Friday, November 21, 2014

Israel Can Prevail

From Arutz Sheva, 20 Nov 20143, by Mordechai Kedar:

Israel can withstand and overcome the current wave of violence, which is just another chapter in the struggle against Arab and Islamist hatred. But to do so, there are concrete steps that Israel should take - now.

During these difficult days of increasing terror, the most urgent question is: What can we do in order to cope optimally with the growing terrorist violence in Israel, knowing that behind the scenes there are several players who are expending intense efforts to bring about an explosion.

Leading the pack is Hamas, whose goal is to become the undisputed leader of the Palestinian Arabs at the expense of the Palestinian Authority – and, for good measure, giving Sisi something to remember.

Supporting Hamas is a coalition composed of Qatar and Turkey, with unlimited sources of funds.

The PLO, at the same time, is trying to hold on to first place and cannot allow itself to appear less extreme than Hamas, for fear it will be accused of cooperating with Israel. This is the origin of the two-faced behavior of the PA: on the one hand, it presents a cooperative face to Israel and on the other hand, it stabs Israel in the back, through incitement and education, on the street and in international forums.

Qatar bases its standing in the Arab world and the West by pouring oil on the fire, exactly as it does with Islamic State. Hypocritically, in the usual Qatari fashion, it funds Islamic state while, as part of the Western coalition, it expresses support for those who fight it.

Behind the scenes of the growing terror Israel faces stands Islamic State, the model for successful battles against the enemies of Islam: massacre the enemy, act with extreme violence and use fast vehicles that give the impression of Jihad's sweeping, advancing victory. The murderers who entered the Jerusalem Synagogue did not bring long butcher's cleavers for nothing.

The answer:
The time for politically correct euphemisms is over and the unpleasant truth must be told as it is.

First of all, Israel must say emphatically: the Palestinian Authority established on the basis of the Oslo Accords is an enemy entity, an enemy whose goal is establishing an Arab state  in place of Israel, not alongside Israel, but on its ruins. That is the reason the Oslo Accords were violated so blatantly and thoroughly by the other side, resulting in them being declared null and void..

In addition, Israel must cease funding the PA on the basis of economic agreements derived from the Oslo Accords. There is no other country that funds an enemy entity, and there is no reason for Israel to be the only country that acts in such a delusional manner.

The government of Israel must condemn those among us who were instrumental in giving us the "New Middle East", even those who once held posts of high honor.

2. Israel must announce as clearly as possible that Jerusalem is not a subject in any negotiations with anyone. It was never the capital of any entity connected to the Arab or Islamic world and was never ruled by a king, sultan, emir or caliph, so that there is no historical or legal basis for demanding that it be the capital of any state other than Israel.

3. Israel has to remind the entire world that Judea, Samaria and Eastern Jerusalem were areas occupied by Jordan for 19 years, from May 1948 until June 1967. Had the Arab world felt it was just and necessary, it could have established a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital then, without anyone in the world disputing it.  The Arabs  refrained from doing that for the 7000 days in which Jordan had control of the area and therefore have no right to demand from Israel what they did not demand from themselves.

5. Israel must immediately shut down all the PA institutions in Jerusalem and any governmental entity that is not that of the state of Israel. Sovereignty cannot be shared or compromised on, because he who compromises with regard to his sovereignty loses it.

6.The police must issue a restraining order against all Islamic Movement activists, first and foremost to Sheikh Raad Salah and his deputy Sheikh Kamal el Khatib.  After that, the possibility of issuing an order forbidding them to leave Um El Fahem and Kafr Kana should be considered.

7. Israel must immediately shut down all the Hamas TV stations broadcasting in Judea and Samaria.

8. Israel must keep the bodies of all dead terrorists who committed terror attacks. To all events, Israel must forbid their burial in Jerusalem, especially not in the vicinity of the Temple Mount, because burial in that spot is an expression of pride in the shahid and  encourages more terror.

9. Israel must announce that it is building a new neighborhood, a new settlement or at least a new building in Jerusalem or Judea and Samaria in memory of every terror victim. Let the terrorists discover that terror makes the Jewish People's connection to its land stronger.

10. Israel must change the way it views Europe. This continent is gradually turning into an Islamist area, and European politicians are becoming more and more dependent on the Muslim voter.They have to take stands dictated to them by the voters in their electoral district, and these brought their visceral hatred of Jews and Israel with them from their countries of origin. I do not see this pattern changing, so that for Israel, relying on Europe is a waste of effort at best and under normal circumstances, like entering hostile territory.

11. Israelis have to internalize the fact that their neighbors do not want them in the Middle East, and that Tel Aviv and Ramat Hasharon as seen as "settlements" just as Eli, Shilo and Neve Daniel are.  The entire Peace industry is just froth topping the waves of the stormy waters of the Middle East. It succeeded in blinding us to the point where we did not accept the reality of the situation and it managed to neutralize the will of some of us to fight for our land and freedom, but it had no absolutely no effect on our neighbors.

12. Israel must develop a psychological mindset that prepares it for a multi-pronged struggle, because many of the countries in the world are against the existence of the state of Israel and will do anything to weaken its security, economic stability and legitimacy.

Israel must publicly condemn people, such as Martyn Indyk, who accept funding from countries like Qatar which uses its money to influence political stands vis a vis Israel.

13. Israel's justice system must internalize the fact that we are struggling for our survival. We cannot relate to enemies of the state as if they are deserving of mercy at the hands of our country's legal system. The legal system was not intended to make the state vulnerable but to base it on law and order so that it can continue to function during difficult times.

14. The people of Israel must trust in G-d and in themselves, they must be prepared to fight for their existence. This struggle is infinitely more important than what the Knesset and the media have been stressing - VAT on purchasing an apartment or any internal political struggle. Ministers and MK's must rise above narrow party considerations and begin to lead the Jewish people in its struggle to keep its land, state and liberty.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Palestinians have long been poorly served by their own leaders and cynically used by the Muslim world

From the Sydney Morning Herald, 20 Nov 2014, by Paul Sheehan:

Pro-Israel protestors demonstrate in New York City following the death of four men who were reportedly killed by two armed Palestinians.
Pro-Israel protestors demonstrate in New York City following the death of four men who were reportedly killed by two armed Palestinians. Photo: Getty Images 

Masked Palestinians hold axes and a gun as they celebrate an attack on the Jerusalem synagogue on November 18.
Masked Palestinians hold axes and a gun as they celebrate an attack on the Jerusalem synagogue on November 18. Photo: Reuters
...On Tuesday, when two cousins from East Jerusalem, Ghassan and Uday Abu Jamal, both members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, armed themselves with knives, axes and at least one gun, they went to the Har Nof district, five kilometres from their homes. Shortly before 7am they began an assault on Orthodox Jews at prayer, killing four, wounding six, then killing a Druze police officer. The two ad hoc terrorists then died in a gunfight with police.

Although this attack appears to have nothing to do with Islamic State, it was the latest in a series of attacks on Jews by Palestinians in Jerusalem in recent weeks, the same blood fever that has led hundreds of young men, and some young women, to travel from throughout the Muslim diaspora to join the butchery of Islamic State.

While the killing in Syria and Iraq has been along the Shia-Sunni schism in the Muslim world, antagonism towards Israel is becoming synonymous with antagonism towards Jews in general. Hence the extraordinarily disproportionate attention paid to Israel, population eight million, compared with the amount of attention devoted to the 22 countries of the Arab League, population 425 million. The attention is broadly comparable.

The mainstreaming of anti-Semitism conflates the success of Israel, the suffering of the Palestinians and Jewish identity. The core basis of hostility to Israel is a lack of acknowledgement that most of the constrictive actions Israel has taken in the Palestinian territories – the walls, roadblocks, security restrictions - has been in reaction to an intransigent Palestinian political culture, a template set in place 45 years ago by the corruption and rejectionism of ...Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat.

After Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, dismantling all Jewish settlements, control went to Hamas, which then expended enormous resources building a war machine. It constructed a labyrinth of tunnels into Israel, stockpiled thousands of weapons, wired Gaza for war, then fired hundreds of rockets into Israel and used the civilian population as a human shield.

After Israel withdrew from southern Lebanon in 2000, control went to Hezbollah, which turned the southern border into a war machine, a maze of tunnels and gun placements and stockpiles of thousands of rockets, all supplied by Iran, which wants Israel destroyed.

This is why Israel regards calls to withdraw from the West Bank as blithely naive. 

When the western media reports about Israel's continued building of Jewish settlements on the West Bank, it rarely presents Israel's position that no new settlements have been allowed since 1999 and that all construction since 2004 has been within pre-existing settlement boundaries. More than half the construction is in and around Jerusalem on land annexed by Israel after the 1967 war, when three Arab armies sought to obliterate Israel. This annexed territory has never been offered in negotiations for a two-state solution.

Israel's arguments are routinely greeted with eye-rolling cynicism, as if the Israelis are the bullies of the Middle East, rather than the only functional democracy in the region, the only place in the Middle East where Jews can live in safety, including a large ultra-orthodox Jewish community which opposes the state of Israel.

This moral relativism extends to endless rationalisations for the missteps by the Palestinians, the corruption, the internecine conflict, the state-sponsored racism, and the rocket attacks that have maintained a cycle of dysfunction.

The Palestinian cause evokes natural sympathy, but it would be helpful to see a glimmer of recognition that the Palestinians have long been poorly served by their own leaders and cynically used by the Muslim world as a strategic asset, where Palestinian suffering is required for the larger narrative that the world would be a better place if Israel ceased to exist.

Perpetuating Barbarity

From the NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Editorial, Wednesday, November 19, 2014:

A victim of the Jerusalem synagogue terror attack lies wrapped in a prayer shawl and tefillin

The synagogue slaughter of four Israeli rabbis reveals the true nature of Palestinian radicals

Celebrated broadly by Palestinians, the slaughter of four worshippers in a Jerusalem synagogue and the murder of a police officer were the stuff of ISIS nightmares.

The bloodshed was savage. The cheering was obscene. The guilt of Palestinian leaders, including Mahmoud Abbas, calls for the fiercest punishment imaginable.

In this world of elusive justice, Israel has been limited thus far to dispatching the two attackers in a firefight and ordering the demolition of their homes — while awaiting fresh horrors from the poisonous Palestinian tree.

Abbas, the Palestinian Authority president, helped plant its seeds with words of incitement in recent weeks as acts of violence proliferated.

His partners in governing, the terrorists of Hamas, applauded each time as Palestinians living in Israel killed by knife or by plowing into pedestrians by car.

Now, Palestinian believers see how much carnage a pair of men wielding even the primitive weaponry of axes can inflict on defenseless human beings, and not just on human beings but on Jews, and not just on Jews but on Jews who were at prayer, including rabbis.

Global leaders, too many of whom have betrayed Israel, recoiled from the murders.

President Obama condemned an act that in this nation would be a capital crime if not a war crime. But, applying nauseatingly familiar evenhandedness, he called on both the killers and the killed, the Palestinians and the Israelis, “to try to work together to lower tensions and reject violence.”

What violence need Israel reject? Only that which is inflicted upon it.

...when a Palestinian drove his car into pedestrians at a rail stop, killing a 3-month-old baby, Hamas praised the murder as a “natural response to the crimes of the occupation against our people and our holy places” — and an Abbas adviser called the perpetrator a “heroic martyr.”

And after another Palestinian drove into a crowded train platform, killing an Israeli border officer and injuring 13, Hamas claimed responsibility.

A Hamas spokesman heralded this latest massacre as a “heroic and a natural reaction to Zionist criminality.”

According to a Times of Israel report, a television reporter visited the terrorists’ East Jerusalem neighborhood and found nobody who would speak against the attack on camera.

For his part, Abbas mustered only a weak “We condemn the killing of civilians from any side.”

In waging what appears to be a Third Intifada — one perhaps even more insidious than its predecessors — Palestinians may think they are “resisting” Israeli policy by murdering their neighbors.

They are only perpetuating barbarity.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Murdered, Because They Were Jews

From The Toronto Sun, November 18, 2014, by Tarek Fatah*:

Tarek Fatah

Four rabbis in an act of worship, in their house of God, slaughtered in the name of Allah.

And if the savagery of the act was not enough of a shock, one response from a Muslim on Twitter was equally gruesome. Responding to my tweet about the Jerusalem slaughter, he welcomed the mass murder by writing a single word, "Bravo".

Elsewhere on social media, Palestinians in Gaza circulated cartoons using the image of the meat cleaver and knife used in the attacks, to mock the Jews.

As a Muslim who has spoken all my life for the rights of the Palestinians to a state of their own, I was left holding my head in despair and shame.

Just an hour earlier, I had read news of my co-religionists killing four Christians in random acts of revenge in the Kenyan city of Mombasa.

What have we become, I asked myself?

...These were simply men of religion, killed not for what they did, but for who they were — Jews.

...As for the reaction of many Muslims in the West, who woke up to see another atrocity committed in the name of Islam, expect their voices to be channelled through the standard script of many Islamic groups, who will come forward with cliché-ridden denunciations of the act and condemnation of terrorism.

However, few will admit the atrocities we now see every few weeks are part of the Islamic tradition of jihad and intrinsic to the belief of how Jews should be punished if they are engaged in warfare with Muslims.

Few will, or have, renounced the doctrine of armed jihad as inapplicable in the era of nation states and international law.

The biography of Prophet Muhammad, "the Sira" is considered the authentic story of his life and is part of the Islamic faith, together with the Qur'an and Hadith.

According to the Sira, in the year 627CE, after a Jewish tribe surrendered to the Islamic army in the city of Medina, Prophet Muhammad personally beheaded 600 to 800 Jewish adult male prisoners of war, thus laying the template of dealing with Jews caught in battle for all times.

In my book, The Jew is Not My Enemy, my research suggests the story is a creation of later Muslim kings, 200 years after the incident.

These were men who crafted a backdated precedent to justify their own murderous acts.
But my view is almost universally rejected.

If Islamic leaders are unwilling to critically examine and question the authenticity of the texts they hold sacred, they had better be prepared to see the world react with contempt, if not an unpleasant backlash.

*Tarek Fatah is a founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress, a columnist at the Toronto Sun, host of a Sunday afternoon talk show on Toronto's NewsTalk1010 AM Radio, and a Robert J. and Abby B. Levine Fellow at the Middle East Forum. He is the author of two award-winning books: Chasing a Mirage: The Tragic Illusion of an Islamic State and The Jew is Not My Enemy: Unveiling the Myths that Fuel Muslim Anti-Semitism.

Terrorists' Families Celebrate, Pass out Candies in JerusalemFrom Arutz Sheva, 18 Nov 2014

From Arutz Sheva, 18 Nov 2014, by Ari Yashar:

Family of murderers call attack 'normal thing for every man belonging to Islam,' residents promise more attacks; police seal neighborhood.

Palestinians in Gaza celebrate Jerusalem synagogue massacre
Palestinians in Gaza celebrate Jerusalem synagogue massacre
Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash 90

The families of cousins Uday and Rassan Abu Jamal in Jerusalem's Jabel Mukabar celebrated wildly on Tuesday, after learning that the two had murdered four Jews and wounded eight others with hatchets, knives and guns in a synagogue in the Har Nof neighborhood.

[Also see this PMW report: "Murder of 4 Jews praised..."]

"We responded with shouts of joy when we received the news about their deaths," Ala'a Abu Jamal said of his cousins to Yedioth Aharonoth. "People here distributed candies to guests who visited us, and there was joy for the martyrs."

Trying to justify the horrific attack using the situation on the Temple Mount, where Jews are forbidden from praying and Muslim visitors riot on a near daily basis, he continued by calling the attack "a normal thing that can be expected from every man who has courage and a feeling of belonging to his people and to Islam."

"The attack was a surprise for us, we didn't expect that it would occur," claimed Ala'a Abu Jamal. "The two killed (terrorists - ed.) were regular workers and weren't associated with any organization. One of them was married with three children. Thank Allah, someone who dies as a martyr, that's a great thing."

Despite his claims the two were not affiliated to any group, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) terrorist group claimed responsibility for the attack, which was also praised by Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah.

Regarding the wife of the terrorist, Interior Minister Gilad Erdan (Likud) announced Tuesday he would immediately act to cancel her permits to be in Jerusalem. The woman, a resident of the Judea and Samaria region, was allowed in as the spouse of an Israeli resident. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu also ordered for the homes of the terrorists to be demolished.

Another resident of Jabel Mukabar told the Hebrew-language site "we are proud of the two martyrs who carried out the attack. ...We have many more youths who have nothing to lose. They are ready to attack Jews, everything for Al-Aqsa Mosque."

The families of the terrorists did not have too long to celebrate with guests however, as Palestinian Arab Ma'an News Agency reports police detained 12 of the relatives. Brief clashes between police and local residents ensued.

Likewise, the site reported that police sealed off the entrance to the neighborhood with cement blocks, in a similar move to that which was recently done to Issawiya following constant violent riots and terror attacks.

Regarding the families of the terrorists, Deputy Minister for Religious Affairs Eli Ben-Dahan (Jewish Home) on Tuesday said that they should be expelled, "even this very day."

The two terrorists held Israeli residency and the privileges entailed by it, and reportedly one of them worked in a grocery store next to the synagogue they attacked.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

A nuclear deal with Iran will join the list of Obama’s hollow Mideast achievements

From The Wall Street Journal, November 12, 2014, by Bret Stephens:
Failure will be a hidden in the detail of any US-Iran nuclear deal  

I AM on record predicting that a nuclear deal with Iran will founder on the opposition of the Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei.
Iranian diplomats, I wrote in May, “will allow this round of negotiations to fail and bargain instead for an extension of the current interim agreement. It will get the extension and then play for time again. There will never be a final deal”.  
I was vindicated on the first point in July, when US Secretary of State John Kerry purchased a five-month extension for the talks with $US2.8 billion ($3.2bn) in ­direct sanctions relief for Tehran. I’d be willing to make a modest bet that I’ll be vindicated again when the November 24 deadline for a deal expires. 

The latest talks in Oman between Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif seem to have gone nowhere. As former US president Jimmy Carter discovered during the hostage crisis, the mullahs are especially contemptuous towards those they see as weak.

But let’s say I’m wrong. What sort of deal would we likely get?

Above all, it will be a technical deal. Hyper-technical. If you want to master its details, be prepared to know the difference not just between LEU (low-enriched uranium) and HEU (high-enriched), but also between IR1 and the far more efficient IR2 centrifuges. You’ll need to know what a cascade is, and you’ll have to appreciate the importance of footprints when it comes to M&V (monitoring and verification) mechanisms. You’ll have to appreciate that, as in watches, proliferation resistant is not the same thing as proliferation proof, an important point if Russia is to turn Iran’s enriched uranium into fuel rods for the reactor at Bushehr.

Also, get a handle on PMD (Possible Military Dimensions) of the Iranian nuclear program, a regular staple of reports by the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) as well as Iran’s acquiescence to the AP (meaning the Additional Protocol of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, not the news agency). Meantime, keep a close eye on Arak (the plutonium-breeding reactor near the city by the same name, not the ­liquor). Examine the feasibility of “snap-back” sanctions.

And so on. The avalanche of fine print will convey an appearance of meticulousness and transparency. If this were a nuclear deal between the US and, say, Finland, no doubt it would be so.

But we’re talking about Iran, meaning the abundance of detail will serve a more obfuscatory function. The Obama administration will count on a broad measure of public ignorance and media credulity, meaning it can sell a deal by citing experts who happen to agree with its conclusions. Anyone want to have a debate about how much U-235 dances on the head of an Iranian SWU?

As for Iran, a deal with 100 moving parts also serves it well. 
“The Iranians will cheat the way they always cheat, which is incrementally, not dramatically,” says sanctions expert Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defence of Democracies. “Sooner or later, we’ll spot a potential violation and get into a debate about forensics: Are the Iranians complying or not? This will eat up time before we even get to the political debate over what to do about it.”
That’s been the Iranian M.O. ever since their covert nuclear program was first exposed in 2002. We’ve been negotiating their noncompliance ever since. Why should a regime that has paid no price for dishonesty suddenly discover the virtues of honesty in a post-deal world?

Supporters of a deal offer three answers. One is that the sanctions relief the West will offer in the deal can always be reversed in the event Iran cheats. “We can crank that dial back up,” as US President Barack Obama said about sanctions last year. They also argue that what Iran seeks is to become, in the Bismarckian sense, a “satisfied power”, one that achieves its goals of diplomatic normalisation, economic prosperity and nuclear pride — but also knows its limits.

Finally, as the Economist magazine argued in a recent editorial, time is on the West’s side. Think of China in the early 1970s: sooner or later, Khamenei, like Mao, will die; sooner or later, public thirst for modernisation, led by a Deng Xiaoping-type figure such as President Hasan Rowhani, will steer Tehran to a better path.

Maybe so: dreams sometimes come true.
But diplomacy based on dreams usually fails.

Iran, under its moderate leadership, executes one person roughly every seven hours. It boasts broad sway over four Arab capitals: Beirut, Damascus, Baghdad and, most recently, Sanaa, in Yemen. The President of the Great Satan is all but begging for a nuclear deal. ­European companies are already salivating at the thought of a piece of the post-sanctions Iranian economy. Try dialling that back.

As for the opposition once known as the Green Revolution, when did you last hear from it?

The White House likes to make much of the notion that Iran, starved by sanctions, is like a beggar at a banquet. If so, this beggar doesn’t settle for scraps. If Iran says no to a deal, Kerry will soon be back with a better offer. If it says yes, it will take what it’s given and, in good time, take some more.

Al-Qa’ida on a “path to defeat”. America “out of Iraq”. It won’t be long before a nuclear deal with Iran will join the list of Obama’s hollow Mideast achievements.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Abbas's license to incite murder

From JPost, 13 Nov 2014, by Melanie Phillips*:

Mahmoud Abbas
Abbas - venomous indoctrinator

As if the escalating terrorist attacks in Israel over the past few weeks haven’t been bad enough, what has been so dismaying is the way the West simply refuses to acknowledge what is happening in front of its eyes.

Numerous Western media outlets described the murderous attacks by Palestinians ramming their cars into Israelis in the street as “car crashes” or “traffic accidents.”

Yet Fatah’s official Facebook page featured cartoons, lyrics and other messages encouraging Palestinians to run over Israelis with their vehicles. Preposterously, it raved that the Aksa mosque was under threat. “Run over, friend, run over the foreign settler!” it screamed. “The Jews are defiling al-Aksa – will you not rage?” As the director-general of the Strategic Affairs Ministry Yossi Kuperwasser said this week, the violence – which has developed into stabbing attacks – is the inevitable result of the systematic dehumanization of Jews ingrained in Palestinians’ psyche from early childhood. Day in, day out they are told that the Jews are “the descendants of apes and pigs,” that they have “no historical connection to Jerusalem,” that they are “defiling” the city with their presence and that those who kill them are heroes.

Such venomous indoctrination is being perpetrated by Palestinian school textbooks, social media, cultural activities – and by Mahmoud Abbas. This supposedly moderate Palestinian leader has now revealed himself openly as a principal instigator of violence and mass murder.

Referring to all Jews visiting Temple Mount as “settlers,” Abbas has whipped up hysteria and incited war on Israel over the most explosive place on earth by declaring: “We will not allow our holy places to be contaminated,” praising the Palestinians hurling missiles from al-Aksa as “heroes” and declaring they had “the right to defend themselves and the holy places.”

Far from being a legitimate partner for peace, Abbas makes it clear over and over again that his true agenda is not two states side by side but the annihilation of Israel. He says he will never accept Israel as a Jewish state. He says he will never cede to Israel any land whatsoever.

Marking the 10th anniversary of the death of his predecessor Yasser Arafat, he declared: “He who surrenders one grain of the soil of Palestine and Jerusalem is not one of us,” and that “Jerusalem will be solely Palestinian.”

PA TV regularly refers to all of Israel as “occupied”; Palestinian maps, insignia and educational materials depict a Palestine which obliterates Israel and erases it from the map.

The current violence is thus demonstrably part of the war of extermination being waged against Israel not just by Hamas and Islamic Jihad but by Abbas’s PA. 

So why do Western leaders and media blame it on Israel? Why do they suggest – ludicrously – that it arises from some Jews’ desire to pray on Temple Mount? Why do media outlets (such as Sky News) replace the very name Temple Mount with al-Aksa? Why do they ignore the Nazi-derived Palestinian propaganda painting Jews as utterly diabolical? In any sane universe, Abbas would be in prison for incitement to murder. Why does the West insist he is a man of peace? Why does it adopt Palestinian lies and distortions as the default narrative of the Middle East conflict? There are many plausible explanations.

There’s the stunning success of the Arab strategy of reframing the Arab war against Israel as the oppression by Israel of the Palestinians.

There’s Israel’s myopic (and arrogant) refusal to acknowledge this psychological war that has been waged against it and to adopt a proper strategy to fight it.

There’s the post-modern disdain for truth and the corresponding credulousness in the face of lies. There’s the dominance of infantile leftists, for whom violence by the developing world is “resistance” and for whom the Palestinians, whose terrorists are cast in the same romantic mold as Che Guevara, are their signature cause.

There’s the historic anti-Jew and anti-Israel animus of Britain and Europe, and their deep financial ties to the godfathers of terror in the Arab and Muslim world. And there’s the particular animus of President Barack Obama, which would take many more articles to analyze.

But a deeper explanation is surely located in the current mindset of the West. To understand that, we have to go back to the seismic shock of the First World War. Horror at the slaughter in the trenches created an instinct for appeasement which, three decades later, almost enabled the victory of Nazism.

Its eventual defeat was due in large measure to the supremely fortunate accident of history that was Winston Churchill. After 1945, however, the horror of war was greatly reinforced by the revulsion against fascism.

Bigotry, emotionalism, violence and war were all rolled together.

War became seen as atavistic, a throwback to a less enlightened time. Killing was to be avoided. In this increasingly post-moral universe, the distinction between aggressor and victim became erased. There was no absolute right or wrong. Everyone had his own “narrative” to be treated with equal respect. Disputes were to be settled by negotiation, conflict resolution and peace processes.

A peace process, though, must have credible partners. If not it collapses, which may lead inevitably to war. But since war is now unthinkable, nothing can be allowed to scupper the peace process.

Underlining that fixation is the West’s existential belief in rationality – and also that the West is the sun around which other cultures merely revolve. Believing itself to be the acme of reason, and assuming that everyone in the world basks in its reflected radiance, it believes therefore that every other culture is governed by rationality and self-interest.

So it simply cannot understand religious fanaticism. It cannot understand the deranged, psychotic nature of Muslim Jew-hatred.

It cannot understand the absolute, implacable desire to wipe Israel off the map.

So it must deny that Israel is the victim of irrational, fanatical forces. It must deny that Iran really does mean to commit another Jewish genocide. It must deny Abbas’s Jew-hatred.

It must deny Palestinian incitement. It must deny that the Palestinians have broken every commitment and Israel has broken none. It must deny that Palestinianism is built on a murderous lie. It must deny the Islamic threat to the entire free world.

That is why the West is currently such a menace, not just to Israel but also, remarkably, to itself.

*Melanie Phillips is a columnist for The Times (UK). approved by a moderator before being published on Disqus users can post comments automatically.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Palestinian Arab Music Video encourages murder

From PMW, 7 Nov 2014:

Song with visuals encourages terror against Israelis: "Run [them] over, destroy... blow them up"

"You (i.e., Israelis) ran over a two-month-old, we paid you back twofold
For you, glorious Al-Aqsa
We’ll run over settlers
Run over the settler! Run over the settler!
Lay an ambush on the road And run them over, Allah will aid you
The whole Arab nation is telling you: Al-Akari, bless your [soul]
Run over the settler! Run over the settler!...
Abd Al-Rahman Al-Shaloudi ran over a Jewish settler
He did it for his country with his limited means
Run over the settler! Run over the settler!...
Today, the entire people demands a hero willing to fight with weapons
He began fighting with a car, running them over like rabbits.
Run over the settler! Run over the settler!...
Run them over, burn the next in line
Don’t leave a single settler
In Gaza they [Hamas] took away their dignity.
In the [West] Bank we want to wipe them out.
Run over the settler! Run over the settler!
Wait for them at the intersection
Let the settler drown in red blood
Terrorize them, your heart is strong.
Careful: Show no compassion
Run over the settler! Run over the settler!
Mutaz Hijazi didn’t neglect [his duty] when he wielded his weapon and took control
Mother [of Hijazi], let’s hear cries of joy Mutaz has been promised Paradise.
Run over the settler! Run over the settler!...
Run [them] over, destroy, annihilate, blow them up;
Don’t let the Zionist live long
O Al-Aqsa, we’re your defenders
O son of Jerusalem, cry ‘Allah is great’!
Run over the settler! Run over the settler!...
Netanyahu, tell your people, your soldiers have gotten lost in the [West] Bank
Every day we’ll run over one of your soldiers, O Palestinians, O proud ones
Run over the settler! Run over the settler!
Refuel your car and run over the settlers
Until my country’s land returns, for your sake, Palestine.
Run over the settler! Run over the settler!‎"

Note: Ibrahim Al-Akari - Hamas terrorist from East Jerusalem who carried out a terror attack by car on Nov. 5, 2014, at a light-rail station in Jerusalem, killing two and injuring at least 13 others. He was shot and killed by Israeli police officers who arrived on the scene.

Abd Al-Rahman Al-Shaloudi - On Oct. 22, 2014, Al-Shaloudi deliberately ran over people waiting at a light-rail station in Jerusalem with his car, killing three-month-old Israeli-American Haya Zissel-Brown and Karen Mosquera, 22, of Ecuador, and injuring 7 others. He was shot by police while attempting to flee, and later died of his wounds.

Mutaz Hijazi – Islamic Jihad member and released prisoner who attempted to assassinate Rabbi Yehuda Glick, a prominent activist working to assure rights for Jews to visit and pray on the Temple Mount, on Oct. 29, 2014. The assassination attempt took place following a conference on establishing times and places for Jews to pray on the Temple Mount. Glick was seriously wounded in the attack; Hijazi was killed soon afterwards when he opened fire on an Israeli police force that was attempting to arrest him.

Jews murdered. US urges 'all parties to exercise restraint'

(Read carefully) from the transcript of the US State Department Daily Press Briefing by Jen Psaki, Spokesperson, Washington, DC, November 10, 2014:

...QUESTION: On Israel.

MS. PSAKI: Israel. Sure, go ahead.

QUESTION: Just the latest developments in Jerusalem --

MS. PSAKI: Sure.

QUESTION: -- and the stabbing in the West Bank.

MS. PSAKI: Sure, sure, sure.

QUESTION: Or Tel Aviv and – Tel Aviv and the West Bank.

MS. PSAKI: Well, as you know, there are, unfortunately, a couple of events.


MS. PSAKI: So let me just speak to all of them. We strongly condemn the stabbings – the stabbing today in the West Bank and we deeply regret the loss of life. Our condolences go out to the victim’s family. It is absolutely critical that parties take every possible measure to protect civilians and de-escalate tensions.

We are also seeking additional information surrounding the incident of the Israeli Arab who was shot with – who was shot as well with a live bullet. We’re looking for information surrounding this incident. We’re in touch – close touch with the ministry of justice. And of course, we urge all parties to exercise restraint. Obviously, these events happened over the course of the last 12 to 24 hours, so I don’t have more details than what’s been out there at this point.

QUESTION: All right. I’m just going to assume – but correct me if I’m wrong – that when you say all parties’ restraint, you’re talking about the – who are you talking about?

MS. PSAKI: Well, we’re talking about the Israelis, the Palestinians – any who are involved in these tension-raising, rhetoric-raising incidents.

QUESTION: Okay. But, I mean, if you’re standing at a bus stop or something and someone runs a car into you or comes up and stabs you, I don't know how – I mean, those people aren’t – don’t need to exercise restraint, do they?

MS. PSAKI: Well, Matt, I think I’m referring to the fact that we know that there have been – there’s been rising tensions in the region --


MS. PSAKI: -- that has led to some of these incidents. I think we all are aware of that, so --

QUESTION: All right. In terms of the restraint and the rhetoric, are you seeing any – I mean, last week, you were pretty down on both sides, or you were up on – you were pleased with Prime Minister Netanyahu’s calls and the stuff that he did with the Jordanians about getting the tensions around the Temple Mount down, but you weren’t particularly happy with President Abbas. Has that changed?

MS. PSAKI: Well, I think, as I also said last week, I was speaking to one incident --


MS. PSAKI: -- of Prime Minister Netanyahu.


MS. PSAKI: Obviously, there have been a range of issues and events that have led to the rising tensions in the region that both sides need to do more to fix.


MS. PSAKI: Correct.

QUESTION: Still. And can you point to anything significant along those lines over the course of the – over the weekend?

MS. PSAKI: Positive steps?

QUESTION: Positive or negative.

MS. PSAKI: There aren’t any positive steps I have to --

QUESTION: There are no positive steps, correct?

MS. PSAKI: No additional, no.

QUESTION: Let me ask you, though – this area, like, in Hebron is not under the authority of the Palestinian Authority. So basically, it’s – it is the Israeli occupation forces that are responsible for that area. Would you call for the Palestinians perhaps to exercise more authority and perhaps they can stop these incidents from happening, to make sure they look after the bus stops and other places where Israeli settlers may be exposed to danger or to attacks?

MS. PSAKI: Well --

QUESTION: Would you call for a more --

MS. PSAKI: Said, I think we don’t have a lot of details at this point in terms of why these events happened, who’s responsible. So it’s hard to assess what the solution should be without having more details.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

It's time to end the indoctrination and incitement fuelling decentralised terrorism

From Caroline Glick, Friday, November 7th, 2014:

A Driver Rams His Car Into Pedestrians In Suspected East Jerusalem Terror Attack
A Driver Rams His Car Into Pedestrians In Suspected East Jerusalem Terror Attack

In the postmortems of the terrorist car attacks in Jerusalem, it is easy to see the writing on the wall.

Ibrahim al-Akary, the terrorist who on Wednesday ran over crowds of people waiting to cross the street and catch the Jerusalem Light Rail, was the brother of one of the terrorist murderers freed in exchange for IDF hostage Gilad Schalit. He had placed the photograph on his Facebook page of Moataz Hejazi, the terrorist killed by police after shooting Yehuda Glick outside the Begin Heritage Center last Wednesday.

A few days before Abdur Rahman Slodi got into his car and mowed down three-month-old Chaya Zissel Braun and a dozen other pedestrians two weeks ago, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas exhorted the Palestinians to prevent Jews from visiting the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site, by all means possible. Slodi had served time in prison for terrorist offenses and was active on social media where he expressed murderous hatred for Jews and a desire to kill them.

So yes, the writing was on the wall. But unfortunately, the writing is on all the walls, or Facebook walls. It is not at all clear how Israeli security services could have known to distinguish these men from the thousands of other Palestinians and Jerusalem Arabs who hate Israel, support the murder of Jews and identify with various terrorist organizations.

On Thursday security forces arrested several people in villages around Hebron with suspected ties to Akary. So he may not have been acting on his own. But all the same, neither he nor Slodi seem to have been directed to carry out their attacks by a cell commander who himself was directed by a higher level terrorist operative. Rather, in all likelihood, something triggered both men to carry out attacks in a wholly independent or semi-independent manner.

The question is, what was the trigger and how was it pulled?

The Israeli media are obsessed with the question of whether or not we are experiencing an third Palestinian terrorist onslaught, or intifada. Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch insists that we are not. Others insist that we are. Whatever we want to call it, we are seeing a new form of Palestinian terrorist warfare against Israel, which in many key aspects mimics the larger jihad carried out by al-Qaida and its affiliates and spin-offs.

In a recent article in the online Small Wars Journal, Maj. Nicholas Pace from NATO’s Joint Forces Command discussed how al-Qaida and Islamic State have decentralized their terrorist networks.

Due to the superior signals intelligence fielded by the US, Pace explained, al-Qaida and Islamic State have diffused and decentralized their networks into smaller hubs that operate independently. The role of terrorist chiefs like al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri is to inspire and incite, and to a degree direct, operations, rather than plan and order them.

Today the main factor unifying al-Qaida and Islamic State and their sister groups and followers in the region and worldwide is ideology. They all share the same hatred of the West, of all religions other than Islam and of all competing forms of Islam. They all seek the establishment of a global caliphate that will rule the world under the banner of Islam.

As Pace notes, this shared ideology was all that US Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hassan needed to feel that he was a member of al-Qaida when in 2009, after have a few Internet communications with al-Qaida ideologue Awar al-Awlaki, he walked onto the Fort Hood military base in Texas and massacred his fellow soldiers.

Pace argues that Islamic State forces in Iraq and Syria also operate along a decentralized model of operations, and the more they are directly targeted by the US and its allies, the more they will decentralize and compartmentalize their force structure.

The operational advantage of this model is that it gives enormous flexibility and independence to operatives in the field to maximize their resources. The drawback is that those resources tend to be less sophisticated than those that can be brought to bear by a centrally organized and resourced military organization.

But this isn’t really a problem for jihadists.

As Pace notes, they see themselves as soldiers in a long-term struggle. Their goal is not necessarily to conquer their target populations. Rather they seek to make life impossible for target societies. Mass chaos sowed by constant, low intensity, near-scatter-shot attacks can over time be sufficient to break the will of a targeted society or military organization to fight them.

Certainly this has been the case for the Iraqi military that has melted away in the face of Islamic State’s fanatical troops.

For such a decentralized military system to work, the leadership needs two things: a shared ideology, and communications capabilities that enable them to incite and loosely directly violence.

Ideology is not something that people pick up or discard quickly or easily. For a person to be attracted to the jihadist cause he has to undergo indoctrination over a significant period of time. You cannot incite a person to strike if he hasn’t already been indoctrinated in a manner that makes him amenable to your incendiary call to action.

And this brings us back to the Palestinians and the trigger for the attacks conducted by independent or semi-independent terrorist operatives.

With the exception of Pakistani students in madrassas, few societies have undergone the mass indoctrination that the Palestinians have undergone over the past 20 years of Palestinian Authority rule. From the cradle to the grave, and most significantly in the school system, Palestinians are indoctrinated to hate Jews and seek the violent destruction of Israel. They are told that it is an Islamic duty to fight Jews and destroy Israel. This is as true in regular PA schools as it is in schools run by the United Nations Relief Works Agency (UNRWA).

We are experiencing today in Jerusalem a decentralized terrorist campaign rooted in the 20-year indoctrination of the Palestinians.
Yes, Hamas and Fatah still operate terrorist cells and units that are members of terrorist hierarchies. But at the same time, they have used a model similar to al-Qaida’s in developing semi-independent and wholly independent networks of operatives and operational cells. These independent cells are highly motivated and are willing to wait until they receive generalized signals from their leadership to strike.

So it was for instance in June with the kidnapping and murder of the three teenagers in Gush Etzion. A few weeks before the kidnapping took place, from his home in Qatar, Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal remarked that Hamas needed more hostages to trade for jailed terrorists.

The terrorists in Hebron were motivated to strike. With the financial assistance of Saleh al-Arouri, the Hamas ideologue and operational commander in Turkey, they were able to purchase what they needed for the kidnapping. And when Mashaal said the time had come to kidnap Israelis, the countdown to the kidnap and murder of Naftali Fraenkel, Gil-Ad Shaer and Eyal Yifrah began.
The cell was isolated and tiny. Mashaal’s order was indirect.

In the case of the violence in Jerusalem, indoctrination in UNRWA schools in places like Shuafat refugee camp where Akary lived, not to mention throughout Judea, Samaria and Gaza, has raised generations of Arabs who hate Israel and Jews.

Owing to this indoctrination, when presented with mass incitement by preachers in the mosques, and most importantly by the official Palestinian Authority media, these calls for violence are immediately embraced on a massive scale. Indeed, the comfort level that the Arabs of Jerusalem feel today in supporting terrorism may well be unprecedented.

For instance, until this Wednesday night, every time terrorists in Jerusalem used motor vehicles to murder Israelis, their families and neighbors insisted that they were not terrorists but hapless drivers. There had been no attack, merely a traffic accident.

On Wednesday night when reporters went to interview Akary’s family and neighbors, they were met by shouts of praise for his murderous act. He was embraced as a martyr. And just as important, his act inspired mob violence in Shuafat and other Arab neighborhoods against police forces. For the first time, support for terrorism outweighed concern about alienating their Jewish neighbors or forcing police retaliation.

On Thursday Fatah’s Facebook page was full of images calling for Palestinians to run over Jews. As Palestinian Media Watch reported, one used a play on words between the Arabic acronym for Islamic State and the Arabic word for running something over, thus positively associating the terrorists who run over Jews with members of Islamic State.

Hamas – Fatah’s partner in the PA’s coalition government – was similarly quick to praise Akary and call for more such attacks.

In dealing with this burgeoning, decentralized terrorist campaign, aside from taking action to protect bus stops with various barricades, Israel needs to go after the triggers.

It needs to break up the indoctrination system.

And it needs to destroy the Palestinian leadership’s ability to communicate their incendiary messages.

Since UNRWA schools operating in Jerusalem engage in anti-Semitic indoctrination, Jerusalem municipal authorities must give them the choice of using Israeli textbooks or shutting down. If Israel wishes to assert its sovereignty, UNRWA schools would be a good place to start. Beyond that, preachers in mosques who incite murder and call for the destruction of Israel should be arrested.

As for the PA’s communications networks, all of the radio and television signals operating in the PA come from the Israeli electromagnetic spectrum. It is time to shut them down. As Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated on Wednesday, Abbas is directly inciting the murderous attacks on Jerusalem through the PA media organs. The way to protect Jerusalem is to remove him and his Hamas partners from the airwaves.

There has been a lot of talk over the years about providing positive and negative incentives to convince the Palestinians not to engage in terrorism. But now is not the time for incentives. The population mobilized through incitement has become too fanatical to engage with reason.

The terrorists who take the wheel and run over pedestrians know that they will more than likely never come home. And they don’t care. They certainly don’t care that Israel will destroy their homes. And they also certainly won’t be impressed by discounted mortgages if they integrate into Israeli society.

In the long term, it is imperative that Israel provide incentives to both the Jerusalem Arabs and the Palestinians to integrate peacefully with Israeli society. But before the government can seriously engage in this task, it needs to destroy the triggers of this terrorist onslaught. It is not enough to complain about Palestinian indoctrination and incitement. It is time for Israel to end them.

Jabhat al-Nusra: A Sunni Hezbollah?

From The Jerusalem Post, November 9, 2014, by Jonathan Spyer:

Jabhat al-Nusra, like the Lebanse Shi'ite organization, is emerging as a movement that combines uncompromising jihadi ideology with tactical flexibility.

Jabhat al-Nusra, the Islamist group which constitutes al-Qaida's "official franchise" in Syria, this week carried out a successful offensive against Western-backed rebel militias in northern Syria. Key areas were captured.

Islamic State and its activities further east continue to dominate Western media reporting on the war in Syria. But in northwest Syria, Lebanon and the area immediately east of the Golan, it is Nusra which is becoming the main Sunni jihadi force on the ground.

There are significant differences in the praxis of these two movements, despite their near-identical ideological stances.
Islamic State prefers to rule by straightforward terror ... Nusra is no less brutal when it deems it necessary, but follows a different, more sophisticated trajectory.
This requires Nusra to at times cooperate with other Sunni groups (including Islamic State), and at other times fight them.

The assault against rival rebel groups began on Saturday and was mainly focused against the Syria Revolutionaries Front (SRF), led by former construction worker Jamal Ma'arouf. Ma'arouf, who hails from the Jebel Zawiya region of Idlib province, emerged as a successful warlord in one of the heartlands of the Syrian Sunni rebellion.

According to sources in northern Syria, however, Ma'arouf is seen by many as a corrupt figure who has personally enriched himself in the course of the Syrian war.

The tensions between Nusra and SRF in the north are of long standing, and have claimed lives on both sides.

They are concerned with power, and the control of populations, land and resources.

Nusra's forces made rapid progress into Jebel Zawiya, capturing Ma'arouf's home village of Deir Sunbul; the smaller Harakat Hazm militia also abandoned a number of villages in the wake of the group's advance. Nusra is now just a few miles from the Bab al-Hawa border crossing between Syria and Turkey.

Ma'arouf [SRM] was known to have been in contact with Western officials, though the extent of aid to his movement is not clear. Hazm, however – which numbers only around 5,000 fighters – was the recipient of direct Western help, including a number of BGM-71 TO W anti-tank systems delivered this past spring.

These systems may well now be in the hands of the al-Qaida- associated Nusra, following Hazm's abandonment of areas of northern Idlib province in the wake of Nusra's advance against the SRF.
The future of Hazm and SRF in the rebel heartland of northwest Syria now looks uncertain. 

Nusra appears uninterested in proclaiming an "Islamic state" of its own any time soon, but it is clearly deeply interested in capturing and holding ground in this area – and is doing so.

Oddly, in other areas, Nusra cooperates with the very forces it fights in the north. In western Syria and the Lebanese Beka'a, for example, Nusra and Islamic State work together in the Qalamun mountains area, and in frequent forays into Lebanon.

There, they seek to secure a link between pro-rebel Sunni towns in the Beka'a and the jihadi fighters in the mountains, so as to ensure a supply route throughout the winter.

Nusra recently killed around 10 Hezbollah fighters in a hitand- run raid on a position near Britel. It also took part, together with Islamic State, in a large-scale raid on the town of Arsal in August, capturing a number of Lebanese soldiers.

Nusra leader Muhammad al-Jowlani issued a statement on Tuesday, promising further incursions into Lebanon.

Addressing Hezbollah directly, Jowlani said,
"The real war in Lebanon is yet to begin, and what is coming is so bitter that [leader] Hassan Nasrallah will bite his fingers in remorse for what he has done to Sunnis."

Further south, Nusra is a key element in the rebel forces that have been enjoying considerable success against the regime in recent weeks. The organization played a major role in the capture of the Quneitra crossing at the end of August.

Some reports have since suggested the organization has ceded control of areas bordering Israel to other rebel forces. But if this is so, it has taken place not by coercion, but because Nusra appears to be aware of the general rebel desire for Western support, and is willing to adjust its own positions accordingly.

The movement also continues to enjoy contact and probably also support from the Emirate of Qatar, a key backer following Nusra's emergence in 2012. 
Certainly, the Qatari role in paying ransoms for the release of 45 Fijian soldiers captured by Nusra in the taking of Quneitra would seem to attest to, at the very least, ongoing contact between Doha and the jihadis.

So in three key fronts – Idlib province, Qalamun and Quneitra/Deraa – Nusra is playing a pivotal role, challenging both Syrian President Bashar Assad's army and other rebels where it deems it profitable.

By avoiding targeting Westerners, the group has largely managed to avoid the hostile attention of the West.

By adjusting its activities to local realities and power structures rather than immediately challenging them head-on, it has also avoided the fear and hostility which Islamic State engenders among many Sunnis in both Syria and Lebanon.

So what happens next? Jowlani clearly has his eye on Lebanon, where 1.5 million Sunni refugees from Syria may provide willing recruits to the movement, particularly if that group begins to find itself needing some kind of sectarian defense against local Shi'ite hostility. Nusra is becoming the controller of rebel northwest Syria – yet it is likely to continue its more cautious path in the south, where its rivals are stronger.

It is also by no means impossible that Nusra could, at a certain point, turn its attention to Israel. Certainly, the current attempt by Palestinian organizations to refocus attention on their struggle through the prism of Pan-Islamic concerns for the Aksa Mosque makes such an outcome more likely.

Jabhat al-Nusra seems determined to emerge as a kind of mirror image of the Shi'ite Hezbollah – combining an uncompromising jihadi ideology with tactical flexibility and an ability to work with its own public (Sunnis), rather than simply terrorize them into submission.

Israeli and Western governments should be watching the organization very carefully.

*Jonathan Spyer is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and a fellow at the Middle East Forum.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Mass hallucinations in Rabin Square

Rabin memorial
Thousands rally at the memorial for slain premier Yitzhak Rabin in Tel Aviv. 
(photo credit:BEN HARTMAN)

'But I don’t want to go among mad people,’ Alice remarked. ‘Oh, you can’t help that,’ said the Cat: ‘we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.’ ‘How do you know I’m mad?’ said Alice.‘You must be,’ said the Cat, ‘or you wouldn’t have come here.’ – Lewis Carrol, Alice in Wonderland

The annual ritual to commemorate the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin that took place last Saturday night in the square in Tel Aviv which now bears his name, was a bizarre affair. It was a shameful – and shameless – endeavor to wring the last few drops of political mileage from the abuse of the fraying fabrication of Rabin’s “legacy.”
Act I: Remembering the Real Rabin

As if in a parallel universe...
The rally, dubbed “Returning to the Square and Bringing Back Hope,” was organized by the Israeli Peace Initiative, a group purportedly promoting regional peace, co-founded by Rabin’s son, Yuval.

Regional peace. Hmmm – doesn’t that sound eerily reminiscent of a previous “vision” – now widely discredited and largely discarded – of the Peresian delusion of a New Middle East? (It has always been a source of puzzlement to me whether these “regionalists” have ever actually looked at a map of the war-torn, blood-drenched region before attempting to resurrect the demonstrably daft delusion of regional peace – but that is a topic for another column.) The rally’s organizers proclaimed that the event was meant to urge the government (the Israeli one of course, not, heaven forfend, the Palestinian one) to promote a “peace initiative.”

It was in this vein that co-founder Rabin Jr. addressed the crowd in a speech so detached from reality it could well have been made in a parallel universe where Islam is really the “religion of peace.” He informed PM Benjamin Netanyahu that he “no longer has the strength to hold his tongue,” and felt morally compelled to demand a “daring diplomatic initiative” that blithely ignored “the Iranian threat at our doorstep and ISIS [Islamic State], Hamas and Hezbollah who threaten to destroy us.”

Depressing display of denial and dishonesty

The unmistakable implication was that, had Rabin Sr. not been assassinated 19 years ago, he would have mustered the necessary “daring” required to conclude a peace agreement with the Palestinians. (Strange, isn’t it, that in the political discourse on Israel, “daring” somehow always refers to a willingness to capitulate to enemy demands rather than stand firm on one’s own.) Although I am loath to use harsh language in referring to such a solemn event, there is little other way to describe what was explicitly said, and implicitly insinuated, than as a distressing display of denial and dishonesty that totally distorts Rabin’s views on the issue of a settlement with the Palestinians, which he held right up to the time of his death.

Indeed, were the much-maligned Netanyahu to embrace, verbatim, the parameters of the “permanent solution,” specified by Rabin shortly before his assassination, he would be dismissed today as an unrealistic extremist.

Thus, in his last address to the Knesset, on October 5, 1995, after being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, and hailed as a “valiant warrior” for peace, he sought parliamentary ratification of the Oslo II Accords. In it, he laid out his vision for the final formula for resolution of the conflict, and his views on Palestinian statehood, the fate of Jerusalem, borders and settlements.

Recalling Rabin’s recipe
What follows are excerpts from his Knesset address, setting out his positions on these issues: 

• Palestinian statehood: Rabin rejected the notion of a Palestinian state, declaring: “...the permanent solution... will include... a Palestinian entity, which will... be an entity that is less than a state...”

• The pre-1967 borders: “We will not return to the 4 June 1967 lines... And these are the main changes, not all of them, which we envision and want in the permanent solution...,” which he went on to detail.

• United Jerusalem: He was unequivocal: “First and foremost, united Jerusalem, which will include both Ma’aleh Adumim and Givat Ze’ev – as the capital of Israel, under Israeli sovereignty...”

• Jordan Valley: Rabin was adamant: “The security border of the State of Israel will be located in the Jordan Valley, in the broadest meaning of that term.”

• Existing settlements: Rabin envisioned changes being made to Israel’s final borders to include existing settlements under permanent Israeli sovereignty. He specified “changes which will include the addition of Gush Etzion, Efrat, Betar and other communities, most of which are east of what was the Green Line prior to the Six Day War.”

• Construction of new settlements: Rabin not only advocated redrawing Israel’s frontiers to include existing settlements, he urged construction of new ones, calling for “the establishment of blocs of settlements in Judea and Samaria, like the one in Gush Katif.”

Rabin’s real legacy

Rabin’s use of the term “Judea and Samaria” – and not “West Bank – is both significant and instructive. His reference to Gush Katif, the bloc of settlements razed by Sharon in the 2005 disengagement from Gaza, is significant, and poignant.

This then, is Rabin’s real legacy, and no crafty choreography – however cunningly crafted – can obscure that. The disingenuous attempts to reconstruct it as an antithetical negation of itself serve only to make it a surreal and grotesque distortion of what it really was.

Act II: Peres-Past pronouncements, present perfidy? 

Shimon Peres, until recently president of the state, and Rabin’s Nobel co-laureate, also addressed the gathering.

Trapped in Oslowian time-warp?

As if trapped in an Oslowian-era time warp, and oblivious of ongoing realities – the slaughter in Syria, the Salafists in Sinai, Islamic State in Iraq, to name but a few – Peres railed on about how Israel must embrace the two-state solution. Apparently unmindful of the thousands of Israelis who, over almost a quarter-century, have paid with life and limb in the perverse pursuit of that fatally failed formula, he fulminated that the only way for Israel to achieve lasting peace, prosperity and social harmony was to agree to bring Ben-Gurion Airport into range of Palestinian mortar fire and the Trans-Israel Highway into reach of their attack tunnels...

As manifestly unfounded and dangerously detached from reality as Peres’s speech was in its own right, when compared to his past pronouncements on the perils of a Palestinian state, the imperative of settlements and territory for the security of Israel, and the worthlessness of agreements with the Arabs, it was breathtakingly surrealistic.

In previous columns I have cited several of Peres’s past positions on these issues. However, given the current political context and against the backdrop of ongoing efforts to warp the past beyond all recognition, I feel there is considerable value in reminding The Jerusalem Post’s readership of the political perceptions that prevailed and the beliefs that the nation’s leaders publicly embraced.

Not off-the-cuff slip-of-tongue 

What follows is a catalogue of views expressed by Peres on a range of topics impinging on the feasibility of the two-state principle. In perusing them, readers should bear in mind that these were not off-thecuff remarks or some slips-of-tongue. Quite the contrary, almost all the citations come from a programmatic book written by him in Hebrew and published in 1978, Ca’et Mahar (“Tomorrow is Now) – befitting his obsession of being seen as futuristic. Based on an earlier lengthy interview in the then-influential, now defunct, Labor Party daily Davar, it sets out his ideas of how the affairs of the nation should be conducted.

• Dangers of a Palestinian state I: Peres cautioned with chilling accuracy: “The establishment of such [a Palestinian] state means the inflow of combat-ready Palestinian forces (more than 25,000 men under arms) into Judea and Samaria; this force, together with the local youth, will double itself in a short time. It will not be short of weapons or other [military] equipment, and in a short space of time, an infrastructure for waging war will be set up in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip.

Israel will have problems in preserving dayto- day security, which may drive the country into war, or undermine the morale of its citizens...” p.232.

• Dangers of a Palestinian state II: He predicted: “If a Palestinian state is established, it will be armed to the teeth. Within it there will be bases of the most extreme terrorist forces, who will be equipped with antitank and antiaircraft shoulder-launched rockets, which will endanger not only random passersby, but also every airplane and helicopter taking off in the skies of Israel and every vehicle traveling along the major traffic routes in the Coastal Plain. It is of course doubtful whether territorial expanse can provide absolute deterrence.

However, the lack of minimal territorial expanse places a country in a position of an absolute lack of deterrence. This in itself constitutes almost compulsive temptation to attack Israel from all directions...” p. 255.

• Dangers of a Palestinian state III: In his later book The New Middle East, published the very year the Oslo Accords were signed (1993), he warned with commendable prudence: “Even if the Palestinians agree that their state have no army or weapons, who can guarantee that a Palestinian army would not be mustered later to encamp at the gates of Jerusalem and the approaches to the lowlands? And if the Palestinian state would be unarmed, how would it block terrorist acts perpetrated by extremists, fundamentalists or irredentists?” p.169

• Strategic importance of territory: He correctly noted that the greater firepower, mobility and range of modern weaponry does not detract, but enhances, the strategic importance of territory: “In 1948, it may have been possible to defend the ‘thin waist’ of Israel’s most densely populated area, when the most formidable weapon used by both sides was the cannon of limited mobility and limited fire-power... In the 20th century, with the development of the rapid mobility of armies, the defensive importance of territorial expanse has increased... Without a border which affords security, a country is doomed to destruction in war.” pp. 235, 254.

• Economic importance of territory: Peres recognized the economic implications of defensible borders: “The resources available to a country are finite. In the absence of a strategic border, the investment in security that a country requires comes at the expense of other needs. This difference in levels of investment in security creates... a qualitative change in the general level of a nation – in terms of its economy, its society and education...

A country that has the advantage of a strategic frontier can invest less... in fortifications, maintenance of battle-ready armed forces, armaments...” p.235.

• Strategic importance of settlements: It will surprise many to learn that Peres was the father of the settlement enterprise beyond the pre-1967 lines, and its greatest champion.

He expressed the need “to create a continuous stretch of new settlements; to bolster Jerusalem and the surrounding hills, from the north, from the east, and from the south and from the west, by means of the establishment of townships, suburbs and villages – Ma’aleh Adumin, Ofra, Gilo, Bet-El, Givon... to ensure that the capital and its flanks are secured, and underpinned by urban and rural settlements... the settlements along the Jordan River are intended to establish the Jordan River as [Israel’s] de facto security border; however it is the settlements on the western slopes of the hills of Samaria and Judea which will deliver us from the curse of Israel’s ‘narrow waist.’” p.48.

• Value of agreements with Arabs: But perhaps the most startling of all is Peres’s assessment of the value (or the lack there of) of any pact with the Arabs: “The major issue is not [attaining] an agreement, but ensuring the actual implementation of the agreement in practice. The number of agreements which the Arabs have violated is no less than the number which they have kept.” p. 255 

Curiouser and curiouser

In light of the dismal experience since then, one can hardly believe that his faith in the value of agreements has been in any way enhanced. So why would the former president be advocating the creation of a situation, which he himself designated as one that “constitutes almost compulsive temptation to attack Israel from all directions...”??? Especially in light of the prescient accuracy of his past predictions...