction jobs. )

In other words, Kristof has swallowed the Palestinian Arab lies completely and without the slightest bit of even-handed skepticism that one would hope a journalist would exhibit.

In the last few years, a former government official named Jeremy Ben-Ami has been trying to change the political dynamic in Washington with a new organization — J Street — that presses Congress and the White House to show more balance. Ben-Ami has just published a book, “A New Voice for Israel,” that is a clarion call for American reasonableness in the Middle East.

“If things don’t change pretty soon, chances are that the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will slip through our fingers,” Ben-Ami writes. “As that happens, the dream of the Jewish people to be a free people in their own land also slowly disappears.”

Only the Israeli side has made real concessions since Oslo. J-Street, and Kristof, are adamantly against pressuring the Palestinian Arab side to meet Israel halfway. And yet they claim, incongruously, that it is only Israel that needs to be pressured to give up even more!

American Jews have long trended liberal, and President Obama won 78 percent of the Jewish vote in 2008. Yet major Jewish organizations, like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or Aipac, embrace hawkish positions.

Since when is supporting a Palestinian Arab state "hawkish"? AIPAC's - and Netanyahu's - plans for a Palestinian Arab state effectively addresses all of Ben-Ami's stated fears. The problem isn't that Israel and AIPAC don't accept a two-state solution - it is that Abbas and the PLO don't accept the idea of compromising for peace. And Kristof gives them a free pass on their intransigence while calling Netanyahu a "hawk."

Kristof also shows his intellectual dishonesty on other ways:

There’s also some evidence that young American Jews are growing disenchanted as Israeli society turns rightward.

And the "evidence" he links to is the famous Peter Beinart article making that claim, with little proof - and there is plenty of evidence to the contrary.

And look how Kristof characterizes "Jewish Voice for Peace":

[JVP] supports divestment campaigns against companies profiting from the occupation of Palestinian territories.

JVP also supports the "right of return" which is a code-word for destroying Israel. Why doesn't Kristof mention that? Why does he make it sound like it is merely an organization that is against "occupation"? Is he ignorant - or is he trying to hide the facts?

Kristof also throws in this nugget:

(Whenever I write about Israel, I get accused of double standards because I don’t spill as much ink denouncing worse abuses by, say, Syria. I plead guilty. I demand more of Israel partly because my tax dollars supply arms and aid to Israel. I hold democratic allies like Israel to a higher standard — just as I do the U.S.)

The US also gives Kristof's tax dollars to the Palestinian Authority, where it is being used to pay salaries to terrorists and to the families of suicide bombers, where more than half of its budget goes to indirectly prop up Hamas' hold on Gaza. US aid is a much higher proportion of the PA budget than of Israel's. Kirstof's tax dollars helped pay for the second Intifada.

The principled Kristof, if he is to be consistent, should be demanding that US aid to the PA be conditional upon their continuing with existing agreements and not doing things that abrogate those agreements.

Which is exactly what Congress is doing - and what Kristof is calling "tomfoolery!"

Consistency is not what Kristof wants, though. He wants Israel to be pressured to do things that will inevitably bring more conflict to the region, not less, because he is so convinced that he knows better than most Israelis what is good for them.

Freedman tries Pavlov

CiF Watch

“No Eastern land occupied by a sedentary population has as uncertain a water-supply as Palestine. Its Mediterranean climate leaves it without any rain for about half of each year, on the average. Since Palestine is at the southern end of the rainy westerly winds, its rainfall becomes progressively more scanty as one goes south towards the Negeb. Winters with inadequate rainfall are both frequent and unpredictable, and disastrous famines have thus been common throughout its history.”

The above words were written by the famous archaeologist W.F. Albright in his fascinating book ‘the Archaeology of Palestine’ in 1949, but Seth Freedman would have us believe that water shortages in this part of the world are not only relatively new, but somehow deliberately engineered. In his familiar florid style, Freedman recounts his visits to encampments of the Jahalin Bedouin tribe and with typical British romanticism – a sort of ‘Lawrence of Suburbia’ – dramatically depicts the suffering of these noble tribesmen at the hands of the dastardly Israeli regime. Whilst there do exist many difficulties with Israel’s attempts to reconcile the existence of a modern, democratic welfare state with the traditional nomadic practices of the Bedouin in southern Israel (it should be noted that the case of the northern-dwelling Bedouin is quite different), it is certainly not correct to imply that Israel’s policies towards its Bedouin population are based on racism. At the Negev Conference of 2008 former PM Ehud Olmert made the following statement:

“I want to say a word to the Bedouin population, whose representatives, I hope, are here. I heard from the Foreign Minister that she visited Rahat today. The Mayor of Rahat is one of the most important leaders in the south, and we value and respect him. When I arrived in this area via helicopter, I could see the entire infrastructure development, which is close to completion, for the construction of 2,200 additional housing units in Rahat, with lands allocated by the Israel Lands Authority – a development made through budgets from the Israeli Government and the Ministry of Construction & Housing, in order to allow the Bedouin residents of the south a high quality of living, in areas that constitute an inseparable part of the Bedouin places of residence in the southern part of the country. This is part of the effort we are making, but we are doing more to solve the problems of the Bedouin population, as you know full well. We established a committee, headed by Supreme Court Justice (Ret.) Eliezer Goldberg, to resolve the issue of Bedouin settlement in the Negev and address the issue of compensation in the allocation of alternative lands, as well as the enforcement of these arrangements and a timetable for their implementation, and I expect the committee to submit its recommendations soon. This is not a simple thing. We are not willing to accept illegal seizures of land, but we will not allow the eviction of the Bedouins without a settlement that will respect their needs, address their quality of living and enable them to live in areas slated for habitation by these populations, in accordance with their needs, while making certain that the law is enforced and illegal land seizures are prevented.”

In fact, a case which reached the Supreme Court in Israel would imply that anything but racism against the Bedouin is the case.

“Moreover, to provide affordable housing the Israeli government has sometimes leased residential land to Israeli Arabs at subsidized rates unavailable to Israeli Jews. For example, while the government charged Israeli Bedouins just $150 for a long-term lease on a quarter of an acre of residential land in the southern community of Rahat, Israeli Jews were charged $24,000 to lease similarly sized plots in neighboring areas. In response to such policies favoring Israeli Arabs, Eliezer Avitan, an Israeli Jew denied the subsidized rates, sued the government for discrimination. In Avitan v. Israel Land Administration (HC 528/88), Israel’s Supreme Court ruled against Avitan and in favor of the government’s “affirmative action” policy.”

With regard to the Jahalin tribe specifically, it is worth reading what CAMERA had to say on this issue some three years ago.

“The Jahalin have been making claims about the land of Ma’ale Adumim, and squatting on state land assigned to the community, since the 1980’s. They have been warned many times by successive Israeli governments that eventually they would have to move. Most of the Jahalin eventually agreed that they did not have rights to the land. For example, according to a January 29th, 1994 Los Angeles Times article, “no one, not even Hairsh (Mohammed Hairsh, a Jahalin leader) claims that his tribe has a legal right” to the land they have been occupying.”

Of course, that does not prevent the Jahalin and others being used by various NGOs (or journalists) posing as human rights campaigners to promote their own political agenda. Freedman lauds the efforts of NGOs to find solutions to an apparent water supply problem, but unsurprisingly fails to mention the recent controversies surrounding the methods employed by some NGOs in an environment in which water is scarce for all and is a commodity which has to be paid for by all sectors of society. We are by now well aware of the political use of water shortages in Israel as a method of delegitimizing the Israeli state.

So let’s take a look at what happened on that thread once Freedman had pressed the Pavlovian buttons of Bedouin (i.e. indigenous, poor, tribal, romantic) fighting as underdogs against a more powerful state ( i.e. authority, government, Westerners) for those most emotive of commodities, land and water. This first comment should be abundantly clear even to those who have lately been claiming on these pages that they have no idea why some of their posts of CiF are antisemitic.


3 Jan 2010, 3:53PM

Well, Shylock was never one for giving.

Many of the comments on this thread responded to Freedman’s prompting and equated Israel with a racist state guilty of ethnic cleansing.

3 Jan 2010, 2:54PM

Israel’s racist policy towards Palestinians and other Arabs has a historical background in the US treatment of native Americans. The whole of Israeli culture leans this way.


3 Jan 2010, 3:15PM

Cleansing the land as in 1947 to 1949.

It will never end.

No one can live here except those people who have been selected by God.


3 Jan 2010, 3:47PM

Well done Seth, for continuing to highlight the abuse of power and the chicanery which Israel uses to force indigenous people off the land so that it can be reserved for the Brooklynites, the Russians and anybody else who believes in a particular fable. Use of foodstuff, water and resources is a well established tactic in starving a people of their right to live in their ancestral lands.


3 Jan 2010, 3:59PMWhere is the USA or the EU in all of this?

Supporters of ethnic cleansing.


3 Jan 2010, 4:24PM


No it doesn’t. Only Israeli culture as mis-reprepsented in an endless stream of one-sided vilification on Cif.

Absolutely. For example, though a large percentage of the population of Israel supported Ariel Sharon, who committed genocide in a pair of deathcamps, large numbers of Israelis also protested against him. Though there are Israelis who stab gays, or slur dissenters, or who support racist Settlers; there are Israelis who created and joined Peace Now.

Of course, that there are honourable dissenters (like Seth) does not excuse the racist, weirdly-nationalist Israelis, or the fact the racist nationalists have, seemingly, a monopoly of control of the state’s warfare capability.

One cannot but notice two themes at work in these comments. First, the manipulative suggestion that Israel is a racist state, which of course prompts the reader to make the sub-conscious moral decision to oppose that state: no decent person would support racism. Second, there’s the old implication that Israelis are somehow ‘Westerners’ from the USA and Europe, artificially transplanted into the Middle East -or even forced to go there.


3 Jan 2010, 5:12PM

I can only say that I’m glad my grandparents moved to South America from Germany-via-Holland in 1939 and didn’t stay on to be murdered or herded off to the abomination that is Israel.

In fact, only about 4% of Israelis born abroad have their roots in North America, compared to 8.1% from Morocco, 3.6% from Iraq and 3.6% from Ethiopia. Of immigrants from the former Soviet Union, around 19% came from Asian states such as Uzbekistan (9%), Azerbaijan (4%) and Georgia (2%), all of which explodes the myth that Israel is made up of white Westerners. The other myth of so-called ethnic cleansing by these fictional hoards of white immigrants also takes a serious battering when one considers that in 1955, Muslims comprised 8.8% of the Israeli population, in 1972, 11.58%, in 1995, 15.21% and in 2000, 16.73% .


4 Jan 2010, 11:44AM


“I guess you feel that Arabs have a massive case to answer for, then…or don’t you consider their aggression towards the Jews since 1947 be that?”

Except to note it, I’ll put to one side your generalised, and therefore racist comment about “Arabs”.

But in the real world, rather than the fantasy world occupied by Israeli apologists, it was Israel who were the primary aggressors in this ongoing conflict, they started it by occupying Palestinian land outside of the area granted to them by the UN. And before that I seem to remember they were terrorists, with groups such as Haganah, Irgun & Lehi (the Stern Gang) assassinating Lord Moyne in 1944 and the UN Mediator Folke Bernadotte in 1948 amongst other acts of terrorism.

Who do you think has a case to answer for those atrocities?

As we see in this comment above, the distortion of history in order to avoid dealing with inconvenient truths is a CiF staple. Let’s take a quick look at the Jewish population of Israel well before the state’s founding, partition or even the Balfour declaration, as recorded by Tudor Parfitt in his book ‘The Jews in Palestine 1800 – 1882’.

In 1882, for example, there were between 15,000 and 20,000 Jews living in Jerusalem out of a total population of 40,000. In the same year, there lived in Tsfat (Safed) 1,200 Jews, Jaffa (Yaffo) 1,300, Shefa Amr (Shfaram) 100 and Bukayy’a (Peke’in) 100. As is well known, there had been uninterrupted Jewish settlement in Peke’in since the days of the dispersion. In 1881 there were 1,200 Jews living in Hebron, and in 1883, 4,000 in Tiberias. Montefiore recorded 233 Jews living in Acco (Acre) in 1839 and in 1875, 1,500 Jews lived in Haifa out of a total population of 6,000. In Schem (Nablus) in 1839, Bonar and McCheyne found a community of 200 Jews – nothing remains of that community today, of course.

Another method of circumventing any inconvenient facts is to rely on the old conspiracy theories.


3 Jan 2010, 4:26PMDPerrone99

This article will either give readers the impression that Israel is a uniquely malevolent state or draw attention to a larger problem – namely the denial to water resources to populations around the world. For the sake of the people in Central America, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and elsewhere who are being denied water by governments and businesses (almost always working in coordination), I hope it’s the latter.

Yes, you’re quite right.

But to be sure, let’s send a fact finding delegation from the Conservative Friends of Equatorial Guinea to find out if there’s any funny stuff going on. I’m sure they’ll deliver an authoritative rebuttal to all of Seth’s wild claims.

Actually, I’m surprised Sderot hasn’t worked it’s way into any of your posts yet.

And when certain CiF commentators can’t think of any better way out, they just throw around wild accusations of misuse of the term anti-Semitism as a method of neutralizing the arguments of others against their own misrepresentation and defamation.


3 Jan 2010, 6:48PM


Re raymonddelauney

cited as an anti-semite on a hate-watch site.

## Oh you poor thing.##

It is a big issue .. a shame you belittle it. I was horrifed at being called an anti Semite the first time on CIF. It is an effective and argument-destroying insult. It throws the listener and distorts the issue as it is intended to do.

I have appealed on many occasions for CIF to treat this nasty , low insult as the serious and disgusting slur that it is. I live in hope. Here is to the wonderful pro Israelis who can defend their corner without implying people are motivated by hatred .


Predictable as it is to see the Pavlovian masses at CiF responding on cue to Freedman’s stimuli, one would have hoped that so-called intelligent and educated readers of the Guardian would have learned to think for themselves by now instead of dutifully swallowing whatever is dished out to them and reacting as programmed. Here’s one optimist who was deleted for his pains:


3 Jan 2010, 3:07PM


The whole of Israeli culture leans this way.

No it doesn’t. Only Israeli culture as mis-reprepsented in an endless stream of one-sided vilification on Cif.

Did you know that Jimmy Carter has now apologized for his stigmatization of Israel? Maybe Rusbridger and his minions will follow suit one day.

Maybe, Sabraguy – we can only live in hope, but my money is on Israel winning the World Cup before that happens.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Arab ‘Arson Intifada’ Threatens Judea and Samaria

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

Palestinian Authority terrorists are reverting to the first Intifada tactic of burning down Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. Arabs have set more than 20 fires in Jewish communities, mostly outposts, the past several weeks, which have forced the evacuation of residents.

Police investigations have determined that the blazes were intentional, and tracks have led them Arab villages nearby the Jewish communities. Six Arab suspects have been arrested. In the first Intifada in the late 1980s, Arabs frequently set fires, often on the Sabbath.

Some Israeli Arabs profited by their being employed by the Jewish National Fund.

One example was a Friday night blaze that burned down several acres of nature reserve near Kibbutz Maaleh Gilboa, situated between Beit She’an in the Jordan Valley and within the 1949 Armistice Lines. The same Arabs workers for the JNF who were paid for planting the trees also were paid for extinguishing the fires.

Relatives or friends of the same Arabs, who lived in an Arab village a few hundred feet from the kibbutz and beyond the 1949 borders, set the reserve on fire, and Arabs from other villages used the same method in dozens of other incidents.

The renewed arson intifada causes more widespread damage than the usual life-endangering rock-throwing, particularly in the summer when forests are dry and afternoon winds quickly whip up a small fire into an inferno. It, too, can put lives in danger.

Mitzpeh Danny, located in Samaria, has suffered seven fires in the past and nearby communities have had to evacuate its residents, including toddlers, because of the threat that purposely set fires would reach their homes,

An IDF Samaria commander termed the arsons as a “new weapon” but it in fact proved to be successful 20 years ago until the 'trend' in Arab violence gave way to suicide bombings.

"Confronting Rumors"

Arlene Kushner

There were reports yesterday -- from at least one Internet and one broadcast source -- that Netanyahu had caved to Obama's demands and was willing to participate in negotiations with the PA that might lead to withdrawal to the '67 lines. With this a creeping panic set in, within nationalist circles here and abroad

But I do not believe those rumors are true as claimed -- they are an exaggeration of the reality. The reality? Not precisely what nationalists -- myself among them -- would prefer in an ideal world. But not nearly as alarming as those rumors.

Yesterday, Netanyahu told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that "we are interacting with the US to put together a document using language from Obama's second speech." Ah. The second speech. That is the AIPAC speech, given on May 22, 2011. It followed by days a speech give by Obama at the State Department that called for permanent borders based on the '67 lines. Obama took a lot of flack for that speech and was upbraided by a furious Netanyahu in a meeting that followed the speech. That was the best of Netanyahu, a prime minister of whom we were able to be very proud.

Obama then went to AIPAC and backtracked, explaining what he "really meant" in his earlier speech, "since my position has been misrepresented several times."

" means that the parties themselves -– Israelis and Palestinians -– will negotiate a border that is different than the one that existed on June 4, 1967 [the Green Line]...It allows the parties themselves to account for the changes that have taken place over the last 44 years. It allows the parties themselves to take account of those changes, including the new demographic realities on the ground, and the needs of both sides."


This sounds similar to the letter that President Bush gave to Prime Minister Sharon in April 2004, which read in part:

As part of a final peace settlement, Israel must have secure and recognized borders, which should emerge from negotiations between the parties in accordance with UNSC Resolutions 242 and 338. In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers [in Judea and Samaria], it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949 [which is what the '67 lines refer to], and all previous efforts to negotiate a two-state solution have reached the same conclusion. It is realistic to expect that any final status agreement will only be achieved on the basis of mutually agreed changes that reflect these realities."

If that is what Obama meant, there would be reason to be reassured. But Obama is not Bush (as Obama himself is always eager to tell us).

The sticking point here, and it's a serious one, is whether that border alluded to by Obama -- which would be "different than the one that existed on June 4, 1967" -- would require land swaps so that in the end the PA would end up with land equivalent to everything beyond the Green Line. If that is the case, in spite of the fancy footwork, this would be an agreement based on the '67 lines.

In recent years it has become an article of faith in political/diplomatic circles -- internationally, certainly, and even among the left wing here -- that the '67 lines represent the starting point. But seez who? The SC Resolution 242 indicates nothing of the sort. Even Bush's 2004 letter doesn't allude to this. It has crept up on us by virtue of solid PR from the other side.

I do note, however, that Obama also talks about the "needs" of both sides. If he were serious in this regard, it would be clear that -- with all of the instability in the world today, including the threat of a Hamas takeover of PA areas -- Israel's security needs require a presence in the high places of Samaria and in the Jordan Valley. Then we would truly not be talking about '67 lines. Big if. Security Council Resolution 242 recognized our need for secure borders, but this hasn't been Obama's position.


Netanyahu had additional things to say to the Committee, and some of it is reassuring. Coordination with Washington, he says, includes a basic agreement that Israel must be recognized as a Jewish state and that Hamas cannot be a partner in the negotiations. These requirements, in and of themselves, preclude PA participation. And they indicate that Netanyahu has not simply caved -- has not conceded a willingness to do "whatever it takes" to bring the PA to the table.

There is one other specification: As a Jerusalem official cited in the JPost put it, Netanyahu "has been clear that Israel will not return to the 4th of June 1967 borders (sic)."

Fine. Good. This refutes the rumors.

~~~~~~~~~~ concern still stands. Does this also mean that the '67 lines would not be a starting point for negotiations, with final borders determined via swaps? That would not be acceptable, and it is not clear what the case is.

Netanyahu told the Committee yesterday that coordination with the US was better than had been expected and that Israel would not pay an outrageous price to start the talks.

According to the official cited above, however, "Israel has shown willingness to accept a package that includes a formula on borders." Such a package could include borders "that would be difficult for Israel to accept." Notice the use of the word "could" -- which seems to imply it's possible but not yet determined.

So what the hell are we talking about? What does our prime minister consider "not outrageous"?

It's all terribly amorphous, and we're not going to get clear answers any time soon.


It is a stipulated given, within what is being discussed with the US, that whatever Israel agrees to would apply only if the PA does not go to the UN. PA officials can't first go to the UN and then expect whatever deal might have been offered.

And I will mention here that I've seen reports indicating that Israel reserves the right to express reservations during the negotiating process (should there be such a process). But this is nonsense. Once something is agreed to, no one will pay attention to our reservations.


The reason for this current flurry of diplomatic activity is obvious. September is not far away and so neither is the UN gambit by the PA:

The PA has persisted in its determination to petition one UN body or another to recognize it as a state or accept it for membership, or whatever. (I am not being flippant here, but merely reflecting the massive confusion about this whole business.)

The US is solidly on record as opposed to any such unilateral action by the PA, in whatever form it might take. There is good reason to believe that the US will veto in the Security Council, if the issue is raised there.

The Obama administration, however, would be far happier if the issue were not raised in the UN -- with the US hand possibly forced with regard to that veto. It is understood to be a stance that would not play well in the Arab world. And so, the US is trying to devise a plan that might entice the PA back to the table.


Netanyahu does not have to cooperate with Obama. He could have laid out red lines and refused to budge from them.

But this is not the style of Binyamin Netanyahu. We know this. He totters on the edge of a slippery slope, in an effort to show he's a team player and not appear obstructionist. His reckoning, I truly believe, is that in the long run this serves Israel.

Often it's a question of how far down the slope he has slipped, and how it is that he perceives Israel will benefit. A very complex and difficult equation that is being calculated out of our line of vision.


The chances are close to nil that the PA will return to the table in response to concessions Netanyahu has made/or is considering making. And he certainly knows this. He said as much to the Knesset Committee. Abbas is going to stop his advance towards the UN and recognize Israel as a Jewish state? Come on!

So, it might be assumed that it's harmless, or safe, for Netanyahu to make concessions. Safer than if Abbas were likely to come to the table, certainly. But harmless, no. Every time concessions are made, it affects the thrust of whatever dialogue follows, even if there is no legally binding commitment.

And what concerns me here is that there is talk of a document. Putting it in writing is worse, even if the document says that the concessions only apply within this and this time frame, or these and these parameters.


Having said this, however, I will share a different, hypothetical, take on what's happening.

What if...

What if Netanyahu hopes to take a strong stand for Israel after the UN vote, declaring that the PA has voided Oslo with its unilateral UN action, and that Israel can now take unilateral actions as well.

What if -- perhaps pushed by the right wing of his coalition -- he is entertaining thoughts of extending Israeli civil law to the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

He would want to be able to go to the US and the EU and initiate a diplomatic initiative: Hey guys, we tried our best to cooperate but the PA stonewalled all efforts. Now please give us a pass on/lend tacit support to what we intend to do.

And he would know that in order to be able to say this later, he would have to cooperate at some level now.


I am not saying this is what Netanyahu intends. I don't know what he intends, and am not acquainted with anyone who does.

But this is not beyond the realm of possibility.

Netanyahu seems to be thinking broadly in this direction when he declares, "I am prepared to meet Abbas at any moment...However, this will not happen, because the Palestinians want to go to the UN no matter what...No one can say the Israeli side did not show willingness to negotiate, as opposed to the Palestinians, who have never been willing to negotiate."

He's setting a tone.

And I do know with certainty that there are members of the government and the Knesset who will be eager to push for Israeli unilateral action after a UN vote.

Certainly if Netanyahu does make concessions, this point should be promoted with great vigor in all possible venues, as we campaign for that unilateral Israel action, at last.


For those who have lost patience with Netanyahu, I share this, which is the stuff of nightmares:

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni (Kadima) made a statement to the prime minister with regard to negotiations with the PA:

"Your historical mistake of not listening to me, and [instead] stopping negotiations after the elections led to a colossal diplomatic failure...

"You are harming our strategic relationship with the US in order to get applause in Israel...Because of you, a Palestinian state will be declared without an agreement."


Be very clear on what she is saying: To keep the Obama administration happy, she would have sacrificed what the Israeli electorate wanted. PA leaders would not have had to think about going to the UN if she were prime minister, because she would have conceded whatever they wanted, including those '67 lines as borders. And she would have counted this as a diplomatic victory.

With these words she provides a perspective, reminding us of the ways in which Netanyahu has not caved, and giving us a somber, sickening picture of how much worse things might be.

© 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

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Water consumption drops 7.5% in first six months of year


Mekorot says despite drop, "water crisis is still not behind us," announces plans to invest NIS 3b. to "change direction of water supply."

Israelis used 7.5 percent less water during the first half of 2011, when compared to the same period last year, data released by the Mekorot national water company late last week showed.

“Despite the drop in water consumption, Mekorot affirms that the water crisis is still not behind us,” a spokeswoman said in a statement. “The company welcomes the continuation of the trend in saving and sees itself as committed to handling the water market crisis on behalf of future generations.”

During January-June 2011, water consumption was 48.2 million cubic meters lower than during the same time last year, mostly attributable to heavier rains this year, which decreased the need for irrigation. Water use for agriculture fell by 37.2 million cubic meters – a decrease of 12.6% – in part caused by a significantly decreased consumption of freshwater, which fell by 23 million cubic meters, down 3% from last year. Although Mekorot was pleased with the trends, the company said “it is worth pointing out that June 2011 was one of the coolest Junes in the past 25 years,” while June 2010 featured many days of heat wave.

In an effort to further reduce consumption, and in hopes that most of the country’s water will eventually come from the five desalination plants, Mekorot will invest more than NIS 3 billion in order to “change the direction of Israel’s water supply.

“Beginning in the year 2014, most Israelis will drink desalinated water,” the statement said. “The process will revolutionize the method of water management in Israel.”

How a Newspaper in Norway Has Transformed Me into a 'Pro-Terrorist' Criminal

Barry Rubin

You might be interested in a little controversy that’s developed for me that is one more example of the typical treatment given to critics of the version of truth approved by much of the mass media and dominant worldview in many Western circles today.

Briefly, I wrote my Jerusalem Post column this week as an article titled “The Oslo Syndrome.” The theme of the article was simple:

People who, even out of ignorance or good intentions, express political support for a group like Hamas (or others that could be named), saying these radicals are merely acting because of just grievances, or are really moderate, or are not terrorists at all, are dangerously mistaken because they help make terrorism seem a successful strategy, thus inspiring others to commit terrorism. (To get the argument fully, please read my original article)

I provided a number of historic examples of past waves of terrorism that failed in order to demonstrate that if the strategy didn’t seem to work, revolutionary and radical groups dropped it. In the Middle East, however, terrorism has been a “success” and even has won — for the causes and groups if not for the terrorists’ methods — a lot of Western sympathy. I’m sure you can provide examples to prove that point. One of the milder letters asserted that I was completely wrong because Hamas is not a terrorist organization and that an attack on an Israeli or American summer camp could be justified because those countries use violence. Well, isn’t that what’s been happening for years? You know, like what happened on September 11, 2001?

And as I explained in my article, violence is not necessarily terrorism, something I defined as the deliberate murder of civilians for a political cause, specifically to intimidate the victims into surrendering and to muster support among one’s own potential supporters.

If the target group, say Norwegians or Arabs or Muslims, etc., were horrified and denounced the terrorism, the revolutionaries would stop doing it and change strategies.

Here are the first three paragraphs of my article:

“One of the most sensitive aspects of the very sensitive subject of the murderous terrorist attack in Norway by a right-wing gunman is this irony: The youth political camp he attacked was at the time engaged in what was essentially (though the campers didn’t see it that way, no doubt) a pro-terrorist program.

“The camp, run by Norway’s left-wing party, was lobbying for breaking the blockade of the terrorist Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip and for immediate recognition of a Palestinian state without that entity needing do anything that would prevent it from being a terrorist base against Israel. They were backing and justifying forces that had committed terrorism against Israelis and killing thousands of people like themselves.

“Even to mention this irony is dangerous since it might be taken to imply that the victims ‘had it coming.’ The victims never deserve to be murdered by terrorists, even any victims who think that other victims of terrorists ‘had it coming.’ This is in no way a justification of that horrendous terrorist act. It’s the exact opposite: a vital but forgotten lesson arising from it that can and should save lives in future.”

I think that’s clearly not support for the murders or blaming those who were murdered as deserving their fate.

After receiving a lot of positive mail from readers around the world, suddenly I started getting a few outraged letters from Norway angrily denouncing me for “spitting in the face” of those killed and calling them terrorists.

Astonished, I assumed it was simply because these people in Norway were understandably sensitive on the issue and their English isn’t as good as they thought since they misread my article.

Then I discovered that a newspaper in Norway translated — without my knowledge or permission — alleged parts of my article into Norwegian. It claims that I wrote:

“Ungdomsleiren han (Anders Behring Breivik) angrep var i bunn og grunn en terrortreningsleir.”

This means in English: “The youth camp (Breivik) attacked was basically a terrorist training camp.”

I should add though that the newspaper did link to the English-language original so anyone could check it, if they were good enough in both languages. But the newspaper also told its readers what to think. Every time I referred to Hamas or other groups as terrorists the newspaper put that in quotation marks, as if that is how it was in the original.

And it helpfully “explained”: “Rubin er avslørt som langvarig Israel-lobbyist, som får betalt for å fremme Israels sak.” And that means: “Rubin is exposed as a longstanding lobbyist for Israel, who is paid for promoting Israel’s cause.” There are a number of untruths in that sentence, but I think you catch the drift.

This kind of distortion is an attempt to spread hate, perhaps inspiring some future terrorist. But of course I now merely (once again) join the ranks of those who are being slandered and their words distorted as “respectable” newspapers make propaganda with no regard to truth.

New Tours Give Israelis an Inside View of Judea and Samaria

A new tour program will introduce hundreds of thousands of Israelis to a place they have heard much about but don't really know about.
by David Lev

Israelis like to talk politics – especially the politics of the future of Judea and Samaria – but precious few have actually been to the areas they opine about, even though the biblical and historical heartland of Israel is almost literally in the backyards of residents of the “center,” the Tel Aviv metropolitan area.

That's why a new organization called Mishkefet (the Hebrew word for binoculars) has introduced a new program designed to allow the average Israeli – the ones who live in areas like the Dan region, Haifa and Be'ersheva and do not identify themselves as ideologically right or left, strictly religious, or as having radical political points of view – to get an inside view of life in Jewish communities in Yesha. The goal: to bring a half million Israelis on tours of Judea and Samaria within five years. The program will include hikes and trips to the numerous nature and history sites in Yesha, in cooperation with local field schools, community centers, and local authorities. Tourists will also visit communities and meet residents, attend talks and concerts, visit farms, wineries, and natural food producers, like cheese makers and olive oil producers, and participate in special events. Like Birthright, the program is apolitical, and does not seek to turn visitors into “right wing extremists,” organizers say; the purpose of the tours is to educate, to allow people to at least get an idea of what they are talking about when they discuss Yesha.

The project is being organized by Benny Cohen and Yossi Dagan, former top members of the Yesha Council and of several local governments in the region. The project, which will cost millions of shekels, will be funded by private donations, and the two say that they have received a great deal of encouragement from the interest shown by donors and others.

The inspiration for the new project actually came from former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who, in his pre-disengagement days, would take visitors from Israel and abroad on tours of Yesha. In 1981, Cohen and Dagan said, Sharon's “We are on the Map” project brought hundreds of VIPs from Israel and abroad to Yesha, among them Israeli basketball star Tal Brody. Thousands of Israelis came in Brody's wake, and some political analysts attributed the right's success in elections that followed.

The tours are custom-tailored to various groups – union members, schools, political groups, families with young children, etc. So far, some 40 pilot tours have been held – and all have been quite successful, says Cohen, chairman of the project. “The participants were excited to see the beautiful views and the Zionist spirit in the communities and workplaces in Yesha. Many had no idea that these things existed.” The pilot tours, Cohen said, “convinced us that we are doing the right thing – bringing Israelis to see the reality of Yesha with their own eyes.”

Monday, August 01, 2011

Past Conference on Extending Sovereignty.

Hevron Conference tackles applying Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria

By Josh Hasten (see comments at the bottom–mlw)

Several hundred people from all over the country, along with members of Knesset, educators, and, journalists, gathered in Hebron on Thursday July 21, 2011, for a one day conference exploring the possibilities of Israel asserting sovereignty over Judea and Samaria. The event, organized by the Women in Green organization, featured lectures by Israeli experts in the fields of politics, academia, security, demographics, and economics, who all made the case for Israel to annex the areas acquired in the Six-Day-War.

The events’ speakers also addressed the future status of the Arabs living in Judea and Samaria, should Israel take such measures.

Jerusalem Post correspondent and Latma founder Caroline Glick suggested that Israel assume control over Judea and Samaria similarly to the way Israel annexed the Golan and the Eastern neighborhoods of Jerusalem ­ “quietly” without drawing the world’s attention. She stressed that regardless of whether Israel annex those areas slowly over time, or all at once, either way, we will pay the price both diplomatically and militarily (arms funding ed.), so it’s best to annex all at once. Glick said that most Israelis understand that future withdrawals from Judea and Samaria are a recipe for the destruction of the entire country, citing Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000 and Gaza from 2005, which subsequently led to rocket attacks and wars as the ultimate proofs. Glick was also critical of the right in Israel for remaining quiet while talk of establishing a Palestinian State is rampant ,which would be another terror state she is convinced, while not presenting other rational and realistic options. In regard to the economics of why annexation makes sense, Makor Rishon Economic Correspondent Eran Bar-Tal talked about the economic practicalities, of officially joining Judea and Samaria with the rest of the country. Currently he said, people focus on doing business “North to South” in this country, when in reality it is much more practical to focus on “East in West” with communities in Judea and Samaria just ten minutes away from Kfar Saba and Israel’s other economic hubs. He also said that the Arabs living in Judea and Samaria would benefit economically from such an arrangement being enveloped under Israel’s umbrella citing the practical and financial detriment for Israel currently relying on foreign workers.

MK Aryeh Eldad focused his talk on the fact that a vacuum has been created here in Israel where the Arabs are making claims ­ an end to “occupation,” and a demand for self-determination, while no leaders in Israel respond by clearly stating that the “Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people.” While the Arabs Eldad says, demand sovereignty, we as Jews, fail time and time again to demand our legitimate sovereignty over all of Israel. Eldad believes the ultimate solution is to annex Judea and Samaria and give the Arabs living there full Jordanian citizenship. (he is a nice doctor… maybe he will also give himself a license to practice medicine in Jordan! — mlw)

MK Tzipi Hotovely said that she favors a staged approach to “implementing sovereignty” over Judea and Samaria .she is against the term ‘annexation’ since she feels that the term implies that you are lacking a connection to the area. Hotovely feels that the biggest issue is what to do in regard to the Arab populations in Judea and Samaria. Therefore, the best approach she feels is imposing sovereignty firstly over the Jewish communities in area ‘C’, since only 100,000 Arabs live there, which can be a very important experiment in restoring civil control over the entire area, and later on finding a legitimate solution in regard to the Arab population. She also finds it logical for almost 600,000 thousand Jews in Judea and Samaria to declare their sovereignty, just as Israel, which has a population of six million Jews, declared independence is a sea of hundreds of millions of Arabs.

Arab and Middle East expert Professor Rafi Yisraeli admitted that if he felt a two-state-solution would bring peace then he wouldn’t oppose such a plan, but since he feels strongly that it won’t, he is against. Yisraeli said that the main problem is that if you give the 3.5 million Arabs in Judea, Samaria (and Gaza) a State you are not solving the greater “Palestinian” issue because the other 6.5 “Palestinians” in the Middle East would also demand a solution and hold Israel accountable for their current status. (where does he get 3.5 million? maybe he thinks that bringing in another 6.5 million will solve the problem???–mlw). He added that while he wasn’t against negotiations leading to the Oslo Accords, the reason they failed is that while the Arabs during those talks spoke of “the right to self determination,” Israel never demanded recognition as a Jewish State at that point, or our own right to self-determination. In other words while Israel was willing to recognize the PLO as a partner, the Arabs never recognized the plight of Zionism. He concluded that if Israeli Arabs are interested in joining a future “Palestinian” entity they would have to relinquish their Israeli citizenship, but for Israel that wouldn’t be the end of the world, since that would increase a Zionist majority in the Knesset. (sounds very confused, like most of the two-staters. mlw)

Ambassador Yoram Ettinger focused his words on debunking the myth that Jews in Israel including Judea and Samaria will become a minority anytime soon. Ettinger said that despite the claim that ‘time is against Israel’ in reaching a deal with the Arabs because of demographics, the opposite is in fact true since factors indicate that Jews in Israel will remain a clear majority. Ettinger said that the Jewish birth rate is in fact increasing while the Arab rate is decreasing. He also cited an increase in Arab emigration to other countries particularly Arabs living under PA control. Ettinger also documented the fraudulent methods in which the PA conducts their census, and said that those skewed numbers are what the world bases their false claim that Jews in Israel will become a minority. He concluded by talking about the importance of Aliyah to Israel to further bolster our clear Jewish majority.

Dr. Yitzhak Klein, the Director of the Israel Policy Center stressed the time to assert sovereignty is now since negotiations have failed and the Oslo period is officially over. He agreed with Caroline Glick’s assessment that the majority of Israelis do not want to make any more concessions, which will only lead to an increase in terror.

The conference was summarized by Dr. Gabi Avital Chairman, of Professors for a Strong Israel who insisted that the shared message from all the event’s speakers, despite differences in strategy for implementation, is the fact that the ‘Land for peace’ mantra has proven to be disastrous, and that the only way towards a real peace is for Israel to annex Judea and Samaria.

Conference organizers ­ Women in Green heads Nadia Matar and Yehudit Katsover thanked everyone for attending, particularly those who arrived from Tel-Aviv and other places on the other side of the “Green Line”. They stressed the importance of Hevron as the venue for the event since the city of Hevron embodies the foundation of Jewish history in the Land of Israel.

BDS Leaders Continued to Receive NIF Funding in 2010

Contact: Jason Edelstein, +972-52-861-2129

Contrary to NIF Denials, Coalition of Women for Peace received $36,503 last year

JERUSALEM – In contradiction to multiple public statements, the New Israel Fund’s (NIF) 2010 Financial Statement shows that NIF continued to fund the Coalition of Woman for Peace (CWP) – a leader in the global boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement. The financial statement reveals that in 2010, NIF authorized an additional $20,130 for CWP and disbursed $36,503 to CWP. $6,000 remains to be disbursed in 2011. “The revelation about NIF’s continued funding to CWP reinforces core questions regarding NIF’s credibility, commitment to guidelines, and flow of information within the organization and to donors,” says Prof. Gerald Steinberg, president of NGO Monitor. “NIF officials tried to explain this discrepancy as the result of donor directed funding, but their financial statements do not distinguish between direct and donor advised grants. NIF has full responsibility – morally, legally, and financially – for the 2010 $36,503 disbursement to CWP.”

In May 2011, NGO Monitor revealed that NIF channeled money to CWP – a leading NGO in the BDS campaigns – between 2009 and 2011, NIF denials to the contrary. NIF responded with obfuscations and a flood of uncivil rhetoric, including the libel that “NGO Monitor knowingly published false information.”

“In the latest list of grantees, NIF confirms that funding continued for NGOs that lead in BDS and other elements of the delegitmization campaign against Israel,” adds Steinberg. “Adalah and Mada al-Carmel – two NGOs that have used ‘apartheid’ rhetoric and called for a ‘change in the definition of the State of Israel from a Jewish state’ – also received funding in 2010.”

Full Report Below:

NIF 2010 Financial Report: CWP Continued to Receive Funds, Despite Denials

NGO Monitor July 31, 2011

In July 2011, New Israel Fund (NIF) published its 2010 Financial Statement. This document details NIF funding for Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP) in 2010, and indicates that funds were also earmarked for 2011. (CWP is a leader of anti-Israel BDS campaigns.)

The statement reveals that in 2010, NIF authorized an additional $20,130 for CWP, and disbursed $36,503, including $16,373 authorized in previous years that had not been transferred. (NGO Monitor reports show that NIF provided approximately $300,000 to CWP in previous years.)

On May 12, 2011, an official NIF statement declared that “NIF provided its last direct grant to CWP in 2008” and subsequent transfers were “donor advised.” NIF’s financial statements do not distinguish between direct and donor advised grants, making NIF’s claim unverifiable. Nevertheless, under U.S. tax law, and as reflected in NIF’s 2009 and 2010 financial documents, “donor advised” grants are within the sole discretion of the NIF Board of Directors. No money may be distributed to any grantee without the approval of the NIF board, and donors are notified in advance that disbursements require that approval. NIF has full responsibility – morally, legally, and financially – for the 2010 $36,503 disbursement to CWP.

NIF’s May 12, 2011 press release was headlined: “NGO Monitor attacks New Israel Fund based on information it knew to be wrong.” NIF’s release of its 2010 funding information unequivocally reaffirms the accuracy of NGO Monitor’s reports. (NIF has not apologized.)

In a May 20, 2011 statement, NIF-Australia head Robin Margo declared that CWP “has received no further funding from NIF since 2009” and criticized Dr. Ron Weiser (Zionist Council of New South Wales, Australia) for “suggesting publically... that funding may have continued into 2010.”

According to the NIF financial statement, $6,000 remained to be granted to CWP in 2011. This is consistent with CWP’s statement that NIF continued to provide funds in 2011. (NIF later claimed that “Due to a clerical error, $100 was processed to CWP in May.” NIF did not relate to the $6,000 amount.)

Is It Time Israel Ends Oslo?

Mudar Zahran

Since the Oslo Accords came into effect, each time a breakthrough seems close, the Palestinian Liberation Organization [PLO] leadership, has exhibited a perplexing way of breaching the Accords' conditions and provoking Israel, thereby working against the very agreement that brought the Palestinian Authority into existence. The late PLO Chairman, Yassir Arafat, violated Oslo on the very first day by trying to smuggle a man into Israel whom the Israelis had explicitly banned by hiding him under the seat of his car. More generally, although under the Oslo Accords the Palestinian Authority is obligated to refrain from incitement and hate propaganda against Israel, Arafat's anti-Israel propaganda started right from his first speech, rolling down to Palestinian TV, media, and schools. Arafat then crossed the ultimate red line by creating and financing the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, a Hamas-style terrorist group responsible for tens of terrorist attacks on Israel -- the Brigade still exists today.

This pattern, begun by Arafat, is still in place today under Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas -- initially viewed as a more "moderate" leader. Abbas's latest political initiative, calling for a UN vote on Palestinian statehood to circumvent direct the negotiations with Israel to which it is committed -- by its own agreement -- in United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 -- is a breach of its own Oslo Accords that will most certainly drive the peace process to a point of no return and which presumably entitles Israel to end its side of the Oslo Accords, as well.

Abbas has also been focused on issues counterproductively interjected by the United States -- such as demanding that the Israelis freeze settlement construction -- instead of addressing more workable issues, such as improving the daily lives of Palestinians, who used to enjoy working and moving inside Israel until the suicide bombings began.

These acts of obstructing the peace process –- most recently shown by the PLO's refusal to negotiate with Israel for the past two years --- along with its continual breaches of the Oslo Accords, raises the question: Does the Palestinian leadership want peace at all? Or does it want peace only on its own terms: Erasing Israel from the map?

It would seem, based on the PLO's behavior, that Palestinian Authority leadership has not actually been seeking a solution to the conflict, but rather seeking to expand its solution: Israel supplanted by an Arab state.

For the past several decades, the PLO leadership seem to have been trying to grab whatever it could get in negotiations, using the "ceiling of the last negotiation as the floor of the next," and pocketing whatever concessions it could acquire while waiting for more. This approach is consistent with the Palestinian "Phased Plan" laid out by Arafat in 1974, which "adopted the political solution of establishing a National Authority over any territory from which the occupation withdraws" -- leading it to be referred to as the "Piece Plan" -- and which, as Arafat reaffirmed on September 1, 1993, still is incorporated into the Oslo Accords. This approach is also consistent with the PLO's charter, never rescinded, which calls for the annihilation of the "Zionist Entity."

Back when the Oslo agreement was still fresh and that least theoretically being implemented, the London-based Palestinian Journalist Abdul Bari Atwan in an interview with the London-based Arab TV station, ANB, blamed Arafat for allegedly giving "too many concessions" to Israel. According to Atawn, Arafat's response was: "By Allah, perhaps not in my lifetime, maybe in yours, you will see the Israelis fleeing from Palestine, have a little patience."

In short, Arafat's philosophy revolved around creating chaos and unrest to drain Israel politically while at the same time enjoying the spoils that resulted from doing so. Many senior members of the Palestinian Authority, including its current leader, Mahmoud Abbas, are still enjoying a good life under the protection of the very country against which they are working: Israel.

Arafat's doctrine has come at a very dear cost to both the Israelis and the Palestinians. The Palestinians have lost their formerly open access to the Israeli job market -- with Israel as the only country in the world that allows them to work freely and be treated well – as people who, in the minds of their employers, have been hired as daily workers rather than "bought" as if they were slaves or property -- and be paid according to Western standards.

Countless Palestinian children have perished in either suicide attacks or fruitless confrontations with the Israeli forces during the first and second Intifadas, initiated under Arafat's regime and media machine. Of course, Arafat had little to worry about: at the time of the Second Intifada at least ,both his wife and daughter were enjoying a comfortable living between Paris and Tunis.

Additionally, if Abbas's Palestinian Liberation Organization [PLO] had joined in a so-called unity government with Hamas, a terrorist organization, both organizations would now effectively be terrorist entities. Presumably the PLO was stopped only out of concern that the US and perhaps also Europe would not then continue to fund it.

Abbas doubtless realizes all of this. He probably realizes that Israel would never accept a UN vote for Palestinian statehood, nor would Israel's close allies necessarily be able to continue supporting the Palestinian Authority if such a vote took place. Abbas also knows that Hamas is his sworn enemy, with ambitions of an Islamic Palestine "from the river to the sea," as is stated in the second article of the Hamas charter,and at the same time, with no tolerance for the PLO, which Hamas forced out of the Gaza strip within weeks of taking it over. Members of the PLO in Gaza were from the top floors of buildings. So why is Abbas doing this?

What Hamas has done, and what the Palestinian Authority is pursuing today, are not random acts of irresponsibility, but -- among other hoped-for outcomes, such as being able more easily to tangle Israel up diplomatically and economically in international courts and the like – are rather carefully measured political bullying that results in prosperity to the leadership.

Khattab Abu Sittah, a former officer in Hamas's Ministry of Interior, who then left Hamas, and is now being persecuted by it, told this author that when Hamas took over Gaza, Hamas commanders became more able to control the needy Gazans, who spent most of their time trying to provide the basics for their families, while Hamas took control of the economic life of the Gaza strip. Hamas became the main importer of food through its tunnels with Egypt; got involved in smuggling not only household products but also whole cars -- in addition to weaponry -- and eventually Hamas leaders became rich landlords who had close-to-no suffering. Those men who were able to ease the grip on the Gazans a little for their own benefit are the ones opening businesses there today,, and even terrorizing anyone who tries to compete with them. Abu Sittah said: "I was with them at the beginning because I thought they were better than the nasty (Palestinian) Authority; they have proven to be worse and they are enjoying the current situation and want it to continue."

The model described by Abu Sittah was confirmed earlier in a report by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, entitled: "Gaza's Economy: How Hamas Stays in Power," which asserts that Hamas has overseen the formation of a wealthy Palestinian class -- associated with Hamas.

This pattern is not new; the PLO has been sustaining this economic bonanza for its leadership since its establishment in 1968: The more trouble there is, the more foreign aid money the PLO, and later the Palestinian Authority, have been able to receive -- and the more Palestinian officials are able to mismanage the funds, and thrive, along with their families, while getting sympathy from the world against "the evil Zionists" of Israel. The PLO has played this show long before it arrived in Judea and Samaria; no wonder, most of the PLO leaders were already very rich men when they arrived in there from Tunis.

Moreover, establishing a state is what Abbas saw Hamas do — successfully -- a few years ago, when it insisted on forming a government despite warnings and advice from both its friends and foes, including the former Egyptian regime. Nonetheless, Hamas went on, regardless; it formed a government; created a relatively massive police force, and eventually took over Gaza by force. Just like Abbas's PLO today, Hamas knew it would face extreme reactions from Israel, the US, Egypt, and the Palestinian Authority, but at no cost and with no consequences.

Sadly, it is only only establishing a peace that includes an"end of conflict" and a Palestinian leadership accountable to its people that will lead to the demise of the corruption and empires of oppression of these men. The people now in charge are not politicians so much as warlords who thrive on war, especially as their own children and homes rarely ever affected by what happens to their people, whom they willingly put in harm's way.

It is not only the Palestinian leadership who thrive on war and unrest; but also the United Nations Relief and Works Agency [UNRWA], a bloated jobs program for over 20,000 people, that benefits from conserving rather than ending the current situation; as well as several Arab regimes. These have often added even more pressure on the Palestinians, both on their leadership and on their people, to engage in hostility with Israel. UNRWA goes along with whatever the Palestinians want.

Among Arab nations, Jordan's King Abdullah II, for example, went to the UN threatening war unless Israel "freezes all settlement activities". Of course Abbas appeared on the media the next day saying he, too, would not consent to peace without Israel's freezing all settlement activities. And just recently, the Syrian regime—struggling with an unprecedented revolution -- sent Palestinian youngsters from Yarmouk refugee camp to storm the Israeli borders and throw rocks at Israeli soldiers; as a result, twenty young men and women were killed; and when their families protested against the Syrian regime for what they believe was the its manipulation of their children for political gain, the Syrian-controlled Public Front for the Liberation of Palestine responded by killing 14 protestors on the spot.

The more trouble Arab regimes cause for Israel through the Palestinians, the more they release the pressure on themselves by switching their dissatisfied people's attention against Israel. The Palestinian leadership is no exception: it would therefore rather maintain the no-peace situation -- and, if possible, escalate uncalled for confrontations with Israel -- whenever possible. After all, what is better for the Palestinian officials: a state where they will be held accountable for every dollar, or a state of chaos where they can surreptitiously get rich?

With the Arab Spring sweeping the Middle East region, Abbas and his friends have reason to fear a normal progression for the peace process: if they achieve statehood: their people would start scrutinizing them and asking them for services and benefits and individual rights which for decades have been provided by Israel for free.

Israel should not tolerate this political rat-race, which has come at a substantial cost to its citizens as well as to the Palestinians. Also, so-called pro-Palestinian sympathizers - including Western governments -- should stop tolerating and supporting the Palestinian leadership's recklessness, and should instead focus their efforts on supporting the Palestinian people, especially as most of them do not even live in Israel, but actually in Jordan, Lebanon and other Arab lands.

While Abbas and Hamas will keep provoking Israel to the extreme, and breaching the Oslo Accords at every turn, Israel might do well to reconsider its increasingly one-sided commitment to upholding an agreement, which, it seems, is being upheld by almost one else.