Saturday, February 04, 2012

Abbas Blocks Young Leadership, Ensuring Hamas Victory

Khaled Abu Toameh

Fatah leaders in the West Bank announced this week that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is their only candidate for the presidential election expected to take place in May 2012.

The announcement enraged several disillusioned Fatah officials, some of whom called on the 76-year-old Abbas not to seek re-election so as to pave the way for the emergence of young and fresh faces.

Although Abbas made it clear over the past few years that he had no plans to run in another election, his aides in Ramallah are now saying that he does not plan to retire in the near future.

Abbas and his veteran colleagues in the Palestinian Authority and PLO believe they have a monopoly over the Palestinian issue and the decision-making process. They are convinced that they know better than anyone else what is good and bad for the Palestinians. Any young leader who dares to challenge them or question their wisdom is quickly denounced as a 'traitor" and "fifth columnist." Fatah will never regain the confidence of a majority of Palestinians unless it paves the way for young activists to rise to power. The Palestinians are not stupid and they are not going to vote again for the same Fatah candidates they voted out in the 2006 parliamentary election. Fatah's failure to reform and inject fresh blood into its veins is a guaranteed recipe for a Hamas victory in any election.

One of the officials, Abu Ali Sheheen, said he was even prepared to help Abbas retire so more capable and young leaders could rise to power.

At this stage, it is not even clear if the presidential election will take place in May. What is clear is that if and when the vote takes place, Abbas's colleagues and friends will insist that he run for another term to prevent the emergence of new faces. Then Abbas will say that he had no choice but to succumb to "popular pressure" to seek re-election.

Palestinian mothers have apparently stopped giving birth -- at least as far as Abbas and his loyalists are concerned.

Abbas was elected to succeed Yasser Arafat in January 2005. Although his term in office expired in 2009, he chose to hold on to power, using the dispute with Hamas as the main excuse.

Abbas argued that it would be impossible to hold new elections in light of the split between the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which has been under the control of Hamas since the summer of 2007.

Abbas also used the power struggle between his Fatah faction and Hamas as an excuse to block the emergence of a new leadership in the West Bank.

Abbas is continuing, in fact, the same policy as his predecessor, Chairman Arafat, who systematically suppressed the emergence of the "young guard" in Fatah.

The Palestinian leadership is dominated by "old guard" leaders who have been in power for decades. These aging leaders have succeeded over the past few decades in preventing younger faces from rising to power.

Frustration over this "old guard" is why Hamas won in 2006, and why it will win again.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Mahmoud Abbas Orders Another Attack On InLightPress

Challah Hu Akbar | Feb 03, 2012

Last Saturday, I reported that InLightPress, a site that has run a number of articles critical of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, was hacked by the Palestinian Authority under the orders of Abbas.

Within a few days the site was back online, and in their press release they said that “The attack came from the Palestinian Authority with the approval of President Abbas.” Since its return the site has continued to run articles critical of Abbas, one of which I reported upon.

It now appears that InLightPress has been hacked again. And once again they say the attack is coming from “a political entity.”

As I said the first time the site was hacked, this “political entity” is the Palestinian Authority. The order to bring down this site was ordered by Mahmoud Abbas himself.

Comment: Is this not just another form of terrorism-another tactic if you will? Freedom of speech does not exist, just as a bomb is designed to silence your enemies so are cyber attacks. We best wake up to this and fight back with a vengence.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

A Brave Rape Victim in Tahrir Square and a Brave Egyptian Actor Teach Us All How to Behave Properly

Barry Rubin

President Barack Obama will probably be defeated in November by people voting for the Republican candidate who will then tell their friends that they voted for Obama. For them, that will be a compromise between responding to the reality they see as opposed to being in fashion and not being called nasty names by one's peers.

It is like the story told by the latest Western woman to be sexually assaulted by a mob in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. Listen carefully to what she says:

“Heather said that she came forward to talk about what happened to her `because people need to know what goes on. It is the only way to start making it a problem that will have to be dealt with.’”

“However, many people told her to not reveal what happened to her because she was told, `it would hurt the image of the revolution.’ But Heather said after seeing the reports of others and their assaults, `I felt it was right to say something.’”

These few lines contain the most important of all wisdom for this year, 2012. Heather articulates one of the greatest ideas of the Enlightenment and of Western civilization. The way to progress, succeed, and to solve problems is to speak honestly. That’s why freedom of speech is the very first principle in the U.S. Bill of Rights. But the dominant philosophy of the current age—Political Correctness—is based on exalting lies on behalf of allegedly good causes.

If that doctrine was about the important of honesty it would be called Factual Correctness. Political Correctness is the doctrine of dictatorships, not democracies and certainly not the democratic way of life. It is not merely saying that the end justifies the means but that the end justifies sabotaging the real means for attaining success, thus guaranteeing disastrous outcomes.

Many—unfortunately including lots of journalists and academics—proudly think themselves virtuous to lie and urge others to lie. What use then are schools, universities, and the mass media?

Netanyahu to UN: No New Construction Freeze in Judea, Samaria

Prime Minister Netanyahu bluntly told UN Sec'y-Gen. Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday there will be no new construction freeze in Judea and Samaria.

By Chana Ya'ar

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu bluntly told United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday there will be no new construction freeze in Judea and Samaria.

Ban asked Israel earlier in the day to reinstate the freeze on all construction in Jewish communities in the region, saying at a news conference it was "not helpful" to the peace process. But Netanyahu noted out that any discussion about a freeze on construction -- or any other action taken by Israel to move the peace process forward -- should come in context of the process itself, rather than as a precondition.

"This issue is part of the negotiations," he told Ban. "It can't be a precondition."

Netanyahu added pointedly that "settlements are not the crux of the conflict, but rather, one of its outcomes. The conflict started 50 years before there were settlements."

In addition to his meeting in Jerusalem with Netanyahu, Ban met with President Shimon Peres and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. He is also set to meet with Defense Minister Ehud Barak, as well as Opposition leader and Kadima party chairwoman Tzipi Livni, prior to leaving the region.

Speaking to reporters after meeting Tuesday in Jordan with King Abdullah II and Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, Ban urged Netanyahu to revive a construction freeze in Judea and Samaria as a "goodwill gesture" to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. In addition, Ban urged Israel to submit its own proposals for borders and security arrangements to PA/PLO officials.

"Of course, it would also be required that PA authorities come to dialogue," Ban said, clearly hoping that the Fatah leader, who also heads the PLO, would be enticed to return to talks by a new freeze.

Netanyahu promised Israelis after a 10-month construction freeze which resulted in nothing but a handful of photo ops that he would not allow Israel to be forced into another one.

During that time, Jews living even 15 minutes from the capital were unable to pave a driveway to their homes, add a pergola to shade a front porch in summer, or make simple repairs to existing structures. Buildings in progress were unable to be completed, schools could not add classrooms and homes that had been started were forced to be abandoned -- throwing many families' financial affairs into total chaos.

Ban is scheduled to visit Gaza Thursday before stopping at Sapir College, near Sderot -- an area repeatedly peppered by Qassam rocket attacks launched by Gaza terrorists. He will then travel to Herzliya to deliver the keynote address at the IDC Herzliya Conference.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Anarchy, the New Threat

Daniel Pipes

The scourge of the twentieth century was overly-powerful governments; could the looming problem of this century be too-weak governments?

The political scientist R. J. Rummel estimates, in his evocatively titled study, Death by Government (New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction, 1994) with revised numbers in 2005, that deaths at the hands of one's own government in the period 1900-87 amounted to 212 million persons, while deaths from warfare numbered 34 million. In other words, victims of their own government (what he calls democide) were in fact over six times greater than those killed in the century's wars. The largest number of fatalities was 78 million killed by the Chinese Communists, then 62 million by the Soviet Communists, 21 million by the Nazis, 10 million by the Chinese nationalists, and 6 million by the Japanese militarists. Even this listing is incomplete; as Rummel puts it, "post-1987 democides by Iraq, Iran, Burundi, Serbia and Bosnian Serbs, Bosnia, Croatia, Sudan, Somalia, the Khmer Rouge guerrillas, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and others have not been included."

And while murderous regimes certainly continue to rule and massacre, there is a new danger looming – anarchy. Consider several cases in the Middle East in chronological order:

· Afghanistan: Since the coup d'état that overthrew the king in 1973, Afghanistan has not had a central government that could effectively control the country.

· Lebanon: Once called the "Switzerland of the Middle East," Lebanon has endured a mix of totalitarian rule by Syria and anarchy since the country's civil war began in 1975.

· Somalia: The Siad Barre regime fell in 1991 and has lacked anything remotely resembling a central government since then. The country's anarchy has led to a massive piracy problem in the Indian Ocean that already in 2007 was called "frightening and unacceptable" and since has grown yet worse.

· Palestinian Authority: Thanks to mismanagement and aggression, the Palestinian Authority has lost most of its authority since taking power in 1994. Half of its territory is under a hostile organization, Hamas.

· Iraq: The U.S. government made the mistake of disbanding Iraq's army after the defeat of Saddam Hussein in 2003 and the country has yet to tame the subsequent chaos.

· Yemen: It's difficult to pinpoint a date when the country became anarchic, but the Houthi War of 2009 offers a reasonable starting point.

· Libya: Since the uprising against Mu'ammar al-Qaddafi in early 2011, the country has not had a central power.

Syria is not yet anarchic but the regime has lost control of several towns (Zabadani, Saqba) and more could be on the way.

The same story holds in many countries of Africa, including Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Parts of Russia and Mexico suffer from anarchy. Piracy has grown to the point that it afflicts several parts of the world.

Because this pattern is so much at variance with the old problem of overweening central government, it tends not to be seen. But it is real and it needs to be recognized. (January 28, 2012)

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Netanyahu 'Ready to Go to Ramallah'

Chana Ya'ar

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is “ready to go to Ramallah” to meet with Palestinian Authority / PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and open negotiations, according to an interview published Monday night by the PA-linked Ma'an news agency.

In Arabic-language comments typed live through the chat function on his official Facebook page, Netanyahu told Arab journalists, “We are completely serious about talks with the Palestinians, but unfortunately the Palestinian side refuses."

The PLO called a halt to dialogue after the fifth and final meeting in a series of exploratory negotiations between Israeli envoy Yitzchak Molcho and PLO representative Saeb Erekat ended last Wednesday.

"Advancing negotiations is the only way towards peace,” he pointed out. "I want to talk with the Palestinians in order to open channels at all levels. This is in the Palestinians' and the Arabs' interest,” he continued. "Israel can help develop the region economically, and wants to see a prosperous future for all countries in the region. I feel disappointed because peace treaties have not led to an economic boom for all. Economy is the outcome of relationships, and economic peace isn't an alternative to political peace, but it helps,” he pointed out.

The prime minister added in response to a question about what he thinks Palestinians should do, “The Palestinian president should have continued with talks. This is what the international community wants both sides to do.”

In response to a question about the Arab Spring, Netanyahu commented that Israel was supportive of the democratic process. "There are misconceptions about Israel, and many Arabs do not know that the Arabs living in Israel serve in the government, in the parliament, and enjoy complete rights.

"The impression that Israel does not want peace is incorrect. We know the value of peace, and one of the obstacles is the misconception about Israel's attitude toward peace.

Asked about Iran, Netanyahu pulled no punches:

"Iran is a threat to peace, to Israel, to the Arab countries, to the Middle East and to the whole world,” he wrote.

“They are arming terrorist organizations while they develop their nuclear power seeking to control the Middle East and the whole world.”

Where were $3.4 Billion American Tax Dollars spent?

David Wilder
January 31, 2012

Where are American Tax Dollars being spent?
According to ForeignPolicy, in an article titled: Hard times in Hebron the United States:
has spent $3.4 billion in development funds in the Palestinian territories of West Bank and Gaza

So, it appears that this poor, oppressed, underdeveloped Arab city
has doubled the number of building permits issued since 2006, and is preparing to solicit bids for a road to a new $13 million water treatment facility -- financed, of course, by USAID.

Not everyone is happy about spending so much money in the PA.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen: By providing the Palestinians with $2.5 billion over the last five years, the U.S. has only rewarded and reinforced their bad behavior.

The US State Department disagrees: We think it is money that is not only in the interest of the Palestinians; it's in U.S. interest and it's also in Israeli interest.

What is this money used for?
Daoud Kuttab:
New schools were built
to teach incitment: "The Zionist gangs stole Palestine ... and established the state of Israel"
... and judges were trained,

to sentence Arabs selling property to Jews, to death:
PA affirms death penalty for land sales to Israelis

What about accountability? Where is the money really going? Where are hundreds of millions of dollars that went missing under Yasser Arafat?

Ghassan Khatib, spokesman for the Palestinian Authority: This money is going mainly to development and humanitarian projects. There is no justified reason for holding it. It's important for stabilization.”

Development and humanitarian projects:
From the objectives of the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee: counter and limit Israeli settlements inside the Old city [of Hebron] by surrounding settlements with inhabited buildings to prevent their horizontal expansion; and to avert the urban interconnection of these settlements by increasing Arab demographic density between them.
There are others who believe and act otherwise. South Carolina State Representative Allan Clemmons initiated a resolution, passed unanimously, declaring:
Whereas, Israel has been granted her lands under and through the oldest recorded deed as reported in the Old Testament, a tome of scripture held sacred and reverenced by Jew and Christian, alike, as the acts and words of God; and
Whereas, as the Grantor of said lands, God stated to the Jewish people in the Old Testament; in Leviticus, Chapter 20, Verse 24: "Ye shall inherit their land, and I will give it unto you to possess it, a land that floweth with milk and honey"; and
Whereas, God has never rescinded his grant of said lands;

This resolution was used as a model for a similar resolution passed in Florida, called Florida Stands with Israel. And most recently, the Republican National Committee adopted a similar policy, with a resolution stating: BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the members of this body support Israel in their natural and God-given right of self-governance and self-defense upon their own lands, recognizing that Israel is neither an attacking force nor an occupier of the lands of others; and that peace can be afforded the region only through a united Israel governed under one law for all people.

Presently, USAID to Arab Hebron is in jeopardy as a result of Abu Mazen’s attempt to unilaterally declare a ‘palestinian state’ in the United Nations as reported in the article quoted above. This ‘threat’ to stop USAID to Arab Hebron must be finalized and and the flow of millions and billions of American taxpayers money ended.
I have no doubt that when such people as Rep. Allan Clemmons, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and others, like Rep. Louis Gohmert from Texas, (who introduced a similar resolution in the US House of Representatives, saying: Whereas archaeological evidence exists confirming Israel's existence as a nation over 3,000 years ago in the area in which it currently exists, despite assertions of its opponents;
Whereas with the dawn of modern Zionism, the national liberation movement of the Jewish people, some 150 years ago, the Jewish people determined to return to their homeland in the Land of Israel from the lands of their dispersion;
Whereas in 1922, the League of Nations mandated that the Jewish people were the legal sovereigns over the Land of Israel and that legal mandate has never been superseded;)

and other like-minded US politicians continue in major leadership positions in the United States, they will insure that US tax dollars are utilized properly, rather than in the best interests of their enemies, and our enemies, in the worst interests of the State of Israel, and ultimately, in the worst interests of the United States.

Attack Iran – at all costs

Yoram Ettinger

The discussion about the cost of a preemptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities has added value only if it is intended to advance the attack and neutralize the potential response from Iran and its allies. The discussion becomes harmful, plays into Iran's hands and threatens Israel's existence if it appears hesitant and doubtful, if it denies the possibility of a pre-emptive attack and assumes that Israel can accept a nuclear-armed Iran. On May 12, 1948, the People's Administration in pre-state Israel decided by a vote of six to four to announce the establishment of a state that would include Jerusalem, despite internal resistance and opposition from the U.S. and despite a terrible price: The U.S. withheld military aid, threatened economic punishment and surmised that the declaration would result in a second Holocaust, this time at the hands of the Arabs. Then Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion refused to abide by the American request to postpone the announcement by a few years, knowing that such a delay would bring tragedy upon future generations and that independence exacts a painful price.

On Oct. 5, 1973, the eve of the Yom Kippur War, then Prime Minister Golda Meir rejected the option of a pre-emptive strike to repel the clear and present danger of a joint Egyptian-Syrian attack. She was concerned about the cost of such a strike – namely appearing as the aggressor and severely damaging ties with the U.S. – and preferred to be portrayed as the victim. However, the terrible, long-term cost of that war has been far greater than pre-emptive action would have been. As expected, Israel was not viewed as a victim, but rather as a country that lost the "spirit of the Six-Day War" and that eroded its deterrent power and its position as a strategic asset for the U.S.

In June 1981, just before the destruction of the nuclear reactor in Iraq, then Prime Minister Menachem Begin weighed the cost of a pre-emptive strike versus the cost of inaction. The heads of the Mossad and military intelligence, then Defense Minister Ezer Weizman, opposition leader Shimon Peres, Deputy Prime Minister Yigael Yadin, Israel's national security adviser and the head of the Atomic Energy Commission all opposed striking Iraq. They presented apocalyptic scenarios that would result from such action: an irreparable rift with the U.S., harsh sanctions, conflict with the Soviet Union and Western Europe, reconciliation between Muslim countries and a pan-Islamic attack, threats to the peace treaty with Egypt and other doomsday events. They underestimated the success of a pre-emptive attack and glorified Iraq's military capabilities. Some claimed there was a greater chance of seeing Israeli pilots being dragged through the streets of Baghdad than being welcomed back to their bases.

But Begin decided in favor of a pre-emptive strike, ultimately determining that the cost of restraint could be greater than that of a pre-emptive strike; that a nuclear threat would enslave Israel both politically and militarily; that a nuclear attack could not be ruled out considering the violent, unexpected nature of regimes in the region, and that the ratio of Israeli territory to that of surrounding Arab states (0.2%) did not allow for a nuclear threat balance. Begin understood that the window of opportunity for a strike against Iraq's nuclear reactor was about to close. The destruction of the reactor drew a wave of virulent criticism even from avowed Israel supporters, but it was later followed by a sea of admiration and long-term collaboration.

In 2012, after a decade of failed attempts at dialogue and sanctions, and in light of the help (in terms of development and acquisition) Iran has received from Pakistan, North Korea, Russia and China for its nuclear program, Israel must decide between launching a pre-emptive attack to eliminate that threat or withstanding it. Opponents of an attack warn that it could potentially result in a harsh response from Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas, international anger directed at Israel over higher oil prices, or a wave of terror and conflict in the Persian Gulf. Yet these pale in comparison to the deadly cost of a nuclear threat, which include a withdrawal of Israeli and foreign investment in the country, a greater number of Israelis leaving and fewer immigrants coming to Israel, dwindling tourism, greater military-political-economic dependence on the U.S. and a more powerful and influential Iranian regime that takes control of the Persian Gulf. Israel's position as a strategic asset would be reversed without even one nuclear warhead needing to be launched.

The cost of a pre-emptive attack against Iran would be non-lethal and short-term, and would boost Israel's long-term strategic image. It would also provide a tailwind for the forces opposing the ayatollahs' regime. Will Israel adopt the legacy of Ben-Gurion and Begin, or that of their opponents? 

Monday, January 30, 2012

'PA incitement is confidence destroying measure'


Israel tells Palestinians its flexibility on territory dependent on their flexibility regarding security requirements.

Description: Prime Minister Binyamin NetanyahuBy Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post

Palestinian Authority incitement is poisoning the atmosphere and is tantamount to “confidence destroying measures,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told visiting Irish Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore on Sunday.

Netanyahu’s comments came just hours after he sounded particularly downbeat in the cabinet regarding the diplomatic process, informing his ministers that signs of progress were not “especially good.”

The Palestinian Authority has threatened not to renew low-level talks that began this month in Jordan betweenNetanyahu’s envoy Yitzhak Molcho and Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat unless Israel freezes settlement construction and agrees to the June 4, 1967, lines as the basis for negotiations.Speaking before a meeting with Gilmore, Netanyahu cited the PA’s official television broadcast of a program this week in which the terrorists who murdered five members of the Fogel family in Itamar last March were glorified.


· Analysis: Low-level talks likely to continue

· A necessary act of futility

The PA television program, he said, portrayed the terrorists as martyrs and heroes, just days after the PA’s mufti in Jerusalemquoted from a Muslim text calling for the murder of Jews.

“I think this is the wrong way to go. We demand a prompt condemnation; I hope you demand a condemnation because the only way to move to peace is to prepare our people for peace and not for brutal terror,” the prime minister said.

Later, during the meeting with Gilmore, Netanyahu said that while many ask Israel to take confidence building measures toward the Palestinians, the type of incitement being aired in the PA was destroying Israel’s confidence.

Netanyahu told his guest that Israel hoped the low-level talks that began this month would continue.

“We’re prepared to continue these talks, we hope the Palestinian Authority decides to resume the talks and back away from terror and glorification of killers,” Netanyahu said.

A similar message was relayed in a meeting later with visiting Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird. At that meeting,Netanyahu said the international community should urge the PA not to form a unity government with Hamas. He also praised President Shimon Peres for saying at the World Economic forum in Davos on Saturday that Turkey was providing Hamas with hundreds of millions of dollars.

“This is a matter of concern for us,” Netanyahu said.

Discussions with both men dealt extensively with thePalestinians.

The prime minister told his cabinet earlier in the day that thePalestinians – who want to see Israel present concrete proposals on the border issues – “refuse to even discuss Israel’s security needs.”

During the five rounds of talks in Jordan between Molcho and Erekat, Israel presented its overriding principles, the first being that it would not take any steps that endangered its security, according to Israeli officials. What that meant, Molcho said, was that if the Palestinians continued to say that there could not be any IDF presence in the Jordan Valley in a peace deal, that would impact Israel’s ability to show flexibility on the territorial issue.

In other words, the more the Palestinians came toward Israel on security issues, the more Israel could be flexible on territorial ones. Israel would not, however, draw a line on a map without first knowing what the security arrangements would be.

Another principle Molcho articulated was that wherever the lines will be drawn, the vast majority of the Jewish population beyond the Green Line in the West Bank will be drawn into Israel, and the vast majority of Palestinians will be inside a future Palestinian state.

Molcho said that because of the historic, religious and emotive nature of Jerusalem, that issue will have to be dealt with separately.

In a related issue, UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon is scheduled to arrive on Wednesday for a two-day visit that will take him to Jerusalem, Ramallah and Gaza.

He is also scheduled to address the 12th-annual Herzliya Conference on Thursday evening.

Diplomatic officials said Ban was not expected to come with any concrete proposal, but rather would be on a fact-finding mission. He visited Lebanon earlier this month.

Last week in New York, while announcing the visit, Ban said he would “encourage both sides to re-engage in earnest and create a positive atmosphere for moving forward.”

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Florida Stands with Israel

The Iconoclast

Florida citizen lobbyists attended a prayer breakfast yesterday at the University Club on the campus of Florida State University in Tallahassee. The prayer breakfast was sponsored by Christian Family Coalition (CFC). Present were representatives of the Southeastern region of the Zionist Organizations of America (ZOA), Christians and Jews United for Israel, Americans for a Safe Israel. Among the speakers at the kickoff of a day of citizen lobbying with Florida legislators were GOP Presidential hopeful former US Senate Majority leader from Pennsylvania, Rick Santorum, Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos and House Speaker Dean Cannon. Haridopolos had just come back from a trip to Israel. Santorum is an unabashed friend of Israel from his Congressional Days. While the CFC lobbying was focused on social issues, they also were supporting a Florida Stands with Israel resolution. The Florida resolution is modeled on one authored by State Rep. Alan Clemmons of Myrtle Beach and unanimously passed by the South Carolina legislature last session. The South Carolina support for Israel resolution has sparked controversy over whether its passage will vault support for the Jewish state into a ‘wedge issue’ in the 2012 Presidential and Congressional races. The Democrats have already raised that concern over GOP intentions. The Jewish Week of New York noted this in a recent article, “Dems ‘welcome’ GOP Contenders to Florida:”

Republicans are trying to make Israel a wedge issue among Jewish voters and contributors this year, especially in Florida with its large Jewish population.

In a conference call with the Jewish Week and other reporters from Anglo-Jewish and Israeli media, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL), the chair of the Democratic National Committee, and former Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL) accused Republicans of “lying and distorting” the President’s record on Israel.

Support for Israel was recently condoned by the Republican National Committee (RNC) at its winter meetings in New Orleans. The group endorsed a resolution introduced by South Carolina RNC Committeewoman, Cindy Costa. That resolution contained language that was criticized by some on the left as effectively supporting a one state solution, the Jewish State of Israel. An article on The Third Way (TTW) website, “GOP Officially Endorses One State Solution”, authored by Mitchell Plitnick, noted this excerpt from the GOP endorsed resolution:

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the members of this body support Israel in their natural and God-given right of self-governance and self-defense upon their own lands, recognizing that Israel is neither an attacking force nor an occupier of the lands of others; and that peace can be afforded the region only through a united Israel governed under one law for all people.

TTW author Plitnick immediately jumped to the conclusion that this meant “there is no interpretation possible other than that the RNC is also advocating complete Israeli annexation of the West Bank, including granting citizenship to the Palestinians living there.” Neither Plitnick nor other critics recognize the legitimate rights of over 650,000 Jews and Christians in Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem.

The news has yet to sink in with Plitnick and other pro-Palestinian supporters that the PLO-Fatah and PA President Abbas have effectively abandoned further peace plan discussions following meetings with Israeli officials in Jordan that ended on Wednesday, January 25th. Note this Jewish Press report, “Peace Talks Over, Abbas said:”

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declared peace talks with Israel over on Wednesday, ending a series of low-level meetings that brought no tangible results despite pressure from the United States, the European Union and the talks’ Jordanian hosts.

[. . .]

Even before the meeting on Wednesday, PA and Israeli officials declared the talks fruitless, with each side trying to portray the other as the recalcitrant one.

GOP Presidential hopeful, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, during the final Florida primary debate in Jacksonville on Thursday, January 26th expressed the concerns of many Floridians captured in this CBS News report:

The former governor said Mr. Obama "disrespected Benjamin Netanyahu," for announcing a major policy change the day before a bilateral meeting in the White House.

"I think he threw Israel under the bus with regards to defining the '67 borders as a starting point of negotiations," Romney said.

“I think he has time and time again shown distance from Israel, and that has created, in my view, a greater sense of aggression on the part of the Palestinians," Romney said. "I will stand with our friend, Israel."

The Florida Stands with Israel Resolution, developed under the auspices of the ZOA, is a hybrid. It is based in part on the original South Carolina proposal authored by State Rep. Alan Clemmons but with attention to the legal rights of the State of Israel under international law.

Given soundings over the past few weeks and a number of co-sponsor ‘dear colleague’ letters that have been signed by both Democratic and Republican Florida State legislators, the Stand with Israel Resolution hopefully may replicate the unanimity displayed by the South Carolina legislature vote last year.

The Florida Stands with Israel resolution (HR 1447/SR 1396) has the following objectives:

To encourage peace by promoting the rule of law within Israel and the international community;
To recognize the legal and historic facts that support Israel’s right to self-determination and self-defense on the entirety of its lands; and,
To recognize that Israel and America share the same values and enemies, and remain the greatest of allies.

The factual basis in support of the Florida Stands with Israel resolution is grounded in recognition of Israel’s sovereignty and self defense under International law. Specifically:

The unanimous support of 52 members of the League of Nations on July 24, 1922;
Concurrent resolutions of both Houses of the US Congress endorsing Israel’s rights passed on June 30, 1922 and signed by President Harding on September 21, 1922; and,
Article 80 of the UN Charter that implicitly recognizes by reference the Mandate for Palestine of the predecessor League of Nations.

Read the full text of the Florida Stands with Israel Senate Resolution SR-1396 introduced by Sen. Alan Hays (Dist 20), here. -

The citizen lobbyists of the CFC and Jewish Zionist advocates reminded Florida Senators and Representatives that, today, January 27th was International Holocaust Remembrance Day designated by the UN General Assembly in 2005. January 27th is the 67th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp by advancing Russian forces, who found less than 7,000 survivors of the more than 1.4 million Jewish men, women and children murdered by the Nazi SS in unspeakable ways. They noted the comments of Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu during his visit to Auschwitz on Yom Ha Shoah April 23, 1998, “at the time the Jews didn’t have a state, nor the political force to protect themselves.”

As the Florida citizen lobbyists reminded their State legislators, “millions of Christians and Jews support the bastion of the Jewish State of Israel”.

The Florida legislature ends its session on March 9th. Let’s hope that the Florida Stands with Israel resolution passes unanimously and becomes a model for adoption by other state legislatures across the US and ultimately, the US Congress.