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September 3, 2014 / 8 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘concessions’

NYT Upset at Bibi – but They Won’t Say the Real Reason Why

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

The New York Times is not happy with Bibi:

Mr. Netanyahu has legitimate reasons to be wary of any Iranian overtures, as do the United States and the four other major powers involved in negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program. But it could be disastrous if Mr. Netanyahu and his supporters in Congress were so blinded by distrust of Iran that they exaggerate the threat, block President Obama from taking advantage of new diplomatic openings and sabotage the best chance to establish a new relationship since the 1979 Iranian revolution sent American-Iranian relations into the deep freeze.

Even though the Times admits that pretty much every fact Netanyahu brought up is accurate!

Mr. Rouhani and the Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, have insisted repeatedly that Iran wants only to develop nuclear energy and that obtaining a nuclear weapon would harm the country’s security.

Even so, Iran hid its nuclear program from United Nations inspectors for nearly 20 years, and the country is enriching uranium to a level that would make it possible to produce bomb-grade nuclear material more quickly. It has also pursued other activities, like developing high-voltage detonators and building missiles that experts believe could only have nuclear weapons-related uses.

These facts make it hard not to view the upcoming American-brokered negotiations skeptically. But Mr. Netanyahu has hinted so often of taking military action to keep Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon that he seems eager for a fight.

Actually, the main thrust of Bibi’s speech was to not to start a war, but a warning against loosening sanctions in exchange for smiles and empty promises:

I have argued for many years, including on this podium, that the only way to peacefully prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons is to combine tough sanctions with a credible military threat. And that policy is today bearing fruit. Thanks to the effort of many countries, many represented here, and under the leadership of the United States, tough sanctions have taken a big bite out of Iran’s economy. Oil revenues have fallen. The currency has plummeted. Banks are hard pressed to transfer money. So as a result, the regime is under intense pressure from the Iranian people to get the sanctions removed. That’s why Rouhani got elected in the first place. That’s why he launched his charm offensive. He definitely wants to get the sanctions lifted, I guarantee you that, but he doesn’t want to give up Iran’s nuclear weapons program in return.

Now, here’s the strategy to achieve this:

First, smile a lot. Smiling never hurts. Second, pay lip service to peace, democracy and tolerance. Third, offer meaningless concessions in exchange for lifting sanctions. And fourth, and the most important, ensure that Iran retains sufficient nuclear material and sufficient nuclear infrastructure to race to the bomb at a time that it chooses to do so. You know why Rouhani thinks he can get away with this?…Because he’s gotten away with it before. 

The NYT cannot find any holes in Netanyahu’s logic. It cannot find any concrete concession that Rouhani is offering. Yet, against all known facts, it still insists that Rouhani is the moderate who must be given concessions to, and Bibi is the warmonger.

There is nothing wrong with speaking to and negotiating with Iran, but there is a great deal wrong with loosening sanctions in response to a smile.

So if the Times cannot find anything actually wrong with Bibi’s words, why are they so upset at him? The reason seems to be because he called them out for doing the exact same thing with North Korea:

Like Iran, North Korea also said its nuclear program was for peaceful purposes. Like Iran, North Korea also offered meaningless concessions and empty promises in return for sanctions relief. In 2005, North Korea agreed to a deal that was celebrated the world over by many well-meaning people. Here is what the New York Times editorial had to say about it: “For years now, foreign policy insiders have pointed to North Korea as the ultimate nightmare… a closed, hostile and paranoid dictatorship with an aggressive nuclear weapons program.

Very few could envision a successful outcome.

And yet North Korea agreed in principle this week to dismantle its nuclear weapons program, return to the NPT, abide by the treaty’s safeguards and admit international inspectors….Diplomacy, it seems, does work after all.”

A year later, North Korea exploded its first nuclear weapons device.

That’s the real reason the “Paper of Record” is so miffed – because Bibi mentioned its record of believing dictators on the threshold of nuclear weapons capability.

The truth hurts, so the NYT – instead of admitting its very real role in pressuring Washington to believe North Korea’s empty promises – is lashing out at the person who pointed it out.

This is behavior one would expect from a teenager who was caught in a lie, not from a newspaper whose entire reputation is dependent on accuracy.

The NYT’s choosing to ignore that part of Bibi’s speech explains a great deal about its nonsensical editorial that is at odds with facts.

Visit Elder of Ziyon.

Terrorists as ‘Political Prisoners’: CiF Watch Prompts Guardian Correction

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

On April 10, we commented on a Guardian report by Harriet Sherwood, titled “John Kerry: talks with Netanyahu and Abbas very constructive,” about efforts by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.  Sherwood’s report included several passages about concessions demanded of Israel by Mahmoud Abbas before he’ll agree to resume negotiations, including the following:

[Abbas] also wants the release of 123 political prisoners who have been in jail since before the Oslo accords were signed almost 20 years ago, and for Israel to present a map showing proposed borders. [emphasis added]

As we attempted to demonstrate at the time, using merely open source information, the Palestinians she was alluding to were all convicted for their involvement in murder, or attempted murder, and that the characterization of them as “political prisoners” – suggesting that they were imprisoned merely for their beliefs – seemed to be flatly untrue.

Additionally, some time after our post CiF Watch was able to obtain detailed information on the pre-Oslo prisoners from Emi Palmor, the Director of Pardons at the Israeli Justice Ministry, which included the crimes, dates of conviction and other relevant facts on every Palestinian prisoner in question.   Palmor’s information proved conclusively that all of the prisoners consisted of common criminals convicted of murder and (mostly) terrorists who murdered or attempted to murder Israeli civilians, soldiers, or foreign tourists.

Some time after providing the Guardian with proof that the Palestinians in question can not fairly be referred to “political prisoners” they agreed to revise the passage, which now modifies the claim to note that the pre-Oslo prisoners are merely described as “political prisoners” by the Palestinians:

The Palestinians also want the release of 123 prisoners, viewed as political prisoners by the Palestinians, who have been in jail since before the Oslo accords were signed almost 20 years ago, and for Israel to present a map showing proposed borders.

As we noted at the time of our original post, many Palestinians regard even compatriots convicted of deadly terrorist acts euphemistically as “political prisoners,” and that Sherwood’s text, intentionally or otherwise, served to legitimize the Palestinian narrative which glorifies even terrorists convicted of the most gruesome crimes as ‘victims’ of Israeli oppression.

Our efforts to secure the definition of the term “political prisoner” – which is clearly understood to mean “those who are imprisoned for their political beliefs” - represents an attempt to fight back against the manipulation of language, in the service of an egregiously pro-Palestinian agenda, which is routinely advanced by the Guardian and their fellow political travelers.

This Guardian revision represents one victory within the larger cognitive war.

Visit CiF Watch.

Self-Respect: the Antidote to Foreign Pressure

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

Sovereign peoples act accordingly, but, “When you have no self-respect, you cannot expect anybody else will respect you,” as Rabbi David Bar-Hayim of Machon Shilo noted last year concerning Operation Pillar of Defense.

Why did Israel agree to a cease-fire with Hamas in November? Why did it surrender Joseph’s Tomb in 2000 and destroy Gush Katif in 2005? In present day, why has Israel granted terrorist Samer Issawi early release following a hunger strike?

A common response from supporters of Israel is that these decisions result from pressure by the American government. In response to the Palestinian Authority’s current demand for 120 terrorists to be freed, MK Orit Struck (HaBayit HaYehudi) has made a similar claim.

The assertion of American pressure in these contexts is simultaneously valid, irrelevant, and pernicious. Of course different American governments have pressured Israel—all too successfully—to make decisions that endanger citizens’ lives and betray Judaic duties.

But why has American pressure succeeded? To borrow from the national anthem, it is because Israel does not conduct itself as an am chofshi b’artzenu (free people in our Land). Rabbi Bar-Hayim has described the preoccupation with American pressure as “a remnant of the galut [exile]” and elaborates as follows:

The extent to which the Americans can really influence our actions is in my view almost entirely dependent on ourselves. If we give them the reason to believe…that we can be pressured into doing something, they’ll of course do as they wish to do. If we, however, conduct ourselves in such a way by which we make clear to all and sundry that we’re not about to listen to what anyone has to say about what we should do—but rather we’re going to do what we think we should do—I believe in a very short space of time most of these pressures would cease to exist. (See 1:18:10 here.)

Focus on American pressure is pernicious because it evades from holding Israeli leadership accountable for its failure to protect citizens. This often turns into rationalization by way of “explanation”—the “Bibi’s hands were tied by Obama” sort of mentality. The evasive focus on America then perpetuates a state of affairs where Israelis suffer anxiety about mundane activities like children walking to school and driving in fear of lethal rock attacks.

When Israel decides to be a sovereign country in substance and not just name, these disgusting realities will change. Blaming foreigners, however hostile they may be, yields only further self-delusion and suffering.

Will Obama Make Israel “an Offer it Can’t Refuse”?

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

There is a report making the rounds that unnamed “Israeli sources” claim that Barack Obama will shortly “demand a timetable for Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank,” presumably in return for the U.S. dealing with Iran. A 2014 deadline to establish a Palestinian state is mentioned.

Things like this surface all the time, and mostly they are simply nonsense. It is irresponsible for a journalist, or even a blogger, to publish what is essentially a rumor based on a single report which does not even include a source.

And yet…

There are certainly people in the White House who would think this is a good idea. Everyone knows, they would say, that only details prevent a two-state solution, and the main obstacle to moving forward is right-wing influence on the Israeli Prime Minister. Here’s an opportunity, they are saying, let’s take it.

The simple reason that there can be no two-state solution is that it entails the acceptance by the Palestinians of the continued existence of the Jewish state west of the Green Line, and that contradicts the essence of the Palestinian national project. Indeed, one could — I would — go so far as to say that Arabs who would accept a peaceful state alongside Israel as a permanent goal could not properly be called ‘Palestinians,’ since the very definition of a ‘Palestinian people’ negates Zionism (but perhaps I digress).

Dennis Ross, who knows as much about ‘peace processing’ as anyone, recently put forward a 14-point plan to bring about a two-state solution. It illustrates two things: one, that Ross possesses a paradoxical combination of intelligence, experience and the inability to see his nose in front of his face; and two, that the concessions it would require from the Palestinians are, as I said above, unthinkable.

Regardless, while a ‘solution’ — that is, an agreement that ends the conflict — is impossible, a coerced Israeli withdrawal in the context of an agreement that pretends to end the conflict is possible. And that is the danger.

Whether those who would like to force a withdrawal cynically understand that it would be disastrous for Israel’s security and don’t care (or welcome such a disaster), or whether they actually believe it would be a step toward peace is not important. What is important is that they might be able to sell the idea to a public — particularly liberal Jews — that to a great extent continues to believe in the two-state idea. And if they don’t object strongly enough, how could it be stopped?

The confirmation of Chuck Hagel, and particularly the collapse of Sen. Charles Schumer should be instructive. When push comes to shove, today’s liberals — even “strong supporters of Israel” like Schumer are Obama supporters first.

There is another aspect of the situation. That is that the combination of a blow against Iran with a blow against Israel would be a win-win for Sunni Muslim interests in the Middle East: the Saudis, the Muslim Brotherhood and Turkey would all like to see Iran defanged and Israel weakened vis-a-vis the Palestinians. Interestingly, Islamist Turkey, the Brotherhood and the Saudis seem to be the people that President Obama finds the most congenial in the region.

Everything seems to be lining up to their advantage. Israel withdraws, the U.S. bombs Iran, Hizballah responds by attacking Israel. Sunni forces, in particular those supported by Turkey, take advantage of the chaos (and the preoccupation of Hizballah) to finish off Assad and take control of Syria. Although the U.S. will support the Palestinian Authority for a time, Hamas — don’t forget, it is the Palestinian branch of the Brotherhood — will soon get control of Judea and Samaria one way or another.

There are other unpleasant possibilities — U.S.-led U.N. or NATO troops in Judea/Samaria to ‘protect’ the peace agreement, which will end up protecting Palestinian terrorists against Israel, even the possibility of the IDF and Americans shooting at each other. Sound impossible? Chuck Hagel thought it was a good idea, as did Samantha Power, Obama’s “Senior Director of Multilateral Affairs on the staff of the National Security Council.

In the Words of Our Enemies…

Sunday, January 20th, 2013

…is the truth of what they feel.

We signed a peace agreement with Egypt; we evacuated towns and homes to give the Sinai desert back to Egypt after the wars of 1956, 1967, and 1973. In each war, we defeated their armies; decimated their defense lines. We’ll do it again if we have to. But we don’t want to – we don’t want to fight and so peace was agreed upon. But the peace with Egypt has always been a cold one – perhaps on both sides…certainly on theirs.

Will the peace hold? It will – so long as the Egyptians believe that we are strong enough and well trained enough to defeat them again. But there will likely never be real peace – the peace we dreamed about when Sadat came to Jerusalem. It didn’t happen under Mubarak and it is clear it won’t happen under Morsi.

This is a man fueled by hatred but the most unforgiving part of it all is that he would have us give his hatred to the generations to come, fed to them as their mothers nurse them. Not my words and certainly not the words of a peace partner.

Kudos to MEMRI for translating and making the videos of Morsi’s 2010 statements available – someday I hope the western world (and that idiot in the White House) will learn that what they say in English is not the language of their hearts. For that, Obama, you need to listen to them in Arabic.

Guess what? They can’t stand you any more than they tolerate us.

Visit A Soldier’s Mother.

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