Saturday, September 24, 2011

Palestinian Statehood and the United Nithings

Ted Belman

On Monday, Jeff Daube, Director of Israel Affairs for ZOA, approached me and told me about an LA Jewish Journal article about the gun Obama reputedly put to Netanyahu’s head.

Knesset visitor blasts Obama and Netanyahu advises that MK Eldad accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of buckling under intense pressure from President Barack Obama, who wants to prevent any Israeli retaliation against the Palestinian Authority in its bid to win recognition as a state from the United Nations.

He (Eldad) charged that Obama was holding Netanyahu “at gunpoint” – the gun being the U.S. threat to go back on its promise to veto the Palestinian statehood bid in the UN Security Council.

Specifically, Obama has demanded that Netanyahu and Israel’s supporters in the United States pressure Congress to abort two pending resolutions to penalize the Palestinian Authority (PA) if it pursues its bid, Eldad claimed.

One would shut off U.S. aid funds to the Palestinians and a second would support Israel’s right to annex the West Bank. The legal justification for such actions, cited by many Israeli officials, would be that the unilateral statehood request would be a direct violation of the 1993 Oslo Accords. Eldad said he was certain of the accuracy of his information, but declined to name his sources.

Obviously, Obama wanted to avoid the annexation bid at all costs as he wanted to keep alive his plan for negotiations. In his speech which has been liberally praised as pro-Israel he said,

I put forward a new basis for negotiations in May of this year. That basis is clear. It’s well known to all of us here. Israelis must know that any agreement provides assurances for their security. Palestinians deserve to know the territorial basis of their state.

In effect Obama prevented the PA from being penalized for breaching Oslo yet again. He wants to keep Israel shacked by Oslo so it is not free to act.

No doubt part of this deal is Netanyahu’s agreement to maintain a defacto freeze throughout J&S and Jerusalem.
Posted by Ted Belman @ 3:08 pm | 13 Comments »

13 Responses to Obama extorts a high price for the veto and the speech

Andy Lewis says:
September 23, 2011 at 3:21 pm

Before Bibi decides, if hasn’t already, he should keep this in mind: If Obama gets a second term, he can do as he damn well pleases. An open break (or at least as open as American political protocol will accomodate) might be the only chance for Israel’s survival.
Bill Narvey says:
September 23, 2011 at 4:38 pm

If Eldad can prove what he says, it would anger pro-Israel American politicians and Jewish organizations to the point it would be devastating to Obama’s credibility and his chances for re-election as the Israel issue would rise to come close to or match American concerns over the economy.

If Eldad can’t or for some reason, won’t incontrovertibly prove his accusation, it becomes just more background noise.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Time for annexation

Zeev Elkin

Fifteen years ago, during his first term, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu coined the guiding principle for his negotiations with the Palestinians: “If they give -- they will get.” Now a new Palestinian modus operandi is emerging. They have opted for unilateralism. Namely, they will try to achieve their goals by means of international pressure. . The Palestinians know full well that despite successfully rallying international support for the need for a Palestinian state, the equation of give-get is now so deeply rooted that everyone is expecting them to reciprocate with a concession of their own -- dropping the demand for the right of return and recognizing the state of Israel as the national home of the Jewish people. This is both beyond the will and capability of the Palestinian leadership, which explains why they decided to change course. Now they can just grab what they want without pledging anything to the other party.

But if we fail to make it clear to the Palestinians that they might suffer a defeat in their pursuit of unilateralism, they might ratchet up pressure on Israel. Over the past 20 years Israel has handed over a substantial amount of disputed land, but this did not deliver any progress on the state's national or security objectives in the relinquished areas.

It is time to take a page from the Palestinians' playbook. We should gradually annex Judea and Samaria. As a first step, Israel might annex the settlement blocs that enjoy across-the-board legitimacy among Israelis. It is time that those who try to grab things away from us come to the realization that we have a new mantra. We are simply going to respond in kind: You grab -- we grab.

MK Zeev Elkin serves as the chairman of the coalition in the Knesset and the head of the Likud parliamentary faction.

Toward a Nonviolent, Pluralistic Middle East

Amitai Etzioni
Middle East Quarterly
Fall 2011, pp. 27-38 (view PDF)

The 2001 attacks on the United States have intensified the debate that has existed since the dawn of Islam: How is the West to respond to the followers of Muhammad? Some—most famously Bernard Lewis and Samuel Huntington—held that the contest is between two rather monolithic civilizations that are bound to clash. In a 2007 award acceptance speech at the American Enterprise Institute, Lewis described a history of clashes between Islam and the West. He stated that at first Muslims sought to spread their nascent faith through conquest throughout the then-Christian world; then the Christians invaded the Muslim world (the Crusaders); then the Muslims pushed back into Europe (the Golden Age of Islam); then the West retaliated by colonizing the Muslim world; and now the Muslims are again rising against Christendom by terrorism and flooding Europe with immigrants.[1] Huntington argued that "Islam's borders are bloody, and so are its innards. The fundamental problem for the West is not Islamic fundamentalism. It is Islam, a different civilization whose people are convinced of the superiority of their culture and are obsessed with the inferiority of their power."[2] By contrast, President George W. Bush stated in the wake of the 9/11 attacks that "Islam is peace,"[3] while British prime minister Tony Blair argued that the problem was not Islam but "extremists trying to hijack it for political purposes."[4] Illiberal but Moderate and Nonviolent

While substantial majorities—82-99 percent of Muslims in all countries polled—would like to see constitutional guarantees for freedom of speech, such notions may exist more in the abstract than in the real world. When the Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, published a series of cartoons of Muhammad in September 2005, it ignited a furor throughout the Muslim world, which eventually left dozens dead while cartoonists and their publishers received death threats.
A careful reading of the Qur'an, Hadith (sayings and actions of Muhammad), and other texts and sermons finds that Islam, like other great religions and even major secular belief systems, can be read both as supporting violence and as rejecting it. Muslims seeking to justify the use of force quote verses in the Qur'an, such as: "Slay the idolaters wheresoever you find them."[5] They can cite the Hadith stating, "I have been commanded to fight against people so long as they do not declare that there is no god but God."[6] At the same time, champions of peace can quote the admittedly fewer verses of the Qur'an, such as, "There is no compulsion in matters of faith"[7] and "No human can force a change of heart over which God alone has control."[8] For some, jihad is interpreted as a holy war to subdue the nonbelievers; for others—a spiritual struggle for moral self-improvement.

Hence, to the extent that the West makes the rejection of violence its criteria as to who can be a reliable Muslim partner in building a new Middle East (and more generally a stable world order), it can readily find major Muslim texts in support of such a position. It can find highly influential Muslim authorities who strongly reject terrorism and the use of force more generally but do not and will not support a liberal form of government. These can be considered "illiberal moderates."

A key figure that fits this description is Iraq's Ayatollah Ali Sistani, who supports a state whose laws are fully compatible with Islam while calling for an end to sectarian "hatred and violence."[9] It could be noted further that he does not believe an Islamic state to be incompatible with elections and various civil liberties.[10] A similar figure is Sheikh Isa Qassem, an influential cleric among Bahrain's Shiite opposition, described in a cable released by WikiLeaks as the country's top religious leader.[11] He has called for nonviolence and spoken out against sectarian conflict between Sunnis and Shiites. He has, however, simultaneously called for Shari'a (Islamic law) rule in Bahrain[12] and endorsed Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamene'i.[13]

Another possible, though problematic example is Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi. Widely regarded as one of the most influential Sunni leaders and the Muslim Brotherhood's spiritual leader, he increased his popularity through hosting an Al-Jazeera television show viewed by tens of millions of Muslims. His Friday sermon in Cairo's Tahrir Square on February 18, 2011, a few days after the fall of Egyptian president Husni Mubarak, was attended by hundreds of thousands of ecstatic Egyptians.[14] He is highly illiberal, encouraging strict adherence to the Shari'a, favoring female genital mutilation[15] and the death penalty for homosexuals.[16] At the same time, Qaradawi condemned the 9/11 attacks[17] as well as the March 11, 2004 Madrid and July 7, 2005 London bombings.[18] He was even commended by the French foreign minister, Philippe Douste-Blazy, for helping to secure the release of French journalists in Iraq by vigorously condemning their abduction.[19] Still, he is a highly imperfect example as he endorses terrorism when it comes to Israel and what he terms occupied Muslim territories, including support for attacks against Americans in Iraq.[20]

Perhaps the most apt example comes from Indonesia where the country's largest Muslim organization, Nahdlatul Ulama, which claims tens of millions of followers, has denounced terrorism. Paul Wolfowitz described its former leader Abdurrahman Wahid, who also served as Indonesia's first democratically-elected president, as the "voice of moderate Islam."[21] Another of its former leaders, Hasyim Muzadi, endorsed the country's pluralism and pledged to take a leading role in combating terrorism in Indonesia.[22]

"Illiberal moderate" also pertains to several Islamist groups, associations, and political parties in the region, such as those parts of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Jordan that currently reject violence even as they seek to base governance on Shari'a law, as well as the newly formed Brotherhood-affiliated Freedom and Justice Party in Egypt. It also applies to Egypt's new party of Sufi Muslims that opposes secularism but also seeks peaceful coexistence[23] along with the recently legalized Islamist al-Nahda Party in Tunisia, which has renounced violence and waffled on the issue of whether its goal is to impose Shari'a law.[24] In Morocco, both the legal Party of Justice and Development and the illegal Justice and Spirituality Movement, qualify as nonviolent; however, they are also illiberal on several key issues.[25]

One notes in passing that many of those Muslim public intellectuals and leaders whom Washington does fully embrace because they are liberals actually live in the West and have much less of a following in the Middle East than is sometimes implied.
What the Masses Think

What about the masses? Several public opinion polls indicate that in numerous Muslim countries, only minorities hold violent beliefs. A 2006 Gallup poll of Muslims in ten predominantly Muslim countries, representing more than 80 percent of the global Muslim population, found that only 7 percent could be deemed "politically radicalized," defined as those who both claimed the 9/11 attacks were justified and held unfavorable views of the United States.[26] A 2010 Pew poll in seven largely Muslim countries—including the most populated ones in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa—found that most people did not approve of suicide bombing and other acts of violence against civilian targets. No more than 15 percent of the population in any country viewed these acts as often justified, and only in Lebanon and Nigeria did more than a third of those polled view them as at least sometimes justified. Moreover, eight in ten Muslims in Pakistan, more than three-quarters in Turkey, more than two-thirds in Indonesia, and a majority in Jordan held that such violent acts were never justified.[27]

Also, there has been a steady decline of support for these violent acts when comparing the 2010 data to that from 2002. Double-digit declines in those agreeing that acts of violence were sometimes or often justified occurred in Jordan, Pakistan, Lebanon, Nigeria, and Indonesia. In addition, majorities in virtually all the countries rated al-Qaeda negatively, including more than nine in ten in Lebanon, and more than seven in ten in Turkey and Egypt. Only in Nigeria did almost half (49 percent) express positive views of al-Qaeda.

Although Saudi Arabia is the most prominent supporter of Wahhabism (an extreme interpretation of Islam) and the homeland of fifteen of the nineteen terrorists who attacked New York and the Pentagon on 9/11, a 2008 study by Terror Free Tomorrow found that less than one in ten Saudis had a favorable opinion of al-Qaeda, and almost nine in ten held that the Saudi military and police should pursue its fighters. Only 13 percent said suicide bombing was sometimes or often justified.[28]

There are exceptions to these nonviolent majorities. Support for suicide attacks on U.S. forces and its allies in Iraq was higher than that for other violent acts.[29] Another exception pertains to groups that target Israel.[30] Nonetheless, even in these cases, majorities in most countries were against violence.

While the Pew poll data show clearly that the vast majority of Muslims reject violence, support for democracy and human rights is much more complicated. It often seems that there is a considerable difference between what is favored in the abstract and what concrete measures are supported. This ought to be familiar to Americans though in a rather different context. Most Americans abstractly favor cutting the size of the government but oppose most, if not all, actual cuts in spending. Most are said to be philosophically conservative but operationally liberal. Similarly, many Muslims seem to favor human rights and democracy abstractly but oppose many specific rights especially when they conflict with Shari'a, tradition, and local culture. They also seek increased influence of religion and religious authorities in their public and political lives, a long way from separating religion and state.

Substantial majorities—82-99 percent of Muslims in all countries polled—said that if they were drafting a new constitution for their country, they would guarantee freedom of speech, defined as "allowing all citizens to express their opinions on political, social, and economic issues of the day."[31] (Note that religious freedom is not included.) The 2007 Pew poll found that majorities in all Muslim countries held that courts should treat all equally; and majorities in most of the countries held that people should be free to criticize the government; the media should be free from censorship, and honest multiparty elections should be undertaken in their country.[32]

At the same time, more than three-quarters of Egyptians and Pakistanis, a majority of Nigerians and Jordanians, and a sizable minority of Indonesians favored stoning adulterers, the death penalty for those who denounce the Islamic faith, and whipping or cutting off the hands of those who commit theft or robbery—all illiberal punishments based on a fundamentalist interpretation of Shari'a.[33]

These positions were highlighted by the furor that spread throughout the Muslim world when the fatwa calling for killing the author of The Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie, was issued in February 1989; when a Danish newspaper published a cartoon of Muhammad in September 2005; and when death threats emerged against Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a former member of the Dutch parliament who renounced her Islamic faith and whose writings are critical of the religion.[34] They are further illuminated by the call for the killing of any Muslim who converts to another religion or renounces the faith.

Illiberalism is particularly evident in all matters concerning gender and sexuality. The Gallup poll found that when asked what they least admire about the West, frequent replies by Muslims concerned personal freedoms involving sexuality, promiscuity, and gender mores. A plurality of Muslims in Jordan and Nigeria, and a majority in Egypt (54 percent) and Pakistan (85 percent), said they favored making gender segregation in the workplace the law in their country.[35] The 2007 Pew study found that in most of the predominantly Muslim countries in Asia and the Middle East, only minorities said a woman alone should have the right to choose her own husband. Additionally, substantial majorities in all of those countries said that society should reject homosexuality.

In a 2007 Pew poll, majorities in the five predominantly Muslim Middle Eastern countries surveyed said they preferred democracy to a strong leader (the Palestinian territories were the outlier).[36] In the 2010 Pew poll, majorities in six of seven countries polled said that democracy was always preferable to any other kind of government. Pakistan was the outlier, but a plurality (41 percent) agreed with the statement.

At the same time, vast majorities see Islam's political influence as positive, according to the 2010 Pew data, including more than nine in ten in Indonesia; more than three-quarters in Egypt, Nigeria, and Jordan; more than two-thirds in Pakistan; a majority in Lebanon, and a plurality in Turkey. Less than a third in Lebanon and Turkey, and only 2-14 percent in the five other surveyed countries held a negative view of Islam's role in politics. In the 2006 Gallup poll, majorities in eight of nine countries in which the question was asked said that the Shari'a should be at least a source of legislation in their country, and majorities in four said that it should be the only source (Turkey was the sole outlier). In a 2003 Pew poll, majorities in almost all of the predominantly Muslim countries polled held that religious leaders should play a larger role in politics, including more than nine in ten in Nigeria, and more than seven in ten in Jordan, Bangladesh, and Lebanon. Uzbekistan and Turkey were the outliers, though a sizable minority in both countries (40 percent) favored an even greater role for mullahs.[37]

The combination of support for both democracy and Islam is evident in a March/April 2011 poll of Egyptians. In this poll, 71 percent held that democracy was always preferable to any other kind of government. At the same time, almost nine in ten said they wanted law to be based on Islam with 62 percent saying law should strictly follow the Qur'an.[38]

In short, whether one focuses on leading Muslim texts, religious authorities, public intellectuals, leaders, or voters, one can find many more reliable partners in peace than partners in building liberal, democratic regimes. Another way to look at the same data is to view the illiberal moderates as the global swing vote. Those who favor liberal democracies are likely to support the United States in the first place. Those who hold violent Islamist beliefs are unlikely to line up with the U.S. agenda. Illiberal moderates are those who might be the West's allies, however, only as long as they do not have to give up their illiberal beliefs. Hence, Washington would do well to ally itself with all those who refrain from the use of force and let them develop the kind of regimes their people support. Washington could continue to promote greater democracy and liberalism abroad through nonprofit organizations, broadcasts, cultural exchanges, and other persuasive means. However, it should not make acceptance of these principles a condition for diplomatic, economic, political support for either those in power or those challenging the power-holders.

Indeed, the very question of what makes a "good" Muslim is faulty because it leads to the quest for Muslims who are like the citizens of Western nations. The West should first and foremost look for peaceful Muslims, whatever their other persuasions. Pluralism abroad, like at home, means learning to live with people who have different values, some who harbor strong religious beliefs (like the U.S. Christian Right), some who have political opinions that lean heavily to one extreme of the political spectrum (like the Tea Party and what remains of the radical Left), and so on, as long as they are committed to resolving differences in a nonviolent manner. One can aspire to win them over to what one considers the "good" regime; however, this is a second-stage goal. The Middle East is at best moving to stage one: to limit conflicts to the ballot box and political negotiation and away from massively oppressive and violent confrontations and upheavals.
Responding to the Regional Upheavals

The uprisings that roiled the Middle East as of the beginning of 2011 brought new intensity and concern to the question raised by the 2001 attacks on the United States, a question the West has faced for decades: Should it ally itself only with liberal, democratic, in effect secular groups and regimes? Should it also support illiberal but moderate ones? And what ought to be its position vis-à-vis the remaining Muslim autocracies?

The Libyan Lesson. As the U.S. military joined the fighting in Libya, a number of analysts indicated reluctance to interfere on the basis that officials did not know who the rebels were. In looking for an answer, two rather different criteria were employed and often conflated. One was whether the rebels belonged to the same Libyan groups that sent a disproportionately large number of foreign fighters to battle U.S. forces in Iraq and were members or supporters of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, a militant organization that was suspected of having an "increasingly cooperative relationship" with al-Qaeda. The second was whether these were forces likely to support democracy and human rights in a post-Qaddafi Libya. Leslie Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, among others, correctly complained about the lack of clarity regarding how the Obama administration viewed the rebels: "At times, his team seems to equate the rebels with democrats, then retreats to calling them protesters and revolutionaries."[39]

The intervention was initially justified as an attempt to stop massive violence, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton relied on that criterion to justify the ousting of Qaddafi: "When a leader's only means of staying in power is to use mass violence against his own people, he has lost the legitimacy to rule," she stated. "The Libyan people deserve a government that is responsive to their aspirations and that protects their universally recognized human rights."[40]

Before long the goal of saving civilians from Qaddafi's attacks morphed into an outright demand for regime change. Qaddafi's calls for a ceasefire and negotiations were rejected, and Washington increasingly made the demand that he and his family give up their rule as a condition for ending hostilities; military strikes even targeted command-and-control posts in which Qaddafi might have been found, killing his son and three of his grandchildren in one such attack.[41] This is especially pertinent because the quest for regime change may have extended the hostilities and the casualties on both sides. Moreover, given that the differences between the rebels and Qaddafi's supporters reflect strong and long-standing tribal rivalries, it is rather unlikely that the overthrow of the regime will lead to a peaceful, stable, let alone liberal, democratic government.

It follows that the preferred course of action would have been to end the NATO armed intervention once Qaddafi indicated his willingness to stop military action against the rebels (as long as he lived up to this commitment) and to allow the two sides to work out the course for the future of Libya. The same applies to many other rising groups and standing regimes in the Middle East.

A Nonviolent, Pluralistic Middle East. The lesson of Libya can be generalized to serve as the basis for an approach for transforming the Middle East. For both prudential and normative reasons, the West should not make a commitment to shifting to a liberal, democratic government its litmus test for deciding to support either autocrats or new, rising political groups. Instead, it should persuade, cajole, and pressure both to refrain from resorting to violence, but otherwise let each nation develop its own form of government. This means that the autocrats will be strongly encouraged (mainly, privately) to negotiate with new claimants rather than gunning them down—and that Washington will work with all new political groups that refrain from violence, such as those that ended the authoritarian governments in Tunisia and Egypt. These may include groups that favor a religious regime, such as moderate parts of the Muslim Brotherhood, or some kind of a moderate monarchy (say in Morocco, Jordan, Oman, Kuwait, or Qatar), or a civilian-military joint rule, as existed in South Korea, Chile, Turkey, and Indonesia before they became more democratic.

Washington and its allies can surely continue to welcome nations that liberalize their governments, introduce parliamentary democracies, and respect human rights. However, they should neither demand nor expect such a transformation, instead making abstention from violence the first litmus test as to who can qualify as a partner in the Middle East. That is, Washington would favor what might be called a nonviolent pluralism for the region (and for each country), in which it supports and cooperates with a variety of regimes and new political groups as long as they vie with each other within the rules of nonviolent engagement.

One major merit of the nonviolent pluralism doctrine is that it can be consistently applied to all regimes in the Middle East by providing a clear principle for identifying those groups that meet the elementary condition for partnering with Washington in the changing region. This cannot be said of ad hoc U.S. policy on the matter, which is tailor-made to each case. Throughout the Cold War, Washington positioned itself as the champion of freedom yet supported military dictatorships in South America, Asia, and elsewhere. During the recent uprisings in the Middle East, the U.S. administration fought to oust Qaddafi, urged Mubarak to step down in Egypt, and cheered the departure of Ben Ali in Tunisia while making few, delayed, and muted pleas for Saleh to step down in Yemen,[42] waffling on Syria and the Green Movement in Iran, and in effect, supporting the autocrats of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. Even as Bahrain was violently suppressing protests, and just before Riyadh sent its troops to help, Secretary Clinton commended King Hamad for engaging in "meaningful outreach and efforts to try to bring about the change that will be in line with the needs of the people."[43]

U.S. leaders tried to explain away these gross inconsistencies. Most notably, Clinton, in a speech asserting Washington's commitment to "sustained democracies" in the region, argued that diverse approaches were called for given such a "fluid" situation and that "a one-size-fits-all approach doesn't make sense."[44] Moreover, President Barack Obama, in his speech at the National Defense University justifying the Libyan intervention, took pains to emphasize that it was geared only to saving civilians rather than representing a broader doctrine.[45]

These arguments, however, do little to persuade critics abroad and at home, for good reason. Nations provide rationales for their policies, interventions overseas included, because acting legitimately—that is, in line with established values and norms—helps them to advance their goals. True, as Obama stated in his speech on Libya, "I have made it clear that I will never hesitate to use our military swiftly, decisively, and unilaterally when necessary to defend our people, our homeland, our allies, and our core interests"—implicitly disregarding whether or not other people consider the act legitimate. However, Washington—like other governments—seeks most times to justify its actions in terms that speak both to the American people and the citizens of others nations. Indeed, in an age of mass communication, higher levels of education, increased attention to public affairs, and growing involvement of the masses in politics, what various people consider normatively appropriate has real consequences.

Legitimacy, in turn, thrives on consistency. Both laws and norms are expected to apply equally to one and all, without exceptions for one's allies or friends. It is on this test that current policy fails so often, in very visible ways, which evoke the ire of U.S. critics, embarrass its friends, and provide a propaganda windfall to its adversaries. The claim that Washington is hypocritical when it lectures Russia and China about human rights and then provides equipment and training to the police and secret services of Saudi Arabia and Mubarak's Egypt—and previously to the dictators of Argentina, Chile, and Indonesia, among others—is one of the numerous observations that show that inconsistent liberalism is harming the U.S. cause.

Washington can consistently employ military forces to stop genocides but not to change regimes; morally and financially support peaceful uprisings but not groups that use terror to advance their agenda. Consistency does not require relying only on one criterion. As President Obama correctly pointed out, if U.S. vital interests are directly affected—say, a foreign power is blocking the shipment of oil through the Strait of Hormuz—Washington will act based on interest considerations and not necessarily on what other nations consider the right foreign policy. However, at the end of the day, under most conditions, a government does best if it can follow clearly-stated principles that are endorsed by others in the international community.
Why Not Consistent Liberalism?

At this point, one might ask: Why not follow a policy of consistent liberalism, as advocated by numerous human rights nongovernmental organizations and analysts at respected think tanks? One reason is that Washington is much more likely to be on the side of whoever leads the change movements and the future regimes in the region if it does not limit its support only to liberal, democratic groups—which are often the weakest of the new claimants because they tend to fare less well under autocratic regimes than more radical groups—and if it supports all who refrain from the use of force. Another reason is that Islamist groups, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, have developed a grassroots following through networks of charitable works and social services.

Several observers have referred to the 2011 wave of Middle Eastern uprisings as an "Arab Spring," a metaphor that should not be taken too seriously; one notes that springs in the Middle East are short and followed by long hot summers and then—the fall. Joe Nocera of The New York Times argues that the "Arab Spring" proves that millions of Muslims yearn for "freedom and democracy,"[46] and Secretary Clinton finds "a time of great movements toward freedom and democracy, at a time when the people across the Middle East and North Africa are rejecting the extremist narratives and charting a path of peaceful progress based on universal rights and aspirations."[47]

Actually, uprisings against a regime are often driven by tribal loyalties, religious or ideological stirrings, or merely by people who seek to throw off the yoke of oppression or to achieve economic betterment. Even when those involved mouth democratic slogans, tearing down a regime cannot be equated with building one, let alone a democratic one. If one stops looking at the shouting masses on television through romantic lenses, one often sees the mobs that greatly worried the Founding Fathers. They can pave the way—but who knows to where?

Indeed, one of the few predictions one can make with a considerable degree of assurance about the developments in the Middle East in the foreseeable future is that there will not be a grand transition from autocracies to shining, liberal democracies or even dimly lit ones. Instead, there are likely to be numerous and different kinds of upheavals and attempts to form new regimes that will fail, leading to still new attempts. Even if relatively democratic or moderate groups take control after a revolution, they may lose out to more radical ones over time. This is what happened after the French and Russian revolutions.

Also, a nonviolent pluralism approach will prevent Washington from becoming involved in still more wars in the Muslim world, which support for liberal democratic forces would call for, and has a much lower risk of jeopardizing relations with the more benevolent authoritarian regimes and essential allies. The autocrats surely would rather face a U.S. administration that urges them not to turn their guns on the new claimants and holds that peaceful give-and-take is in their mutual interests than face demands that they must transform their regimes or wonder if they will be next on the list of heads of state that Washington argues must leave to make room for change.

Two clarifications are called for at this point. First, it is arguable that all the Middle East's authoritarian regimes use some level of coercion against their own people, and that amongst those rising against their governments there are often violent elements. However, there is a world of difference between those who arrest a few protesters and even kill a few—and those who bomb cities, kill hundreds if not thousands, or rape and torture to crush an uprising. The harsh realities of social life, even in Western countries, have entailed occasional bursts of violence, for instance the shooting of students at Kent State University by the Ohio National Guard and periodic violent riots in Paris and recently in Greece. But it is best to tolerate violence in only very limited and rare situations.

Second, the nonviolent pluralism approach does not deny Washington the right to raise its moral voice to encourage greater liberalism and democracy in various countries. The U.S. administration can continue to laud democratic ideals in other countries through Voice of America broadcasts and to promote them in student and other cultural exchanges. Nor does it suggest that Washington should refrain from funding a host of organizations that promote these causes, such as Freedom House and the National Endowment for Democracy. However, encouraging peaceful evolution within countries is profoundly different from forced regime change.

One might ask how this approach differs from the position Washington took when urging Yemen and Bahrain to "show restraint" and "pursue peaceful and meaningful dialogue with the opposition rather than resorting to the use of force";[48] when President Obama said of Syria's crackdowns, "This outrageous use of violence to quell protests must come to an end now";[49] and Secretary Clinton urged the Syrian government to "stop the arbitrary arrest, detention, and torture of prisoners."[50] Indeed, Obama articulated this position exceptionally well in his January 2009 inaugural speech that was introduced as his major opening to the Muslim world. He stated, "To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist."

However, this position has been applied inconsistently, which undermines its legitimacy as has been evident in the different treatments of Qaddafi's Libya, on the one hand, of Syria, Bahrain, and Saudi Arabia, on the other, and of Egypt, as well as in sporadic demands to usher in liberal democratic regimes by Obama and especially Clinton. Thus, for example, the secretary of state stated in a June 2011 speech to the African Union: "[The Middle Eastern upheavals'] message is clear to us all: The status quo is broken; the old ways of governing are no longer acceptable; it is time for leaders to lead with accountability, treat their people with dignity, respect their rights, and deliver economic opportunity. And if they will not, then it is time for them to go."[51]

Aside from various pragmatic reasons to make nonviolence the first litmus test for U.S. policy toward Middle Eastern regimes, there are several strong normative reasons to favor the same basic position. The right to be free from violence—from being killed, maimed, or tortured—in short, the right of life, has a special standing because all other rights, from free speech to religious freedoms, are conditioned on it, but it, in turn, is not conditioned on these rights being observed. (Dead people lose their other rights while those who live may fight for and see the day their other rights will be realized.) The special normative standing of the right of life is further revealed insofar as the criminal codes of numerous nations place a higher penalty on taking a life than on violating other rights.

For all these reasons, if Washington limits its approval and support to the Middle East's liberal, democratic groups, it will often be left out in the cold. U.S. interests and those of people of the region are better served if Washington does not merely tolerate a variety of groups and rulers but also holds that although it hopes in the longer run they all will find their way to a liberal life, for now, moving away from oppression at home, ceasing support for terrorism, halting the building of weapons of mass destruction, and ceasing to threaten other nations and peoples—all matters concerning the use of force—suffices for becoming a reliable ally.

Indeed, Washington may be moving in this direction. On June 30, 2011, Secretary of State Clinton announced that the Obama administration will resume limited contact with the Muslim Brotherhood, allowing U.S. officials to deal directly with members of the Islamist group. The previous policy restricted contact to Brotherhood members in parliament on matters of state business. Now that the group looks to be a major force in the upcoming elections, Clinton told reporters, it is in U.S interests to engage with the nonviolent organization—while emphasizing "the importance of and support for democratic principles. … We believe, given the changing political landscape in Egypt, that it is in the interests of the United States to engage with all parties that are peaceful, and committed to nonviolence, that intend to compete for the parliament and the presidency."[52]

A critic may argue that rather than engaging radical, Islamist groups, notably the Muslim Brotherhood, the West should endeavor to restrict and, if possible, exclude them from the political arena for the simple reason that their values and goals are mutually exclusive to ours. These groups seek nothing short of world domination, regardless of whether they are presently using "peaceable" means for tactical reasons.

However, even if it turns out that the Muslim Brotherhood and its like must be spurned, for this author, the basic question remains: Do we assume a priori that all Islamist groups, however moderate, say, in Morocco and Indonesia, are suspect on the face of it, or can we cooperate with some of them? And if the answer is in the affirmative, how should we determine which qualify?

Amitai Etzioni is a university professor and professor of international relations at The George Washington University, director of the Institute for Communitarian Policy Studies, and the author of Security First: For a Muscular, Moral Foreign Policy (Yale University Press, 2008).

[1] Bernard Lewis, "Europe and Islam," The American Enterprise Institute, Washington, D.C., Mar. 7, 2007.
[2] Samuel Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations: The Remaking of World Order (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1998).
[3] "'Islam Is Peace,' Says President," The White House, Washington D.C., Sept. 17, 2001.
[4] The Telegraph (London), Nov. 2, 2001.
[5] Qur. 9:5.
[6] Hadith, Sahih Muslim 1.9.30.
[7] Qur. 2:256.
[8] Qur. 10:99-100.
[9] BBC News, July 20, 2006.
[10] Sharon Otterman, "Iraq: Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani," Council on Foreign Relations, Washington, D.C., Sept. 1, 2004.
[11] The Telegraph, July 8, 2008.
[12] Barry Rubin, "Top Bahrain Opposition Cleric: We Want Sharia Law State," The Rubin Report, Mar. 9, 2011.
[13] Jacques Neriah, "Could the Kingdom of Bahrain Become an Iranian Pearl Harbor?" The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Feb. 20, 2011.
[14] "Portrait of Sheikh Dr. Yusuf Abdallah al-Qaradawi, senior Sunni Muslim cleric, affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood," The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, Ramat Hasharon, Feb. 27, 2011.
[15] George Readings, "Female genital mutilation cannot be defended as part of Islam," The Guardian (London), Oct. 15, 2010.
[16] "The Qaradawi Fatwas," The Middle East Quarterly, Summer 2004, pp. 78-80.
[17] "Aftermath of the 9-11 Terrorist Attack: Voices of Moderate Muslims,", Kingston, Ont., Oct. 12, 2001.
[18] The Guardian, Sept. 25, 2009.
[19] Olivier Guitta, "French foreign Minister officially thanked Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi!" Counterterrorism Blog, Sept. 26, 2005.
[20] "Sheik Yusuf al-Qaradawi: Theologian of Terror," The Anti-Defamation League, Washington, D.C. Mar. 15, 2011.
[21] The Wall Street Journal, Jan. 6, 2010.
[22] The Jakarta Post, Mar. 15, 2010.
[23] Al-Masry al-Youm (Cairo), June 14, 2011.
[24] Rajaa Basly, "The Future of al-Nahda in Tunisia," Arab Reform Bulletin, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington, D.C., Apr. 20, 2011.
[25] Bruce Maddy-Weitzman, "Islamism, Moroccan-Style: The Ideas of Sheikh Yassine," Middle East Quarterly, Winter 2003, pp. 43-51.
[26] Dalia Mogahed, "Islam and Democracy," The Gallup Center for Muslim Studies, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 2006. For data that run in a different direction and critiques, see Daniel Pipes, "How Many Islamists?", Dec. 28, 2010.
[27] "Muslim Publics Divided on Hamas and Hezbollah," Pew Research Center, Global Attitudes Project, Washington, D.C., Dec. 2, 2010.
[28] "Saudi Arabians Overwhelmingly Reject Bin Laden, Al Qaeda, Saudi Fighters in Iraq, and Terrorism; Also among Most Pro-American in Muslim World," Terror Free Tomorrow, Center for Public Opinion, Washington, D.C., 2008, accessed June 22, 2011.
[29] "Islamic Extremism: Common Concern for Muslim and Western Publics," Pew Global Attitudes Survey, Pew Research Center, Washington, D.C., July 4, 2005.
[30] "Muslim Publics Divided on Hamas and Hezbollah," Dec. 2, 2010.
[31] Mogahed, "Islam and Democracy."
[32] "World Publics Welcome Global Trade—But Not Immigration," Pew Research Center, Global Attitudes Project, Washington, D.C., Oct. 4, 2007.
[33] "Muslim Publics Divided on Hamas and Hezbollah," Dec. 2, 2010.
[34] See "Ayaan Hirsi Ali: I Will Continue to Ask Uncomfortable Questions," Middle East Quarterly, Fall 2006, pp. 67-70.
[35] "Muslim Publics Divided on Hamas and Hezbollah," Dec. 2, 2010.
[36] "World Publics Welcome Global Trade—But Not Immigration," Oct. 4, 2007.
[37] "Views of a Changing World," Pew Research Center, June 2003.
[38] "Egyptians Embrace Revolt Leaders, Religious Parties, and Military, As Well," Pew Research Center, Washington, D.C., Apr. 25, 2011.
[39] The Daily Beast, Mar. 8, 2011.
[40] USA Today, Feb. 27, 2011.
[41] The Washington Post, Apr. 20, 2011.
[42] See Howard LaFranchi, "Why Obama isn't pushing for Yemen president to go: Al Qaeda," The Christian Science Monitor (Boston), Mar. 22, 2011.
[43] "Secretary Clinton on Libya," Andrews Air Force Base, U.S. Department of State, Feb. 27, 2011.
[44] "Secretary Clinton's Remarks at the U.S. Islamic World Forum," Washington, D.C., Apr. 12, 2011.
[45] "Remarks by the President in Address to the Nation on Libya," The White House, Mar. 28, 2011.
[46] Joe Nocera, "Four Questions He Leaves Behind," The New York Times, May 3, 2011.
[47] NPR News, May 3, 2011.
[48] "Statement from the press secretary on violence in Yemen and Bahrain," The White House, Mar. 13, 2011.
[49] "Statement by the President on Syria," The White House, Apr. 22, 2011.
[50] Reuters, Apr. 20, 2011.
[51] "Secretary Clinton Remarks at African Union," Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, U.S. Department of State, June 13, 2011.
[52] Reuters, June 30, 2011.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

"Let's Get Real"

Arlene Kushner

Well, I still cannot tell you exactly what's going to happen tomorrow, after Netanyahu and Abbas address the UN. But the focus has sharpened considerably. And I can certainly look at what's happened so far.


Yesterday, President Obama did two things of significance with regard to this whole drama.

First, he met with Abbas, and told him that he indeed will veto the PA bid in the Security Council, if it comes to that.

I cannot tell you what Abbas said privately to Obama. But publicly the stance of the PA was defiant. They will go on, its representatives declared, and submit the request for full membership for a Palestinian state to the Security Council.

Nabil Sha'ath, however, indicated that tomorrow Abbas would submit his letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon but that it might then be held before it is passed on to the Security Council.

And so here we have one possibility for what may transpire tomorrow. It's a solid possibility -- a stalling tactic. Another stalling tactic would involve giving the request to the Security Council, which would decide it needed to deliberate -- maybe for months, maybe for a year. The idea, quite obviously, is to buy time, in the hope that the situation will somehow change. Hope does spring eternal, does it not?


It seems to be the case, as I write, that a sufficient number of nations who are on the SC have come on board with regard to the effort to block the Palestinian bid via abstentions so that Obama may not have to give that order to veto. Remember that nine nations must vote for it, or it does not pass.

I will add here that apparently behind-the-scenes work -- effective lobbying -- by Israel is as responsible for this achievement as anything the US has done.


In his address to the UN yesterday, French President Nicholas Sarkozy (whom I believe will abstain) put forth a most unacceptable proposition:

One month to resume negotiations, six months to reach an agreement on borders and security, and one year to reach a definitive agreement. In the interim the Palestinians would have observer state status.

This is a dangerous proposal without viability. Aside from anything else, timetables like this are disastrous. Not to mention that the PA would parlay observer state status into a tool for legal leveraging against Israel.

Of course, part of what Sarkozy is advancing is an opportunity for France to get involved: "Who still believes that the peace process can succeed without Europe?"

I, for one. Europe is finished, with regard to moral authority or competent leadership. The nations of Europe are on the edge of economic and political bankruptcy.

Explained Sarkozy, "A democratic, viable and peaceful Palestinian state would, for Israel, be its best guarantee of its security."

Does he/can he possibly believe that a Palestinian state would be as he describes? A dangerous proposal, but also a dangerous man.


In the PA areas of Judea and Samaria, people gathered yesterday in preparation for celebration of the founding of a state. A bit prematurely, I would say. And in smaller numbers than had been anticipated.

The crowd grew angry when they learned of Obama's intention to veto as necessary. There was condemnation of the US voiced from within the crowds, burning of US flags, and throwing of stones. Today this mood has heightened, as Obama is being called a hypocrite, and photos of him are being torched in Ramallah.

With Abbas scheduled to address the UN tomorrow, and then submit his letter, Israeli security forces -- IDF, Border Police, etc. -- are gearing up for the possibility of violence. A number of non-lethal techniques for dispersing crowds are in place. In due course I may write further about this.


The second thing Obama did yesterday was address the UN General Assembly.

You can find his full remarks here:

He had come, he told those gathered, to speak of peace:

", we stand at a crossroads of history with the chance to move decisively in the direction of peace. To do so, we must return to the wisdom of those who created this institution. The United Nations’ Founding Charter calls upon us, 'to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security.' And Article 1 of this General Assembly’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights reminds us that, 'All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and in rights.' Those bedrock beliefs -- in the responsibility of states, and the rights of men and women -- must be our guide.

How sincere can it be, to cite the UN -- that most corrupt of institutions -- with regard to human dignity? This is unserious sucking-up.


But the president continued...

"And in that effort, we have reason to hope. This year has been a time of extraordinary transformation..."

Hope? Extraordinary transformation? To make his point he recounted situations in a variety of hotspots in the Middle East and Arab world. Altogether too starry-eyed an account, plastered with political platitudes. He has ignored the hard frost that has settled over the "Arab Spring." For example:

"One year ago, Egypt had known one President for nearly 30 years. But for 18 days, the eyes of the world were glued to Tahrir Square, where Egyptians from all walks of life -- men and women, young and old, Muslim and Christian -- demanded their universal rights. We saw in those protesters the moral force of non-violence that has lit the world from Delhi to Warsaw, from Selma to South Africa -- and we knew that change had come to Egypt and to the Arab world."

But it was from Tahrir Square that violent protesters had come just days ago to threaten the ambassador of Israel! He had placed a phone call to Cairo in this regard. And it is in Egypt that we may yet see the rise of Islamists to power.


And then, to the heart of the matter:

"...for many in this hall, there's one issue that stands as a test for these principles and a test for American foreign policy, and that is the conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

"One year ago, I stood at this podium and I called for an independent Palestine. I believed then, and I believe now, that the Palestinian people deserve a state of their own. But what I also said is that a genuine peace can only be realized between the Israelis and the Palestinians themselves. One year later, despite extensive efforts by America and others, the parties have not bridged their differences...

"...I know that many are frustrated by the lack of progress. I assure you, so am I. But the question isn’t the goal that we seek -- the question is how do we reach that goal. And I am convinced that there is no short cut to the end of a conflict that has endured for decades. Peace is hard work. Peace will not come through statements and resolutions at the United Nations -- if it were that easy, it would have been accomplished by now. Ultimately, it is the Israelis and the Palestinians who must live side by side. Ultimately, it is the Israelis and the Palestinians -- not us –- who must reach agreement on the issues that divide them: on borders and on security, on refugees and Jerusalem.


"...We seek a future where Palestinians live in a sovereign state of their own, with no limit to what they can achieve. There’s no question that the Palestinians have seen that vision delayed for too long. It is precisely because we believe so strongly in the aspirations of the Palestinian people that America has invested so much time and so much effort in the building of a Palestinian state, and the negotiations that can deliver a Palestinian state.

"But understand this as well: America’s commitment to Israel’s security is unshakeable. Our friendship with Israel is deep and enduring. And so we believe that any lasting peace must acknowledge the very real security concerns that Israel faces every single day.

"Let us be honest with ourselves: Israel is surrounded by neighbors that have waged repeated wars against it. Israel’s citizens have been killed by rockets fired at their houses and suicide bombs on their buses. Israel’s children come of age knowing that throughout the region, other children are taught to hate them. Israel, a small country of less than eight million people, look out at a world where leaders of much larger nations threaten to wipe it off of the map. The Jewish people carry the burden of centuries of exile and persecution, and fresh memories of knowing that six million people were killed simply because of who they are. Those are facts. They cannot be denied.

"The Jewish people have forged a successful state in their historic homeland. Israel deserves recognition. It deserves normal relations with its neighbors. And friends of the Palestinians do them no favors by ignoring this truth, just as friends of Israel must recognize the need to pursue a two-state solution with a secure Israel next to an independent Palestine.

"That is the truth -- each side has legitimate aspirations -- and that’s part of what makes peace so hard. And the deadlock will only be broken when each side learns to stand in the other’s shoes; each side can see the world through the other’s eyes. That’s what we should be encouraging..."


Well, there is much to challenge, but undoubtedly it could have been worse. No more talk of settlements as the cause of the stalemate. There's been a shift.

I would interpret that shift as, in significant measure, a self-serving political one. An election is coming down the road. Not only does Obama need American Jewish support (which is diminishing) and American Jewish dollars (which diminish along with the support), he is facing staunchly pro-Israel Republican opponents. No, clearly his anti-Israel stance didn't play well and something else was called for.

But let me state clearly that his anti-Israel stance has been too consistent, and too blatant, for me to be convinced for a moment that Obama is truly a friend of Israel.

I'll take what I can get here, happily, but warily. Yet I shudder to think that pro-Obama Democrats might sell people on the notion that Obama deserves their vote if they care about Israel. And after the election?


This speech essentially laid the ground for his already-declared readiness to veto a PA move to establish a state unilaterally. He is promoting the need for face-to-face negotiations. That is his political position. NOT for Israel's sake, but because this is how he has opted to play it. He knows that the unilateral path spells disaster. OK, then.

I hold no brief for negotiations. Don't believe they can bring us to anything remotely resembling peace (although some very credible Israelis argue that talking is good, and can bring cooperation in some peripheral spheres).

But good indeed that there should not be a Palestinian state, acknowledged by the international community, sitting as a full member of the UN.


That Netanyahu and his team should see this state of affairs as good is entirely understandable. That he should be relieved that there was no mention of settlements as the cause of the stalemate, and pleased that there was acknowledgement of Israel's security needs, is to be expected. That he should feel a measure of delight, some sense of victory, that Abbas was foiled at some level is appropriate.

But Netanyahu's response moved beyond all of this in an expression of jubilation and words of enormous and effusive appreciation to Obama. I could have done with something more low key, myself.

What does it say, that our prime minister believes he needs to so very energetically express appreciation to Obama for doing only what he should be doing anyway? This is a tip-off to the fact that Netanyahu, no matter his words, trusts Obama as a friend of Israel no more than I.


Let us look then, at some other comments regarding the Obama speech.

Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, in a press release, indicated disappointment in the talk:

"...Today’s address was an opportunity for the President to clearly support our ally Israel and stop the PLO’s scheme in its tracks, but it fell short.

“The President drew moral equivalence between our ally Israel and the Palestinians and unfairly blamed both for the lack of peace."


And then there was a Townhall column by Kate Hicks, "Obama and the Myth of Moral Equivalency."

"In a grandiose display of the very ignorance he therein denounced, President Obama gave an address to the United Nations General Assembly this morning. I don’t even know where to begin when deconstructing his remarks, which total nine single spaced typed pages and skip to and fro among an impressive collection of liberal talking points. My favorite moment came when he announced, 'We have banned those who abuse human rights from traveling to our country,' with Mahmoud Ahmedinejad in the room. Indeed, close examination of his platitudes reveals the president’s inconsistent message and his tenuous grip on reality.

"'...the deadlock will only be broken when each side learns to stand in each other’s shoes.'

"Sure, Mr. President. Why don’t we ask a terrorist organization to take a walk in the shoes of the people they have sworn to kill. Hey, since you’re so fond of quoting charters, how about we quote that of Hamas, the governing power in Palestine...This is why they cannot achieve that 'lasting peace' you mentioned four or five times today—because Hamas doesn’t want it. Unless peace involves the eradication of the Jewish people. Then they’re willing to give it a try.

"He made constant reference to the necessity for compromise, and the legitimacy of both sides’ aspirations (one would hope the elimination of the Jews does not fall into this category). But Obama wastes his words on pipedreams of shared perspectives...

"...He didn’t draw a hard line anywhere in his speech. He didn’t say anything that the UN would find repugnant or controversial. He betrayed the US’s interests and allies with a cotton candy speech designed to fill quote books of clichés ('Peace is hard?' Right.), and win the international popularity contest.

"...He sees the world through Rockwellian glasses, in which 'freedom from want' is a legitimate human right, and we don’t ever have to put our foot down and tell Palestine that it cannot negotiate for itself someone else’s land.

"Sure, Mr. President. Peace is hard. But moral relativism comes way too easily to you."


This is where I will end today's posting, which would, if I wrote about all that is happening, go on indefinitely. Ultimately I hope to explore issues of the triangulation of Congress/Netanyahu/Obama, and of questions of withholding of funds to the PA (something Ros-Lehtinen is concerned with). I am not there yet.


Today is Durban III at the UN. There is something to say about that. And, more importantly, about the counter-conference being held across the street from the UN: "The Perils of Global Intolerance: The United Nations and Durban III." Sponsored by Touro College and The Hudson Institute, organized by Eye on the UN's Anne Bayefsky, who is associated with these institutions.

Via Internet I have been listening to an array of speakers who are magnificent: Elie Wiesel, Dore Gold, Dan Diker, Ron Lauder, John Bolton, Ruth Wisse, Alan Dershowitz, Wafa Sultan, Khaled Abu Toameh, Shelby Steele, and more. They are exploring anti-Semitism, UN corruption, rights of Israel, and more.

As time allows tomorrow I will try to review some of these talks. My hope is that videos of the talks will be put up on the Internet. This program represents a stunning collection of brilliant minds, thinking morally and incisively.

This gathering is cause for hope.


I do not anticipate that the talks by Netanyahu and Abbas tomorrow at the UN will take place early enough in the day in NY for me to write about them before Shabbat begins here in Jerusalem. I am aiming for -- but will not promise -- a post on this at the end of Shabbat.

© 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:

Only Israel West of the River

Jamie Glazov

Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Dr. Mordechai Nisan, a retired lecturer in Middle East Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He continues to teach in other educational institutions on topics ranging from the Arab-Israeli conflict, Islam, Israel, Lebanon, and Minorities in the Mideast. He is the author of the new book, Only Israel West of the River.

FP: Dr. Mordechai Nisan, welcome to Frontpage Interview

Thank you for having me.

Congratulations on your new book. What inspired you to write it and why did you write it now in 2011?

Nisan: Thanks Jamie.

There is a significant erosion in the world and in Israel itself of belief in the justice of Zionism and Israel as a legitimate Jewish state. I felt that the charges of racism and illegal occupation had to be met in a reasoned fashion, so I mobilized arguments on behalf of Israel’s cause. In 2011, we witness the Palestinian diplomatic campaign for statehood, and this idea focused on the territories of Judea and Samaria – what the world calls the West Bank. It is a grave threat to Israel’s welfare. My response is a timely and I hope effective defense of Israel’s national rights and explanation of her political and security predicament. FP: What is the major theme of the book?

Your Ad Here

Nisan: The predominant theme is that Israel is justifiably in control of all of Jerusalem and the territories as a historical homeland and national space for fulfilling Israel’s development and growth. This converges with my argument against a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River, a state that would destabilize the situation on the ground, catalyze tension and terrorism, radicalize the Arabs in Israel, demoralize Israel’s population, and raise doubts about the country’s stamina to face the Palestinian push to the sea. It is the Palestinian state idea that will excite popular Palestinian passions that Israel is on the way down and that the future is with the Palestinians.

FP: How does this book fit into the range of your other research and writing concerns?

Nisan: I have written on Israel from the start of my research with a focus on the Arab challenge to the Jewish state. So this book is a continuation and application of my thinking given the present circumstances of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But my broader research concerns and writings, like minority peoples and Lebanon, have sensitized me to the fragility of small peoples in the Muslim/Arab dominated Middle East. As a small people in an Arab sea, the Jews of Israel will always face demanding challenges to preserve their identity and cultivate their resourcefulness in pursuing the modern Israel national venture.

FP: What do you make of Abbas? How is he different from the leaders of Hamas?

Nisan: Coming after the passing of flamboyant and legendary Fatah-founder Yasser Arafat​, Mahmoud Abbas​ has to try and make his individual political mark. He has adopted the political discourse of peace-making with Israel, but without ever abandoning the essential Palestinian demands, like refugee return, which are designed to destroy Israel from within. Without any doubt, leading the Fatah movement, the PLO, and the Palestinian Authority, Abbas shares with Hamas the long-term Palestinian goal to destroy Israel. Hamas uses an Islamic idiom and a Sharia-based policy agenda, while the Abbas-run PLO/PA apparatus plays to the Western audience, media outlets, and the Israeli public. The deceiving and pugnacious Abbas is a far greater danger and threat to Israel than Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, a transparent enemy of Israel.
FP: The Palestinians have been offered a state many times — on many generous conditions. Why do they reject all the offers?

Nisan: The Palestinians rejected a state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip in the past because they considered it a capitulation to Israel’s existence and a refutation of getting all of Palestine. The revolutionary campaign in principle sets its political sights on Israel’s elimination more than on Palestinian statehood. Yet, in the 1980′s, Palestinians began to murmur sweet nothings that they would settle for a state alongside Israel rather than in place of Israel. It is all sand in the world’s eyes. The Palestinians believe in a staged-process to get Israel to withdraw and suffer domestic demoralization, while the Palestinian flag will arouse Arab nationalist and Islamic religious arrogance, gushing with visceral contempt for the Jews wherever the Palestinians wander around Israeli society – in the streets, the universities, and shopping malls. This Israeli-Palestinian conflict contains powerful cultural undertones that arm the Palestinians with the indomitable drive toward victory – not compromise or reconciliation at all.

FP: What do you think of the vote for an independent Palestinian state that might be coming up at the U.N.? What are the possibilities?

Nisan: A declaration by the UN General Assembly for an independent Palestinian state is assured; getting a vote through the Security Council is not in the political arithmetic of its composition. But it is important to appreciate the historic occasion when the broad international community is essentially united behind the idea of a Palestinian state – jihadist, Islamic, irredentist – in the heart of the Jewish people’s homeland. This world community – Europeans, Africans, Asians, and others – supports the peace-and-war strategy that the Palestinians conduct against the small state of Israel.

In reality, the world community is knowingly determined to undermine the territorial integrity and national resilience of the besieged Jewish state. The mantra of “Palestinian statehood” should not fool any decent person, government, or country. The world has basically gone sour on Israel, tattered and feathered as illegitimate and criminal in its essence and policy. I only hope Israel will have, beyond the requisite resources, the wisdom to do all that its interests demand, and against anyone who threatens its welfare.

Your Ad Here

FP: Does this book offer a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict?

Nisan: It is somewhat presumptuous to confidently offer a solution, so I prefer to talk of a resolution or containment of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The locus for some kind of conflict-resolution, perhaps not peace as an idealistic notion, is in Jordan, east of the river. There the majority Palestinian population has the right to affirm their national rights against the alien-origin and minority-based Hashemite monarchy. Kings have fallen in modern Mid-eastern history, like Egypt and Iraq, and the collapse of the regime in Jordan would be part of a historical process. This would not be a national calamity and it would, rather, offer the Palestinians in Jordan and elsewhere the opportunity for statehood. The river should be the border and the two-state solution — Israel west of the river and Palestine east of the river – can be implemented in a strategically sound fashion.

FP: Dr. Mordechai Nisan, thank you for joining Frontpage Interview.

The danger of not vetoing the Palestinian statehood bid


Amid the circus atmosphere and all the sound and fury, a trademark Obama administration solution for the Palestinian statehood bid is emerging: kicking the can down the road.

For several days, the Security Council option of referring the statehood bid for study and consultation, rather than holding a vote and having the US veto it outright, has been a quiet buzz. The decibel level increased yesterday, and Politico and Haaretz, among other outlets, have reported that the postponement option is gathering steam. Ynet even reports a US plan for the statehood bid to be deferred for one year (which would put the next eruption in the fall of 2012, seemingly bad timing for an Obama reelection quest). This makes perfect sense given the administration’s record of postponements on the US debt issue. Indeed, 2011 may become the Year of Postponement, with the can kicked down the road on the US national debt and the Palestinian statehood question. Abroad, the EU has been able so far to postpone a Greek default and the collapse of the euro – a bitter medicine Brussels (and Berlin) have not been prepared yet to go ahead and swallow. In the South China Sea, China’s status quo-busting determination to drill for oil in the economic exclusion zone claimed by the Philippines has apparently entered a twilight zone, with the whereabouts of the giant marine drilling platform intended for the job unknown. (The Filipinos, monitoring their EEZ daily, say the platform isn’t there. Vietnam, which also patrols the South China Sea regularly, hasn’t publicly reported seeing it.)

A lot of freighted business is being rescheduled for 2012. Postponing the Palestinian statehood question at the UN carries a danger that can be divided into at least two components. One was articulated by an unnamed US official in Politico’s original reporting yesterday:

“It [deferral] actually is a good idea because it is like a Damocles [sword] hanging over our heads,” an American official said. “It creates an urgency to start negotiations.”

(Politico has removed this line from their article, but the original was spread verbatim to numerous other websites like this one. H/t: Daled Amos.)

The Obama administration has reason to like the deferral option, because it puts the US in charge of a process and a threat held over Israel. The move has obvious drawbacks, in that using the threat in the six weeks preceding the 2012 election looks pretty dumb, at least as things stand today.

But the other component of the danger is that postponing this reckoning leaves the parties with the same old failed “peace process” as the fallback position. Yet Mahmoud Abbas is officially abrogating the peace process by going to the UN unilaterally. His commitment to it, such as it ever was, has obviously expired, and with it Israel’s expectation of a serious negotiating partner. There is, therefore, no peace process to fall back to – and with the prospect of simply renewing his unilateral UN push in a year’s time, Abbas has no incentive to participate meaningfully in a new set of talks. His move this month will prove, after all, that the Obama administration would rather do just about anything than use the Security Council veto.

Preventing the Security Council from considering the motion at all – ensuring that Abbas can’t get the 9 of 15 votes that he needs – would still be the US administration’s preferred outcome at this point. It is not impossible for a Security Council vote to be averted, although France just this morning broke with the Obama administration policy by calling for the Palestinians’ status in the UN to be upgraded, and for a statehood process, with “negotiations and a precise timetable,” to begin. (Russia and China are expected to vote in favor of a Palestinian statehood resolution, but they are not twisting arms to make the vote happen. The diplomatic energy is on the other side of the question.)

All that said, the US has articulated good reasons for a veto already, and a veto would be a better outcome than a deferral. Deferring the question would effectively take all the old post-Oslo assumptions and move the process built around them into the UN, where multiple nations can stake out equities they don’t necessarily have in the current deliberations of the Quartet. (France’s unexpectedly bold call for basically this plan seems motivated by the opportunity it presents for France to act outside the EU rubric.)

Deferral, particularly using some form of the active model implied by France, would also give Abbas a period in which other pressures were suspended. He could focus on making exciting things happen with the Palestinians’ new status as a non-member observer state, which would vault them into organizations like the International Criminal Court.

A veto, on the other hand, would shut the door to unilateral approaches and put a period to a failed chapter in multilateral diplomacy. Coupled with forward-looking initiative from the US, it would be an act of leadership, in default of which the most realistic prospect is of a full-scale reversion to the old, colonial/Ottoman-era patterns of European and Middle Eastern maneuvering. In many ways, in other words, a return to the League of Nations model.

J.E. Dyer’s articles have appeared at Hot Air’s Green Room, Commentary’s “contentions,” Patheos, and The Weekly Standard online.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

America: The Chief Subsidizer of UN Rapists and Traffickers

Phyllis Chesler

In early September, the world’s most ineffective collection of “low life” thugs had what they like to call “high level” meetings on disease, disabilities, and the rights of migrant workers. And, on September 13, 2011, the 66th session — drum roll, please — of the United Nation’s General Assembly formally convened. On September 22, they will get down to the real business at hand, the only thing the UN has ever really done effectively, namely, the legalization of Jew hatred. That’s the day the UN will celebrate the tenth anniversary of their Durban (“anti-Semitic, pro-racist”) conference in which they named Israel as the world’s only “racist” state. On September 23, former terrorist turned President Mahmoud Abbas will request that the UN admit a twentieth Arab Muslim (so-called “Palestinian”) state. This global pogrom against Israel is being waged with a weapon of mass destruction, namely the Orwellian propaganda machine which has demonized the Jewish state so effectively that were it to be militarily attacked (as it has been, over and over), few nations would come to its aid (none have) and most would condemn its right to defend itself; indeed, they would label Jewish self-defense as “an act of naked aggression” for which Israel would be expected to apologize and pay Muslim-style blood money. This, too, has already happened. Were our nation to come to the aid of its ally, Israel, America would also be further demonized.

But I do not want to focus on the subjects of racism, Judeophobia, “Islamophobia,” or on the rights of “Palestinian” Arabs. Many other journalists are doing so. Actually, I do but from an entirely different point of view. I want to discuss the kind of human beings who are employed at the UN, how they treat each other on the job, but especially how they treat the vulnerable civilians who are under their protection. In other words: I want to focus on the professional ethics of the people who are voting on such weighty, global issues, and on the institutionalized crimes they commit under the auspices of the UN.

Nearly forty years ago, in his 1972 Nobel Prize acceptance speech (some honorees are actually worthy), Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn said:

A quarter of a century ago, with great hopes from all mankind, the United Nations Organization was born. Alas, in an immoral world it too grew up immoral.

In 1973, Shirley Hazzard, an Australian civil servant who had worked for the UN Secretariat for a decade in New York, published a book about it. In Defeat of an Ideal: A Study of the Self-Destruction of the United Nations, Hazzard described a level of mediocrity, incompetence, petty despotism, corruption, hypocrisy, and overall impotence, which was so non-redeemable that, in her view, the otherwise lofty UN ideals were “being defeated by the manner in which the present body executes, or claims to execute them.”

And in 1990, Hazzard wrote another book, Countenance of Truth: The United Nations and the Waldheim Case, in which she indicted the UN again, explaining that the “problem” of the Austrian (and one-time Nazi) UN Secretary General Kurt Waldheim was merely “symptomatic of the (ongoing) structural defects” at the UN which include non-accountability, non-transparency, incompetence, cowardice, and exaggerated self-importance. Only in such a setting, Hazzard writes, could such a

deceitful figure be presented as a paragon, his very deficiencies exalted into talents, and his fawnings on tyrants rationalized as consummate diplomacy throughout ten of this world’s most cruel and dangerous years.

I wonder what either of these whistleblowers might have to say about the UN today.

God must love whistleblowers — I surely hope so, because no one else really does. Those whom whistleblowers expose — and that includes the bystanders and the bureaucrats — hate them. Whistleblowers ruin the party, and threaten the high life and the even higher self-regard that the scams allow. Therefore, the evildoers demean, ostracize, impoverish, ignore, crush, and, if necessary, try to kill the whistleblowers. Even when whistleblowers are willing to risk their jobs and their lives, they do not always “win” their cause. And, when a whistleblower does succeed, he or she may still end up in hiding or unemployed or murdered while evil-doers soon pick up the old scam.

In the early 1970s, Detective Frank (“police corruption”) Serpico was the torchbearer for whistleblowers. He passed that torch along to Karen (“plutonium”) Silkwood in the 1980s and to Erin(“hexavalent-chromium”) Brockovich in the 1990s. One 21st century heroic torchbearer, Kathryn (“United Nations sex traffickers”) Bolkovac, like her three predecessors, is now the subject of a film. Bolkovac also wrote a book on her experience.

By the way: Feature films and documentaries do not necessarily accomplish any more than the whistleblower does. People tend to believe that the fact a film exists somehow means that the problem has been solved.

Not so.

Kathryn Bolkovac

In 1999, Bolkovac, originally a cop from Nebraska, became a UN peacekeeper in Sarajevo, where she discovered that the UN peacekeepers, the UN- hired military contractor (DynCorp), and the local police had been trafficking underage female sex slaves into Sarajevo both for profit and for their own twisted pleasure. Their savage treatment of these frightened, mainly East European and Russian girls, which included routine torture, gang-rape, semi-starvation, overwork, primitive living and “working” conditions, is standard behavior for pimps, traffickers, and obviously for UN staff as well.

In the film version, Bolkovac tried to save some girls. This only led to their being more severely tortured, while the other girls were forced to watch — and then murdered. Bolkovac, like others, tried to hold the UN accountable for these enormous crimes. The result? She was threatened and her employment terminated. Bolkovac went public with the information — which was heroic but which changed nothing.

So far, Satan still has the last word.

Like Hazzard, I also once worked at the United Nations; I have some skin in the game. I am, therefore, quite familiar with the UN culture in which civil servants and diplomats hold onto the passports of their home-country domestic servants/slaves, and make them work sixteen hour days, seven days a week, for no money and for very little food; the culture in which the same UN personnel sexually harass and assault their female colleagues and subordinates and when reported, even sued, get off, at most, with the proverbial slap on the wrist; a culture in which UN “peacekeeping” troops rape and traffic the very girls, boys, and women they are supposed to be protecting from war-zone atrocities — for example, the use of rape as a weapon of war. Given the UN’s general level of ineffectiveness (other than in legalizing Jew hatred), the body is also remarkably effective in protecting their barbarian and un-trained employees.

For example: In 1988, Luis Maria Gomez, the Argentine assistant secretary general at the UN, was sued by his assistant, American citizen Catherine Claxon. She filed a sexual harassment complaint. As a result, Claxon was barred from a promotion and her employment was terminated. She took her case to the UN Administrative Tribunal. Although the numerous courts and tribunals acknowledged that her claim was supported by strong evidence, Claxon’s case was eventually blocked by Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar. Gomez was granted diplomatic immunity and returned to Argentina.

In 2003, Joumana Al-Mahayni, an employee working in the office of the United Nations Development Programme in Kuwait, filed a similar claim against her male boss and, of course, received similar results. Again, the UN protected her boss, Mr. Yusuf Mansur; again, there was ample evidence that he had sexually assaulted his subordinate. Nevertheless, and predictably, Ms. Al-Mahayni’s employment was terminated. Many years later, she received a settlement of $10,000; she was never reimbursed for her legal fees or given a severance package. Mr. Mansur resigned and avoided litigation. The UN did not make any follow-up charges.

In 2007, the American Civil Liberties Union charged a UN diplomat from Kuwait, Major Waleed Al Saleh, and his wife with abusing their three female domestic servants from India. The ACLU stated that

the women were forced to work every day from 6:30 or 7:00 a.m. until late in the night, sometimes as late as 1:30 a.m…the women…never received any of the money.…They were subjected to threats and verbal and physical abuse, including one particularly violent incident in which Sabbithi (one of the servants) was knocked unconscious after being thrown against a counter by Al Saleh. The women were often not allowed time to eat or to use the bathroom and were frequently deprived of food. Two of them were allowed one hour off a month to attend church. The workers had their passports taken away and were isolated from contact with the external world.

Ultimately the case was dismissed on the grounds of diplomatic immunity.

Was Bolkovac’s experience unique? Were UN peacekeepers particularly awful only in Sarajevo? On the contrary. UN peacekeepers were also accused of “sexual misconduct” not only in Kosovo/Serbia/Bosnia in the 1990s, they were similarly accused in Sierra Leone (2002), Liberia (2003-2004), the Congo (2004), Haiti (2005-to the present day), and in the Sudan (2005-to the present).

How does the UN defend their dastardly peacekeepers? They argue that the troops often come from and serve in countries which have “poor records” in terms of “gender based violence.” This is offered as a culturally relativist explanation or excuse for that old canard, “Must Boys be Boys?” In Bolkovac’s case, the troops came from 45 different countries, and many of them could not use computers, write reports, or drive cars.

In addition, in terms of redress, the legal loopholes are gigantic — herds of elephants can easily spend their long lives grazing there.

Neither the UN nor the countries in which UN employees actually commit the crimes can legally punish these men. Only their own home countries may do so — but why would they? The countries in which the UN operates are not responsible for the actions of foreign employees. One Haitian feminist group has accused UN peacekeepers of “ bringing their bad habits with them.” The group is referring to an “increase in prostitution.”

Yes, there are ways the UN can feed already traumatized girls and women other than forcing them to provide sex services to UN peacekeeping troops as their only or best way of survival.

In her excellent report for Refugees International, “Must Boys Be Boys?” Sarah Martin describes a culture of fear and intimidationamong UN peacekeepers in the Congo (2004) which effectively silenced staff members who wanted to “report sexual misconduct by colleagues because they fear(ed) being stigmatized and punished as ‘whistle-blowers.’” UN peacekeepers had sex with Congolese children and women, including Congolese adult female UN colleagues, simply because the practice was already pandemic. They did not view their role as stopping such violence or as refraining from joining it.

As the UN peacekeepers ribaldly frolicked in the Congo, the UN orgy was also on in Liberia. An internal UN document was exposed in the mainstream media. In Liberia, UN peacekeeping troops had sex with

girls as young as 12 years of age (who) are engaged in prostitution, forced into sex acts and sometimes photographed by UN peacekeepers in exchange for $10 or food or other commodities.

Might the rape of a male child or a young man by a UN peacekeeper make the front pages and lead to an effective prosecution?

Well — no. In July of 2011, an 18-year-old Haitian male rape victim accused a UN peacekeeper of “sexually assaulting” him. The rape was videotaped. A physician confirmed physical evidence of the rape — the evidence was clear even five weeks later. The UN found the man guilty, not of “sexual misconduct,” but of allowing a civilian to enter the UN compound. The UN dismissed this as “the actions of only a few,” and claimed that the UN “does its utmost to prevent such abuses from occurring” by “training troops to sensitize them to respect human rights.”

The Wilsonian-influenced ideals of the UN are not realistic or realizable. In turn, the UN is predicated on the myth — nay, the lie — that UN diplomats and civil servants are morally upright, fair, decent, rational — and, not the vicious tyrants, bullies, thugs, liars, egomaniacs, cowards, and grifters that they truly are. Nor does the UN have a transparent system in place that would hold their mightily flawed personnel accountable for the crimes they commit.

I am told we live in a post-feminist age. Thus, the information is in about what rape is and what rape does. We know that repeated public gang-rape and repeated rape is no longer just a spoil of war but is now a weapon of war. We know that prostitution is not a “victimless” crime, that the prostituted child or woman are the victims; they must become alcoholics and drug addicts in order to deaden their torment, they are given foul diseases by their “customers” who are sometimes their murderers because they infect them with AIDS; both their working lives and how long they actually live are significantly shorter than those who are not prostituted. The UN (ironically enough) has estimated that over 32 million people are enslaved around the world and that the majority (80% or more) are sex slaves. We now know that sex trafficking is estimated as a $32 billion global business, that girls and women are kidnapped, sold by their parents, or tricked into it and rarely escape alive.

If it is clear that the United Nations allows its peacekeeping troops to commit major human rights atrocities, why would we allow such an institution to render decisions that are meant to affect the entire world? Why would we abide by such decisions? More important: Why should the United States fund an international criminal operation? The United States pays the lion’s share of the Secretariat costs at the United Nations. Don’t worry, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has assured stressed American taxpayers that the two-year headquarters budget (2010-11) will only amount to a meager $4.92 billion.

According to the UN peacekeeping website, the budget for the fiscal year 1 July 2011-30 June 2012 is approximately seven billion dollars. The United States is responsible for 27 percent of this cost, or about two billion. This is far more than what Japan (1 billion), the UK (591 million), China (285 million), Spain (230 million), or Korea (164 million) pays for peacekeepers. Interestingly, under President Barack Obama’s administration, the United States overpaid its share of the UN peacekeeping budget. In fact, our overpayment of 287 million dollars is more than what most of the world’s supporters — including China — pay for “peacekeeping.”

Why is the United States funding rapists, criminals, pimps, brothels, and sex traffickers? Why are we funding orgies? Why are we funding the most heinous betrayal of the world’s most vulnerable civilians in war zones? Why are we overpaying for UN peacekeeping?

Here is one thing we can do immediately. As of 2004, women comprised less than 6% of the total UN peacekeeping operations personnel. I would send many of the “boys” home and hire more well-trained, career military women and police officers like Bolkovac and, dare I say it, yes I dare: Until such time that developing countries develop effective policies about “gender violence,” the UN peacekeeper troops should be comprised of “peacekeepers,” both male and female, from developed countries.

Whether developed Western nations are actually “anti-gender violence” or not and, if so, whether they should continue to assume the “White Man’s Burden,” is the subject of other pieces.

'September' in Hebron

David Wilder
September 21, 2011

The long awaited 'September' is upon us. The so-called war for 'palestinian statehood' is being fought by teenagers, (and younger) throwing rocks (as seen in the video and photos below) in Hebron. These pictures and video (all filmed by myself) were taken behind Beit Hadassah, where I live, from one of our bedroom windows, looking north.

These scenes are not new or necessarily unusual. They are quite redundant, occuring any time the Arab leadership decides that the kids need a day off from school with something constructive to keep them busy and, no, not keeping them off the streets, rather, keeping them on the streets, out of their homes. Nakba Day and other such occasions are great excuses to allow Arab kids to get their arms in shape A week or so ago, rocks hurled from the same area, via slingshots, hit outside my daughter's window, on the top floor of the building. During the
'2nd intifada' aka the Oslo War, we were shot at from these areas, with bullets actually hitting inside the apartment.

From nearby rooftops, Israeli soldiers watch the action, occasionally shooting stun grenades or teargas at the attackers, chasing them away for a few minutes. And as can be seen in the first photo, the so-called 'palestinian police' are stationed nearby, standing around, watching the fun, probably wishing they too could participate. Unfortunately, experience has taught that all too often they do participate, but not with rocks. Bullets are much more effective.

This is democracy in action, a 'piece process' in motion, education at its highest levels, helping and assisting Abu Mazen create 'palestine' in the UN.

The Famous State of Palestine

Giulio Meottia - Arutz Sheva

What would Arab state number 23/ Muslim state number 58 be like?
Giulio Meotti takes a good look.

Global leaders are so busy speaking of how essential it is for a “State of Palestine” to be founded that none of them seems to have noticed that it already exists in practice in the Palestinian Authority. Since the Palestinian Authority was established in 1994, the contours of the “State of Palestine” that they wish have taken form in front of our eyes.

So what will this famous “State of Palestine” be like?
It will be a racist state ethnically cleansed of Jews, as the PLO representatives proclaimed the last week.

It will be a state led by Holocaust enablers like Hamas or by a Holocaust-denier like Mahmoud Abbas, who in a book downgraded the number of Jewish victims and denied that the gas chambers were used to murder Jews.

In any case, it will be a state committed to the destruction of the nearby Jews’ homeland.

A state that will banish freedom of conscience for artists, journalists and writers. A state that will drive away Christians from the land, while proclaiming Jesus “the first fedayeen”.

A state that will stone to death Arab homosexuals and prostitutes, who are now finding a shelter in Israel. A state that will torture Arab inmates in prisons and that will throw political dissidents from the roofs of public buildings.

A state where the Iranian clergy will preach the Khomeinist ideology. A state that will accept checks and support from the genocidal Muslim Brotherhood in the name of “the caliphate or death”, as the Islamists who assassinated Egypt’s Anwar Sadat in 1981 decorated their holding cages.

A state where the sharia – the Islamic code – will be the only rule of law. A state that will be put to death human beings simply because guilty of apostasy (conversion to Christianity). A state where the women will be obliged to wear headscarves. A state where “honor killings” will terrorize the female population.

A state that will commemorate terrorists, human bombs and baby killers in public squares, streets and monuments.

A state that will not hold democratic elections, but that will be a combination of corruption, dictatorship, Islamic theology and “binladenism”.

A state where terror militias will cut fingers off smokers.

A state where public libraries will become the largest global archive of anti-Semitic books.

A state that will ban drinking in public buildings. A state where liquor stores will be blown up by terror groups.

A state where men will be banned from women’s hair salons.

A state where security forces will arrest people for expressing opinions unpopular with the regime, as well as punishing media organizations and journalists for their coverage of such statements.

A state where the ratio of militiamen/men- under-arms to civilians will be higher than in any other country. A state where worshipers in mosques will be gunned down by terrorists.

A state that will encourage a new category of Arab refugees, those who would gladly escape oppressive and murderous Palestinian control.

A state where ambulances will be stopped on the way to hospitals and wounded will be shot in cold blood. A state that would be a heavily armed union of rejectionists all dedicated to destroying the shards of Western values.

A state where young couples will not walk hand in hand in the Al Manar Square of Ramallah and where plainclothes officers will halt them in the streets, demanding to see marriage licenses.

A state that will declare war on Judaism, depicting Jewish history in the Middle East as no more than an insignificant, brief sojourn by arrogant colonizers.

Who would live in such a state? So why the world is dribbling at the mouth about the creation of a “State of Palestine”?

Is it because Arab state number 23 and Muslim state number 58 will be the perfect tool for the evaporization of the lone Jewish state in the world?

6 miles is the distance between the Israeli city of Afula and the “State of Palestine”. 9 miles to the city of Netanya. 11 miles to reach the skycrapers of Tel Aviv. 4 miles to bomb the Ben Gurion International Airport. Just a mile to the city of Kfar Saba.

Building the small Palestinian caliphate on Israel’s shoulders is the first step of throwing the Jews in the sea.

Giulio Meotti, a journalist with Il Foglio, is a weekly columnist for Arutz Sheva. He is the author of the book "A New Shoah", that researched the personal stories of Israel's terror vicitms, published by Encounter. He lives in Italy. His writing has appeared in publications, such as the Wall Street Journal, Frontpage, YNet, Makor Rishon and Commentary.

Link to original article: