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September 30, 2014 / 6 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘agreements’

US: Hamas-Fatah Agreement an ‘Internal Matter’

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

The Obama administration declined to weigh in on the reconciliation agreement signed between Hamas and Fatah, saying instead that it was an “internal matter”.

“As we’ve said many times, questions of Palestinian reconciliation are an internal matter for Palestinians,” US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said.

Nuland did reiterate the US position that Hamas is a terrorist organization, and that any Palestinian government must abide by the international agreements and norms that the Quartet had laid out. “Any Palestinian government must unambiguously and explicitly commit to non-violence. It must recognize the state of Israel and it must accept the previous agreements and obligations between the parties, including the road map.”

Unchaining The Agunah Problem

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

In producing “Women Unchained,” a daring yet dignified film about women who can’t get a get – a Jewish divorce – filmmakers Beverly Siegel and Leta Lenik have done Jewish society a favor. By tackling the agunah problem with deep understanding of this complex issue, these two women have made it possible for rabbis and laypersons, ordinarily pitted against each other on this issue, to really hear the other side.

First, some definitions. A Jewish woman whose husband refuses to give her a get is called an agunah, from the Hebrew word that means anchored. According to traditional Jewish law, which serves as the basis of jurisprudence on matters of personal status for all Jews in Israel, an agunah is not free to remarry and build a new life, even if she is civilly divorced, until she receives a get from her husband.

Moreover, for the get to be considered kosher, it must be given by the man of his own free will; it cannot ordinarily be forced. It is his decision, not the rabbis’ decision.

If an agunah flouts this restriction and marries civilly without a get and gives birth to a child, the child of that forbidden union may be stigmatized as a mamzer and, as such, be barred from marrying freely in a traditional Jewish ceremony anywhere in the world. No comparable penalty strikes a child fathered by a divorced or separated man who has not given his wife a get. This is the core of the problem. And this is the reason why some men hold out for – and get – astronomical sums of money to “buy” their free will.

“Women Unchained” tells the stories of five Orthodox women who are victims of their husband’s refusal to give them a get. Without resorting to hyperbole or hysterics, the filmmakers involve the viewer in the constrained rhythm of the women’s daily lives.

One works in the cafeteria of a Jewish day school to support her daughters, while waiting 10 years for her husband to release her. Another sits home alone at the computer shut out from joining a Jewish dating website because women who are divorced must have a get to be accepted. Another, a former victim of domestic violence whose father paid dearly to buy her get, tends her garden and tartly observes, “Each weed is a recalcitrant husband. Yank.”

Exposing the impact of get abuse on family members, the teenage daughter of one of the agunot asks why she should marry a Jewish man, if it might land her in the same situation as her mother. “I know I’m Jewish,” she says in a poignant scene, “but maybe I should just have a live-in boyfriend, so at least I’ll be able to be free.”

As personal sagas develop, narrator Mayim Bialik (a Ph.D. in neuroscience, though she’s better known for her roles in the television sitcoms “Blossom” and “The Big Bang Theory”) elegantly and with insight carries viewers on a journey that doesn’t flinch from describing the phenomena of domestic violence; get abuse; the traditional Jewish ban on reporting another Jew to secular authorities; Orthodox rabbinic inertia; hit men; and, in accounting-ledger detail, the “getonomics” that pinched the father of one agunah for $500,000 to buy his daughter’s freedom.

Historical background is engagingly conveyed while interviews with Rabbi Dr. Abraham Twerski; Rabbi Gedalya Schwartz of the CRC; Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes; Project Eden founder Henna White; family law expert Alexandra Leichter; author/therapist M. Gary Neuman, and leading agunah-rights advocates (this author included), help to crystallize the important issues.

Lest one think non-Orthodox Jews are immune to these problems, the impact of the get issue on non-Orthodox Jews is deftly explained by Rabbi Seth Farber, who notes that if new olim want “to open a marriage file in Israel, they will have to provide certification from a recognized Orthodox rabbi.” A woman who’s been divorced will have to produce a get and in the case of the daughter of a woman who’s been divorced, “the rabbinate will insist on seeing an Orthodox get from the mother before they allow the daughter to open a marriage file.”

From the U.S. to Israel to Peru, unexpected twists and turns – some filmed in real time – bring the viewer to outrage as well as laughter out of disbelief. Nevertheless, this film does not leave us empty-handed or helpless. A clear statement is made to all marrying couples and their parents: A good Jewish marriage is one where the couple signs a prenuptial agreement for the prevention of get-refusal. It works.

There is nothing easy about dealing with the agunah problem. It’s extremely uncomfortable to talk about; it’s difficult to explain to the uninitiated; following the Jewish law that leads to the problem is confusing if one is not a Talmudic scholar; it’s especially incomprehensible to those who were born with the silver spoon of civil rights built in to their lives.

Standing Idly By

Sunday, December 4th, 2011

Presumably, almost all the readers of this publication are Orthodox Jews – those that pride themselves on serving G-d through fulfilling His commandments. Keeping in mind the rabbinical edict, “A mitzvah that comes your way—don’t miss it!” (Rashi, Bavli Megillah 6b), it would behoove the readers to know that an oft-missed mitzvah has come their way.

The Torah warns us twelve times to have special consideration towards the orphan and the widow – yatom v’almanah. The first such commandment appears in Shemot 22,21: “Any widow or orphan you are not to afflict.” It is followed directly by a description of the consequences to society in its entirety if there is affliction. It is frightening to print in a newspaper column; readers will have to refer to the original.

Rashi clarifies that in essence we are warned not to cause suffering to any individual: “This is the law for all people, here the text spoke in accordance with present reality, for they [widows and orphans] are weak of strength and it is common to find them afflicted.” Or as the Soncino Edition (J.H. Hertz, 1962) commentary states: “Who are bereft of their human protector and destitute of the physical force to defend their rights.” Ibn Ezra adds: “For all who sees one who afflicts an orphan or widow and does not come to their aid, he is also considered to be an afflictor.” Rav Shimshon Rafael Hirsch enlightens us further: “The widow has lost her mouth in her husband, has nobody to speak for her any longer. The orphan…[suffers from the] misuse his weakness and lack of protection…even rich widows and orphans are easier to be taken advantage of and misused, than other people… in society, amongst people…they are bereft of anybody to stand up for them, to protect them, guide and advise them, and so are exposed to be wronged and humiliated. Hence, in their case the Torah addresses primarily the members of the community in the plural ‘thou shalt not misuse their weakness or make them feel the weakness of their position.’”

Rashi related the mitzvah to reality. The reality today is that there is another individual who has lost her support, has suffered the abuse of her rights and who has no man to serve as her pillar of support. That is the modern-day agunah—the victim of Get-refusal. In fact, the very man upon whom the agunah originally depended to honor her and act as her protector turns against her and abuses his power over her.

There is one agunah today in the United States who is both orphaned of her father and whose husband is refusing (as of the time of this printing) to give her a get. This is Tamar Epstein. Lest one think that this is a problem solely for the rabbis and not for the layperson — the rabbis have already done their utmost to convince Mr. Aharon Friedman to give Ms. Epstein a get, to no avail. In fact not only did the Beth Din of the Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the United States and Canada issue an Declaration of Contempt (ktav seiruv – see page F1 in this week’s newspaper) against Mr. Friedman, the rabbinic judges included a plea directed to all: “Any person who has the ability or opportunity to influence him to free Tamar Epstein from the chains of her agunah status is obligated to do so and doing so will indeed be the fulfillment of a great mitzvah.”

Each and every reader of these words is now aware of a biblical commandment (mitzvah d’oraita) and a rabbinic-ordained commandment (mitzvah d’rabbanan) to help Tamar Epstein achieve her get. Moreover, most readers recite every Tuesday at the close of the morning prayers (shacharit): “Defend the poor and fatherless; do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy…” Someone has to help Tamar Epstein find relief from the affliction she is suffering. Will you heed the words you yourself recite in prayer? Will you take the mitzvah of helping Tamar to heart? How can you help deliver the get to her hand? It is incumbent upon each and every one in the Orthodox community to consider how he or she can help. It is not easy for readers sitting in the comfort of their own home to actually take action. For that reason an additional commandment was necessary to spell out that one may not stand by when a fellow Jew is in a position of need. It is human nature to need that extra push in order to have the will to help.  Now that you know, you cannot stand idly by.

Editor’s Note:  A protest rally against Mr. Aharon Friedman’s recalcitrance has been organized by ORA and will be held on Sunday, December 4th, 1 PM at 1131 University Blvd., Silver Spring, Md.

Rachel Levmore, Ph.D. in Jewish Law from Bar Ilan University, is a rabbinical court advocate; coordinator of the Agunah and Get-Refusal Prevention Project of the Council of Young Israel Rabbis in Israel and the Jewish Agency; and author of “Min’ee Einayich Medim’a” on prenuptial agreements for the prevention of get-refusal.

 

Israel, Egypt And Palestinian ‘Demilitarization’: Some Unseen Perils Of Treaty Law

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011
             I am a professor of international law. In my columns, therefore, I focus from time to time on distinctly legal aspects of Israel’s foreign relations. Nonetheless, I am always deeply attentive to examining these particular aspects within a genuinely realistic geopolitical or geostrategic context.
            Throughout history, states and empires have routinely negotiated formal agreements in order to secure themselves. These agreements, usually in treaty form, are typically fashioned according to pertinent international law. Problems arise, however, whenever particular signatories decide that continued compliance is no longer in their own presumed “national interest.” This means that treaties can be useful when there exists an enduring mutuality of interest, but can also become useless or even perilous whenever such mutuality is expected to disappear.
            For the moment, Israel’s 1979 Peace Treaty with Egypt, at least in the strict jurisprudential sense, remains in place. Surely, however, any still-ongoing regime change in Cairo that would extend some measure of governing authority to the Muslim Brotherhood, or even to its proxies, could sometime result in a prompt Egyptian abrogation. Although any such willful termination of treaty obligations by the Egyptian side would almost certainly be in violation of The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, there is little that Israel or the international community would be able to do about it.
            For Israel, this prospect should ring warning bells on the closely related issues of Palestinian statehood. Back in June 2009, Prime Minister Netanyahu officially agreed to the creation of a Palestinian state.  But, with an apparent nod to prudent diplomacy, he also conditioned this acceptance upon Palestinian demilitarization. More precisely, said the Prime Minister: “In any peace agreement, the territory under Palestinian control must be disarmed, with solid security guarantees for Israel.”
            This agreement seemingly represented a smart concession, but only if there can be any reasonable expectations of Palestinian compliance. In fact, such expectations are thoroughly implausible. This is the case not only because treaties and treaty-like agreements can easily be broken, but because, in this particular case, any post-independence Palestinian insistence upon militarization would likely be lawful.
             Neither Hamas nor Fatah (now in the aftermath of their recent reconciliation) will ever negotiate for anything less than full sovereignty. Why should they?
            International lawyers seeking to discover “Palestine-friendly” sources of legal confirmation could conveniently cherry-pick pertinent provisions of the 1934 Convention on the Rights and Duties of States, the treaty on statehood, sometimes called the Montevideo Convention. They could apply the same strategy to the 1969 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.
             Israel has a peremptory right to remain alive. It was, therefore, entirely proper for Mr. Netanyahu to have previously opposed a Palestinian state in any form.
            International law would not necessarily expect Palestinian compliance with any pre-state agreements concerning armed force.  This statement is true even if these agreements were to include certain explicit U.S. guarantees to Israel.  Also, because authentic treaties can only be binding upon states, a non-treaty agreement between the Palestinians and Israel could quickly prove to be of little or no real authority or effectiveness. And this is to say nothing of the prominent and potentially synergistic connections between Hamas, the Islamic Resistance Movement, and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.

             What if the government of a new Palestinian state were somehow willing to consider itself bound by the pre-state, non-treaty agreement? Even in these very improbable circumstances, the new Palestinian Arab government could have ample pretext and opportunity to identify relevant grounds for lawful treaty termination. 

           Palestine could withdraw from the treaty because of what it regarded as a “material breach,” a purported violation by Israel that had allegedly undermined the object or purpose of the agreement.  Or it could point toward what international law calls Rebus sic stantibus, or, in English, the doctrine known as a “fundamental change of circumstances.”  Here, if Palestine should declare itself vulnerable to previously unforeseen dangers, perhaps even from the interventionary or prospectively occupying forces of certain other Arab armies, it could lawfully end its codified commitment to remain demilitarized.
            There is another factor that explains why Prime Minister Netanyahu’s alleged hope for Palestinian demilitarization remains ill-founded. After declaring independence, a new Palestinian state government could point to certain pre-independence errors of fact, or to duress, as appropriate grounds for agreement termination. In other words, the usual grounds that may be invoked under domestic law to invalidate contracts can also apply under international law, both to actual treaties, and to treaty-like agreements. 
             Any treaty is void if, at the time of entry, it is in conflict with a “peremptory” rule of international law, a rule accepted by the community of states as one from which “no derogation is permitted.”  Because the right of sovereign states to maintain military forces for self-defense is always such a rule, Palestine could be fully within its lawful right to abrogate any agreement that had previously (pre-independence) compelled its demilitarization.
             It follows from all this that Mr. Netanyahu and the people of Israel should take no comfort from any legal promises of Palestinian demilitarization. Should the government of any future Palestinian state choose to invite foreign armies or terrorists on to its territory, possibly after the original government had been overthrown by more militantly Jihadist/Islamic forces, it could do so not only without practical difficulties, but also without violating international law.
             In the final analysis, of course, the core danger to Israel of any presumed Palestinian demilitarization is far more practical than legal.  The Washington-driven Road Map, a one-sided plan of land for nothing, stems from a persistent misunderstanding of Palestinian history and goals.  Mr. Obama should finally understand that the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was formed in 1964; three years before there were any “occupied territories.” 
            What, exactly, was the PLO then trying to “liberate?”
             Today, facing protracted uncertainty in Cairo, Israel could soon have to deal with a new Egyptian regime’s abrogation of the 1979 peace treaty. With this particular regional portent in mind, Israel must ensure that yet another determined enemy state will not be carved out of its own, steadily diminishing, territory.
            A Palestinian state – any Palestinian state – would represent a mortal danger to Israel. This danger would not be relieved or removed by any legal Palestinian pre-independence commitments to demilitarize.
             For Israel, whether the issue is Egypt, or Palestine, or both together, it is essential to bear in mind the potentially limited benefits of certain formal legal agreements.


 

LOUIS RENÉ BERES (Ph.D. Princeton, 1971) is the author of many books and several hundred articles dealing with Israel and international law. Chair of Project Daniel (Israel, 2003), he was born in Zürich, Switzerland, on August 31, 1945. Professor Beres is Strategic and Military Affairs columnist for The Jewish Press.

Recognizing Shame On International Agunah Day

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

Editor’s Note: International Agunah Day is marked yearly on Ta’anit Esther, which falls this year on Thursday, March 17.

It began in the United States with the Yiddish newspaper the Forward in the first half of the 20th century. The galeriye fun farshvundene mener (gallery of vanished husbands) appeared regularly, listing names and photos of men who had disappeared leaving their wives as agunot, chained to a Jewish marriage. The Jewish Press followed in the latter decades of the century, launching its own weekly seiruv list.

At the turn of the 21st century the rabbinical courts in Israel realized the potential of the Internet and began listing the names, photos and descriptions of the most extreme cases of get-refusers under the title “Most Wanted” (www.rbc.gov.il). Shortly thereafter, the Organization for the Resolution of Agunot (www.getora.com) began to prominently display those who have had seiruvim issued against them, in a measure intended to convince recalcitrant husbands to release their wives.

Yet the shameful list grows along with the unprecedented flow of information. The situation is so severe that the agunah problem has been increasingly visible in the media, both general and Jewish.

The Washington Post (Feb. 5, 2006 about Sarah and Sam Rosenbloom), the Wall Street Journal (Aug 24, 2007 about Susan Rosenfeld and Ariel Hacohen), YouTube (Dec. 19, 2010 about Tamar Epstein and Aharon Friedman) and The New York Times (Jan 3, 2011, Epstein and Freidman) have examined the supposed “shaming” of the get-refusers. In doing so, however, these secular media outlets also exposed the shame of the Orthodox Jewish community.

Our community prides itself on the morality inherent in our laws and customs. The wisdom of our rabbis is drawn upon by national committees dealing with ethical questions such as abortion and organ transplants. We lift our communal head high when one of our members is recognized by the world at large for a noteworthy contribution.

Moreover, the Orthodox world touts its stable family units where the woman is valued and praised every Friday night. How tragic is it, then, that the same community demonstrates by its actions – or rather its inaction – that a woman is not truly valued? She is not considered worthy or capable of making the weighty decision to exit a dead marriage – certainly not enough that the wisdom of the rabbis should be applied to help her extricate herself from an untenable situation.

On the surface, we have a clash between precepts of democracy and Jewish law. It is a biblical injunction, d’oraita, that a man must give his wife a get willingly in order for the divorce to take place. So, according to Torah law, a man can divorce his wife while a woman cannot divorce her husband. (According to rabbinic law a man cannot divorce his wife without her agreement as well, though there is an “escape clause” of heter me’ah rabbanim.) However, this premise is not being called into question here. It is the deeper and more complex dimension of the role of the rabbis that is being addressed in the discussions of the press.

At its core, the problem is not that of the man having power over the woman – it is of the man having power over the rabbis.

While rabbis and community leaders at the time of the Forward’s gallery of vanished husbands truly believed they were doing all they could to end the suffering of agunot by searching for the wayward husbands, that level of effort does not suffice today. The rabbis must recognize that there are great dangers in the present situation, where a rabbinical court is dependent on a recalcitrant husband to put its ruling into effect.

There are dangers to the wife; to the joint children who need co-parenting; to her future never-to-be born children or even future children from another man while an agunah; and, on a communal level, to the very fabric of the Orthodox Jewish community where rabbis are expected to be the ultimate leaders. Because rabbis are allowing individual men to refuse to heed their rulings. And it is there for the world to see.

There are halachic processes for the rabbis to take back their authority. For example, the Rabbinical Council of America demands that each couple marrying under its auspices sign the prenuptial agreement of the Beth Din of America designed to prevent get-refusal. But where are the rabbis of other communities? Why is there not a wall-to-wall rabbinical coalition dealing with the problem of get-refusal? Where is the standardized communal obligation to sign a prenuptial agreement for the prevention of get-refusal?

Still Taking Detours To Survival: Obama, Netanyahu And The Twisting “Road Map” To Genocide And War (Conclusion)

Monday, March 29th, 2010
           The list of PA violations of Oslo goes on and on.  There is the incontestable failure to prevent incitement (codified at Annex 1, Art. II, 35); harassment of suspected former collaborators (codified at Art. XVI); failure to provide information on Israeli MIAs (codified at Art. XXVIII of the Interim Agreement and at Art. XIX of the Gaza-Jericho Agreement); the failure to change the PLO Covenant (codified at Art. XXXII), a failure that means that the PA (let alone Hamas) has still not renounced its intent to annihilate the Jewish State; the abuse of human rights and the rule of law (codified at Art. XIX); the failure to control PApolice activity in eastern Jerusalem (codified at Annex I of both agreements – the Gaza-Jericho Accord and the Interim Agreement – which carefully delineate the areas in which the Palestinian security forces may operate).


            There are other PA/Hamas violations of Oslo – any one of which could comprise an entire magazine article.  They include unilaterally halting security cooperation with Israel in contradiction to Art. II (2) of Annex I to the Oslo Accords; failing to coordinate movement of Palestinian police (under Art. V (6) of Annex I to Oslo 2; the movement of Palestinian policemen between Area A and Area B, or in Area C, must be coordinated in advance with Israeli security officials; detaining Israeli citizens (according to Art. XI (4d) of Annex I to the Oslo Accord:  “Israelis shall under no circumstances be apprehended or placed in custody or prison by Palestinian authorities.”); failing to enforce restrictions on Visitor’s Permits (under Art. 28 (13b) of Annex III to the Oslo 2 Accords, “The Palestinian side will notify Israel of any extension.”); and constructing, without authorization, a Gaza strip sea port and the Dahaniye airport (the first in violation of Art. XIV (4) of Annex I to the Oslo 2 Accords – the second in violation of Art. XIII (3) of Annex I to the Oslo 2 Accords).


            Generally, both Israeli and Arab proponents of “peace” feel that, for Israel, the Oslo agreements and Road Map represent a pretty good bargain.  Ignoring the entire history of genocide against Jews that led to Israel’s statehood in the first place, they neglect to consider that this “bargain” will ultimately involve nothing less than another Jewish Diaspora.  But there is no more contrived component of the pro-Peace Process argument than this one:  Accommodation (surrender) to the Palestinians opens the way to subsequent peace treaties with Syria and Lebanon. Along with peace treaties already signed with Egypt and Jordan, these new agreements will leave Israel in a state of peace – for the very first time – with all its immediate neighbors. However, looking at (1) the aforementioned map of Palestine (which incorporates the current State of Israel), (2) the aforelisted PA/Hamas violations of Oslo – especially the refusal even to abrogate a codification of genocidal intent – and (3) the incessant Arab and Islamic calls for Jihad, is there any reason to believe that Israel’s enemies will now subordinate their overriding doctrinal and religious expectations to the diametrically opposite expectations of international law? 


            There is no greater power in all world politics, especially in the Islamic Middle East, than power over death.


            More precisely, regarding these doctrinal and religious expectations, it will be helpful to consider the following hadith, an Arabic term which refers to the oral tradition by means of which sayings or deeds attributed to the Prophet Mohammed have been handed down to Muslim believers:  “Verily, the word of God teaches us, and we implicitly believe it, that for a Muslim to kill a Jew, or for him to be killed by a Jew, ensures him an immediate entry into Heaven and into the august presence of God Almighty.”

 

 

              Have Israeli and American supporters of the current Road Map forgotten that Egyptian President Anwar Sadat had defended his 1979 Treaty with Israel in the Arab world by identifying it as no more than a tactical expedient?  President Sadat claimed that the Treaty was “founded upon Islamic rules, because it arises from a position of strength, after the holy war and victory Egypt achieved on 10th Ramadan 1393″(October 1973). Generally overlooked, the Treaty provides a legally permissible rationale for abrogation by Egypt.  A minute to Article VI, paragraph 5, of the Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty stipulates:  “It is agreed to by the Parties that there is no assertion that this Treaty prevails over other Treaties or agreements, or that other Treaties or agreements prevail over this Treaty.”  


            In keeping with standard practice throughout the Arab/Islamic world, Al Da’wa, The Mission, a prominent Islamic publication, has identified the status of Israel with the status of the individual Jew.  Here, as we have noted earlier about authoritative Arab/Islamic views in general, Israel is merely rendered as the Jew in macrocosm:  “The race (sic) is corrupt at the root, full of duplicity, and the Muslims have everything to lose in seeking to deal with them; they must be exterminated.”  


             Following are some earlier statements by senior PA officials, all of which were flagrantly anti-Jewish, and several of which incorporated sordid anti-Jewish stereotypes. They complement the earlier-cited Arab/Islamic quotations about Jews and Judaism: (1) “Five Zionist Jews are running the policy of the United States in the Middle East:  Madeleine Albright, William Cohen, Dennis Ross, Miller and Martin Indyk.  It is not possible that the American nation, which consists of 250 million people (sic), can not find anyone other than five Zionist Jews to conduct the peace process with the Palestinians.”  PA Justice Minister Freih Abu Middein, Yediot Ahronot, April 13, 1997  (2)  “We are fighting and struggling with an enemy who is Shylock.  We must know that he is Shylock.”  Othman Abu Gharbiya, PA Chairman Arafat’s Adviser on National Political Guidance, in a radio interview, Voice of Palestine, March 15, 1997  (3) “The Jewish lobby is working very hard to jeopardize the process.”  Former PA Chairman Yasser Arafat, in an interview, BeirutDaily Star, March 25, 1997, Agence France Presse, March 26, 1997  (4) “Israeli authorities…infected by injection 300 Palestinian children with the HIV virus during the years of the intifada.”  Palestinian representative Nabil Ramlawi at a session of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, Jerusalem Post, March 17 1997. 


            The theme of Palestine as the predestined grave of Israel, and of the Jews in general, is a persistent motif in Arab/Islamic orientations toward Israel.  Here, the following claim, made more than a generation ago by Dr. Yahya al-Rakhawi in Al-Akhbar, the organ of Egypt’s Liberal Party, is still typical:  “When the State of Israel was established and was recognized by many, in both East and West, one of the reasons for this recognition was the desire of the people in the East and West to get rid of as many as possible of the representatives of that human error known as the Jews.  Behind this motive was another, secret purpose: to concentrate them in one place, so that it would be easier to strike at the right moment.”


            Neither strategically nor jurisprudentially are war and genocide mutually exclusive. Certain of Israel’s Islamic enemies are now making preparations for just such a strike.  Principal among these, of course, is the Islamic Republic of Iran. To assist in these exterminatory preparations, an ongoing war of terror and attrition against the Jewish State is laying the foundations for the eventually planned war of annihilation. 


            Although it may no longer be possible for Israel to entirely prevent such a war, a war that could involve various forms of unconventional weapons, the government of Israel may still diminish expected harms by recalling the true history of Arab-Israeli conflict and by finally extricating their beleaguered country from the inevitably lethal consequences of Oslo and the Road Map.                     


LOUIS RENÉ BERES (Ph.D., Princeton, 1971) lectures and publishes widely on Israeli and US foreign and military policies. He is Strategic and Military Affairs columnist for The Jewish Press.

Promise Anything And Go About Your Business

Friday, August 8th, 2003

How did it come to be that the Palestinian Authority, which is required, by the “road map” it signed onto “unconditionally,” to dismantle Hamas and other specifically identified terrorist groups, has declared that it will not disarm them, agreeing instead to a ceasefire in place and also offering them a place in their government? Most recently, how can it possibly be that the Palestinian Authority now says that “road map” discussions - although the document does not call for it - cannot continue unless Israel now agrees to release all Palestinian prisoners, including members of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Al Aksa Brigades and the rest?

How is one to take that startling news report the other day in The New York Times about Palestinian security officials in Gaza, now solemnly responsible for stemming attacks on Israelis
emanating from Gaza, releasing nine militants from a group known as the Popular Resistance Committees, who were being held on charges that they took part in firing grenades at Israeli settlements in Gaza in recent days. According to The Times, the security officials freed the men after they said they would abide by the faction’s decision to suspend attacks.

Sadly, when many were hoping against hope that Abu Mazen might mark a change, what we are witnessing is but the latest example of Palestinian duplicitousness. Once again, Palestinian
leaders are demonstrating that for them, agreements and commitments are merely words. Promise anything and then go about your business is apparently still the order of the day. To be sure their motives are not all that hard to figure out. While they claim an overriding need to avoid civil war, Mazen & Company are unwilling to move against Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Al Aksa because to do so would be an acknowledgment that they were indeed terrorists and not “resistance fighters” and that the intifada was terror and not “resistance.” For the same reason, they are unwilling to abandon those of their comrades imprisoned in Israeli jails for having been complicit in all sorts of outrages or genuinely arrest terrorists linked to new ones.

But the bottom line is that the modus operandi of the Mazen “government” is to ignore terms of agreements and unilaterally set new ones. This hardly seems the stuff of progress. Yet we have yet to hear definitively from President Bush about this behavior of the Palestinian leader “he can do business with.”

There has been much talk about how the “road map” is “performance-based.” It should therefore be instructive to see what concrete steps the PA will take to disarm the terrorist groups and stop new terrorist acts - and how long they will persist in their prisoner release ploy. We will all know soon enough. And we trust that President Bush will take due note.

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