Archive for the ‘Netanyahu’ category

Trump, the Pistol and Holy Branch

January 17, 2017

Trump, the Pistol and Holy Branch, Front Page MagazineCaroline Glick, January 17, 2017

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Sunday morning, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed the Paris conference as a “futile” relic of a period that is about to end.

Netanyahu said that the conference’s goal of boxing Israel into an untenable framework for dealing the Palestinians was nothing more than the “final palpitations of a yesterday’s world.”

“Tomorrow,” he intoned, “will look a lot different. And tomorrow is very close.”

Trump will take office on Friday. Since he was elected, he has given every reason to believe that Abbas and his deputies and their European and American enablers will have to either put up or shut up.

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Originally published by the Jerusalem Post

With a gun on his hip, on November 13, 1974, PLO chief Yasser Arafat stood before the UN General Assembly and made the West an offer that it didn’t refuse.

At the end of a long speech in which he rewrote history to erase all connection between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel and criminalized the very notion of Jewish freedom, Arafat declared, “Today I have come bearing an olive branch and a freedom fighter’s gun. Do not let the olive branch fall from my hand. I repeat: Do not let the olive branch fall from my hand.”

Arafat’s offer has served since that time as the foundation of European relations with the Palestinians and the wider Islamic world. It has also been the basis of US-PLO relations for the better part of the past four decades.

His trade was simple and clear.

If you stand with the PLO in its war to annihilate Israel and deny Jewish freedom, then PLO terrorists and our Arab state supporters will leave you alone.

If you refuse to join our war against the Jewish state, we will kill you.

Today, Arafat’s successor, Mahmoud Abbas, is reiterating Arafat’s offer.

Speaking Saturday at the Vatican after the Holy See decided to recognize “Palestine,” Abbas said that if US President-elect Donald Trump goes ahead with his plan to move the US Embassy to Jerusalem, it will “fuel extremism in our region, as well as worldwide.”

Abbas’s spokesman was more explicit. Saturday night, Osama Qawasmeh, spokesman for Abbas’s Fatah PLO faction and member of Fatah’s Revolutionary Council, said that if the US moves its embassy to Israel’s capital city, “The gates of hell will be opened in the region and the world.”

Abbas and Qawasmeh also said that the PLO expects that members of the international community will make Trump see the light and abandon his plan.

French President Francois Hollande’s “peace conference” on Sunday was the international community’s way of fulfilling Abbas’s demand.

As multiple commentators have noted, the conference’s purpose wasn’t to promote the prospects for peace. It was to constrain Trump’s policy options for handling the Palestinian war against Israel.

By bringing together representatives of some 70 countries to insist that Israeli homeowners are the moral equivalent of Palestinian terrorists, Hollande and his comrades hoped to box Trump into their PLO-compliant policy.

Spelling out the demand Trump is required to accept, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc-Ayrault parroted the Palestinian threats.

Asked by the French media Sunday if moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem would provoke the Palestinians, Ayrault said, “Of course.”

He then demeaned Trump’s plan to move the embassy as nothing but the regular bluster of American politicians.

In his words, “I think he [Trump] would not be able to do it. It would have extremely serious consequences and it’s not the first time that it’s on the agenda of a US president, but none has let himself make that decision.”

Ayrault is correct about Trump’s predecessors.

To one degree or another, since the early 1970s, successive US administrations have joined the Europeans in selling Israel down the river to prevent Arafat’s minions from pointing their guns at the American people.

Like the Europeans, the Americans have upheld their side of this bargain even when the PLO failed to uphold its end. For instance, in 1973 Arafat ordered his terrorists to storm the Saudi Embassy in Khartoum and take US ambassador Cleo Noel, his deputy, George Curtis Moore, and Belgian diplomat Guy Eid hostage. Arafat then ordered his henchmen to murder the diplomats after then president Richard Nixon rejected his demand to release Robert F. Kennedy’s Palestinian murderer, Sirhan Sirhan, from prison.

Instead of responding to the execution of US diplomats by siding with Israel against the PLO, the US covered up and denied the PLO’s responsibility for the attack for the next 33 years.

The US is still covering up for the PLO’s murder of US embassy personnel in Gaza in 2003. At the same time, it is providing the PLO with nearly three quarters of a billion dollars in direct and indirect annual aid, including the training and provision of its security forces.

The Europeans for their part have egged the US along throughout the years. France has generally led European efforts to convince the Americans to side with Palestinian as well as Hezbollah terrorists in their war against Israel in the name of “peace.”

Sunday morning, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu dismissed the Paris conference as a “futile” relic of a period that is about to end.

Netanyahu said that the conference’s goal of boxing Israel into an untenable framework for dealing the Palestinians was nothing more than the “final palpitations of a yesterday’s world.”

“Tomorrow,” he intoned, “will look a lot different. And tomorrow is very close.”

Trump will take office on Friday. Since he was elected, he has given every reason to believe that Abbas and his deputies and their European and American enablers will have to either put up or shut up.

Speaking of the president-elect, Henry Kissinger said that Trump is the first man in recent memory who doesn’t owe anybody anything for his victory.

The only people he is answerable to are the voters who elected him.

Trump’s electoral victory owes to his success in tapping into the deep reservoir of popular disaffection with the elitist culture and policies that have governed post-Cold War West. He has used the mandate he received from American voters to revisit the basic assumptions that have driven US policies for the past generation.

His skepticism at NATO and the EU are examples of his refusal to simply accept the received wisdom of his predecessors. Just this weekend he told Germany’s Bild magazine that he continues to question the purpose of NATO, which is a drag on US taxpayers and doesn’t fight terrorism.

He similarly restated his ambivalence toward the EU and that its open border policy has been a “catastrophic failure,” and he expects more countries to follow Britain’s lead and exit the EU.

Trump’s position on the PLO and the Palestinian war on Israel is of a piece with his wider rejection of the common wisdom of Western elites. Just as he didn’t hesitate to say that the EU mainly serves as an instrument for Germany to dominate the European market, so he has made no mystery of his rejection of the moral equivalence between Israel and Palestinian terrorists which forms the basis of the twostate formula.

Not only won’t Trump join the Obama administration and the French in criminalizing Israeli homeowners, Trump is celebrating them. He has invited the leaders of Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria – that is, the so-called “settlements” – to attend his inauguration.

And he appears dead serious about moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem.

Under these circumstances, Israel has the opportunity and the obligation to end the PLO’s ability to threaten the US, not to mention itself. It is Israel’s duty to ensure that the next time the PLO tries to exact a price in blood for America’s refusal to abide by the terms of Arafat’s blackmail, his terrorist group is finally destroyed.

Similarly, Israel is now obliged to take the lead and abandon the PLO-friendly two-state policy, which blames Israel for Palestinian terrorism, and adopt a strategy that works in its place.

Netanyahu has refused to consider any alternative until after Barack Obama is out of office.

Consultations must be scheduled for Saturday night.

Shock Israeli Poll Finds Only 4% Want a Left-of-Center Prime Minister

January 16, 2017

Shock Israeli Poll Finds Only 4% Want a Left-of-Center Prime Minister, PJ MediaAvner Zarmi, January 16, 2017

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But nowhere is this more obvious than in Israel, as a recent poll sponsored by the Jerusalem Post clearly demonstrates.

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The political Left is in full retreat across most of the world.

Certainly, this is obvious in the United States. At present, 33 of the 50 states are governed by Republicans (and one, Alaska, by a fairly conservative independent). Of the twelve most populous states in the union, only one, California, is completely controlled by the Democratic Party. The other eleven are either completely controlled by Republicans or have divided government, including New York, where the state Senate is majority GOP.

This is equally evident across Europe. In the United Kingdom, the Labour Party is a shadow of its former self. The old Liberal Party (now the Liberal-Democratic Party) barely exists, and the Conservatives have a commanding lead in Parliament. The recent government shake-up that resulted in the fall of David Cameron and the rise of Theresa May was a disagreement within the Conservative Party concerning Brexit, an argument which Cameron lost. In France, Socialist President François Hollande is clearly on his way out, and the only real question is whether he’ll be succeeded by the conservative François Fallon or the Populist Marine Le Pen. Similar developments are rocking Germany, the Netherlands, and other European governments.

But nowhere is this more obvious than in Israel, as a recent poll sponsored by the Jerusalem Post clearly demonstrates.

In order to understand the real import of this poll, it is necessary to recount some Israeli history.

Since the founding of Israel in 1948, there have been twenty Knessiyoth (the Hebrew plural of Knesset, Israel’s parliament). Over the years, the number of members has remained stable at 120, but the make-up has changed markedly.

From 1948 to 1977, Israeli politics was completely dominated by the Left. In the first Knesset, parties of the Left (including the Israeli Communist Party) held 74 of the 120 seats. In the second Knesset, elected in 1951, they held 69 seats; in the third Knesset, elected in 1955, they held 70 seats; in the fourth Knesset (1959), they held 81 seats; in the fifth (1961), they held 64 seats; in the sixth (1965), they held 68 seats; in the seventh (1969), they held 66 seats.

In the eighth (December 1973), even after the terrible debacle of the Yom Kippur War, they still held 59 seats, representing the largest single faction in the Knesset.

In 1977, the first political “revolution” (as Israeli television commentators at the time called it) occurred: Likud became the largest faction with 54 seats; the fractured Left still retained 40. Likud continued to dominate until 1984, when the government veered leftward again, and the Leftist contingent had 55 seats. The election of 1988 returned Likud to power at the head of a governing coalition, but parties of the Left still held 53 seats, a balance of power which continued until 1992, when the Left again took power, with 59 seats.

The 1996 election, which saw Benjamin Netanyahu’s first term as prime minister, was a bit anomalous in that for the first time there was an independent election for prime minister. Despite Netanyahu’s victory, the Left still held the largest faction in the Knesset with 48 seats. The dual elections for the Knesset and premiership continued in 1999, when Ehud Barak succeeded Netanyahu and the Left continued to hold the largest faction in the Knesset with 47 seats.

For the 2003 election, the dual system was scrapped. The head of the largest party was invited to form a coalition again and serve as prime minister. This election saw the rise of Ariel Sharon; the Left’s share of the Knesset stood at 46 seats. In 2006 Sharon was succeeded by Ehud Olmert, and the Left’s share dwindled to 27 seats. In 2009 their faction declined to a mere 20 seats; 2013 saw a rebound to 31 seats; and the most recent election, in 2015, saw them rebound again to 42 seats (this includes the new Joint List, an amalgam of three Arab parties and the old Israeli Communist Party, which has both Jewish and Arab members).

Nonetheless, since 2009 the Likud has been the dominant party and Netanyahu has been the prime minister. Now we arrive at the import of the present poll.

Since the so-called “Zionist Union,” a fusion of the old Labor party and Tzipi Livni’s “Movement” party, is the second largest in the Knesset with 24 seats, you might think that its leader Yitzhak Herzog would be the second most popular candidate for prime minister. You would be wrong.

The poll shows — unsurprisingly — that 39% of the Israeli electorate still consider Netanyahu their best option.

But next in line? Five other politicians who do not belong to the left.

The centrist Ya’ir Lapid has 19%, followed by Naftali Bennett of the Bayith Yehudi party at 13%, followed by Gid‘on Sa‘ar of Likud with 10%, then former Defense Minister Moshe Ya‘alon (also Likud) with 8%, and current Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) with 7%.

Herzog is dead last with 4%, falling below the poll’s margin of error of +/- 4.5%.

Even among those who voted for the left-of-center Zionist Union in 2015, 26% favored Lapid and only 15% supported Herzog.

Oh, how the mighty left has fallen in Israel, and seemingly everywhere else.

Israeli media defects show thru Bibi’s cigar smoke

January 14, 2017

Israeli media defects show thru Bibi’s cigar smoke, DEBKAfile, January 14, 2017

(Might the dislike of Trump by the Israeli left, the intensely negative coverage of Trump by America’s “mainstream media” and the apparent cordiality of the Netanyahu – Trump relationship stimulate the anti-Netanyahu media coverage in Israel — at a critical time when Netanyahu’s attention needs to be devoted to warding off or at least ameliorating Obama’s last efforts to doom Israel?– DM)

The torrent of alleged misdemeanors pouring out day after day against Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, across the front pages and prime-time news broadcasts of Israel’s mainstream media, this week developed a new angle: Predictions from the same quarters of a summer election.

If the heavily biased media were counting on the police to produce hard evidence to support their charges, they were premature. No evidence of criminal conduct has yet come to light, despite leaked innuendo to favored reporters. Police investigators continue to dig hard, spurred on by the insatiable media appetite for sensational “revelations.”

Known for his penchant for the good things of life, Netanyahu’s fondness for Cuban cigars, paid for by good, very rich, friends, is no crime; nor is imbibing expensive champagne in their company – even if both are provided as gifts in lavish quantities.

Equally, even in democratic countries, politicians are not accused of criminal activity when they engage senior newspersons in hush-hush, give-and-take swaps of favors. It is pretty much par for the course.

However, Netanyahu’s secret conversations two years ago with his arch foe, Arnon Mozes, the publisher and editor of the wide-circulation tabloid Yediot Aharonot, are being branded by the media as “extremely serious.” According to tape recordings leaked from the same police investigation, the deal on the table was this: Mozes offered to tone down his paper’s virulent campaign against the prime minister. Netanyahu would in turn “arrange” to cut down the circulation of the free tabloid Israel Today, which was established by the Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson as a platform for the prime minister to counter the systematic media campaigns against him.

Mozes was – and still is – in serious financial trouble: his paper can’t’ stand up to the competition by Israel Today. But the bargain he hoped for was unlikely to take off for three reasons:

1. The prime minister doesn’t own Israel Today. The paper’s editorial and business staff is not compelled to obey him – only the proprietor. So if Netanyahu did indeed strike a deal with Mozes, which is not proved, he would have been selling a favor that was not his to sell, and liable to be sued, if by anyone, by the real owner.

2.  According to the recordings, Netanyahu repeated that he needed to discuss the issue with Adelson. It sounded as though the prime minister was willing to consider a deal, but deferred to the owner for the final word. He even suggested that it might be possible to persuade Adelson to buy Yediot from Mozes and merge it with Israel Today.

3. Yet in their daily “revelations” on this affair, senior reporters doggedly maintain that Netanyahu calls the shots in the free tabloid. They refuse to back down from the picture they have built up in one false report after another that Netanyahu dictates editorial policy at Israel Today.

What would they say if Adelson got fed up with Netanyahu and decided to turn the paper against him? He is perfectly free to switch the paper’s editorial support to whomsoever he chooses without consulting the prime minister.

Therefore the firestorm around the “Netanyahu affair” is focusing increasingly on the pack of attackers snapping at his heels. The publications which hammer at his culpability are being exposed themselves as far from being practitioners of the neutral, honest, professional, ethical and honest standards they preach for others.

It is common knowledge in the industry that, for years now, the leading news media have habitually sold out to various political and financial interests. The names of the pens, editors and publishers for hire are known to their colleagues.

But the general public is clearly in on the secret. They know which paper or reporter is the hired mouthpiece of a politician or business interest. They are not fooled by the sanctimonious protestations of “values” and “ideals” by the pundits and columnists promoting government critics.

Rather than being scandalized by Bibi’s ways – which are no secret –many have given up reading newspapers and following TV and radio news programs – and not just because they prefer the Internet. Stacks of newspapers on offer for free at cafes, supermarkets, or gas stations are left untouched.

The paucity of readers is countered by a large print to jack up advertising rates. In a flagrant breach of ethics, some newspapers deceitfully hide advertising plugs in regular editorial content, while TV “consumer” programs may be “sponsored” for pay, without informing the public that the “advice” on offer is tainted. In some magazines, cover stories are on sale to the highest bidders, as are prominent interviews in other media.

Certainly, not a few professional journalists who plied their trade honestly have quit the media and given up writing in disgust. The Press Council, which was founded originally as an independent forum for adjudicating on matters of ethics, has held silent in the face of flagrant violationsfor the past 11 years — ever since the appointment of retired high court judge Dalia Dorner as its head – and slept soundly when the Israeli communications media descended to the pits.

Opposition rivals seeking to topple Israel’s third-term prime minister have found a ready bludgeon, the corrupt mainstream media which is more than willing to push its ferocious onslaught on Netanyahu, confident that he can be railroaded into throwing in the towel – either by stepping down or calling an early election.

Netanyahu has so far shown no sign of weakness. He insists that the charges against him are trumped up and he will outlive them all.

Netanyahu, Congress, AIPAC and the PLO

January 10, 2017

Netanyahu, Congress, AIPAC and the PLO, Front Page MagazineCaroline Glick, January 10, 2017

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Originally published by the Jerusalem Post

The whitewashing of the PLO must end.

It is not in the least surprising that the PLO-controlled Palestinian Authority did not condemn the terrorist attack on Sunday. It is not surprising because the PLO-controlled PA encouraged the attack.

As Khaled Abu Toameh wrote for the Gatestone Institute, in the aftermath of last month’s US-enabled passage of UN Security Council Resolution 2334, which criminalizes Israel, the PA went on the warpath.

Among other things, Muhammad Abu Shtayyeh, who serves as a close adviser to PLO chief and PA leader Mahmoud Abbas called for an intensification of terrorist attacks against Israelis. Shtayyeh said that now is the time to “bolster the popular resistance” against Israel.

As Abu Toameh noted, “‘Popular resistance’ is code for throwing stones and petrol bombs and carrying out stabbing and car-ramming attacks against Israelis.”

Sunday’s terrorist murderer probably was inspired by Islamic State, and its adherents’ recent truck ramming murder sprees in Nice and Berlin, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.

But Sunday’s 28-year-old cold blooded killer hailed from Jerusalem, not Nice.

His brain was washed since he was five years old by the PLO-controlled PA’s steady cycle of jihadist incitement.

From the time he was in preschool, the killer was indoctrinated to aspire to commit the mass murder of Jews he carried out on Sunday.

For 23 years, Israel and the US have empowered the PLO.

During this period, the terrorist group never took any concrete steps to promote peace. At no point in the past generation has a PLO leader ever told the Palestinians or supporters abroad that the time has come to bury the hatchet and accept Israel.

Instead, for 23 years, the PLO has openly supported Israel’s annihilation. Often that support has been stated in code words like “popular resistance” which everyone understands means murder.

To make it easy for Americans and Israelis to continue funding, arming, training and of course, recognizing the PLO as a “moderate” organization despite its continued sponsorship of terrorism, PLO members are always happy to talk about a “two-state solution” with Westerners that wish to be lied to.

But they do not hesitate to threaten anyone who rejects their lies about Jews and Israel. For instance, Abbas reacted to US President-elect Donald Trump’s plan to abide by the US law requiring the State Department to move the US embassy to Jerusalem by threatening him.

Trump’s plan will have “serious implications” for the US, Abbas told a group of visiting Israeli leftists.

PLO Executive Committee chairman Saeb Erekat said that if Trump moves the US embassy to Israel’s capital, the PLO will lobby Arab states to expel the US ambassadors from their capitals.

Jebl Mukaber, the Jerusalem neighborhood where Sunday’s terrorist lived, used to be just an Arab neighborhood in Jerusalem. It wasn’t particularly friendly.

But it also wasn’t particularly hostile.

But then for about five minutes in 1993, the PLO pretended it wasn’t a terrorist group. To the delight of the US, Israel responded by giving it operational bases in Gaza, Judea and Samaria. The PLO then went about indoctrinating residents of the areas under its control as well as throughout Israel that they must reject all forms of coexistence with Israel and work toward its destruction.

These acts of war on the ground have always been complemented by PLO efforts to destroy Israel in the court of world opinion through its unrelenting and ever escalating worldwide political war against the Jewish state.

In keeping with this state of affairs, following 2334’s passage, at the same time its members called for intensifying terrorist attacks against Israel, the PLO Executive Committee decided to escalate its international economic boycott campaign against Israel and ratchet up its campaign to convince the International Criminal Court to convict Israelis of imaginary war crimes.

Like Sunday’s terrorist attack in Jerusalem, it ought to go without saying that these actions are all acts of war against Israel.

The reason it is necessary to state what ought to be the self-evident fact that the PLO is a terrorist organization engaged in a total war against Israel and the Jewish People is because the people that are supposed to act on this reality insist on denying it. The Netanyahu government, the US Congress and US Jewish organizations led by AIPAC still refuse admit the truth about the PLO and draw the necessary conclusions.

Those necessary conclusions are similarly self-evident.

Israel and the US should cut all ties to the PLO.

The PLO should be re-designated as the terrorist group it never stopped being and treated accordingly.

Last week, the US House of Representatives passed non-binding Resolution 11, which condemned resolution 2334. Resolution 11 was shepherded through the House by AIPAC, with Prime Minister Netanyahu’s support.

The House resolution, which is set to be followed by a nearly identical Senate resolution in the coming days, is based on the proposition that 2334 is bad not because, as the Simon Wiesenthal Center rightly said, it was the worst antisemitic act of 2016. Rather, the congressional resolution rejects 2334 because it harms the chance of Israel and the PLO reaching a negotiated peace that will lead to the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Resolution 11 is marginally helpful because it rejects economic and political warfare against Israel. But substantively, in regard to the PLO and its legitimacy, the greatest difference between Resolution 11 and 2334 is that while 2334 embraces the PLO’s anti-Jewish rejection of all Jewish ties to Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, Resolution 11 recognizes Israel’s right to the Western Wall and the Jewish Quarter.

Beyond Jerusalem’s Old City, Congress’s resolution accepts the pro-PLO position that it is a good idea to work toward the forcible expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Jews from their homes in Judea and Samaria to make room for a Jew-free Palestinian state led by PLO terrorists.

To credit its position, the House resolution states that 2334’s refusal to distinguish between Jerusalem’s Old City and Judea and Samaria means it equates “these sites with outposts in the West Bank that the Israeli government has deemed illegal.”

The problem with this wording is that it ignores the fact that the Knesset is about to pass a law that would effectively cancel that delineation. Similarly, it ignores that the delineation of Israeli communities built since 2000 in Judea and Samaria as illegal was done by a radical Justice Ministry attorney who now heads the post-Zionist New Israel Fund.

In other words, Congress’s resolution reflects the view of the far-left fringes of the Israeli political spectrum.

Supported by Netanyahu, AIPAC shepherded this resolution through the House, despite harsh opposition from the House Freedom Caucus whose members wish to end US support for the PLO and for a PLO state.

Although AIPAC condemned the Obama administration’s refusal to veto 2334, it continues to fervently support the PLO and Palestinian statehood. Indeed, just days after 2334 passed, AIPAC officials and missions were meeting with Erekat and other PLO operatives in Ramallah, as if there is anything pro-Israel about meeting with people who just got the Security Council to resolve that Israel is a criminal state.

AIPAC’s continued support for the PLO no doubt stems in part from its desire to keep the Democratic Party inside the pro-Israel tent. Unfortunately, that ship seems to have sailed.

Nearly 40% of House Democrats including minority leader Nancy Pelosi and assistant leader Jim Clyburn voted against the PLO state supporting resolution.

Rep. Keith Ellison, who is the front-runner to be elected Democratic National Committee chairman later this month, also voted no. Two thirds of the 95 Democrats supported by J Street opposed the resolution.

Most of the Democrats that supported Resolution 11 may well have supported it even if it had left out the goal of giving the PLO a state. It cannot be credibly argued that Reps. Elliot Engel and Steny Hoyer would have opposed Resolution 11 if it had simply stated that 2334 was antisemitic.

Certainly it is hard to argue they would have opposed it if the vote was delayed until January 21. Indeed, it is hard to understand why it was necessary to pass the resolution while President Barack Obama – who partnered with the PLO to pass 2334 – is still in office.

Resolution 2334’s passage must be viewed as an inflection point. It is no longer possible to credibly argue that the PLO is remotely interested in peace with Israel. Sunday’s murderous terrorist attack Jerusalem was further testament of this truth.

The time has come for Israelis and Israel’s supporters in the US to demand that our leaders – from Prime Minister Netanyahu to AIPAC to members of Congress – finally recognize and act of this truth. The whitewashing of the PLO must end.

John Kerry, Those “Illegal” Settlements, That “Two-State Solution” (Part II)

January 4, 2017

John Kerry, Those “Illegal” Settlements, That “Two-State Solution” (Part II), Jihad Watch

(Part I of the series is available here. — DM)

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After the Six-Day War, while the Israelis waited for the Arabs to make that phone call about peace negotiations that never came, the Arabs had other ideas. First, they announced at a meeting in the Sudanese capital of the Arab League “the three No’s of Khartoum”: No peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, and no negotiations with Israel. Who and what – before a single “settlement” was started — was then the “obstacle to peace”? Second, the Arabs and their willing collaborators began to speak about, and thus to reify, out of the local Arabs in Israel, Gaza, the West Bank, and in the refugee camps, a “Palestinian people.” This fiction, which Secretary Kerry uncritically accepts (to be fair, so do millions of others), was designed for propaganda purposes, and has proven to be a stunningly effective weapon against Israel. No Arab leaders or diplomats or intellectuals mentioned the “Palestinian people” until 1967, when the need for such became apparent. As Zuheir Mohsen, leader of the Palestinian Arab terror group As Saiqa, famously told a journalist in 1977:

The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct “Palestinian people” to oppose Zionism. Yes, the existence of a separate Palestinian identity exists only for tactical reasons, Jordan, which is a sovereign state with defined borders, cannot raise claims to Haifa and Jaffa, while as a Palestinian, I can undoubtedly demand Haifa, Jaffa, Beer-Sheva and Jerusalem. However, the moment we reclaim our right to all of Palestine, we will not wait even a minute to unite Palestine and Jordan.

Yet Kerry insists that U. N. Resolution 181 — the “Partition Plan” — was meant to “realize the national aspirations of both Jews and Palestinians.” In 1947, there were no “Palestinians” with “national aspirations.” The invading Arab states never mentioned these “Palestinians” and had no intention of giving up whatever territory they managed to win to a nonexistent “Palestinian” people. And in 1947, the “national aspirations” of the Jews were betrayed when they were left by the Partition Plan with only about half of what had been promised under the Palestine Mandate, or – if we include eastern Palestine — only 23% of the territory promised before eastern Palestine had been transformed into the Emirate of Transjordan. To the extent that the local Arabs had any “national aspirations,” they were to destroy the Jewish state. In any case, Resolution 181 became a dead letter when the Arabs unanimously rejected it and then invaded Israel. Kerry wants to resuscitate it.

Kerry then moves on to Resolution 242, and what he, and Resolution 2334, call “occupied Palestinian territory.” But the word “occupied” has both a colloquial and a legal meaning, and this confusion between the two meanings has been well exploited by the Arabs. Israel is an “occupier” in the colloquial sense: through force of arms, it has “occupied” certain territories. But Israel is not only a “military occupier” of the West Bank, in the way that it was an “occupier” of the Sinai. Israel’s legal (historic, moral) claim to the West Bank, under the Mandate for Palestine, remains.

The constant use of the phrase “occupied territory,” or still worse, “occupied Palestinian territory” by John Kerry and so many others suggests that Israel has no claim to the “West Bank” or Gaza other than the temporary one of being a military occupant. One thinks in this regard of such examples as “Occupied Berlin,” “Occupied Vienna,” “Occupied Paris,” “Occupied Japan.” In all of these examples, the word “occupied” signals that the territory in question is under the control of a victorious power or powers, that control having been won through military conquest, and the claim to that territory is understood to be only temporary, based solely on that military occupation. But Israel’s claim to the “West Bank” is not based on the fact of military occupation. Rather, the West Bank is properly thought of as an unallocated part of the Palestine Mandate, and the provisions of the League of Nations’ Mandate still apply. Had Israel managed to capture all of the West Bank in the 1948-49 war, it could have exercised its rights under the Mandate, and incorporated all of that territory into the Jewish state. The fact that the Jews did not end up in possession of Gaza and the “West Bank” at the close of hostilities in 1949 war did not change the legal status of those territories. Israel’s claim based on the Mandate itself was not extinguished. Of course, had the Arabs accepted the Partition Plan, as Israel had done, then Israel would have been obligated to stand by its own acceptance, but the Arab refusal to do so freed Israel from any such obligation. The Six-Day War allowed Israel, by coming into possession of the West Bank by force of arms, to finally exercise its right, based on the Mandate, to establish settlements in that territory.

The claim under the Mandate was reinforced, rather than weakened, by Resolution 242’s insistence that territorial adjustments be made to guarantee Israel’s security (“secure borders”). And when Israel voluntarily gave up the Sinai to Egypt, and later handed Gaza over to “Palestinian” Arab rule – for reasons of realpolitik– that had no bearing on Israel’s continued claim to the “West Bank.”

So what has John Kerry carefully not said in his ill-tempered attack on Israel that has apparently so heartened Hamas? He has failed to mention the most important foundational document for Israel, the Mandate for Palestine, which enshrines Israel’s legal, moral, and historic rights to establish Jewish settlements everywhere in Palestine, from the Jordan to the sea, including all of the West Bank. Not only are those settlements not illegal, but they were, and still are, to be “encouraged” under the express terms of the Mandate. He has failed to mention, too, that Israel gave up fully 95% of what it won in the Six-Day War, and failed to mention the endless Israeli efforts to engage the “Palestinians” in real peace talks, not Rose Garden photo ops; those Israeli efforts have always been rebuffed. When at Camp David in 2000 Ehud Barak made the astounding offer to Yassir Arafat of fully 95% of the West Bank, Arafat refused.

This puts quite a different spin on Israeli behavior from that which Kerry presents. For him, it is Israel that keeps trying to deny the “Palestinians” everything, whereas it is those same “Palestinians” under Abbas as under Arafat, who have turned down Israeli offers, and most important, continue to refuse even to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. The list of Arab refusals starts with the Partition Plan of 1947, then the refusal to make the armistice lines of 1949 into permanent borders as offered by Israel, then the further refusal, for 12 years after the Six-Day War, by all the Arab states to recognize, or to negotiate, or to make peace with Israel (the Three No’s of Khartoum) until Sadat made his separate peace.

And even Kerry’s whipping-boy, Prime Minister Netanyahu, whose government he describes as “the most right-wing” in Israel’s history, in November 2009 put in place a 10-month freeze on settlements, hoping thereby to get the Palestinians back to the negotiating table. It didn’t work. And Kerry, of course, doesn’t mention Netanyahu’s attempt. Far from clinging adamantly to territories it won, Israel has been remarkably generous in giving up territories. The minute Anwar Sadat decided he would break ranks with the other Arabs and negotiate for Egypt alone, he found the Israelis willing, in exchange for a peace treaty, to hand back the entire Sinai. How often, in human history, has a nation victorious in war handed back all the territory it won to an aggressor?

Israel went even further with its concessions in Gaza, removing all of the Jewish settlements, handing Gaza back to the local “Palestinians,” without receiving anything in return but rockets and bombs. Yet Secretary Kerry dares to present Israel as the obstacle to peace, with the “Palestinian” campaigns of terror, and celebrations of terrorists, mentioned only in passing, while the Israeli “settlements” – specifically authorized by the Mandate – are treated, at great length, as “illegal.” He finds the Israelis bizarre in their belief, one that they have come to most reluctantly, that IDF control of the West Bank is a better way to preserve peace than a peace treaty signed with the likes of Mahmoud Abbas. Kerry is outraged that Israelis dare to insist they have a legal right to establish such settlements in the West Bank. Don’t bring up the Palestine Mandate; he doesn’t want to hear about it. And he certainly doesn’t want people beginning to agree with Israelis that the Mandate remains relevant. He doesn’t care what the main author of Resolution 242, Lord Caradon, meant by the phrases “withdrawal from territories” and “secure and recognized borders.” Please don’t trouble Secretary Kerry, either, with the report prepared by the American Joint Chiefs of Staff for President Johnson, about the minimum territorial adjustments that in their view Israel would need for “secure and defensible borders.” For Kerry, it’s more than enough to keep repeating the phrases “two-state solution” and “just and lasting peace,” which for him clearly means almost complete withdrawal to the 1967 lines with “minor adjustments.” For Lord Caradon, however, the most important thing about Resolution 242 was that Israel not be compelled to return to the 1967 lines that invited Arab aggression, and the adjustments need not everywhere be categorized as “minor.” As he forcefully put it:

We could have said: well, you go back to the 1967 line. But I know the 1967 line, and it’s a rotten line. You couldn’t have a worse line for a permanent international boundary. It’s where the troops happened to be on a certain night in 1948. It’s got no relation to the needs of the situation.

Kerry doesn’t want to hear about “secure and defensible borders.” He wants the Israelis to “take risks for peace” (as if Israel was not already taking unbelievable risks for peace), to uproot settlements needed for Israel’s defense, and to put their trust in a peace treaty, while all the evidence suggests that the “Palestinians,” including nobody-here-but-us-accountants Mahmoud Abbas, have no intention of recognizing Israel as a Jewish state until Israel returns to the 1967 lines, including East Jerusalem, and likely not even then. As for the other Arabs, it’s true that right now a shared fear of Iran has made it possible for Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan to collaborate with Israel behind the scenes, but fear of Iran may not prove to be a unifying force forever. As for most Arabs and Muslims, the spectacle of a dimidiated Israel would not sate but whet jihadist appetites.

Among the many things John Kerry would prefer not to be reminded of is that in 1920, 77% of the formerly Ottoman territories that were originally intended to be included in the Palestine Mandate — that is, the land east of the Jordan — was closed to Jewish immigration. Eastern Palestine instead became, thanks to the British, the Arab Emirate of Transjordan. For Kerry, that’s not worth mentioning, but it was a huge event for the Zionists at the time. In fact, those Zionists who did not accept the loss of eastern Palestine continued to include it in their maximalist demands. Their leader, Ze’ev Jabotinsky, even wrote a celebrated poem: “Shtei Gadot L’Yarden – Zu Shelanu Zu Gam Ken” (“Two sides has the river Jordan/This side is ours, and that side too”) expressing the refusal to give up the claim to eastern Palestine. So Israel had by 1948 already been considerably reduced, the British having given away 77% of what had been intended for the Palestine Mandate. To remind people of this is not to endorse Jabotinsky’s demand, but at least to offer a historical perspective that might make some more understanding of Israel’s position.. Would it have been too much to expect John Kerry to mention how, and why, and on what land, the country of Jordan was created?

The Arabs, then, already had in 1948 a “Palestinian” state, consisting of all of eastern Palestine, the country we now call “Jordan,” where 80% of the population identifies itself as “Palestinian.” When the Arabs became convinced, after the Six-Day War, that they could not destroy Israel outright, they sought to undermine Israel in other ways – diplomatic isolation, boycotts, terror attacks – hoping to reduce its size through salami tactics, and to establish a second Arab state, this one in western Palestine, a state whose main purpose would be not to live in satisfied coexistence with Israel (‘two states, side-by-side” etc.) as Kerry naively foresees, but to serve, rather, as a springboard for yet another attempt at destroying, whether through the Fast Jihad of Hamas or the Slow Jihad of Fatah, the one Jewish state, whose mere existence, whatever its size, is such an affront to all Muslims and Arabs. John Kerry, innocent of Islam, gives no sign of realizing how deep is the Muslim Arab opposition to Israel.

So the Arabs refused this and the Arabs refused that. And the Israelis accepted this, and the Israelis gave back that. And the Mandate for Palestine says this, and U.N. Resolution 242 says that. It’s all so complicated and mind-numbing, no wonder John Kerry wants to hear only about a very few things. He blocks out the rest, and he reduces everything to the simple-minded phrases repeated endlessly: the “two-state solution,” the “just and lasting peace.” He doesn’t need to know what has actually happened between Arab and Jew in Palestine in the last 100 years, what principles were invoked or ignored, what rights created or destroyed, what promises kept or broken, what offers accepted or rejected. For Kerry, all he knows and all he needs to know is that the settlements are “illegal,” and positively noxious because they are what prevent that “two-state solution” that “everybody” knows can be arrived at just as soon as Israel stops building new settlements and dismantles all but a few of the old ones.

For the Palestinians, of course, as Kerry may not know, all the cities in Israel are “occupied” territory (“Occupied Haifa,” “Occupied Jaffa,” “Occupied Jerusalem”), and all the towns are “settlements” and all the settlements, of course, are on “Occupied Arab Land.” The Jews, as Infidels, have no rights on lands once possessed by Muslims. There is no historic connection of Jews to Jerusalem, which is also “occupied Palestinian territory.” And even if the Palestine Mandate existed, we are not required to pay any attention to it. Any history that is not on the side of the Muslims can safely be forgotten.

U.N. Resolution 2334 pretends to be about furthering “peace,” but its effect will be to embolden the “Palestinian” side, now less willing than ever to negotiate, since it believes it has now isolated Israel diplomatically. With little to lose, the Israeli government could take a different tack, a hypertrophied hasbara that would speak over the talking heads of the Security Council to a public that, especially in Europe, has been getting its own taste of Muslim convivencia and may, as a consequence, be more sympathetic to Israel’s plight than votes at the U.N. might suggest. Let Israel explain what the Palestine Mandate was intended to achieve, why the settlements are not “illegal,” what made the Partition Plan (Resolution 181) null and void, why those armistice lines were never made into permanent borders, how and why the “Palestinian people” were invented, and then, in terms anyone looking at a map can understand, what territory in the “West Bank” the tiny nation of Israel, as a military matter, must keep, as “settlements,” if it is to have those “secure and defensible borders” it both needs and deserves.

John Kerry assures us that he cares deeply about, even “loves,” the plucky little state of Israel that, he insists, stole his heart away decades ago. But he is convinced that Israel doesn’t understand its real situation, and its blinkered (“extreme right-wing”) leaders can’t seem to grasp that a “Palestinian” state living “side-by-side with a Jewish state” would only improve Israel’s well-being. Here is John Kerry, the American Secretary of State, fierce in Foggy Bottom, languid in Louisburg Square, who knows better than the Israelis what they need, and understands perfectly this most intractable of foreign policy problems. It’s an old and cruel idea: that Israel doesn’t understand its real interests, and must be saved in spite of itself. And John Forbes Kerry has arrived on the scene to help straighten out the little country he loves so much. All he asks of Israelis is that they come to their senses, and do what he, and Barack Obama, and the Security Council, demand.

Fortunately, for Israel, and for the Western world, too, the clock is running out on Obama and on Kerry. This means Israel still has a chance to decide for itself what it needs, at a minimum, in order to survive. Given the history of the Jews during the last 3000 years, that doesn’t seem like much to ask.

Patience is a virtue

January 3, 2017

Patience is a virtue, Israel Hayom, Dr. Haim Shine, January 3, 2017

For years, the leftist Israeli media has waged a timed and organized campaign against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his family, a campaign the likes of which has not been seen in the history of the country. A Bibiphobic psychosis born of the Left’s deep frustration, dismay and helplessness at its inability to carry out regime change through the ballot box. Desperation that intensified after the last elections, in which millions were invested, mostly from foreign sources who collaborated with well-known figures in the Israeli media to take down the Right.

Every day, Israeli citizens were force-fed stories and about the Netanyahu family; a series of rumors and accusations circulating endlessly. A journalist creates a headline in the morning, the television networks echo it at night and esteemed pundits, including lawyers, pile on with their creative theories. “Truth of the day” at its most wretched.

Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit’s statement Monday made it clear that most of the cases made famous by the Bibiphobes were groundless, including claims of illegal financing in the 2009 elections, tilting the Likud primary election results, receiving benefits abroad and the double-billing of travel expenses, dubbed “Bibi Tours.”

I am sure many Israelis remember the media frenzy over “Bibi Tours” all too well, but as it turns out, those things never happened. There is no doubt that those who celebrated the allegations won’t do any soul-searching regarding their contribution to the erosion of public faith in much of the media.

While many in politics and in the media treated Netanyahu’s statements — that nothing would come of these alleged affairs because there would be nothing to find — with blatant cynicism, as it turns out, he was right.

In their battle against Netanyahu, the media — in their efforts to pressure the attorney general to advance the interests of those propagating the allegations — have trampled on Mendelblit’s credibility.

There are allegations Mendelblit instructed the police to investigate. That is the role of the police. But here too, one cannot expect the media to allow the police to do their work without interfering and creating smoke screens. In the coming days, we will hear and read countless speculations. A degree of restraint, patience and caution is important to afford the media the respect it deserves, as it is essential to democracy. And perhaps, in relation to these allegations, it will turn out that nothing will come of them because there was nothing to investigate. Time will tell.

The Resilience of Israel

December 29, 2016

The Resilience of Israel, Town HallVictor Davis Hanson, December 29, 2016

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The Obama administration’s estrangement from Israel has had the odd effect of empowering Israel.

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Israel would seem to be in a disastrous position, given the inevitable nuclear capabilities of Iran and the recent deterioration of its relationship with the United States, its former patron and continued financial benefactor.

Immediately upon entering office, President Obama hectored Israel on so-called settlements. Obama promised to put “daylight” between the U.S. and Israel — and delivered on that promise.

Last week, the U.S. declined to veto, and therefore allowed to pass, a United Nations resolution that, among other things, isolates Israel internationally and condemns the construction of housing in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Obama has long been at odds with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Over objections from the Obama administration, Netanyahu addressed a joint session of Congress last year about the existential dangers of the Obama-brokered Iran deal and the likelihood of a new Middle East nuclear proliferation race.

Obama then doubled down on his irritation with Netanyahu through petty slights, such as making him wait during White House visits. In 2014, an official in the Obama administration anonymously said Netanyahu, a combat veteran, was a “coward” on Iran.

At a G-20 summit in Cannes, France, in 2011, Obama, in a hot-mic slip, trashed Netanyahu. He whined to French President Nicolas Sarkozy: “You’re tired of him? What about me? I have to deal with him every day.”

In contrast, Obama bragged about his “special” relationship with autocratic Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Never mind that Erdogan seems to want to reconstruct Turkey as a modern Islamist version of the Ottoman Empire, or that he is anti-democratic while Israel is a consensual society of laws.

The Middle East surrounding democratic Israel is a nightmare. Half a million have died amid the moonscape ruins of Syria. A once-stable Iraq was overrun by the Islamic State.

The Arab Spring, U.S. support for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the coup of General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to regain control of Egypt, and the bombing of Libya all have left North Africa in turmoil.

Iran has been empowered by the U.S.-brokered deal and will still become nuclear.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s bombers blast civilians not far from Israel’s borders.

Democrats are considering Rep. Keith Ellison as the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee despite his past ties to the Nation of Islam and his history of anti-Israel remarks.

Yet in all this mess, somehow Israel is in its best geostrategic position in decades. How?

The answer is a combination of unintended consequences, deft diplomacy, political upheavals in Europe and the United States, and Israel’s own democratic traditions.

Huge natural gas and oil finds off Israel’s Mediterranean coast and in the Golan Heights have radically changed Israel’s energy and financial positions. Israel no longer needs to import costly fossil fuels and may soon be an exporter of gas and oil to needy customers in Europe and the Middle East. (America recently became the world’s greatest producer of carbon energy and also no longer is dependent on Middle Eastern oil imports, resulting in less political influence by Arab nations.) Israel is creating its own version of Silicon Valley at Beersheba, which is now a global hub of cybersecurity research.

The Obama administration’s estrangement from Israel has had the odd effect of empowering Israel.

Rich Persian Gulf states see Obama as hostile both to Israel and to themselves, while he appeases the common enemy of majority-Shiite Iran.

After a “leading from behind” U.S withdrawal from the Middle East, many Arab nations now see Israel more as a powerful ally against Iran than as an old existential enemy. They also see Israel as a country that has likewise been snubbed by America.

The idea of an Arab-Israeli understanding is surreal, but it is developing from shared fears of being targets of Iranian bombing and American indifference.

Many of Israel’s neighbors are threatened by either ISIS or al-Qaida nihilists. Those deadly dangers remind the world that democratic, free-market Israel is the sole safe port amid a rising Middle East tsunami.

Changing Western politics are empowering Israel as well.

More than 2 million migrants — for the most part, young males from the war-torn Middle East — have terrified Europe, especially after a series of radical Islamic terrorist killings. Suddenly, Europe is far more worried about Israel’s neighbors than about lecturing Israel itself.

Pushback against the Obama administration extends to its foreign policy. President-elect Donald Trump may be more pro-Israel than any recent U.S. president. And he may be the first U.S. leader to move the American embassy to Israel’s capital in West Jerusalem.For all the chaos and dangers abroad, the map of global energy, Western politics and Middle Eastern alliances has been radically redrawn.At the center is a far stronger Israel that has more opportunities than at any other time in its history. It will have an even brighter future after Obama has left office.