Motzei Shabbat (After Shabbat)
The one thing we can be certain is not on the horizon is peace — and that includes a negotiated peace between Israel and the PA/PLO.
It has been announced that talks between Israel and the PA are scheduled to start in mid-August — the 14th according to some reports — with the venue alternating between Jerusalem and Ramallah. However, as I had indicated the other day, almost to a person, serious commentators are predicting the absolute failure of those talks.
Consider the observations, for example, of Aaron David Miller (emphasis added):
“In the history of the world, nobody ever washed a rental car.
“As the champagne corks pop at Foggy Bottom celebrating Secretary of State John Kerry’s hard-earned success in launching Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, he’d be well advised to keep this piece of homespun philosophy in mind.
“People really care only about what they own. And right now, Kerry has more ownership of this effort than Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, or U.S. President Barack Obama, for that matter…
“To reach this point, Kerry has combined his own relentless and willfulness…with something else: Neither Abbas nor Netanyahu wants to say no to America’s top diplomat and take the blame for the collapse of the process… Kerry’s effort is also aided by the fact that both Abbas and Netanyahu worry that without a process of some kind, events on the ground could easily deteriorate.
“These factors proved sufficient to get them back to negotiations, but more will be required to keep them there, let alone to reach an accord…The gaps on both process and substance are wide, and the mistrust deep… If you took Kerry out of the picture, there would not even be talks about talks.
“In fact, the process Kerry has launched is backwards. Unlike the Egyptian-Israel breakthrough that led to Anwar Sadat’s historic visit to Jerusalem or the Israeli-Palestinian one in Oslo, some tough decisions were made by the parties themselves long before the United States got involved. Unfortunately, right now, the U.S. owns this one more than the parties do. And there’s a good chance, given the gaps and mistrust on each side, that owning it themselves will be much tougher than anyone imagined….”
There has been so much speculation as to why Netanyahu has caved the way he has, with some people assuming that something must have been secured from Obama in return (such as release of Pollard or assistance in hitting Iran). I see as wildly, unrealistically optimistic the notion that Obama is going to give Israel anything.
Please note what Miller wrote: “Neither Abbas nor Netanyahu wants to say no to America’s top diplomat and take the blame for the collapse of the process.”
To a considerable degree this sums it up. I wrote recently about the fact that Netanyahu’s spine resembles a wet noodle.
And on that subject I want to recommend Caroline Glick’s latest piece, “Bibi and the true believers.”
The term “true believers,” Glick explains, comes from Eric Hoffer’s “epic study of the psychological roots of fanaticism [which] described a true believer as a person so fanatically committed to a cause that no amount of reality can make him abandon it.”
“And that,” she tells us, “just about sums up Kerry, and the man he works for, US President Barack Obama.”
Glick then catalogues some of the more horrific happenings in this part of the world during the last four months: Use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime; the morphing of the Syrian civil war into a wider Sunni-Shi’ite religious war, with al-Qaeda strengthening its grip on the Syrian rebels; the upheaval in Egypt; etc. etc.
“But for Kerry and his fellow true believers the most urgent priority was to convince the Palestinians to sit in the same room as Israelis. And this week they scored a great victory for US foreign policy by achieving their goal.”
To achieve this “success,” as we all know, it was necessary for Netanyahu to agree to the release of 104 terrorists — a bottom-line demand of Abbas. Glick catalogues the insanity of agreeing to release these murderers of Jews, and proceeds to say:
“So…while Kerry and Livni see rainbows and unicorns, Abbas sees a Jew-free Palestine, with the 600,000 Jews of Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria rendered homeless refugees to make room for his anti-Semitic fiefdom.
“It is not surprising that Kerry, Obama and Livni are going along with this obscenity. It is not surprising that fanatics who pray to the god of the two-state solution think it is courageous to free Jewish-baby killers. It is not surprising they think the most important thing on the international agenda is to secure Israel’s surrender of land, our legal rights, and our ability to defend ourselves to a terrorist group that hates Jews so much it requires all of us to be gone before it will do us the favor of accepting sovereignty.
“What is surprising – and frightening – is that Netanyahu, who is not a true believer, and knows that they are true believers, is going along with this.
“Netanyahu knows that Israel cannot survive without Judea and Samaria. He knows what the Muslim Brotherhood is. He knows the nature of the Iranian regime. He knows that the PLO is no different from Hamas. Their goal is the same – they want to destroy Israel.
“Netanyahu knows that Obama is hostile to Israel and that he will not lift a finger to block Iran from becoming a nuclear power.
“So why is he going along with their insanity? In bowing to US pressure and approving the release of 104 terrorist murderers from prison, Netanyahu behaved like a coward. In bowing to US pressure not to bomb Iran’s nuclear installations, Netanyahu is being a coward.
“The most important question for Israel today then is whether our leader is capable of being anything else.”
According to Saeb Erekat, PLO negotiator, the first group of 26 prisoners will be released on August 13, with this reportedly the first of four phased releases.
There is reason to believe that the PA may continue to cooperate with the talks until the fourth phased release of their prisoners has been achieved.
We might also note here that Ehud Ya’ari — Israeli news commentator — writes that in Hamas, which is in a particularly difficult situation right now, “power is quickly shifting from veteran leaders to the Hamas members released from Israeli jails last year in exchange for hostage Gilad Shalit.”
Makes the case, in yet another context, for not releasing terrorists. But Ya’ari’s assessment of Hamas, more broadly, is worth reading in its entirety.
US intelligence officials cited in the NYTimes have reported that all the Yakhont Russian-made anti-ship cruise missiles that had been targeted by Israel, in a strike in Latakia, Syria on July 5, were not destroyed because some had been moved. Subsequently, they say, it is likely that there will be another Israeli strike soon.
This is a maliced leak, designed to weaken Israeli deterrence, and it is not the first time such leaks have come from the US.
Remember when Obama promised Israel that “I have your back”?
First came intelligence about an al-Qaeda plot to attack US interests — the location was not specified but it was presumed to be in the Middle East or other Muslim countries.
And so, yesterday, out of “an abundance of caution,” an emergency announcement was released that on Sunday, August 4, some 21 US missions — embassies and consulates, including all in Israel as well as in Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Libya, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Afghanistan and Bangladesh — would remain closed. Subsequent closings may be announced as well.
Then came the global security alert from Interpol: There has been a series of prison breaks in Iraq, Libya and Pakistan that is suspected of being connected, and linked to al-Qaeda. A world-wide search is now on-going to locate those who escaped. We’re talking about perhaps 2,000 prisoners, some high level al-Qaeda.
Britain and France are also alarmed by the current situation and planning to close their embassies in Yemen.
Dore Gold, in his piece “The return of al-Qaeda,” speaks about the prison breaks, and about the involvement of al-Qaeda with the in the al-Nusra Front rebel group in Syria.
Says Gold, “Anyone who delivered a eulogy for al-Qaida in the Middle East has been proven wrong by recent developments.”
Anyone? Oh. Remember when Obama assured the world that the US had vanquished al-Qaeda?
This, my friends, is very serious business.
Grandkids due again tomorrow. They will serve the important function of keeping me sane and centered. I will write again in a few days.