On May 16, I had written about plans to establish a new Palestinian Arab city near Jericho, reportedly to be called Nu’aimah, which would house tens of thousands of residents and require the transfer of almost 2,000 dunam (500 acres) of land from the Jordan Valley Regional Council — which is in area C — to the PA for the project.
At that time, I indicated reports that Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, on learning about this project, ordered it stopped immediately. But the stop was until Ya’alon “could formulate a position on the issue.”
So I conferred upon Ya’alon a “tentative bravo.” “…we’ll have to wait to see what position he formulates,” I wrote.”
And now we know what his position is (at least on the record). He has given the project his go ahead.
And it is this that is absolutely NOT ACCEPTABLE.
We might say that we should not be surprised. Although this part of the picture is not making it broadly into the media, my information is that Kerry is leaning hard on the Netanyahu administration regarding concessions to the PA, and this project had the “endorsement” of the secretary of state. I would say, understanding him as I do, that Ya’alon, left to his own better judgment, would never have given this the go-ahead. It’s likely that he got the word from his boss, Netanyahu, after Kerry had “whispered” in his ear.
But I do not shrug and say, “nu, this is the way it is. This is the political situation.” Not at all.
There simply is a time to say “NO,” no matter how many words — tender or threatening — Kerry may have whispered in Netanyahu’s ear. The first and overriding reason is because this puts 10,000 Arabs in the Jordan Valley. And, you may have noticed, Netanyahu — who insists that he will never cave on security — has referred to the Jordan Valley as an area that is important for Israeli security.
And then there is the fact that this is, Area C, fully Israeli land under Oslo — an area on which the Arabs have no business building. What is happening is they are encroaching on this land in order to put facts on the ground. And we’re going to cooperate with this???
We have a government that is voluntarily giving our land away.
David Alhiani, chairman of the Jordan Valley Regional Council, says this is land that was slated for development by the Council. What is more, he says that the development of this region by the PA will effectively close off a large part of the Jordan Valley to Israelis.
Alhiani’s take is different from mine:
“The people who are going to be getting this city are criminals who started out by squatting and living in tents, then moved on to makeshift shelters, and finally began illegal construction of homes. Now the government is giving its stamp of approval to this behavior.
“The problem has been clear and growing for years, he added, but the Civil Administration chose to ignore it – and is now trying to ‘cover its tracks’ by officially legalizing the city.”
Incensed, he says the Jordan Valley Regional Council is going to fight this.
I hope that you will also be incensed.
Please! Write to Defense Minister Ya’alon immediately and tell him it is wrong to surrender Area C land in the Jordan Valley to the PA. Tell him that issues of security and Israeli rights to the land are at stake. Ask him to reverse his decision before it is too late.
This is especially important if you are an Israeli citizen (which he should be informed of) — and I ask you to share this with other Israeli citizens as well. If you are Likud voter, and disappointed with how the Likud coalition is acting, let him know this, as well.
Write also to Prime Minister Netanyahu with the same message:
No speeches, keep it short and respectful, but make your message clear.
At the bottom of this e-mail, I will prove addresses for other members of the coalition who should be contacted about this. Making noise does make a difference. Please, take the time.
In my last posting I asked you to contact JNF about the outrage of a fee paid to Bill Clinton for a speech he will give here in connection with Peres’s birthday celebration. Some of you have since written to me to share the response of JNF, which is that it wasn’t involved.
I will simply say this: A friend here took the time to investigate the story (thanks Judith!) and what seemed to be the case is that everyone was blaming someone else. There was no real consistency to the stories. It did not take long to conclude that it was unlikely that we’ll ever know the full story.
Paying Bill Clinton (or his foundation) half-a-million dollars for a speech is obscene in my book no matter who here in Israel is paying.
And you might like to see Michael Widlanski’s right-on comments regarding Peres’s bash, more broadly.
But in the end this is very small potatoes compared to giving away part of the Jordan Valley to the Arabs.
A follow-up on little Zakkai here:
Remember Zakkai? He had four surgeries by the age of two for persistent tumors on his spine. After all (benign but aggressive) tumor tissue appears to have been removed, it re-emerges.
Zakkai just had a new scan of his spine, and his parents write:
“Friday’s scans indicate that Zakkai’s tumor has reared its ugly head again… it sounds like we’re heading for some additional interventions.
“…x-rays indicate that the curvature of his spine has gotten worse (in both respects, left/right and front/back). Accordingly, our orthopedic surgeon wants to discuss options as well…”
Please, friends, continue to pray for this little boy. Rephael Zakkai Avraham ben Yakira Avigael
After more than two weeks of fighting, the Syrian army — with considerable assistance from Hezbollah — has now bested rebel troops in Qusayr, near the border with Lebanon. The city has been significantly leveled.
But with this Syrian army victory comes a major change in the dynamics inside of Syria: Assad is beholden to Hezbollah, which is now not just doing operations against Israel from its Lebanese base (something that Syrians respected), but is also operating in Syria against Muslims and is seen as an occupying force by some.
What is more, Hezbollah’s vicious fighting has exacerbated sectarian tensions in the region. Rebels, who are mostly Sunni, have expressed a particular hate for the Shiite Hezbollah fighters.
“We will not forget what Hassan Nasrallah did,” said Abu Zaid, 40, a fighter from Qusayr. “We will take revenge from him and his organization even after 100 years.”
One activist charged Hezbollah with “placing a burden on the shoulders of generations” of Shiites, similar to the burden borne by Germans after their leaders “committed massacres against the Jews.”
Many Sunnis in Lebanon, who had had enormous respect for Hezbollah at one time, now consider that Nasrallah’s troops have betrayed them.
Not surprisingly, there are reports of some 12 rockets launched at Baalbek, in Lebanon — almost certainly by rebel Syrian forces.
Rather than slowing down, the war is widening. It is disconcerting that CNN, citing the Pentagon, says that US intelligence agencies have identified three Russian amphibious warships in the eastern Mediterranean. It is believed that they are carrying weapons shipments that might be used to resupply the Syrian regime.
There has also been fierce fighting today at Quneitra, which is the Syrian city closest to the border with Israel — actually 70 meters from an IDF post. Old Quneitra is in the Israeli Golan. Rebels seized the Quneitra Crossing briefly, but then it was retaken by Assad’s troops, who took heavy losses in the battle.
According to information acquired by Israel Hayom, part of Hezbollah’s intentions in establishing a presence in Syria may be to ultimately use the Golan as a base for attacking Israel.
Speaking to the Knesset yesterday, Prime Minister Netanyahu delivered a message (in English, a language they both understand) to putative president of the PA, Mahmoud Abbas: “Give peace a chance.”
To which I say, “Mr. Prime Minister, give us a break already.”
“We are willing to discuss initiatives that are offers, not dictates, We are in favor of negotiating without preconditions immediately.”
But Abbas has said, “The ball is in Israel’s court,” referring to the need to freeze building over the Green Line. (In point of fact, there is no official freeze, but there is one to a large extent de facto.)
And Palestinian Arab negotiator Saeb Erekat declared:
“Of course we want to negotiate. No one benefits from the success of Kerry’s efforts more than us…But we want to know the agenda of the talks. We want the Israeli prime minister to utter the word 1967.”
And there are other demands up front by the PA as well.
So, how long do we keep playing this nonsensical game?
As if we didn’t have enough reasons already to by-pass the whole “peace process” debacle, here’s one more from Khaled Abu Toameh, “Radical Islam Arrives in Ramallah” (emphasis added)
“What happened on Tuesday In Ramallah — often referred to as the bastion of Palestinian secularism and moderation — serves as a reminder that radical Islam has found its way to this West Bank city.
“Hundreds of Muslim fundamentalists marched through the streets Tuesday to mark the 92nd anniversary of the fall of the Caliphate.
“The Palestinian Authority, which had in the past cracked down on Hizb-ut-Tahrir [Party of Liberation], the radical organization that led the march, instructed its security forces not to intervene, even as PA spokesmen condemned US Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts to revive peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel.
“Hizb-ut-Tahrir is a radical, Islamist political organization that calls on all Muslims to unify under an Islamic state ruled by Islamic law, Sharia, and a Caliph. The march in Ramallah was organized by members of its Palestinian branch, who, along with their fundamentalist followers, lamented the long-ago decision by the Grand National Assembly in Angora, Turkey, to depose Caliph Abdul Medjid Effendi and abolish the Caliphate.”
“…Palestinian Authority officials have not offered an explanation as to why Hizb-ut-Tahrir, whose members are frequently targeted by Palestinian security forces in the West Bank, was given permission to hold a rally in favor of jihad [holy war] against Israel.
“Some Palestinians, however, said that the decision to allow the fundamentalists to hold a rally in Ramallah was aimed at sending a message to Kerry about the challenges and threats facing the Palestinian Authority.
“The Palestinian Authority leadership, according to this theory, is using the Muslim radicals to scare Western donors into continuing, or perhaps increasing, their financial aid to the Palestinian government in the West Bank.
“But at the same time the Palestinian Authority is also shooting itself in the foot. Hizb-ut-Tahrir is an organization that openly despises the Palestinian Authority leaders, dubbing them traitors and collaborators with the enemies of Islam.”
So, if there’s any good news on the “negotiation” front, it’s the fact that I’m starting to read that Kerry is getting weary of the non-existent “process” and may turn his attention to other things. Mazel tov. I’d say there’s more than enough to keep him busy.
The not-so-good news has to do with some decisions — official and unofficial — by the Obama administration. Please see Shoshana Bryen of the Jewish Policy Center on this.
Bryen refers to the “leak” of top-secret information about specifications for the heretofore-secret US-Israel installation for Israel’s Arrow 3 missiles. She says it probably was not an accidental leak, but rather an attempt to keep Israel in line.
And then there is the new appointment of Samantha Power to be US ambassador to the UN. A serious matter that has many people greatly disturbed.
“She was prepared in 2002 to put a major American military presence in the West Bank to safeguard Palestinians from presumed Israeli brutality, and she was openly willing to have the United States force its will on Israel.”
You might also want to see the ZOA release in opposition to Power’s appointment, complete with considerable documentation.
E-mail the following members of the coalition re: the projected turnover to the PA of Israeli land in the Jordan Valley. These are all people who should hear you. Let them know that this is a time for standing on principle:
Ofir Akunis — [email protected]
Danny Danon — [email protected]
Ze’ev Elkin — [email protected]
Yuli Edelstein — [email protected]
Tzipi Hotovely — [email protected]
Yisrael Katz — [email protected]
Uzi Landau — [email protected]
Yariv Levin — [email protected]
Miri Regev — [email protected]
Gideon Saar — [email protected]
Yair Shamir — [email protected]
Yuval Steinitz — [email protected]