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April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘David Hornik’

Obama: Blaming Israel First

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

“This kind of activity is never helpful when it comes to peace negotiations,” President Obama saidlast week at a press conference in Indonesia. He was referring to the approval issued in Israel for building 1,300 homes in two East Jerusalem neighborhoods.

That is, 1,300 homes for Jews. Obama would have had no problem if the announced homes had been designated for Arabs – or anyone other than Jews.

As the Wall Street Journal notedin an editorial, the country – Indonesia – in which Obama made his remark is one that forbids Israeli citizens to visit. Indonesia is also one of 19 UN member states that do not recognize Israel as a state, and it does not allow overflights by Israeli aircrafts.

One could say, then, that in counterposing Jewish homes in Jerusalem to peace, Obama was not encouraging the best side of the Indonesian national ethos.

He wasn’t the only one to object to the Israeli plans, of course. In a de rigueur eruptionthat is almost dreary to record, the State Department said it was “deeply disappointed” and that the plans were “counterproductive to our efforts to resume direct negotiations between the [Israelis and Palestinians].”

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton pronounced herself “extremely concerned,” and UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon also “expressed concern.”

The pertinacious Palestinian spokesman Saeb Erekat chimed in that the new construction plans proved that “Israel chooses settlements, not peace.”

As the Wall Street Journal also observed, it was Erekat who recently sent an admiring letterto Ahmed Sa’adat, a terrorist who masterminded the murder of an Israeli cabinet minister in 2001.

Erekat warmed Sa’adat’s Israeli jail cell with “the strongest emotions of solidarity and brotherhood . You exhibited steadfast resistance that has become the stuff of legend, during which many martyrs fell.”

The cabinet minister in question, Rehavam Ze’evi, was shot twice in the headat the Hyatt Hotel in Jerusalem on October 17, 2001. The assassin was from the PFLP terror organization, then headed by Sa’adat, and was directly dispatched by him.

Think about it: no slap on the wrist – no reaction at all – for Erekat from Obama, Ashton, Ban, or anyone else for his tribute to Sa’adat, no protestations that this wasn’t in the spirit of peace; and yet another public upbraiding of Israel, a country already subject to a worldwide delegitimization campaign, for the building plans.

If there was a bright spot in this episode, it was that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in replying to Obama’s words, showed – at least initially – more spunk in a way that is hard not to connect with the Democratic Part’s midterm debacle at the polls. Netanyahu’s office released a statementsaying:

Jerusalem is not a settlement; Jerusalem is the capital of the State of Israel. Israel has never accepted upon itself restrictions of any kind on construction in Jerusalem, which has approximately 800,000 residents . Israel sees no connection between the diplomatic process and planning and building policy in Jerusalem, which has not changed in 40 years. All Israeli governments in the past 40 years have built in all parts of the city. During this period, peace agreements were signed with Egypt and Jordan, and for 17 years, diplomatic negotiations have been conducted with the Palestinians. These are historical facts. Construction in Jerusalem has never hindered the peace process.

Yet, unfortunately, in a later interview with Fox Business News, Netanyahu already softened the message, calling the issue “overblown” and saying”you are talking about a handful of apartments that really don’t affect the map at all contrary to impressions that might be perceived from certain news reports. So it’s a minor issue that might be turned to a major issue.”

In fact, the right of Jews to live in Jerusalem is a major issue in any case. In repeatedly calling it into question, Obama strikes at the heart of Israel’s raison d’être and sows fear and distrust in the large majority of Israelis – exactly contradictory to his presumed desire to advance peace talks and Israeli concessions.

In that regard, paradoxically, he is doing some good, as more Israelis understand that the concessions required of them would be suicidal.

As for the other side, Obama’s words can only encourage Muslims, whether in Indonesia or Judea and Samaria, in their vision of a Judenfrei Jerusalem and their worst supremacist tendencies.

Tzipi Livni’s Irresponsible Opposition

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Even a one- or two-month extension of Israel’s ten-month settlement moratorium, senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat has announced, won’t suffice. Nothing less than a total freeze throughout the duration of Israeli-Palestinian talks would be acceptable.

Erekat was adding some spice to an international full-court press on Israel. On Friday, the Arab League, meeting in Libya – not exactly a beacon of advanced values – gave backing to Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas’s refusal to conduct the talks without a settlement freeze. The league also handed the Obama administration a further month to try and break the Israeli-Palestinian impasse over the freeze.

That month, of course, could get the administration past November 2 without appearing responsible for a foreign policy failure if the talks-over-the-talks come up empty at the end.

The facts of the case are quite straight forward. If the Palestinians really wanted the state that President Obama and so many others presume to be their most cherished aspiration – despite their having rejected every offer of a state since 1937 – they could have joined talks with Israel at least since its settlement freeze began in November last year.

Even if the PA leadership had done so, there would still be the facts that Gaza is controlled by Hamas, which is dead-set against the talks, and PA leaders Abbas and Salam Fayyad, even if they genuinely wanted a deal, have little power and face staunch opposition to even talking with Israel in PA circles.

And yet, another voice has just been added – from within Israel – to the Arab, Palestinian, American, and European pressure on Israel to make concession upon concession as a condition for engaging in talks at all. It was the voice of Israeli opposition leader and former foreign minister Tzipi Livni.

Assertingthat Benjamin Netanyahu should give in to the pressure and extend the freeze, and accusing him of causing a fight with the Obama administration out of fear of fighting with his own right-wing cabinet ministers, Livni said in a TV interview: “For me, a moratorium has nothing to do with ideology. What are a few buildings compared with the people’s desire for peace?”

It so happens that the “people’s desire” has been gauged by polls. One at the end of last month found 54 percent of Israelis rejecting an extension of the settlement freeze and only 39 percent favoring it. Another one this month found 68 percent of Israelis saying Netanyahu was better suited to be prime minister than Livni.

This did not come, of course, from a lack of desire for peace, but from an understanding that acting without a backbone, constantly projecting a willingness to concede, and demonstrating a lack of principles and red lines is not a path to peace but to perceived weakness and war – as bitterly demonstrated to Israelis over the past two decades by their Oslo, Lebanon, and Gaza concessions.

With Livni as unpopular as she is, one might ask if her words matter at this stage. The answer is that they fit a pattern that has prevailed since a Likud-led government first took office in Israel in 1977 – whereby the left-of-center opposition, formerly led by the Labor Party and now by Livni’s Kadima Party, adopts the stance that peace with the Palestinian or Arab side is there for the taking and it’s the elected Israeli government that prevents it.

Indeed, by the time Labor returned to power in 1992, it seemed to have convinced itself of that idea to the point that it launched the disastrous and bloody Oslo “process” with Yasir Arafat. And beyond the grievous harm that the “peace equals concessions” mentality causes within Israel, it reinforces all those abroad who blame the conflict on Israel and ignore the facts about Palestinian and Arab rejectionism.

The second above-cited poll also found that if elections were held in Israel today, the Likud-led right-wing bloc would grow from 65 to 73 Knesset seats (out of 120) while the left-wing and Arab bloc now led by Livni’s Kadima would shrink from 55 seats to 47.

In brief, the Israeli public is no longer buying the “peace is there for the taking if we make all the concessions” line.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/tzipi-livnis-irresponsible-opposition/2010/10/13/

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