Saturday, July 11, 2009


An article from the August 2007 Edition of the Jewish Magazine, by Chuck Morse focusses on the Nazi connection to today's Islamic anti-Semitism and Terrorism. (These are excerpts only. Follow the link to the full article.):
...We are defending freedom today, and our future as a sovereign nation, against an aggressive assault by the evil forces of radical Islam as personified by Osama bin-Laden.
...I trace the origin of today's war against the west to the post World War I period, 1918-1921. This was a time when new sovereign nations were emerging in Europe and the winds of freedom and hope were sweeping across a Middle East that had been suppressed for centuries by the recently defunct Ottoman Turkish Empire.
..Emir Faisal ibn Hussein, the Hashemite son of Hussein, Sherif of Mecca, and considered by many to be a direct descendent of the Islamic Prophet Mohammad, typified the pro Israel viewpoint amongst Arabs at that time. Faisal, who would become King of Syria and later King of Iraq, was the head of the accredited delegation of Arab representatives attending the Paris Peace Talks where the League of Nations was established.
Faisal met with Chaim Weizmann, the accredited head of the Zionist delegation to the Paris peace talks, in London where he signed a document known as the Faisal-Weizmann Agreement, January 3, 1919.
Emir Faisal and the Arab Delegation at the Paris Peace Conference 1919

The Faisal-Weizmann Agreement includes the following provisions:
Article I
The Arab State and Palestine in all their relations and undertakings shall be controlled by the most cordial goodwill and understanding and to this end Arab and Jewish duly accredited agents shall be established and maintained in their respective territories.
...Article IV
All necessary measures shall be taken to encourage and stimulate immigration of Jews into Palestine on a large scale, and as quickly as possible to settle Jewish immigrants upon the land through closer settlement and intensive cultivation of the soil.

...(Signed) FAISAL IBN HUSAIN (in Arabic)

The Faisal-Weizmann Agreement, a founding document of the League of Nations, is a recognition by the Arab and Muslim nations of the State of Israel and is legally binding international law. All of its provisions have been fulfilled. The Arab and Muslim nations are sovereign. The rights of the Israeli Arab are assured. The Islamic holy sites in Israel are under Moslem control.
The final borders of the Jewish State were determined by a commission headed by Winston Churchill back in 1922, which divided the British Palestine Mandate into an Arab sector east of the Jordan River and a Jewish sector west of the Jordan River. This is exactly where Jewish Palestine, Israel, and Arab Palestine, Jordan, are situated today. The borders of Israel correspond exactly to the borders described in the Torah as the Holy Land. The Torah describes the Holy Land as from Dan to Beersheba, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean sea.
Regarding the Faisal-Weizmann Agreement, Emir Faisal wrote the following to Harvard Law School Dean and later US Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter:
We feel that the Arabs and Jews are cousins in race...and by a happy coincidence have been able to take the first step towards the attainment of their national ideals together.
We Arabs, especially the educated among us, look with the deepest sympathy on the Zionist movement. ...We will do our best, in so far as we are concerned, to help them through: we will wish the Jews a most hearty welcome home.

We are working together for a reformed and revived Near East, and our two movements complete one another. The Jewish movement is national and not imperialist. Our movement is national and not imperialist, and there is room in Syria for us both. Indeed, I think that neither can be a real success without the other.
...May the Arab and Muslim nations honor this noble agreement entered into with Israel in 1919 by the recognized leaders of the two peoples, a just and fair agreement that is entirely in accord with the national and religious interests of both Muslims and of Jews.

The Mufti
There was another wind blowing in the post World War I years and that was the sinister wind of totalitarianism. ...Faisal's enlightened vision of sovereign Arab nations co-existing with a sovereign Jewish State was eclipsed by the radical pan-Arab designs of Haj Amin al-Husseini, named as Mufti of Jerusalem by the British Governor of the Palestine Mandate, Sir Herbert Samuel, in 1921. This was after al-Husseini had been convicted in absentia for his involvement in a slaughter of Jews in Jerusalem in 1920, known in Israel today as Bloody Passover. The liberal Samuel, himself a British Jew, pardoned al-Husseini, returned him from exile, and chose him as Mufti and head of the political Supreme Muslim Council in Palestine in spite of the fact that he had been opposed by the Palestinian Arab population who placed him in fourth place in a field of four Arab candidates for the position of Mufti.
1920 - Jerusalem, Palestine. Amin Al Husseini inciting the riots that pitted Palestinian Arab against Palestinian Jew

In the nineteen twenties and the early nineteen thirties, the Mufti agitated against the Jews, incited a bloody riot in 1929 involving a mass slaughter of the indigenous Jewish community of Hebron, and instituted assassinations and suicide bombers who would target Arabs who refused to take his side in his fight against the Jews. Many Muslim and Christian Palestinian intellectual leaders and clerics were assassinated by the Muftis men for opposing his terrorist agenda.
...The Mufti became a leader of the Arab and Islamic world as he attended conferences and sent envoys to Muslim nations as far away as Malaysia to raise money to, among other projects, gold plate the Dome of the Rock Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem claming that the Jews were plotting to blow it up.
...Swiss Nazi banker Fransois Genoud began to funnel money to the Mufti who used the funds to further the formation of pro-Nazi political organizations such as the Egyptian Green Shirts, headed by Abdul Gamal Nasser, who would become the Egyptian Dictator who instigated war against Israel in 1967, and to foment trouble against the British. The Mufti continued a close collaboration with Eichmann until the end of the war and with Genoud for decades after the war.
After instigating the Arab Revolt against British in Palestine in 1936, the Mufti fled Palestine. In 1941, the Mufti turned up in Baghdad where he played a major role in instigating a pro-Nazi coup against the pro-British government in Iraq. One of the generals involved in the pro-Nazi coup, General Kharilla Tulfah, was Saddam Hussein's uncle, father in law, and mentor. When the pro-Nazi coup failed, the Mufti recorded an anti-Semitic broadcast blaming the indigenous Iraqi Jews for the failure, which triggered the Fahud, a bloody pogrom against the Iraqi Jews, a community that pre-dated the Muslim invasion of Iraq by almost a thousand years.
The Mufti and Hitler
Fleeing Bagdad, and passing through Tehran, Istanbul, and Rome, the Mufti made his way to Berlin where he was met with all the pomp and circumstance of a visiting head of state. The Nazis gave the Mufti a mansion to live in, on fashionable Klostock Street in Berlin, one that had been confiscated from a Jew who was sent to a concentration camp, and the Nazis gave the already wealthy Mufti a hefty salary, which he received up until the last weeks of the war. The Mufti was given access to the SS controlled Sonderfund. These were monies and properties that had been confiscated from Jews as they were sent off to the ovens.
The Mufti used the sonderfund to support a Palestinian Arab expatriate community living in wartime Nazi Berlin, to train pro Nazi European Muslim militias in Bosnia and Russia, and to foment anti Jewish and pro Nazi activities in the Middle East where he maintained an extensive network of contacts. The Sonderfund financed the Mufti's Nazi-Muslim government in exile and was used to fund an Islamic Institute in Dresden under the Mufti. The purpose of the institute was to inspire an elite cadre of Nazi- Muslim leaders. More research is required to trace the career paths of these Nazi Muslim leaders after the war.
Monies derived from the sonderfund continued to flow into the Middle East, from Swiss bank accounts and with the involvement of Swiss-Nazi banker Fran├žois Genoud and the Mufti, years and even decades after the end of World War II with the funds going to terrorists. Genoud committed suicide in 1996 at the age of 81 before a committee, investigating Nazi money laundering in Swiss banks and headed by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volker, had the opportunity to interview him. More research is required to follow the Nazi money trail after the war.
The Mufti recorded several radio broadcasts, transmitted from a large tower in Bari, Italy into the Arab world, calling for Arabs to ""Kill the Jews wherever you find them. This pleases God, History and Religion. This saves your honor. God is with you."
It should be noted that the main line of propaganda used by Hitler and the Mufti against the Jews was that there was a Jewish conspiracy to rule the world. This was the basic thesis used against the Jews by Hitler in Mein Kampf and previously, in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a Russian forgery that was widely disseminated in those years...

The Mufti meets with Hitler
In November of 1941, the Mufti met face to face with Hitler, who promised that as soon as he finished off Europe, Nazi brigades would cross the Caucasus and conquer the Arab world. The Mufti would then be installed as the Nazi backed puppet head of a united Nazi-Arab Caliphate. Before the Hitler-Mufti meeting, the Nazis were still open to the idea of deporting Jews, possibly to Palestine. In 1939, the Allies closed the door to Jewish refugees at the Evian Conference thus condemning the Jews of Europe to the Nazi prison. It is reasonable to assume that the Mufti urged Hitler to not let Jews go to Palestine, which, at any rate, had been closed to Jews by the British, and instead urged, on the Holocaust. A few months after the Mufti-Hitler meeting, the Nazis held a conference at an estate in Wansee, a suburb of Berlin, where it was decided to systematically annihilate the entire Jewish population of Nazi occupied Europe.
The Mufti was directly involved in the Holocaust in various ways. Under the guidance of Himmler, of whom he maintained close contact, the Mufti was put in charge of recruiting and training a Bosnian Nazi-Muslim SS military unit known as the Hanzar Division, which grew to 27,999 men. Along with other Nazi-Muslim military formations in the Balkans and in Russia, the Hanzars would carry out the genocide of 250,000 Serbs, Gypsies and Jews. Himmler called for special treatment for Muslim troops and in a letter to Nazi Propaganda minister Josef Goebbels wrote: "I have nothing against Islam because it educates the men in this division for me and promises them heaven if they fight and are killed in action. A very practical and attractive religion for soldiers." Nazi-Muslim brigades in Russia were involved in the infamous einzatsgruppen, which were mobile killing units operating behind Nazi lines and charged with liquidating Jews and others viewed as enemies of the Nazi state...

After the War
At the end of the war, the Mufti fled, one step ahead of indictment by the Nuremberg Tribunal on charges brought by Yugoslavia, to Cairo and spent the rest of his life fomenting violence against Israel whenever possible. The British once again give the Mufti amnesty and he returned to Palestine to fight Israel in 1948 where he issued a fatwa: "I declare a Holy War, My Muslim Brothers! Murder the Jews! Murder them all!". After Israel became a state, the Mufti was implicated in the assassination of the moderate Hashemite King Abdallah of Jordan, the brother of the aforementioned King Faisal, who was about to make peace with Israel.
The Mufti aided in Operation Odessa, which was a ratline smuggling thousands of Nazi war criminals into Egypt and Syria. Many Nazis, once settled in Arab capitals, changed their names, converted to Islam, and involved themselves in war against Israel. The Mufti promoted the so-called "right of return" for Palestinian Arabs, this after having exhorted Arabs to leave Palestine during Israel's war of independence. The Mufti worked to keep Arabs in refugee camps to be used as recruiting centers to fight against Israel. In his last public appearance in a speech before a World Islamic Conference in 1962, the Mufti called for the ethnic cleansing of all Jews from the Arab world. He died in Beirut July 5, 1974.

The islamo-Fascist Mufti was mentor to the islamo-Communist Yasir Arafat, said to be his nephew. Arafat started his career at the age of 17 as a gunrunner for the Mufti's irregular militia, which participated in the 1948 war against Israel. After attending a communist youth convention in Prague in 1956, Arafat and a group of his cohorts went to Moscow for training where they formed the terrorist cell known as al-Fatah. After the collapse of Nazism, the Marxist founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egyptian professor Hassan el-Banna, openly allied his group with the Soviet Union. The secretive Muslim Brotherhood would later spawn both Hamas and Islamic Jihad. The connection between Arab terrorism and the Soviets accelerated in the 1970's and 1980's.

Where do we go from here?
...eventually America will have helped the Muslim nations and peoples in their struggle against the followers of haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem.
The progressive vision of Emir Faisal will come to pass in the Arab and Muslim world but only with the support of the freedom loving western democracies.
... We need to stand with those Muslims who love freedom and utterly crush those who seek to oppress their own people, to kill us, and destroy our way of life.

...The Palestinian question was settled in 1921 when Palestine was divided into a Jewish and a non-Jewish Arab sector. Jordan is east Palestine, Israel is west Palestine.
The Jews of Israel are as much Palestinian as the Arabs of both Israel and Jordan.
Local autonomy should be granted to the Palestinian Arabs of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza with Jordan playing a role to be determined and Israel maintaining overall military and security control. Jews should never again be ethnically cleansed from any part of Israel...

Thursday, July 09, 2009

US, Israel settlement deal emerging

From THE JERUSALEM POST Jul. 8, 2009 by Herb Keinon and Gil Hoffman:

Israel and the US are moving toward a compromise solution on the settlement issue that might allow both sides to claim "victory..." ...

According to senior government officials, under this type of solution, Israel would declare a moratorium of a few months on the settlement issue, possibly half a year, while the US would give Israel a green light to complete a still-to-be-determined number of housing units in the settlements that are in advanced stages of construction.

...Under this type of arrangement, US President Barack Obama would be able to claim a victory in getting Israel to agree to a moratorium on any new housing starts in the settlements, while Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu could claim that he did not agree to a complete freeze, and that housing construction would continue.

In addition, US Mideast envoy George Mitchell would continue efforts to extract normalization gestures from at least some countries in the Arab world.

...Once agreement is reached on the settlement issue, and the US gets some gestures from the Arab world, the next step would possibly be an event - likely an international conference - where a "to do" list would be presented regarding what needed to be done to move the diplomatic process forward.

This "to do" list, according to one well-placed source, was shaping up as a revamped edition of the road map, with sequential phases and a stronger regional component, meaning that the Arab states would be asked to become involved in the normalization of ties in the early stages, rather than at the end, of the process.

In addition, any new road map would have take into consideration - and deal with in detail - something that did not exist when the original road map was launched in 2003: Hamas control of the Gaza Strip.

Diplomatic sources said that the US, interested in shoring up its relations with Russia, is now much more amenable than in the past to the idea of an international conference in Moscow to launch the new initiative.

The sources said the issue was discussed during Obama's recent visit to Moscow, and that it will also be raised at the G8 meeting that opened Wednesday in Italy.

According to National Security Adviser Uzi Arad, speaking at a Knesset press conference marking Netanyahu's 100th day in office, Netanyahu expects Obama to honor the agreements reached with the Bush administration on West Bank construction....

...Netanyahu's policy planning director Ron Dermer vowed at the press conference that no compromises would be made on Israel's insistence that a Palestinian state be demilitarized. He promised that the prime minister would never utter the words "Palestinian state" without the word "demilitarized" preceding them....

British Colonel Declares: The IDF Did More to Safeguard Civilians Than Any Other Army‏

From the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Wednesday, 8 July 2009:

International Law and Military Operations in Practice by Col. Richard Kemp

Former commander of British forces in Afghanistan Col. Richard Kemp told a conference in Jerusalem on June 18, 2009:
  • The battlefield - in any kind of war - is a place of confusion and chaos, of fast-moving action. In the type of conflict that the Israeli Defense Forces recently fought in Gaza and in Lebanon, and Britain and America are still fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, these age-old confusions and complexities are made one hundred times worse by the fighting policies and techniques of the enemy.
  • Islamist fighting groups study the international laws of armed conflict carefully and they understand it well. They know that a British or Israeli commander and his men are bound by international law and the rules of engagement that flow from it. They then do their utmost to exploit what they view as one of their enemy's main weaknesses. Their very modus operandi is built on the correct assumption that Western armies will normally abide by the rules, while these insurgents employ a deliberate policy of operating consistently outside international law.
  • Civilians and their property are routinely exploited by these groups, in deliberate and flagrant violation of international laws or reasonable norms of civilized behavior. Protected buildings, mosques, schools, and hospitals are used as strongholds. Legal and proportional responses by a Western army will be deliberately exploited and manipulated in order to produce international outcry and condemnation.
  • Hamas' military capability was deliberately positioned behind the human shield of the civilian population. They also ordered, forced when necessary, men, women and children from their own population to stay put in places they knew were about to be attacked by the IDF. Israel was fighting an enemy that is deliberately trying to sacrifice their own people, deliberately trying to lure you into killing their own innocent civilians.
    And Hamas, like Hizbullah, is also highly expert at driving the media agenda. They will always have people ready to give interviews condemning Israeli forces for war crimes. They are adept at staging and distorting incidents.
  • When possible the IDF gave at least four hours' notice to civilians to leave areas targeted for attack. The IDF dropped over 900,000 leaflets warning the population of impending attacks to allow them to leave designated areas. The IDF phoned over 30,000 Palestinian households in Gaza, urging them in Arabic to leave homes where Hamas might have stashed weapons or be preparing to fight.
  • Many attack helicopter missions that could have taken out Hamas military capability were cancelled if there was too great a risk of civilian casualties in the area. During the conflict, the IDF allowed huge amounts of humanitarian aid into Gaza, even though delivering aid virtually into your enemy's hands is to the military tactician normally quite unthinkable.
  • By taking these actions the IDF did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare.

[Watch the Video] [Read the Full Transcript]

Failed Israelis: Begging for internationalization


... calls from within Israeli society for "greater international involvement and pressure" on the country are emblematic of a contempt for democracy. ...

Just after Israel's 2009 elections, Prof. Neve Gordon of Ben-Gurion University declared it was time for the US under Barack Obama to impose a solution on Israel, and "if such intervention includes sanctions, it is the only way to secure Israel's existence in the long run." The latest manifestation of this was Haaretz political columnist Akiva Eldar's June 29 call for Obama to "play on Israel's fears, not its hopes for peace.... The time has come for him to directly address the Israelis, bypassing their leadership."

Sometimes the interest in international pressure can be downright crude, as when Haaretz editor David Landau told Condoleezza Rice in September 2007 that he believed the US needed to "rape" Israel. According to reports he "referred to Israel as a 'failed state' politically, one in need of a US-imposed settlement."

... A February 2009 petition signed by five academics, including Prof. Rachel Giora and Eva Yablonka of Tel Aviv University, in support of a recent anti-Israel motion at Manchester University, noted that "we strongly believe that without some pressure from outside Israel and without concrete support for Palestinians nothing will change in our part of the world."

In a similar vein, on April 3, Naomi Chazan wrote in the Upfront weekend magazine of The Jerusalem Post that "a much more assertive international involvement is therefore necessary... the threat of isolation verging on ostracism may be precisely the kind of jolt that has been needed for some time... such an externally driven impetus can also revitalize domestic politics."
INSISTENCE on the overbearing involvement of the international community, and the trust and reliance on its decisions, is indicative of a severe distrust of Israeli democracy. Those on the Left who call for this have declared that while they acknowledge the failure of their political parties in 2009, they need foreigners to impose a solution. This has long been typical of fringe groups such as Yesh Gvul, which try to get Israelis indicted abroad for "war crimes" because courts here will not do their bidding.

The apparent reason behind the call for international intervention is the feeling that the leftist parties have failed. Ze'ev Sternhell, Israel Prize winner and controversial professor, says that Labor has lost its purpose. Describing the disillusionment with Labor he notes: "The real problem is that the Israeli Left is an artificial, even a false, Left. It lacks every one of the instinctive responses that are identified with the natural Left - standing with the weak, the oppressed and the working poor against the strong and the state itself."

For Israel Harel, another columnist, the Left failed because of its inability to achieve peace when given the chance and the "overidentification of this public with Arab-Palestinian nationalism." It's no surprise therefore that Zehava Gal-On, formerly a Meretz MK, has been described by Haaretz as the "last leftist" among a Left with "no clear message... no edge."

In turning to outsiders, these voices are anti-democrats. It is interesting that some of the country's elite would trust the same nations who perpetrated the Holocaust to be fair arbitrators of the current conflict. They are continually embarrassed by their countrymen, most recently Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. This is a mistake. The voter casts his vote for Lieberman primarily because the Left is seen as being out of touch, elitist and incapable of solving the intractable situation.

Gal-On admitted as much in an April 3 interview, when she noted that Jews from the Middle East are "not the classic faces of Meretz." Neither are Russians or Ethiopians. Rather than courting these voters with reasonable solutions, some on the Left would simply ignore them and ask foreigners to do the job. This is not a positive development. The reaction of those in a democracy when the electorate fails to agree with them should not be to declare that democracy a failure but to frame their proposed solutions in a palatable manner.

The writer is a PhD student in geography at the Hebrew University and runs the Terra Incognita blog.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Analysis: Iranian Lobbying Failed

From GLORIA, July 1, 2009, by Jonathan Spyer*:

President Shimon Peres's landmark visit to Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan this week represents a significant advance for Israeli ambitions in Central Asia. In the wake of the recent decision to permit Israel to open an embassy in the Turkmen capital of Ashghabad, the visit reflects the importance Jerusalem attaches to this strategically significant part of what is sometimes known as the "greater Middle East."

Israel's stance reflects a series of hopes, interests and concerns. The most important of these are: the desire to contain Iranian influence, and joint opposition to radical Islam.

Israeli technological expertise is of particular interest to energy-rich, rapidly developing Central Asian economies, forming the basis for growing economic relations. In turn, Azerbaijan has emerged as a major energy supplier. The country supplies just under 20 percent of Israel's oil.

Israel's desire to build strong connections with non-Arab Muslim countries in the region is of long standing and reflects an obvious strategic interest. Yet in the past, Central Asian states have preferred to keep their friendship with the Jewish state far from the spotlight.

Israel has maintained diplomatic relations with both Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan since 1992. With regard to containing Teheran, relations with Shi'ite Azerbaijan, which shares a border with Iran, are of particular significance. Azerbaijan has close ethnic links with Iran. Far more Azeris live in Iran than in Azerbaijan itself.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is an ethnic Azeri. Yet relations between Iran and Azerbaijan have grown tense over the last decade for a number of reasons. The Islamic republic, for strategic reasons of its own, tacitly supported Armenia in the Azeri-Armenian war over the province of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Teheran dislikes the secular nature of Azerbaijani politics, and has offered support and training to Azeri mullahs and organizations preaching a pro-Iranian Islamist message. Iran and Azerbaijan also have competing interests related to energy issues in the Caspian Sea.

As a result, Baku [Azerbaijan] has drawn close to Jerusalem on the basis of a shared threat. Israeli defense industries have made very significant inroads. Israel played the central role in rebuilding and modernizing the Azeri military after its losses in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Azerbaijan has also become one of the key arenas in the ongoing silent war between Israel and Iran. Both countries are thought to possess major espionage networks on Azeri soil. Israel is reported to maintain listening and surveillance posts on the Azerbaijan-Iran border. The recent foiling of a joint Hizbullah/Iranian plot to bomb the Israeli Embassy by the authorities in Baku shows the depth of activity.

Kazakhstan, which has no border with Iran, has sought to develop strong trade and strategic relations with the Islamic republic. Part of Peres's mission was to seek a firm Kazakh commitment that it would cease the sale of uranium ore to Iran. Astana's stance appears to reflect a desire to play a part in diplomatic mediation in the region and beyond it, on the basis of its image as a moderate Muslim state.

The more diffuse threat of radical Islam offers a further natural basis for friendship. In the Shi'ite but secular-governed Azerbaijan, this threat takes the form of Iran-supported local Shi'ite Islamist parties, and the presence of Hizbullah.

In largely-Sunni Kazakhstan, meanwhile, Saudi-supported Islamic extremists and the pan-Islamic Hizb al-Tahrir party constitute a significant irritant to the authorities, making them more inclined to greater friendliness toward Israel. The response to domestic Islamic extremism has been determined and uncompromising.

Kazakhstan's commitment to purchase satellite and surveillance technology from Israel reflects the growing role of Israeli defense industries in the country - a role which was shaken in April by claims that Israel had sold faulty military hardware to Kazakhstan.

Despite the extensive cooperation and common interest, Jerusalem has been frustrated by the unwillingness of both Kazakhs and Azeris to move toward a more open and overt relationship. There has long been a sense that both countries preferred to benefit from close links with Israel in a variety of areas, while keeping the public profile of the relationship as low as possible. Such a stance reflected the desire of both countries to maintain good relations with the Arab and wider Muslim world.

Israeli officials hoped that Peres's visit would be of importance in laying the basis for changing this stance. The Iranian response to the visit suggests that Teheran shared the sense of this possibility.

The Iranians lobbied hard to have the visit to Azerbaijan called off. Iran's chief of staff visited Baku two weeks ago in an attempt to persuade the Azeris to cancel the trip. He was unsuccessful. In response to the Peres visit, Iran has recalled its ambassador for consultations. In Kazakhstan, the Iranian decision to walk out of an interfaith conference while Peres was speaking represents an additional indication of Iranian displeasure, and hence a further diplomatic point for Israel. The bottom line: Iranian lobbying failed.

Inducing Muslim countries with which Israel has shared interests and firm connections to overcome the desire to "camouflage" or downplay their relations with Israel represents a perennial challenge for Israeli diplomacy. The latest developments in Central Asia suggest that, in this region at least, real progress has begun to be made.
* Jonathan Spyer is a senior research fellow at the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center, Herzliya, Israel

‘No, you can’t’

From Ynet news, 8/7/09, by Martin Sherman:

Israel needs leader willing to face Obama and say: ‘No, you can’t’

"…for the first time we have reached a national agreement on the two states for two people concept." Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at cabinet meeting, June 5, 2009.

...The stark contrast between Netanyahu's cabinet statement and his first rousing and resolute address to the Likud Central Committee as premier in 1996, evoke feelings of profound sadness, bitter disappointment, and deep concern. His opening words then to the eager crowd were: "There will be no Palestinian State."

... His capitulation – however reluctant - to the notion of "two-states" which he has rejected reflects a failure of will or of intellect - or of both.

... the unvarnished truth is indeed brutal - and binary: In the narrow sliver of land between "The River" and "The Sea" there can prevail – and eventually there will prevail – either exclusive Jewish political sovereignty or exclusive Arab political sovereignty. The side that will endure will be the side whose political will is stronger and whose political vision is sharper.

...Over a decade ago, this writer cautioned that “…the structure of the bargain required to be struck between (Israel) and the Arabs seems inherently irresolvable. For whatever appears to be even minimally adequate…for Israel, seems to be totally inadequate… for the Arabs." Maj. Gen. Giora Eiland, former head of Israel's National Security Council, made precisely the same point recently: “…the maximum that any government of Israel will be ready to offer the Palestinians and still survive politically is much less than the minimum that any Palestinian leader can accept.”

For while the demands that the Palestinian state be demilitarized, that it be barred from forging military pacts or from controlling its airspace may seem reasonable to Israelis as a minimum requirement for maintaining their national (and personal) security, they are in fact wildly unreasonable, and totally unrealistic by any objective international criterion.

For to condition recognition of nationhood on national defenselessness is clearly absurd – indeed virtually self-contradictory. After all, one cannot profess to a desire to allow the Palestinians to "govern themselves" and then promptly proceed to demand the prerogative to determine in which areas they will or won't be permitted to govern themselves. One cannot purport to recognize the right of a people to statehood and then negate their right to defend their state.

To expect acceptance of such a far-fetched notion is foolish, and to hope that it could be effectively maintained or monitored in the unlikely event of it being implemented, is to be completely detached from reality. For should the Palestinian state be threatened by some adversary other than Israel, who will be called on to protect it? Or are we to assume that Palestinian state will be totally immune from enmity with all other nations? Or would Israeli youth be called on to shed blood to defend Palestinians in some internecine intra-Islamic dispute?

...In the final analysis then, Netanyahu's proposals are either delusional or deceitful; his policy prescriptions foolish, fanciful or fraudulent. Whatever the case, they bestow little credit on himself or his country. He has, in principle, accepted the general outline of the failed Oslo-concept, which he resolutely rejected for almost two decades.

However, as Netanyahu himself has pointed out, and as both the Hezbollah and Hamas have very tangibly demonstrated, even if the Palestinian state was not fully militarized, even without heavy artillery, armor or aircraft, renegade radicals could easily paralyze the country with light and primitive weapons that either are unauthorized or ostensibly not in violation of the stipulated restrictions.

With dizzying speed, the demilitarized-state formula will be exposed - indeed is already being exposed - as unfeasible and ephemeral.

...These are perilous times for Israel. Netanyahu's volte face has made them even more so. Today, the nation needs a leader who has the intellectual power, the ideological commitment and the political will not only remind the Israeli public that in Hebrew "Yes we can" translates in "Im tirzu ein zu agada" (If you will it, it is no dream), but also a leader with the resolve to resist the American administration and say: "No, you can’t.”

Sanctimonious Saudis

My high-school literature teacher told me that "sarcasm is the lowest form of wit." But you have to empathise with DAVID M. WEINBERG's sarcastic exasperation in this, from THE JERUSALEM POST, Jul. 6, 2009:

His Royal Highness Abdullah bin Abd al-Aziz Al Saud, the king of Saudi Arabia, works hard to get good press. He throws swell up-market galas, puts on grand interfaith conferences and finances numerous think tanks and lobbying firms. He also hands out fancy gold medals on thick gold chains - of which Barak Hussein Obama was a recent enchanted recipient.

Obama recently received a fancy gold medal on a thick gold chain from a Saudi King at the start of their bilateral meeting in Riyadh last Wednesday.
Every once in a distant while, the savvy Saudi king also pulls the best trick in the book. He lets loose a feeble - but tantalizing - hint about the remote possibility of a theoretical chance that he might, someday, under exceptional circumstances and only if he unconditionally gets his way, begrudgingly accede to some faint warming of ties with Israel.

It's a soft lob, a pain-free ploy, Saudi sophistry at its best. Yet the ruse works wonders. Speak very vaguely and indirectly about peace with Israel, and presto! You're in Washington's good books. You're now a peace process "leader" with a diplomatic "initiative" in your name. No concrete follow-up required. No need to put your money where your mouth is.

Not that the king doesn't know how to act decisively, or spread around a few American dollars, when he needs and wants to.

The Saudis hauled in truckloads of cash to buy the recent elections in Lebanon to ensure a Sunni (i.e., non-Hizbullah) victory. They've bankrolled Lashkar e-Taiba (of Mumbai infamy), Hamas and other radical Islamic movements worldwide when it suited them, while brutally crushing other groups, like al-Qaida, when these became a threat to them.

They've openly embraced, then bluntly cold-shouldered, different Palestinian and American leaders, as per their changing interests. Riyadh also funds madrassas and mosques the world over to aggressively promote its purist Wahhabi brand of Islam.

THUS, SAUDI KINGS and princes know how to make things happen, when they want to.

So, if King Abdullah, really wanted to lead the Arab world toward peace with Israel, he could find a way or two to express his "moderation" more clearly and make things happen.

But the sanctimonious Saudis always seem to hew to the PR minimum. When they had a 9/11 image problem (15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis, remember?), then-Crown Prince Abdullah nattered to The New York Times about "full normalization" with Israel in exchange for "full withdrawal" from the territories. It sounded pretty good. In a flash, Abdullah transformed the discourse from Saudi involvement in terrorism to Saudi peacemaking.

However, as Prof. Joshua Teitelbaum of the Dayan Center has pointed out, by the time the Abdullah trial balloon reached the Arab summit in Beirut in March 2002, the initiative had been modified and its terms hardened. It watered down "full normalization," rewarded Syria with a presence on the shores of the Sea of Galilee and enshrined a Palestinian "right of return" to Israel.

Since then, the sangfroid Saudis haven't been willing to bat an eyelash at Israel. But the dodge worked so well that today the Obama administration is touting the Saudi "led" Arab peace initiative as a cornerstone of its regional peace diplomacy.

The only problem is that the supercilious Saudi king doesn't really want to lead. He can't even bring himself to give President Obama some rope with which to entice, or hang, Israel. According to news reports, Washington can't seem to squeeze any commitments about normalization from the Saudis, even if Israel freezes all settlement activity and paints the Jerusalem Old City walls in the Saudi national colors.

NOW, NOBODY was expecting the supreme Saudi king to come to Jerusalem, God forbid, Anwar Sadat style. Nor could we reasonably expect Abdullah to offer cash for resettling Palestinian refugees outside of Israel. Nor will he likely curtail the vicious anti-Israel propaganda pumped out daily to the Arab world by his Middle East Broadcasting channel (MBC) or through films like the malevolent Saudi-produced Olive Dream. Naw, that would be asking too much.

But Abdullah might have, and still could - if peace truly was his goal - authorize a meeting of Israeli and Saudi academics on desertification and desalinization or other nonpolitical environmental matters. He could quietly allow the opening of a low-level Saudi commercial interest section in a Tel Aviv-based foreign embassy, as some of the other Gulf states have already done. He could send us a Rosh Hashana card.

Heck, Israel would settle for something simple, like approval for El Al to fly over Saudi airspace en route to New Delhi and Beijing. We would even be willing to refrain from serving kosher food, flushing toilets and playing "Hava Nagila" on the speaker system as our Zionist planes traverse the sacrosanct Saudi heavens.

But no. King Abdullah can't countenance such muffled gestures toward Israel. Not even for his friend Obama.

Now here's a thought: Perhaps Obama isn't pressing the Saudis and other Arabs hard enough about normalizing ties with Israel? Perhaps Abdullah has the impression that Obama is going to "deliver" Israel to the Arabs, and wrest from Binyamin Netanyahu a settlement freeze, then withdrawals and then a handover of Jerusalem? Where oh where could Abdullah have possibly gotten that impression?

*The writer, DAVID M. WEINBERG is director of public affairs at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

It Takes a Congregation

From First Things, Jun 26, 2009 by David P. Goldman, associate editor [a.k.a "Spengler" of the Asia Times Online]:

...What is the condition of being married, and what makes it possible to attain it?

Franz Rosenzweig’s anthropology—in which religion is a response to man’s sentience of death, and the sentience of death is not only an individual but also an communal characteristic—may help answer that question. Humankind fights mortality in two ways. The first is to raise children who will remember us, and the second is to seek eternal life through divine grace. The estate of marriage involves both.

“Why do men chase women?” asks Rose Castorini in Moonstruck. “Because they want to live forever.” The data suggest that we marry and have children for just that reason.

When we cease to hope in eternal life, we no longer marry and no longer have children. That is the terrible lesson that the triumph of secularism has taught us.

In industrial countries where atheism triumphed in the form of communism, fertility rates have fallen to levels barely half of replacement. The fertility of Eastern Europe in 2005 was only 1.25 children per woman, according to the United Nations Population Prospects. Japan stood at 1.3. In secular Western Europe it was 1.6. In industrial countries where most people profess some form of religious faith, however, fertility remains at replacement levels or above. America’s fertility in 2005 stood at 2.1, and Israel’s at 2.9.

The concentration of childbearing among people of faith is evident not only from international comparison but also within countries and religious denominations. The clearest data are available for the different Jewish currents. As Steven Bayme wrote March 24 in Jewish Week, “Orthodox Jews constitute at most ten percent of the total U.S. Jewish population. Yet twenty-three percent of Jewish children are Orthodox, according to a United Jewish Communities report. Among affiliated Jewish homes 197,000 children are Reform, 153,000 are Conservative, and 228,000 are Orthodox. The smallest of the movements (Orthodox) contains thirty-eight percent of the children of affiliated Jewish homes.”

... it is not the nature of homo sapiens to breed in the absence of the hope of eternal life.

... it is marriage as a sacred institution that makes possible the perpetuation of human life.

...It is because of the image of God planted in each human being that the perpetuation of humanity is possible. Each bridal pair recreates the bliss of the first man and woman in the Garden of Eden:

Blessing Four: “We bless you, God, for forming each person in your image. You have planted within us a vision of you and given us the means that we may flourish through time. Blessed are you, Creator of humanity.”

Blessing Five: “May Israel, once bereft of her children, now delight as they gather together in joy. Blessed are you, God, who lets Zion rejoice with her children.”

Blessing Six: “Let these loving friends taste of the bliss you gave to the first man and woman in the Garden of Eden in the days of old. Blessed are you, the Presence who dwells with bride and groom in delight.”

Blessing Seven: “Blessed are you, who lights the world with happiness and contentment, love and companionship, peace and friendship, bridegroom and bride. Let the mountains of Israel dance! Let the gates of Jerusalem ring with the sounds of joy, song, merriment, and delight—the voice of the groom and the voice of the bride, the happy shouts of their friends and companions. We bless you, God, who brings bride and groom together to rejoice in each other."

The human bride and bridegroom unite in mystical emulation of God’s espousal of Israel, and the very mountains of Israel dance in joy with each wedded pair.

Husband and wife join together as a microcosm of the union of God and his people. It is the union of God and his people that makes possible holy matrimony.

The pagans of the ancient world had marriages to ensure legitimacy and inheritance, and the reproductive relationships of wedded pairs stood under the sign of the civic gods. In that respect all societies have sanctified marriage after their own fashion. But only the passionate God of Israel by espousing his people makes possible the union of khesed and ahavah...the union of the biological erotic impulse and of the uniquely human desire for eternal life.

It is not the love of the bridal couple that defines marriage. Love comes in many forms, some of them pathological. It is the fact that the love of the bridal couple seeks to conform to the eternal image of covenantal love—between God and his people—that uniquely defines the estate of marriage.

Marriage is celebrated before a holy congregation; it is the entry of the bride and bridegroom into the holy congregation in their new condition as husband as wife that makes the marriage holy. Civil marriage never quite replaces marriage before a holy congregation, but it serves a similar purpose where the predominant religious culture makes civil marriage an imitation of sacred marriage.

This may be the first time in Western history in which the sacred foundation of society, whose irreducible fundamental unit is the family, faces explicit opposition.

If militant secularism succeeds in banishing the sacred from social life, we will lose heart and perish, as the tragic victims of communism are perishing. There is nothing to be done for the infertile, aging peoples of the former Soviet empire. The best thing one can do for them is not to be like them.

Secular Western Europe already has one foot in the demographic grave. If we lose the sacred in the United States, we will follow them into Sheol. We might as well make a stand now over the sacred character of marriage, because there is nowhere to fall back from here.

And Spengler is ...

A brief excerpt only, from the Asia Times Online, Front Page, Apr 18, 2009, by Spengler*:

During the too-brief run of the Asia Times print edition in the 1990s, the newspaper asked me to write a humor column, and I chose the name "Spengler" as a joke - a columnist for an Asian daily using the name of the author of The Decline of the West....

... I argued [that]...The old and angry cultures of the world, fighting for room to breath against the onset of globalization, would not go quietly into the homogenizer. Many of them would fight to survive, but fight in vain, for the tide of modernity could not be rolled back.

As in the great extinction of the tribes in late antiquity, individuals might save themselves from the incurable necrosis of their own ethnicity through adoption into the eternal people, that is, Israel....

The end of the old ethnicities, I believed, would dominate the cultural and strategic agenda of the next several decades. ...The 300 or so essays that I have published in this space since 1999 all proceeded from the theme formulated by Rosenzweig: the mortality of nations and its causes, Western secularism, Asian anomie, and unadaptable Islam.

Why raise these issues under a pseudonym? There is a simple answer, and a less simple one. To inform a culture that it is going to die does not necessarily win friends, and what I needed to say would be hurtful to many readers.

I needed to tell the Europeans that their post-national, secular dystopia was a death-trap whence no-one would get out alive.

I needed to tell the Muslims that nothing would alleviate the unbearable sense of humiliation and loss that globalization inflicted on a civilization that once had pretensions to world dominance.

I needed to tell Asians that materialism leads only to despair. And I needed to tell the Americans that their smugness would be their undoing.

In this world of accelerated mortality, in which the prospect of national extinction hung visibly over most of the peoples of the world, Jew-hatred was stripped of its mask, and revealed as the jealousy of the merely undead toward living Israel. And it was not hard to show that the remnants of the tribal world lurking under the cover of Islam were not living, but only undead, incapable of withstanding the onslaught of modernity, throwing a tantrum against their inevitable end.

...G K Chesterton said that if you don't believe in God, you'll believe in anything, and I was living proof of that as a young man, wandering in the fever-swamps of left-wing politics. I found my way thanks to the first Ronald Reagan administration. The righting of America after it nearly capsized during the dark years of Jimmy Carter was a defining experience for me. I owe much to several mentors, starting with Dr Norman A. Bailey, special assistant to President Reagan and director of plans at the National Security Council from 1981-1984. My political education began in his lair at the old Executive Office Building in 1981, when he explained to me that the US would destroy the Soviet Empire by the end of the 1980s. I thought him a dangerous lunatic, and immediately signed on...

...My commitment to Judaism came relatively late in life, in my mid-thirties, but was all the more passionate for its tardiness. The things I had been raised to love were disappearing from the world, or changing beyond recognition.....

...Europe's high culture and its capacity to train universal minds had deteriorated beyond repair...

...Renewal could not come from music, nor literature, nor the social sciences. The wells of culture had run dry, because they derived from faith to begin with. I was raised in the Enlightenment pseudo-religion of art and beauty....

...The high culture of the West had its own Achilles' heel. Even its greatest cultivators often suffered from the sin of pride, and worshiped their own powers rather than the source of their powers. Painfully and slowly, I began to learn the classic Jewish sources. My guide back to Judaism was the great German-Jewish theologian Franz Rosenzweig, and my first essay on these subjects was published by the Jewish-Christian Relations website in 1999 under the title, "Has Franz Rosenzweig's Time Come?"

...As a returning religious Jew, I had less and less to discuss with the secular Zionists who shared my passion and partisanship for Israel, but could not see a divine dimension in Jewish nationhood. So-called cultural Judaism repelled me; most of what passes for Jewish culture comes down to the mud that stuck to our boots as we fled one country after another. The Hebrew Bible and its commentaries over the centuries are the core of Jewish culture...

...As First Things editor Joseph Bottum observed to me, "Spengler's" voice freed my style. Why not openly identify myself? Because my readers then would have jammed my thinking into the Procrustean bed of their prejudice.

In 2000, there was nothing to do but to cast my thoughts upon the waters. When the first of these essays appeared I had no expectation that they might interest a wide public. To my astonishment, they were read, and read extensively. Then came 9/11, and my tale of the existential angst of nations was borne up by the Zeitgeist. The Spengler forum at Asia Times Online grew to nearly five thousand registered members. The essays often reached a million readers a month.

*"Spengler" is channeled by David P Goldman, associate editor of First Things

Read the full article here, and other articles in The Asia Times by Spengler here.

See Goldman's biography in Wikipedia here.

The Jordan Solution

THE JERUSALEM POST, Jul. 6, 2009, by Tilman Tarach* [my emphasis added - SL]:

Former MK and journalist Uri Avnery alleges that in 1981 defense minister Ariel Sharon had planned "to encourage the Palestinians to trigger off a revolution in Jordan and to dethrone King Hussein" so as to "transform Jordan into a Palestinian state under Yasser Arafat and to negotiate the future of the West Bank with the Palestinian government in Amman."

At that time, Avnery was still a member of the Knesset. He has since become rather popular as a Jewish anti-Zionist (and anticommunist, by the way), particularly in Germany. The plan, into which he claims to have been initiated by Sharon personally, outrages him today, as if he was a confessing monarchist to whom the throne of the king of Jordan is sacred.

What would, in fact, have been the arguments against the "Jordanian option"?

And what would be the arguments against it today?

Jordan, like the remaining Palestinian areas, was originally part of theMandated Territory of Palestine governed by the British Empire, an area that would have offered sufficient space for a Jewish and an Arab state. Jordan covers 78 percent of this area, and was separated by the British as "Transjordan" in 1922. The remaining Palestinian areas, however, which today comprise Israel plus the West Bank plus the Gaza Strip, and whose total area is not much larger than Kuwait, will hardly support two sovereign states, even less if these are hostile to each other.

LET US look at the facts: Jordan's territory is more than four times Israel's, and its population density is only one sixth of Israel's. The majority of the Palestinian refugees who fled during the wars of 1948 and 1967 live in Jordan, and about 60 percent of all Jordanians call themselves Palestinians. Until 1967, the West Bank was occupied by Jordan: it was actually formally annexed, and the Palestinian Arabs living there were considered Jordanians (and, even today, they often hold a Jordanian passport). But, tellingly, none of them called for an intifada against Jordan to create a Palestinian state in the West Bank, and none of the Palestinian Arabs ever fought against the Egyptians in Gaza, who had occupied the Gaza Strip since 1948. The fighting has always and exclusively been directed against Israel's existence.

When the PLO was founded in 1964, it did not call for the liberation of the territories occupied by Jordan and Egypt, but for the destruction of Israel; nobody within the PLO talked about a Palestinian state at that time, not even Ahmed Shukeiri, until 1967 chairman of the PLO. In Article 24 of its 1964 Charter, the PLO still explicitly renounced any sovereignty claims to the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The strategy did not change until after 1967, when these territories were no longer occupied by Jordan or Egypt but by Israel. As early as in 1965, the PLO boasted of having killed 35 Jews, and the number increased as the years went on.

This shows the dishonesty of the lamentation, repeated like a mantra, that the assaults on Jews are only a reaction to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, which took place only in the course of the Six Day War.

As is well known, that very same year Israel offered to negotiate the return of all the occupied territories in exchange for genuine peace, but at the Khartoum Conference the Arab states answered with the famous triple "no": "no" to peace with Israel, "no" to recognition of Israel, "no" to negotiations with Israel. Tunisian president Habib Bourguiba was the only Arab leader who, as early as 1965, supported an agreement with Israel. The Khartoum Conference restated the old position of the notorious mufti of Jerusalem: Not an inch of sacred Muslim soil would be allowed to make up a sovereign Jewish state. In this context, it should be recalled that Jimmy Carter was the first to propose a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip; not until then did the PLO seize this suggestion.

In reality, the only viable option, which not even the Palestinians can raise reasonable objections against, is the following: The West Bank (or large parts of it) is united with Jordan, and Gaza with Egypt. (When, in February 2008, the Palestinians overran the Egyptian border fortifications into Sinai, their rallying cry, addressed to the Egyptians, was: "We are one people.")

According to surveys, 30% of Palestinians living in the West Bank are in favor of such a solution. But it meets with resistance from the Hashemite dynasty of Jordan, which fears for the loss of the throne; it therefore renounced any territorial claims to the West Bank back in 1988. As reported by the Jordanian newspaper Al-Ghad, King Abdullah considered a confederation between Jordan and the West Bank a "conspiracy against his kingdom and against the Palestinians."

All the well-known Palestinian groups demonize such a plan: The creation of a second Palestinian state next to Jordan has always been just a pretense for them to conceal their anti-Israel policies, and the recognition of Jordan enlarged by the West Bank as the state of the Palestinians would deprive them of this pretense.

Their real objective has always been the destruction of Israel and, with their phony anger at the "Zionist arrogance," they would still pursue this goal even if the Jews of Israel retreated all the way to Masada or Tel Aviv.

*The writer is a lawyer in Germany and recently published 'The Eternal Scapegoat: Holy War', 'The Protocols of the Elders of Zion' and the 'Dishonesty of the So-Called Left in the Middle East Conflict'.

This article was recently printed in German in the monthly Konkret. (Translation: Dr. Margret Szymanski-Schikora)

Israel Offers a Peace Plan that Can Work

From GLORIA, July 2, 2009, by Barry Rubin*

Israel has put forward a serious peace plan which deserves international support from anyone serious about solving the Israeli-Palestinian and Arab-Israeli conflict.

The cabinet’s five-point proposal states:
  1. “The need for explicit Palestinian recognition of the State of Israel as the national state of the Jewish people.
  2. “The demilitarization of a Palestinian state in such a manner that all of Israel's security needs will be met.
  3. “International backing of these security arrangements in the form of explicit international guarantees.
  4. “The problem of refugees must be resolved outside the borders of Israel.
  5. “The agreement be an end to the conflict. This is to say that the Palestinians will not be able to raise additional claims following the signing of a peace agreement.”

If these conditions are met, Israel will recognize an independent Palestinian state. Note that the plan claims no territory on the West Bank or even claims east Jerusalem.

This program should be quite uncontroversial and represents what Israel needs to get to justify taking risks, making concessions, and believing the result will be a real, lasting peace.

Why, then, is this plan so unacceptable to the Palestinian leadership? ...

  1. ...if they are giving up all claim on Israel why should they care how it is defined? The Palestinian Authority’s constitution defines Palestine as a Muslim, Arab state and their intention is to expel all Jews. If there are going to be two states for two peoples why not accept that Israel is for the Jewish people? The answer: because the Palestinian leadership certainly does not intend to let Israel live permanently as a Jewish state.
  2. Point two simply means that a Palestinian state would have military forces similar to what it has now. Since the PA already has the highest proportion of security forces to civilian population in the world, that should be sufficient. In addition, the Palestinian state wouldn’t invite in other armies—like Iran or Syria. But, after all, that’s in the interests of a peaceful, stable Palestine since such forces would threaten the government’s existence and provoke war with Israel.
  3. Point three says that despite the “international community’s” poor record of keeping promises made to Israel in exchange for its past concessions, Israel is ready to take a chance to achieve peace.
  4. As for point four, a real Palestinian nationalist movement would be demanding such a provision. Don’t Palestinian nationalists want Palestinians to live in Palestine to help create a strong, prosperous state? No. Instead, the PA demands that any Palestinian who ever lived or whose ancestors ever lived in what’s now Israel must be let in to live in that country. This is a formula for massive violence and Israel’s destruction which is why, of course, the PA insists on it.
  5. Point five is a no-brainer, right? Any peace agreement must be final. But, of course, almost all PA leaders regard getting a state as only a first step toward wiping out Israel. So they want to weasel out of even a two-state peace agreement ending the conflict.

With no mention of keeping east Jerusalem or settlements, it should be clear that Israel’s government has formulated a strategic stance far from being hardline.

...consider the June 22 policy speech of Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, which proves my point.

First, Fayyad complains that Netanyahu presents an “Israeli narrative” of the conflict—isn’t that his job?--while Palestinians have their own “narrative.” But then Fayyad says he won’t talk about it!

Why won’t he present that narrative? Because doing so would reveal too much about Palestinian responsibility for making peace impossible.

Israel’s narrative is clear: Jews want and merit a state; the conflict is due to Arab refusal to accept that state’s existence. But if Palestinians accept Israel as a Jewish state, there’s no bar to a two-state solution. This Israeli narrative doesn’t block a two- state solution.

In contrast, the Palestinian narrative is that Jews have no right to a state and all the land is Palestinian, Arab, and (for most) Muslim. This Palestinian narrative prevents a two-state solution since the conflict could only be settled not by Palestine’s creation but by Israel’s extinction.

That’s what Fayyad cannot admit. For this same reason he can’t say Palestinians will resettle all refugees in Palestine, won’t try to build the biggest possible army or bring in foreign troops, or will end the conflict permanently.

Second, Fayyad says something amazing: the reason the peace process failed is the misconception “that it is always possible to exert pressure on the weaker side in the conflict as if there is no limit to the concessions that it could offer.” He believes that so far this has been the PA.

That’s nonsense. Israel withdrew from most of the territory, let the PA bring in tens of thousands of Palestinians, establish its rule, build security forces, receive billions of dollars in international subsidies, and more. In exchange what did the PA do? Say to foreigners--but not in its textbooks, mosque sermons, media, or speeches to its own people--that it accepted Israel’s existence. And also to stop some selected terror attacks.

But now Fayyad and his colleagues advocate precisely the approach against Israel he says blocks peace. They view Israel as the weaker side, in relation to the West, and want those countries to force it into unlimited concessions.

By feeding the PA’s false belief that the West will press Israel into giving them a state without restrictions, Palestinian concessions, or even PA implementation of past promises, Western governments help sabotage any chance for peace. Instead, they should think seriously about supporting Israel’s moderate, workable peace plan.
*Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal.

Dershowitz doesn't get it

From Jewish World Review, July 6, 2009 , by Melanie Phillips:

A sobering view by one of Britain's most respected columnists

Alan Dershowitz is one of the most prolific, high-profile and indefatiguable defenders of Israel and the Jewish people against the tidal wave of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish feeling currently coursing through the west....
...But just like the majority of American Jews ...he is a Democrat supporter who is incapable of acknowledging the truth about this President. ...they simply cannot see what is staring them in the face — that this Democratic President is lethal for both Israel and the free world. ...Dershowitz shows that he too is just as blind.

Acknowledging the anxiety among some American Jews about Obama's attitude to Israel, Dershowitz concludes uneasily that there isn't really a problem here because all Obama is doing is putting pressure on Israel over the settlements, which most American Jews don't support anyway. But this is totally to miss the point. The pressure over the settlements per se is not the reason for the intense concern.

It is instead, first and foremost, the fact that Obama is treating Israel as if it is the obstacle to peace in the Middle East. Obama thus inverts aggressor and victim, denying Israel's six-decade long victimisation and airbrushing out Arab aggression.
The question remains: why has Obama chosen to pick a fight with Israel while soft-soaping Iran which is threatening it with genocide? The answer is obvious: Israel is to be used to buy off Iran just as Czechoslovakia was used at Munich. Indeed, I would say this is worse even than that, since I suspect that Obama — coming as he does from a radical leftist milieu, with vicious Israel-haters amongst his closest friends — would be doing this to Israel even if Iran was not the problem that it is.

In any event, the double standard is egregious. Obama has torn up his previous understandings with Israel over the settlements while putting no pressure at all on the Palestinians, even though since they are the regional aggressor there can be no peace unless they end their aggression and certainly not until they accept Israel as a Jewish state, which they have said explicitly they will never do.
On this, Obama is totally silent. So too is Dershowitz. That's some omission.

Next, Obama is pressuring Israel to set up a Palestine state — within two years this will exist, swaggers Rahm Emanuel. But everyone knows that as soon as Israel leaves the West Bank, Hamas — or even worse — will take over. The only reason the (also appalling) Abbas is still in Ramallah, enabling Obama to pretend there is a Palestinian interlocutor for peace, is because the Israelis are keeping Hamas at bay.
Yet Dershowitz writes: There is no evidence of any weakening of American support for Israel's right to defend its children from the kind of rocket attacks candidate Obama commented on during his visit to Sderot.

... If Obama has his way, Israel would not be able to defend its children or anyone else, because Obama would have removed its defences by putting its enemies in charge of them. It is astounding that Dershowitz can't see this.

...Dershowitz also grossly underplays the terrible harm Obama is doing to the security not just of Israel but the world through his reckless appeasement of Iran. In the last few weeks, this has actively undercut the Iranian democrats trying to oust their tyrannical regime, and has actually strengthened that regime. All the evidence suggests ever more strongly that Obama has decided America will 'live with' a nuclear Iran, whatever it does to its own people. Which leaves Israel hung out to dry.

But even here, where he is clearly most concerned, Dershowitz scuttles under his comfort blanket — Dennis Ross, who was originally supposed to have been the US special envoy to Iran but was recently announced senior director of the National Security Council and special assistant to the President for the region. It is not at all clear whether this ambiguous development represents a promotion or demotion for Ross. Either way, for Dershowitz to rest his optimism that Obama's Iran policy will be all right on the night entirely upon the figure of Dennis Ross is pathetic.
Ross, a Jew who played Mr Nice to Robert Malley's Mr Nasty towards Israel in the Camp David debacle under President Clinton, is clearly being used by Obama as a human shield behind which he can bully Israel with impunity. American Jews assume that his proximity to Obama means the President's intentions towards Israel are benign. Dazzled by this vision of Ross as the guarantor of Obama's good faith, they thus ignore altogether the terrible import of the actual words coming out of the President's mouth.

The fact is that many American Jews are so ignorant of the history of the Jewish people, the centrality of Israel in its history and the legality and justice of its position that they probably saw nothing wrong in Obama saying that the Jewish aspiration for Israel came out of the Holocaust because they think this too.
Nor do they see the appalling double standard in the bullying of Israel over the settlements and what that tells us about Obama's attitude towards Israel, because — as Dershowitz himself makes all too plain — they too think in much the same way, that the settlements are the principal obstacle to peace.

Many if not most American Jews have a highly sentimentalized view of Israel. They never go there, are deeply ignorant of its history and current realities, and are infinitely more concerned with their own view of themselves as social liberals, a view reflected back at themselves through voting for a Democrat President....

Monday, July 06, 2009

IAF to train overseas in coming months in face of Iranian threat

From THE JERUSALEM POST Jul. 5, 2009, by Yaakov Katz and AP:

... the IAF plans to participate in aerial exercises in the US and Europe in the coming months with the aim of training its pilots for long-range flights.

Biden was asked on ABC's This Week whether the US would stand in the way militarily if the Israelis decided they needed to take out Iran's nuclear program.

The US "cannot dictate to another sovereign nation what they can and cannot do," he said. "Israel can determine for itself - it's a sovereign nation - what's in their interest and what they decide to do relative to Iran and anyone else," he said in an interview broadcast Sunday...

...Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's government says it prefers to see Iran's nuclear program stopped through diplomacy, but has not ruled out a military strike.

Asked about Biden's comments, Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the US position on Iran and a military strike involved a "political decision. ...I'm one that thinks Iran should not have nuclear weapons. I think that is very destabilizing..." ....

IAF planes will take part this year in a joint aerial exercise with a NATO-member state that cannot be identified. In addition, later this month, the air force will send F-16C fighter jets to participate in the Red Flag exercise at the Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada. At the same time, several of the IAF's C-130 Hercules transport aircraft will participate in the Rodeo 2009 competition at the McChord Air Force Base in Washington state.

Defense officials said the overseas exercises would be used to drill long-range maneuvers. Last summer, more than 100 IAF jets flew over Greece in what was viewed as a test-run for a potential strike on Iranian nuclear facilities.

Israel has a number of defense pacts with countries under which the air force is allowed to fly in foreign airspace. In May, the French newsweekly L'Express reported that the IAF had staged military exercises over Gibraltar, some 4,000 km. away from Israel.

In 2006, then-defense minister Shaul Mofaz signed a five-year cooperation agreement allowing IDF forces to deploy in Romania for joint training exercises. In 1996, Israel and Turkey signed a bilateral defense alliance allowing their air forces to fly in each other's airspace.

...On Sunday, the London Sunday Times reported that Saudi Arabia would allow IAF jets to fly over the kingdom during any strike on Iranian nuclear facilities.

According to the report, Mossad chief Meir Dagan held talks with Saudi officials earlier this year on the topic and recently conveyed news of the green light to Netanyahu. The Prime Minister's Office issued an official denial on Sunday morning, saying the report was "completely false and baseless."

...Former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton, who recently visited the Gulf, said it was "entirely logical" for the Israelis to use Saudi airspace. Bolton, who has talked recently to a number of Arab leaders, added: "None of them would say anything about it publicly, but they would certainly acquiesce in an overflight if the Israelis didn't trumpet it as a big success."

Arab states would publicly condemn a raid when they spoke at the UN, but would be privately relieved to see the threat of an Iranian bomb removed, Bolton said.

While most experts are in agreement that there's a good chance Iran could have a usable nuclear bomb sometime during his presidency, President Barack Obama told The Associated Press in an interview Thursday, "I'm not reconciled with that."

A nuclear-armed Iran, Obama said, "probably would lead to an arms race in the volatile Mideast and that would be "a recipe for potential disaster."

He said opposing a nuclear weapons capacity for Iran was more than just "a US position" and that "the biggest concern is not simply that Iran can threaten us or our allies, like Israel or its neighbors."