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December 29, 2014 / 7 Tevet, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Bush Administration’

Fowl Peace Talks a Treif Thanksgiving Turkey

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

Middle East experts are experts by virtue of their positions of power.

Some of them, like former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, even have learned a thing or two about international affairs. Rice actually has a Ph.D., which as comedian-pianist Victor Borge once said, should be read as “phttttttttttt.”

The experts, and that includes John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Catherine Ashton and the Oslo Accords crowd, may have learned about prophets, kings, oil and sheikhs in International Relations 101, but they missed out on the basics, like selling non-kosher turkeys to the Arabs.

I learned more about Arab-Jewish relations by working in kibbutz turkey barns than Kerry and Ashton could ever learn in their worldwide visits to official residents of presidents and prime ministers in Ramallah, Jerusalem and Amman.

Turkeys, like people, are cute when they are babies, but after a few weeks, they are not like most people. Their feet are scratchy and they begin to stink. When they get to be three months old, some of them pick up a cold, a little bronchitis, or start to hobble on weak knees, probably from too many carbohydrates.

Then they start acting like grown teenagers. The stronger turkeys pick on the weaker ones, just like fifth-graders playing king of the hill. They peck at the skin until the poor gobbler cannot stand on his feet.

When I was in charge of the birds on a kibbutz farm, the sick and injured had their own quarters, a fenced-off intensive care ward where the bullies couldn’t bother them. But sometimes it was too late. Their broken legs and their bronchitis often are more than modern medicine can cure on a cost-efficient basis.

What can you do with a sick and lame turkey? You sell it cheaply. After all, the reason to raise turkeys is turn them into fat candidates for the slaughterhouse and convert them into cold cash. The Humane Society really does not have much demand for them.

That’s where a revised International Relations 101 course could have taught the experts, sitting in their sterilized offices, something besides making roadmaps to nowhere. Even Professor Yossi Beilin, the darling of the Israeli Left, doesn’t know a kibbutz from Damascus.

Peace is a business, like anything else these days. But you have to know the rules of the game. A good Western businessman knows that a handshake is a handshake, a word is a word, and a deal is a deal.

For instance, Tom wants to sell his two-year-old Chevy for $5,000. Clyde wants to buy it for $4,000. One of them budges or there’s no deal. Jim tries to cut a deal at $4,400. If Tom and Clyde compromise at $4,500, Tom gets his money and Clyde gets his wheels. As for Jim, that’s his problem.

But that’s not the way it works in the Middle East. Here, Abe writes out a check and Ahmed gives him the key. The next day, Abe discovers the key doesn’t fit. “Of course it does not fit,” Ahmed retorts. “The price of the car was according to the real value of the dollar. The inflation rate went up 0.2 percent yesterday. You owe me $10!”

Abe protests, “Where’s the cell phone antenna that was on the roof? I am stopping payment on the check. You owe me $25 for the bank charge.”

“I’m not finished stripping the car,” retaliates Ahmed. The DVD is mine, but I’ll put back the original radio. It works most of the time, especially the Al Jazeera channel.”

“Look, here,” snarls Abe. “I paid you $4,500, but that was based on the price of gold. It went up two cents yesterday. The real price is $4,498.09.”

“You can add another $120 for the deluxe hub caps, or I’ll take them with me,” Ahmed shouts.

They agree to talk again tomorrow. That was 10 years ago. They still are talking.

It doesn’t matter that Abe still has to thumb a ride to work and that Ahmed does the same because he doesn’t have enough money for gas. The principles are that the other guy didn’t get what he wanted so they can continue arguing.

In Western societies, negotiations are a means to an end. The objective is to make a deal so both sides get what they want.

Ten Car Bombs, Suicide Bombing, Kill 49 in Iraq

Sunday, October 27th, 2013

Iraq, the country that the Bush Sr. administration made safe for democracy, lost 49 more citizens and soldiers the past two days with 10 car bombs on mostly Shi’ite Muslims and suicide bombings of a group of soldiers.

Another 100 people suffered injuries as violence returns to the hey-day of 2008, when American troops were working with the Iraqi government and training it soldiers to keep law and order.

Two of Sunday morning’s bombs were in a busy market in the town of Nahrawan, south of Baghdad, and were presumably carried out by Sunni Muslim terrorists, possibly with the help of Al Qaeda, the terrorist organization that President Barack Obama two years ago said was on the verge of being wiped out.

Approximately 3,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed this year.

Peres Stains the Memory of Rabin with the ‘Status Quo Fallacy’

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

Wednesday was “let’s fight over the meaning of Yitzchak Rabin’s death” day in Israel, with President Shimon Peres and leading center-leftists still defaming the memory of the slain Prime Minister and exploiting it for its agenda that was signed long ago by the U.S. State Dept.

President Peres headed the hit parade at the Mount Herzl Cemetery in Jerusalem and began by rightfully noting that Rabin was a veteran warrior who fought for Israel’s independence and survived the enemy, only to die at the hands of a Jew whose “crime never will be forgiven.”

He then went on the usual peace tangent, equating Rabin with the quest for peace as if he knows better than God what Rabin would have said had he lived long enough to see dozens of suicide bombings, missiles on Jerusalem neighborhoods and trading 1,000 terrorists, many of whom returned to their favorite pastime of killing Jews, for some bodies of soldiers or the return of one live soldier.

But this is nothing new. We go through this every year, for 18 years now, since Rabin was gunned down. The inherent assumption is that there is no peace because the government does not do enough for peace. The government, if it’s not headed by Labor, is to blame and never mind the Arabs’ rejection of Labor government leader Ehud Barak’s offer to give it almost everything it supposed wanted plus the silver platter.

Everyone is entitled to an opinion, but when Peres “remembered” Rabin on Wednesday by declaring, “Those who delude themselves that the status quo between us and the Palestinians will continue may become a victim of their delusions,” the only one who suffers delusions are Shimon Peres and his  flock of cluckers.

It was 25 years ago, in mid-1988, when the Intifada was six-months old. Any armchair Zionist from the United States or Europe who drove through the winding hills of Judea and Samaria saw the isolated Jewish communities under the shadow of hundreds of Arab villages tucked away in every valley and exposed in every turn of the back road.

“This cannot continue” was the refrain I remember hearing.

On the surface, nothing much has changed. There are dozens more Jewish communities, but there also are hundreds more Arab communities.

Politically, the same gap remains.

But the status quo has changed because what really matters is not Bush’s Roadmap nor John Kerry’s peace plans. United Nations resolutions in favor of the Palestinian Authority don’t matter. Not even Israel’s “goodwill” gestures matter.

What matters is that the Arab population at large couldn’t care less about a Palestinian Authority state.

If there is a status quo that exists and cannot continue it is the corrupt and impotent Palestinian Authority. The only meaningful riots among the Arabs are those against their own so-called leaders.

There is not one dominant urban center in the Palestinian Authority. There is Ramallah north of Jerusalem, Jenin further north, and there is Jenin even further north, closer to Lower Galilee than to the Ramallah.

There is Kalkilya bordering Kfar Saba on the northern edge of metropolitan Tel Aviv; there is Jericho, in the middle of nowhere in the Jordan Valley; and there is Tulkarm overlooking Netanya. In between all of these cities, there are miles and miles of rural villages.

Each city has its only culture and identity. Hevron Arabs never would feel at home in Jericho, and those in Shechem would not feel at home in Hevron. They all have different mentalities, as different as Ashkenazi and Sephardi Jews.

But those two Jewish tribes are bound together by Jewish blood and the need for a State of Israel.

The Arabs are not.

Nothing binds them. Even a common hate of Israel does not bind them because facts on the ground show that while they would love to see Israel annihilated, they would choose three square meals a day if given the choice between the two. They can’t have both because the Palestinian Authority never has had a will to become a ruling entity.

Israel has relinquished rule over most of the Palestinian Authority, but it cannot function. The security it provides for its own people is far less than Israel provided before the Intifadas.

Here’s How the IDF Blows up a Terrorists’ Tunnel (Video)

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

The aftermath of a controlled explosion of a terror tunnel into Israel from Gaza looked like a mammoth counterterrorist bombing, but no one in the Gaza Belt area is breathing easier because who knows how many other tunnels have not been discovered?

The IDF revealed on Tuesday that the tunnel, containing several barrels of explosives, reached Israel from central Gaza, near what used to be Gush Katif before the Sharon government expelled all Jews from Gaza and then withdrew all soldiers. Hamas immediately demolished remaining greenhouses and turned the ground into training camps for terrorists.

Last week, another tunnel was discovered reaching Kibbutz Ein HaShlosha, but it has not yet been destroyed.

The tunnel that was blown up, as seen in the video below, was built with 500 tons of cement arches and was “extremely advanced and well prepared,” said Gaza commander Brig. Gen. Michael Edelstein.

The government woke up after the discovery of the second tunnel and decided that maybe it was not such a brilliant idea to allow building materials, such as cement, to enter Gaza. Maybe, just maybe, Hamas and other terrorist organizations will use the cement for non-peaceful purposes.

If Israel was under pressure from the United States, as usual, to ease restrictions on what can enter Gaza, it is just another example of the U.S. government – and it was true under Bush just as it is true under Obama – acting as authority for Israeli security without taking any responsibility.

If the terrorists had succeeded, God Forbid, in blowing up a few soldiers and a Jewish town, well, that’s the price of peaceful hallucinations in Foggy Bottom.

The IDF knows there still are dozens, if not hundreds, of terrorists’ tunnels remaining in Gaza,. It knows the location of some of them because after every rocket attack or mortar shelling on Israel, the Air Force immediately bombs a “weapons storehouse” or a “terror tunnel.”

Gen. Edelstein told reporters, “Yes. There are [more tunnels]. We are looking after them and we will do what we need to do in order to meet those threats — either here or in the Gaza Strip.”

That is what he said, but that is not the way the IDF has acted in the past. The government and military’s attitude to terror tunnels reflects Western thinking of dealing with terrorist organizations as if they were run by the State Dept., which enjoys talking to itself.

The latest tunnel that was discovered will be blown up because it was obviously a clear and present danger to Israelis, but no one the Defense Ministry has ever explained why there are no orders to the IDF to blow up all of the other tunnels that are known to exist. If the IDF were to be too aggressive, it might upset the United Nations.

Gen. Edelstein tried to reassure Gaza Belt Jews by saying that the military considered the construction of the tunnel an “extreme violation” of the ceasefire following the Pillar of defense counter terrorist operation last year.

It is nice of the military to consider it a “violation.” Maybe it will complain to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry? Maybe it will complain to the United Nations?

Even better, or worse, maybe it will complain to Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas?

Jews in southern Israel have heard the refrain “The IDF will do whatever necessary to defend the citizens of Israel” so often that it does not even go in one ear anymore.


 

UN Rights Council’s Falk Blames Boston Terror on US and Tel Aviv

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

Richard Falk, U.N. Human Rights Council official and the Obama administration’s unofficial pain in the neck, has written that the Boston Marathon terrorist bombings were a cheap price that the United States paid for trying to dominate the world. He also said the government’s supposed “Israel First” policy is also to blame.

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon did not condemn or even hint criticism of Falk’s remarks, explaining through a spokesman that he is “not responsible” for Falk’s “independent views.”

Bitter criticism was fast and furious from other quarters, especially from Jewish groups, but Falk, who has described himself as a Jewish American, never has been bantered by condemnation.

This time around, after years of spitting on Israel, calling it Apartheid and often comparing it with Nazis, Falk castigated the United States and related to the casualties in Boston with a chilling and methodical reasoning of “proportionality” that is shocking coming from anyone, especially a “human rights” activist.

Writing in the Foreign Policy Journal, Falk stated, “The scale and drama of the Boston attack, while great, was not nearly as large or as symbolically resonant as the destruction of the World Trade Center and the shattering of the Pentagon. Also, although each life is sacred, … the Marathon incident has so far produced three deaths as compared to three thousand, that is, 1/1000th of 9/11.”

Of course, 9/11 may actually have been an inside job in Falk’s mind, or whatever makes him tick.

He wrote in 2004 that  the Bush administration may have been complicit in the Al Qaeda- terrorist attacks.

He implied that the U.S. government was involved, writing, “It is possibly true that especially the neoconservatives thought there was a situation in the country and in the world where something had to happen to wake up the American people. Whether they are innocent about the contention that they made that something happen or not, I don’t think we can answer definitively at this point.”

Falk dumbfounded just about anyone who is not anti-American by explaining that the Marathon bombings were to be expected because “the American global domination project is bound to generate all kinds of resistance in the post-colonial world.”

He then went off the deep end altogether, explicitly stating that the United States is darned lucky the attack was not worse, because that is what America deserves.

“In some respects, the United States has been fortunate not to experience worse blowbacks, and these may yet happen, especially if there is no disposition to rethink US relations to others in the world, starting with the Middle East,: he wrote.

Falk almost never can complain about the state of the world without blaming Israel, and this time was no exception.  ”The war drums are beating at this moment in relation to both North Korea and Iran, and as long as Tel Aviv has the compliant ear of the American political establishment, those who wish for peace and justice in the world should not rest easy,” according to him.

“Now at the start of his second presidential term, it seems that Obama has given up altogether, succumbing to the Beltway ethos of Israel First,” he added.

Not surprisingly, Jewish groups demanded that the Council remove Falk from his position, a request that the U.S. government has previously made to no avail.

His “latest string of inflammatory remarks – whether it be on the Internet or in one of his ‘reports’ to the council – has no place in the United Nations and his continued presence at the UNHRC further undermines the credibility of the system,” said B’nai Brith International.

The American Jewish Committee also denounced Falk.

“Here he goes again,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris. “Given his public record, the question is why Richard Falk still occupies a UN position. Is there no shame?

“Falk’s unhinged diatribes against the U.S. and Israel are well-known….

“His malicious propaganda regarding the U.S. and Israel — and his glaring inability to see the stark truth about extremist violence and terrorism — has no place in any international body that takes itself and its mission seriously.”

Falk has a weird history of seeing terrorists and Muslim radicals through the lenses of “Human Rights.”

If It Looks Like A Duck… Why Suicide Bombers Can Never Be Freedom Fighters

Wednesday, August 1st, 2007

We Jews know a terrorist when we see one. Surely we don’t need the elegant refinements of international law to help us distinguish a suicide bomber from a freedom fighter. If it looks like a duck Nothing could possibly be easier to understand.

Still, from a practical standpoint, legal distinctions can often be quite helpful. What is obvious to us about terrorism is certainly not obvious to many others. Even after a monster in human form walks into an Israeli school, mall, or bakery and blows up innocent human beings within range, many in the “civilized” world will somehow find merit in the mayhem. Indeed, more often than we may care to admit, the journalists and pundits as well as ordinary observers will respond in partial or even full defense of the murderer. For them, terrorism has become just another form of revolutionary violence, and revolution, they presume, is always romantic and fundamentally good. Just ask almost any university professor, even in Israel.

But terrorism, especially suicide bombing, is never authentic revolution and it is never good. From the standpoint of authoritative international law, suicide bombers can never be considered “freedom fighters.” Jurisprudentially, there is simply no cause that can ever warrant the intentional mutilation and murder of civilians. By even the unwritten and merely customary standards of civilized human behavior, these actions are always criminal.

Supporters of barbarous Palestinian violence against Israeli citizens always claim that the insurgent Arab force is directed against an “occupation,” and thus warrants “any means necessary.” In law, this claim is altogether baseless and incorrect. Even where the use of insurgent force may actually be justified – and this is certainly not the case with Palestinian terrorism – deliberate attacks upon noncombatants are always illegal. There is no more sacred principle of law and justice than the imperative to protect the innocent.

“One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” Although repeated again and again, this contrived mantra has absolutely no grounding in law. There do exist very precise and settled legal criteria that distinguish the terrorist from the freedom fighter. According to international law, any insurgent who willfully causes the explosive incineration of men, women and children at lunch or at prayer or at a wedding ceremony or on a bus or at a shopping mall or at a bakery is a terrorist- period!

It is true that certain insurgencies can be judged lawful. Yet, even these insurgencies must conform to the laws of war. The ends can never justify the means. Wherever an insurgent group resorts to unjust means, as in the recent case of a blown-up family bakery in Eilat, its actions are unpardonable.

How shall we judge precisely when insurgent force is just or unjust? The determinable standards that must be applied are known in law as just cause and just means. These two standards, and these two standards alone, allow us to differentiate lawful insurgency from terrorism.

National liberation movements that fail to meet the test of just means are not protected as legitimate. Leaving aside the unsupportable argument that Palestinian organizations satisfy the legal standards of “national liberation”, it is abundantly clear that they do not meet the just means standards of discrimination, proportionality and military necessity. These formal criteria, long applicable under the Laws of War, have been applied to all insurgent organizations by the common Article 3 of the four Geneva Conventions of 1949 and by the two protocols to these Conventions of 1977. They are now directly binding upon all combatants by virtue of both customary and conventional international law, and – according to article 38 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice – by “the general principles of law recognized by civilized nations.”

Under law, the ends can never justify the means. As in the case of war between states, every use of force by insurgents must be judged twice, once with regard to the justness of the objective (the avowed Hamas/PA objective is a Palestinian state built upon the charred ruins of Israel) and once with regard to the justness of the adopted means. A Palestinian organization that deliberately targets civilians with an expressed intent to maximize pain and suffering can certainly never claim to be “freedom fighters.”

Ironically, as it continues with its present “surge” in Iraq, the Bush Administration still supports the idea of a “Road Map” to peace in the Middle East. Oddly enough, all American and European supporters of a Palestinian State continue to presume that it will somehow be part of a “two-state solution.” These smug supporters of Oslo-redux maintain that a 23rd Arab state will simply exist side-by-side with the existing Jewish State. Significantly, this curious presumption is dismissed everywhere in the Arab/Islamic world.

Terrorist crimes, as part of a broader category of harms called crimen contra omens (crimes against all), mandate universal cooperation in apprehension and punishment. As punishers of “grave breaches” under international law, all states are expected to search out and prosecute, or extradite, individual terrorist perpetrators. In no circumstances are any states permitted to characterize terrorists as “freedom fighters”. This prohibition is especially pertinent for the United States, which incorporates all international law as the “supreme law of the land” at Article 6 of the Constitution, and which was explicitly formed by the Founding Fathers according to the timeless and universal principles of Natural Law.

Palestinian terrorists are not “freedom fighters.” They are “common enemies of mankind” who exceed all moral and legal authority in their persistently cruel attacks. Until July 7, 2005, British newspapers had always referred to such murderers as “militants,” but when the al-Qaeda allies of Islamic Jihad and Hamas launched suicide attacks in London the media in Great Britain abruptly changed their vocabulary. Once the victims were Londoners, the perpetrators quickly became “terrorists.”

If it looks like a duck. Although obvious enough to us, the rest of the world often finds it convenient to confuse suicide bombers with freedom fighters. It follows that the unassailable criteria of international law do have their distinctly proper place in distinguishing one from the other, and that the architects of Israeli foreign policy would now do well to understand and to publicize these criteria.

Copyright, The Jewish Press, August 3, 2007. All rights reserved

LOUIS RENE BERES was educated at Princeton (Ph.D., 1971) and is the author of many books and articles dealing with terrorism and international law. He is Strategic and Military Affairs columnist for The Jewish Press.

Palestinian “Rope A Dope”?

Friday, May 30th, 2003

In the months prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom, the Bush Administration grappled with the dilemma of determining when enough was enough and military force had to take over where UN inspections left off. In a revealing interview in February, Secretary of State Powell gave us a window into his and the President’s thinking. Here is Secretary Powell’s response to Ted Koppel’s question about how much more time would be appropriate to give Hans Blix and his inspectors:

Just consider what the Iraqi permanent representative [to the United Nations] said after we all have said the declaration they submitted in December was inadequate, it was not full, it was not complete….What was his answer today? “Read it again. It’s all there.” It isn’t all there. The chief inspectors know that. We all know it. And so this is further evidence of Iraq just trying
to rope-a-dope this along, to keep it going until people lose interest and walk away.

We trust that the Secretary will hold to that thought. This is no time to give the Palestinians yet more slack to rebuild their terrorist infrastructure and negate the accomplishments of Israel’s Operation Defensive Shield. Last June, President Bush declared that there can be no progress in Middle East peace efforts until there was “regime change” in the Palestinian Authority. What was needed in order to permit real peace negotiations was a replacement of the existing leadership, which continued to view terror as a legitimate instrument of policy, with those who did not. Abu Mazen’s assuming the post of Palestinian Prime Minister still begs that question, the effusive worldwide huzzahs notwithstanding.

Plainly, Arafat has emerged from the political ashes as the kingmaker. It is clear, perhaps humiliatingly so, that Mazen could never have secured the required approval by the Palestinian
parliament without Arafat’s blessing. Arafat also appears to have retained control over the negotiations with Israel. Over Mazen’s initial objection, he was able to insist on the appointment of his longtime henchman Saeb Erekat as minister in charge of peace negotiations with Israel. The notorious Arafat lieutenant Abed Rabbo was also appointed to the key post of minister for cabinet affairs.

Also referring to Israel’s demand that Mazen’s cabinet should place the war on terrorism at the top of its agenda, his Information Minister designate said, “This is an issue that no Palestinian could accept and it is also irrational.

Given the centrality of the security issue - indeed, Israel’s insistence on the dismantling of Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the Al Aksa Brigade as a precondition for the timelines provided in the so-called “roadmap” to even kick in - and strict adherence to the principle of reciprocity of performance, Amr’s statement is ominous indeed.

For himself, after its vote approving him as Prime Minister, Mazen told the Palestinian parliament that “there is no place for weapons except in the hands of the government. There is only one authority.” This is a promising note, even if he also mouthed most of Arafat’s time-worn political agenda.

In any event, it is important that we have seen this Palestinian movie before and Mazen must demonstrate that he is, in fact, ushering in a new era in Palestinian thinking before he is given the benefit of too much doubt.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/palestinian-rope-a-dope/2003/05/30/

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