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April 16, 2014 / 16 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘citizens’

Why These Negotiations Will Always Fail

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

Peace in the Middle East between Israel and its neighbors—including the Palestinians—is generally described as “elusive.” Why have forty years of active efforts not led to permanent peace in the region? Why 20 years after Oslo is there no great sign that peace stands ready to break out between the Palestinians and Israelis? The simple answer is that parties are negotiating on different planes that can never intersect.

Let’s analyze the ostensible goals of the parties to the current round of talks. The Israelis want peace and one can see why: lower regional threats, less military spending, greater regional cooperation, increased tourism revenue, export of Israeli technology, increased trade with Europe and more. What do the Palestinians get in the peace deal? They get less than half of the land they believe they deserve. They can look forward to a million or more Arab “refugees” showing up, expecting housing, food, work, and schools. They will be saddled with building an economy without natural resources or a strong technical ethos, while international donations will dry up (especially from Muslim countries, for the sin of recognizing a Jewish state). In short, the Israelis have much to gain from peace, while the Palestinian leaders who are running their side of the talks have much to lose.

Additionally, Israelis negotiate like Americans and Europeans: they try to cut a deal, but if it does not work, then they fall back to the present conditions. The Palestinians work in a different way: either they get what they want, or they pull out the terror card. Lawyers who reviewed signed confessions of Marwan Barghouti’s lieutenants found a singular pattern: if negotiations in the Arafat period were going well, then Tanzim and the like were told to lay low. If the Israelis were intransigent—on borders, refugees, or the like—then the order was given to attack. Negotiations cannot proceed when one side is willing to take a much greater liberty than the other side is willing to entertain. Picture if one football team had to respect the out-of-bound lines, while the other did not. The Israelis might walk away from talks, but they would not order the murder of Palestinian citizens, leftist propaganda aside. The Palestinians, on the other hand, are more than comfortable using attacks on Israeli citizens as a means to get what they want at the negotiating table—and this is a point that Americans and Europeans diplomats have never understood. They are convinced that everyone thinks like they do: peace is always good, and the rules of negotiations exclude violence between sides.

The reason for this failed understanding is cultural. Let’s look back at the Nazis, some of the greatest murderers ever. One notes that no German soldier was ever commanded to either kill or injure himself in order to gas, shoot, blow up, torch or otherwise kill a Jew. The Nazis were sadists and invented horrific ways to kill Jewish men, women and children; still, they would not have considered personal bodily harm or worse as being required to kill a Jew. The Palestinians, on the other hand, not only are active practitioners of suicide bombings, but polls still show that their citizenry supports such activities. We of a Western mind-frame find it impossible to consider such an act—whom do we hate so much that we would be willing to undertake such horrific activity? Are there any children or aged citizens of any country that we would hope to obliterate with flying shrapnel so as to somehow exact revenge on somebody else who has some tenuous relationship to the ones blown up? I have asked these questions to student groups visiting from the US; no one can answer in the affirmative.
This week marked another gratuitous prisoner release by Israel in the ersatz peace process.

These releases have generally been categorized as “confidence building measures.” Is there anyone who could define or identify any confidence built by releasing 26 murderers? The Palestinians partied with the released convicts and demanded the release of all Palestinian prisoners; Israelis felt anguish at the release and saw protests and complaints against the release of more murderers. What confidence was built by this act? None. The prisoner release is a bribe to the Palestinian leaders to continue with the worthless process of peace-making, so that they can show their base that they are getting something from the talks. The terrorists are free, the Palestinians only want more, and the Israeli leadership is put in the uncomfortable position of explaining why murderers walk free, with nothing to show for it. The Palestinians get their terrorists back, but the act has no tangible effect on the direction, good will or pace of the negotiations.

The current peace talks will enjoy the same fate as their predecessors; and ditto for any future talks. The talks will break down because even the most left-wing Israeli politician is not yet ready to commit national suicide to accommodate the minimal Palestinian demands on dividing Jerusalem, accepting indefensible borders, and welcoming anything more than some token refugees. The Palestinians will blame the Israelis, as will most of the international community. Israel will point the finger at an intransigent Palestinian Authority, and we’ll wait for the whole process to start again sometime in the future.

I would argue that the above analysis is pragmatic and not in the least pessimistic. The Palestinians have too much to lose by making peace and also play by rules not understood or appreciated by the likes of John Kerry or Catherine Ashton. The simple fact is that the Palestinian Authority today enjoys large contributions from international donors and avoids all responsibility for building a functional society designed to absorb four generations of self-made Palestinian “refugees” living in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and the like. Israel looks forward to a rosier future, one that would include peace; the Palestinian cannot see getting a better deal than they have in the present. And for that, negotiations will—again—go nowhere, however much John Kerry and his Israeli partners try to tell us otherwise.

Back in the USSR

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

Those among us who are middle-aged or older will remember a song by the Beatles called “Back to the USSR”. Ever since the minor crisis regarding the Asad regime’s use of chemical weapons, this song has been stuck my head.

This minor crisis has revealed, emphasized and demonstrated what we wrote about here long ago, which is the weakening of the Western bloc, especially the United States, and the return of the opposing group to the center of international stage under Russian leadership.  Putin’s article in the New York Times openly expressed his opinion about the old-new international situation, in which the world has stopped being a unipolar system, and has gone back to being a bipolar system, as it was until the end of the eighties, when the Soviet Union collapsed, and the allies in Eastern Europe left it in favor of joining with the Western, democratic world, and afterward, the European Union.

The Russian Bloc is based on non-democratic countries that are hostile to the West, whether from a cultural point of view, like China and Syria, or a religious point of view, like Iran. Countries where democracy is limping along like Venezuela and Nicaragua, also join up with Russia, who doesn’t bother them too much about marginal matters like human rights and political freedoms. North Korea also enjoys China’s and Russia’s political protection, especially in the UN Security Council.

Today’s anti-democratic glue is apparently better than the glue of Slavic identity that formed the “Warsaw Pact” because it is a world view and a cultural perspective. Back then, membership in the Soviet bloc was forced on the states (for instance, in Czechoslovakia and the Soviet invasion of 1968), while today, states freely choose to belong to the Russian bloc. It is not yet a consolidated and unified bloc, but one definitely sees that this union of anti-democratic forces is winning ever more diplomatic territory in the international sphere. There is an important military aspect to this alliance, due to the supply of Russian weaponry to Iran, Syria and Hezbollah.

Many countries in the world compare the behavior of the bloc under Russian leadership to the conduct of the West under United States’ leadership and conclude: The United States betrays her friends and abandons them, while Russia is faithful to her friends and defends them. When the world analyzes what the United States has done for states and rulers in recent years it finds Mubarak, who was abandoned by President Obama with the start of demonstrations against him; the president of Tunisia – bin Ali – who was forced to flee from the demonstrations without even one of his European friends  to rescue him; the United States abandons its friends in the Gulf and in Saudi Arabia in the face of Iran’s threatening buildup; the West does not back Israel in its efforts to maintain its security and its strategic assets, and urges it to establish another Palestinian terror country in the mountains of Judea and Samaria, overlooking most of the territory of the State of Israel.

On the other hand, the world sees that Russia defends Iran and its nuclear project in the Security Council faithfully, and even supplies its reactors and the means of defending them; Russia is faithful to Asad and supplies him weaponry, ammunition and means of defense necessary for his survival; Russia supplies China with raw materials and places of employment.

In Economic matters as well, the West appears weak relative to Russia. Since six years ago, the Western economy – Europe and the United States together – has been caught in a structural crisis, not in a recession from which it is relatively easy to emerge. It seems that the unification of currency (the Euro) and production standards are not enough to make Europe into one body, so divisive forces exist there that even threaten the stability of some countries: the region of Catalonia wants to secede from Spain, and the Scots apparently will leave the United Kingdom in another year. Europe is addicted to Russian gas, and to oil that, by Iran’s “good will”, is allowed to pass through the Strait of Hormuz on its route from the Emirates to Europe.

Regarding the issue of Syrian chemical weapons, the West has seemed like a crumbling and disintegrating body, with no leader and no shared agenda. The British parliament is against war, the French is for it, and the American administration says that it’s getting ready to attack, Congress doesn’t support it, the American army is preparing for war and the State Department puts forth a compromise. The right hand does not know what the left is doing, and each one acts according to a different agenda. This is no way to build a bloc of states that is capable of executing a mission that everyone agrees is ethically justified: to defend the citizens of Syria from chemical weapons. And when ethics ceases to be the leading cause for the West, what is left of its values?

Opinion: Jordan Should Welcome Palestinian Refugees

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

Speaking at the Two States for Two Peoples on Two Sides of the Jordan Conference, Mudar Zahran, a Jordanian-Palestinian pro-democracy activist, proclaimed, “When we talk about the situation, we must go back to the Ottoman occupation.” He explained that the Faisal-Wiesel Agreement of 1919 designated 77 percent of historic Palestine  to the Arabs, and that the remainder  was to become a Jewish state. He explained that by depriving Palestinians of their basic citizenship rights in Jordan, the current Hashemite Kingdom is denying the nation’s very raison d’être, which is to be a state that respects the democratic rights of all its citizens, including the country’s Palestinian majority.

“There was an agreement with the Hashemite to make Jordan the homeland of the Arabs. The Hashemites didn’t keep the promise,” Zahran proclaimed. “After 46 years, we are refugees.” Zahran said that most of the Palestinians living in Judea and Samaria have Jordanian passports, yet are prevented from exercising citizenship rights in Jordan. He noted that it is very difficult for Palestinians living in Jordan to do basic things, such as register the births of their children and get a driver’s license, explaining, “Hamas members have more rights in Israel than I have in my country.”

Zahran stated that if Jordan respects the human rights of its Palestinian citizens and offers Palestinians living across the world Jordanian citizenship, the Palestinian refugee crisis could be solved and a two-state solution that doesn’t jeopardize Israeli security could come into fruition. Israel could hold onto all of the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria as well as Jerusalem, while stateless Palestinians across the globe could make their home in Jordan. He views the Arab Spring as a catalyst for genuine peace between Israel and the Arab world.

Zahran stated that the Palestinian community in Jordan isn’t extreme and should they succeed in their revolution, they want to focus their emphasis not on building a strong army to destroy Israel, but on eradicating poverty. “We realize that we tried to destroy Israel twice and failed both times,” he said.

Zahran doesn’t believe the prospects for peace will be good if Israel continues to negotiate with the Palestinian Authority, which will “only bring about more violence.”  Zahran asserted that the Palestinian Authority is unstable and that once the elderly PA leader Mahmoud Abbas steps down he will have no replacement. Zahran expressed that Israel should be looking for alternative solutions to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and claimed that Jordan’s Hashemite dynasty is rapidly declining, with the Jordanian king himself predicting his own fall from power within the year. Without the Hashemite dynasty as a “buffer zone” between Israel and the pro-Iranian axis, Israel will clearly need a plan b.

Zahran stated that the Muslim Brotherhood is not popular in Jordan but has excellent media access and financial support. Zahran emphasized that it will be very difficult for the popular secular community in Jordan to win democratic elections without support from “all of those who care about peace in the Middle East.” If secular factions are succesful, Zahran envisions a Jordanian state for all its citizens that will solve the Palestinian refugee crisis and seek peace with Israel.

Currently, Zahran is more concerned that without the West’s support for secular freedom and democracy, Jordan will become “Hamas-stine” rather than Palestine. Furthermore, Zahran added that he could not help but admire the freedom and technological advancement in Israel, stating that someday he hoped his country would become like Israel.

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What War with Syria?

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

There’s nothing more dangerous for world peace than a bunch of trigger happy, inexperienced Leftists.

United States President Barack Hussein Obama should never have been elected. It was the most racist elections in the history of the United States. If he had been 100% white, with his experience and qualifications, he never would have been elected. People voted for him because he’s colored. Now he may be causing a very dangerous war in the Middle East by totally overacting in how he wants to “punish” Syria for using chemical weapons.

Obama doesn’t even have the support of the American Military. Listen to this Fox report, which I can’t get the embedded link for. Anyone with a minimum of military/diplomatic experience will easily point out how senseless the threats are. And just like with Bush The First’s Iraq/Gulf War, it will just be an excuse for Israel to be attacked. The Syrians will take out their anger on us, not on the Americans which are spearheading the threats against them.

The internal (within a foreign country) use of chemical weapons is immoral by popular western standards, but it’s certainly no reason to plan on bombing the said/guilty country. How will that show, teach moral superiority?

It’s like beating up a kid because he hit another kid.

“Don’t you ever hit,” smack! “anyone ever” bang! “again!!”

First of all, there should be emergency United Nations Security Council meetings called to condemn Syria and institute a full range of sanctions, including closing all foreign embassies in Syria, sending their diplomats packing, etc. If the point is to punish the Syrian regime, then they are the ones to be punished, not the Syrian citizens. The fallout from an American-led attack would land on Israel, while Bashar al-Assad would be emboldened and strengthened for standing against America.

All foreign aid and NGO programs to Syria must cease. That’s how you use moral superiority against an enemy regime. You don’t use military weapons.

Thankfully, the more other foreign leaders think about the issue, the more sense they are making.

“To see a government in the 21st century gassing its own citizens is an abomination and the world has to move against that, Mulcair said. “That should be done through the institutions of international law, in particularly the United Nations.”

So, G-d willing, we won’t have to search through our attic for the old gas masks and then exchange them for new ones.

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Exacting Vengeance on the Gentiles?

Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

Once again we are treated to the sight of very religious looking Jews acting like a street gang. A statue of a cross with a figure of Jesus on it was defaced by a group of Breslover Chasidim in Uman. The cross was recently erected opposite the grave of the founder of this Chasidus, Rav Nachman of Breslov – located in the Ukrainian city of Uman. From JTA:

“To exact vengeance on the gentiles,” reads the message, which was scrawled across the torso of a figure of Jesus. A further inscription on Jesus’ leg reads, “Stop desecrating the name of God.”

This kind of thing would not surprise me if it were being done by extremists from a community that embraces an isolationist lifestyle. But although they are hardcore Chasidim who dress and look much the same as Satmar Chasidim – Breslovers do a lot of outreach. I would expect them to know how to behave in a more civilized manner. They must have had a socialization process that taught them that or they could not do outreach. And yet here they have acted in a completely uncivilized way.

So it comes as a bit of a surprise that a Christian symbol near their venerated Rebbe’s grave site was desecrated with graffiti. I guess their socialization process goes just so far. A statue of Jesus so close to their Rebbe’s grave site was too much to handle.

I don’t know why the Ukrainian Government chose that site for its statue. I don’t think it was a wise decision. But at the same time, I don’t think it was necessarily meant to ‘stick it’ to the Breslovers either. It was probably just not a well thought out plan.

I can understand why these Chasidim felt outrage. They consider the Breslover Rebbe’s gravesite to be so holy that make annual pilgrimages to it. Tens of thousands of Jews (mostly Breslover Chasidim) from all over the world visit it during Rosh Hashanah – one of the holiest times of the year. It is almost as though they were making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem’s Holy Temple. Seeing the sight of Jesus on a cross must have made them feel like they were seeing Avodah Zara in the Beis HaMikdash.

The outrage is understandable. But their expression of it is inexcusable. It is the kind of behavior that can bring tragedy upon the Jewish people. Uman is not Jerusalem. R. Nachman’s gravesite is not the Beis HaMikdash. The citizens of Uman are their hosts. Breslovers are guests. And the guests have just defaced the image of the god their hosts worship.

The more responsible Breslover leadership has apologized. Sort of. From JTA:

“We respect other religions, and don’t wish to damage symbols of other religions. But, unfortunately, not all of our coreligionists understand this. They could break or destroy the cross. That would lead to a genuine war between hasidim and Christians. We cannot allow that, so we request that the cross be moved to a different location,” said Shimon Busquila, a representative of the Rabbi Nachman International Fund…

It may have been a legitimate request. But it was made too late. If made at all it should have been made politely before the statue was vandalized. Nonetheless the deputy mayor of Uman agreed with it.

On the other hand the citizens of Uman were so outraged by the vandalism – that they will have no part of moving the statue. They promised retaliation against Rav Nachman’s grave if it is moved. I can’t say that I blame them.

I think the point to be made here is contained in the response made by Shimon Busquila: ‘…not all of our coreligionists understand this’.

That is exactly the problem. Why don’t they understand this? It is not enough for a leader to simply say that some of their co-religionists do not understand the consequences of being uncivilized – thereby damaging the property of their hosts.  Especially their religious symbols. No matter how upsetting it is to them.

The Chasidim who did this are taught to hate non Jewish religious symbols much more than they are taught to behave in civilized ways when encountering them. So when they get upset at the sight of one of those hated symbols, they react in ways that bring ill repute upon – and ill will against – our people. They do so without thinking or perhaps even caring about the consequences.

Yesh Atid, Revise Your Platform

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

In a recent account of his first Knesset term, Dov Lipman writes that “Yesh Atid Education Minister Rabbi Shai Piron is hard at work making major changes to improve the education system.” I wonder what values he brings to that project since Piron and other Yesh Atid cabinet members gave key votes to free 104 terrorists .

Looking at Yesh Atid’s statement of beliefs , one finds several sections that need to be revised and clarified given its role as a liberator of murderous Jew haters. Below are some examples with proposed revisions in italics:

“We believe that every person in Israel must have their fundamental rights met…”

Not applicable to terror victims and their families’ fundamental right to justice.

“We believe it is the duty of the state to care for the health of its citizens.”

Not applicable to health damage inflicted upon bereaved families by freeing their relatives’ murderers—depression, loss of sleep , etc.

“We believe in a unified society and the principle which says ‘all Jews are responsible for one another.’ ”

Not applicable to terror victims and their families.

“We believe that it is the state’s responsibility to ensure the safety of its citizens.”

Not applicable to incentivizing terrorism by freeing murderers.

“We believe that it is the duty of the state to care for all its seniors to enable them to live with dignity and enjoy their retirement years without worry or distress. These words are particularly focused on Holocaust survivors who live among us.”

Not applicable to the dignity of murdered Holocaust survivors and their families.

 

The US Government’s Flip-flopping Views on Prisoner Release

Monday, August 12th, 2013

The news of the sudden release of a Mexican drug kingpin implicated in the murder of a U.S. DEA agent caused outrage in Washington. The Justice Department weighed in with its “extreme disappointment” while DEA officials past and present talked of bribes and corruption. There can be little doubt that the prisoner in question was involved in illegal activity that would include his ordering the murder of an American agent, but why is the U.S. so upset?

In October of 2011, Israel—which. like Mexico, is a staunch ally of the U.S.—let to go of more than 1000 terrorists in exchange for the captured soldier Gilad Shalit. Eighteen of those released had been directly involved in the murder and maiming of American citizens in suicide bombings and other violent attacks in and around Israel.

I can guarantee you that if you do a Google search for responses to that release, you will see no anger, no outrage, no disappointment, no official questioning—the U.S. simply did not care. After years of intense effort by this terror victim in anticipation of terrorists being swapped for Shalit, the most I could muster was a request—the day before the release—from the U.S. embassy to the Israeli prime minister not to release prisoners with American blood on their hands.

Israel completely ignored the request, and the U.S. said nothing. This official U.S. apathy is bookended by the Mexican release last week and the Scottish release of the putative “Lockerbie Bomber” in 2009. In the latter case, the current Attorney General wrote a blistering letter to his Scottish counterpart on the inappropriateness of the release of the convicted mass murderer.

American victims of Palestinian terrorists did not merit such a letter to the Israeli justice minister. The most some of us received was a letter in January 2012 from Holder telling us how hard they are trying to prosecute Palestinian terrorists who killed American citizens. As of today, Washington is 0 for 72 in these cases, the latter being the number of attacks in which American citizens were killed or maimed by Palestinian terrorists since 1993. Where there is no will, there is no way.

My son and I were injured in a suicide bombing in 2002. Since 2004, I have had contact with officials in the local U.S. embassy, the FBI, the Department of Justice and the State Department. I have begged, cajoled, and pleaded that the U.S. make the prosecution of Palestinian terrorists who harmed Americans a legal priority.

If words alone were enough, every such terrorist would today be in some Super Max facility in the mainland U.S.. We have been repeatedly told that our cases are very important, the DOJ is investing resources, that the FBI is working hard, etc. Yet, in spite of dozens of possible prosecution candidates, the U.S. has not arrested, tried, prosecuted or even extradited a single Palestinian terrorist. The question is why? In the past, we have been told how hard it is to prosecute such cases without full Israeli cooperation. Yet, I think that the reasons go far deeper than technical considerations. I think that the base reason is a pro-Palestinian attitude of officials in the State Department. When I corresponded with a senior official at State, she said that the U.S. would not prosecute Marwan Barghouti, who was implicated in supplying funds for our attack. When I asked why, her response was simple: “Because the Israelis caught him.” Apparently, the official in question had never heard of extradition.

American Jews who live or visit Israel are somehow seen as being “Israeli”, some how no longer deserving of American protections and law enforcement assistance. While I hold only U.S. citizenship and while two of the women from our attack were released from their life sentences in the aforementioned release, I know that the U.S. will never prosecute them or their colleagues from our attack, even though the anti-terror laws are on my side.

The U.S. government—under both George Bush and Barack Obama—does not see me.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-us-governments-flip-flopping-views-on-prisoner-release/2013/08/12/

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