Thursday, November 12, 2015

A call for unity

From Isi Leibler, November 11, 2015:
Political Cartoon by A.F.Branco ©2014
The world is experiencing a clash of civilizations with satanic forces seeking to revert to the Dark Ages. In this context, the behavior of the Palestinians has now descended to such barbaric depths that in a rational world, Israel should have the unequivocal support of all civilized people.

However, hypocritical global leaders, devoid of moral compass, have abandoned us. They relate to Israel and those seeking its destruction with moral equivalence and opportunistically collaborate with rogue states.

Moral relativism has paved the way for a realpolitik in the democratic world, which no longer relates to concepts like good and evil.
George Orwell undoubtedly could have devoted another book to the doublespeak adopted in relation to Israel. Global leaders are not merely indifferent to the fact that innocent Israeli citizens are targeted for assassination by youngsters transformed into frenzied religious lunatics by their leaders. They even condemn Israelis for defending themselves.
Western leaders refuse to recognize, that in the same way the Nazis successfully transformed Germany into a society endorsing genocide, Palestinian leaders have inculcated children, from kindergarten onward, with the notion that being killed in the process of murdering Jews is the highest form of religious martyrdom.
Our “peace partner,” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, “blesses the blood” shed in killing Jews, glorifies debased murderers, and provides millions of dollars of funds received from foreign governments as monthly salaries to those murderers in jail and pensions for their families. The bloodlust generated by frenzied lies about Jews threatening to destroy Al-Aqsa mosque and substituting it with a Jewish Temple is promoted through the mosques, schools, media and Facebook and via other social media.
Yet whilst mayhem prevails as millions of people have been displaced from their homes and hundreds of thousands have been butchered, the European Union carries a resolution effectively paving the way for sanctions against Israeli products produced over the Green Line.

It is a shocking reflection on the cynicism of Europeans, whose soil was drenched with Jewish blood during the Holocaust, that they so cravenly betray Israel, the only democratic state in the Middle East — an oasis of tranquility in a sea of barbarism — which is surrounded by neighbors openly baying for its destruction.
Even the president of the United States, our purported ally, contributes toward this poison by calling on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Chairman Mahmoud  Abbas to reduce the incitement.

Israel is on the front lines and must seek more effective means of publicizing the fact that the current Palestinian Authority is a criminal regime that promotes a culture of death — a barbaric society whose feral hatred of Jews and Israel is on a par with Hamas and ISIS.
We must repeat again and again that the Arab-Israel conflict is not a dispute between two peoples over land. The reality is that the Palestinian Authority (no less than Hamas) adamantly refuses to recognize Jewish sovereignty, as evidenced when both Yasser Arafat and Abbas even declined to make counteroffers when Prime Minister Ehud Barak and subsequently Prime Minister Ehud Olmert offered 97% of the territories previously occupied by the Jordanians.
In order to make the world understand, Israel must focus on two issues — national unity and a far more aggressive presentation of our narrative and exposure of the criminal nature of our adversaries.
National unity is crucial and will immensely strengthen us. It is scandalous that in the current circumstances, our government operates on the basis of a hairline majority of one, virtually neutralizing any flexibility of the prime minister.
The fact is that today there is a genuine consensus among Israeli Jews, the vast majority of whom believe that to annex the territories and absorb millions of additional Arabs would result in a binational state and the end of the Zionist dream. In addition, with the absence of a peace treaty and security, there is also firm opposition to ceding additional territories to the corrupt Palestinian Authority whose hatred of Israel is indistinguishable from Hamas, which in the absence of the IDF, would in all likelihood have assumed control over territories.
Even the prominent left-wing ideologue Professor Shlomo Avineri and one of the key architects of the Oslo Accords, Dr. Yossi Beilin, admit that those proposals no longer apply as the PA’s present leadership has proven to be utterly opposed to the existence of a sovereign Jewish state. There is also a broad consensus concerning the disastrous agreement consummated by the Obama administration with Iran.
Under these circumstances, the Zionist political parties should unite to face the challenges. Zionist Union Chairman Isaac Herzog, Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid and Yisrael Beytenu chief Avigdor Lieberman all share ambitions to become prime minister. But now, if they share any concern for the national interest, they should temporarily set aside their personal ambitions and unite. Likewise, Prime Minister Netanyahu should make every effort to enable them to join his government with dignity.
Needless to say, Herzog, Lapid and Lieberman would actually enhance their status with voters if they demonstrated a willingness to act in the national interest during these critical times instead of behaving like petty feuding politicians.
A unity government would curtail the continuous calls on Netanyahu to be more accommodating when he has already reached a total stalemate with the duplicitous Abbas. No other opposition leader has a realistic formula for moving beyond Netanyahu’s current policies until such time as Palestinian leaders arise who are genuinely committed to coexistence. This is currently not on the horizon. Indeed, Netanyahu has ceded far beyond what the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin had repeatedly personally pledged were red lines beyond which he would not cross.
A unity government would largely neutralize the poisonous propaganda emanating from delusional Israeli and Jewish leftists who, despite being fringe elements, inflict tremendous damage on Israel’s standing by dismissing all of Netanyahu’s policies as emanating from the extreme Right.
Such a government would also unite Jews in the Diaspora, many of whom are reeling under the pressures they face and would be reassured that their support for Israel is not for a narrow government or right-wing group, but effectively endorses the consensual will of the nation.
The second component is a need for the government to revolutionize foreign policy and cooperate with Jews and friends of Israel to promote Israel’s narrative, which is distorted by Arabs and extreme leftist propaganda.
The Palestinians’ cult of death and their ongoing determination to destroy Israel must be exposed; they are the underlying reasons why negotiations are doomed to fail in the foreseeable future, despite the fact that Israel has undertaken to conduct talks without preconditions.
We must also repeatedly expose the hypocrisy and double standards displayed by Western nations.
Many may argue that it is not worth the effort because the power of the Arab bloc, anti-Semitism, and the prevailing cynical and immoral approach adopted by most Western countries in relation to foreign policy will transcend truth and morality. Yet ultimately truth is invariably vindicated and we must exert major efforts to prevent our narrative from being distorted and ensure that our own future generations retain their national pride and appreciate the morality of our cause.
Let us be clear: Israel is confronted by painful challenges. But don’t be influenced by the prophets of doom. Life goes on in Israel. We have faced far greater threats in the past and overcome them. Terrorism dates back long before the state was even established and has never ceased.
We must also retain a sense of perspective. While each casualty is a human tragedy that impacts on the entire nation, far more Israelis are killed in road accidents than by  terror attacks. It is also important to be assured that Israel has never been as strong as it is today and has the capacity of defending itself and deterring the combined forces of all the barbarians seeking our destruction.

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Grovelling for "two states"

From A7, 7 November 2015, by Mark Langfan:

PM Netanyahu’s non-stop offerings to Abbas of the two-state solution . . . offers Abbas . . _a “demilitarized Palestinian State” if Abbas would only agree to accept Israel. But Netanyahu’s groveling offers of a two-state solution not only don’t validate Israel’s bona fides as a legitimate state, they delegitimize Israel’s very existence.

 . . Netanyahu’s offer of “talks anywhere, anytime” . . . shows pathetic desperation and rewards Abbas for his genocidal incitement and encouragement of  blood-dripping murder sprees.

Do Netanyahu’s offerings of a 'West Bank' Palestinian state make Israel appear more “legitimate” or “reasonable” to the world?  . . .  It makes Israel look like a cheap thief who was caught red-handed, and wants to start to negotiate on keeping some of his ill-gotten loot.

. . . only a petty-thief who stole the land to begin with would offer half of his land as an opening offer for negotiations.  Netanyahu’s offer of  two-states only served to convince the world that the Palestinian narrative claiming that Israel “stole the land” must be true.

Imagine a Palestinian would-be terrorist listening to Netanyahu's offer for “anywhere, anytime” talks while Abbas is inciting teenage Palestinian Arabs to murder any Jew of any age. Netanyahu’s weakness incites the Palestinian would-be stabber to action because he thinks to himself, if stabbings made Israel agree to two-state solution talks, then more stabbing of Jews will make Netanyahu even more desperate to give up territory.

. . . throughout the horror of Palestinian Arab murders, Netanyahu keeps begging for peace talks and spouting about the two-state solution.

Netanyahu’s two-state solution gambits don’t make Israel look reasonable, they don't make the world love us. Instead, they make Israel and the world’s Jews look desperate. And that is a far cry from what the Jewish State was supposed to be about.

The big Syrian bluff

From JPost, 8 Nov 2015, bJONATHAN SPYER:
poker face
Photo by: REUTERS
Talks in Vienna last Friday intended to relaunch the diplomatic process on Syria produced predictably little.
. . . the presence of the US “advisers” is unlikely to lead to major changes on the ground.
Both the fruitless Vienna meeting and the limited dimensions of the latest US engagement in Syria indicate that whatever its stated policy, the West has effectively conceded both the continued incumbency of President Bashar Assad and the continued existence of Islamic State for the foreseeable future. What is being pursued today is a policy of containment. The attempt to create an impression that anything beyond this is being conducted is a bluff.
The talks in Vienna brought together 20 countries, including Iran and Saudi Arabia, to discuss ways to end the civil war in Syria. No common ground was in evidence. Indeed, the single point of commonality on which all participants could agree – the joint commitment that Syria’s “territorial integrity” should be preserved – was itself devoid of connection to reality.
Given that Syria is divided into four distinct entities (the government enclave in Damascus and the western coastal area, the Kurdish autonomous area in the north, the areas controlled by the Sunni rebels and the Islamic State area, which itself stretches deep into Iraq), this is a commitment to “preserve” a state of affairs that no longer exists.
The participants in the Vienna talks also managed to agree that they should reconvene within a few weeks.
Later, however, even this achievement appeared to be in doubt. Iran on Monday announced that it was considering not participating in future talks, because of what it described as the “unconstructive” role being played by Saudi Arabia.
US Secretary of State John Kerry, in a statement detailing his impression of the Vienna talks, described them as “very effective.”
In a way, Kerry was right. The Vienna talks were effective in demonstrating once again the irreconcilable positions of, on the one hand, the Sunni backers of the rebellion (Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar chief among them) and, on the other hand, the supporters of the Assad regime (Iran and Russia chief among them).
There has been much speculation in the media in recent days regarding supposed differences between Moscow and Tehran concerning Syria’s future. But while there are genuine and important differences between the two on both broader regional strategy and on how best to help Assad, the bottom line commitment of both countries to the survival of the regime is not in doubt.
So given that none of the combatant sides appear close to victory, and given the pitiful state of the diplomacy around the conflict as evidenced in Vienna, it appears that the wars in Syria are set to continue.
Where does this leave Western policy vis-à-vis Islamic State, which President Barack Obama has vowed to “degrade and eventually destroy”? Defense Secretary Ash Carter, speaking to the Senate Armed Services Committee on October 27, described US policy vis-à-vis Islamic State as consisting of “three R’s” – namely,
  • Raqqa, 
  • Ramadi and 
  • raids.
Carter’s statement preceded a US announcement that 50 special forces operatives were to be deployed in northern Syria to advise and assist fighters engaged in the battle against Islamic State.
What this means is that the US supports a slow battle of attrition against Islamic State, designed to chip away at its holdings rather than seriously threaten its existence.
Regarding Raqqa, Washington supports a new coalition called the Syrian Democratic Forces. This consists of the redoubtable Kurdish YPG, which has partnered successfully with US air power in northern Syria since October, along with a number of small non-jihadist Arab rebel groups. There are no signs of this formation launching a large-scale assault on the Islamic State capital in Raqqa any time soon.
The Kurds, who are the main component, are clearly not interested in adding Sunni Arab Raqqa to their canton system. It has already become clear to them that any attempt to integrate Arab majority areas into their area of control will produce protests and claims of ethnic cleansing from supporters of the Syrian rebellion – as took place after their conquest of Tel Abyad.
Rather, these Kurdish and Arab rebel forces are presently engaged in a campaign to push Islamic State back in the countryside of southeast Hasaka province.
Their intentions toward Raqqa city at present appear to be to isolate it rather than conquer it.
Similarly, regarding Ramadi, Carter’s naming of this Islamic State-controlled city west of Baghdad indicates that the US has abandoned any hopes of an early reconquest of Mosul, the main urban holding of Islamic State in Iraq.
Instead, the Iraqi government’s preferred approach of concentrating on challenging Islamic State in Anbar province is to be followed.
But here, too, the Iraqi armed forces and the Shi’ite militias appear to be in no particular hurry to reconquer majority-Sunni Ramadi. A US-backed government offensive has been under way since early October and has made some headway. The presence of Sunni tribal fighters among those fighting Islamic State in the area indicates US desires to avoid the battle turning into a straight sectarian fight.
But as of now, despite some gains in the surrounding area, the city remains in the hands of Islamic State.
As for the third “R” – raids – it appears that behind the scenes, US personnel in Iraq will continue to observe and sometimes participate in targeted actions against Islamic State facilities, as in the Hawija raid on October 22. But no one is under the impression that such raids pose any threat to the continued existence of Islamic State.
So the US and allied war against Islamic State effectively consists of support for those elements to the north, east and south of the borders of the jihadi entity, to prevent further advances by Islamic State, and to chip away at its edges. That is, a war of containment.
Even in these terms, Islamic State has been left free to continue to advance in a western direction, because there its enemy is the Assad regime, which is not part of the coalition. Islamic State this week captured the town of Maheen from Assad’s forces, in southwest Homs province.
The US administration has tacitly accepted the continued existence of Islamic State and is engaged in trying to contain it.
Russia, too, constitutes no apparent great danger for the jihadists.
Moscow’s intervention as presently constituted is directed against the rebels, and even then mainly to preserve the regime enclave rather than to embark on a major reconquest of territory for Assad.
What all this means is that the conflict systems taking in what used to be Iraq and Syria (and Lebanon) remain at stalemate.
The de facto partition of these countries is therefore set to remain for the foreseeable future. The diplomatic and military noise suggesting otherwise is a bluff.