12/31/14

A Somber View

Arlene from Israel

Very somber, my friends.  The situation in the world is not worrisome – it’s terrifying.  Consider:

In an interview with NPR, President Obama said that Iran could become a “very successful regional power” if it agrees to a nuclear deal.  He said things must move slowly but he wouldn’t entirely rule out the possibility of opening a US embassy in Tehran before his term ran out.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/obama-iran-could-be-a-very-successful-regional-power/

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WHAT?  There is nothing on the table in negotiations with Iran at the moment that is serious enough to prevent Iran’s nuclear advancement. The Iranians – a threat to the world – are running rings around an eager Obama.

In fact:

“A commander of Iran’s widely feared Basij paramilitary corps has inadvertently confessed that the Tehran regime aims to build up an arsenal of nuclear and chemical weapons.

“Abdul Reza Dashti, the head Basij commander in Bushehr – a city on Iran’s Persian Gulf coast that contains the Bushehr nuclear power plant, one of the regime’s key installations – had been addressing the fight against ‘foreign influences’ in Iran when he made the admission, according to a report by the official news agency IRNA.”

http://www.algemeiner.com/2014/12/29/iranian-paramilitary-commander-reportedly-admits-tehrans-goal-of-achieving-atomic-and-chemical-weapons/

And see this article by Jonathan Tobin, editor of Commentary, on the Iranian situation:

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2014/12/08/iran-cheating-debunks-biden-kerry-boasts-nuclear-arak/

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Obama is worthless on this because of his own orientation, motivation. But where is everyone else? This is the stuff of nightmares.

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Then, as if there isn’t enough with the Iranian situation to prevent peaceful sleep, there is the on-going situation at the UN Security Council. Not nearly as troubling as Iran, but, yes, troubling, on several scores because of diplomatic implications, not legal ones.

Jordan has submitted a draft PA resolution to the Security Council.

Originally, Kerry had hedged on whether the US would veto such a proposal.  It was clear that he was looking for revisions that would soften its terms, so that he wouldn’t have to veto it.  But what has happened instead is that Jordan strengthened the terms, with the approval of the Arab League.

The current version calls for a complete end to Israel “occupation” within three years, with a Palestinian state to be established within the “June 1967 borders” (sic) and East” Jerusalem to be the Palestinian capital.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/new-palestinian-bid-calls-for-e-jerusalem-capital-just-solution/

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As for “East Jerusalem,” there is no such thing. There is one city of Jerusalem.  What is meant, in actuality, is all of Jerusalem past the Green Line, which includes northern and southern parts of the city as well as eastern. This is sometimes referred to as “Arab Jerusalem.”  It most certainly is not “Arab” today, as there are many Jewish neighborhoods in this part of the city. What is more, the Old City is in the eastern part of the city, as is the Jewish cemetery at Mt. of Olives – the oldest Jewish cemetery in the world, with 150,000 Jewish graves.

 

Demographic Map of Jerusalem

Credit: Keep Jerusalem

The division of the city came about at the end of the War of Independence in 1949, when Jordan (illegally) held part of the city, and an armistice line was drawn.  It is the only time in Jerusalem’s 3,000 year history that Jerusalem was divided, and it became “Arab” only because Jordan rendered it Judenrein. Prior to the Jordanian occupation, the heart of Jewish residency was to be found in this part of the city.

Jerusalem will never be divided again.

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And as to “occupation,” my friends, they can use this loaded buzz word all they wish.  Israel is not an occupier in Judea and Samaria.  It is Israel that has legal rights there.  The corollary point to be made here is that the land in no way “belongs” to the Palestinian Arabs. There has never been a Palestinian state.

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The behind the scenes politicking on this resolution issue are convoluted.

At this point Kerry will veto if necessary (the “strengthening” of its terms made this more likely), but he prefers not to.  He had implored Abbas to wait to call a vote until after the Israeli elections on March 17. His reason is infuriating: a fear that what is happening in the UN will push the Israeli electorate to the right.

Abbas said yesterday that the vote would be called in “a day or two.” And the most interesting questions have to do with why Abbas chose to ignore Kerry and move ahead anyway. It’s clear that he’s not afraid to figuratively bite the (US) hand that feeds him – this tells us a good deal about loss of American influence.

I will suggest something that is counter-intuitive on the surface but is actually reflective of the way Abbas has consistently conducted himself: Abbas does not want to win here.  We must conclude this if he is willing to buck the US, secretary of state.  Had he waited, he might have said to Kerry, look, I did as you asked, now don’t veto. Abbas does not want a state, with the concomitant burdens it implies. Nor, I would imagine, does he think he could hold on to a state for more than a week or two before Hamas pushed him out.

Abbas wants to squeeze Israel and garner PR.  Part of that PR involves showing the world how the poor Palestinian Arabs suffer setbacks in their heart-wrenching efforts to achieve self-determination.

Another possible motivation for Abbas: this may give him the excuse to go to the International Criminal Court, something he’s been threatening to do. This remains to be seen – as that too may be just a ploy.

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With this, there is one other factor at play.  The Security Council consists of 15 members: five permanent – China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States -and 10 others who rotate every two years.  Only the permanent members can veto a resolution.  For a resolution to pass, nine votes are required.  Right now, Abbas does not have those nine votes.

But here is the catch: The terms of the temporary members is up at the end of the year. As it happens, nations not supportive of this resolution – such as Lithuania and South Korea – will be replaced by nations hostile to Israel – such as Malaysia and Venezuela.  Then the chances of getting nine votes in favor would be greater.  It has been suggested that this would strengthen Abbas’s position – he would be able to say that most of the Security Council is with him because his cause is just even if the US is not.

But Abbas seems bent on not waiting for this transition in membership.  Again, we must ask why.

Since Abbas does not want to win anyway, this may be a way to allow Kerry to save face: he will not have to veto if there are not nine votes in favor.

Commentator Michael Freund, however, has another idea.  He refers to what is going on in the UN as “a diplomatic terror attack.”  No, he agrees, they don’t want to win: What they want is a rationale for “resistance,” since they can say they’ve tried diplomacy and it doesn’t work.

http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/FUNDAMENTALLY-FREUD-A-diplomatic-terrorist-attack-at-the-UN-386085

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I hope all my readers are still with me.

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Before closing I want to share a couple of painful, but hardly surprising, insights into the true nature of the Palestinian Arabs:

Last year, two Palestinian Arab terrorists who were involved in throwing rocks that killed Asher Palmer and his infant son Jonathan (when the rocks made Asher lose control of his car) were convicted of murder.  This was a much welcome landmark decision.  It was followed recently by a court decision requiring one of the terrorists, Ali Saada, to pay a hefty fine as compensation to the Asher family.

Now Issa Karake, a PA Minister in charge of “prisoner affairs” has complained about this, saying that this delegitimizes “the national resistance against the occupation.” (Emphasis added)

http://www.palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=157&doc_id=13544

In other words, he approves of killing innocent babies.

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Last Thursday evening, Avner Shapira and his daughter, Ayala, 11, were driving in the Shomron, when a firebomb was tossed at their car.  Avner yelled at his daughter to get out of the car. Had she not, she would have been killed, as it went up in flames.  As it was, she was very seriously injured – with third degree burns over more than half of her body and damage to her respiratory system.

Ayala Shapira

Where does it end?  My thoughts when this happened were murderous, I confess.  This child, whom her mother described as very intelligent in a special way, was on her way home from a special math class.

Her father, who was mildly injured, protested that such attacks are not criminal in nature, but acts of war, and should be treated as such:

We have an enemy who is trying to annihilate us and states this day and night. It’s not the IDF’s fault, rather [it’s the fault of] the security establishment which treats these acts as criminal. Criminals that need to be caught and made to stand trial as if you can stand trial during a war…it is a case of us or them; they want to kick us out of here.” (Emphasis added)

http://www.timesofisrael.com/security-forces-arrest-2-in-firebomb-attack-that-injured-israeli-girl/

Ayala, who was burned in the face, has before her the prospects of months of hospitalization and many surgeries to do reconstruction.

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Within a day or two, the firebomb perpetrators were picked up by the Shin Bet in the Arab village of Azzoun in Samaria.  They are both teenagers, and one, at 16, is under age. They told of hiding in the bushes at the side of the road, waiting for a car to approach, throwing the firebomb and then running back to their village.

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4608327,00.html

They will not be handled with sufficient severity, I am afraid – although I always wait to be surprised. It is not clear which of the two actually tossed the bomb.

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Let us circle around for a moment: if Freund is correct about diplomatic terrorism, then the PA loss in the Security Council will be used to strengthen the rationale for the sort of horrors I’ve just described.

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And yet at a bare minimum, Kerry – who will oppose certain UN gambits by Abbas – thinks we should negotiate with the PA, never mind how violent the nature they’ve exposed is. In fact, I believe if he does veto, he’ll then come to Netanyahu and say we have an obligation to sit at the table with Abbas to negotiate since he “saved” us.

See the article below that describes Abbas’s refusal to cooperate with the US last March in an arrangement that would have pressured Israel and moved a “deal” forward.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/mahmoud-abbas-is-again-insisting-on-failure/2014/12/29/6119435e-8f87-11e4-a900-9960214d4cd7_story.html?wpmk=MK0000203

This look at Abbas’s perennial insistence on failure reinforces the speculation that he also wants to fail now in the UN.

But it leaves us pondering what Kerry’s game is, since he KNOWS that Abbas is not truly on board for a two-state deal.  I will leave speculation aside here, but none of this is reassuring in the slightest.

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The good news – this is who we are:

Israel has made the world’s largest per-capita contribution to halt the spread of Ebola in West Africa, Part of the $8.75 million pledge is committed to UNICEF, for care of children stricken with the disease.  In addition, Israel has sent into West Africa fully equipped clinics and medical specialists.

http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/1.634360

The IDF recently saved the life of a Palestinian Arab baby with heart problems, who collapsed while on the way to Jordan for medical treatment. A medical helicopter airlifted him to Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, thereby saving his life.

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4608295,00.html

Sometimes it’s not hard to wonder if we are nuts. But I have concluded we most certainly are not.  We can stand proud.

12/10/14

Always Something

Arlene from Israel

It seems there is always something to contend with, a “crisis du jour,” so to speak.  I am moved to address this current “crisis” – which is really small potatoes – because the PA and the world at large are already building it into something that it is not.  As you may be exposed to distorted versions of the occurrence, I want to share the facts as I have been able to acquire them:

Zaid Abu Ein, a Palestinian Arab who was formerly a minister, today led a protest march of some 300 Palestinian Arabs in the Arab village of village of Turmus Ayya – near Shilo, in the Binyamin region of Samaria.  What they were protesting was the presence of the nearby Jewish village of Adei Ad.  There had been considerable tensions between the residents of the two villages, and this demonstration was less than peaceful: According to reports there was rioting, and the IDF used a relatively small amount of tear gas to settle things down.

Subsequently, a large group of Arabs led by Abu Ein attempted to continue their march, which was intended to go all the way into the Jewish village.  A contingent of IDF soldiers blocked their way and they tried to push past the IDF troops; this led to an altercation, with shoving back and forth.

Abu Ein then walked away and sat down on the ground.  At that point he was showing signs of distress, and apparent pains in his chest.  An IDF medic offered him medical assistance but he refused it and said he wanted to go to the hospital in Ramallah.  On the way to the hospital, he died.

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The IDF believes he died of a heart attack.  Reportedly this was a man who had diabetes and high blood pressure.
The Arabs, however, are letting it be known that we killed him.  They never miss a chance to make Israel look vicious and to represent themselves as “martyrs.”  As we might expect in such a situation, there are various accounts of what transpired.

Arabs are saying that soldiers rammed Abu Ein in the chest with their rifle butts.  An Israeli observer said this never happened and Israel National News reports that there is no video footage indicating that he had been attacked or beaten.

(There is some Arab footage, which was clearly edited. See: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4602043,00.html . Had there been footage of soldiers attacking or beating Abu Ein, it would have been distributed big time.)

Abbas is referring to “the brutal assault that led to the martyrdom [of Abu Ein].”  He called the incident “a barbaric act that cannot be tolerated or accepted.”

PA Minister Riyad al-Maliki says “Israel will pay for his death.”

There are reports from some PA sources that the PA will now discontinue all security cooperation with Israel, but I do not believe Abbas himself has said this.  There was one comment about PA intention to “now” – i.e., in light of this event – renew pursuit of unilateral efforts to secure recognition as a state.  Abbas has been doing this all along,  But it becomes oh so convenient to claim that their intention was to negotiate but Israel’s behavior makes this impossible.

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The IDF has announced that an autopsy will be done by a Jordanian team, with an Israeli pathologist present. The PA agreed to this, and subsequently I read that a Palestinian Arab doctor would also be present.

The IDF also proposed that the PA participate into a joint investigation of the occurrence, but there has been no word as to whether that will happen.

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The funeral will be Thursday, and the IDF has stationed additional troops in the area in anticipation of violence.  That there will be violence is almost a certainty.

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It is, in several regards, enlightening to know a bit more about who this Abu Ein was:

Palestinian sources have identified him as a member of the Revolutionary Council of Fatah; this is also known as the Abu Nidal Organization – a recognized terrorist organization. In 1979, he planted explosives that killed two Israelis in Tiveria, and then fled to Chicago.  Successfully extradited, he was tried and sentenced to life in prison in 1982. But a mere three years later he was part of a prisoner exchange – referred to as the Ahmed Jabril prisoner swap – done to secure the release of three soldiers.

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In 2006, he gave an interview on TV in which he praised the Oslo Accords. Please read this carefully. Talk about it being instructive!  (When he refers to “resistance,” he means violence.)

“The Oslo Accords are not the dream of the Palestinian people.  However, there would never have been resistance in Palestine without Oslo.

Oslo is the effective and potent greenhouse which embraced the Palestinian resistance

In all the occupied territories, we could not move a single pistol from place to place.  Without Oslo, and being armed through Oslo, and with the Palestinian Authority’s ‘A’ areas, without the training, the camps, the protection afforded by Oslo, and without the freeing of thousands of Palestinian prisoners through Oslo – we and this Palestinian resistance would not have been able to create this great Palestinian Intifada.” (Emphasis added)

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Clearly, Abu Ein was directly involved in the second intifada.  Marwan Barghouti, who is in Israeli prison serving five life sentences, was a leader of that intifada.  Barghouti hid in Abu Ein’s house before his capture.

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Subsequently, he served in various positions in the PA. First as deputy minister of prisoner affairs, where he was involved in the task of getting money to convicted terrorists serving in Israeli prisons.  He charged that Israeli prison conditions for Arabs were worse than what Jews suffered under the Nazis.

Most recently he served as head of the PA Committee against the Separation Wall and Settlements.

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The fact that Abu Ein was a man of violence, who embraced terrorism, does not provide proof of how he died.

But in light of all of the above, I would make two comments. The first is that he was clearly a trouble maker, and it seems very likely indeed that the IDF found it necessary to push him back and confront him today. This was not a gentle man of peace.

But more importantly: please consider what it tells us, that the Palestinian Authority selected such a man to assume official positions, including as a deputy minister.