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August 22, 2014 / 26 Av, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Palestinians’

Gas from the Sky

Sunday, January 26th, 2014

The caption to this picture, presumably written by the Palestinian photographer, goes:

Palestinians watch as exploding tear gas canisters fall from the sky during clashes at a protest against the expansion of the nearby Jewish settlement of Halamish, in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah on January 24, 2014. Photo by Issam Rimawi/Flash90

We’re learning the Book of Joshua in my shul, between Mincha and Maariv on Mondays, and so I quickly grasped the historical significance of the phrase: Palestinians watch as exploding tear gas canisters fall from the sky.

A mysterious hand threw gas canisters on these Arabs from the sky, on Shabbat, as they were trying to thwart Jewish life in the Jewish promised land – I say it’s a sign.

Regional Pact Backed by Riyadh May Render Palestinians Irrelevant

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

For many decades, Israel has been committed to direct peace negotiations with the Palestinians, and herein lies the formula for failure. At the same time, while demanding face to face negotiations with the Palestinians, Israel has also insisted that there was no one to talk to, no partner for peace; a catch 22 if ever there was one.

The U.S. continues to maintain some 90 U.S. military facilities including major military bases throughout mainland Japan and Okinawa, over 7000 miles away form U.S. mainland. It does so 73 years after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and despite 70 years of peaceful alliance with Japan. Indeed, it does not stand the test of logic that the U.S. does not support Israel’s right to military presence in the Jordan Rift Valley, and to patrol an area that is 62 miles long, 6 to 9 miles wide, and is situated only 40 miles away from Israel’s main population centers, despite a perpetual ongoing war.

As recently as January 10, 2014, a U.S. State Department spokesperson expressed concern about the release of scores of prisoners whom Washington considers a security risk, “We’ve seen reports that [Afghan] President [Hamid] Karzai has approved the release of 72 out of the 88 detainees under review. As you may also know, these 72 detainees are dangerous criminals against whom there is strong evidence linking them to terror-related crimes, including the U.S.e of improvised explosive devices, the largest killer of Afghan citizens.” Yet the U.S. demands that Israel release hundreds of Palestinian terrorists with blood on their hands, and unfortunately Israel complies time and again.

Given the above positions by it’s strongest ally the United States, it is no wonder that Israel, fearing a lopsided deal favoring the Palestinians, has always rejected an International panel approach to the conflict with the Palestinians. Herein lie the paradox and the irony of the situation. Over time, while the Palestinians refuse to budge or compromise, bit by bit Israel has conceded more and more in each new round of talks. The Palestinians then U.S.e each new concession by Israel as a springboard for new demands. Cumulatively speaking, Israel has conceded more to the Palestinians than it would have to any international panel. At this rate Jaffa may soon be on the negotiation table.

Secretary John Kerry has been flying back and forth from the U.S. to the middle east and from one hot spot to another. While direct negations have not yielded results (even Kerry appears frustrated with the Palestinians), and an international panel is not an option, connecting the dots reveals a picture of an emerging regional solution.

During his most recent travel to the area, Kerry added two new dots to the picture, Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah and he spent several hours with each. The picture that is slowly emerging is of four regional players and one superpower. A peace deal is being negotiated between Israel, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, and the U.S., but with the glaring absence of the Palestinians.

Peace will offer the Palestinians a sense of independence and freedom, but it forever will be a city state; never militarily viable; never economically viable without outside support. He who controls the purse strings will forever control Palestine, and that is why the Saudis and the U.S. (and the EU to a lesser extent) will call the shots and will make the plays.

The Palestinians have been gambling with somebody else’s money and they running out of chips. When the Saudis say so the Jordan Rift Valley will cease being a matter of sovereignty and will become a simple economic issue of loss of fertile agricultural land for which Palestinians will be generously compensated. A single word from Mecca will go further towards securing Palestinian cooperation and keeping the Sunni streets of the West Bank calm than tens of thousands of Palestinian Authority policemen.

The five major players, Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United States all have much to gain from a regional pact. Such a deal would serve the unique and combined needs and interests of each.

Since the end of the Cold War the U.S. has sided with and supported the wrong players in the Middle East ( the Ayatollah Humeini, Yasser Arafat, and the Muslim Brotherhood Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi to name but a few). Such a regional agreement would put an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, put the U.S. back on the right track, and would U.S.her in a new era of strong regional coalition that is backed up by a grateful America. The Saudis’ chief concern is the growing power of Shia axis of Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Hezbollah. A nuclear Iran will threaten the Saudi Sunni lead hegemony in the Muslim world. A regional agreement brokered by the Saudis would bring U.S. back to the Saudi fold, and would constitute the only American success in the past few decades (consider Iraq, Afghanistan, Benghazi, Egypt, Iran, and Syria to name a few). Such an agreement would also counter the regional push by the Muslim Brotherhood (in Egypt and Jordan), and Ottoman aspirations of present day Turkey. It would stabilize the rule of King Abdullah II of Jordan which is under constant pressure from the Palestinians (who still remember Black September when the father king massacred thousand Palestinians), and would provide Jordan, Israeli, Egyptian and Saudi protection in the event of Iraqi or Syrian invasion. Such a Middle Eastern coalition and the U.S., an ME4 + 1, would go a long way to counter act Russian influence in the region and regaining a foot hold in places such as Egypt. In addition it would go a long way towards rehabilitating the regional economy, most importantly in Egypt and Jordan.

As for Israel, the benefits are many. First and for-most it would answer Israel’s security concerns, and they would be backed by Riyadh, Amman, and Cairo, and not merely by American promises (remember U.S. promises about freedom of navigation in the Suez, the red Sea, the 1967 war, promises regarding nucs in Iran, Red Lines regarding the Syrian U.S.e of chemical weapons), and Palestinian empty words. It would provide the means to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon without the subsequent admonition by the U.S.. It would put an end to European and international pressures, boycott and delegitimization campaigns. It would also open new commerce routes and markets. The upside economic potential is endless.

On January 10, 2014 Reuters reported that “Russian and Iranian sources close to the barter negotiations said final details were in discussion for a deal under which Russia would buy up to 500,000 barrels a day of Iranian oil in exchange for Russian equipment and goods.” This would effectively render the remaining sanctions on Iran meaningless and allow Iran to rehabilitate their economy while pursuing nuclear weapons. What is needed now, more than ever, is a courageous Israeli leader who would fly to Saudi Arabia for face to face negotiations with the Saudis and not with the Palestinians (their wishes and desires are irrelevant to the process), and for President Barak Obama to stay out of the way.

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.

Perpetual War with Israel the Glue Holding Palestinians Together

Monday, December 30th, 2013

There is another bad agreement in the making under the patronage of the Obama Hope and Change Campaign in the Middle East. History has shown that failed hopes and high expectations can lead to dire consequences (Angola and Rwanda are each a case in point). The Madrid Conference of 1991 was followed by the 1993 Oslo Accords, which were heralded by the New York Times as “a triumph of hope over history,” but resulted in a lethal Intifada. More people died after the failed Oslo Accords than had done during the conflicts that preceded them.

Furthermore, negotiating a second peace agreement after a failed one is often more difficult and costly. In the case of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there have been multiple previous failed agreements. Between 1993 and 2001, Israel, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and the Palestinian Authority (PA) have signed six different agreements aimed at bringing a lasting peace. The Palestinians failed to respond positively to the window of opportunity presented by the 1979 Camp David Accords which brought peace between Israel and Egypt. After that came the Jordanian-Israeli peace accord, which was followed by the Taba Agreement (known as Oslo II), the 1997 Hebron Agreement, 1998 Wye River Memorandum, 1999 Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum, August 2000 Camp David “Final Status” Summit, and the 2001 Taba Conference.

Israel and the Palestinians have mutually opposing national goals that cannot be reconciled. On both sides, these national goals enjoy a wide popular consensus. The Palestinian side is centered on an independent state from which it can launch and pursue a strategy aimed at eliminating Israel, the recapture of East Jerusalem and the removal of all the settlements. On the Israeli side, the consensus was always solidly against the return of the refugees and division of Jerusalem. The Palestinians insist on the Right of Return which effectively means the destruction of the Jewish State, and the Israelis, who agree to a two state solution, want to assure maximum security by controlling the land and the destinies of the Palestinians. Despite all good intentions it is almost impossible to overcome those contradictions, especially in an atmosphere of high mutual distrust and distrust of the go-between, the Obama administration.

To make matters even more complex, one must wonder why after 65 years of deplorable living conditions, poverty, and decades of existence under a so called “occupation”, a peace seeking moderate Palestinian leadership that does not deny the Holocaust (Mahmoud Abbas) and that rejects calls by Iran and Hamas to destroy Israel, has failed to emerge. It is clear to all that by now, 20 years since the Oslo agreement, the very last Israeli soldier posted in the Jordan Valley under whatever security arrangement, would have been long withdrawn. After all, Israel has proposed creating an international regime in an area of Jerusalem that included the Old City, and agreed to give the Palestinian Arabs 97 percent of the land area of the West Bank, but both were rejected as insufficient by the Palestinian. The Palestinians continued objection to Israeli security conditions must be reexamined therefore, as they may only be a cover up of a more sinister truth; the Palestinian leadership sees a better future in a continued state of war and continued “occupation.”

One must consider the possibility, as upsetting to some as it may be, that the Palestinian leadership considers a state of perpetual war with Israel a safer bet than a state of peace. Not ever having been a cohesive people, or having had a state, a continued state of war is the glue that holds the Palestinians together and may be considered by them as the safer choice. Paradoxically, a state of war and “occupation” provides the Palestinian leadership with the safety net necessary to hold on to and perpetuate the dictatorship, and the iron fist approach with which they govern their own people. A state of war is, after all, a familiar pattern with set in place mechanisms that impose a military-like rule and order, condone summary executions, and stifle dissent. It also generates profits, provides employment, and generates international support and sympathy. A continuous state of war against the Jews is a religious and moral imperative that is rooted in Islam and provides for a ready made propaganda machine.

Livni Echoing Oslo – Negotiations to Continue Despite Terror Attack

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

For those who remember the macabre slogan from the Oslo years, 1994-5, “Sacrifices for Peace,” Justice Minister Tzipi Livni’s latest remarks don’t sound very different, following yesterday’s bus bombing attempt, and the escalation in terror attacks against Jews in Judea and Samaria.

“Sacrifices for Peace” was a phrase coined at the time by the Left to describe what they thought of the thousands of Israeli victims of Palestinian terror. and, despite their denial, the terror attacks were guided by the same exact people Israel was negotiating with at the time.

The Israeli officials involved in the Oslo negotiations at the time insisted that Arafat and his crew were not involved in the terror attacks, and for good measure added that the terror attacks Israel suffered were the “price of peace” (another macabre slogan coined at the time) that Israel had to pay in order to reach a lasting agreement with the Palestinians.

It was only years later when irrefutable evidence was exposed, showing the direct connection between the Arabs Israel had been negotiating with and the terrorists they were sending out to kill Jews. Except, perhaps, for Shimon Peres, most of the “peace” supporters could no longer support this lie.

Livni is enthusiastically leading the current negotiations with the Palestinian Authority.

Following yesterday’s attack, at a conference on Quality in Government, Livni said:

“We [Israel] are not negotiating with those trying to hurt us.

Against [the bad Arabs] we need to act decisively. They won’t tell us what to do.

We will continue to negotiate with those that want to reach an agreement with us, and aren’t using violence.

Israel will continue to provide security for its residents.”

Like the French House of Bourbon, Tzipi Livni has learned nothing and forgotten nothing.

 

Dutch Water Company Cuts Israel Ties over Territories

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

The largest public water company in the Netherlands has severed ties with Israel’s national water company over its operation in Israeli settlements.

Vitens in ceasing cooperation with Merkorot said in a statement Tuesday on its website that it “attaches great importance to integrity and adheres to international law and regulations. After discussions with stakeholders, the company came to the realization that it is extremely difficult to work together on future projects since they cannot be separated from their political context.”

The Dutch company reportedly also consulted with the Dutch Foreign Ministry. Lilianne Ploumen, the Dutch minister for foreign trade and development cooperation, canceled a visit this week to Mekorot, the Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad reported, according to Haaretz.

Last month, Vitens signed a cooperation agreement with Merkorot to develop several joint projects.

Vitens provides water to 5.4 million people in the Netherlands.

Despite Mekorot also providing water to the Palestinian Authority, it has been slammed in the Dutch media and by the government for drilling for water in the Israeli territories and for what they say is discrimination against the Palestinian Authority in its water supply.

PA Not Part of International Olive Council this Year

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

Opposition by Germany and Britain to the Palestinian Authority bid to join the International Olive Council has forced the Palestinian Authority to freeze their application in applying to become a member state of the intergovernmental Madrid-based organization.

The Palestinian Authority Foreign Ministry in Ramallah prepared the application this past summer in order to be voted upon at the annual olive council meeting held in Madrid last week.

According to European diplomatic sources, cited in Haaretz, British and German representatives claimed that letting the Palestinians join the council could sabotage current Israeli-Palestinian talks led by the United States.

Resuming peace talks were made on the condition that Israel’s release of Palestinian prisoners would be done in exchange for the Palestinian Authority’s promise not to join various UN organizations and not to address The Hague’s International Criminal Court (ICC).

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has committed to continue talks for a nine-month period, during which time the Palestinian Authority has pledged to avoid any diplomatic actions against Israel. Thus far, Israel has released 52 Palestinian prisoners, many of whom were convicted of murdering Israelis, out of the 104 Palestinian prisoners who will be freed as talks progress.

Germany and Britain are the member states of the European Union’s joint delegation to the International Olive Council, which is made up of 16 states in addition to the EU that produce olives and olive oil. If the states within the EU delegation are unable to reach a consensus, then the EU delegation must abstain from voting.

In any case, the Palestinians realized that the European Union would not vote in their favor for the olive council membership and preferred not to suffer diplomatic failure. Palestinian officials told Haaretz that the PA had instead decided to postpone their application to a more “opportune moment.” The next International Olive Council annual session will be held in November 2014.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/palestinian-authority-wont-be-part-of-international-olive-council-this-year/2013/12/02/

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