Thursday, June 02, 2011

Jerusalem Arabs Prefer Israel

From INN, 1 June 2011:
Arab residents of Jerusalem prefer Israeli rule over Arab rule, according to a survey conducted by the Palestinian Authority. Most of those questioned said they would rather live under Israel than the PA.

A majority said they would choose to move to western Jerusalem if neighborhoods in the eastern part of the city were given to the PA

From Israel Today magazine, 30 May 2011:

The Israeli Knesset's Interior Committee met on Monday to discuss future control of Jerusalem ....

Among those slated to address the committee were Arab residents of eastern Jerusalem who want to continue living under Israeli sovereignty.

That these Arabs would risk their lives to come forward and request to remain part of Israel debunks the international misconception most recently enunciated by US President Barack Obama that the Palestinian Arabs cannot reach their full potential or live dignified lives while under "Israeli occupation."

It also provides further evidence for the conclusion of Israel Today's recent cover story revealing that many Palestinian Arabs do not want an independent state, and already live in peace and prosperity with their Jewish neighbors.

Monday's Knesset gathering was called by lawmakers who are growing increasingly concerned over how parts of eastern Jerusalem are slowly falling under the de facto control of the Palestinian regime.

"Signs of Israeli sovereignty are disappearing in parts of Jerusalem that are behind the partition fence and their place is being taken by hostile elements," wrote the lawmakers. "This, despite the lack of any decision by the Knesset or the government on the matter."

They warned that this "impotence leads to the de facto division of Jerusalem."

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

US-Saudi split


Saudi Arabia is rallying Muslim nations across the Middle East and Asia to join an informal Arab alliance against Iran, in a move some U.S. officials worry could draw other troubled nations into the sectarian tensions gripping the Arab world.

Saudi officials have approached Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia and Central Asian states to lend diplomatic support—and potentially military assistance in some cases—to help stifle a majority Shiite revolt in Sunni-led Bahrain, a conflict that has become a symbol of Arab defiance against Iran.

Saudi Arabia's efforts, though against a common enemy, signal increasing friction with the Obama administration....

Prince Bandar—who was the Saudi ambassador to Washington for more than two decades—told the Pakistani generals that the U.S. shouldn't be counted on to restore stability across the Middle East ...
...Saudi officials said their campaign was broad. ..."All the major Muslim states are willing to commit to this issue if need be and asked by Saudi leadership."

The official said any potential Pakistani troops could be integrated into the 4,000-man force of mostly Saudi soldiers that deployed to Bahrain in March to defend the ruling Khalifa family against the popular domestic uprising against its rule.

...The military intervention was invited by Bahrain's Sunni monarchy, which accused Iran of driving the protest movement.....

Security forces from other Gulf Cooperation Council members joined Saudi troops in stifling the revolt, in what Saudi Arabia said was a message to Iran not to meddle in other nations' affairs. The GCC includes Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Saudi Arabia has sought to expand the GCC to include Jordan and Morocco.

..Saudi diplomats said that after the GCC force entered Bahrain in March, Riyadh dispatched senior officials to Europe and Asia to explain the operation and try to galvanize support. Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal traveled to Europe while Prince Bandar traveled to Asia.

Prince Bandar's stops included India, China, Pakistan and Malaysia. Prince Bandar, who has no spokesman, couldn't be reached for comment.

Malaysia, which is also Sunni-dominated, said this month it was willing to send troops to Bahrain, during a visit to Riyadh by Prime Minister Najib Razak. "Malaysia fully backs all sovereign decisions taken by Saudi Arabia and GCC states to safeguard the stability and security of the region in these trying times," Mr. Najib said in a statement.

...Military ties between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia go back decades. Pakistan receives hundreds of millions of dollars a year in Saudi aid, much of it in the form of subsidized oil.

The Saudi overture in Pakistan is a sign of how diplomatic friction in two distinct regions—the Middle East on one hand and Afghanistan and Pakistan on the other—could make it harder for the U.S. to pursue its goals of ending the conflict in Afghanistan, stabilizing nuclear-armed Pakistan, limiting Iran's power and keeping a lid on violent turmoil in the Mideast.

Pakistani and U.S. relations were already souring in March before the U.S. raid in Pakistan that killed Osama bin Laden, which Pakistan viewed as a violation of national sovereignty.

But Pakistan, like Saudi Arabia, relies heavily on the U.S. The U.S. is Saudi Arabia's closest strategic partner. Last year Riyadh and Washington announced a planned $60 billion arms sale, the largest in U.S. history.

The U.S. provides Saudi Arabia and other allies in the region with an air and naval shield against possible attacks by Iran, with military bases in Qatar, Bahrain and the U.A.E.

Still, U.S.-Saudi relations have soured over the past decade. Saudi Arabia was opposed to the toppling of Iraq's Saddam Hussein because of his role as a bulwark against Iranian power. And Riyadh has been skeptical of the Obama administration's efforts to engage Iran diplomatically, among other disagreements.

Riyadh upset officials in Washington in another nominal proxy fight with Iran, in late 2009, when Saudi forces entered Yemen to clear rebels from their shared border. ...

...Saudis blame the U.S. in large part for abetting the push to topple Hosni Mubarak in Egypt. The Saudis saw him as the last strong Sunni hedge against Iranian influence and fear Egypt's new government will be too friendly with Tehran...

From The NYT, 27 May 2011, by :

...The Arab Spring began to unravel an alliance of so-called moderate Arab states, led by Saudi Arabia and Egypt, which were willing to work closely with the United States and promote peace with Israel.

American support for the Arab uprisings also strained relations, prompting Saudi Arabia to split from Washington on some issues while questioning its longstanding reliance on the United States to protect its interests.       
The strained Saudi posture toward Washington was outlined in a recent opinion article by Nawaf Obaid, a Saudi analyst, in The Washington Post that suggested Riyadh was ready to go it alone because the United States had become an “unreliable partner.”...

From Bloomberg, 27 May 2011, by Alan Purkiss:

...Prince Bandar bin Sultan al Saud, who heads the Saudi National Security Council, asked Pakistani generals in March to support the intervention in Bahrain....

The prince told the generals that the U.S. shouldn’t be counted on to restore stability in the Middle East or safeguard Pakistan’s interests in south Asia...

From WSJ, 16 May 2011, by Nawaf Obaid, RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA:

A tectonic shift has occurred in the U.S.-Saudi relationship.

...For more than 60 years, Saudi Arabia has been bound by an unwritten bargain: oil for security. Riyadh has often protested but ultimately acquiesced to what it saw as misguided U.S. policies. But ...the Saudis recalibrate the partnership, Riyadh intends to pursue a much more assertive foreign policy, at times conflicting with American interests.

The backdrop for this change are the rise of Iranian meddling in the region and the counterproductive policies that the United States has pursued here since Sept. 11.

The most significant blunder may have been the invasion of Iraq, which resulted in enormous loss of life and provided Iran an opening to expand its sphere of influence. For years, Iran’s leadership has aimed to foment discord while furthering its geopolitical ambitions. Tehran has long funded Hamas and Hezbollah; recently, its scope of attempted interference has broadened to include the affairs of Arab states from Yemen to Morocco.

This month the chief of staff of Iran’s armed forces, Gen. Hasan Firouzabadi, harshly criticized Riyadh over its intervention in Bahrain, claiming this act would spark massive domestic uprisings. Such remarks are based more on wishful thinking than fact, but Iran’s efforts to destabilize its neighbors are tireless.

As Riyadh fights a cold war with Tehran, Washington has shown itself in recent months to be an unwilling and unreliable partner against this threat.

The emerging political reality is a Saudi-led Arab world facing off against the aggression of Iran and its non-state proxies.

Saudi Arabia will not allow the political unrest in the region to destabilize the Arab monarchies — the Gulf states, Jordan and Morocco.

In Yemen, the Saudis are insisting on an orderly transition of power and a dignified exit for President Ali Abdullah Saleh (a courtesy that was not extended to Hosni Mubarak, despite the former Egyptian president’s many years as a strong U.S. ally).

To facilitate this handover, Riyadh is leading a diplomatic effort under the auspices of the six-country Gulf Cooperation Council. In Iraq, the Saudi government will continue to pursue a hard-line stance against the Maliki government, which it regards as little more than an Iranian puppet.

In Lebanon, Saudi Arabia will act to check the growth of Hezbollah and to ensure that this Iranian proxy does not dominate the country’s political life.

Regarding the widespread upheaval in Syria, the Saudis will work to ensure that any potential transition to a post-Assad era is as peaceful and as free of Iranian meddling as possible.

PA continues to deny Israel's right to exist

From PMW, 31 May 2011, by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik:

The Palestinian Authority's ideology is to refuse to recognize Israel's right to exist. The media it owns and controls regularly publish articles that demonize the modern State of Israel and its establishment as a "colonialist plan".

Recently, the official PA daily went even further, not just maligning the modern State of Israel but also labeling the Jewish/Israelite presence in the land of Judea/Israel 2000 years ago as a "crude form of colonialism".

Whereas Hamas openly denies Israel's right to exist in both English and Arabic, the PA professes in English before the international community to have recognized Israel's right to exist. As documented by Palestinian Media Watch, when addressing its own people in Arabic, the PA - like Hamas - completely denies Israel's right to exist.

The following is the PA daily's defining ancient Judea/Israel as "colonialism":
"The Zionists must acknowledge publicly, in front of the world, that the Jews have no connection to the Palestinian Arab land, upon whose ruins arose the colonialist settler Zionist plan that settles and expels, represented by the Israeli apartheid state. That which occurred two thousand years ago (i.e., the Jewish/Israeli presence in the land), assuming that it is true, represents in the book of history nothing more than invention and falsification and a coarse and crude form of colonialism."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, May 27, 2011]

At times, the PA's denial of Israel's right to exist serves as the justification for its claim that Israelis should all leave their homes in Israel.

PA TV narrator addresses the Jews of Israel, asking them to leave, because Israel has no right to exist:
"Where are you [Israelis] from? Where are you from? Where are you from? Of course, you're from Ukraine; of course, you're from Germany, from Poland, from Russia, from Ethiopia, the Falasha (pejorative for Ethiopian Jews). Why have you stolen my homeland and taken my place? Please, I ask of you, return to your original homeland, so that I can return to my original homeland. This is my homeland; go back to your homeland!"
[PA TV (Fatah), May 4 and 7, 2010]

Follow this link to see other examples of denial of Israel's right to exist from the official education and PA media

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Obama wants to defend Israel, but not from bombs

Canada's Harper steers G8 to Israel-friendlier stance

From Winnipeg Free Press, 31 May 2011, by: Samuel Segev:

TEL AVIV -- The new Canadian government of Stephen Harper is emerging as one of the friendliest countries to Israel in the Western world.

This new direction became apparent in the last G8 summit, which ended on Saturday in Deauville, France. When discussing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Britain and France introduced a draft resolution supporting U.S. President Barack Obama's speeches of May 26 and May 28, but singling out the future borders between Israel and Palestine. In his speeches, Obama said that these borders should be based on the 1967 ceasefire lines "with mutually agreed swaps."

For a resolution to be binding by the G8 it has to be accepted unanimously.

After an urgent telephone conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Harper objected to the British-French draft resolution. He argued that Obama's speeches included other elements, such as the Jewishness of Israel; that the future Palestinian state should be non-militarized and that Hamas cannot be a partner for peace, unless it accepts the Quartet's three conditions -- renounce violence, recognize Israel's right to exist and accept all previous agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

If the issue of the borders is to be included, then all the other elements in Mr. Obama's speech should be also included, he argued.

After long deliberations, Harper's position was accepted. The final communique endorsed "Obama's vision" and called on both parties to resume their negotiations.

Netanyahu phoned Harper to thank him for his success.

A few days later came another Canadian friendly gesture. One year after the bloody incident with peace activists on board of the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara, Turkish activists are planning a larger naval convoy to Gaza, this time including Canadian activists. Israel considers this convoy "totally unnecessary." Food and medicines are being supplied to Gaza by Israel on a daily basis. With the opening of the Egyptian crossing to Rafah, there is no more blockade.

In a statement on the weekend, Foreign Minister John Baird urged Canadian activists to use "established channels" to bring aid to Gaza. Baird warned against participation in the Turkish flotilla, calling it a "provocation." ....

The Palestinian leadership makes peace impossible

From PajamasMedia, May 25, 2011, by Barry Rubin:

You can read for yourselves Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to the U.S. Congress.

...He said:

...They [the Palestinians] ...continue to educate their children to hate. They continue to name public squares after terrorists. And worst of all, they continue to perpetuate the fantasy that Israel will one day be flooded by the descendants of Palestinian refugees....My friends, this must come to an end. President Abbas must do what I have done. I stood before my people, and I told you it wasn’t easy for me, and I said… “I will accept a Palestinian state.” It is time for President Abbas to stand before his people and say… “I will accept a Jewish state.”

Those six words will change history. They will make clear to the Palestinians that this conflict must come to an end. That they are not building a state to continue the conflict with Israel, but to end it. They will convince the people of Israel that they have a true partner for peace. With such a partner, the people of Israel will be prepared to make a far reaching compromise. I will be prepared to make a far reaching compromise.
In other words, once the Palestinians really acknowledge — which they have not done — the Jewish connection to the land, Israel will know they are a partner for peace and make more compromises.

Now, here’s the part nobody noticed. Abbas answered Netanyahu!
In a major speech for “Nakba Day,” that is the Palestinian day of mourning that Israel was ever created in the first place, Abbas said:
We say to him [Netanyahu], when he claims — that they [Jews] have a historical right dating back to 3000 years [BC] — we say that the nation of Palestine upon the land of Canaan had a 7000 year history [BC]. This is the truth, which must be understood and we have to note it, in order to say: “Netanyahu, you are incidental in history. We are the people of history. We are the owners of history.”
Do you understand?

Netanyahu said: We have rights; you have rights. We recognize yours and when you recognize ours we can have peace. Your refusal to recognize our rights — to demand total victory for yourself (which means Israel’s disappearance) — makes peace impossible.

And here is how Abbas (whose name cannot appear in the American media without the word “moderate” being attached to him) answered: Well, we don’t recognize that you have any rights. All the rights belong to us! You are just a passing breeze that will become extinct and you are of no importance.

So that’s the bottom line. Even in the year 2011 — as happened in the year 1948 — even a relative moderate like Abbas simply cannot bring himself to say in Arabic: “Let’s share this land in a two-state solution.”

...Now you know why peace is impossible. It isn’t because Israel won’t go back to the 1967 borders. It’s because the Palestinian leadership still believes and tells its people that Israel has no right to exist.

PS: Abbas’s history is of course rubbish. There is no connection between ancient Canaanites — who don’t go back anywhere near that far — and modern Arabs. Since the Canaanites weren’t Muslims, Abbas is acting as a pure opportunist since no Arab nation accepts such pre-Islamic connections any way.

But I love that phrase he said, “We are the owners of history.” In other words, we can make up any lie we want and to Hell with the consequences.

...Abbas has told us everything we need to know about who doesn’t want peace. And here’s the reality of the Palestinian Authority position (not to mention that of its partner, Hamas): if you can’t have peace without accepting Israel’s permanent existence then it is better not to have peace at all.

Israel is what is right about the Middle East.

Transcript &Video From "Ironic Surrealism": Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu Speech U.S. Congress May 24, 2011:

Speech by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to a Joint Meeting of the United States Congress, May 24, 2011

I am deeply honored by your warm welcome.  And I am deeply honored that you have given me the opportunity to address Congress a second time.
Mr. Vice President, do you remember the time we were the new kids in town?
And I do see a lot of old friends here. And I do see a lot of new friends of Israel here.  Democrats and Republicans alike.
Israel has no better friend than America. And America has no better friend than Israel.  We stand together to defend democracy.  We stand together to advance peace.  We stand together to fight terrorism.   Congratulations America, Congratulations, Mr. President.  You got bin Laden.  Good riddance!
In an unstable Middle East, Israel is the one anchor of stability.   In a region of shifting alliances, Israel is America’s unwavering ally. Israel has always been pro-American.   Israel will always be pro-American.
My friends, you don’t need to do nation building in Israel.  We’re already built.  You don’t need to export democracy to Israel.  We’ve already got it.  You don’t need to send American troops to defend Israel. We defend ourselves. You’ve been very generous in giving us tools to do the job of defending Israel on our own. Thank you all, and thank you President Obama, for your steadfast commitment to Israel’s security. I know economic times are tough. I deeply appreciate this.
Support for Israel’s security is a wise investment in our common future.  For an epic battle is now unfolding in the Middle East, between tyranny and freedom. A great convulsion is shaking the earth from the Khyber Pass to the Straits of Gibraltar. The tremors have shattered states and toppled governments. And we can all see that the ground is still shifting. Now this historic moment holds the promise of a new dawn of freedom and opportunity. Millions of young people are determined to change their future. We all look at them. They muster courage. They risk their lives. They demand dignity. They desire liberty.
These extraordinary scenes in Tunis and Cairo, evoke those of Berlin and Prague in 1989. Yet as we share their hopes, but we also must also remember that those hopes could be snuffed out as they were in Tehran in 1979. You remember what happened then.  The brief democratic spring in Iran was cut short by a ferocious and unforgiving tyranny.  This same tyranny smothered Lebanon’s democratic Cedar Revolution, and inflicted on that long-suffering country, the medieval rule of Hezbollah.
So today, the Middle East stands at a fateful crossroads. Like all of you, I pray that the peoples of the region choose the path less travelled, the path of liberty.  No one knows what this path consists of better than you.  This path is not paved by elections alone. It is paved when governments permit protests in town squares, when limits are placed on the powers of rulers, when judges are beholden to laws and not men, and when human rights cannot be crushed by tribal loyalties or mob rule.
Israel has always embraced this path, in the Middle East has long rejected it. In a region where women are stoned, gays are hanged, Christians are persecuted, Israel stands out.  It is different.
As the great English writer George Eliot predicted over a century ago, that once established, the Jewish state will “shine like a bright star of freedom amid the despotisms of the East.”  Well, she was right.  We have a free press, independent courts, an open economy, rambunctious parliamentary debates. You think you guys are tough on one another in Congress? Come spend a day in the Knesset.  Be my guest.
Courageous Arab protesters, are now struggling to secure these very same rights for their peoples, for their societies. We’re proud that over one million Arab citizens of Israel have been enjoying these rights for decades. Of the 300 million Arabs in the Middle East and North Africa, only Israel’s Arab citizens enjoy real democratic rights. I want you to stop for a second and think about that.  Of those 300 million Arabs, less than one-half of one-percent are truly free, and they’re all citizens of Israel!
This startling fact reveals a basic truth: Israel is not what is wrong about the Middle East. Israel is what is right about the Middle East.
Israel fully supports the desire of Arab peoples in our region to live freely. We long for the day when Israel will be one of many real democracies in the Middle East.
Fifteen years ago, I stood at this very podium, and said that democracy must start to take root in the Arab World. Well, it’s begun to take root.  This beginning holds the promise of a brilliant future of peace and prosperity. For I believe that a Middle East that is genuinely democratic will be a Middle East truly at peace.
But while we hope and work for the best, we must also recognize that powerful forces oppose this future.  They oppose modernity. They oppose democracy.  They oppose peace.
Foremost among these forces is Iran. The tyranny in Tehran brutalizes its own people.  It supports attacks against American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.  It subjugates Lebanon and Gaza. It sponsors terror worldwide.
When I last stood here, I spoke of the dire consequences of Iran developing nuclear weapons.  Now time is running out, and the hinge of history may soon turn. For the greatest danger facing humanity could soon be upon us: A militant Islamic regime armed with nuclear weapons.
Militant Islam threatens the world.  It threatens Islam. I have no doubt that it will ultimately be defeated. It will eventually succumb to the forces of freedom and progress. But like other fanaticisms that were doomed to fail, militant Islam could exact a horrific price from all of us before its inevitable demise.
A nuclear-armed Iran would ignite a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. It would give terrorists a nuclear umbrella. It would make the nightmare of nuclear terrorism a clear and present danger throughout the world. I want you to understand what this means. They could put the bomb anywhere. They could put it on a missile. It could be on a container ship in a port, or in a suitcase on a subway.
Now the threat to my country cannot be overstated. Those who dismiss it are sticking their heads in the sand. Less than seven decades after six million Jews were murdered, Iran’s leaders deny the Holocaust of the Jewish people, while calling for the annihilation of the Jewish state.
Leaders who spew such venom, should be banned from every respectable forum on the planet. But there is something that makes the outrage even greater: The lack of outrage.  In much of the international community, the calls for our destruction are met with utter silence.   It is even worse because there are many who rush to condemn Israel for defending itself against Iran’s terror proxies.
But not you.  Not America. You have acted differently. You’ve condemned the Iranian regime for its genocidal aims. You’ve passed tough sanctions against Iran. History will salute you America.
President Obama has said that the United States is determined to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.  He successfully led the Security Council to adopt sanctions against Iran.  You in Congress passed even tougher sanctions. These words and deeds are vitally important.
Yet the Ayatollah regime briefly suspended its nuclear program only once, in 2003, when it feared the possibility of military action. That same year, Muammar Qadaffi gave up his nuclear weapons program, and for the same reason. The more Iran believes that all options are on the table, the less the chance of confrontation. This is why I ask you to continue to send an unequivocal message: That America will never permit Iran to develop nuclear weapons.
As for Israel, if history has taught the Jewish people anything, it is that we must take calls for our destruction seriously. We are a nation that rose from the ashes of the Holocaust.  When we say never again, we mean never again.  Israel always reserves the right to defend itself.
My friends, while Israel will be ever vigilant in its defense, we will never give up on our quest for peace. I guess we’ll give it up when we achieve it.  Israel wants peace.  Israel needs peace. We’ve achieved historic peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan that have held up for decades.
I remember what it was like before we had peace.  I was nearly killed in a firefight inside the Suez Canal. I mean that literally. I battled terrorists along both banks of the Jordan River. Too many Israelis have lost loved ones. I know their grief. I lost my brother.
So no one in Israel wants a return to those terrible days. The peace with Egypt and Jordan has long served as an anchor of stability and peace in the heart of the Middle East.
This peace should be bolstered by economic and political support to all those who remain committed to peace.
The peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan are vital. But they’re not enough. We must also find a way to forge a lasting peace with the Palestinians. Two years ago, I publicly committed to a solution of two states for two peoples: A Palestinian state alongside the Jewish state.
I am willing to make painful compromises to achieve this historic peace. As the leader of Israel, it is my responsibility to lead my people to peace.
This is not easy for me. I recognize that in a genuine peace, we will be required to give up parts of the Jewish homeland.  In Judea and Samaria, the Jewish people are not foreign occupiers. We are not the British in India.  We are not the Belgians in the Congo.
This is the land of our forefathers, the Land of Israel, to which Abraham brought the idea of one God, where David set out to confront Goliath, and where Isaiah saw a vision of eternal peace.  No distortion of history can deny the four thousand year old bond, between the Jewish people and the Jewish land.
But there is another truth: The Palestinians share this small land with us. We seek a peace in which they will be neither Israel’s subjects nor its citizens.  They should enjoy a national life of dignity as a free, viable and independent people in their own state.  They should enjoy a prosperous economy, where their creativity and initiative can flourish.
We’ve already seen the beginnings of what is possible.  In the last two years,
the Palestinians have begun to build a better life for themselves.  Prime Minister Fayad has led this effort. I wish him a speedy recovery from his recent operation.
We’ve helped the Palestinian economy by removing hundreds of barriers and roadblocks to the free flow of goods and people. The results have been nothing short of remarkable. The Palestinian economy is booming. It’s growing by more than 10% a year.
Palestinian cities look very different today than they did just a few years ago. They have shopping malls, movie theaters, restaurants, banks.  They even have e-businesses.  This is all happening without peace.  Imagine what could happen with peace. Peace would herald a new day for both peoples. It would make the dream of a broader Arab-Israeli peace a realistic possibility.
So now here is the question.  You have to ask it.  If the benefits of peace with the Palestinians are so clear, why has peace eluded us?   Because all six Israeli Prime Ministers since the signing of Oslo accords agreed to establish a Palestinian state. Myself included.  So why has peace not been achieved?  Because so far, the Palestinians have been unwilling to accept a Palestinian state, if it meant accepting a Jewish state alongside it.
You see, our conflict has never been about the establishment of a Palestinian state. It has always been about the existence of the Jewish state. This is what this conflict is about.  In 1947, the United Nations voted to partition the land into a Jewish state and an Arab state. The Jews said yes.  The Palestinians said no.  In recent years, the Palestinians twice refused generous offers by Israeli Prime Ministers, to establish a Palestinian state on virtually all the territory won by Israel in the Six Day War.
They were simply unwilling to end the conflict.  And I regret to say this: They continue to educate their children to hate. They continue to name public squares after terrorists.  And worst of all, they continue to perpetuate the fantasy that Israel will one day be flooded by the descendants of Palestinian refugees.
My friends, this must come to an end.  President Abbas must do what I have done.  I stood before my people, and I told you it wasn’t easy for me, and I said… “I will accept a Palestinian state.” It is time for President Abbas to stand before his people and say… “I will accept a Jewish state.”
Those six words will change history. They will make clear to the Palestinians that this conflict must come to an end.  That they are not building a state to continue the conflict with Israel, but to end it.  They will convince the people of Israel that they have a true partner for peace.  With such a partner, the people of Israel will be prepared to make a far reaching compromise. I will be prepared to make a far reaching compromise.
This compromise must reflect the dramatic demographic changes that have occurred since 1967.  The vast majority of the 650,000 Israelis who live beyond the 1967 lines, reside in neighborhoods and suburbs of Jerusalem and Greater Tel Aviv.
These areas are densely populated but geographically quite small. Under any realistic peace agreement, these areas, as well as other places of critical strategic and national importance, will be incorporated into the final borders of Israel.
The status of the settlements will be decided only in negotiations.  But we must also be honest.  So I am saying today something that should be said publicly by anyone serious about peace.  In any peace agreement that ends the conflict, some settlements will end up beyond Israel’s borders.  The precise delineation of those borders must be negotiated.  We will be very generous on the size of a future Palestinian state. But as President Obama said, the border will be different than the one that existed on June 4, 1967. Israel will not return to the indefensible lines of 1967.
We recognize that a Palestinian state must be big enough to be viable, independent and prosperous. President Obama rightly referred to Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people, just as he referred to the future Palestinian state as the homeland of the Palestinian people. Jews from around the world have a right to immigrate to the Jewish state.  Palestinians from around the world should have a right to immigrate, if they so choose, to a Palestinian state. This means that the Palestinian refugee problem will be resolved outside the borders of Israel.
As for Jerusalem, only a democratic Israel has protected freedom of worship for all faiths in the city.  Jerusalem must never again be divided. Jerusalem must remain the united capital of Israel.   I know that this is a difficult issue for Palestinians. But I believe with creativity and goodwill a solution can be found.
This is the peace I plan to forge with a Palestinian partner committed to peace.  But you know very well, that in the Middle East, the only peace that will hold is a peace you can defend.
So peace must be anchored in security. In recent years, Israel withdrew from South Lebanon and Gaza.  But we didn’t get peace.  Instead, we got 12,000 thousand rockets fired from those areas on our cities, on our children, by Hezbollah and Hamas.  The UN peacekeepers in Lebanon failed to prevent the smuggling of this weaponry.  The European observers in Gaza evaporated overnight. So if Israel simply walked out of the territories, the flow of weapons into a future Palestinian state would be unchecked.  Missiles fired from it could reach virtually every home in Israel in less than a minute.  I want you to think about that too.  Imagine that right now we all had less than 60 seconds to find shelter from an incoming rocket.  Would you live that way?  Would anyone live that way? Well, we aren’t going to live that way either.
The truth is that Israel needs unique security arrangements because of its unique size. Israel is one of the smallest countries in the world.   Mr. Vice President, I’ll grant you this.  It’s bigger than Delaware.  It’s even bigger than Rhode Island. But that’s about it. Israel on the 1967 lines would be half the width of the Washington Beltway.
Now here’s a bit of nostalgia. I first came to Washington thirty years ago as a young diplomat. It took me a while, but I finally figured it out: There is an America beyond the Beltway. But Israel on the 1967 lines would be only nine miles wide. So much for strategic depth.
So it is therefore absolutely vital for Israel’s security that a Palestinian state be fully demilitarized. And it is vital that Israel maintain a long-term military presence along the Jordan River. Solid security arrangements on the ground are necessary not only to protect the peace, they are necessary to protect Israel in case the peace unravels.  For in our unstable region, no one can guarantee that our peace partners today will be there tomorrow.
And when I say tomorrow, I don’t mean some distant time in the future.  I mean — tomorrow. Peace can be achieved only around the negotiating table.  The Palestinian attempt to impose a settlement through the United Nations will not bring peace. It should be forcefully opposed by all those who want to see this conflict end.
I appreciate the President’s clear position on this issue. Peace cannot be imposed.  It must be negotiated.  But it can only be negotiated with partners committed to peace.
And Hamas is not a partner for peace. Hamas remains committed to Israel’s destruction and to terrorism.  They have a charter.  That charter not only calls for the obliteration of Israel, but says ‘kill the Jews wherever you find them’.  Hamas’ leader condemned the killing of Osama bin Laden and praised him as a holy warrior.  Now again I want to make this clear.  Israel is prepared to sit down today and negotiate peace with the Palestinian Authority. I believe we can fashion a brilliant future of peace for our children. But Israel will not negotiate with a Palestinian government backed by the Palestinian version of Al Qaeda.
So I say to President Abbas:  Tear up your pact with Hamas!  Sit down and negotiate!  Make peace with the Jewish state! And if you do, I promise you this.  Israel will not be the last country to welcome a Palestinian state as a new member of the United Nations. It will be the first to do so.
My friends, the momentous trials of the last century, and the unfolding events of this century, attest to the decisive role of the United States in advancing peace and defending freedom. Providence entrusted the United States to be the guardian of liberty.  All peoples who cherish freedom owe a profound debt of gratitude to your great nation.   Among the most grateful nations is my nation, the people of Israel, who have fought for their liberty and survival against impossible odds, in ancient and modern times alike.
I speak on behalf of the Jewish people and the Jewish state when I say to you, representatives of America, Thank you. Thank you for your unwavering support for Israel. Thank you for ensuring that the flame of freedom burns bright throughout the world. May God bless all of you.  And may God forever bless the United States of America.
End transcript.

Obama on Israel: genuine antipathy or blundering amateurism?

From Washington Post, 27 May 2011, by Charles Krauthammer:

Every Arab-Israeli negotiation contains a fundamental asymmetry: Israel gives up land, which is tangible; the Arabs make promises, which are ephemeral. The long-standing American solution has been to nonetheless urge Israel to take risks for peace while America balances things by giving assurances of U.S. support for Israel’s security and diplomatic needs.

It’s on the basis of such solemn assurances that Israel undertook, for example, the Gaza withdrawal. In order to mitigate this risk, President George W. Bush gave a written commitment that America supported Israel absorbing major settlement blocs in any peace agreement, opposed any return to the 1967 lines and stood firm against the so-called Palestinian right of return to Israel.

For 21/2 years, the Obama administration has refused to recognize and reaffirm these assurances. Then last week in his State Department speech, President Obama definitively trashed them. He declared that the Arab-Israeli conflict should indeed be resolved along “the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps.”
Nothing new here, said Obama three days later. “By definition, it means that the parties themselves — Israelis and Palestinians — will negotiate a border that is different” from 1967.
It means nothing of the sort. “Mutually” means both parties have to agree. And if one side doesn’t? Then, by definition, you’re back to the 1967 lines.

Nor is this merely a theoretical proposition. Three times the Palestinians have been offered exactly that formula, 1967 plus swaps — at Camp David 2000, Taba 2001, and the 2008 Olmert-Abbas negotiations. Every time, the Palestinians said no and walked away.

And that remains their position today: The 1967 lines. Period. Indeed, in September the Palestinians are going to the United Nations to get the world to ratify precisely that — a Palestinian state on the ’67 lines. No swaps.

Note how Obama has undermined Israel’s negotiating position. He is demanding that Israel go into peace talks having already forfeited its claim to the territory won in the ’67 war — its only bargaining chip. Remember: That ’67 line runs right through Jerusalem. Thus the starting point of negotiations would be that the Western Wall and even Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter are Palestinian — alien territory for which Israel must now bargain.

The very idea that Judaism’s holiest shrine is alien or that Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter is rightfully or historically or demographically Arab is an absurdity. And the idea that, in order to retain them, Israel has to give up parts of itself is a travesty.

Obama didn’t just move the goal posts on borders. He also did so on the so-called right of return. Flooding Israel with millions of Arabs would destroy the world’s only Jewish state while creating a 23rd Arab state and a second Palestinian state — not exactly what we mean when we speak of a “two-state solution.” That’s why it has been the policy of the United States to adamantly oppose this “right.”

Yet in his State Department speech, Obama refused to simply restate this position — and refused again in a supposedly corrective speech three days later. Instead, he told Israel it must negotiate the right of return with the Palestinians after having given every inch of territory. Bargaining with what, pray tell?

No matter. “The status quo is unsustainable,” declared Obama, “and Israel too must act boldly to advance a lasting peace.”

Israel too? Exactly what bold steps for peace have the Palestinians taken? Israel made three radically conciliatory offers to establish a Palestinian state, withdrew from Gaza and has been trying to renew negotiations for more than two years. Meanwhile, the Gaza Palestinians have been firing rockets at Israeli towns and villages. And on the West Bank, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas turns down then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s offer, walks out of negotiations with Binyamin Netanyahu and now defies the United States by seeking not peace talks but instant statehood — without peace, without recognizing Israel — at the United Nations. And to make unmistakable this spurning of any peace process, Abbas agrees to join the openly genocidal Hamas in a unity government, which even Obama acknowledges makes negotiations impossible.

Obama’s response to this relentless Palestinian intransigence? To reward it — by abandoning the Bush assurances, legitimizing the ’67 borders and refusing to reaffirm America’s rejection of the right of return.

The only remaining question is whether this perverse and ultimately self-defeating policy is born of genuine antipathy toward Israel or of the arrogance of a blundering amateur who refuses to see that he is undermining not just peace but the very possibility of negotiations.

Obama: the US leader most hostile to Israel, ever?

From JPost, 30 May 2011, by CAROLINE B. GLICK:

...Since his policy speech, president has taken a series of steps that only reinforce sense that he is most hostile US leader Jewish state has ever faced.

Photo by: REUTERS

In the aftermath of US President Barack Obama’s May 19 speech on the Middle East, his supporters argued that the policy toward Israel and the Palestinians that Obama outlined in that speech was not anti-Israel. As they presented it, Obama’s assertion that peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians must be based on the 1967 lines with agreed swaps does not mark a substantive departure from the positions adopted by his predecessors in the Oval Office.

But this claim is exposed as a lie by previous administration statements. On November 25, 2009, in response to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s acceptance of Obama’s demand for a 10-month moratorium on Jewish property rights in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, the State Department issued the following statement: “Today’s announcement by the Government of Israel helps move forward toward resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

We believe that through good-faith negotiations the parties can mutually agree on an outcome which ends the conflict and reconciles the Palestinian goal of an independent and viable state based on the 1967 lines, with agreed swaps, and the Israeli goal of a Jewish state with secure and recognized borders that reflect subsequent developments and meet Israeli security requirements.”

In his speech, Obama stated: “The United States believes... the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states.”

That is, he took “the Palestinian goal” and made it the US’s goal. It is hard to imagine a more radically anti-Israel policy shift than that.
And that wasn’t Obama’s only radically anti-Israel policy shift. Until his May 19 speech, the US agreed with Israel that the issue of borders is only one of many – including the Palestinians’ rejection of Israel’s right to exist, their demand to inundate Israel with millions of foreign Arab immigrants, their demand for control over Israel’s water supply and Jerusalem – that have to be sorted out in negotiations. The joint US-Israeli position was that until all of these issues were resolved, none of them were resolved.

The Palestinians, on the other hand, claim that before they will discuss any of these other issues, Israel has to first agree to accept the indefensible 1967 boundaries as its permanent borders. This position allows the Palestinians to essentially maintain their policy of demanding that Israel make unreciprocated concessions that then serve as the starting point for further unreciprocated concessions.

It is a position that is antithetical to peace. And on May 19, by stipulating that Israel must accept the Palestinian position on borders as a precondition for negotiations, Obama adopted it as US policy.

SINCE THAT speech, Obama has taken a series of steps that only reinforce the sense that he is the most hostile US president Israel has ever faced. Indeed, when taken together, these steps raise concern that Obama may actually constitute a grave threat to Israel.

Friday’s Yediot Aharonot reported on the dimensions of the threat Obama may pose to the Jewish state. The paper’s account was based on administration and Congressional sources. The story discussed Obama’s plans to contend with the Palestinian plan to pass a resolution at the UN General Assembly in September endorsing Palestinian statehood in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

According to Yediot, during his meeting with Obama on May 20, Netanyahu argued that in light of the Palestinians’ automatic majority support at the General Assembly, there was no way to avoid the resolution.

Netanyahu reportedly explained that the move would not be a disaster. The General Assembly overwhelmingly endorsed the PLO’s declaration of independence in 1988.

And the sky still hasn’t fallen.

Obama reportedly was unconvinced. For him, it is unacceptable to be in a position of standing alone with Israel voting against the Palestinian resolution. Obama’s distaste for standing with Israel was demonstrated in February when a visibly frustrated US Ambassador Susan Rice was forced by Congressional pressure to veto the Palestinians’ Security Council draft resolution condemning Israel for refusing to prohibit Jews from building in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.

Yediot’s report asserts that Obama refused to brief Netanyahu on the steps his administration is taking to avert such an unpalatable option. What the paper did report was how George Mitchell – Obama’s Middle East envoy until his resignation last week – recommended Obama proceed on this issue.

According to Yediot, Mitchell recommended that Obama work with the Europeans to draft a series of anti-Israel resolutions for the UN Security Council to pass. Among other things, these resolutions, which Mitchell said would be “painful for Israel,” would include an assertion that Jewish building in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria is illegal.

That is, Mitchell recommended that Obama adopt as US policy at the Security Council past Palestinian demands that Congress forced Obama to reject just months ago at the Security Council. The notion is that by doing so, Obama could convince the Palestinians to water down the even more radically anti-Israel positions they are advancing today at the UN General Assembly that Congressional pressure prevents him from supporting.

Since General Assembly resolutions have no legal weight and Security Council resolutions do carry weight, Mitchell’s policy represents the most anti-Israel policy ever raised by a senior US official. Unfortunately Obama’s actions since last week suggest that he has adopted the gist of Mitchell’s policy recommendations.

First there was his speech before AIPAC. Among other things, Obama used the international campaign to delegitimize Israel’s right to exist as a justification for his policies of demanding that Israel capitulate to the Palestinians’ demands, which he has now officially adopted as US policy.

As he put it, “there is a reason why the Palestinians are pursuing their interests at the United Nations. They recognize that there is an impatience with the peace process – or the absence of one. Not just in the Arab world, but in Latin America, in Europe, and in Asia. That impatience is growing, and is already manifesting itself in capitals around the world.”

From AIPAC, Obama moved on to Europe. There he joined forces with European governments in an attempt to gang up on Israel at the G8 meeting.

Obama sought to turn his embrace of the Palestinian negotiating position into the consensus position of the G8. His move was scuttled by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who refused to accept any resolution that made mention of borders without mentioning the Palestinian demand to destroy Israel through Arab immigration, Israel’s right to defensible borders, or the Palestinians’ refusal to accept Israel’s right to exist.

If Harper had not stood by Israel, the G8’s anti-Israel resolution endorsing the Palestinian negotiating position could have formed the basis of a US-sponsored anti-Israel Security Council resolution.

Israelis planning their summer trips should put Canada at the top of their lists.

THE FINAL step Obama has taken to solidify the impression that he does not have Israel’s best interests at heart, is actually something he has not done. Over the past week, Fatah leaders of the US-backed Palestinian Authority have made a series of statements that put paid any thought that they are interested in peace with Israel or differ substantively from their partners in Hamas.

At the Arab League meeting in Qatar on Saturday, PA President Mahmoud Abbas said the Palestinian state “will be free of all Jews.”

Last week the US-supported Abbas denied the Jewish connection to the land of Israel and claimed absurdly that the Palestinians were 9,000 years old.

Equally incriminating, in an interview last week with Aaron Lerner from the IMRA newsgathering website, Palestinian negotiator Nabil Shaath said that now that Hamas was the co-leader of the PA with Fatah, responsibility for continuing to hold IDF St.-Sgt. Gilad Schalit hostage devolved from Hamas to the PA. And the PA would continue to hold him hostage.

Shaath’s statement makes clear that rather than moderating Hamas, the Fatah-Hamas unity deal is transforming Fatah into Hamas.

And yet, Obama has had nothing to say about any of this.

Obama’s now undeniable antipathy for Israel and his apparent willingness to use his power as American president to harm Israel at the UN and elsewhere guarantee that for the duration of his tenure in office, Israel will face unprecedented threats to its security. This disturbing reality ought to focus the attention of all Israelis and of the American Jewish community. With the leader of the free world now openly siding with forces bent on Israel’s destruction, the need for unity has become acute.

MADDENINGLY, HOWEVER, at this time of unprecedented danger we see the Israeli media have joined ranks with Kadima in siding with Obama against Israel in a joint bid to bring down Netanyahu’s government. Yediot Aharonot, Maariv, Haaretz, Channel 2, Channel 10, Army Radio and Israel Radio’s coverage of Netanyahu’s visit and its aftermath was dominated by condemnations of the prime minister, and praise for Obama and opposition leader Tzipi Livni, who called for Netanyahu to resign.

The fact that polling data showed that only 12 percent of Jewish Israelis regard Obama as pro-Israeli and that the overwhelming majority of the public with an opinion believes Netanyahu’s visit was a success made absolutely no impression on the media. The wall-to-wall condemnations of Netanyahu by the Israeli media lend the impression that Israel’s leading reporters and commentators are committed to demoralizing the public into believing that Israel has no option other than surrender.
Then there is the American Jewish leadership. And at this critical time in US-Israel relations, the American Jewish leadership is either silent or siding with Obama. Right after Obama’s shocking speech on May 19, the Anti-Defamation League released a statement endorsing it. Stand With Us congratulated Obama for his AIPAC speech.

With the notable exceptions of the Zionist Organization of America and the Committee for Accuracy in Middle Eastern Reporting in America (CAMERA), leaders of American Jewish organizations have refused to condemn Obama’s anti-Israel positions.

Their silence becomes all the more enraging when placed against the massive support Israel receives from rank-and-file American Jews. In a survey of American Jews taken by CAMERA on May 16-17, between 75% and 95% of American Jews supported Israel’s position on defensible borders, Jerusalem, Palestinian “refugees,” Palestinian recognition of Israel’s right to exist and the right of Jews to live in a Palestinian state.

The refusal of most American Jewish leaders, the Israeli media and Kadima to condemn Obama today makes you wonder if there is anything the US president could do to convince them to break ranks and stand with Israel and with the vast majority of their fellow Jews. But it is more than a source of wonder. It is a reason to be frightened. Because Obama’s actions over the past two weeks make clear to anyone willing to see that in the age of Obama, silence is dangerous.