Posted tagged ‘Israeli left’

The Left’s Abbas problem

June 6, 2017

The Left’s Abbas problem, Israel Hayom, Jonathan S. Tobin, June 6, 2017

Despite repeated Palestinian rejections of peace offers, advocates of a two-state solution still cling to the belief that it is Israel that is inventing conditions designed to ensure that negotiations will fail. But if their goal is to create a genuine consensus behind peace, then rather than lament Trump’s criticisms of Abbas, they ought to hope he will succeed in getting the PA leader to stop the incitement as well as the prisoner payments. If Netanyahu’s opponents continue to refuse to take this issue seriously, they will have no one but themselves — and the Palestinians — to blame if they continue to be marginalized and peace remains a remote dream.

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For the Israeli Left, talk about Palestinian incitement is nothing more than an excuse invented by the Right to avoid peace. The same largely applies to their views about the Palestinian Authority’s payments of more than $1 billion in just the last four years in salaries to imprisoned terrorists and their families.

The PA’s ongoing efforts to inculcate new generations in the ideology of hate that has driven the century-long war on Zionism is itself a barrier to peace. It also ensures that any effort to end the conflict will run counter to notions of Palestinian identity that are inextricably linked to that war.

But if you believe that Israel’s chief objective must be to achieve a separation from the Palestinians and an end to its presence in the West Bank and east Jerusalem regardless of what happens or who governs a Palestinian state, you view the issue differently. If you think separation is the only way to preserve a Jewish majority in the Jewish state and to protect both Israelis and Palestinians from the burden of the occupation, statements of support or even subsidies for those who commit violence are side issues or distractions that obscure the big picture.

Yet opponents of the Netanyahu government are making a big mistake when they downplay these issues. Though they doubt the motives of those who point out what the Palestinian Authority have been doing and even agree with PA President Mahmoud Abbas’ assertion that both sides incite, they are missing the point. A failure to address these questions has been the Achilles’ heel of the Left ever since the Oslo Accords were signed. Doing so is not only political poison, it also sends the wrong message to Palestinians who they insist are, against all evidence, viable partners for peace.

The issue of incitement is at the center of the discussion now because U.S. President Donald Trump has decided it is important. Trump was sufficiently ignorant of the history of the conflict and how the PA operates that he actually seems to have believed Abbas’ assurances about not supporting incitement or payments to prisoners that the PA leader made during their initial White House meeting.

But when the Israelis pointed out to him that Abbas was seeking to pull the wool over his eyes, and backed it up with video evidence, he didn’t like it. More than that, he rightly understood that this lie was an obstacle to achieving the unlikely diplomatic triumph he craved.

That led to Trump reportedly pounding the table and accusing Abbas of being liar when they met in Bethlehem. Since it would be difficult for Abbas to suddenly alter the nature of what is published in PA newspapers or viewed on PA television to mollify Israeli or Western sensibilities, let alone cease payments to the very same terrorist prisoners who are lauded by Palestinians as heroes, Trump’s insistence on these points was no small controversy.

The Left deplores Trump’s embrace of this issue and puts it down to a clever strategy implemented by Netanyahu. But if that’s all they think there is to it, they’re repeating the same mistakes that ensured the failure of peace talks in the past. In the 1990s, both the Clinton administration and Labor-led governments saw PLO leader Yasser Arafat’s words and actions as merely fodder for domestic Palestinian political consumption. But the result of that policy was not only to convey to the PA that it could transgress with impunity; this spirit of complacency also materially contributed to the collapse of faith in the peace process once Palestinian actions moved from words to bombs in the Second Intifada.

The Left’s problem is not just that serious observers understand the implications of incitement and material support for terror and that not enough people share their belief that Israeli actions are as bad or worse than those of the Palestinians. Nor are most Israelis likely to be persuaded to view actions of self-defense undertaken by their government as morally equivalent to the PA’s support for terror. Just as important is that a Palestinian leader who felt constrained to engage in behavior that engendered such deep mistrust among Israelis would be unlikely to muster support for an end to the conflict among his own people, even if he wanted to make peace.

Despite repeated Palestinian rejections of peace offers, advocates of a two-state solution still cling to the belief that it is Israel that is inventing conditions designed to ensure that negotiations will fail. But if their goal is to create a genuine consensus behind peace, then rather than lament Trump’s criticisms of Abbas, they ought to hope he will succeed in getting the PA leader to stop the incitement as well as the prisoner payments. If Netanyahu’s opponents continue to refuse to take this issue seriously, they will have no one but themselves — and the Palestinians — to blame if they continue to be marginalized and peace remains a remote dream.

Jonathan S. Tobin is the opinion editor of JNS.org and a contributing writer for ‎National Review.

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.

The IDF’s New Social Contract

January 6, 2017

The IDF’s New Social Contract, Front Page MagazineCaroline Glick, January 6, 2016

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Azaria is the first victim of a General Staff that has decided to cease serving as the people’s army and serve instead as B’Tselem’s army. The call now spreading through the Knesset for Azaria to receive a presidential pardon, while certainly reasonable and desirable, will likely fail to bring about his freedom. For a pardon request to reach President Reuven Rivlin’s desk, it first needs to be stamped by Eisenkot.

A pardon for Azaria would go some way toward repairing the damage the General Staff has done to its relationship with the public. But from Eisenkot’s behavior this week, it is apparent that he feels no need and has no interest in repairing that damage.

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Sgt. Elor Azaria, who was convicted of manslaughter Wednesday for shooting a terrorist in Hebron last March, is a symptom of what may be the most dangerous threat to Israeli society today.

Azaria, a combat medic from the Kfir Brigade, arrived at the scene of an attack where two terrorists had just stabbed his comrades. One of the terrorists was killed, the other was wounded and lying on the ground, his knife less than a meter away from him.

A cameraman from the foreign-funded, Israeli- registered anti-Israel pressure group B’Tselem filmed Azaria removing his helmet and shooting the wounded terrorist. According to the military judges, the film was the centerpiece of the case against him.

The day of the incident, the General Staff reacted to the B’Tselem film with utter hysteria. Led by Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot and then-defense minister Moshe Ya’alon, Israel’s generals competed to see who could condemn Azaria most harshly.

For the public, though, the issue wasn’t so cut and dry. Certainly Azaria didn’t act like a model soldier. It was clear, for instance, that he acted without proper authority and that his action was not permitted under the rules of engagement then in effect in Hebron.

But unlike the IDF’s senior leadership, the public believed that the fact that it was B’Tselem that produced the film meant that it had to be viewed with a grain of salt.

The name “B’Tselem” was seared into the public’s consciousness as an organization hostile to Israel and dedicated to causing it harm with the publication of the UN’s Goldstone Commission Report in 2009. Among the Israeli-registered groups that provided materials to the biased UN commission charged with finding Israel guilty of war crimes during the course of Operation Cast Lead against Hamas in late 2008 and early 2009, B’Tselem made the greatest contribution.

The Goldstone Report cited B’Tselem as the source for its slanderous “findings” 56 times.

After the UN published the Goldstone Report, Michael Posner, the US assistant secretary of state for human rights, visited Israel and met with Jessica Montell, B’Tselem’s executive director at the time.

The US Embassy’s official report of their meeting was published by WikiLeaks.

During their meeting, Montell told Posner that her group’s goal in providing the Goldstone Commission with materials was to force the government to pay a heavy price for its decision to fight Hamas, by criminalizing Israel in the court of world opinion.

As B’Tselem saw it, Israel needed to come to the point where it would consider whether it could “afford another operation like this.”

Montell explained that from B’Tselem’s perspective the root of the problem with Israel is the Israeli public. The public is the source of Israel’s bad behavior, according to B’Tselem, because it “had zero tolerance for IDF killed.” As far as the public is concerned, she said, harm to Palestinian civilians is preferable to harm to IDF soldiers.

Since, in B’Tselem’s view, the public’s commitment to the lives of its soldiers meant that it would not constitute a “moral check on war,” and check the bellicosity of IDF commanders, it fell to B’Tselem to make the IDF brass and the government care more about world opinion than they care about what the public thinks.

The public’s condemnation of B’Tselem after its role in compiling the Goldstone Commission’s libelous accusations against the IDF was made public made no impression whatsoever on the group.

Following Operation Protective Edge in 2014, B’Tselem’s materials were cited 67 times by the report of the biased UN commission put together to slander Israel.

In 2007, B’Tselem launched its “Camera Program.”

The camera initiative involved providing video cameras to B’Tselem employees and volunteers in Judea and Samaria in order to document the actions of Israeli security forces and civilians in the areas.

In many cases, the videos B’Tselem produced distorted reality for the purpose of criminalizing both groups.

For instance, in 2011, B’Tselem gave a film to Ynet’s Elior Cohen that purported to show Israeli police brutally arresting a young Palestinian boy and preventing his mother from coming to the police station with him.

But as CAMERA showed at the time, B’Tselem’s portrayal of events was fanciful at best. In all likelihood, the event was staged by the B’Tselem photographer.

At the outset of the film the boy is unseen as he throws rocks at a police van. The boy is first seen as he runs toward the B’Tselem camerawoman. For her part, the camerawoman screams at the police and identifies herself as from B’Tselem.

The police are shown asking the boy’s mother repeatedly to join them in the car. As she stands poised to enter the vehicle, a Palestinian man is shown telling her in Arabic not to go.

In July 2016, B’Tselem released a film taken in Hebron during an attempted stabbing attack by a female Palestinian terrorist against Israel police at a security checkpoint outside the Cave of the Patriarchs.

The police reported that the terrorist tried to stab a policewoman who was checking her in an inspection room. Another policewoman shot and killed her.

B’Tselem claimed that its film proved that the female terrorist was shot for no reason. But the fact is that it does no such thing. As NGO Monitor noted, the B’Tselem film neither contradicts nor proves the police’s version of events.

Over the years, the public’s growing awareness of B’Tselem’s unwavering hostility went hand in hand with its growing distress over what was perceived as the IDF’s willingness to sacrifice the safety of troops to prevent it from receiving bad press.

For instance, in 2012, a film went viral on social media that showed a platoon of combat engineers fleeing from a mob of Palestinians attacking with rocks, Molotov cocktails and slingshots.

When questioned by reporters, the soldiers said that they had repeatedly asked their battalion commander for permission to use force to disperse the crowd and they were repeatedly denied permission.

Retreat was their only option.

In 2015, another film went viral showing a group of Palestinian women hitting and screaming at a soldier trying to arrest one of them for throwing rocks at his platoon. He did nothing as he absorbed the blows. And no harm came to the women who assaulted him.

Along with the films, came stories that soldiers on leave told their friends and family about the IDF’s rules of engagement. The tales were always the same. The rules of engagement are so restrictive that all initiative is placed in the hands of the enemy. Not only can terrorists attack at will. They can flee afterward and expect that no harm will come to them, because what is most important, the soldiers explain, is to ensure that IDF maintains its reputation as the most moral army in the world.

This was the context in which Azaria killed the wounded terrorist.

Although the headlines relate to Azaria, and his family members have become familiar faces on the news, the fact is the reason the Azaria affair was the biggest story of the year is that it really has very little to do with him.

There are three forces driving the story.

First of course, there is B’Tselem.

B’Tselem’s produced the film to advance its goal of obliging Israel’s national leadership, including the IDF brass, to care more about “world opinion” than about the opinion of Israeli citizens.

Second then, is the pubic that cares more about the lives of IDF soldiers than about what the world thinks of it.

Finally, there is the IDF General Staff that is being forced to pick which side it stands with.

Since Israel was established nearly 70 years ago, the relationship between the IDF and the public has been based on an often unstated social contract.

From the public’s side, Israel’s citizens agree to serve in the IDF and risk their lives in its service.

Moreover, they agree to allow their children to serve in the military and to be placed in harm’s way.

From the IDF’s side, the commanders agree to view the lives of their soldiers as sacrosanct, and certainly as more precious than the lives of the enemy and the enemies’ society.

The third side is the General Staff. In the years leading up to the Azaria affair the generals were already showing disturbing signs of forgetting their contract with the public.

The films of fleeing soldiers and the rules of engagement weren’t the only signs of our military leadership’s estrangement.

There were also the promotions given to radical lawyers to serve in key positions in the Military Advocate-General’s unit, and the red carpet treatment given to radical leftist groups like B’Tselem that were dedicated to criminalizing soldiers and commanders.

Since the shooting in Hebron, the General Staff’s treatment of the public has become even more disdainful.

Ya’alon and Eisenkot and his generals have repeatedly offended the public with comparisons of “IDF values” with alleged processes of barbarization, Nazification and ISIS-ization of the public by the likes of Azaria and his supporters.

If there was a specific moment where the military brass abandoned its compact with society once and for all, it came on Tuesday, the day before the military court convicted Azaria of manslaughter. In a speech that day, Eisenkot insisted that IDF soldiers are not “our children.” They are grownups and they are required to obey the orders they receive.

By making this statement the day before the verdict in a case that pitted society against the General Staff, which sided with B’Tselem, Eisenkot told us that the General Staff no longer feels itself obligated by a sacred compact with the people of Israel.

Azaria is the first victim of a General Staff that has decided to cease serving as the people’s army and serve instead as B’Tselem’s army. The call now spreading through the Knesset for Azaria to receive a presidential pardon, while certainly reasonable and desirable, will likely fail to bring about his freedom. For a pardon request to reach President Reuven Rivlin’s desk, it first needs to be stamped by Eisenkot.

A pardon for Azaria would go some way toward repairing the damage the General Staff has done to its relationship with the public. But from Eisenkot’s behavior this week, it is apparent that he feels no need and has no interest in repairing that damage.

As a result, it is likely that Azaria will spend years behind bars for killing the enemy.

Moreover, if nothing forces Eisenkot and his generals to their senses, Azaria will neither be the last nor the greatest victim of their betrayal of the public’s trust.

The PLO’s Zero-Sum Game

January 3, 2017

The PLO’s Zero-Sum Game, Front Page MagazineCaroline Glick, January 3, 2017

(Please see also, Fatah Honors Islamist Terrorists For 52nd Anniversary. – DM)

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Originally published by the Jerusalem Post

The time has come for the government to move ahead boldly. In their post-Obama, post-2334 state, the Israeli Left and its American Jewish supporters are in no position to stop the government from doing what needs to be done. But, if the government fails to act now, when the Democrats return in two or four years, the opportunity now upon us may be lost forever as the PLO comes back to win its zerosum game against Israel.

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Since its inception in the late 1970s, the Israeli peace movement has been based on one thing: hope.

Members of the peace movement hoped the PLO’s war with Israel could be resolved through compromise. Proponents of peace with the PLO hoped that Yasser Arafat and his terrorist minions weren’t truly committed to Israel’s destruction.

The two-state formula was based on the hope that Israel could reach an accommodation with the PLO. To wit, in exchange for parts of Judea and Samaria and Gaza (no one was talking about Jerusalem), Israeli peaceniks, who over time came to encompass all factions of the Left in Israel, hoped the PLO would bury the hatchet, build a state, or federate with Jordan, and that would be that.

In 1992, the peace camp took over the government. Under the leadership of then prime minister Yitzhak Rabin and then foreign minister Shimon Peres, hope became the basis for Israel’s national security strategy. That strategy was followed by every Israeli government since. The basic idea was clear enough. In exchange for land and guns and legitimacy, Arafat and his goons would be domesticated.

The peace camp’s hope was never based on evidence. Indeed, it flew in the face of the PLO’s track record. By the time the Israeli peaceniks began negotiating with Arafat and his deputies in the late 1980s, the PLO had already controlled two autonomous areas. In both Jordan and Lebanon, Arafat and his terrorists transformed peaceful areas into bases for global terrorism and launching points for massacres of Israelis and of victims from Africa to Europe to the Americas.

The secret of the PLO’s success was that it didn’t simply kill people. It combined murder with political warfare. The PLO’s political war had two goals. First, it aimed to make killing Jews politically acceptable a mere generation after the Holocaust.

Second, the PLO devoted great resources to wooing the Israeli and Western Left. It sought to convince a sufficient core of leftists that the PLO wasn’t really committed to its goal of eradicating Israel. It actually was a peace movement in terrorist disguise.

Arafat and his deputies whispered in the ears of their gullible Israeli “partners” that they weren’t an implacable foe. They were partners for peace just waiting to be convinced that they could make a deal.

The success of both political warfare strategies has been on prominent display of late. On December 23, the ambassadors of state members of the UN Security Council broke out in spontaneous applause after they unanimously passed Resolution 2334, which declares Israel an outlaw state populated by criminals and bereft of all rights to its capital and its historic heartland.

A week later, the PLO’s largest terrorist faction Fatah celebrated its founding day. The largest celebration this year reportedly took place in Bethlehem.

Fatah was actually founded in 1958. But Arafat chose December 31, 1964 as its founding day because that was the day his terrorists carried out their first terrorist attack against Israel.

In Bethlehem Saturday, thousands of Palestinian youths – starting at the age of four or five – marked the day with a march through town.

This was no ticker tape parade.

In classic PLO fashion, the young people – including the preschoolers – were clad in military uniforms and had their faces covered with sheets. They marched through the streets behind banners sporting the images of Fatah terrorists like mass murderer Dalal Mughrabi and pledged to complete their heroes’ mission.

The message of the spectacle was straightforward enough. Fatah remains utterly committed to eradicating Israel through terrorism and war.

Covering the march for the Israeli media was Channel 2’s far-left correspondent Ohad Hemo. In a manner comprehensible only to true believers, Hemo stared at the march and saw a reason for restored hope for peace.

Speaking to masked grand masters, without a tinge of embarrassment, Hemo asked if they supported the two-state solution.

Lo and behold, as they marched behind banners of Mughrabi, who led the PLO terrorist cell that massacred 38 Israelis including 13 children in 1978, Hemo’s minders told him that indeed, they support a two-state solution!

Hemo was exultant.

Even with its chokehold on the media and its control of the judicial system and state prosecution, the Israeli Left would have never been successful in maintaining this murderous joke without outside help.

And that’s where the American Jewish establishment came in.

For more than 20 years, led by AIPAC, the American Jewish establishment has insisted that the two-state solution is the only option. That is, empty faith in a terrorist organization fully committed to Israel’s destruction is the only acceptable policy for Republicans and Democrats alike to follow in respect to Israel.

For 23 years, despite the ever increasing dubiousness of Republican leaders and a few Democratic lawmakers, the consensus view was maintained.

The Jewish community’s slavish devotion to the PLO stemmed from two sources. First, by insisting that the PLO is a credible force, the American Jewish community has been able to keep peace in its ranks, which are populated overwhelmingly by leftists.

Second, by promoting a policy at odds with reality, communal leaders have been able to pretend that there is no qualitative distinction between Democratic and Republican support for Israel. This claim, which has become downright implausible during President Barack Obama’s tenure in the White House, is vital for enabling American Jews to pretend that Israel is a voting issue for them and that they aren’t simply motivated by their leftist world views.

It would appear that the jig is up on this position.

Obama’s lame-duck war against Israel and the rise of anti-Jewish forces in the Democratic Party led by Rep. Keith Ellison make it practically impossible to continue to claim that the Democratic Party is a home for pro-Israel forces in America.

On the other hand, President-elect Donald Trump’s full-throated support for Israel and promotion of advisers who openly oppose a PLO state has opened the door for Republican lawmakers to abandon their half-hearted support for the PLO. Beginning this month, they may very well begin ending US recognition of the PLO and cut off taxpayer funds to its terrorism-cultivating autonomy in Judea and Samaria.

In this state of affairs, American Jewish groups will either support Trump and the Republicans or lose their ability to influence events. In either case, for at least the next two years, they have lost their capacity to support the Israeli Left in a significant way.

This is important for Israel to understand because the clock is ticking. Obama’s onslaught has made clear that the Democratic Party no longer supports Israel. Like the PLO, Obama and his advisers view the PLO’s conflict with Israel as a zero-sum game and they have cast their lots with the terrorists against the Jewish state.

It is to be expected that under the leadership of former president Obama and Ellison the Democrats will expand the openness of their hostility to Israel.

Under these circumstance, Israel has but two years – until the mid-term congressional elections when the Democrats may be empowered in Congress – to decide what it wants to do with Judea and Samaria.

Last week the government signaled that its first step will be to apply Israeli law to Ma’ale Adumim. A bill to this effect is expected to be brought before the government shortly after Obama leaves office.

While a good first move, our leaders must recognize that it needs to be quickly followed up by additional administrative changes. The goal of those additional steps is to dismantle the military government which administers Area C – 60% of Judea and Samaria – by 2019 and transfer full administrative responsibility for the area, which includes Israel’s border with Jordan and all the Israeli communities of Judea and Samaria, to the government.

The time has come for the government to move ahead boldly. In their post-Obama, post-2334 state, the Israeli Left and its American Jewish supporters are in no position to stop the government from doing what needs to be done. But, if the government fails to act now, when the Democrats return in two or four years, the opportunity now upon us may be lost forever as the PLO comes back to win its zerosum game against Israel.

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 issue is Israel’s existence

December 28, 2016

The issue is Israel’s existence, Israel Hayom, Dr. Ephraim Herrera, December 27, 2016

The current phase is no less dangerous: diplomatic, legal and public relations warfare against Israel — a variety of initiatives aiming to present it as an immoral, apartheid, “illegal” country that must be denounced. Lest we delude ourselves: The goal of the public diplomacy war is the collapse of the Jewish state. International pressure demanding that Israel return  to the June 4, 1967, borders is understood as the first stage, not the last. PA President Mahmoud Abbas has consistently declared that he will never recognize the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people. And that he will never surrender the right of return for Palestinian refugees.

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The U.N. resolution on Israeli settlements is perceived throughout the entire Muslim world as a giant victory and a historic achievement for the rights of Palestinians. Indeed, the resolution, which “will not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations,” renders negotiations pointless because the international community rejects outright any Israeli legitimacy over any land beyond the lines drawn before the Six-Day War. In other words: Israel must withdraw from the Jewish Quarter, from Jerusalem’s new neighborhoods and from all of Judea and Samaria.

The common denominator in the Palestinian reaction — whether Fatah, Hamas or Islamic Jihad — is that this victory has to be leveraged, with vigor. A Palestinian Authority spokesman said actions must be taken to isolate Israel in the international arena, and called on the international community to take the necessary steps to implement the resolution ratified by the United Nations. The PA foreign minister called for actions that would put an end to the “Judaization” of Judea and Samaria. Other mouthpieces noted the need for legal action against Israelis for war crimes.

From the onset of Israel’s creation, the Muslim world without exception has sought to exterminate the Zionist entity. Its initial efforts focused on classical armed conflict: from the War of Independence to the Lebanon War, the enemies’ armies suffered staggering defeats, even if exacting from us a painful price. From the mid-1980s, the Muslim world shifted to a different strategy: intifadas. Here, too, Israel paid a heavy price, but was able to withstand the threat. For years now, calls for another intifada in Judea and Samaria and among Israeli Arabs have fallen on deaf ears. The third wave of terrorism, which is still ongoing, has introduced a new method of resistance: lone-wolf attackers, armed with knives or behind the wheel of a careening vehicle, seeking to terrorize the civilian population. However, a series of measures implemented by Israel’s security forces, alongside quick and effective action by civilians at the scene of attacks, have suppressed the phenomenon significantly.

The current phase is no less dangerous: diplomatic, legal and public relations warfare against Israel — a variety of initiatives aiming to present it as an immoral, apartheid, “illegal” country that must be denounced. Lest we delude ourselves: The goal of the public diplomacy war is the collapse of the Jewish state. International pressure demanding that Israel return to the June 4, 1967, borders is understood as the first stage, not the last. PA President Mahmoud Abbas has consistently declared that he will never recognize the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people. And that he will never surrender the right of return for Palestinian refugees.

The heated argument between the Israeli Left and Right overlooks the essence of the problem: The issue is not the territories but the very existence of the State of Israel. It is imperative that Israel find effective ways to counter this new type of warfare, which is no less an existential threat than classic wars, intifadas and knives.