Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Israel Matzav: Netanyahu's doubleheader

Netanyahu's doubleheader

Prime Minister Netanyahu had two meetings with President Obama on Tuesday night. The first meeting lasted from 5:34 to 7:03 pm Washington time. Then aides to Netanyahu and Obama continued to talk. And then, reports New York Daily News White House Correspondent Ken Bazinet, there was a second meeting from 8:20 to 8:55 pm. The second meeting was at Netanyahu's request.

As was the case the last time Netanyahu was at the White House, there was no photo opportunity and no press access. House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) criticized the White House for not at least having a photo opportunity and using it to put out the word that the crisis is over. But perhaps that's because the crisis isn't over.

Mr. Netanyahu’s difficult position was on display during an unusually testy visit to Washington. He and Mr. Obama did not appear side by side before reporters or even pose for cameras before their meeting.

Just hours after delivering a defiant speech in which he told a pro-Israel lobby that “Jerusalem is not a settlement; it’s our capital,” Mr. Netanyahu refused to budge on an American demand that he reverse a housing plan in the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood in East Jerusalem.

He did pledge to adhere to more rigid controls over announcements of construction in East Jerusalem, carrying from meeting to meeting here a diagram that he said laid out how much red tape Israelis must go through before they could expand housing there.

But it remained unclear whether he would even allow scheduled negotiations with the Palestinians to focus on substantive issues like borders and security, another American demand.

The impasse leaves Mr. Obama in the same position that he was in last fall, when Mr. Netanyahu defied American demands for a full freeze on settlements in the West Bank, causing the White House to set that issue aside as a first step toward restarting Middle East peace talks.

But this time, White House officials and even many Middle East analysts say that Mr. Obama, by allowing the dispute over the East Jerusalem construction to spill over publicly, has laid down a marker signaling that the United States is likely to press Israel hard on Jerusalem in future peace talks with the Palestinians. Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of their eventual state.


While the two countries are now trying to put the fight behind them, “the writing is on the wall that Mr. Obama and Mr. Netanyahu” and the Israeli political right with whom he has formed a governing coalition “are going to clash on final status,” said Robert Malley, the director of the Middle East program at the International Crisis Group, referring to the entrenched issues like Jerusalem and borders that have bedeviled peace negotiators since 1979.

I'm not sure what the Times' sources are for what went on in that meeting. I don't think anyone really knows for sure. Daniel Pipes talks about Netanyahu's difficult predicament and what he might have said to President Obama here.

Israel Matzav: Netanyahu's doubleheader

Israel Matzav: An ill-timed report

An ill-timed report

Someone in Israel is trying to make Prime Minister Netanyahu's relations with President Obama even more strained than they are already. On Tuesday, as Netanyahu was about to go into a meeting with Obama it happened again. As Netanyahu was arriving at the White House, Haaretz reported that final approval had been granted to build build 20 new Jewish housing units on the site of the Shepherd's Hotel in the Shimon HaTzadik (Sheikh Jarrah) neighborhood of Jerusalem. The Shepherd's Hotel is privately owned land and it is actually owned by an American named Irving Moskowitz.

The version of Haaretz's story that is currently online is apparently not the original version. Apparently the first version left out two pertinent facts, one of which still doesn't appear in the Haaretz story (at least at this writing). First, the approval was issued last Thursday. And second, the approval was automatic following the payment of a fee by the developers on March 15. The real approval was the one that was granted last July.

But whoever managed to time that report from Haaretz (and it may have been Haaretz itself, someone from the rival Kadima party or a leak at the Jerusalem City Council, where all building approvals are now frozen), the result was an embarrassment for Prime Minister Netanyahu, who would rather these things be done quietly under the radar screen.

"This is exactly what we expect Prime Minister Netanyahu to get control of," an administration official said Tuesday night. "The current drip-drip-drip of projects in East Jerusalem impedes progress."

Netanyahu chose his right-wing "coalition over Obama, plain and simple," one former Israeli official commented.

Well, of course he did. Do you think he'd rather go to new elections and shut down the country for three months with Iran on the verge of nuclear weapons?

Israel Matzav: An ill-timed report

Israel Matzav: Kerry urges putting 'settlements' aside

Kerry urges putting 'settlements' aside

This comes as something of a surprise. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass>) has come out in favor of tabling the dispute between the United States and Israel over Jewish housing construction in Jerusalem.

John Kerry, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, was slated to join a host of lawmakers meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who's in town for AIPAC's annual conference. The Cable caught up to Kerry just before his meeting, and the senior senator from Massachusetts said that he will tell Netanyahu that both the United States and Israel should set the settlements issue aside for now.

"I think what's important now is not to get stuck on the issue of the settlement freeze," Kerry told The Cable. "I think what's important is to get to the table and discuss the final-status talks as rapidly as possible."

Kerry noted that calling for a full settlement freeze has been official U.S. policy for years, under both Democratic and Republican administrations. But he said that was just not the most important thing on the table at this point.

"I think the focus ought to be on the talks themselves," he said. "The clock is ticking and that ticking clock works against Israel's security and it works against our interests in the region."

But can he convince the dogmatic Obama administration to drop it?

Israel Matzav: Kerry urges putting 'settlements' aside

Israel Matzav: Why Russia will never back sanctions against Iran

Why Russia will never back sanctions against Iran

Ilan Berman explains that the ties between Russia and Iran are so deep that there is no chance that Russia will back serious sanctions against Iran.

[D]espite increasingly clear signs of Iran's runaway nuclear ambitions, the Kremlin remains opposed to the very idea of comprehensive sanctions against the Islamic Republic. Here's why.

First, Iran's nuclear ambitions are a cash cow for the Kremlin. In the years after 9/11, Russia's vast energy sector and the high world price of oil helped fuel its geopolitical revival. Since the onset of the global financial crisis, however, Russia's economic fortunes have experienced a devastating reversal of fortune. Last year Russian GDP plummeted nearly 8%, driven downward by a 77% decline in world energy prices.

Perpetuating the current crisis over Iran's nuclear program therefore makes good business sense. As one energy expert explained recently in the Moscow Times:

"Assuming the Iranian situation influences the oil price upward by a conservative estimate of roughly $3 or $4 a year, Russia stands to gain $6 billion to $8 billion, not to mention any benefits to the price of natural gas and the maintenance of its gas supply monopoly to Europe. A thaw between Iran and the West stands to increase the downward pressure on the price of oil, in addition to any lost revenue if Iran becomes a significant gas supplier to Europe. Given this calculation, Russia's position regarding sanctions seems much more logical."

Russia's nuclear trade has benefited considerably from the current crisis as well. Since 2003, when Iran's nuclear program was first disclosed, the greater Middle East has seen an explosion of interest in the atom. Today no fewer than 14 countries in Iran's neighborhood have openly begun to pursue some level of nuclear capability. And Russia, the world's leading exporter of nuclear technology, has reaped the benefits. Over the past five years Moscow has inked nuclear cooperation deals with Algeria, Egypt and Jordan. Even Libya, which ostensibly gave up its atomic ambitions during the Bush administration, now appears to be resuming its investments in nuclear technology--and is doing so with the assistance of Russian industry.

Perhaps the biggest beneficiary, however, has been Russia's arms sector. Two decades ago the breakup of the Soviet Union left Russia's defense industry on the verge of collapse. Today Russia's military trade with the world is vast--and booming. This turnaround has a great deal to do with regional jitters over Iran's nuclear program. According to the Stockholm International Peace Institute, arms sales to the Middle East rose by nearly 40% between 2004 and 2008, with Iran's neighbors among the most active clients. Hoping to capitalize on this trend, Russia's arms industry is now said to be in the throes of a major expansion in the Middle East. All in all, in other words, Iran's nuclear program has proved a boon for Russian business.

These commercial instincts have only been reinforced by Russian views of political change in Iran. Simply put, officials in Moscow see the possibility of a change of regime--or even of governmental behavior--as a serious threat to their interests.

Read it all. Berman suggests that if the Obami want to get Russia to go along with sanctions against Iran, they must first break the ties between Russia and Iran. It's far too late for that. Either we very quickly implement biting sanctions against Iran without Russia and probably without the UN, or we skip the sanctions altogether and go the military route (which we will have to do sooner or later anyway). There is no other way that Iran can be stopped.

Israel Matzav: Why Russia will never back sanctions against Iran

Israel Matzav: Blaming Israel for everything

Blaming Israel for everything

Just when you thought they couldn't possibly blame us for anything else....

In Newsweek, Michael Hirsh allows one of these “senior officials” to give readers the “real reason” why Obama flipped out on Israel.

According to Hirsh and his highly placed source, the reason why Obama turned a minor flap about the timing of the announcement of new housing project in Jerusalem wasn’t entirely due to Biden’s injured pride or the motive that Hirsh neglects to mention: the administration’s desire to distance itself from Israel. Rather, says Hirsch and his source, it’s because Obama is terribly worried about Iran and wants Israel to be more supportive of his herculean efforts to prevent Tehran from obtaining nuclear weapons. In their tale, the housing dispute made Obama look weak and will detract from his all-out campaign to enact tough international sanctions on the Islamist regime. Hirsh’s confidante says: “Iran is [Obama’s] No. 1 priority, it’s the No. 2 priority, and it’s the No. 3 priority. Everything we do needs to be seen through the lens of how to stop Iran from getting nuclear capability. So they [Israel] need to keep their focus. Why would you want to do anything now to make the president look less strong or effective?” In this narrative, the slap at Biden proves that Obama cares more about stopping Iran than Netanyahu and the Israelis.

Is he serious? This is an administration that spent its first year in office pursuing appeasement and pointless and unsuccessful engagement with Iran. It was unwilling to issue strong statements condemning Iran’s stolen presidential elections and repression of its own people. The administration issued several deadlines for Iran to respond to its outreach efforts but failed to follow up. It has pointedly taken the threat of force off the table and failed to rally both its allies and other countries to support tough sanctions. Even now, it is dithering in its efforts to enact sanctions far less than the crippling measures needed to truly impact the regime, which views Obama as a weakling who will never do what it takes to keep Iran out of the nuclear club.

Yet despite all this, we’re supposed to believe that Obama is so desperate to stop Iran that it is his first, second, and third foreign-policy priority? To judge by his actions and statements, Obama’s top worry about the issue is that Israel, the country threatened with destruction by Iran’s Islamist tyrants, will tire of waiting for the United States to take action and do something to avert the peril itself. Despite the occasional promise to make good on his campaign pledge that he would never let Iran get nuclear weapons, everything coming out of Washington in the last year has given Tehran the impression that Obama is prepared to live with an Iranian bomb.

Israel Matzav: Blaming Israel for everything

Israel Matzav: Iranians interested in Kaspian Makan's visit to Israel

Iranians interested in Kaspian Makan's visit to Israel

Earlier this week, I reported that Kaspian Makan, the fiancee of Iranian martyr Neda Soltan (pictured), was in Israel on a visit.

One of the things I've been trying to discover about the Green revolution in Iran since last summer is how they view Israel. Would they be a threat to us if they deposed Ahamdinejad?

For what it's worth, an Iranian website has now linked my Makan post (that's a Google translation into English) and my comment that I hoped that the Greens support his trip here. For what it's worth, most of the people on that web site are voting yes, they support his trip here.

During the Shah's reign, Israel and Iran had good relations (in fact, someone in our family visited Iran in the 1970's). Many of us here in Israel hope that when the Green revolution is successful, God willing, those relations will go back to what they were a generation ago.

Israel Matzav: Iranians interested in Kaspian Makan's visit to Israel

Israel Matzav: Eerie parallels: The Dersh slams Obama

Eerie parallels: The Dersh slams Obama

Give Alan Dershowitz credit: His loyalty to Israel is greater than his loyalty to Obama. (For those who - like me - do not have Wall Street Journal subscriptions, the link above is to a Harvard Law School website that reproduces the entire article). While the fact that a liberal icon like Dershowitz is slamming Obama over Iran would be significant in and of itself, the parallels between Chamberlain and Obama - especially when raised in the moment of Obama's victory on healthcare reform - are eerie and devastating.

[A]llowing Iran to obtain nuclear weapons is somewhat analogous to the decision by the victors of World War I to allow Nazi Germany to rearm during the 1930s. Even the Nazis were surprised at this complacency. Joseph Goebbels expected the French and British to prevent the Nazis from rebuilding Germany's war machine.

In 1940, Goebbels told a group of German journalists that if he had been the French premier when Hitler came to power he would have said, "The new Reich Chancellor is the man who wrote Mein Kampf, which says this and that. This man cannot be tolerated in our vicinity. Either he disappears or we march!"

But, Goebbels continued, "they didn't do it. They left us alone and let us slip through the risky zone, and we were able to sail around all dangerous reefs. And when we were done, and well armed, better than they, then they started the war!"

Most people today are not aware that British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain helped restore Great Britain's financial stability during the Great Depression and also passed legislation to extend unemployment benefits, pay pensions to retired workers and otherwise help those hit hard by the slumping economy. But history does remember his failure to confront Hitler. That is Chamberlain's enduring legacy.

So too will Iran's construction of nuclear weapons, if it manages to do so in the next few years, become President Barack Obama's enduring legacy. Regardless of his passage of health-care reform and regardless of whether he restores jobs and helps the economy recover, Mr. Obama will be remembered for allowing Iran to obtain nuclear weapons. History will not treat kindly any leader who allows so much power to be accumulated by the world's first suicide nation—a nation whose leaders have not only expressed but, during the Iran-Iraq war, demonstrated a willingness to sacrifice millions of their own people to an apocalyptic mission of destruction.
Jonathan Tobin adds:
Dershowitz is right, both about the nature of the threat from Iran and about Obama’s place in history if he allows Tehran to obtain nuclear weapons. But does Obama take the threat as seriously as Dershowitz? Everything the president has done since he took office leads us to believe the answer is no. A year of feckless engagement and weak diplomacy has led the Iranians to believe Obama is a weakling who will do nothing but appease and talk. The threat of force has been taken off the table, and only recently has the administration begun to speak seriously about sanctions on Iran — but even then, the measures considered aren’t tough enough and lack the support of China and Russia. Beyond wrongly blaming Israel for his failure to rally the world to America’s position, Obama has done little to indicate he cares deeply about the threat.

Thus, while we applaud Dershowitz for throwing down the gauntlet to Obama, we have to wonder how long will he wait before he concedes that the man in the White House is more of a Chamberlain than the Winston Churchill that the West needs so badly today.
Obama doesn't care about the threat because he believes that it's not a threat to the United States. Obama sees this only as a threat to Israel, a country for which he has little sympathy. Dershowitz all but acknowledges that in the part of his article that I did not quote - he lists a number of threats to Israel (and specifically to Israel) that arise from a nuclear-armed Iran. Obama wouldn't see a nuclear Iran as a threat to the United States unless Iran had ICBM's with nuclear warheads on the launch pad that were capable of reaching the US. Of course, by then, it would be too late to do anything, but Obama still believes he can talk anybody into anything and his success at getting healthcare legislation passed this week will certainly feed that belief. Hence Obama plans to rely on containment to control a nuclear Iran.

Obama has little real interest in foreign policy (other than coddling the 'Palestinians') and ignoring the Iranian threat fits right in with that modus operandi.
Israel Matzav: Eerie parallels: The Dersh slams Obama

Israel Matzav: Two reasons why Gazans don't need clothes and shoes

Two reasons why Gazans don't need clothes and shoes

The Hamas-led Gaza Strip has left trucks full of clothing and shoes sitting and biding their time at the crossing point from Israel into Gaza. The 'Palestinians' just don't want them. Here's one reason why.

And here's the other.
Israel Matzav: Two reasons why Gazans don't need clothes and shoes

Israel Matzav: Arab League pressing for closer ties with Iran

Arab League pressing for closer ties with Iran

At a meeting this weekend in Sirte, Libya, the 22-member Arab League will discuss closer ties with Iran.

The engagement would take the form of a forum for regional cooperation and conflict resolution that would include non-Arab nations Iran and Turkey, two Arab League diplomats said. They agreed to discuss details of the proposal on condition of anonymity because of their sensitivity.

One of the diplomats, who has seen Moussa's document, said the League's chief hopes the inclusion of Turkey - an increasingly influential Sunni Muslim nation - will provide a powerful counterbalance to Shiite Iran.

Moussa also wants the leaders to authorize him to initiate direct talks with Tehran on Arabs' concerns over what they view as Iranian meddling in regional affairs, including through its support of militant groups beyond its borders.

A senior aide to Moussa, Hisham Youssef, confirmed the secretary-general would present the ideas to the summit.

It is not clear if Moussa has yet consulted with key Arab nations such as
Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which have resisted closer ties with Iran in the past.

Some of you may be wondering why countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which allegedly fear an Iranian nuclear attack, would be supporting closer ties with Iran.

The answer is quite simple. The 'moderate' Arab states have despaired of the United States taking any effective action against Iran (their preferred course) or supporting effective Israeli action against Iran. Therefore, they are trying to bring themselves far enough into Iran's orbit that - they hope - Iran will spare them.

We saw a similar process in Lebanon a couple of months ago, when the United States stopped backing the March 14 coalition. As a result, the Saudis reached a rapprochement with Syria, Hezbullah was granted a veto over the formation of a new Lebanese government, and one former March 14 leader after another (Saad Hariri, Walid Jumblatt) is traveling to Damascus to hug and kiss Bashar al-Assad. Because of American weakness, they feel they have no choice.

Israel, of course, doesn't have these kinds of options. The only way we could reach a rapprochement with the Iranians or the Syrians or the Saudis would be to start swimming to Europe. At which point the Europeans would probably patrol their waters to prevent us from getting close.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Arab League pressing for closer ties with Iran

Israel Matzav: The 'one-state solution'

The 'one-state solution'

A recent poll shows that more and more 'Palestinians' are in favor of a 'one-state solution' to the Israeli - Arab conflict. David Hazony wonders why.

There are only two possibilities. One is the way Palestinian lives look compared with those of Israelis next door, and especially Israeli Arabs, who enjoy a degree of freedom and prosperity not found anywhere in the Arab world. Indeed, a poll taken some years back suggests that of all the possible political regimes, most Palestinians would prefer democracy, and not just any democracy, but specifically a parliamentary democracy along the Israeli model. Perhaps they see joining Israel as a possible solution to their economic and civic plight? To roadblocks and unemployment?

The problem with this view is that Palestinians don’t seem to like Israelis very much, and it’s hard to believe that any of them want to live together in harmony with people who they’ve always been told are the devil incarnate. Nor does this approach match decades of internal Palestinian rhetoric, including Abbas’ own, which has rarely wavered in its long-term goal of redeeming all of Palestine and ridding the world of Israel. If what really concerned Palestinian leaders was their economic and civic plight, moreover, why are they so resistant to Western efforts to build their economic infrastructure? Why do they so imperatively demand that Israel stop building settlements, when they are the source of many thousands of Palestinian jobs? Why do they insist on supporting terrorism, which only triggers more Palestinian suffering? Why does no serious democratic movement emerge as an alternative to the Palestinian authority? And why does Hamas have such a strong appeal — even though Gazans under Hamas have suffered so horribly in economic terms compared with Palestinians in the West Bank?

The other possibility is that the problem they’re solving is Israel’s very existence. A bi-national state would solve that nominally, by eliminating the “Jewish” state in their midst, creating a huge Palestinian electoral force in the parliament of the new Israel-Palestine. And it would solve it substantively, through the long-term demographic advantage that Palestinians’ high birth rates would give — or more immediately, as millions of Palestinian refugees would flood the country as part of the “Right of Return” they would necessarily demand as a condition for creating such a state. It also explains the appeal of Hamas, because it, too, offers an alternative solution to the problem of Israel — destroy it through violence.

But if that’s the real meaning of a bi-national state in Palestinian eyes, doesn’t this call into question their motives in peace negotiations with Israel? No, I still don’t get it.

Actually, I think David gets it just fine, but he doesn't want to say it because it calls the entire premise of a 'peace process' into question.

The 'peace process' is based on the notion that both sides want peace. That notion is false. For the 'Palestinians,' the goal has always been to destroy the State of Israel. The demand for a 'Palestinian' state and for the 'right of return' for 'refugees' were just means of leaving Israel overwhelmed with 'refugees' and burdened with indefensible borders.

The 'one-state solution' is a more direct way of reaching the same place. In a 'one-state solution' there would be no right for Jews to immigrate to the state (there would be no law of return for Jews as we have today), but the 'Palestinians' would presumably insist on a 'right of return.' While Israel would not have indefensible borders, because its borders would include Judea and Samaria and maybe even Gaza, it would be overwhelmed demographically by returning Arab 'refugees' who would relegate the Jews to minority status in their own country. The assumption is that the Jews would leave or would be quickly reduced to dhimmi status. The Jewish state would be destroyed.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: The 'one-state solution'

Love of the Land: Is it Muslim Rage or its Causes that Threatens Us?

Is it Muslim Rage or its Causes that Threatens Us?

Daniel Greenfield
Sultan Knish
23 March '10

The debate over how to handle Islamic terrorism essentially comes down to those who advocate managing Islam in order to control its propensity for violence, and those who believe that instead we should be managing anything and everything that might provoke Muslim rage.

While controlling violence by managing Islam is the logical and direct approach, the weight of the establishment in numerous countries has come down on the side of suppressing all things that might provoke Muslim rage. This disturbing position expresses itself in numerous ways, whether it was the censorship of the Mohammed cartoons, the ongoing attempt to blame Israel for attacks on US troops, or the entire grand theory of the left which blames all Muslim violence on the domestic and foreign policies of their targets.

Given the choice between blaming the criminal for his crimes, or his victims for having provoked him-- the political and cultural elites of the very countries targeted for terror have chosen to turn the blame inward. They have placed their sordid faith in the belief that the best way to manage Islamic rage, is by relentlessly appeasing and avoiding any provocations that might cause it to flare up.

This phenomenon is often seen in abuse victims who have to cope with their abuser's enraged violence. By accepting responsibility for being the cause of his anger, they make it seem controllable and predictable. Their coping mechanism is to blame themselves, rather than face the real problem, which is that they live together with a violent and dangerous individual, who will sooner or later kill them. This is the relationship between the West and Islam.

The victim accepts the abuser's narrative that he is a good and decent person, unless provoked. So too the civilized world accepts Islam's narrative that it is the Religion of Peace, and that it is peaceful, unless it is provoked. By accepting the enemy's narrative, the victim accepts the blame for his blows and assaults, and comes to feel that controlling the abuser's rage is their duty. So too the civilized world accepts that Islamic terrorism is its fault, and that it must "behave better" in order to avoid future blowups. Meanwhile the smallest requests of the Muslim world that it behave better are met with outrage and anger, much as the abuser explodes into a rage at any insinuation that he has an anger management problem.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Is it Muslim Rage or its Causes that Threatens Us?

Love of the Land: Dershowitz Throws Down the Gauntlet to Obama

Dershowitz Throws Down the Gauntlet to Obama

Jonathan Tobin
23 March '10

Let’s give credit where it’s due. In the past, I’ve written about Alan Dershowitz’s defense of the Obama administration as well as about his recent attack on J Street.

Despite Dershowitz’s outstanding pro-Israel record, I’ve taken him to task for his loyalty to Obama and refusal to call the president out for his decision to downgrade the alliance with Israel. But it looks as if the Harvard Law professor is finally starting to lose patience with the man whose candidacy for the presidency he supported so enthusiastically. In today’s Wall Street Journal (subscription required), Dershowitz stops short of condemning the administration, but he delivered as stark a challenge to the president as one could imagine regarding Iran.

Pulling no punches, Dershowitz instructs Obama that no one remembers that Neville Chamberlain was a successful reformer who not only helped restore Great Britain’s financial stability during the Depression but also passed landmark legislation on unemployment and retirement benefits. Instead, all history remembers is Chamberlain’s “failure to confront Hitler.” It is, he writes pointedly, “Chamberlain’s enduring legacy.” And if Obama does not act to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, anything he achieves on health care or the economy will count for nothing when compared to the impact of a failure on Iran.

“History will not treat kindly any leader who allows so much power to be accumulated by the world’s first suicide nation,” Dershowitz writes. Like Chamberlain with Hitler, “Mr. Obama will come to symbolize the failure of the West if Iran acquires nuclear weapons on his watch.”

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: Dershowitz Throws Down the Gauntlet to Obama

Love of the Land: Prelude to Suez?

Prelude to Suez?

Emmanuel Navon
For the Sake of Zion
24 March '10

Abba Eban used to quip that the Six Day War was the first war in History after which the victors asked for peace while the vanquished demanded unconditional surrender. This pattern still characterizes Middle East peace negotiations, but it seems that it is now being applied to other regions.

Hillary Clinton recently advised the UK and Argentina to begin talks about the Falklands Islands. What is there to talk about, for goodness’ sake? Those islands are British since 1833, and Britain won the Falklands War in 1982. Whenever Argentina makes claims over the Falklands, the island’s inhabitants reply that they have a right to self-determination and that they have no wish to be part of Argentina. Britain’s sovereignty over this far-away island off Argentina’s coast is indeed a historical oddity, but so is France’s regime in Guyana or America’s in Puerto Rico. The list is longer. Yet one wonders what America’s reaction would be if it were “advised” to “begin talks” with Spain about Puerto Rico. Incidentally, Mrs. Clinton has not “advised” Russia to “begin talks” with Japan about the South Kuril Islands.

It is not hard to understand why. If Japan were to press its case on the Kuril Islands, it would likely be ignored by America. The Obama Administration is unsuccessfully trying to convince Russia to vote for tougher UN sanctions against Iran, and aggravating the Russians with the almost-forgotten territorial dispute over the Kuril Islands would not be helpful.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Prelude to Suez?

Love of the Land: The Lessons of 1956: Nostalgia for a Betrayal of Israel

The Lessons of 1956: Nostalgia for a Betrayal of Israel

Jonathan Tobin
23 March '10

If you want an object lesson as to where contemporary Israel-bashing in the United States is headed, you can do no better than read an article published today in the Daily Beast by Kai Bird, the former Nation staffer, MacArthur Foundation “genius,” and Pulitzer Prize–winning biographer of J. Robert Oppenheimer.

The title, “Time to Talk Tough with Israel,” promises the familiar tiresome refrain about how America must slap the Israelis around for their own good and doesn’t disappoint. But Bird’s frame of reference isn’t just the usual slander about AIPAC running American foreign policy. Instead, he writes from the perspective of an important event in his childhood: the 1956 Sinai campaign, which took place while Bird’s father was serving in the American consulate in East Jerusalem. At that time, about half the city was illegally occupied by the Kingdom of Jordan. Jews were forbidden entry into the Old City, and Jewish holy places such as the Western Wall were abandoned and desecrated.

In 1956, Egyptian dictator Gamal Abdel Nasser massed his army in the Sinai and allowed Palestinian terrorists to use Egyptian-occupied Gaza as a terrorist sanctuary. Acting in conjunction with Britain and France, who were angry about Nasser’s seizure of the Suez Canal, Israel cleaned out both Gaza and the Sinai, dealing a serious blow to Nasser’s aggressive ambitions. But the United States, which hadn’t been consulted, wound up backing Nasser against the former colonial powers and their Israeli ally. In the end Nasser wasn’t compelled to make peace with Israel. Instead, Israel was forced to withdraw from the Sinai. All it got in exchange was the presence of a United Nations observer force on the border.

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: The Lessons of 1956: Nostalgia for a Betrayal of Israel

Love of the Land: The source of the daylight

The source of the daylight
23 March '10

Here is the quintessential news story about the ‘daylight’ appearing between the US and Israel. I wrote it myself, but it is based on what I hear on NPR and read in dispatches from wire services like AP. It has been appearing in the pages of my local newspaper in some form or other every day for a week.

The US sharply criticized Israel today for building housing for Jewish settlers in a part of Jerusalem that Palestinians want for the capital of their future state. Officials said that this action was interfering with the start of US-mediated ‘proximity talks’ between Israel and the Palestinians, who refuse to come to the table unless all such construction is stopped. “We are absolutely, firmly, unshakably, immovably committed to Israel’s security,” said a spokesperson, “but these actions expose daylight between the US and Israel which may be exploited by extremists who don’t want to see a solution of the conflict.”

There are variations, of course, depending on the source. The BBC, for example, will always add the phrase “which are illegal under international law” after every mention of ’settlements’. Left-wing sources will say that Israel is building on ‘Palestinian land’. But the milder formulation is bad enough. It suggests that Israeli intransigence is preventing talks.

Some background: Israel did not take Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem from the Palestinians in 1967. They were occupied by Jordan. Indeed, the Jordanian occupation violated UN GA Resolution 181 of 1947 which said that Judea and Samaria would become part of a Palestinian Arab state and UN GA Resolution 303 of 1949, which called for Jerusalem to be independent, a corpus separatum under international control.

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: The source of the daylight

Love of the Land: David Miliband cries crocodile tears for 'British Passport holders'. He should invite them to tea instead

David Miliband cries crocodile tears for 'British Passport holders'. He should invite them to tea instead

Stephanie Gutmann
23 March '10

Why is David Miliband getting all huffy over the use of British passports in an alleged Mossad assassination of a Hamas leader? Is it really because he is so concerned that “British passport holders had been put at risk as a result of the operation”? Sorry, David, but that doesn’t wash.

Six of the Britons whose passports were used as cover are, for all intents and purposes, Israelis. Like many people who immigrate to Israel they have retained their old passport because there is no penalty for doing so, but most are dual citizens who have been living in Israel for many years.

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: David Miliband cries crocodile tears for 'British Passport holders'. He should invite them to tea instead

Love of the Land: Should People Reconsider Support for the Infrastructure of an Entity at War with the State and People of Israel?

Should People Reconsider Support for the Infrastructure of an Entity at War with the State and People of Israel?

David Bedein
Israel Resource Review
22 March '10

Now and then, people remind me of my passionate advocacy for a Palestinian State more than thirty years ago.In a position paper delivered at a Weiss’s Farm Retreat in 1978, I spoke of a Palestinian entity that would comprise Palestinian Arabs whom we knew at the time, who would cast of the yoke of the PLO and engage in genuine coexistence with Israel.

The hope then as that a Palestinian leadership would emerge that would emulate Anwar Sadat, and preach the language of peace and reconciliation to the Palestinian people, in the Arabic language, and that we would be able to build a trust in a new grass roots Palestinian leadership.

However, the potential Palestinian leaders whom were dealing with at the time were replaced by a leadership that will not preach peace and reconciliation to their own people. Instead, the nascent Palestinian entity that has emerged has fostered a draconian system on which they plan their future Palestinian State

Selling land to a Jew would be a capital crime in a state of Palestinian

Perusing the new Palestinian school books, the official Palestinian school curriculum, which was supposed to be a harbinger of peace, inculcates the next generation to make war on the Jews.

Most Recently, journalist academic Dr. Arnon Groiss, who translated the new Palestinian school books, made presentations for American congressional staffers in DC and for European diplomats in Brussels which showed how PA textbooks, instead of educating for peace with Israel, promote the violent struggle for liberation against Israel. From these textbooks, Groiss showed that the PA curriculum teaches the following fundamentals:

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Should People Reconsider Support for the Infrastructure of an Entity at War with the State and People of Israel?

Elder of Ziyon: The Israeli Left needs to step up

The Israeli Left needs to step up

There is a basic disconnect between the Western understanding of Israeli politics and the reality.

Westerners assume that the Israeli left is just like the American or European left as far as the Middle East is concerned. The EU in general, and the Obama administration in particular, have been conditioned by the media to think in simplistic terms of "Netanyahu=Likud=Hardliner=Intransigent" and that if only they would get rid of him, peace will reign.

They simply do not get that the vast majority of Israelis, right and left, agree that the majority of Jewish settlers must remain in Israel. The major settlement blocs are not up for negotiation. And, as a result, building within existing boundaries is not a problem.

Of course there is disagreement between the right and the left on many issues, but the positions of J Street and Eric Yoffe are so far divorced from that of the Israeli public as to make one wonder how out of touch they are.

The left-leaning Labor Party is a major component of the ruling coalition in Israel, and it is time for them to step up. They need to be writing the op-eds. They need to be visiting AIPAC conventions. The people who are adored by the Western Left - Peres and, to some extent, Barak - need to clearly articulate the red lines and the reason that they are red.

In recent weeks the discourse has changed from negotiating over the items that must be negotiated to negotiating over items that practically every Israeli thought was already settled. Abbas, by being far more intransigent than Netanyahu ever was, has succeeded in getting the Obama administration to allow him to change the rules of the game. He has added conditions that had never been demanded before, and the US is playing the role he intends it to play - pressure Israel to adhere to his new rules.

It is true that the Obama administration has reneged on agreements made with Israel, both recent and not so recent. But I think it is also true that the White House thinks that most Israelis agree with its "tough love" initiative.

During the Gaza war, Bibi Netanyahu went on a tour to explain the Israeli position - even though his party was not in power. Right now, it is time for not only Peres and Barak but also for Tzipi Livni to start speaking to the American and European Left and explain their positions clearly. It is time for them to write the op-eds for major newspapers and for them to speak to presidents and prime ministers. It is up to them to explain the difference between the mainstream Israeli left and the far left fringe that is misrepresented in the media. Otherwise, Israel is in danger of having a catastrophe imposed on it, a disaster that will not distinguish between the Left and the Right.

Elder of Ziyon: The Israeli Left needs to step up

Elder of Ziyon: Add paranoia to Jeff Gates' antisemitism

Add paranoia to Jeff Gates' antisemitism

On odd occasions I have linked to the rantings of far left lunatic pundit Jeff Gates. The most recent link was when Gates asserted that the airplane underwear bomber was a Zionist, and beforehand. Previously he was used as an object lesson of how lies spread among the anti-Israel web, and before that for his classically anti-semitic piece on the Jewish lobby.

Now he is in the pages of Al Ahram, talking about anti-semitism itself. He implies that Jews are behind everything from 9/11 to America's economic problems to the Iraq war, and then asks rhetorically whether it is anti-semitic to ask these questions.


More humorously, here's where he descends into real paranoia:

Early on in this challenge, I included the noun “Jew” in a Google search. I received in return an automated response from the ADL implying that I was an anti-Semite. Why? More importantly, how did a Google response appear in my e-mail inbox — automatically — from the ADL?

I don't know about you, but I have Googled "Jew" in the past (as well as just now) and never received an automated email immediately afterwards from the ADL. If a Google search ever resulted in any automated email, privacy advocates would topple Google itself.

But Gates, for whom truth is never a high priority, is now claiming that the ADL has a deal with Google to warn people who search for the wrong word.Which gives a good indication of how trustworthy his other amazing facts about Jews and Israel are.

Elder of Ziyon: Add paranoia to Jeff Gates' antisemitism

Elder of Ziyon: "Palestine Today" to publish list of news thieves

"Palestine Today" to publish list of news thieves

The Islamic Jihad-aligned "Palestine Today" site is sick and tired of other Arabic news sites stealing its articles, and they plan to issue a "black list" of article thieves.

Because nothing ticks off a publication that supports attacks on civilians more than copyright violations.

(One of the violators is, no doubt, Firas Press, in which practically every article is an identical copy of an article from another publication, without ever giving credit.)

Elder of Ziyon: "Palestine Today" to publish list of news thieves

RubinReports: Ashton’s Ashes: How Europe’s Foreign Minister Repeats the Middle East’s Biggest Cliche and Why She’s Wrong

Ashton’s Ashes: How Europe’s Foreign Minister Repeats the Middle East’s Biggest Cliche and Why She’s Wrong

By Barry Rubin

Catherine Ashton is high representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and vice president of the European Commission. The fact that she holds such a position—in effect, she's the European Union's first foreign minister—shows Europe is in serious trouble. For Ashton’s main previous claim to fame was as a leader in the Soviet-oriented movement for nuclear disarmament of the West.

To describe Ashton’s op-ed in the New York Times as calling for peace at any price is no exaggeration. Of course she only means ending the Israel-Palestinian conflict, seemingly unaware that there is any other type of conflict (non-peace) in the region.

Her reasoning goes something like this: Conflict breeds poverty and radicalism; make peace and there won’t be any radicalism or poverty. And she’s referring explicitly to shoring up the rule of the radical genocidal-intending Islamist group Hamas.

But what if it is radicalism that fuels conflict and makes peace impossible? What if the radical forces will take advantage of your activities to become even stronger, creating even more instability and hence—in Ashton’s framework—far more poverty, anger, and radicalism in an endless cycle? Because that’s precisely what has happened and what is happening.

Having built her career in large part by discounting the Soviet threat, she now prospers further by dismissing the Islamist and Iranian one. Ashton argued years ago that the Cold War was just a misunderstanding and that unilateral Western concessions would solve it. That didn’t work. But having learned nothing she applies the same model to the Middle East, substituting Israeli and Western concessions as the solution.

After a recent tour of the region, she uttered the ultimate paragraph whose sentiments direct the views of Western leaders toward the Middle East. Here it is:

“Throughout the region, from Egypt to Syria, from Lebanon to Jordan, I heard the same message from presidents, prime ministers and a king, and from ordinary people, too — they want their economies to grow, their people to prosper, their children to be educated. To achieve that, we need peace in the Middle East.”

Let’s analyze this extremely important paragraph. First, there is an assumption that many people will make on reading it, that an end to the Israel-Palestinian or Arab-Israeli conflict is the key for happiness, prosperity, and friendship toward the West.

But note that peace in the Middle East doesn’t just mean the Arab-Israeli conflict.” After all, if that is the criterion, the conflict on a region-wide level is over. The last general Arab-Israeli war took place in 1973, almost four decades ago. The last war between Israel and an Arab state took place in 1982, almost three decades ago. That conflict between Israel and Syria was limited. Egypt and Jordan have signed peace treaties with Israel.

Thus, the kind of conflict that preoccupied the region between 1948 and 1973 is over.

I don’t want to shade the truth in the slightest way. Obviously, Israel fought a war with Hizballah in 2006 which also involved Lebanon. But that is not the same thing. Neither Israel nor any Arab state (other than Syria) wanted the battle), which was provoked by Hizballah, and to some extent its Iranian and Syrian sponsors. The Arab states stayed out of the war, though they did urge that it end quickly.

Even a full peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, resulting in a Palestinian state, would not solve the problem of Hizballah, or Iran, Syria, or Hamas. And for reasons I’ve addressed at length many times elsewhere, Syria doesn’t want peace with Israel.

Of course, one could still argue that concern over the plight of the Palestinians is a big factor in the Middle East. But even if one wants to argue that it affects the politics and policies of Arab states—and it really doesn’t do that very much in 2010—is this the factor preventing Arab economies from prospering and Arab children from being educated? Isn’t this a giant scam, an excuse for the shortcomings of dictatorial regimes and outdated social structures?

Sorry, people, goes the endless refrain, we can’t have democracy or better living standards or enough jobs and housing or whatever else you can name because of the poor suffering Palestinians! This is no more an accurate explanation than that of Latin American dictatorships in regard to Communism or those of the Soviet bloc in the past blaming their depredations on capitalism.

But what about the word “peace?” Of course any societies would be better off in material terms if they had peace. But peace means peace. So as long as there is ethnic and political strife in Afghanistan; civil war in Iraq; the battle between Islamists and nationalists throughout the region; sectarian conflict in Lebanon; civil war in Egypt; and a dozen other such conflicts there won’t be “peace in the Middle East.” Throw in the aggressive designs of Iran and Syria; the revolutionary efforts of Hamas, Hizballah and al-Qaida; and the ambitions of individuals, clans, tribes, ethnic groups; and more, the prospects for “peace” in the region doesn’t look good.

And that "peace" requires a defeat of the revolutionary Islamist forces, something you aren't going to help them do. Moreover, the "peace" defined by the people you spoke with includes the preservation of the incumbent dictatorships in virtually every Arabic-speaking country.

So, representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and vice president of the European Commission Ashton, what they are really telling you is not to solve the Israel-Palestinian conflict as fast as possible to make everyone happy (they won’t help you if you try and they will continue their conflicts even if you do) but the rather obvious point that if there was a general state of peace and harmony things would be better in the region.

True enough but not the way you interpret it.

RubinReports: Ashton’s Ashes: How Europe’s Foreign Minister Repeats the Middle East’s Biggest Cliche and Why She’s Wrong

Love of the Land: Akiva Eldar Clueless in Jerusalem

Akiva Eldar Clueless in Jerusalem

Tamar Sternthal
CAMERA Media Analysis
23 March '10

"It's clear these leaders have no clue what's happening in Israel's largest city," veteran Ha'aretz writer Akiva Eldar charges in his March 22 Op-Ed, referring to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres. But one wonders whether it's not Eldar himself who hasn't got a clue when he writes in the very same paragraph:

For 17 years, since the days of the Peres-Yitzhak Rabin administration, holy places in the Old City have been closed to Muslim and Christian believers from the occupied territories. The only East Jerusalem residents allowed to enter the Temple Mount compound are women and the elderly.

In general, the thousands of West Bank Palestinians with permits to enter Israel (for work, study and other purposes) and all east Jerusalem Arabs, including men, have had free access to the Temple Mount over the last 17 years. There have been periods of heightened violence which prove to be the exception; at those times, access is usually limited to men over the age of 45 or 50 and women of all ages. An example of this restricted period fell earlier this month, as Hamas called a "day of rage," inciting violence on the Temple Mount and beyond. The fact that intermittent closures and restrictions are the exception, as opposed to the rule, is apparent from the media reports which note the beginning or the end of a more restrictive period. Thus, Akiva Eldar's own newspaper reported March 17, 2010:

Earlier Wednesday, Israel lifted its closure on the West Bank and granted open access to the Al-Aqsa mosque, with police saying that thousands of troops will remain on high alert but reported no disturbances. Israel originally sealed off the territory last week.

There are also periods of complete closure on the West Bank, such as during Jewish holidays, in which West Bank Arabs may not enter Israel aside from humanitarian cases. Yet even during a period of closure during the Jewish new year (Rosh Hashanah) which fell on September 2009, nearly 60 percent of the West Bank Palestinian population still had access to Jerusalem, according to the U.N.'s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The Sept. 16-29 "Protection of Civilians Report" by OCHA details:

(Read full report)

Love of the Land: Akiva Eldar Clueless in Jerusalem

Love of the Land: Moral blindness -- and truth and justice betrayed

Moral blindness -- and truth and justice betrayed

Melanie Phillips
The Spectator
23 March '10

How utterly extraordinary. Hillary Clinton made a big speech today to the US Jewish lobby group AIPAC – a speech of no small importance given the crisis in relations between the Obama administration and Israel. But in this speech, as Israel Matzav notes, she committed an astounding howler. Referring to the recent Palestinian naming of a square in Ramallah in honour of terrorist Dalal al Mughrabi, she said:

When a Hamas-controlled municipality glorifies violence and renames a square after a terrorist who murdered innocent Israelis, it insults the families on both sides who have lost loves ones in this conflict.

But Ramallah is not a Hamas-controlled municipality. Hamas controls Gaza. Ramallah is in the West Bank and is controlled by Fatah. The naming of the square was a Fatah event glorifying a Fatah terrorist. Does Clinton not know this? Of course she does. What this whopper tells us is that she – and the benighted Obama administration that wrote her lamentable speech – cannot and will not acknowledge that Fatah is a terrorist organisation that glorifies a terrorist who murdered not only dozens of Israelis but also the niece of an American Democratic senator.

Clinton and the Obamites cannot and will not acknowledge this because their whole Middle East strategy revolves around forcing Israel to give a state to Fatah -- because they ‘deserve’ it as moderate peaceful statesmen-in-waiting. As if. The fact that the Obamites are actually bullying Israel into accepting a Fatah-run terrorist state was unfortunately all-too graphically demonstrated when Fatah named its square after Mughrabi. So Clinton, purporting to attack the glorification of terrorist violence, turned the instigators into Hamas instead.

Her message to renounce violence, recognise Israel and abide by previous signed agreements (this from an administration that has torn up America’s own agreements with Israel) was addressed solely to Hamas. To Fatah, whose leaders declare they will never accept a Jewish state, whose armed wing continues to commit acts of terror and who have gone back on countless agreements, not one word of criticism.

The rest of Clinton’s speech was as bad if not worse.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Moral blindness -- and truth and justice betrayed

Love of the Land: A Rhetorical Commitment from the Words-Matter Administration

A Rhetorical Commitment from the Words-Matter Administration

Rick Richman
23 March '10

Hillary Clinton’s AIPAC speech ended with a rhetorical flourish, reaching back to David Ben-Gurion to list the Israeli leaders who made “difficult but clear-eyed choices to pursue peace” by giving up land. Her final paragraph was an exhortation to continue this “tradition”:

For the state to flourish, this generation of Israelis must also take up the tradition and do what seems too dangerous, too hard, and too risky. And of this they can be absolutely sure: the United States and the American people will stand with you. We will share the risks and we will shoulder the burdens, as we face the future together.

It is extraordinary for a nation to advise another to do what seems “too dangerous, too hard, and too risky” — in reliance upon a promise of the first nation to “stand with” it and “share the risks” from far away.

Sometimes what seems too dangerous, too hard, and too risky is in fact too dangerous, hard, and risky. And sometimes you cannot be absolutely sure the United States will stand with you — ask Poland, Georgia, and the Czech Republic.

Or ask Ariel Sharon (if you could) about the Gaza disengagement, in which Israel turned over half the putative Palestinian state in one of those difficult but clear-eyed choices to pursue peace. As Bret Stephens notes in his column, the disengagement was done in exchange for a letter, signed by the president of the United States, containing explicit assurances (described in the letter as the “steadfast commitment” of the United States) about the positions the U.S. would take on (a) defensible borders and (b) the major Israeli settlements necessary to defend them. The commitment given in exchange for Israel’s dangerous, hard, and risky action proved inoperative (or “unenforceable,” as Hillary might say). This is not a tradition that any nation would want to repeat.

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Love of the Land: A Rhetorical Commitment from the Words-Matter Administration

RubinReports: The EU’s Think Tank: Engage Hamas and Islamist Movements; Iranian Nuclear Weapons Not a Threat

The EU’s Think Tank: Engage Hamas and Islamist Movements; Iranian Nuclear Weapons Not a Threat

By Barry Rubin

“Stephen Spender [the great British poet] said to me recently, `Don’t you feel that any time during the past ten years you have been able to foretell events better than, say, the [government]? I had to agree to this….Where I feel that people like us understand the situation better than so-called experts is not in any power to foretell specific events, but in the power to grasp what kind of world we are living in.”
--George Orwell, War Diary, June 8, 1940

Does the flow of reports from the EU's official research center advocating engagement with Hamas, Hizballah, and Muslim Brotherhoods as well as negated any threat from Iranian nuclear weapons show the direction of European policy? In the face of the greatest challenge to freedom and stability at present, many institutions are on the other side.

The most recent paper, entitled, “Engaging Hamas: Rethinking the Quartet Principles,” is written by Carolin Goerzig, a fellow at the Institute. Other than having visited the Gaza Strip, it isn't clear what her qualifications are.

Here's how the paper is explained on the think tank's site: "Progress can only be made towards peace in the Middle East by engaging--not isolating--Hamas, without whom there can be no viable Palestinian state. Hamas’ acceptance of the Quartet Principles is a precondition for negotiations, but as Carolin Goerzig argues, it is time for a paradigm shift."

But actually she argues that acceptance should not be a precondition to pro-Hamas activities by the EU. And did anyone consider that with Hamas there can be no viable Palestinian state--it's already staged one violent coup against the Palestinian Authority--or Israeli-Palestinian peace.

The paper points out that the EU has three conditions for recognizing Hamas: renunciation of violence, recognition of Israel’s right to exist, and a commitment to all agreements signed by the PLO and Israel. Doesn’t sound all that demanding does it? But she thinks it’s too much to ask. Indeed she suggests that:

“A softening of these requirements could directly contribute to a transformation of Hamas, and in turn strengthen the prospects for peace in the Middle East.”

So in other words they should be engaged while still trying to destroy with violence Israel and previous agreements. And this is supposed to teach them they are making a mistake to maintain current policy? And this is supposed to make peace more possible?

The author argues that the EU has been moving toward recognizing Hamas and is pleased. She argues:

“Considering that the isolation of Hamas has proven to be a setback for peace efforts, waiting for the right time to engage might turn out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy and reinforce the belatedness of the EU’s response capacity.”

I’m not sure what belatedness of response capacity means, but nowadays EU rhetoric is inclined to the empty academic-sounding phrase. But at any rate it is not the isolation of Hamas that has set back peace efforts but the fact that Hamas still rules the Gaza Strip.

Here’s my favorite argument of hers for silliness: “The emphasis on supporting Fatah may have indirectly contributed to the inability of Hamas to renounce violence.” Why? Because EU forces are training the Palestinian Authority’s police and not those of Hamas! So Hamas would be more likely to renounce violence if the EU trained its forces, using that training, of course, to commit acts of terrorism and try to destroy Israel.

OK, one more. She explains why the Quartet should not demand that Hamas renounces violence by saying: “Renouncing violence can–paradoxically – make peace less rational.”

Yes, quite a paradox, isn’t it?

But why listen to me? Here’s a typical piece of Hamas rhetoric from a high-ranking leader, deputy minister of religious affairs Abdallah Jarbu, who expresses its mainstream view:

"[The Jews] suffer from a mental disorder, because they are thieves and aggressors....They want to present themselves to the world as if they have rights, but, in fact, they are foreign bacteria–a microbe unparalleled in the world. It's not me who says this. The Koran itself says that they have no parallel: 'You shall find the strongest men in enmity to the believers to be the Jews.'

"May He annihilate this filthy people who have neither religion nor conscience. I condemn whoever believes in normalizing relations with them, whoever supports sitting down with them, and whoever believes that they are human beings. They are not human beings. They are not people. They have no religion, no conscience, and no moral values." (Memri translation)

Obviously, he's not saying this kind of thing because the EU hasn't persuaded him otherwise, though he might like Europeans to train Hamas's soldiers to wipe out that "foreign bacteria." Is it asking too much for those who write about such topic to look at what the radicals say and do? Is it asking too much for “respected” institutions to exercise some quality control over what they publish?

PS: To show the EU line, consider also Amr Elshobaki and Gema Martín Muñoz, "Why Europe must engage with political Islam," Papers for Barcelona Number 10, also just published, whose title tells you what it advocates, and it isn't talking about--or just about--the most moderate forces.. The site explains:

"It is time to engage with the Islamists in the Middle East and North Africa. As Amr Elshobaki and Gema Martín Muñoz argue, there is no prospect of a credible democratic transformation of the Arab world without the full integration of one powerful player that forms part of the reality of Southern Mediterranean countries: political Islam."

But again the question could be asked if there is a prospect for creating stable democracies with the full integration of Islamism as it actually exists today, as opposed to a moderate Islam-oriented movement which barely exists in most countries (perhaps Iraq is the main exception) and would have to overcome and defeat the radicals.

If you have time you can also read another paper published by the institute and described on its site as follows:

"The Iranian nuclear issue: a never-ending story," by Rouzbeh Parsi. "Iran is seeking nuclear technology that could be used to create weapons. But is the West justified in assuming that Iran’s nuclear aspirations extend to the acquisition of nuclear weapons, and to aggressive belligerence?" The author explains that maybe Iran is just seeking peaceful nuclear energy, or maybe wants to have the ability to build a nuclear weapon without ever actully doing so. So what's all the fuss about?

These are the three papers published by the EU's think tank on the Middle East in the last year: engage Hamas, engage Islamists, Iran's nuclear program isn't a threat. Naturally, there are no papers arguing the opposite propositions.

RubinReports: The EU’s Think Tank: Engage Hamas and Islamist Movements; Iranian Nuclear Weapons Not a Threat

Elder of Ziyon: Malaysian politicians accused of Jew-cooties

Malaysian politicians accused of Jew-cooties

From The Edge (Malaysia):

The opposition does not use Zionist communications consultants to woo nor attract support, said Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) vice-president Azmin Ali on Wednesday, March 24.

Azmin, who is also the Gombak member of parliament (MP), also debunked the theory that opposition and PKR de-facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (Permatang Pauh-PKR) was a Jewish agent.

During the debate on the royal address last Wednesday, Khairy Jamaluddin (Rembau-BN) had questioned Anwar on his relationship with former US ambassador to Indonesia Paul Wolfowitz.

“While it’s true that the Permatang Pauh MP has known Wolfowitz for a long time, their relationship has not reduced Anwar’s Malay-ness or his faith,” said Azmin in Dewan Rakyat.

But Zamin did make Zionist accusations:

Gombak MP Azmin Ali has urged Defence Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to come clean about his alleged secret meeting with Israeli counterpart Ehud Barak in Paris last year.

“I want the defence minister and Umno deputy president to come into this House and explain Umno’s motive for meeting the Zionist at the Paris Air Show. Don’t deceive the Malays… don’t lie to the officers and don’t twist the facts,” he said in parliament.

It's nice to know that in the 21st century, politicians can still get mileage around meeting with Jews and Israelis.

(h/t to Meryl Yourish who coined the term "Jew-cooties.")

Elder of Ziyon: Malaysian politicians accused of Jew-cooties

Elder of Ziyon: The world wants to kill Jerusalem

The world wants to kill Jerusalem

All the people who hyperventilate over new buildings, projects and plans for Jerusalem seem to forget the most basic fact there is: Jerusalem is a modern, living, growing city.

It is not a fossilized museum piece.

Jerusalem has not always been as dynamic as it is today. The portions of the city under Jordanian rule from 1948-67 did not grow to an real extent. In fact, the Jordanian municipality of Jerusalem was a mere 2 square miles in size. Its population decreased, and many citizens moved to Amman.

Under Israeli rule, however, Jerusalem has flourished. Its population has nearly tripled since 1967. It boundaries have grown in all directions.

Any vibrant city needs to make plans. Jerusalem, by its nature, requires very sensitive urban planning, as many of the religious populations want to remain in homogeneous areas but at the same time discrimination is to be discouraged. Children want to live near their parents. Growth is inevitable in a living city and it needs to be managed. Much of that management must be in terms of the mundane facets of everyday life - building approval, zoning laws, creating residential and business districts.

In Jerusalem it is even trickier, as you need to add enforcing the unique character of certain neighborhoods, protecting holy sites, and ensuring equal access to all.

The international community, however, wants to stop the municipality from acting as all cities must. It wants to treat every new initiative and approval as an international incident. It wants to give veto power over Jerusalem to people who do not live there, who never lived there and who showed no interest in the city when they had the means to do so.

In short, the world wants to kill Jerusalem.

The immediate consequence of President Obama's shortsighted and, frankly, stupid censure of Israel over the Ramat Shlomo neighborhood is that it is now open season on every single municipal project in Jerusalem, no matter how small or how important. Topics that were rightly ignored as a local issue are now considered international provocations. Reporters are now camped out near the Jerusalem municipal offices ready to create headlines for every new apartment expansion that gains approval. The neighborhoods that would remain under Israeli control in any realistic peace agreement are now considered up for grabs again, and this is emboldening the Arabs to demand more and more.

The main loser is Jerusalem itself.

One of the great ironies of the entire Palestinian Arab quest for independence is that the result would almost certainly be worse for the citizens of that very state. In the interests of a fake quest for "justice," the people for whom the justice is meant will lose. The quality of their lives will go down, and the odds are pretty good that sooner or later "Palestine" will turn into an Islamic theocracy with little concern for the rights of its members.

The same idiotic type of thinking is now being used to kill a beautiful city, a city that by any objective measure has grown, flourished and improved vastly while under Israeli rule.

Imagine if the Dutch wanted to re-assert their claim to New York City (which should properly be called New Amsterdam, in their theoretical lawsuit brought before the ICJ.) Imagine them getting UN resolutions to condemn any new New York planning until the parties could resolve their differences. This is effectively what is being demanded from Jerusalem today.

The world's most beautiful city is in danger of being choked to death by world politicians and diplomats. They don't care about the consequences of their actions. They think that they are as wise as Solomon but they really want to divide the baby in half.

Who will defend the Holy City? Who cares enough to make a stand to save Jerusalem?

Elder of Ziyon: The world wants to kill Jerusalem
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