Archive for the ‘Settlements’ category

John Kerry’s speech on Israel: delusional and disgraceful

December 29, 2016

John Kerry’s speech on Israel: delusional and disgraceful | Anne’s Opinions, 29th December 2016

 

John Kerry delivers his speech on Israel and the peace process at the State Dept. on 28 Dec. 2016

John Kerry delivers his speech on Israel and the peace process at the State Dept. on 28 Dec. 2016

The Obama Administration’s “January surprise” took its next steps today with John Kerry’s absurd and outrageous speech on Israel, in which he claimed to lay out his vision of Middle East peace but which in practice was simply a screed attacking the settlements as he accused the Israeli government of being led by the most extreme elements:

US secretary of state John Kerry on Wednesday laid out his “comprehensive vision” for the future of Middle East peacemaking, saying that a two-state solution was the “only way to ensure Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state,” but promising that the US would not seek further UN action on the conflict.

Can we trust him and his boss on that promise that they won’t seek further UN action? I’m not willing to bet on it.

In a speech that lasted well over an hour, Kerry described settlements as a central obstacle to achieving an agreement between the sides and declared that Israeli actions in the West Bank were putting the two-state solution, which he said was the sole path to peace, “in serious jeopardy.”

Kerry argued that settlement construction in the West Bank was being “strategically placed in locations that make two states impossible” and said the “the status quo is leading toward one state, or perpetual occupation.”

Settlement expansion, he declared, “has nothing to do with Israel’s security.”

Castigating the coalition of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he said it was “the most right-wing in Israel history with an agenda driven by the most extreme elements. The result is that policies of this government, which the prime minister himself just described as more committed to settlements than any in Israel’s history, are leading … towards one state. In fact,” he added, “Israel has increasingly consolidated control over much of the West Bank for its own purposes.

With less than a month as secretary of state, Kerry sought to champion the two-state outcome he worked to achieve throughout the last four years, saying it was the only path forward. Incoming president Donald Trump has signaled he may not be committed to the two-state framework.

He rambled on in this vein for the rest of his speech. You can read more at the link, and the entire text is here.

What is much more worthwhile is to watch and listen to Netanyahu’s blistering counter-attack:

David Horovitz of the Times of Israel blasted Kerry, saying that he did everything but call Israel apartheid.

About half an hour into John Kerry’s valedictory lecture from the State Department on Wednesday evening, Israel’s most popular television station, Channel 2, stopped broadcasting it live and switched to other programming. The country’s two other main TV stations, Channels 1 and 10, had already electronically left the building. Given that Kerry’s anti-settlement and anti-occupation address was primarily directed at the Israeli public, the ratings-conscious schedulers’ impatient transition to other material rather encapsulates the climate in which the secretary’s extensive remarks were being received here.

Many in the Israel of 2016 would share some of the arguments they largely didn’t hear Kerry deliver on Wednesday evening. Many recognize the dangers of being permanently intertwined with millions of hostile Palestinians, and fear that the expansion especially of those settlements and outposts that lie to the east of the security barrier increases that risk, and thus puts a two-state solution in danger, threatening Israel’s Jewish character, or its democracy, or both. Kerry’s was a fiery critique, indeed, marked by the allegation that the settlement movement is driving the agenda of the Israeli government, and that Netanyahu has been allowing some of the most extreme voices to draw Israel closer to the Zionist nightmare of a single bi-national state between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. Just about the only charge Kerry didn’t lob, this time, was apartheid.

But the secretary and his president long ago lost much of the Israeli public, even many of the settlement critics, by underestimating the depth of Palestinian opposition to the very fact of the Jewish state’s existence. The president and his secretary have underestimated, too, the consequent scarring — physical and psychological — that the Israeli public has accumulated over decades of war, terrorism, and demonization as the Palestinians and those who championed their cause have sought Israel’s obliteration.

… He mentioned terrorism and incitement. But the Obama administration never truly internalized the impact of these endless decades fighting off attempted destruction. And Kerry has self-evidently never been willing to internalize that in the vicious Middle East of the past few years, talking up the possibility of relinquishing control over adjacent West Bank history — with its recent history of suicide bomb factories, with Hamas angling to take control, with a hostile Iran emboldened to the east by the Obama Administration’s own nuclear deal — is just that for most Israelis: talk.

We left south Lebanon. Hezbollah took over. We left Gaza. Now it’s ruled by Hamas. When the secretary expresses his “total confidence” that Israel’s security requirements in the West Bank can be met via sophisticated multi-layered border defenses and such, he quite simply loses Israel.

We left south Lebanon. Hezbollah took over. We left Gaza. Now it’s ruled by Hamas. When the secretary expresses his “total confidence” that Israel’s security requirements in the West Bank can be met via sophisticated multi-layered border defenses and such, he quite simply loses Israel.

He would have had more chance of success — or at least of creating a climate in which prospects of progress would be brighter — had he focused more of his attentions on the toxic climate among Palestinians. They are relentlessly educated on the illegitimacy of Israel, with that narrative hammered home over social media, by their political and spiritual leadership, sometimes in their schools. He never strategically attempted to tackle that process of indoctrination.

Easier to place overwhelming blame on the settlers rather than the Palestinians. Or, heaven forbid, on yourself.

Herb Keinon at the Jerusalem Post had similar harsh criticisms of Kerry’s viewpoint:

Long, and without many new elements in it. What a tired-looking, hoarse Kerry did for more than an hour was pretty much compile the “greatest hits” from numerous speeches he and US President Barack Obama have given over the last number of years on the Mideast.

Nevertheless, two elements of the speech were striking.

The first was the insistence that the only solution to the conflict is either two-states, or one. This is the mantra that has been repeated for so long, that it has become axiomatic. But it also drowns out any possibility of creatively looking at other options, a different way.

If the efforts to negotiate two states has failed for so long, perhaps it is time to consider whether there may be other options that might bring Egypt and Jordan into the equation. Perhaps what is needed is a reassessment of all the the assumptions over the last 23 years that have ended in the current stalemate — first and foremost that the only option is two states from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River.

For instance, in 2010 former National Security Council Giora Eiland spelled out a plan for a Jordanian-Palestinian federation, in which the West Bank and Gaza would be states in an expanded Jordanian kingdom.

Another idea would see the establishment of a Palestinian state, but it would be based on land swaps between Egypt, Israel and a future Palestinian entity that would significantly expand the size of Gaza, allow Israel to retain a good percentage of the the West Bank, and provide Egypt with a land link to Jordan.

These ideas are too often dismissed as unrealistic, something that the Palestinians would never accept. Kerry reinforces that way of thinking with his stating as truth that it is either two states or one state.

The Kerry speech was also telling in that it included a call for Israel to withdraw from the territories and uproot settlements. This is a demand for Israel to make huge compromises. There was, however, no comparable demand for compromise on the Palestinian side.

Kerry called, and says that the US has done so on innumerable occasions, for the Palestinians to stop the terrorism and the incitement, and to build up good governing institutions. But those are not compromises.

A Palestinian compromise would be to recognize that — given everything going on in the Middle East — Israel must retain security control of the Jordan Valley. A compromise would be for the Palestinians to state that they are giving up on the “right of return,” and that they recognize Israel as the homeland of the Jewish state.

Keinon’s conclusion was absolutely spot-on:

Throughout his career, both in the senate and as secretary of state, Kerry’s speeches on Israel give the listener a sense that he knows what is better for Israel, its future, and security than the Israelis themselves. His speech Wednesday night was true to that rather patronizing form.

The reactions to Kerry’s speech in the United States were similarly scathing. First we have the heart-warming supportive statement from President-elect Donald Trump:

But it’s not only the Republicans who have rejected the Obama regime’s direction. Below is the statement by the House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer:

Steny Hoyer's reaction

Steny Hoyer’s reaction

 

Thank you for your support, Mr. Hoyer. You are on the right path towards restoring Israelis’ and Jews’ trust in the Democratic Party.

Here is a selection of other reactions via Twitter:

And one final tweet which includes a map that encapsulates the entire Middle East problem, and at the same time clearly demonstrates Kerry’s (and his boss’s) blindness when it comes to Israel:

 

Who will rid me of this troublesome Kerry?

December 6, 2016

Who will rid me of this troublesome Kerry? | Anne’s Opinions, 6th December 2016

The answer to my rhetorical question in the title is President-elect Donald Trump.

John Kerry wagging his finger at

John Kerry wagging his finger at “naughty” Israel for the last time

In a parting shot at his nemesis, outgoing Secretary of State John Kerry takes aim at Binyamin Netanyahu, the settlements, and Israel. His Jeremiad sounds awfully familiar, and – yes – he has spouted off the same nonsense time and time again.

Let’s have a look at his latest – and last, thank goodness! – complaints about an Israel that will not heed his warnings:

First the mildly good news:

It seems increasingly unlikely, though not impossible, that the Obama administration will lend its hand to a resolution that might discomfit the Israeli government at the UN, or otherwise seek to bequeath a framework for Israeli-Palestinian peace.

But then comes the rest:

Outgoing Secretary of State John Kerry did a great deal more than discomfit the prime minister and his coalition on Sunday, however. In remarks at the Saban Forum in Washington, DC, Kerry unloaded almost four years of bitter frustration at Benjamin Netanyahu and his colleagues, warned that Israel is heading toward “a place of danger,” and cited the settlement enterprise as the central catalyst for that potential disaster.

A different, brighter future, he indicated, was attainable for Israel. But the settlers were destroying it, he said. And his unfortunate role, he made sadly clear, had been to serve these past four years as the prophet who can see the tragedy approaching, but whose warnings go unheeded.

No, said the secretary, ceding a point to Netanyahu, who had spoken by satellite just before him, the settlements “are not the cause of the conflict.” But, Kerry repeated several times, they most certainly constitute a core “obstacle” to its solution. “Let’s not kid each other here,” he advised. “You can’t just wipe it away by saying it doesn’t have an impact. It does have an impact.”

Oh, bla bla bla. The core obstacle to the solution of the crisis is the Arabs’ refusal to recognize a Jewish state in ANY of the land of Israel. The settlements are a convenient tool, a perfect excuse for a politically correct world where history has been turned on its head and indigenous rights have been reversed, making the occupiers (the Arabs) the “indigenous natives” and turning the Jews into imperialist colonialist invaders.

He didn’t blame Netanyahu personally for utilizing settlements with the deliberate goal of ensuring that there can be no two-state solution. But the Israeli right, Kerry said, was strategically bringing more and more Jews into the West Bank, and locating them in very specific locations, with precisely that goal — to ensure that there could be no viable Palestinian state. And Netanyahu was presiding over the process.

The vast majority of “settlers” (I apologize for the term but I use it as shorthand) are living in greater Jerusalem or the large settlement blocs, which under any peace plan ever proposed are going to remain under Israeli sovereignty. In which case, why is it a problem for Jews to live there?

Next we come to Kerry’s hubris as “Israel’s saviour”:

The way he told it, his has been a thankless task — essentially trying to save Israel from itself,

Sorry not sorry Mr. Kerry. We Israelis know how to look after ourselves a lot better than you can, or than you think you can (small difference).

The ongoing building is backed by the right “because they don’t want peace,” he said flatly. “They want to block peace,” said Kerry. “That’s the history of the settler movement, my friends.”

That is such a disgusting slur and slander against the Israeli right, the settlers, and all of Israel in fact since the government represents the entire country, that really our Foreign Ministry should look into suing Kerry for libel.

Is Kerry implying that Israelis want war?? That we prefer to live by the sword? Does he reference Palestinian terrorism at all? Does he make mention of the violence that descended upon us when we DID cede territory in Gaza?

Or is it simply that what he calls “peace” does not mean what he thinks it means?

“Peace” does not mean surrendering to your enemies, or even simply ceding up front any demands they make of you just to have a quiet life and to bring them to the negotiating table.

“Peace’ means the absence of war, normalization of relations, trade, tourism, cooperation, and the prevention of violence from terrorists and other hostile elements. None of this should be contingent on giving up strategically priceless territory.

Vouchsafing new details of his 2013-2104 deal-making efforts, now that he’s so close to the end of his term, Kerry detailed some of the security provisions that, he argued, could enable a substantial Israeli withdrawal, and facilitate a small, demilitarized Palestinian “city state” in the West Bank. The Jordanians were ready to build a sophisticated security fence on their side of the Jordan Valley, and the Palestinians on their side. Israeli troops would have been able to helicopter to trouble spots in minutes. There were “all kinds of ways” for Israel to deploy its soldiers in times of crisis, he said, referring to the proposals memorably castigated by then defense minister Moshe Ya’alon in 2014 as “not worth the paper they’re printed on.”

Not only were his proposals worthless, even if they had been of value at the time, later developments, such as the “Arab Spring” and the rise of ISIS would have rendered them useless, and worse, would have placed Israel in an untenable position militarily and diplomatically.

… Stability and tranquility were not out of reach for Israel, Kerry suggested, but wouldn’t be attained if “all the time you are building up your presence” in what the Palestinians see as their state.

But does Kerry have anything to say about the illegal Arab construction in Israel? Not to mention the ongoing destruction by the Waqf on the Temple Mount. Is building illegal only for Jews? If so, there’s a word for that: antisemitism.

And as for that idea beloved by Netanyahu of a regional Arab peace first, and accommodation with the Palestinians somewhere down the line, forget about it. “There will be no separate peace with the Arab world,” he insisted.

Again, events have overtaken Mr. Kerry. Israel is on speaking terms at the very least with many of her most obdurate enemies, including Saudi Arabia, besides “cold peace partners” like Jordan and Egypt.

I was gratified to see that others are of the same opinion as me regarding Kerry’s outrageous statements.

Ruthie Blum in Israel Hayom says Good Riddance Mr. Kerry:

But let’s face it: Even Bozo the Clown would be better than Secretary of State John Kerry.

To be fair to Kerry, he was following the foreign policy spelled out by Obama four years earlier: that America was about to embark on a new path, reaching out to enemies who would suddenly transform into friends when faced with a more gentle and multicultural America — one that “leads from behind.”

Nevertheless, it was Kerry who did most of the shuttling, predominantly to the Middle East, alternating between his many trips to Europe to grovel before his Iranian counterpart, and visits to Israel, where he expressed severe displeasure with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for not behaving similarly with the Palestinian Authority.

“I come to you as somebody who is concerned for the safety and the security of the State of Israel — for the long-term ability of the State of Israel to be able to be what it has dreamt of being, and what the people of Israel, I believe, want it to be,” he said, implying that it has not lived up to that dream.

Again that patronizing arrogance.

He then professed his concern for the Jewish state, claiming to “want to see this thing develop into the full-blossomed beacon that Israel has the potential of being.” Indeed, he went on, “Israel has all these skills,” in so many realms “that it could be sharing with Egypt, with Jordan, with the Emirates, with Saudi Arabia, with all of these countries. … But the issue is, how do get from here to there?”

Netanyahu could have pointed out that attempting to get “from here to there” has been his guiding principle — one that he has been putting into practice with every Arab and African country that is open to it. This year alone, he has forged friendly relations and cooperation with Cairo. He has even made enormous strides with the Saudis, who consider Israel an ally in preventing Iran from acquiring the nuclear weapons that Kerry and his boss handed the mullahs on a silver platter.

Ouch.

He continued by lambasting settlements, while claiming he understands that they are not the root cause of the conflict, saying that he “cannot accept the notion that they do not affect the peace process — that they aren’t a barrier to the capacity to have peace.”

And here was the clincher. He said he knows this, because “the Left in Israel is telling everybody they are a barrier to peace and the Right supports it, openly supports it, because they don’t want peace.”

And there you have it. Kerry’s utter gall. His accusation that most Israelis oppose peace. Not that we long to live without fear of being stabbed, car-rammed, torched, blown up by bombs and hit by rocket fire by hate-filled terrorists bent on our annihilation. Not that we have relinquished most of the West Bank and all of Gaza to those killers. Not that every territorial withdrawal has been accompanied by an escalation in violence against us.

Meanwhile the indefatigable Elder of Ziyon has done his homework and notes that Kerry outright lied about the basic facts of the Oslo Accords in his Saban Forum speech:

John Kerry, speaking at the Saban Forum this past weekend, said:

When Oslo was signed in 1993, the vision was that with the signing of Oslo, Area C – everybody knows there’s Area A, B, C – Area A is Palestinian security and administrative control, Area B is a split between administrative and security control, and Area C, which is 60 percent of the West Bank, is just Israel security and administrative still. But the deal of Oslo in 1993 was over the next year and a half Area C would be transferred to the Palestinian control administratively. Well, it didn’t happen for a number of different reasons. We won’t go into that now.

Kerry had good reason not to go into it – because it is a complete fiction.

The original 1993 Oslo Accords did not divide the territories into Areas A, B and C. That was Oslo II, in 1995, not 1993.

Oslo II mentioned very little about redeploying Israeli control.

The Wye River Agreement of 1998 did say Israel was to withdraw from a percentage of Area C, but the bulk was going to remain under Israeli control. It was never implemented after Netanyahu, who opposed it, lost a vote of no-confidence. But there were a whole lot of terror attacks in the md-90s that would seem to be a violation of Oslo.

Kerry didn’t mention Hamas or suicide bombings or terror.

He didn’t mention those inconvenient facts because they do not fit his politically correct world-view where the “poor brown people” can do no wrong and the “white people” (played by the Israeli Jews) can do no right.

For some more interesting reading on Kerry and his malicious ignorance on Israel and the Middle East, read this excellent article about him on the Winds of Jihad blog: “Ignorant Of Islam, Frustrated And Confused About the Middle East, Incapable Of Grasping Reality, Quick To Blame Israel”. It’s from 2013 but still as relevant as ever.

In short, Kerry is a puffed-up arrogant blowhard with a one-eyed view of the world, particularly the Middle East, and the time can’t come quickly enough when we shall see the back of him.

US takes tougher tone on Israeli settlements in new report

May 7, 2016

US takes tougher tone on Israeli settlements in new report, Times of IsraelMatthew Lee and Bradley Klapper

settlementIllustrative photo of a security fence around a Jewish settlement in the West Bank (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States will endorse a tougher tone with Israel in an upcoming international report that takes the Jewish state to task over settlements, demolitions and property seizures on land the Palestinians claim for a future state, diplomats told The Associated Press.

The US and its fellow Mideast mediators also will chastise Palestinian leaders for failing to rein in anti-Israeli violence. But the diplomats involved in drafting the document said its primary focus will be a surge of construction in Jewish housing in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The US approval of the harsh language marks a subtle shift. Washington has traditionally tempered statements by the so-called “Quartet” of mediators with careful diplomatic language, but the diplomats said the US in this case will align itself closer to the positions of the European Union, Russia and the United Nations, who emphasize Israel’s role in the Mideast impasse.

The report’s release is sure to infuriate Israel, where officials are already bracing for expected criticism. And on the other side, although the mediators will endorse some long-standing Palestinian complaints, the Palestinians are likely to complain the report does not go far enough.

Diplomats acknowledge the report, which could come out in late May or June, will be largely symbolic, requiring no action. It could be unveiled at the UN and possibly sent to the Security Council for an endorsement, according to the diplomats, who included three US officials. They all demanded anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the unfinished work publicly.

The diplomats said the report is intended to highlight obstacles to a two-state peace agreement — the stated goal of both Israeli and Palestinian leaders — and offer recommendations for restarting negotiations in a process that is stalled.

The Palestinians don’t want talks as long as settlement construction continues; the Israelis say they’re open to negotiations, but have shown little interest in making any meaningful concessions.

One diplomat said the report would be “balanced” because it would criticize the Palestinians for incitement and violence against Israeli citizens. Near-daily attacks in recent months by Palestinians, mostly stabbings, have killed 28 Israelis and two Americans. Some 193 Palestinians have been killed, most of them were attackers and the rest died in clashes with Israeli forces.

Pal terrorismIsraeli security forces at the scene where three Israeli soldiers were wounded in a vehicular attack near Dolev, in the West Bank, May 3, 2015 .(Flash90)

But the diplomat added that those involved in writing the report understand the focus on Israel will be its most contentious aspect.

Another diplomat said Israel will be put “on notice” that its appropriation of land isn’t going unnoticed.

The document won’t look only at East Jerusalem activity and West Bank settlement construction, but also at a “problematic trend” of legalizing smaller so-called outposts, the officials said. In addition, it will criticize Israel for a growing backlog of housing block approvals.

In 1972, there were just over 10,000 Israeli settlers, with 1,500 living in the West Bank and the rest in East Jerusalem. Two decades later, by the time of the Oslo peace accords, there were 231,200 Israelis living in the territories. That number rose to 365,000 by 2000, when the second Palestinian uprising began, and 474,000 by the time Benjamin Netanyahu became Israel’s prime minister again in 2008.

The settlements are now home to more than 570,000 Israelis, according to the Israeli anti-settlement watchdog Peace Now — 370,000 in the West Bank and 200,000 in East Jerusalem. Settlements range from small wildcat outposts on West Bank hilltops to developed towns with shopping malls, schools and suburban homes.

Some 2.2 million Palestinians live in the West Bank, with another 300,000 in East Jerusalem. Israel captured both territories in the 1967 Six Day War and It annexed East Jerusalem after the conflict.

Palestinian mourners attend the funeral of Eyad Omar Sajdia, 22, who was killed during clashes with Israeli security forces at the Qalandya Refugee camp on March 1, 2016 in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Two Israeli soldiers said to be using a traffic app mistakenly entered the refugee camp in the occupied West Bank overnight, sparking clashes that killed one Palestinian and wounded 15 people, officials said. / AFP / ABBAS MOMANI

Palestinian mourners attend the funeral of Eyad Omar Sajdia, 22, who was killed during clashes with Israeli security forces at the Qalandya Refugee camp on March 1, 2016 in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Two Israeli soldiers said to be using a traffic app mistakenly entered the refugee camp in the occupied West Bank overnight, sparking clashes that killed one Palestinian and wounded 15 people, officials said.
/ AFP / ABBAS MOMANI

The Quartet, which is supposed to guide the two parties to peace, has been largely irrelevant for the past several years. It was created in 2002 at a low point in the Israeli-Palestinian relationship and in the years since has held sporadic meetings. Most have ended with bland statements condemning violence, criticizing settlements and calling for both sides to improve security and the atmosphere for peace talks.

The new report will repeat those calls, but the diplomats said they hoped the new criticism of Israel, in particular, would jolt the parties into action.

The Palestinians recently put off their push for a new UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlement activity, in part because of the coming report, the diplomats said. And with anti-Israel sentiment growing in Europe, France may delay a planned May 30 meeting of foreign ministers on the situation.

The French also are talking about hosting a Mideast peace conference this summer. US Secretary of State John Kerry is expected to discuss the French initiative with Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault while on a trip to Paris next week.

Obama Setting up yet Another Fight with Israel

March 1, 2016

Obama Setting up yet Another Fight with Israel, Front Page Magazine, Daniel Greenfield, March 1, 2016

obama_netanyahu_1

Flashback to ’10. Biden visited Israel.

Obama, Biden and Hillary decided to use the visit to stage an incident with Netanyahu. They claimed that a housing project (which was never built) in Jerusalem passing one stage of a multi-stage review was a calculated and deliberate “insult” to the United States.

Biden refused to come down. Then he did and the results were ugly. Hillary Clinton spent hours screaming at Netanyahu over the phone.

The whole point of this was to stage a fight with Israel as part of a plan to discredit Netanyahu.

Six years later, Obama is pulling the same stunt all over again.

Ahead of US Vice President Joe Biden’s trip to the Holy Land next week, the American administration is “hysterical” about the possibility of Israeli authorities embarrassing him by announcing the construction of new housing during his visit, the Hebrew news site nrg reported on Monday.

According to the exclusive report, the level of anxiety in Washington is so high on this score that senior administration officials are sidestepping proper diplomatic channels and directly appealing to Israeli public figures to prevent an incident similar to that which occurred during Biden’s visit six years ago.

The “level of anxiety” is similar to that experienced by Brer Rabbit asking not to be thrown into the briar patch. This is set dressing for the fight Obama wants to pick.

Israel is not a dictatorship. Prime Ministers actually have less power than presidents. Which means it’s quite possible that somewhere, some part of Israel’s bureaucracy will review and approve something in one of the many parts of Israel that Obama doesn’t want to see any Jews living in.

And, I highly suspect, that Obama Inc. already knows where and when, and has scheduled the visit for just that when.

At the time, Netanyahu apologized to Biden, claiming he had not been aware that the municipal committee tasked with deciding on such matters would be meeting during the visit. Since the “Ramat Shlomo incident,” Netanyahu has demanded that all announcements of construction in Jerusalem be run by him first – something that nrg claimed has dramatically slowed the building process.

However, according to nrg, Biden has indicated a lack of confidence that a similar incident will not occur during his upcoming visit, and therefore a number of phone calls have purportedly been made from Washington to Israel’s housing and interior ministries, as well as to Jerusalem’s City Hall, to “beg” that no such announcements be made next week. However, the same Israeli representatives were told, according to nrg, that “construction in the Arab section of the city would be welcome.”

So aside from crippling construction for Jerusalem, itself an objective, Obama Inc. is adding stress to the situation even though it’s entirely up to the White House to regard some committee somewhere signing a piece of paper as an “insult”.

So this is a game. It’s the kind of game that people play in abusive relationships. Which is what Obama’s relationship with Israel is.

State Department denies calling out Abbas on incitement

December 8, 2015

State Department denies calling out Abbas on incitement, Israel National News, Tova Dvorin, December 8, 2015

Kerry didn't say that

The US State Department pandered once again to the Palestinian Authority (PA), backtracking on remarks noting the PA’s incitement campaign against Israel and blasting Israel’s “illegitimate” presence in Judea and Samaria. 

During Monday’s press briefing, State Department spokesman John Kirby denied that US Secretary of State John Kerry had accused the PA of incitement.

During Sunday’s Saban Forum address, Kerry had said that “the Palestinian leadership should stop the incitement and condemn terror attacks.”

He also specifically noted PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s role in the incitement. “He made some very incendiary comments, which I called him on,” he said. “I was very direct with him about the al-Aqsa Mosque [Temple Mount – ed.]. And there was some very inciteful comments made.”

But Kirby denied this ever happened Monday.

“The Secretary did not say that the Palestinian leadership is engaged in incitement,” Kirby stated. “He stressed the importance of doing everything possible to combat it.”

“He also called on [PA] President [Mahmoud] Abbas to condemn Palestinian attacks against Israelis, which we’ve done repeatedly […] and he also made clear that President Abbas himself has long been committed to nonviolence.”

Kirby also addressed controversy over Kerry’s remarks vis-a-vis the PA, in which the latter said that “there are levels of some corruption and challenges within the PA that have to be taken on” before peace can be achieved.

“The Secretary did not intend to suggest that President Abbas or the PA was engaged in corruption or to make any new statement on that issue,” Kirby iterated. “He was reiterating a basic point that we have long made about the importance of transparency and accountability, which is a principle that President Abbas himself has embraced.”

“The United States remains committed to continuing to help the Palestinian Authority develop its institutions and continue to work closely with the Palestinian Authority to improve rule of law, enhance transparency, combat corruption, and strengthen protections for human rights, and acknowledge the progress that has been made to date on these and other institution-building efforts,” he added.

Kirby then attacked Israel, responding to questions about a Haaretz report earlier this week that private American donors had donated $220 million into Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

“This Administration, like every administration before it since 1967, views settlement activity as illegitimate and counterproductive to the cause of peace,” Kirby fired. “The United States Government does not support any activity that would indicate otherwise.”

Don’t let facts confuse you

October 16, 2015

Don’t let facts confuse you, Israel Hayom, Judith Bergman, October 16, 2015

When it comes to Israel and terrorism, there is a standard one-size-fits-all default formula that works whatever the facts on the ground here are. This is fortunate for the multitudes of self-declared “Middle East experts” out there, because it means that they can explain the situation here without having to resort to reality — in other words what is actually happening here — and without having to preoccupy themselves with understanding that reality.

As the Jewish radical and anti-Semite, Ilan Pappe, told the Belgian newspaper “Le Soir” in 1999: “Indeed the struggle is about ideology, not about facts. Who knows what facts are? We try to convince as many people as we can that our interpretation of the facts is the correct one, and we do it because of ideological reasons, not because we are truthseekers.”

Despite being outrageous and counter-intuitive to anything that the once truth-seeking Western civilization stood for, this quote and the worldview it represents — disturbingly similar to that of the former Soviet Union — has become the mantra, whether they are aware of it or not, of hordes of journalists, opinion makers, and politicians. You should keep that in mind, when listening to statements such as this one:

“And there’s been a massive increase in settlements over the course of the last years. Now you have this violence because there’s a frustration that is growing.”

In other words, it is “the occupation” — part one of the one-size-fits-all default formula. And no, the statement did not come from an obscure source in the Boycott, Divest and Sanction movement, but from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

Once the almost ritualistic “explanation,” completely removed from reality (since new settlement construction has been the lowest under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu than under any of his predecessors, according to data from Construction Ministry), of why Israeli cities and roads are made unsafe by Palestinian terrorists on the prowl to kill Jews had been established by Kerry, he proceeded to part two of the formula: “I am not going to point fingers [at the culprits] from afar. This is a revolving cycle that damages the future for everybody.”

The mysteriously self-igniting “cycle” of violence. No mention of the situation in Israel seems possible without “the cycle.” It has been in the formula — just like the settlements — for decades. And why shouldn’t it be? After all, it frees you from attaching any weight to the current reality of unprovoked Palestinians killing Jews just because they are Jews. In fact, the inherent bias implicit in this “cycle” concept is that it is all really the Jews’ own fault.

Coming from Kerry, the statements are naturally much more disturbing than when the identical analysis — or rather lack of analysis — comes from most other politicians and opinion makers, since the U.S. is still supposed to be our biggest ally.

In stark contrast, Canadian National Defense Minister Jason Kenney posted the following message on his Facebook page on October 14: “Canada condemns in the strongest terms possible the recent wave of terror attacks against Israeli civilians that has resulted in a number of tragic deaths and injuries. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the victims. We are deeply concerned by escalating incitement and violence that does nothing to advance the interests of peace, stability, and security in the region. There can be no justification for these attacks, and we will continue to oppose efforts undermine Israel’s legitimacy or right to defend herself in the face of terror.”

It is a rare thing for the analysis of international affairs to be subjected to such reductionist and indeed static extremes, as is the case with Israel. The one-size-fits-all default formula is recycled in all situations, regardless of facts on the ground and regardless of Israel’s actions.

There are no signs of this trend changing in the near future. In fact, the willingness of the general international public to shut eyes and ears to reality and not let it interfere with the ideology inherent in this formula has indeed become comparable to a natural reflex. That is what will happen, when you repeat a lie long enough. There is indeed now, a whole generation of Western youth literally brought up with that lie, which explains the prevalence of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic activity on university campuses.

As a consequence, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas believes he can get away with openly lying about anything. This includes claiming the child terrorist Ahmed Manasra had been “executed” by Israel, when in fact Abbas was perfectly aware that the very same terrorist is being treated with excellent care at an Israeli hospital by the very people that he was brainwashed to kill, and at the expense of the Israeli taxpayer.

Abbas knows the default formula better than anyone and he is relying on it to accomplish his goals. He knows fully well that his lies work the moment they hit the airwaves or the internet and that no amount of proof to the contrary will change that fact. The world loves a blood libel and Abbas knows that. After all, he has a Ph.D. advocating Holocaust denial and years of experience telling him that lies about Israel — the “Jenin massacre” and the Muhammad al-Dura case, just to mention a few — gain a life of their own, once they are out there, regardless of how much proof is presented to the contrary.

The workings of this kind of logic would have made the old Soviets proud. This is no coincidence, of course, since so many of the old PLO terrorists learned their trade in the communist bloc. Abbas himself earned his Ph.D. at a university in Moscow.

The Cold War ended a long time ago, but the legacy of the Soviet ideological mindset is alive and well.

Reacting to the terror wave: action or inaction?

October 11, 2015

Reacting to the terror wave: action or inaction? | Anne’s Opinions, 11th October 2015


The Palestinian terror wave (the authorities are not calling it a 3rd intifada – yet) continues to sweep Israel. There were more stabbings in Jerusalem on Shabbat, rock throwing, and violent Arab protests in many towns. After Shabbat there were Israeli protests across Israel against the Arab violence.

Attempted car bombing outside Maale Adumim

This morning we saw an escalation as a female bomber blew up her car at a checkpoint outside Maale Adumim. Miraculously the only casualty was the bomber herself. severely injured. The circumstances of how the bomber was stopped sound almost like a spoof – but a diligent traffic cop stopped what could have been a massive terror attack in Jerusalem:

Police said officers noticed a “suspicious vehicle” driven by a woman toward a checkpoint en route to Jerusalem and signaled to her to stop. The woman then yelled “Allahu Akbar” and detonated a bomb in her car, a police statement said.

Army Radio reported the wounded officer is a traffic policeman who pulled over the bomber in her car for driving in a lane specified for public transport and carpooling.

Initial reports pointed to a possible suicide bombing, saying that the woman had died in the attack. Police later said the woman exited her car just before the bomb went off, indicating that it may not have been a suicide bombing attempt.

I wonder if the bomber was coerced into the attack to save herself from a “family honour” punishment. We’ll probably never know.

Hamas is obviously feeling neglected so they organized huge demonstrations at the border with Israel. After several protestors breached the border, the IDF opened fire, killing up to 7. In retaliation Hamas launched rockets at Israel last night, and in return the IAF bombed some Hamas targets.

Same old same old.

The question at the moment is how should the government, and Israeli citizens, react to this new uprising? Should we be taking a harsher stance with the Arabs or try to defuse the situation? Should Netanyahu be building more settlements davka now or is he right to placate and appease Obama and the Europeans?

I bring you some differing viewpoints here, and I find myself agreeing with them all, depending on the time of day and what’s on the news. I offer no solutions myself. I’m glad I’m not in the position to have to offer such and I don’t envy the government. On the other hand, that is what they were elected for, and the situation cannot be permitted to drift.

First I’ll quote from a few of Arlene Kushner‘s latest posts. She is well-worth following and reading on a regular basis. She always talks sense and her clarity is refreshing:

Boy, this is tough:

… I read what Kerry said yesterday in Valpariso, Chile, where he was giving a talk:

John Kerry

“Regarding Jerusalem, it absolutely is unacceptable on either side to have to have violence resorted to as a solution.

“And I would caution everybody to be calm, not to escalate the situation…it is very important to maintain a sense of calm that will minimize the instinct for escalation.”

http://www.timesofisrael.com/us-urges-rapid-end-to-unacceptable-violence-in-jerusalem/

~~~~~~~~~~

Let me get this straight: Arabs are killing Jews, but our government should not ratchet up the response to the terrorists? And whatever we do, we should not use violence in persuading those terrorists to stop what they are doing? We should, maybe, reason with them? Offer them perks if they stop?

This is moral equivalency run amuck. Politically correct thoughts from an empty head.

What it illustrates is the breath-taking international bias against Israel that we must contend with. No calling out the Arabs for their execrable behavior. No recognition of Israel’s right to defend her Jewish citizens. It helps us to understand (though not excuse) some of Netanyahu’s reluctance (until now) to take a strong stand against Arab terrorists.

In “Navigating choppy waters” she writes:

It has been revealed by media sources that during the Security Cabinet meeting Prime Minister Netanyahu held Monday night, after the close of Simchat Torah, the issue of threats by Obama was raised. Some of the right wing/nationalist members of the Cabinet (some within the Likud itself) were urging that part of the response to terrorism be increased building in Judea and Samaria.

This is not going to happen, Netanyahu informed them. For Obama has said that if there is building in Judea and Samaria, he will not veto a French resolution that is to be brought to the UN Security Council, a resolution that reportedly would declare “Palestine” a state and would declare the settlements “illegal.”

“We will not jeopardize international support for a declaration of building,” a senior source in the Netanyahu administration reportedly said, While the prime minister himself called for “a sober political maneuver.”

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/201499#.VhUukJuhfIX

The question I want to explore, then, is whether Netanyahu simply “caved” to the US, as Arutz Sheva suggests, and as is his pattern, or whether he has valid reason to be cautious here.

My gut impulse is to say, damn them all, go ahead and build. Now is the time for us to stand up for what is ours by right. But I know that my gut impulse is not necessarily the wisest course of action.

In exploring precisely what IS the wisest course, I contacted two highly respected and knowledgeable international lawyers, and here share their responses. Please, walk this through with me:

One lawyer, deeply involved in legal issues in Judea and Samaria, was interested in looking at the repercussions in terms of international law.

His opinion (this is not a legal opinion) is that a resolution would be tempered, and would

“call for an immediate return to negotiations, with the aim of establishing a Palestinian state and recommending a freeze in settlements.” All this, he says would not “really dramatically change the present situation.”

But the settlement issue as well as that of Jerusalem have regrettably reached panic proportions thanks to very clever Palestinian manipulation of Obama and the EU and their evidently existing predisposition to harm Netanyahu and hence harm Israel.” (My emphasis added here)

The other lawyer, a man with sterling international credentials, chose to look at other, non-legal aspects of the issue (my emphasis added):

”The SC resolution would be very very damaging. Not because of any particular legal point, but because it would lock in a fundamental delegitimization of Israel, trigger a wave of EU sanctions, and make it harder for future US presidents to support Israel.

“Unless Bibi has concrete assurances on this, it makes sense to assume there will be no veto and build anyway…His (Obama’s) promise may be worth something if made publicly or with some other additional indicia of reliability.”

What we see then is that this is not a simple matter and should be taken seriously, but received without panic. It is not easy, being the head of a state that is isolated internationally and against which much venom is directed.

In the end it may well be that now is the time to stand up and claim our rights. But I would not make light of Netanyahu’s hesitancy to move forward.

And here is Arlene in a more belligerent mood after detailing the active incitement promoted by Mahmoud Abbas and his PA, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and all the rest of those “peace-loving Palestinians”: War. Whatever they call it:

One way or another we must vanquish them, make them afraid of us. But how?

The war that should happen will not happen, because no one wants to call it a war.

I’ve read a lot of suggestions both on the Internet, and from readers’ emails. What I will say here is that some of the suggestions that seem appealing – from the gut – will not work. We cannot banish all the Arabs to Gaza. We cannot take down whole Arab villages. We cannot.

Abbas speaks with forked tongue

But please be assured, I am not suggesting that Abbas has us cornered and that there is nothing we can do. This is only the case if we allow ourselves to be cornered. I believe attitude has a great deal to do with it. We must convey a self-confidence – a belief that we are in the right – which we are, and IN CONTROL.

No expressions of gratitude to Abbas for his cooperation on security matters. How ludicrous. Rather, a very quiet message to Abbas that if he doesn’t let his people know that they should cool it, it will go very badly with them and he will pay the price.

David Rubin, former mayor of Shilo, makes a host of suggestions in a blog on Arutz Sheva.

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Blogs/Message.aspx/7584#.VhaFlJuhfIW

Rubin makes other suggestions, including:

“Declare the Levy Report, which in 2012 proved the legal basis for Jewish sovereignty in Judea and Samaria, to be the basis for government policy in ‘the territories.’”

That last suggestion, to implement the Levy Report – a campaign for which. called We have Legal Grounds, is being run by Arlene and others – is probably the best suggestion anyone has made for a long time. Don’t expect it to be implemented any time soon.

The blogger Abu Yehuda is also an excellent read and I would highly recommend you follow him and read his insights. His two latest posts contain interesting advice for our leaders (which of course won’t be followed):

In “Learning from Putin” he writes:

The Prime Minister’s reaction to the escalating terrorism of the last few months is an example. On the one hand, he wants to get tough with the stone- and firebomb-throwers. But on the other, he rejects the idea of changing the status quo with the PA, either by increased building or cutting off subsides. This is an attempt to treat the symptoms while feeding and stimulating the disease.

In all of these situations Israel is being forced to give up its sovereignty bit by bit. In each case, the government chooses to give in to blackmail. Our ‘strategy’, if you can call it that, is to walk between the raindrops. Unfortunately, as time goes on it rains harder and there is less and less room. We may have reached the point in all three of these cases that the old non-strategy no longer works.

We have allowed our fear of international reactions to keep us from exercising our rights in Judea and Samaria, and our fear of terrorism to limit actions against the PA. But at the same time, the US and EU keep increasing the pressure, and the PA keeps inciting and financing terror. So what have we gained?

I’m not going to try to provide a detailed prescription for solving these difficult problems. But in all of them we are moving in the wrong direction, from strength to weakness, from more to less independence and sovereignty.

There is a reason for this: it is because we haven’t articulated a clear picture of the desired end result. Lacking clear objectives, we are passive. Everything we do is a reaction to our enemies’ actions. No wonder we get boxed in – they are writing the screenplay, and we are performing our role in it.

Do we think that all faiths should be able to worship on the Temple Mount, including Jews? If so, we should insist on it. Rav Shlomo Goren wanted to build a synagogue on the Mount (not a third Temple, a synagogue). Why should this be an impossible goal?

And isn’t it past time that the PLO, the organization that has murdered more Jews because they are Jews than any other since the Nazis, joined their Nazi role models in oblivion?

I am not a fan of Vladimir Putin, but we could learn from him. The chaos of recent times is also an opportunity.

I find myself nodding my head in support at these suggestions.

On a similar theme, in “Sovereign or satellite?” Abu Yehuda addresses the American threat not to veto anti-Israel UN resolution, and writes:

Israel ought to have a close relationship with the US, because we share many of the same ideals. We certainly have the potential to be a valuable ally in a dangerous part of the world. But the present administration in Washington does not behave like an ally. … the president and his appointees like to talk about how much they care about Israel’s security. But they continue to act in ways that directly damage it.

I propose that we do implement a freeze, not on construction, but on our relationship with the Obama Administration.

The Prime Minister should publicly announce that while Israel wishes to continue its close relationship with the American people, it does not see the Obama Administration as an appropriate partner with which to do so. Therefore, until January 20, 2017, Israel will downgrade its relationship with the administration to the minimum required for diplomatic relations.

The PM should say that Israel does not see the administration as an unbiased broker in any negotiations with the PLO or anyone else.

Questionable US personnel in Israel (those suspected of working for the CIA) should be made persona non grata and asked to leave. The US-operated X-band radar station on Mt. Keren in the Negev, which serves as much to spy on Israel as to warn of an Iranian attack, should either be transferred to IDF control or shut down. Intelligence cooperation with the US should be limited.

I admit I like this suggestion the best of all that I have read, but it’s probably in the realm of a pipe-dream. I’m prepared to be proven wrong however!

Meanwhile, Israeli citizens have been reacting in their usual courageous way – in addition to the many protests last night.

Read this message of outrage from the bereaved Henkin family (click “more) at the end of the English to see the whole message) or see the whole text below this:.

I have to offer you my sincere condolences, Ambassador Shapiro. It is your duty, after all to explain on a daily basis an unexplainable and unjustifiable policy.

You have to defend a US government which on the one hand demanded that Israel should not free Palestinian terrorists with American blood on their hands, and on the other hand demanded that Israel will free Palestinian terrorists with Israeli blood on their hand. Apart from the blatant hypocrisy the US government has seemed to forget that by doing so it raised the chances that more people, among them US citizens like my brother Eitam, would be murdered at the hands of cold blooded terrorists.

You have to defend a government that appeases its enemies and pressures its friends; A government that decided that its army will “no longer be sized to conduct large-scale, prolonged stability operations”, when apparently the government itself is no longer sized to conduct prolonged operations or policy of any sort, perhaps explaining how chemical weapons continued to be used in Syria and how Russia got back into the middle east with a vengeance. You have to defend a government which focuses more on Timetables than on results, succeeding in pulling out forces but and almost nothing else.

You have defend a government that was so full of itself, that in 2009 it let Rahm Emmanuel declare that that “in the next four years there is going to be a permanent status arrangement between Israel and the Palestinians… and it doesn’t matter to us at all who is prime minister”. How unfortunate it was that the Arab-Israel conflict cannot be solved by pulling US troops out and declaring that the war has been won.

And now we have Mr. Putin and co. making fun of the US in the Crimea, sending a clear message to the whole world not to trust America’s assurances and guarantees. We have him in Syria too. In 2012, President Obama has ridiculed senator McCain when the latter said that Russia is a bigger geopolitical threat than al-Qaeda. ” The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back”, said the president. Well, now the 1980s are calling once again, to ask if we, if the US, if the current administrations needs them to lend us some leadership, since apparently they had way more than we have today, and we have less than we need.

You Ambassador Shapiro, have to defend all that and more. It is a heavy burden for any honest man. I offer you my sincere condolences.

These words, written in anger and bereavement, ring out with the truth.

And finally – a reminder to everyone that Israelis have not lost their humanity while under attack, in stark comparison to our enemies, one of whom named his new baby after a murderous terrorist:

 

At the site of the stabbing at the Petach Tikva mall last week, Shacharit (morning prayers) was held at that very site:

Let these be a reminder that we Israelis, we Jews, hold on to our humanity even in the darkest and harshest of times, especially when our enemies act in the most inhumane way possible.

Does the PA have a strategy?‎

October 11, 2015

Does the PA have a strategy?‎ Israel Hayom, Richard Baehr, October 11, 2015

Abbas may sense that a reconciliation between Israel and the ‎Obama administration is not at hand this time around. The obvious and petty ‎boycott of Netanyahu’s speech at the U.N. certainly supports that thesis. This president ‎carries grudges. In Israel’s case, he seems to have come into office carrying one. ‎With the president in full-time legacy-building mode in his last 16 months in office ‎‎(the climate treaty and executive action on gun control are next up), it is hard to ‎believe that he will simply accept defeat and an inability to influence the Israeli-‎Palestinian conflict in the time he has left. ‎

************************

A third intifada has not yet been officially designated by Haaretz or The New York ‎Times or National Public Radio, though it may feel as if one is underway, when ‎over 60% of Israelis in the latest public opinion survey say they now fear for their ‎personal safety. So too, there is no evidence yet that the wave of Palestinian ‎attacks or — new to this current campaign — the attempted mass crossings from Gaza, ‎have peaked. ‎

Certainly, the reporting on the current events in Israel reflects old habits about ‎how most journalists cover stories of Palestinian violence and Israeli responses. ‎Two standbys always work. One if that there is “a cycle of violence” ( a pox on both ‎your houses), always leaving unclear who the original perpetrators were in an ‎individual attack or group of attacks. A second is to keep a daily scorecard of the ‎comparative body counts, especially when there are more Palestinian casualties ‎and fatalities than Israeli, courtesy of Israeli police or soldiers responding to ‎stabbing attacks, not all of which prove lethal before the attacker is neutralized. ‎This narrative leads to the inevitable charge of disproportionality, one that has ‎become the principal media assault on Israeli responses to terror emanating from ‎Gaza in recent years. As in every other instance in recent years, Haaretz is playing ‎its appointed role of feeding the many international journalists in the country with ‎the “truth in English” as it sees it, and as the international media want to receive ‎and see it, confirming all their established biases about Israel behavior.

For Israeli ‎responses to the current violence to be “fair” and proportional, the comparative ‎Jewish and Arab body counts would need to be more in balance than in prior ‎years. When the current campaign of attacks on Israelis began, The New York Times ‎relegated the story to it its interior pages. Once a few Palestinians were killed by ‎Israeli police, the story became front page news.‎

Any attack on Arabs by an Israeli is always highlighted since it removes any ‎attempt by Israel to argue it is the victim of attacks. It also buttresses the PA’s ‎charges that Israelis, whether in security roles or settlers, are willing executioners, ‎committing crimes against Palestinians. Regardless of how infrequent these individual attacks by Israelis ‎are, they serve to solidify the cycle of violence theme. The Israeli government can ‎condemn these attacks and capture the perpetrators, but it makes no difference. ‎The PA, meanwhile, will applaud the heroism of their new martyrs protecting the ‎holy places on the Temple Mount from an invasion of stinking Jewish filth.‎

The current wave of Arab attacks followed a Palestinian Authority incitement ‎campaign with language such as that above, in which President Mahmoud Abbas, ‎seemingly the president for life, though only elected to a four year term, ‎condemned Israel’s campaign to change the status of the Temple Mount, for which ‎there is no evidence whatsoever. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, probably in ‎seclusion and being treated with antidepressants since being denied the Nobel ‎Peace Prize for his abject surrender to the Iranians in Geneva, has acknowledged ‎to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the Americans understand there is no ‎Israeli effort underway to reshape any policy regarding behavior on the Temple ‎Mount. Kerry can probably blame Yasser Arafat’s Nobel Peace Prize for the peace ‎prize medal he did not receive (and likely would not have tossed away). The ‎selection committee was probably not anxious to have the Iranians make them look ‎like fools in years to come once they violated the nuclear deal as Arafat tossed Oslo ‎aside when it was inconvenient. ‎

The naked demagoguery of Abbas’ continually repeated lies about Israeli plans for ‎the Temple Mount will always have the desired affect on the many young men on ‎whom the PA can depend to take to the streets and do their part to protect the ‎‎”holy places” for a fee. While there is no consensus on the degree of PA control ‎over the attacks, the Palestinians certainly know where their rhetoric leads.‎

The question, though, is why the Palestinians have chosen this point in time to ‎overheat the situation, resulting in the loss of both Israeli and Palestinian lives.‎

The answer offered by most analysts so far is that the PA wanted to draw ‎international attention back to its grievances with Israel, which most basically ‎begins with the continued existence of the State of Israel. For many months, ‎relations between Israel and the United States, never very good at any time during ‎the Obama years, have become much more fractious as a result of the ‎disagreement between the two countries over the wisdom of America’s ‎spearheading the effort to make all the concessions required as achieve the ‎nuclear deal with Iran by the ‎P5+1 group of nations. ‎

In prior administrations, when relations between the two countries hit a rough ‎patch over some policy disagreement, typically there was an effort made by both ‎parties to try to restore the historic relationship. In the Obama years, the White ‎House has had problems with Israel on pretty much everything — whether to ‎impose new sanctions on Iran, inhibiting Israeli steps targeting Iran’s nuclear ‎program, the nuclear deal itself, and of course the peace process with the ‎Palestinians, the breakdown of which was blamed on Israel by the administration. ‎In no prior administration has the public rhetoric and off-the-record commentary ‎about Israel and its elected leader been so consistently hostile. A boycott of Netanyahu’s speech to a joint meeting of Congress was supported by the ‎administration, which pulled Vice President Joe Biden from attendance. Near a quarter ‎of all Democrats in Congress chose to observe the boycott. The administration ‎doubled down on its boycott campaign when Kerry and ‎Ambassador Samantha Power were instructed not to attend ‎Netanyahu’s recent speech to the U.N. General Assembly. It makes sense that the president has never condemned the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaigns targeting Israel on American ‎college campuses. He would probably be leading them if he were now a student. ‎

In any case, Abbas may sense that a reconciliation between Israel and the ‎Obama administration is not at hand this time around. The obvious and petty ‎boycott of Netanyahu’s speech at the U.N. certainly supports that thesis. This president ‎carries grudges. In Israel’s case, he seems to have come into office carrying one. ‎With the president in full-time legacy-building mode in his last 16 months in office ‎‎(the climate treaty and executive action on gun control are next up), it is hard to ‎believe that he will simply accept defeat and an inability to influence the Israeli-‎Palestinian conflict in the time he has left. ‎

Abbas has resorted to the strategy that always works to get his cause back in the ‎news — get some of his people killed by Israel, and blame it on Israeli over-reaction ‎and trigger-happy behavior. Maybe Obama will then show his disgust with Israel ‎and commit to not vetoing new measures targeting Israel at the U.N. Security ‎Council, including establishing a plan for Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank ‎and Jerusalem. ‎

It is also possible that Obama planned to lower the temperature of the American-‎Israeli relationship now that the Iran deal had not been blocked by Congress. The prime minister had been invited to the White House next month, and reportedly ‎the president planned to show up. If Abbas thought this was the new glide path, ‎then throwing a monkey wrench into the mix with new violence would certainly ‎complicate things. Obama’s press secretary, Josh Earnest, gave a particularly awful ‎response when questioned about the new wave of Palestinian violence this week, ‎suggesting he had not been advised to turn any page:‎

“The United States condemns in the strongest possible terms ‎violence against Israeli and Palestinian civilians. We call upon ‎all parties to take affirmative steps to restore calm and refrain ‎from actions and rhetoric that would further enflame tensions ‎in that region of the world. We continue to urge all sides to find ‎a way back to the full restoration of the status quo at the ‎Temple Mount in Haram al-Sharif, the location that has ‎precipitated so much of the violence that we’ve seen there.”

In other words, both sides are guilty for attacking the other’s ‎civilians, and somehow a change in the status of the Temple ‎Mount (Israel’s doing) was the root cause of the new problems. ‎

When the administration’s top spokesperson makes this kind ‎of comment, do you think Abbas will decide to ease ‎up on the violence accelerator?

Contentions | Has Obama Read the Khamenei Palestine Book?

August 4, 2015

Contentions | Has Obama Read the Khamenei Palestine Book? Commentary Magazine, August 4, 2015

(Another interesting question would be, does Obama agree with any of Khamenei’s statements and, if so, which? — DM)

The Khamenei Palestine book is important not in and of itself but because the regime’s obsession with Israel is a key to its foreign policy. . . . But as much as Iran is focused on regional hegemony in which Sunni states would be brought to heel, as Khamenei’s Palestine illustrates, it is the fixation on Israel and Zionism that really animates their expansionism and aid for terror groups.

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It turns out President Obama isn’t the only world leader who writes books. His counterpart in Iran – Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei — has also just published a new book. But while it may not be as introspective as Obama’s Dreams From My Father, it does tell us at least as much about the vision of the person in charge in Tehran (as opposed to Hassan Rouhani, the faux moderate who serves as its president) as the president’s best-selling memoir. As Amir Taheri reports in the New York Post, Palestine is a 416-page diatribe against the existence of the state of Israel and a call to arms for it to be destroyed. Supporters of the nuclear deal the president has struck with Khamenei’s regime may dismiss this book as merely one more example of the Supreme Leader’s unfortunate ideology that must be overlooked. But as the New York Times noted last week, the administration’s real goal here isn’t so much in delaying Iran’s march to a nuclear weapon (which is the most that can be claimed for the agreement) as it is fostering détente with it. Seen in that light, the latest evidence of the malevolence of the Islamist regime should be regarded as yet another inarguable reason for Congress to vote the deal down.

In his interview with The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg on May 21, President Obama was asked directly about the significance of Iran’s anti-Semitism and its commitment to destroying Israel. The president said the anti-Semitism of the Iranian leadership did not mean they weren’t also “interested in survival” or being “rational.” As far as he was concerned, the ideology of the regime was not something that would influence its decisions.

But everything Khamenei says and, even more importantly, everything the regime does, by funding terrorist groups at war with Israel such as Hamas and Hezbollah or by embarking on a ruinously expensive nuclear project that placed it in conflict with the West, speaks to its commitment to policies that Obama may think are irrational but which are completely in synch with what he called its “organizing principle.” Why would a nation so rich in oil need to risk international isolation or war seek nuclear power if not to help Khamenei fulfill his pledge to “liberate” what is now Israel for Muslims?

The president told Goldberg that the American military option would be a sufficient deterrent to ensure that Iran didn’t violate the nuclear pact or behave in an irrational manner. But since the president has ruled out the use of force in a categorical manner, it’s hard to see why the Iranians would fear it once the U.S. and Europe are doing business with them. Even if it was a matter of snapping back sanctions, assuming that such a concept is even possible? Once the restrictions are unraveled, it’s fair to ask why would they work then when the president repeatedly tells us additional sanctions won’t work now and require us to accept the current deal that doesn’t achieve the objectives that the administration set for the negotiations when they began.

The Khamenei Palestine book is important not in and of itself but because the regime’s obsession with Israel is a key to its foreign policy. Iran constitutes a grave threat to Neighboring Arab countries that are at least as angry about the president’s embrace of Tehran as the Israelis since their nuclear status would undermine their security. But as much as Iran is focused on regional hegemony in which Sunni states would be brought to heel, as Khamenei’s Palestine illustrates, it is the fixation on Israel and Zionism that really animates their expansionism and aid for terror groups.

As Taheri notes in his article on the book, Khamenei distinguishes his idée fixe about destroying Israel from European anti-Semitism. Rather, he insists, that his policy derives from “well established Islamic principles.” Chief among them is the idea that any land that was once ruled by Muslims cannot be conceded to non-believers no matter who lives there now. While the Muslim world seems to understand that they’re not getting Spain back, the territory that constitutes the state of Israel is something else. Its central location in the middle of the Muslim and Arab worlds and the fact that Jews, a despised minority people, now rule it makes its existence particularly objectionable to Islamists like Khamenei.

Khamenei’s book shows that not only is he serious about wanting to destroy Israel and uproot its Jewish population, he regards this project as a practical rather than a theoretical idea. The administration ignores this because it wants to believe that Iran is a nation that wants to, as the president put it, “get right with the world.” But what it wants is to do business with the world while pursuing its ideological goals. The nuclear deal is a means to an end for the regime and that end does not involve good relations with the West or cooperation with other states in the region, let alone coexisting peacefully with Israel.

What is curious is that this is the same administration that regarded the announcement of a housing project in Jerusalem by low-level Israeli officials as an “insult” to Vice President Biden. But it chooses to regard the “death to America” chants led by regime functionaries in Iran as well as a book by the country’s leader indicating that Obama’s ideas about its character are fallacious as non-events. The only explanation for this remarkable lack of interest in Iranian behavior is an ideological fixation on détente with Tehran that is every bit as hardcore as any utterances that emanate from the mouth or the pen of the Supreme Leader.

Taken out of the context of a vision of friendship with the Iranian regime, the nuclear deal makes no sense. Yet squaring that vision with Khamenei’s literary effort is impossible. Members of the House and Senate must take note of this conundrum and vote accordingly.

Netanyahu slams Abbas after attack on Palestinian family

August 2, 2015

Netanyahu slams Abbas after attack on Palestinian family, Times of IsraelTamar Pileggi, August 2, 2015

Netanuahu on Jewish terrorismPrime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting at his Jerusalem office on August 2, 2015 AFP PHOTO / POOL / GALI TIBBON)

PM says Israel ‘condemns’ such violence, while the PA ‘names public squares after the murderers of children’

Speaking in the wake of a firebombing attack in the West Bank that left a Palestinian toddler dead, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday lashed out at Mahmoud Abbas, accusing the Palestinian Authority president of failing to condemn acts of Palestinian terrorism.

Netanyahu, addressing the weekly cabinet meeting, compared Israeli officials’ swift condemnation of Friday’s alleged Jewish terrorist attack to what he said was an inadequate response on the part of PA officials after Palestinian terrorists targeted Israeli civilians.

“We deplore and condemn these murderers. We will pursue them to the end,” he said. “They name public squares after the murderers of children. This distinction cannot be blurred or covered up,” he said.

“It is important to say this even as we utter our condemnations and unite against the criminals among our people,” Netanyahu said.

The prime minister also said that there would be a “zero tolerance” policy toward such crimes in Israel, and vowed to punish the perpetrators to the full extent of the law.

Gay prideParticipants in the gay pride parade in Jerusalem flee stabber Yishai Schlissel, July 30, 2015. (screen capture: Channel 2)

“We recently witnessed two abhorrent crimes. Our policy toward these crimes is zero tolerance,” he said, referring both to the killing of the Palestinian child and a stabbing attack at the Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade on Thursday.

Netanyahu recalled visiting the home of the historian Joseph Klausner as a child. Over the arched entrance to Klausner’s home, said the prime minister, the words “Judaism” and “humanity” were engraved in Hebrew.

The perpetrators of last week’s crimes did not represent Judaism, he said.

The prime minister said he had instructed security and law enforcement officials to use all legal tools at their disposal to apprehend the perpetrators of the arson attack and prosecute the perpetrator of the stabbing attack.

“We are determined to vigorously fight manifestations of hate, fanaticism and terrorism from whatever side. The fight against these phenomena unites us all.

“This is not a struggle by this or that faction. This is a matter of basic humanity and is at the foundation of our enlightened Jewish values,” he said.

The assailant in Thursday’s anti-gay attack was an ultra-Orthodox Jew, Yishai Schlissel, who had just been released after serving 10 years in jail for carrying out a similar attack at the 2005 Pride Parade. On Sunday, doctors said that one of the six victims, who suffered multiple stab wounds to her chest and abdomen, remained in critical condition.

Duma villageA Palestinian man mourns alongside the body of a one-and-a-half year old boy, Ali Dawabsha, during his funeral in Duma village near the West Bank city of Nablus, Friday, July 31, 2015. (Majdi Mohammed/AP)

On Friday, unknown assailants suspected to be Jewish settlers firebombed the home of a Palestinian family in the northern West Bank village of Duma, killing a toddler. The parents and brother of 18-month-old Ali Saad Dawabsha were hospitalized and are still fighting for their lives.

The family’s small brick and cement home was gutted by fire, and a Star of David spray-painted on a wall along with the words “revenge” and “long live the Messiah.”

The phrases were indicative of so-called “price tag” violence — a euphemism for nationalist-motivated hate crimes by Jewish extremists.