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September 2, 2014 / 7 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Prime Minister Olmert’

Enemies From Within

Wednesday, January 9th, 2008

      When things get bad, I must remember that thousands of people in Israel are doing wonderful mitzvot daily, and we cannot become discouraged. Like many American Israelis, I find it hard to fathom the blockheadedness of our current Israeli leaders.


 

      Haaretz newspaper editor David Landau recently was reported to have told Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that Israel “wants to be raped by the U.S.” Imagine, a fellow Jew urges the U.S. to “rape” Israel! Our worst nightmare is when our own people invite a friend to become an enemy. Will we ever learn?

 

      I wondered about this editor’s education until reading another “wonderful” piece of news, this one from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. I guess this is why so many I consider to be Jew-haters support Hebrew U. You might not believe the following report. I simply thought this was Arab propaganda until the Israeli press confirmed it.

 

      The Hebrew University Teacher’s Committee granted an award to a doctoral student who produced the following research paper: The paper, by doctoral student Tal Nitzan, reportedly concluded that Israeli prejudice against Arabs is so pervasive that, believe it or not, Israeli soldiers do not rape Arab women captives. The doctoral student was amazed at this “unnatural behavior of Israeli soldiers.” How can it be, he must have asked himself, that Israeli soldiers do not behave as crudely as soldiers around the world?

 

      After a great deal of research, he “discovered” the reason; Israeli soldiers are prejudiced. They are making a right wing political statement against Arabs when they refuse to rape Arab women. Now we know! It is not Jewish values or purity of arms; it is prejudice. Arab soldiers are not prejudiced, for they will rape any captive. It is the Jews who are prejudiced. The right-wing Zionists are to blame – as usual.

 

      If this paper had been ignored or ridiculed by the university, I might understand. But no, the teacher’s committee awarded it a prize! Now we see why we must all support this “wonderful” university.

 

      Thus is it any surprise that our political leaders are willing to set an Arab mass murderer of Jews free? We recently learned that the dream of the Israeli Left might soon become a reality. Prime Minister Olmert not only seems willing to negotiate away the eastern part of Jerusalem, but also reportedly plans to free arch-terrorist Marwan Barghouti – allowing him to lead the Palestinians to “peace.” Shimon Peres stated even before he was elected president that, if elected, he would be happy to pardon Barghouti because he is a popular, “moderate” Arab leader.

 

      In reality, Barghouti is responsible for the mass murder of Jews, and started the second intifada. I guess that makes him a moderate, if the word moderate means murderer in Arabic. What does it say about the Palestinians, when one of their most popular leaders is a murderer of men, women and children?

 

      If further proof of Barghouti’s hatred of Jews is needed, the French town of Pierrefitte (north of Paris) made him an honorary citizen. Many Europeans also expressed their sympathy with his plight. From others I expect anti-Israel behavior, but don’t want it from fellow Jews.

 

      We need Moshiach now!

 

      Comments may be sent to dov@gilor.com.

Opposing Olmert On Golan Surrender: Civil Disobedience As A Legal Imperative (Second of Two Parts)

Wednesday, October 10th, 2007

Can the Olmert government protect Israel’s citizens? After last summer’s Lebanon war, this is hardly a serious question. Further, following Iran’s continuing defiance of the international community in its illegal nuclearization, a defiance carried out with literal impunity, the consequences of Israel’s national impotence could soon be genuinely existential. Let us be candid. This is the case even before Mr. Olmert proceeds with his plan to give up the Golan.

Credo quia absurdum. Prime Minister Olmert now further endangers Israel’s survival by his openly planned acquiescence to Syrian deceptions on the Golan Heights. Not only a 1967 report by the American Joint Chiefs, but also the authoritative words of four distinguished Israeli (res.) generals, challenge the Prime Minister’s mistaken judgment: “Israel’s presence on the Golan Heights constitutes the optimal strategic balance with Syria and insurance against a massive Syrian attack,” said these Israeli strategists in 1995. “The IDF’s proximity to Damascus is also a guarantee against a Syrian missile launch into Israel’s rear. Any change in this balance would lessen Israel’s deterrent against potential Syrian aggression and jeopardize the quiet and stability that have characterized the Golan since 1974.”1

It is with precisely these grave dangers in mind that Israeli opponents of Olmert’s intended Golan surrenders will soon engage in purposeful civil disobedience. Recognizing that victimization by words2 can set the stage for subsequent victimization by force, they shall seek, perhaps desperately, to “stop the machine.” From the standpoints of both law and national survival, they will certainly be acting correctly.

To “stop the machine” is a metaphoric phrase taken directly from Henry David Thoreau’s classical explorations of civil disobedience. In his oft-quoted essay on the subject, the American transcendentalist spoke persuasively of essential opposition as an act of “counter friction.” Confronted with dreadful harms of the sort suffered and anticipated by so many Israelis, harms generated by years of now-President Peres’ “Peace Process,” and soon-to-be magnified by Prime Minister Olmert’s additional surrenders, he would urge, as he once did about policy deformations in this country: “Let your life be a counter-friction to stop the machine. What I have to do is to see, at any rate, that I do not lend myself to the wrong which I condemn.”

This is what Israel’s citizen protestors must now seek, not to lend themselves any longer to the unforgivable wrongs of the Rabin/Peres/Netanyahu/Barak/Sharon/Olmert agreements with the PLO/PA, or to any future Golan surrender to Syria. Among these many wrongs are assorted Israeli government legitimizations of Arab terrorism, and also corollary Israeli government refusals to punish egregious terrorist crimes. Israel and the fractionated Palestinian authority have not only effectively abandoned all pertinent jurisprudential obligations to seek out and prosecute Arab terrorists, they still cooperate in releasing killers of Israeli citizens from Israeli and Arab jails. Certainly Prime Minister Olmert and President Peres will not be willing to put an end to such incontestable violations of both Jewish Law and international law. Why should they? Crouched comfortably in the bruising darkness, their truth is the delusion of Plato’s cave. They see not what is happening right before their eyes, but only the shadows of what is real.

Let us return to germane matters of law. Israel’s agreements with the PLO contravene the binding obligation to punish acts that are crimes under international law. Known formally as Nullum crimen sine poena, “No crime without a punishment,” this requirement points unambiguously to the multiple acts of killing and torture ordered directly by “elected” Palestinian authorities over many years. To not only ignore this peremptory requirement, but also to further legitimize the wrongs by making these criminals a “partner for peace” has been a clear violation of Principle I of the binding Nuremberg Principles.3

Israel’s citizens, who now support and sustain the discredited Oslo/Road Map agreements, and/or Prime Minister Olmert’s intended Golan surrenders, are acting (whether expressly or tacitly) in stark violation of fundamental international law. They are also acting, of course, in violation of Israel’s national law and longstanding Jewish Law. At the same time, all those who would disobey both these suicidal agreements with terrorist gangs, and the still-intended Golan surrenders would be acting in full support of all three interrelated forms of law.

My readers in The Jewish Press will understand that these informed views of law and civil disobedience in Israel deserve a wide hearing. Now embarked upon surrender policies that threaten Israel’s very existence while they simultaneously undermine authoritative expectations of justice, the Olmert government should reasonably expect to be confronted with mounting protests. Were it not so confronted, citizens of Israel would have already consented to their own national dismemberment. International law, which is based upon a variety of higher law foundations, including Jewish Law, forms part of the law of all nations. This is the case whether or not the incorporation of international law into national law is codified, explicitly, as it is in the Supremacy Clause (Article VI) of the United States Constitution. The government of Israel is bound by settled norms of international law concerning punishment of terrorist crimes and physical survival of the state. Where this government would fail to abide by these rules, as is very much the case today, civil disobedience is not only permissible – it is required.

Jewish Law rests always upon two fundamental principles: the overriding sovereignty of G-d and the derivative sacredness of the individual person. Both principles, intertwined and interdependent, underlie the reasoned argument for civil disobedience in Israel.4 From the sacredness of the person, which stems from each individual’s resemblance to divinity, flows the freedom to choose. The failure to exercise this freedom, which is evident whenever a response to political authority is merely automatic, represents a betrayal of individual legal responsibility.5

We Jews must be reminded that Jewish law is democratic in the sense that it belongs to all of the people. This is a principle expressed in the Talmudic position that each individual can approach G-d in prayer without priestly intercessions. Hence, a primary goal of law must always be to encourage initiative, to act purposefully on behalf of improving both state and society. When this criterion is applied to impending instances of civil disobedience in Israel, it should be apparent that the protesting opponents of Olmert’s intended Golan surrender, more than any other citizens of Israel, will be acting according to the true interests of law, justice and peace. Let them now stand strong against an Israeli public authority that indefatigably patronizes itself.

Copyright ©, the Jewish Press, October 12, 2007. All rights reserved.

LOUIS RENE BERES (Ph.D., Princeton, 1971) is the author of many books and articles dealing with Israel’s security and international law. He is Strategic and Military Affairs columnist for The Jewish Press.

* * * * *

1. Statement (1995) prepared by Major General (res.) Yehoshua Sagui; Admiral (res.) Micha Ram; Brigadier General (res.) David Hagoel; and Brigadier General (res.) Aharon Levran.

2. The Talmud instructs that victimizing people with words is a serious transgression (Talmud, Tractate Bava Metzia 58b).

3. According to Principle I: “Any person who commits an act which constitutes a crime under international law is responsible therefore and is liable to punishment.”

4. On the importance of the dignity of the person to the Talmudic conception of law, see: S. Belkin, In His Image: The Jewish Philosophy Of Man As Expressed In Rabbinic Tradition (New York: 1960).

5. On the human freedom to choose good over evil, see: J.B. Soloveitchik, Thoughts And Visions: The Man Of Law (Hebrew: New York: 1944 – 45), p. 725.

Salute to Israel Parade, Manhattan

Wednesday, May 16th, 2007

Question: In the wake of the Winograd Report on last summer’s Lebanon war, should Prime Minister Olmert resign?

 

 


Yes. He completely mishandled the war. Israel entered the war unprepared and the military was misguided. Olmert also didn’t have a backup plan. Israel should have easily won, but because of him they failed. He put soldiers at unnecessary risk. The war dragged on too long and Israel’s goals were unachieved.


- Ariel Kohane, molecular biologist

 


 


No. Forcing Olmert to resign will not solve anything. In fact, I believe it will cause more chaos and promote instability. I think Israel did a good job in the Lebanon war. If Israel were to elect someone new, people wouldn’t be happy anyway. It seems like Israelis won’t be happy no matter who’s in office.


- Arianne Thaler, student

 

 

 



Yes. He is an incompetent leader. Israeli soldiers were taken captive and I see no sign of their return anytime soon. Israel endured heavy losses for no reason. Olmert is not in touch with the citizens of Israel, and I think the people want him to leave.


- Miriam Aubrach, self-employed


 

 

 

 



No. We cannot find someone else to replace him. People need to understand that there will always be casualties in war no matter who’s in charge – this was evident even in biblical times. I approve of his leadership; he’s familiar with the region and knows the people.


- Allan Rothman, retired

Does Anyone Care?

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2007

        In 2002, Israel surrounded the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem to restrain a group of 39 Arab terrorist gunmen who were firing at them from inside the church. The gunmen were mostly from the PLO Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade with some Hamas terrorists, as well. The Israel army did not fire back but rather lay siege to the building. After a lot of intervention from many sources, a deal was worked out, and the 39 were allowed to leave peacefully. Thirteen were exiled to Europe, and 26 were sent to Gaza.

 

         Prime Minister Olmert, with his “wisdom” and amateurish political skill, as a “holiday” gesture, promised the “moderate” Palestine Administration Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to allow these 39 gunmen to return to Bethlehem.

 

         The Christian world seems to ignore the fact that the Muslims have hounded Christians out of Bethlehem, and that the Christian population has dwindled from 80 percent of the residents to 20 percent. Now, with the proposed return of these gunmen, the Christians fear that the Muslim gunmen will reinstitute a reign of terror against the Christian population. I guess the Europeans and the Church will say that Christians do not belong in a Muslim city like Bethlehem (even though the residents are Christian Arabs).

 

         In another “brilliant” diplomatic move, Olmert has promised to arm PA gunmen with 2,000 Kalashnikov rifles (as Prime Minister Rabin did in the past). It is difficult to know how many Jews were murdered with Rabin’s gift to the Arabs; now (G-d forbid) even more Jews will be murdered with Olmert’s rifles.

 

         Wait, there is more. Olmert also agreed to give Abbas no less than $100 million so that salaries can be paid to these gunmen.

 

         The saddest part of the story is that the Arab “cease-fire” continues. Two Jewish teenagers were badly injured by one of the recent Kassam rockets fired at the town of Sderot by Arabs. Our prime minister has openly declared that Israel will restrain its reaction to, I guess, firing at the empty fields from which the Kassam rockets are being fired, and will refrain from attacking the leaders of the terrorists or the workshops where the Kassams are manufactured.

 

         I guess Olmert is waiting for, G-d forbid, a large number of Jews to be murdered by the Kassams. If they were being fired at Olmert’s family, he might realize that the Kassams are dangerously deadly. Poor Jews in Sderot seem to be “acceptable” losses to the prime minister.

 

         In another “goodwill gesture,” Olmert reduced the number of checkpoints and roadblocks in Judea and Samaria, despite the warnings of military experts that this move will increase the mobility of the murderous bombers. Another “gesture” is his plan to release thousands of terrorist prisoners from Israeli jails, despite the blood on their hands and despite the fact that the kidnapped Israeli soldiers are not being freed.

 

         For years Olmert has been saying that Abbas is not a partner for negotiations. Now, after one whole meeting together, Olmert is sending Abbas $100,000,000 and 2,000 rifles.

 

         Does anyone understand the Olmert “logic?” Does Olmert have a “strategy” that only he understands? He arrogantly ignores military and political advisers and continues down a path that may lead to tragedy and capitulation. His own party is confused by his decisions. The president of the United States and the leaders of Europe do not understand. Is it simply the thrashing about of a person who has no clue how to cope with a leadership job thrust upon him unexpectedly by the illness of Arik Sharon?

 

        Comments may be sent to dov@gilor.com

The Urgent Need For An Israeli Nuclear Doctrine

Wednesday, December 27th, 2006

Israel’s policy of opacity or deliberate ambiguity on nuclear weapons had already been breached long before Prime Minister Olmert’s public statement on December 11th. And it was also breached at the prime-ministerial level, no less. More than 10 years ago, Shimon Peres explicitly undermined Israel’s longstanding commitment to keep the bomb in the “basement.” At that time, speaking with a group of Israeli newspaper and magazine editors, Peres had publicly advanced the preposterous idea of unilateral denuclearization in exchange for “peace.”

The Peres proposal was extended apart from any coherent strategic doctrine. Such doctrine, however, is now needed to provide Israel with broad policy frameworks, from which particular decisions and tactics might be drawn. In fashioning its essential strategic doctrine, Israel must begin by addressing the following major questions:

Should Israel begin to identify certain general elements of its nuclear arsenal and nuclear plans? Would it be in Israel’s best security interests to make certain that others are aware – in prudentially general terms – of its nuclear targeting doctrine; its retaliatory and counter-retaliatory capacities; its willingness under particular conditions to preempt; and its particular capacities for ballistic missile defense?

Although the answers to these questions would be necessarily complex and very general, one thing is clear: The Islamic awareness of an Israeli bomb does not automatically imply that Israel has credible nuclear deterrence. After all, if Israel’s nuclear arsenal were seen as vulnerable to first strikes, it might not persuade enemy states to resist attacking the Jewish State. Similarly, if Israel’s political leadership were seen to be unwilling to resort to nuclear weapons in reprisal for anything but unconventional and fully exterminatory strikes, these enemy states may not be deterred.

If Israel’s targeting doctrine were judged to be predominantly “counterforce” targeted (that is, targeted on enemy state weapons and supporting military infrastructures), enemy states, inter alia, could so fear an Israeli first-strike that they would consider more seriously striking first themselves.

Aware of the counter-city/counterforce implications, Israel’s leaders must quickly determine not only the best configuration of these two targeting doctrines, but also the most favorable means and levels of disclosure. How shall enemy states be apprised best, of Israel’s targeting doctrine, so that these states would be deterred from various forms of first strike and retaliatory strike actions? It is no longer enough that Israel’s enemies merely know that the Jewish State has nuclear weapons. They must also be convinced that these arms are secure and usable, and that Israel’s leadership is actually willing to launch these weapons in response to certain first strike and retaliatory attacks.

Israel’s strategic doctrine must aim at strengthening nuclear deterrence. It can meet this objective only by convincing enemy states that a first-strike upon Israel will always be irrational. This means communicating to enemy states that the costs of such a strike will always exceed the benefits. Hence, Israel’s strategic doctrine must always convince prospective attackers that their intended victim has both the willingness and the capacity to retaliate with nuclear weapons.

Where an enemy state, considering an attack upon Israel, were unconvinced about either or both of these components of nuclear deterrence, it could choose to strike first. This would depend in part upon the particular value it placed upon the expected consequences of such an attack.

Regarding willingness, even if Israel were prepared to respond to certain Islamic attacks with nuclear reprisals, enemy failure to recognize such preparedness could provoke an attack upon Israel. Here, misperception and/or errors in information could immobilize Israeli nuclear deterrence.

It is also conceivable that Israel would, in fact, lack the willingness to retaliate, and that this lack of willingness would be correctly perceived by enemy state decision-makers. In this case, Israeli nuclear deterrence could be immobilized not because of “confused signals,” but because of signals that had not been properly distorted.

Regarding capacity, even if Israel were to maintain a substantial arsenal of nuclear weapons, it is essential that enemy states believe these weapons to be distinctly usable. This means that if a first-strike attack were believed capable of sufficiently destroying Israel’s atomic arsenal and pertinent infrastructures, that country’s nuclear deterrent could be immobilized.

Even if Israel’s nuclear weapons were configured, such that they could not be destroyed by an enemy first-strike, enemy misperceptions or misjudgments about Israeli vulnerability could still bring about the failure of Israeli nuclear deterrence. A further complication here concerns enemy state deployment of anti-tactical ballistic missiles, which might contribute to an attack decision against Israel by lowering the attacker’s expected costs.

All this brings us back to the over-all importance of strategic doctrine and Middle East policy. To the extent that Israel’s doctrine actually identifies nuanced and graduated forms of reprisal – forms calibrating Israeli retaliations to particular levels of provocation – disclosure of such doctrine could contribute to Israeli nuclear deterrence. Without such disclosure, Israel’s enemies will be kept guessing about the Jewish State’s probable responses, a condition of protracted uncertainty that could serve Israel’s survival for a while longer, but – at one time or another – could fail catastrophically.

Prime Minister Olmert was certainly correct in continuing to lift the veil of Israel’s nuclear program. But now it is also essential for Israel to further enhance its nuclear deterrence posture by considering various and additional forms of selective disclosure. Such carefully constructed and sequential steps will be needed especially as an explicitly genocidal Iran proceeds unimpeded, with its accelerating nuclearization.

Copyright, The Jewish Press, December 29, 2006. All rights reserved.

LOUIS RENE BERES was educated at Princeton (Ph.D., 1971) and is author of many books and articles dealing with nuclear strategy and nuclear war. Strategic and Military Affairs columnist for The Jewish Press, his work is well known to Israeli and American military/intelligence communities.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/louis-bene-beres/the-urgent-need-for-an-israeli-nuclear-doctrine/2006/12/27/

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