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October 26, 2016 / 24 Tishri, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘pressure’

Prisoner Release Highlights Erosion of Israel’s Will

Thursday, August 8th, 2013

Under pressure to restart talks with Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority, Israel has diverged from its refusal to accede to Palestinian preconditions and agreed to free 104 Palestinian terrorists from its jails. It’s a mistake. Israel should withstand the pressure and say no. Why?

Because it makes a mockery of justice – and inflicts unimaginable pain on families of the victims – when multiple murderers walk free. It also boosts the standing of terrorist groups; encourages the kidnapping of Israelis for the purpose of extorting the release of further terrorists; demoralizes Israeli counter-terrorism personnel who risk life and limb to capture these murderers; erodes Israeli deterrence to vanishing point when the most bloodthirsty murderers know they are likely to be freed early; and, above all, results in the subsequent murder of additional Israelis by terrorists freed under such deals.

In short, we’ve been here before and the results have been tragic. The Almagor Terrorist Victims Association (ATVA) disclosed in April 2007 that 177 Israelis killed in terror attacks in the previous five years had been killed by terrorists who had been previously freed from Israeli jails.

An earlier ATVA report showed that 123 Israelis had been murdered by terrorists freed during the period 1993-99. Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan has observed that the terrorists released in the 2004 Elhanan Tenenbaum prisoner exchange deal caused the death of 231 Israelis.

In agreeing to this morally unjust, tactically unwise, strategically harmful, militarily hazardous and life-endangering unilateral concession, we see the profound and purposeless erosion of Israeli will.

In the past, Israel at least scrupled not to free those with “blood on their hands” and demanded the return of living Israelis, however lopsided the exchange. In July 2008, however, Israel agreed to release to Hizbullah a gruesome murderer, Samir Kuntar, and four others prisoners in return for merely the corpses of two kidnapped Israelis. In August 2008, Israel freed 198 jailed terrorists, including two with blood on their hands and 149 others guilty of attempted murder, as a “confidence-building measure.”

In October 2009, Israel freed 20 Palestinian terrorists – not for a life or a corpse, but for a video of a kidnapped Israeli. And in October 2011, Israel freed 1,027 Palestinian prisoners, including hundreds of convicted terrorists, in exchange for a single kidnapped Israeli serviceman, Gilad Shalit, leading Hamas’s Khaled Meshaal to crow that “This is a national achievement for the Palestinian people…we promise the rest of the Palestinian detainees to liberate them…. Those released will return to armed struggle.”

On this occasion, however, Israelis cannot even take refuge in the consolation that they freed a loved one, retrieved a corpse or even obtained a video. They cannot even say that they exacted any concession from the PA. To the contrary, Mahmoud Abbas just reiterated that he will not permit “the presence of a single Israeli – civilian or soldier – on our lands.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu is not unaware of the danger; to the contrary, he once warned against the very thing he now intends to do. In his 1995 book Fighting Terrorism, Netanyahu observed that refusing to release terrorists was “among the most important policies that must be adopted in the face of terrorism.” With this release, he erodes his credibility by dishonoring his pledge to withstand Palestinian preconditions.

U.S. pressure alone explains Netanyahu’s decision, not some valuable quid pro quo. How else to account for a decision opposed by 85 percent of the Israeli public and the Shin Bet head, Yoram Cohen? The Obama administration has not expressed a new determination to see Iran cross no red lines in its march to a nuclear weapon. Obama has not altered his earlier negotiating baseline of an Israeli return to the 1949 armistice lines. Abbas’s goal of a judenrein Palestinian state has just been reiterated, not withdrawn.

Those trying to make sense of the decision speak of Israel keeping the U.S. on board in dealing with Iran – which suggests that Israel has lacked this all along. The idea that the U.S. needs some Israeli concession to unify its Arab allies against the Iranian nuclear threat is in any case absurd, given the imploring of Arab leaders for Washington to deal with the problem, as revealed by the Wikileaks documents.

Morton A. Klein and Dr. Daniel Mandel

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.

Menachem Ben-Mordechai

Hamas Detaining Foreign Citizens in the Gaza Strip

Sunday, November 18th, 2012

The Israeli Foreign Ministry reports that Hamas is not allowing at least 22 foreign nationals who wish to exit the Gaza Strip for Israel to do so. Among the foreigners being detained are nine Italian citizens, one Canadian, one South Korean, a French national and six journalists from Japan. In addition, two Turkish Red Crescent members have been refused exit.

This violation of the human rights of neutral foreigners is yet another example of Hamas’ attempts to manipulate and pressure the press.

For its part, Israel is keeping the Erez crossing into Gaza open, allowing passage to the foreign press, diplomats and humanitarian workers.

The Kerem Shalom crossing into Gaza was also kept open today, enabling the passage of food and medication from Israel into the Gaza Strip.

Aryeh Savir, Tazpit News Agency

Hamas Won’t Let Foreign Nationals Exit Gaza

Saturday, November 17th, 2012

The Israeli Foreign Ministry Reports:

Hamas is not allowing at least 22 foreign nationals who wish to exit the Gaza Strip for Israel to do so. Among the members of the foreign press being detained are nine Italian citizens, six citizens of Japan, one Canadian, one South Korean and a French national. In addition, two Turkish Red Crescent members have been refused exit.

This violation of the human rights of neutral foreigners is yet another example of Hamas’ attempts to manipulate and pressure the press.

For its part, Israel is keeping the Erez crossing into Gaza open, allowing passage to the foreign press, diplomats and humanitarian workers.

Jewish Press News Briefs

7:50 PM Gaza War Update

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

7:47 PM Sirens: Bnei Shimon and Har Hebron

7:46 PM Sirens: Be’er Sheva

7:45 PM Magen David Adom has raised the level of preparedness in the Central Region (Tel Aviv area) to the highest level possible. 7:43 PM More rockets fired at Eshkol region.

7:40 PM Reports that one rocket landed in Bat Yam.

7:36 PM Cellular networks in Tel Aviv area crashing under pressure.

7:35 PM Rocket lands in cow shed in Eshkol region. No injuries. No report on cow situation.

7:33 PM At least 1000 reserve soldiers mobilized on an emergency footing. 7:31 PM BREAKING: Anti-tank rocket fired at IDF troops from Gaza.

7:23 PM  Iron Dome system knocks down 7 rockets over Be’er Sheva.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Yesha Council Initiates Levy Report Campaign

Thursday, October 25th, 2012

At the Yesha Council Emergency Meeting dealing with the new campaign to pressure the government to authorize the Levy Report and/or make it a condition for a future coalition agreement with the parties that will
form Netanyahu’s next government:

The Campaign’s slogan:  “Netanyahu’s Government: Authorize the Levy Report.” Photo by: Yisrael Medad.

Visit My Right Word.

Yisrael Medad

Mitt, Supporting Palestinian Statehood is NOT Pro-Israel

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

Let’s be clear, Barack Obama is anti-Israel president and a pro-Palestinian president. As I have written in detail, he came into office with the goal of pressuring Israel and raising the banner of the Palestinian cause.

Mitt Romney seems to have a genuinely friendly view towards Israel, which he has demonstrated in various public statements and his recent visit to Israel. And, quite frankly, pretty much anyone would be friendlier to Israel than Obama. Yet, in his foreign policy address yesterday, Romney adopted the position which is at the heart of U.S. pressure on Israel: supporting Palestinian statehood.

Romney said:

Finally, I will recommit America to the goal of a democratic, prosperous Palestinian state living side by side in peace and security with the Jewish state of Israel.  On this vital issue, the President has failed, and what should be a negotiation process has devolved into a series of heated disputes at the United Nations. In this old conflict, as in every challenge we face in the Middle East, only a new President will bring the chance to begin anew.

A Palestinian state can and will never live side by side in peace and security with the Jewish State of Israel. As a number of Palestinian opinion polls have shown, Palestinians are determined to destroy Israel even after they have a state. Palestinian organizations – even “moderate” ones like Fatah – and leaders – like the “moderate” Mahmaoud Abbas – have declared that they don’t and won’t recognize Israel as a Jewish State. They repeatedly declare that all of the land from the river to the sea belongs to them. They teach this to their children. They use violence against civilians as a political tool and devalue the worth of Jewish life. They teach this to their children too.

Nor will it be democratic as President George W. Bush called for with his Road Map for Peace. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is serving his seventh year of his five year turn. Hamas democratically won Palestinian parliamentary elections and then proceeded to militarily take over Gaza and executed their opponents.

Romney has himself made these points.

Talking about this “peaceful” and “democratic” or even “demilitarized” Palestinian state continues the delusion and results in more pressure in Israel to make gestures (which in turn results in dead Israelis) as Israel is the only party to the process willing to listen.

Of course, Romney is not to blame. Successive Israeli administrations have endorsed this position, despite the fact that it causes so much misery to Israel. So Romney should not be expected to be more Catholic than the Pope when it comes to Israel’s claims and interests.

True, pressure from the State Department has a lot to do with Israel’s position and the president is ultimately responsible for the State Department’s actions. Nevertheless it is up to Israel to stand up for its interests and make its own case to counter other voices which the president is exposed to whether it be the State Department or Arab leaders and diplomats.

Daniel Tauber

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