Tag: Hamas-Fatah Unity Deal

“PEACE PROCESS” EFFORTS DOOMED UNTIL PALESTINIANS RECOGNIZE ISRAEL’S LEGITIMACY

Hamas-Israel Truce Would Be “Painkiller, not Antibiotic”: Yaakov Lappin, BESA, Aug. 9, 2018— Intensive efforts are underway to reach a long-term, comprehensive truce arrangement between Hamas in the Gaza Strip and Israel.

Was the Peace Process Doomed to Failure From the Start?: Charles Bybelezer, Media Line, Aug. 1, 2018— The international community spearheaded by its professional peace processors are feverishly working to prevent another full-blown war between Israel and Hamas.

The IOI — ‘If Only Israel’ — Syndrome: David Harris, Times of Israel, July 18, 2018 — IOI is the misguided notion, peddled in the name of Israel’s “best interests” by some in the diplomatic, academic, and media worlds, that if only Israel did this or that, peace with the Palestinians would be at hand.

US Peace Initiatives – Quo Vadis?: Yoram Ettinger, Jewish Press, July 17, 2018 — All US (Israel-Arab) peace initiatives, initiated by Democratic and Republican Presidents, aimed at advancing the cause of peace, while enhancing the US strategic stature. However, all failed on both accounts.

On Topic Links

Israelis and Palestinians Must Unite Against Shared Threat: Jason Greenblatt, CNN, Aug. 9, 2018

Where is Trump’s Israeli-Palestinian Peace Plan?: Michael Wilner, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 9, 2018

Does Trump’s ‘Ultimate Deal’ Reject PLO Propaganda?: David Singer, Arutz Sheva, Aug. 5, 2018

Philip Riteman, Holocaust Survivor Who Taught Canadians ‘It Is Better to Love Than to Hate,’ Dies at 96: Aly Thomson, National Post, Aug. 9, 2018

 

HAMAS-ISRAEL TRUCE WOULD BE “PAINKILLER, NOT ANTIBIOTIC”

Yaakov Lappin

BESA, Aug. 9, 2018

Intensive efforts are underway to reach a long-term, comprehensive truce arrangement between Hamas in the Gaza Strip and Israel. Former members of the Israeli defense establishment have expressed skepticism that such a truce is feasible. In their view, a limited truce might be more realistic. Reaching a broad cease-fire arrangement would be “a very complex maneuver,” said Col. (res.) Dr. Shaul Shay, former deputy head of the National Security Council of Israel.

Egypt is leading the attempt, mediating talks and hosting senior Palestinian delegations in Cairo. A high-ranking UN coordinator in the region, Nickolay Mladenov, is also involved. Shay, who today serves as director of research at the Institute for Policy and Strategy (IPS) at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya (IDC) in Israel, pointed out that a long-term arrangement for Gaza would be possible only if two components are put into place. The first is a reconciliation agreement between Fatah and Hamas, and the second “is a period of calm between Hamas and the State of Israel. The two things are interlinked,” Shay said.

“In order to obtain a long-term period of calm, there needs to be major investment in the Gazan economy and infrastructure,” he went on. “That means bringing the Palestinian Authority (PA) to Gaza. Because this is a condition, it is very problematic. If you look back, ever since Hamas seized power in Gaza in 2007, there have been countless attempts, led by Egypt, to reach Palestinian national reconciliation.” None of them have succeeded, Shay pointed out.

Today, while Hamas has an interest in reaching reconciliation with its Palestinian rival, PA leader Mahmoud Abbas has no similar sentiment. “Abbas is dragging his feet because he has no interest in promoting this procedure, which would give Hamas gains, but not the PA,” said Shay. “If internal Palestinian reconciliation is the condition for an Israel-Hamas arrangement, then very large question marks will remain over this.”

On the other hand, a more limited truce involving the end of Gazan border demonstrations – and the cessation of incendiary kite and balloon attacks from Gaza, which have burned large swaths of Israeli farmland, harmed wildlife, and affected Israel’s honey production before Rosh Hashanah – is feasible. In exchange, Shay said, Israel could reopen the Kerem Shalom border crossing, allowing more materials to flow into Gaza, and expand the fishing zone for Palestinian fishermen.

“The more limited the agreement, the more limited its ability to improve the Gazan economic situation,” he cautioned. Therefore, “it is like a painkiller, not an antibiotic. It does not significantly change the situation on the ground.” Any such arrangement should also include the return of the bodies of two IDF soldiers held by Hamas, Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, who were killed in combat during the 2014 Gaza conflict, in addition to the return of two Israeli nationals being held captive by Hamas. “This must be a condition,” Shay said.

Echoing Shay’s assessment, Dr. Col. (res.) Moshe Elad, one of the designers of the security coordination between the IDF and the PA, said any attempt to reach a full agreement was very likely to end in failure. “There are a number of arenas involved; each is more complex than the other,” said Elad, currently a lecturer at Western Galilee College. Hamas and the PA have failed at all previous attempts to settle their differences, and “this time will be no different,” he said.

On the Israel-Hamas front, Israel will want “full quiet” as part of a large package deal. But “Hamas has never agreed to full quiet,” Elad noted. “I don’t remember it ever agreeing to this.” “There are smaller [armed] groups in Gaza that are known as the rebellious groups. The truth is, if Hamas wants to, it can rein them in. But the problem is that Hamas does not want to stop them. It wants to use them to threaten Israel. Israel will insist on full quiet. It will insist that not even a single shot is fired. Hamas won’t agree to that,” Elad said.

All the economic benefits being offered to Gaza as part of a package deal – an improvement in water and electricity supplies, the construction of a seaport, the cancellation of debts owed by the Hamas government, a relaxation of the Israeli security blockade – hinge on a PA-Hamas agreement, but Elad does not see “any intention” by the PA to agree to this since Abbas would emerge as “the main loser.” “What incentive does he have for it to succeed?” he asked.

At best, if Hamas finds its back to the wall, it might agree to freeze the activities of its military wing and place its members on leave, said Elad. “But they will never disband the military wing” as the PA has demanded. Doing so would symbolize “cancelling the resistance” from Hamas’s perspective, which would be unthinkable for the hardline Islamist organization. According to Elad, recriminations over “why this didn’t work out” will likely emerge within days.

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WAS THE PEACE PROCESS DOOMED TO FAILURE FROM THE START?

Charles Bybelezer

                                                Media Line, Aug. 1, 2018

 

The international community spearheaded by its professional peace processors are feverishly working to prevent another full-blown war between Israel and Hamas. As part of this effort, United Nations envoy Nickolay Mladenov has been conducting intensive shuttle diplomacy between Jerusalem, Gaza City and Cairo in a bid to forge a long-term ceasefire agreement.

According to media accounts, ideas being floated include the immediate cessation of hostilities, specifically the launching from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel of primitive incendiary objects and corresponding Israeli military strikes on Hamas assets; the complete re-opening of Israel’s Kerem Shalom border crossing, through which thousands of trucks of goods enter the Palestinian enclave; and expanding the fishing zone off Gaza’s coast.

This, within the broader context of major Gaza rehabilitation projects being dangled in front of Hamas. Concurrently, a parallel, although intersecting, initiative is underway to end the decade-long divide between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ ruling Fatah faction and Hamas. Among the issues purportedly being negotiated are removing Ramallah’s sanctions on Gaza; restoring PA administrative rule over the Strip; and disarming Hamas. Essentially, these constitute the same terms of a failed intra-Palestinian reconciliation accord signed this past October in Cairo, and, beforehand, formed the basis of an original deal agreed to four years ago under the auspices of Qatar.

Meanwhile, it is business as usual in the Israeli political arena, with the Left promoting the unilateral removal of the blockade on Gaza without explaining why Hamas might subsequently be expected to reform itself; whereas, on the other end of the spectrum members of the Right are engaged in familiar one-upmanship, as Education Minister Naftali Bennet tries to outflank Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman attempts to outdo them both. This dynamic is comparable to that of 2014, when Bennett and Liberman pressured the premier to take a harder line on Hamas, effectively resulting in an Israeli ground incursion into Gaza during the 50-day conflict. One year later, Hamas had essentially reconstructed its war machine.

All of this comes on the backdrop of the Trump administration’s ongoing work on an Israeli-Palestinian peace proposal, dubbed the “deal of the century.” While the plan reportedly contains some “out-of-the-box” suggestions to resolve longstanding “final status” issues, the fact of the matter is that almost nobody believes that either side is in a position to deliver. Netanyahu is hamstrung by the make-up of his coalition and his own stringent demands on the status of Jerusalem, Palestinian refugees and future security arrangements that are anyways non-starters for the PA. For his part, Abbas is constrained by his regime’s indoctrination of the Palestinian public to oppose outright the notion of Jewish sovereignty.

In other words, then, it appears as though absolutely nothing new under the sun is being proposed along any of these three diplomatic tracks, thus begging the question: Has the process morphed into an end in itself, devoid of any realistic expectations of success?

In this respect, it seems increasingly unlikely that Mladenov and Co. will be able to prevent the next round of fighting in Gaza, which most maintain is inevitable for widely-cited reasons even though neither Israel nor Hamas wants any part of it. At the same time, it is unreasonable to assume that Abbas will suddenly accept responsibility for governing Gaza when Hamas still refuses to cede its weapons or allow PA security forces to deploy to the enclave.

Finally, in terms of forging a comprehensive Israeli-Palestinian peace, it can only be viewed as a pipe-dream considering the above-mentioned, less complicated issues—which, for that matter, are integral components of a potential wider deal—remain unsettled. Notably, that the PA continues to boycott the US administration has conveniently been swept under the rug…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

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                    THE IOI — ‘IF ONLY ISRAEL’ — SYNDROME  

                                                  David Harris

                                                Times of Israel, July 18, 2018

IOI is the misguided notion, peddled in the name of Israel’s “best interests” by some in the diplomatic, academic, and media worlds, that if only Israel did this or that, peace with the Palestinians would be at hand. But since it doesn’t, then Israel constitutes the principal, perhaps the only, real obstacle to a new day in Israeli-Palestinian relations.

Striking, isn’t it? Poor Israel. If only it had the visual acuity of these “enlightened” souls, including, most recently, a slim majority of Irish senators, then all would be hunky-dory. After all, according to them, Israel holds all the cards, yet refuses to play them. The thinking goes: Why can’t those shortsighted Israelis figure out what needs to be done — it’s so obvious to us, isn’t it? — so the conflict can be brought to a screeching halt?

Thus, if only Israel reversed its settlements policy. If only Israel understood that Gaza’s tunnel-diggers and kite-flyers are just exercising their right of “peaceful protest.” If only the IDF restrained itself. If only Israel stopped assuming the worst about Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas. If only Israel went the extra mile with President Mahmoud Abbas. If only Israel got beyond its Holocaust trauma. If only Israel ______ — well, go ahead and fill in the blank.

The point is that for the IOI crowd, it essentially all comes down to Israel. And the IOI syndrome has only been strengthened by its adherents’ assessment of the current Israeli government, of course. After all, many media outlets, from the Associated Press to CBS News to Der Spiegel, branded Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as “hardline” from the get-go. Their word choice simply reinforces the notion that the conflict is all about alleged Israeli intransigence, while generally avoiding any descriptive judgement of Abbas and his entourage.

At moments like this, it’s important to underscore a few basic points too often lost in the din. First, the Netanyahu government follows on the heels of three successive Israeli governments that sought to achieve peace based on a two-state settlement with the Palestinians — and failed. Each of those governments went far in attempting to strike a deal, but, ultimately, to no avail.

Prime Minister Ehud Barak, joined by President Bill Clinton, tried mightily to reach an agreement with PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat. As confirmed by Clinton himself, the answer was a thunderous rejection, accompanied by the launching of a deadly wave of terror attacks on Israel. And, not to be forgotten, a unilateral Israeli withdrawal from southern Lebanon also took place during the Barak era. It was met by the entrenchment of Hezbollah, committed to Israel’s destruction, in the vacated space.

Then, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon defied his own Likud Party — indeed, he left it to create a new political bloc — and faced down thousands of settlers and their supporters to leave Gaza entirely. It was the first chance ever for Gaza’s Arab residents to govern themselves. Had Gazans seized the opportunity in a responsible manner, they could have created unstoppable momentum for a second phase of significant withdrawal from the West Bank. Instead, Gaza quickly turned itself into a terrorist redoubt, realizing Israelis’ worst fears.

Finally, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, joined by Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and urged on by Washington, pressed hard for a deal with the Palestinians on the West Bank. According to Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, the Israeli offer “talked about Jerusalem and almost 100 percent of the West Bank.” Not only was the far-reaching offer not accepted, but there wasn’t even a counter-proposal from the Palestinian side.

Prime Minister Netanyahu inherited a situation in which: (a) Hamas holds the reins of power in Gaza, spends precious funds on digging tunnels to attack Israel, flies kites to set extensive fires in Israel, and teaches kids to aspire to “martyrdom”; (b) Hezbollah is continuing to gain strength in Lebanon, thanks to Iranian largesse, and has tens of thousands of missiles and rockets in its arsenal; (c) the Palestinian Authority has been AWOL from the negotiating table; and (d) Iran continues to call for Israel’s destruction, while enhancing its military capability, entrenching itself in Syria, and funding Hamas. So before Israel gets any further lectures on what needs to be done, perhaps we should take stock of what’s transpired — and why. There have been at least three bold Israeli efforts since 2000 to create a breakthrough — and three successive failures. And that’s not to mention Netanyahu’s ten-month settlement freeze and the Palestinian Authority’s refusal to seize this opportunity to break the stalemate.

The vast majority of Israelis yearn for peace and understand the considerable price the country will have to pay in territory and displaced population. Poll after poll proves their readiness, but only if they are assured that lasting peace, not new phases in the conflict, will be the outcome. Tellingly, few see that possibility on the horizon anytime soon. Israelis don’t have to be pushed, prodded, nudged, cajoled, or pressured to seek a comprehensive peace beyond the current treaties with Egypt and Jordan. More than any other nation on the planet, they have lived with the absence of peace for 70 years, and know full well the physical and psychological toll it has inflicted on the country. Rather, they must be convinced that the tangible rewards justify the immense risks for a small state in a tough area. Those rewards begin with its neighbors’ acceptance of Israel’s rightful place in the region as a Jewish and democratic state with secure and recognized borders. And that, far more than settlements, checkpoints, or any of the other items on the IOI bill of particulars, gets to the essence of the conflict.

The Gaza disengagement in 2005 demonstrated that settlements and checkpoints can be removed when the time comes. But unless and until the Palestinian side recognizes Israel’s legitimacy, and stops viewing the Jewish state as an “interloper” that can be defeated militarily or swamped by “refugees”— who are in most cases third- and fourth-generation descendants of the original refugees from a war started in 1948 by the Arab world — then whatever the IOI folks call for will inevitably be a secondary issue in the real world. Only when this recognition is reflected in Palestinian textbooks, where children have been taught for generations that Israelis are modern-day “Crusaders” to be driven out, can there be hope for a brighter future…[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

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US PEACE INITIATIVES – QUO VADIS?

Yoram Ettinger

Jewish Press, July 17, 2018

 

All US (Israel-Arab) peace initiatives, initiated by Democratic and Republican Presidents, aimed at advancing the cause of peace, while enhancing the US strategic stature. However, all failed on both accounts. The well-intentioned US peace initiatives were doomed to failure by the tendency to downplay the complex intra-Arab/Muslim Middle East reality, since they conflicted with the eagerness to advance peace ASAP, wishful-thinking and oversimplification.

US peace initiatives were the casualties of the inherent conflict between Western eagerness for quick-fix and short-term convenience, on the one hand, and the long-term and complicated nature of the intricate reality and national security, on the other hand. US peace initiatives were frustrated by the tectonic forces which have shaped the well-documented intra-Arab/Muslim labyrinth since the birth of Islam in the 7th century: explosive unpredictability, violence, intolerance (religiously, ethnically, politically and socially), absence of peaceful-coexistence domestically and regionally, minority/rogue regimes, disregard of civil liberties, brutal domestic fragmentation (tribally, ideologically and religiously) and the tenuous/provisional nature of regimes, policies and agreements.

Moreover, the US peace initiatives were further derailed by the politically-correct assumptions that the Arab-Israeli conflict has been “The Middle East Conflict” and that the Palestinian issue has been the crux of the Arab-Israeli conflict, a core-cause of Middle East turbulence and a crown-jewel of Arab policy-making. Such assumptions have been dashed against the rocks of Middle East reality, as highlighted by the 2010 eruption of the still-raging Arab Tsunami (erroneously named “the Arab Spring”), which has been totally unrelated to the dramatically less significant Arab-Israeli conflict and the Palestinian issue. Furthermore, the preoccupation with the Palestinian issue – at a time when the Middle East and the US are confronted with significantly more pivotal national and homeland security challenges/threats – has damaged the US posture of deterrence and its regional and global standing.

All US peace initiatives attempted to force Israel into making major concessions to the Arab/Palestinian side, thus rewarding systematic Arab aggression, which encouraged further aggression. These initiatives exhibited the self-defeating moral equivalence between (Arab) aggressors and the intended (Israeli) victim; between the most effective, unconditional strategic ally of the US (Israel), and a close ally of enemies and rivals of the US, such as Nazi Germany, the USSR, the Ayatollahs, Saddam Hussein, Bin Laden, North Korea, Cuba and Venezuela (the Palestinians); and between the role model of counter-terrorism (Israel) and a role model and a major training ground of anti-US terrorists and a shrine of hate-education (the Palestinians).

The subversive and terroristic track record of the Palestinians, and their closest allies, sheds light on the inherent contradiction between the need to minimize Middle East instability and violence, on the one hand, and the attempt to establish a Palestinian state, on the other hand. US peace initiatives have forced the Palestinians, in particular, and the Arabs, in general, to outflank the (“infidel”) US from the maximalist/radical side, thus further intensifying conflict and disagreements. Contrary to the well-meant goal of the US peace initiatives, this added fuel – not water – to the fire, exacerbated instability and undermined US diplomatic and geo-strategic posture and interests.  One may note that in spite of the US presidential recognition of the PLO, its support for the idea of a Palestinian state and sustained pressure on Israel to freeze Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), the US has been systematically terrorized by Shite and Sunni Islamic terrorism…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

Israelis and Palestinians Must Unite Against Shared Threat: Jason Greenblatt, CNN, Aug. 9, 2018 —With the ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, it is hard to imagine that deadly fires brought the two groups together — not once, but twice — in a display of shared humanity. Yet, in 2010 and again in 2016, Palestinians fought fires in northern Israel alongside their Israeli neighbors, saving lives and property.

Where is Trump’s Israeli-Palestinian Peace Plan?: Michael Wilner, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 9, 2018—US President Donald Trump’s plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace may be the most closely guarded policy secret in Washington these days, 18 months in the making and yet still known only to the small handful of men behind it. Senior administration officials describe the plan as detailed, pragmatic, and essentially complete. All that prevents them from publishing it is their sense that the timing is off.

Does Trump’s ‘Ultimate Deal’ Reject PLO Propaganda?: David Singer, Arutz Sheva, Aug. 5, 2018 —President Trump’s as-yet unannounced “ultimate deal” to resolve the Arab-Jewish conflict has received a setback following Saudi Arabia’s King Salman reassuring Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas that Saudi Arabia would oppose any Trump peace plan that did not accept the PLO stance on East Jerusalem becoming the capital of an independent Palestinian Arab state.

Philip Riteman, Holocaust Survivor Who Taught Canadians ‘It Is Better to Love Than to Hate,’ Dies at 96: Aly Thomson, National Post, Aug. 9, 2018—Holocaust survivor Philip Riteman, who spent 30 years speaking to young people about his experience in concentration camps and ardently urging love over hate, has died.

 

 

 

 

AS “PALESTINIANS” DREAM OF STATEHOOD: HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS & POLITICAL TURMOIL PERSIST

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 

 

Contents:

 

In Gaza, Hamas and the PA Are at Each Other’s Throats Again: Avi Issacharoff, Times of Israel, Jan. 11, 2014— By the end of last week, dozens of houses throughout the Gaza Strip were flooded by rainwater.

Hamas, Palestinian Authority Step Up Human Rights Violations: Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute, Jan. 9, 2014— As Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas pursues his efforts to convince the international community to support the establishment of a Palestinian state, his Palestinian Authority [PA] and Hamas continue to show disregard and contempt for human rights.

Stop Giving Palestinians a Pass: Dennis B. Ross, New York Times, Jan. 4, 2014— The president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, insists on using international institutions to pressure Israel, even after he was rebuffed in the United Nations Security Council, where he sought a resolution mandating Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The Dream Palace of the Arab: Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal, Jan. 5, 2015 — A decade ago, I wrote an op-ed on the election of Mahmoud Abbas to the Palestinian presidency following the death of Yasser Arafat. It ran under the headline “From Strong Man to Good Man.” Mark that one down in the annals of lousy political judgment.

 

On Topic Links

 

Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood Have Their Sights on the West Bank and Jordan: Pinhas Inbari, JCPA, Dec. 23, 2015

US aid to PA Should Not Reward Terrorists: Elliott Abrams,  Israel Hayom, Dec. 25, 2015

Israeli Group Files War Crimes Suits Against Palestinian Leaders: Ari Lewis, Times of Israel, Jan. 5, 2015

The Fundamental Breach of the Oslo Accords by the PA:  Amb. Alan Baker, Arutz Sheva,  Jan. 5, 2015

                                               

IN GAZA, HAMAS AND THE PA ARE AT EACH OTHER’S THROATS AGAIN                                                           

Avi Issacharoff                                                                                                     

Times of Israel, Jan. 11, 2015

 

By the end of last week, dozens of houses throughout the Gaza Strip were flooded by rainwater. Three babies froze to death. The humanitarian conditions continue to be bad, perhaps the worst in the past two decades, due to the withholding of the salaries of PA and Hamas employees. And yet, amid all the tumult, Hamas (the same organization that condemned the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris) found the time to clash with the Palestinian Authority and Fatah. It started before the last rainfall, with a visit of the Palestinian unity government ministers to Gaza that ended in bitter disappointment for the residents there. Senior Hamas official Moussa Abu Marzouk promised that all disputes between Hamas and the PA were resolved. However, immediately afterward, a PA statement declared that nothing had been decided. From there on, things began to deteriorate quickly. The transfer of authority at an Israel-Gaza checkpoint is a case in point. Up until last week, Hamas administered its own checkpoint, called Arba-Arba (4-4), a kilometer south of the official Palestinian checkpoint near the Erez Crossing with Israel. The official checkpoint, which is called Hamsa-Hamsa (5-5), has been manned by PA representatives working under the Palestinian Civil Affairs Ministry. According to the arrangement, Hamas would check every Palestinian arriving from or leaving to Israel, as would the PA.

 

Last week, though, Hamas decided to open another checkpoint at Hamsa-Hamsa and erected a makeshift office there staffed by members of Hamas. The PA then decided to evacuate the site, and since then, only patients seeking urgent medical care in Israel or the West Bank are allowed to cross at Erez. Meanwhile, Hamas has launched a comprehensive campaign to arrest Fatah members in the Gaza Strip. Over the weekend, several ATMs were smashed in several branches of the Bank of Palestine — intended as a warning to the PA lest it seek to pay the salaries of PA employees without paying the workers of the Hamas government as well. In addition, a bomb went off next to the home of Ihab Bsiso, the spokesman for the nominal Hamas-Fatas unity government who currently resides in the West Bank (and is originally from Gaza), and the offices of a PA media company were torched. Residents of Gaza told The Times of Israel that the situation was similar to the one that immediately preceded the 50-day summer conflict. They meant that just like then, there have no salary payments, Hamas has demolished and closed down ATMs to prevent the payments to PA workers, and the humanitarian situation is in decline. With that, Hamas has told the press in no uncertain terms that it is not seeking confrontation with Israel. At this juncture, when the transfer of construction building materials into the Gaza Strip is advancing, as are the exports of produce, it’s doubtful Hamas has any real interest in another war. The Gaza organization’s problem is primarily with the PA, which is not prepared to take dramatic steps so long as Hamas won’t give up its leadership of the Strip.

 

The potential of an escalation with Israel exists, but it’s possible that right now, the danger is more immediate in the West Bank. Israel’s decision to freeze the transfer of tax funds to the PA — in response to Mahmoud Abbas’s move to join the International Criminal Court — is preventing the payment of salaries to its workers, primarily in the West Bank, but in Gaza as well. These salaries are the dominant driving force of the Palestinian economy in the West Bank, and withholding the funds only exacerbates the crisis. It’s conceivable that the PA will ultimately find a temporary solution, perhaps by borrowing the money from one of the Gulf states. But if the funds continue to be withheld, it will certainly not quell the tensions. Among the Palestinian public, animosity toward Israel is only getting worse, and the PA’s motivation to cooperate with Israeli security forces is faltering. For now, the security cooperation has been upheld, despite threats to call it off following the death of a Palestinian official after a demonstration in early December, but in the long term, Israel has many causes for concern, even as elections here loom.

                                                                                               

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HAMAS, PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY STEP UP HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS                                         

Khaled Abu Toameh                                                                                                     

Gatestone Institute, Jan. 9, 2015

 

As Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas pursues his efforts to convince the international community to support the establishment of a Palestinian state, his Palestinian Authority [PA] and Hamas continue to show disregard and contempt for human rights. Both the PA and Hamas know that they can continue to violate the human rights of their people because the international community simply does not care about Palestinians who are being targeted by their own governments. The international community cares about human rights violations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip only when Israel could be held responsible.

 

 

The same applies to most foreign journalists covering the Israeli-Arab conflict in general, and Palestinian affairs in particular. They too prefer to look the other way when Palestinians complain of human rights violations by the PA and Hamas. These journalists often avoid asking representatives of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority about their mistreatment of their people. The journalists are either too afraid to anger Palestinian leaders or they simply do not think that such stories are worth reporting, as they lack an anti-Israel angle.  There is no shortage of stories about the ways the PA and Hamas are targeting Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. But these stories hardly make their way to media outlets in the U.S., Canada, Australia and Europe. The journalists based in Jerusalem and Ramallah, like the American and EU government officials, close their ears and eyes when they are brought to their attention.

 

The same foreign journalists who turned a blind eye to Hamas's war crimes against Palestinians, especially during the last war with Israel (Operation Protective Edge), are now ignoring what the Islamist movement is doing to Fatah leaders. Last week, Hamas authorities arrested several Fatah leaders in the Gaza Strip and stripped them to their underwear, forcing them to stand in the cold for several hours. According to Palestinian writer Hisham Sakallah, Hamas interrogators also severely beat the Fatah officials with plastic hoses. Sakallah said that the Fatah officials included Nahru al-Haddad, Ziad Matar, Eyad Hils, Raed Ayyad, Hamdan al-Umsi, Nayef Khwaiter, Sa'di Hils, Mohamed al-Waheidi, Eyad Ramadan, Lutfi Mahani and Radwan al-Shantaf. Some of the Fatah officials, according to the writer, had previously spent many years in Israeli prison for security-related offences. "You can still see the bruises on their bodies," Sakallah said. "They were subjected to harsh torture." Sakallah said that the Hamas interrogators further humiliated the Fatah officials by calling them with women's names. This is a routine practice in Palestinian Authority and Hamas jails that is designed to "insult" male detainees. "It's shameful to call them with women's names," the writer said. "The Fatah leaders are real men who spent many years in Israeli prisons. Indeed, this is very humiliating. All those who were arrested are respected figures."

 

The Fatah leaders were arrested for trying to organize celebrations in the Gaza Strip marking the 50th anniversary of their group's first terror attack against Israel. Hamas has banned such celebrations in the past, out of fear that Fatah would use them as a "show of strength" in the Gaza Strip. Osama al-Qawassmeh, a Fatah spokesman in the West Bank, said that the Hamas interrogators also urinated and poured cold water on the detainees "to rid them of their nasty smell." Qawassmeh said that the Hamas practices were "unimaginable and worse than those committed by the fascists against humanity." He said that in addition to the torture, Hamas interrogators also cursed (former Fatah and PLO leader) Yasser Arafat. The Fatah spokesman added: "The Hamas gangs are not Palestinians and they have no connection to our history, values and national and Islamic morals. Even the devils are unable to do such things." However, Qawassmeh did not say whether Fatah would file any war crimes charges against Hamas with the International Criminal Court or any international human rights organization.

 

In fact, it is hard to see how Fatah could file charges against Hamas when their representatives are part of a "national consensus" government with Hamas. If Fatah believes that the "Hamas gangs" are not Palestinian, why then did their leaders sign a unity agreement with the Islamist movement several months ago? Yet while the Palestinian Authority is accusing Hamas of human rights violations, its own security forces in the West Bank are continuing to crack down on freedom of expression. During the past two weeks, the PA has summoned for interrogation more than 20 Palestinians over their postings on Facebook. Most of those summoned for interrogation are university students suspected of posting comments in favor of Hamas or criticizing the PA on their Facebook accounts. In recent weeks, Palestinian Authority security forces in the West Bank have arrested more than 25 university students on charges of criticizing Palestinian leaders in Ramallah or voicing support for Hamas and other groups. Some of the detainees are reported to have gone on hunger strike to protest against their incarceration. Earlier this week, Palestinian security officers in the West Bank beat Palestinian journalist Muaz al-Amleh after he posted critical remarks against a Fatah official on social media.

 

Again, these are not the type of human rights violations that the international media and human rights organizations care about. Had the unfortunate journalist been attacked by Israeli soldiers, his story would have won the attention of his Western colleagues and probably the UN Security Council. The increased human rights violations by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority come at a time when PA President Mahmoud Abbas says he is determined to pursue his effort to file war crimes charges against Israel with the International Criminal Court. It also comes at a time when Abbas says he will go back to the Security Council to seek support for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.

 

Abbas wants the world to support the creation of a dictatorship where people are arrested and intimidated for expressing their views in public. He is also asking the world to support a Palestinian state where Hamas is torturing Palestinians and stripping them down to their underwear. If Abbas cannot do anything to protect his own loyalists in the Gaza Strip, how exactly does he intend to persuade the world that he is capable of leading his people toward independence and freedom? Meanwhile, it would be a good idea if Abbas rushed to file war crimes against Hamas, before Hamas makes similar accusations against him. It would also be a good idea if the international community and media stopped turning a blind eye to the suffering of Palestinians at the hands of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority.                        

                                                                       

Contents                                                                                      

 

                                                            

 

STOP GIVING PALESTINIANS A PASS                                                                                              

Dennis B. Ross                                                                                                    

New York Times, Jan. 4, 2015

 

The president of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, insists on using international institutions to pressure Israel, even after he was rebuffed in the United Nations Security Council, where he sought a resolution mandating Israeli withdrawal from the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Mr. Abbas has now announced that he will turn to the International Criminal Court — a move that will produce Palestinian charges and Israeli countercharges but not alter the reality on the ground. A European official I met recently expressed sympathy for the Palestinians’ pursuit of a Security Council resolution. I responded by saying that if he favors Palestinian statehood, it’s time to stop giving the Palestinians a pass. It is time to make it costly for them to focus on symbols rather than substance.

 

Since 2000, there have been three serious negotiations that culminated in offers to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: Bill Clinton’s parameters in 2000, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s offer in 2008, and Secretary of State John Kerry’s efforts last year. In each case, a proposal on all the core issues was made to Palestinian leaders and the answer was either “no” or no response. They determined that the cost of saying “yes,” or even of making a counteroffer that required concessions, was too high. Palestinian political culture is rooted in a narrative of injustice; its anticolonialist bent and its deep sense of grievance treats concessions to Israel as illegitimate. Compromise is portrayed as betrayal, and negotiations — which are by definition about mutual concessions — will inevitably force any Palestinian leader to challenge his people by making a politically costly decision. But going to the United Nations does no such thing. It puts pressure on Israel and requires nothing of the Palestinians. Resolutions are typically about what Israel must do and what Palestinians should get. If saying yes is costly and doing nothing isn’t, why should we expect the Palestinians to change course?

 

That’s why European leaders who fervently support Palestinian statehood must focus on how to raise the cost of saying no or not acting at all when there is an offer on the table. Palestinians care deeply about international support for their cause. If they knew they would be held accountable for being nonresponsive or rejecting a fair offer or resolution, it could well change their calculus. Unfortunately, most Europeans are focused far more on Israeli behavior and want, at a minimum, to see Israel’s continuing settlement policy change. But turning to the United Nations or the International Criminal Court during an Israeli election is counterproductive. It will be seen in Israel as a one-sided approach, and it will strengthen politicians who prefer the status quo. These candidates will argue that the deck is stacked against Israel and that the country needs leaders who will stand firm against unfair pressure.

 

Why not wait? If a new Israeli government after the elections is prepared to take a peace initiative and build settlements only on land that is likely to be part of Israel and not part of Palestine, there will be no need for a United Nations resolution. If not, and the Europeans decide to pursue one, it must be balanced. It cannot simply address Palestinian needs by offering borders based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps and a capital in Arab East Jerusalem without offering something equally specific to Israel — namely, security arrangements that leave Israel able to defend itself by itself, phased withdrawal tied to the Palestinian Authority’s performance on security and governance, and a resolution of the Palestinian refugee issue that allows Israel to retain its Jewish character.

 

In all likelihood the Palestinians would reject such a resolution. Accepting it would require compromises that they refused in 2000, 2008 and 2014. There is, of course, no guarantee that the next Israeli government would accept such a resolution. But the Israelis are not the ones pushing for United Nations involvement. The Palestinians are. And if their approach is neither about two states nor peace, there ought to be a price for that. Peace requires accountability on both sides. It’s fair to ask the Israelis to accept the basic elements that make peace possible — 1967 lines as well as land swaps and settlement building limited to the blocks. But isn’t it time to demand the equivalent from the Palestinians on two states for two peoples, and on Israeli security? Isn’t it time to ask the Palestinians to respond to proposals and accept resolutions that address Israeli needs and not just their own?                                                                         

                                                                       

Contents                        

                                                    

                                                              

 

THE DREAM PALACE OF THE ARAB                                                                                        

Bret Stephens                                                                                                       

Wall Street Journal, Jan. 5, 2015

 

A decade ago, I wrote an op-ed on the election of Mahmoud Abbas to the Palestinian presidency following the death of Yasser Arafat. It ran under the headline “From Strong Man to Good Man.” Mark that one down in the annals of lousy political judgment. Maybe it’s because I had recently spent some years working in Jerusalem—watching up close as Arafat bombarded Israelis while bamboozling Westerners—that I felt optimistic about the Palestinian future. Maybe it was because I was too taken with the promise of Arab democracy, and with the notion that those elevated to power through a ballot wouldn’t rule by the bullet.

 

Or maybe I was simply impressed by Mr. Abbas himself, with his grandfatherly mien and progressive rhetoric. “We need clean legal institutions so we can be considered a civilized society,” I heard him say at one well-attended rally in Ramallah, just a day before the election. Also: “We won’t allow any illegal weapons.” And: “We need to make the law the leader in this country, and nobody can be above the law.” That sounded about right: rule of law; a clampdown on violence; an emphasis on institution building; the end to the toxic cult of personality. All that was needed was a leader who would implement the change, along with the people who would accept it.

 

But Mr. Abbas was not that leader. And Palestinians were not those people. A year after Mr. Abbas’s presidential victory, Hamas won a parliamentary victory. People who are in the business of making excuses for Palestinians—and the apologists are legion—sagely explained that the vote for Hamas wasn’t a public endorsement of a terrorist group sworn to Israel’s annihilation, but rather a vote against the corruption of Fatah, Mr. Abbas’s party. As if the two propositions could not both be true. As if Palestinians were unaware of Hamas’s intentions. As if a vote against venal officialdom palliated a vote for violent ideologues.

 

So it has been with the rest of Mr. Abbas’s serial fiascoes over the decade, culminating in his failed bid last week to force a vote in the Security Council over Palestinian statehood. In 2005, Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip, leaving Mr. Abbas in charge and giving him a chance to make something of the territory. Gaza dissolved into civil war within months. In 2008, Israel offered Mr. Abbas a state covering 94% of the West Bank, along with a compensatory 6% of Israeli territory and a land bridge to Gaza. Mr. Abbas never took up the offer. Last March, President Obama personally offered Mr. Abbas a U.S.-sponsored “framework” agreement. Again Mr. Abbas demurred. The following month, Mr. Abbas signed a “reconciliation” pact with Hamas. War came by summer. Now Mr. Abbas has moved to have “the state of Palestine” join the International Criminal Court, chiefly in order to harass and perhaps arrest Israeli military officers and politicians spuriously accused of war crimes. The gambit will fail for the simple reason that two can play the game.

 

So why does Mr. Abbas persevere? Because, as the late Fouad Ajami knew so well, the pleasures of dreaming are better than the labors of building, just as the rhetoric of justice, patrimony and right is so much more stirring than the fine print and petty indignities of compromise. Mr. Abbas consistently refuses a Palestinian state because such a state is infinitely more trivial than a Palestinian struggle. Becoming is better than being. So long as “Palestine” is in the process of becoming, it matters. Once it exists, it all but doesn’t. How many times will some future president of an established Palestinian state get to visit the White House?

 

 

This explains why a Palestinian state—a reasonably peaceful and prosperous one, at any rate—is deeply in Israel’s interest. And why no Palestinian leader will ever accept such a state on any terms. After the endless stream of Palestinian rejections—from the 1947 U.N. partition plan to the “Three No’s” of the 1967 Khartoum Resolution to Arafat’s refusal to make a deal at Camp David in 2000, one begins to sense a pattern. Palestine can never hope to compete with Israel except in the sense that the fantasy of Palestine will always have an edge on the reality of Israel.

 

Over a beachfront lunch yesterday in Tel Aviv, an astute Israeli friend had the following counter-fantasy: What if Western leaders refused to take Mahmoud Abbas’s calls? What if they pointed out that, in the broad spectrum of global interests, from Eastern Europe to the South China Sea, the question of Palestinian statehood ranked very low—on a par with, say, the prospect of independence for the Walloons? What if these leaders observed that, in the scale of human tragedy, the supposed plight of the Palestinians is of small account next to the human suffering in Syria or South Sudan? In that event, the Palestinian dream palace might shrink to its proper size, and bring the attractions of practical statecraft into sharper focus. Genuine peace might become possible. Don’t hold your breath.

 

Contents           

 

On Topic

 

Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood Have Their Sights on the West Bank and Jordan: Pinhas Inbari, JCPA, Dec. 23, 2015—The failure of the reconciliation efforts between Fatah and Hamas has given rise to a new phenomenon, not seen in the past: Hamas directly threatening Fatah that it will take over the West Bank.

US aid to PA Should Not Reward Terrorists: Elliott Abrams,  Israel Hayom, Dec. 25, 2015—The omnibus appropriations bill recently passed by Congress contains an interesting ‎provision regarding the support for terrorists and their families by the Palestinian Authority:‎

Israeli Group Files War Crimes Suits Against Palestinian Leaders: Ari Lewis, Times of Israel, Jan. 5, 2015—Israeli legal group Shurat HaDin, the Israel Law Center, filed lawsuits on Monday at the International Criminal Court (ICC) against three Palestinian Authority leaders for alleged war crimes, terrorism and human rights offenses, following PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s move last week to join the court and seek to prosecute Israel.

The Fundamental Breach of the Oslo Accords by the PA:  Amb. Alan Baker, Arutz Sheva,  Jan. 5, 2015— 1. The peace negotiation process as set out in the Oslo Accords was intended to lead to peace between Israel and the Palestinian People and mutual recognition of each other’s "mutual legitimate and political rights" (Preamble, Oslo I and Oslo II).

 

 

           

 

 

 

 

               

 

 

 

                      

                

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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DISFUNCTIONAL “PALESTINE” UNDERLIES “P.P.”, “TWO-STATE SOLUTION”, & “P.U.G.” FAILURES &— DESPITE ABBAS’ WORDS—THE KIDNAPPINGS

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 – Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284; E-mail: rob@isranet.org

 

FOUAD AJAMI 1945-2014 —Fouad Ajami, who was a senior fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution and one of the most passionate critics of President Barack Obama's foreign policy in the Middle East, passed away Sunday after a battle with cancer. The 68-year-old Ajami had remained active and engaged in public policy debates right until the end. A week ago, he published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal placing the blame for the collapse of Iraq squarely at the White House door. "Two men bear direct responsibility for the mayhem engulfing Iraq: Barack Obama and Nouri al-Maliki," he wrote. Ajami believed Obama had failed in his professed duty to provide global leadership: "Today, with his unwillingness to use U.S. military force to save Syrian children or even to pull Iraq back from the brink of civil war, the erstwhile leader of the Free World is choosing, yet again, to look the other way." (Breitbart, June 22, 2014)

 

Contents:

 

Analysis of an Abduction: Return Our Brothers: Dr. Mordechai Kedar, Arutz Sheva, June 19, 2013— On Thursday, June 12, the weekly edition of the IDF newspaper, Bamachane (literally, "in the boot camp") came out.

A Road Map For American Diplomacy in the Middle East: Eric R. Mandel, Jerusalem Post, June 22, 2014— The Obama administration’s attempt to resolve the Israeli- Palestinian conflict once again has failed.

The Peace Process Hoax: Charles Bybelezer, Jerusalem Post, June 16, 2014— There was never any doubt that the international community would recognize a Palestinian terror government.

Dangerous and False Palestinian “Unity”: Prof. Efraim Inbar, Besa Center, June 5, 2014— The new Palestinian “unity” government is not about the reestablishment of one Palestinian political entity that could develop into a functioning Palestinian state.

 

On Topic Links

 

Abbas’s Role: Jerusalem Post, June 19, 2014

New Palestinian Intifada – Against Abbas: Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Istitute, June 23, 2014

Europe's and U.S. Complicity in Kidnapping and Violence: Richard Kemp, Gatestone Istitute, June 20, 2014

Israel Facing Its Third Intifada: Hana Levi Julian, Jewish Press, June 17, 2014

 

 

ANALYSIS OF AN ABDUCTION: RETURN OUR BROTHERS                  

Dr. Mordechai Kedar                                                                                                      

Arutz Sheva, June 19, 2014

 

On Thursday, June 12, the weekly edition of the IDF newspaper, Bamachane (literally, "in the boot camp") came out. On the lower part of the cover the following sentence appeared: "Take precautions. Danger of kidnapping. A large rise in the number of hitch hiking soldiers." That very night Eyal, Gilad and Naftali were abducted as they waited for a lift at the Gush Etzion junction. A week has passed since then and at the time of this writing, we have no knowledge about how the kidnapping occurred, who exactly did it, where the boys are and what the abductors want. The lack of information points to a well planned operation that left no traces. It also points to an  experienced organization, leading to an accusing finger being pointed at Hamas, and specifically at the Izz-a-Din Al-Kassam Brigades.

 

The Israeli government announced publicly that Hamas had committed the kidnapping and launched a wave of arrests of Hamas leaders and activists in Judea and Samaria. I am of the opinion that the IDF has proof of Hamas involvement, but is keeping the details under wraps at present in order to keep the investigation secret. Moreover, the atmosphere Hamas has created also supports the supposition that it was the kidnapper. Speeches by Hamas leaders, especially Khaled Mashaal contained hints that the organization would repeat kidnappings of soldiers or civilians, as they had done with Gilad Shalit and others before him, keeping Israelis in anxious suspense, demanding exorbitant ransoms, holding tough negotiations, using emotional blackmail and demanding a massive prisoner release. The organization's success in freeing over one thousand prisoners for Shalit taught Hamas that this is a method that works. In addition, this method divides the Israeli public, causing controversy over whether or not to free prisoners with blood on their hands. This dispute spawns laws that address the issue of freeing terrorists, initiatives that deepen the ongoing controversy – another achievement for Hamas.

 

Over the last few years Israelis have come to believe that the geographic separation between Gaza and Judea-Samaria mirrors the political situation; that is, Hamas rules Gaza and Fatah rules Judea and Samaria. Even Israeli lawmakers believe this distinction, with the result that the IDF did not receive clear and unequivocal orders to fight the Hamas infrastructure in Judea and Samaria, so that until the kidnapping there were almost no activities aimed at the Hamas organizational network in the area. Coordinated activity with PA forces gave the impression that things were under control and that Israel does not have to worry about the organization or about its military wing. The reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas also played a part. Israel believed that Hamas would turn to the political arena, to governing, elections and perhaps to taking over the PA peacefully and abandoning the continuation of warfare against Israel. The relative quiet on the Gazan front over the last few months lowered Israel's anxiety level vis a vis Hamas military activities, certainly with regard to Judea and Samaria.

 

Proof of Hamas strength among the public was in evidence just last month in the student council elections at BIr Zeit University. The PLO garnered 23 of the 51 seats, Hamas 20, the Popular Front 7 and the Democratic Front 1. There were those in Israel who saw this as a worrying sign of Hamas' growing strength, while others saw it as a sign that Hamas is changing from a terror organization to a political entity. Israel did not realize that Hamas is doing what Hezbollah did in Lebanon: joining politics but continuing terror. After Hamas' electoral success, Hamas leader Hassan Youssef, appeared before the 20 elected Hamas delegates. His speech is on the web for everyone to hear his shouting and to read the following excerpts -with my comments in parentheses. "They say Hamas is finished, there is reconciliation. But I tell you so that all the students can hear, for all the world,to hear, for all the media to hear, we are the only ones, Gaza is the only one that has new weapons. Everyone knows that one day Gaza will be, at some point, under the guise of resistance, able to be the one that takes the enemy by surprise and executes an attack with the help of Allah. (Wild applause).

 

"And I am not saying this without giving it serious thought (repeats this) because (Hamas) resistance in Gaza has much, and Gaza today, all of Palestine, every centimeter of the land of historical Palestine [sic] in Gaza is within reach of rockets from Gaza, glory to Allah.(loud applause and cries)…oh brothers and sisters, let me say my last words: there is no way we will accept this reconciliation (with the PLO) at any price if it entails affecting the equation of our security fist (i.e. the joint security arrangements with Israel under which the PA neutralizes terror), we will under no circumstances allow that here on the West Bank (the audience applauds)…my brothers and sisters, you are strong, you are great,you are mighty, you are laying the foundation for the next stage. You will soon see, I swear to you by Allah, that just as I see you (before me), so will you see the coming victory, by Allah's Will, and on that day the (Muslim) believers will rejoice in the victory of Allah who supports (and brings victory) to whom he wishes to. May Allah bless you…" The fact that the head of a terror organization appeared in an academic institution and was authorized to speak from a speaker's podium covered with the Hamas flag did not give rise to any reaction from the lovers of "academic freedom" in Israel or the world, those who fight Israel, call her an "apartheid state" and call to boycott, sanction and divest from her.

 

Hassan Youssef  made a strong point for connecting Hamas in Gaza with the  movement's presence in Judea and Samaria , but Israel did not see it that way, because it was easier to see everything through the perspective of reconciliation –  "it is not in Hamas' interests to engage in terror at this stage" said all those viewing Hamas with Israeli eyes, attempting to evaluate that movement's behavior using Israeli logic. Unfortunately, the situation was quite different out there as the PA security system did not expose the kidnappers' plans, or ignored them so as not to interfere with efforts for reconciliation. Under the "watchful eyes" of the Palestinian security apparatus, a massive Hamas infrastructure developed, one that carried out an almost perfect kidnapping, escape, concealment of the boys or their transport elsewhere. Almost perfect, because of the fact that one of the victims was able to call the police and whisper something that was not understood properly. A perfect kidnapping would have prevented the victims from connecting with any outside source.

 

Following the kidnapping, Israel decided to do what the PA did not: Israel imprisoned a good many of those freed in the Shalit deal once again, using plain logic:  their release was conditional on the release of an Israeli, and abducting Israelis justifies returning them to prison. Israel also arrested Hamas parliamentary representatives, shut down "charity" organizations and means of communications belonging to Hamas. In brief, Israel is doing what she must do in order to prevent Judea and Samaria from becoming a Gaza-style state. Israel's actions are taking place in a relatively benign international climate, because the entire world is focused on Iraq, whose lands are rapidly being conquered by ISIS, and the organization poses a threat to the northern Iraqi oil industry. Iran is involved, the US is sending troops and the world is hoping that Iraq will survive as a united country. What is going on in Ukraine also takes center stage, more so since the rebels managed to down a Ukranian aircraft and kill close to 50 government troops. In Kenya, the Somalian "Shabbab Almujaddin" militia  slaughtered masses of people, and the World Cup games in Brazil are much more interesting than the kidnapping of three Israelis and Israel's actions against Hamas in Judea and Samaria…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

 

Contents
                                  

A ROAD MAP FOR AMERICAN DIPLOMACY IN THE MIDDLE EAST  

Eric R. Mandel                                                                                                   

Jerusalem Post, June 22, 2014

 

The Obama administration’s attempt to resolve the Israeli- Palestinian conflict once again has failed. This should have surprised no one. The administration should take a break after the recent kidnappings, but don’t count on it. Israel remains the only nation in the Middle East susceptible to American pressure. The administration’s belief that Israel is the intransigent party, and that a breakthrough in this conflict will open up possibilities for engagement throughout the Middle East, will motivate it to try again soon. Failures created by America’s dysfunctional foreign policy in the region (where American influence is almost non-existent) will motivate the administration to return sooner than later to the Israelis and Palestinians.

So what went wrong this time? There is a litany of reasons why these particular negotiations failed. But among them is the fact that these negotiations followed the well-worn pattern of ignoring the fundamental reasons for the conflict. Some make excuses such as “Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is a weak leader,” but this is a symptom of the disease, not a cause. The important question to ask is: “Will this president and those that follow learn the lessons of the past, or will they repeat the same mistakes?” Entering negotiations that are doomed to failure gives the Palestinian people false hope, while the Israelis endure the inevitable subsequent terrorism. America, for its part, suffers another black eye in the international community, which undermines American foreign policy interests and influence throughout the world.

With this in mind and acknowledging that American pressure on Israel will return sooner rather than later, here is a checklist for the next American president to consider with regard to initiating another round of negotiations: • Understand the Arab and Muslim World. The Arab and much of the Muslim world think and negotiate in profoundly different ways than the West. This is not meant to be condescending, but is merely a statement of fact. Whether it is ignorance of the Iranian concept of taddiyah, whereby deceiving your enemy in negotiations is religiously sanctioned, or the assumption that Arabs will follow economic interests over tribal allegiances, lack of understanding of the Arab and Muslim world will lead to failure.

• Brush up on history. Remember that most of the Arab World was artificially created less than 100 years ago. Treating the borders of Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Saudi Arabia as sacrosanct will not only thwart a resolution of Middle East conflicts, but also will make almost impossible territorial resolutions with these countries and with the Kurds.

• Don’t equate elections with democracy. Unless the rule of law, tolerance, pluralism, freedom of speech and freedom of the press precede an election, you must remain skeptical about the results of elections in the Middle East.

• Remember the issues run deep. Realize that even if the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is resolved, it will actually make a relatively small impact on the Arab and Muslim worlds. Sunnis and Shi’ites will still fight for regional hegemony, and Iran will still want a nuclear weapon in pursuit of that goal. The chaos and slaughter in Syria, Lebanon and Iraq will not diminish, while the Saudis will still be just as misogynistic and intolerant as ever.

• Understand that border adjustments in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are a final-status issue. They are not the essence of the conflict. Until one stops treating the conflict as simply a land dispute, there is almost no chance of resolution. At a deeper level, conflict resolution must address whether the Palestinian Arabs can overcome the concept of Dar al-Islam, the Islamic belief that no land once controlled by Muslims can revert to infidel hands, i.e. Jews, Hindus or Christians…
[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

Contents
                                  

THE PEACE PROCESS HOAX                                                                                  

Charles Bybelezer

Jerusalem Post, June 16, 2014

 

There was never any doubt that the international community would recognize a Palestinian terror government. After all, the charter of the PLO – the controlling faction of the Palestinian Authority – explicitly calls for Israel’s destruction, as does the constitution of PA “President” Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party, which itself was founded as a “resistance” group. By corollary, Abbas  refuses to recognize the Jewish state’s right to exist in any borders, presupposing that it has none. But this never prevented the international community, including the United States, from embracing the Palestinian leadership as a “partner for peace” to the tune of billions of dollars annually, a fair portion of which already is allocated to paying the salaries of Hamas bureaucrats in Gaza, not to mention jailed Palestinian murderers.

 

The real question is why Jerusalem expected differently, leaving it unprepared for an eminently predictable scenario. The Israeli government has been operating on a faulty premise since 1993, when it signed the Oslo Accords with arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat, effectively importing his terror infrastructure from faraway Tunis to the Jewish people’s biblical heartland, on the very outskirts of Israel’s major population centers. The peace process was always a hoax, masking – poorly – the perpetual Palestinian refusal to accept the verdict of 1947/48; both of the United Nations and the ensuing war. While this Palestinian revanchism has become increasingly explicit with time, it should have been perceived as the writing on the wall for those who prefer to confront rather than escape reality. The Palestinian national movement – beginning with Haj Amin al-Husseini, the former grand mufti of Jerusalem, Nazi collaborator and Palestinian “godfather” – was founded, and has since been predicated on the total rejection of Jewish sovereignty. It is the raison d’etre of Abbas, as it is for Hamas. This accounts for Abbas’ repeated assertions that there are no conceptual differences between his Fatah party and the designated terror group. For over two decades, then, Israel has been pursuing a fiction – the phony two-state “solution” – which has become a concept “too big to fail.” The international community has invested too much time, effort and “prestige” into the peace process to ever discard it. Meanwhile, the Israeli Left, whose policies have been thoroughly discredited at the ballot box repeatedly but which nevertheless maintains a stranglehold on various influential institutions, including the media, continues to provide cover for the professional peace processors’ fantasies, because in the absence of the process, the Left’s entire political platform would evaporate instantaneously.

 

But Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has, for his part, no excuse to continue the charade. Israel’s prime minister failed his constituency miserably when he accepted the legitimacy of Palestinian statehood in 2009, after vowing not to in his election campaign. The move could perhaps have been justified as a way to curry favor with Washington in order to tackle a more pressing existential matter: Iran’s atomic program. But as it has become increasingly clear that Obama’s embrace of yet another terror regime will, nonetheless, eventually allow Tehran to go nuclear, Netanyahu’s continued support for the two-state lie (especially when considering his supposed ideological predilections) has become indefensible. Netanyahu has been duped countless times by Obama, an unreliable ally who has courted some of Israel’s worst enemies (the latest reports suggest the White House conducted secret back-channel negotiations with Hamas for six months before signing off on its inclusion in the Palestinian government). Nevertheless, Netanyahu repeatedly has folded in the face of pressure by making inexcusable “bold sacrifices” for a peace nobody on the other side wants. Even the recent release of dozens of murderers in exchange for nothing garnered Israel no “points” with anyone…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

[The author is a correspondent for i24 News, and CIJR’s former publications editor—Ed.]       

           

                                                          Contents
 

DANGEROUS AND FALSE PALESTINIAN “UNITY”

Prof. Efraim Inbar                                                                                                      

Besa Center, June 5, 2014

 

The new Palestinian “unity” government is not about the reestablishment of one Palestinian political entity that could develop into a functioning Palestinian state. Already in the early 2000s, the Palestinian Authority (PA) degenerated into a failed state as it lost monopoly over the use of power in the territory under its jurisdiction with the advent of several competing militias. Indeed, in June 2007 Hamas orchestrated a military coup that put the Gaza Strip under the control of this terrorist organization. Despite the current “unity” discourse, the Palestinians remain as divided as before. The only true test for “unity” of a political entity is monopoly over the use of force. As long as the military branch of Hamas remains independent, there is no unity; just evidence of the “Somalization” of Palestinian politics. Islamic Jihad also remains fiercely independent in Gaza, as well as other Jihadist organizations. In fact, under the current accord, instead of the PA regaining lost Gaza, Hamas is gaining better access to the West Bank.

 

Unfortunately, what is happening in the Palestinian territories is part of a larger phenomenon characteristic of much of the Arab world before and after the so-called “Arab Spring.” Lebanon, Somalia Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen and even Egypt are plagued by a plethora of militias eroding the exclusive control of the central authorities. It is not clear to what extent are Palestinians able to move beyond this general Arab political malaise. In fact, it is hard to believe that Hamas will give up control over the Gaza Strip. The de facto statehood which Hamas enjoys is good business, as it allows for the extraction of taxes and fees. In addition, it serves the extremist Hamas ideology that demands building Islamist political structures and keeping alive the military and theological struggle against the unacceptable Jewish state. Hamas has made it clear that it has not mellowed one bit on this issue. It also hopes to get a better foothold in the West Bank to fortify its role in Palestinian society. Hamas seeks to emulate the road taken by Hizballah in gaining political hegemony in Lebanon while maintaining a military force independent of the central government.

 

The reaction of the US and the EU to the new government –business as usual – is counterproductive and morally wrong. This approach helps the Palestinians evade facing their fundamental dilemma in state building: that there is no chance to attain statehood without achieving a monopoly over use of force. Thus the current Western stance, which allows for the continuation of a fragmented Palestinian polity, makes the establishment of a real, stable Palestinian state more unlikely than ever. Continuous economic support for a failing Palestinian order preserves its dysfunctional characteristics and does not encourage the Palestinians to make the needed difficult choices. Moreover, recent Western reactions to Palestinian “unity” are destructive for peace-making. Acceptance of a growing role for Hamas is inimical to Israeli-Palestinian peaceful co-existence. Radical Hamas is totally opposed to such a scenario and is unlikely to give up violence against Israel. After all, the Islamists are encouraged by the trends in the Arab world – whereby political Islam seems to be gaining greater power than ever before, and where the US seems to be in constant retreat.

 

It is not the first time the Europeans and the Americans adopt misguided policies towards the Middle East, displaying naiveté, misunderstanding of Middle East realities, and moral failure. If the West is serious about the two-state paradigm and opposing Islamist terrorism, it must insist that Mahmoud Abbas reject cooperation with terrorist entities such as Hamas. Such cooperation can bring only additional disasters on Palestinian society. Hamas is hardly a democratic or a modernizing force as we have seen from its short rule over Gaza. A growing Hamas input in Palestinian society means growing deficits in human rights, and in economic and educational performance. It will also increase the hatred to Jews and will fuel additional violence that is likely to trigger a tough Israeli response. This is not what the Palestinians need if they are interested in liberty, prosperity and peace.

 

From an Israeli point of view, the mass demonstrations in favor of “unity” and the very few Palestinian voices opposing the deal with Hamas are depressing. The Palestinian “unity” deal reinforces the negative image Israelis have of their close neighbors: that Palestinian society is addicted to violence, where the shaheed (martyr) who attempts to kill as many Jews as possible – is the role model. Palestinian society, under the spell of a nationalist and Islamic ethos, is simply unable to bring itself to a historic compromise with the Zionist movement that would end the conflict. Unfortunately, Palestinian rejectionism has won the day whenever a concrete partition plan was on the agenda. The ascendance of Hamas in Palestinian politics through this false “unity” government, further undermines the search for peace.

 

Contents

 

On Topic

 

Abbas’s Role: Jerusalem Post, June 19, 2014 —Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has denounced the abduction of Naftali Fraenkel, Gil-Ad Shaer, and Eyal Yifrah. He should be commended for doing so.

New Palestinian Intifada – Against Abbas: Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Istitute, June 23, 2014 —What happened in the center of Ramallah on the morning of June 22 could signal the beginning of an uprising, or intifada, against the Palestinian Authority [PA].

Europe's and U.S. Complicity in Kidnapping and Violence: Richard Kemp, Gatestone Istitute, June 20, 2014—The world has undergone gut-churning revulsion this week at the videos of rows of kneeling young Iraqi men callously gunned down by Al Qaida terrorists in Mosul.

Israel Facing Its Third Intifada: Hana Levi Julian, Jewish Press, June 17, 2014—I believe the Palestinian Authority unity government has launched a third intifada.

 

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Contents:         

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine: Israzine.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing is available by e-mail.
Please urge colleagues, friends, and family to visit our website for more information on our ISRANET series.
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Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org

Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284 ; ber@isranet.org

HAMAS & FATAH RECONCILIATION: A MAJOR BLOW TO PEACE

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 – Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284; E-mail: rob@isranet.org

 

The Wedding is On: Hamas and Fatah Unite in Palestinian Authority: Hana Levi Julian, Jewish Press, Jun 2, 2014 —Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahoud Abbas swore in what he called a new PA “unity government” today (Monday) at 1:00 p.m. local time in a televised ceremony in Ramallah.

Dangerous Unity: Jerusalem Post, June 1, 2014—Fatah and Hamas are slated to announce their unity government today.

Obama’s Embrace of Hamas Betrays Peace: Jonathan S. Tobin, Commentary, June 2, 2014—  When Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas chose to scuttle peace talks with Israel this spring by deciding to conclude a pact with Hamas rather than the Jewish state, he was taking a calculated risk.

Why There is No Palestine: Rachel Bresinger, Jerusalem Post, May 26, 2014—After nine months of intensive talks between the Israelis and Palestinians, US Secretary of State John Kerry found out for himself that solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not as simple as he might have thought.  

 

On Topic Links

 

Abbas: Why Would Israel Reject Palestinian Arab Unity Government?: Jewish Press, June 1, 2014

Netanyahu Urges World Not to Recognise Palestinian Unity Government: Jeffrey Heller, Reuters, June 1, 2014

In Ottawa, a Taxpayer-Funded Tribute to a Palestinian Terrorist: Karen James, National Post, May 30, 2014

 

 

THE WEDDING IS ON: HAMAS AND FATAH UNITE IN PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY

Hana Levi Julian                                                                                                            Jewish Press, Jun 2, 2014

                         

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahoud Abbas swore in what he called a new PA “unity government” today (Monday) at 1:00 p.m. local time in a televised ceremony in Ramallah. He apparently wasn’t confident enough to dare to do it in Gaza, and with very good reason. “Today, after announcing the government of national unity we declare the end of division that caused catastrophic harm to our cause,” Abbas said. “This black page in the history (of the Palestinians) has been turned forever, and we will not allow it to come back.” Initially, his new “unity” partners from the Hamas terrorist organization had declared they were backing out of the deal. But a few minutes later, Hamas official Salah Al-Bardaweel announced “the dispute between Hamas and Fatah has been resolved.”

 

Ministers who allegedly are politically unaffiliated took the oath of office at the inauguration, where Abbas vowed commitments and agreements made by previous PLO and PA administrations would be upheld. It is believed that he was referring to interim deals that were made with Israel. There are a total of 17 new ministers, including five from Gaza. It is not clear how the Gaza-based ministers will join any legislative meetings, since it is unlikely they will be able to travel out of the region — nor are the other 12 likely to travel often to Gaza.

 

Sami Abu Zuhri, spokesman for Gaza’s ruling Hamas terrorist organization, immediately disavowed the ceremony as a “unilateral” step and stated the terrorist group would “not recognize this announcement. Within the hour, he reversed himself, telling the AFP news agency, “We hail the national consensus government which represents all the Palestinian people.” He added the new government would enable the PA to “face the Israeli occupation.” What a surprise. Welcome to the Palestinian Authority unity government deal, the “Cha-Cha’ of the Middle East.

 

After a dozen or so leading-up announcements of how the PA unity government was “about to be completed,” Palestine Liberation Organization chief – and Fatah faction leader – Mahmoud Abbas apparently simply finally lost his patience and just set the wedding date. Abbas heads what remains of the gutted Palestinian Authority from its Judea and Samaria capital in Ramallah, as well as the PA’s leading Fatah faction, and its umbrella organization, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO). In giving international media the heads-up that he would inaugurate the unity government one way or the other, he told reporters that Israel had already warned him it would shun such a government and that he would go ahead with the plan anyway.

 

Hamas, meanwhile, was threatening to renege on its commitment to the deal even after the swearing-in ceremony was being carried live on Hamas ‘al-Aqsa’ television. This time the excuse was the intent by Abbas to dissolve the PA Ministry of Prisoner Affairs, which Hamas called a “stab in the back” to terrorist prisoners. That wrinkle got worked out with the disputed Prisoners’ Ministry being given to Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah. Senior Hamas official Khalil al-Hayya had already told the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency, “We made concessions on all stages … but some sides misunderstood our lenience and flexibility.” Without that ministry, he said, Hamas would definitely not join the unity government. It would have been the umpteenth time that Hamas has backed out of a reconciliation deal at the ninth hour since it seized control of Gaza in 2007. Nothing new.

 

Abbas himself had no plans to turn his back on the bloodthirsty murderers who stole Israeli lives, and who he generously supports with monthly salaries from government coffers. Instead he was planning to form a prisoners’ affairs administration under the PLO. Officially listed as a terrorist organization in the United States as well as in Israel, this new government with Hamas gives America considerable pause: U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned Abbas in a phone call over the weekend that it is not being taken lightly by the American government. According to State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki, Abbas assured Kerry on Sunday the new “unity government” would be “committed to non-violence and recognize Israel.” Kerry’s reply was that the U.S. would “judge the body by its composition, policies and actions.”                                                                               

                                               

Contents
                                  

DANGEROUS UNITY

Jerusalem Post, June 1, 2014

 

Fatah and Hamas are slated to announce their unity government today. Preemptively, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu warned the world yesterday not to recognize the new Fatah- Hamas government. Not only would the deal add obstacles to peace, explained Netanyahu, it would “strengthen terrorism.” “I call on all responsible elements in the international community not to run to recognize the Palestinian government of which Hamas is a part and which rests on Hamas,” Netanyahu said. “Hamas is a terrorist organization that calls for the destruction of Israel and the international community must not embrace it. This will not strengthen peace; it will strengthen terrorism.”

We agree with Netanyahu. Nevertheless, a number of arguments have been put forward in favor of the unity government. Indeed, Palestinians are overwhelmingly for the deal. Some say that reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas is good for peace because finally, after seven years, Palestinians have a single political leadership that represents the entire Palestinian people. No longer will Israel be able to claim that Abbas’s government represents at best only Palestinians living on the West Bank.

However, these supporters of reconciliation ignore the fact that Hamas continues to call for the violent destruction of the State of Israel. Just last week in Gaza City, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh told reporters that the “resistance that liberated the Gaza Strip is also capable of liberating the West Bank, Jerusalem and the rest of our land.” As reported by The Jerusalem Post’s Khaled Abu Toameh, Hamas’s two most senior representatives, Khaled Mashaal and Mahmoud Zahar, have said they will continue to use violence against Israel even after the formation of the unity government, emphasizing that Hamas has no intention of dismantling its military wing, Izzadin Kassam, as part of the unity accord.

Zahar has said Hamas is planning to take advantage of the unity deal to move its terrorist attacks against Israel to the West Bank. He also said that after its men set foot in the West Bank, Hamas will target Palestinians who “collaborate” with Israel. “Who said that those who are conducting security coordination with Israel would remain forever?” he asked, referring to the Fatah-dominated security forces in the West Bank. In a marvelous exercise in maintaining at one and the same time two radically contradictory messages, as Abbas claims the new Fatah-Hamas government will recognize Israel and use peaceful means for solving the conflict, Hamas officials are saying the exact opposite.

Another argument put forward by supporters of the Fatah-Hamas deal is that the reconciliation will facilitate Palestinians’ first democratic national elections since 2006, when Hamas routed Fatah. Moving ahead with new elections would strengthen Palestinians’ fledgling democracy and give new hope to Palestinians, who have grown apathetic and pessimistic about the efficacy of political activism and the democratic process.

While elections might end Palestinians’ long period of political limbo, there is no guarantee that new elections will vote for a more moderate Palestinians leadership. There is some room for optimism, however. A poll conducted by the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey that was published in March said that in parliamentary elections, Fatah would receive 43 percent of the vote and Hamas would receive 28 percent. Assuming similar results are obtained if and when elections are held, Israel might reconsider renewing ties with a Palestinian government coalition that does not include Hamas. However, until that happens, Israel must cut ties with the PA.

Back in 2006 after Hamas’s electoral victory, the Quartet – the US, the UN, the EU and Russia – imposed three conditions on Hamas: renounce terrorism, recognize Israel and honor past agreements signed between the Palestinians and Israel. Until Hamas agreed to these three conditions, the Quartet said it could not recognize a Palestinian government that includes Hamas. Hamas not only has refused to accept any of these conditions, it continues to openly declare its intention to use violence against Israel – and against Palestinians who dare to coordinate security arrangements with Israel.

Anyone listening to what Hamas is actually saying understands that not only will the unity deal fail to advance peace between Israelis and Palestinians, but that it will only boost terrorists and the opponents of peace.

 

Contents
                                  

OBAMA’S EMBRACE OF HAMAS BETRAYS PEACE

Jonathan S. Tobin                                              

Commentary, June 2, 2014

 

When Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas chose to scuttle peace talks with Israel this spring by deciding to conclude a pact with Hamas rather than the Jewish state, he was taking a calculated risk. In embracing his Islamist rivals, Abbas sought to unify the two leading Palestinian factions not to make peace more possible but to make it impossible. Since Palestinian public opinion–indeed the entire political culture of his people–regards any pact that would recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state as a betrayal of their national identity, bringing Hamas back into the PA fold illustrated that he would not take the sort of risks that peacemaking required.

 

But given the PA’s almost complete dependency on the United States and Europe for the aid that keeps its corrupt apparatus operating, there was a genuine risk that the unity pact would generate a cutoff of assistance that could topple his kleptocracy. U.S. law mandated such a rupture of relations, as did the officially stated policy of the Obama administration that rightly regards Hamas as a terrorist group, not a legitimate political player. But there was a chance that Washington would accept a Palestinian deception in which technocrats would be appointed to rule in the name of the Fatah-Hamas coalition in order to pretend that the terrorists were not in charge.

 

In the weeks since the unity pact was concluded it wasn’t clear which way the U.S. would jump on the question of keeping the money flowing to Abbas, though at times Secretary of State John Kerry made appropriate noises at the PA leader about the danger of going into business with Hamas. But today’s press briefing at the State Department removed any doubt about President Obama’s intentions. When asked to react to today’s announcement of a new Fatah-Hamas government in Ramallah, spokesperson Jen Psaki said that the U.S. would accept the Palestinian trick. As the Times of Israel reports: State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said on Monday that Washington believes Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has “formed an interim technocratic government…that does not include members affiliated with Hamas…With what we know now, we will work with this government,” Psaki said. She did, however, warn that the US “will continue to evaluate the composition and policies of the new government and if needed we’ll modify our approach.” She later added that the administration would be “watching carefully to make sure” that the unity government upholds the principles that serve as preconditions for continuing US aid to the Palestinian Authority.

 

In recognizing the fig leaf of a “technocratic” government that is meant to distract the world from the reality that Hamas is now in full partnership with Abbas, the Obama administration may think it has put Israel’s government—which publicly called for the world not to recognize the Palestinian coalition—into a corner. But by discarding its own principles about recognizing unrepentant terror groups, Obama has done more than betrayed Israel. He has betrayed the cause of peace.

 

It would be a mistake to waste much time debating whether the cabinet Abbas has presented to the world is not really affiliated with Hamas. The people he has appointed are nothing but stand-ins for the real power brokers in Palestinian politics—the leaders of Fatah who lord it over those portions of the West Bank under the sway of the PA and the Hamas chieftains who have ruled Gaza with an iron fist since the 2007 coup in which they seized power there. Just like Abbas’s previous attempt to swindle the West into thinking that the PA intended to embrace reform during Salam Fayyad’s ill-fated term as prime minister, the “technocratic” cabinet isn’t fooling anyone. Americans and Israelis may have lauded Fayyadism as a path to a responsible Palestinian government that would eschew corruption and try to actually improve the lives of its people. But Fayyad was a man without a political constituency and, despite the support he had in Washington, was thrown overboard by Abbas and the PA went back to business as usual without a backward glance.

 

Nor is there any use arguing about whether it is Hamas that has been co-opted by Abbas and Fatah rather than the other way around. The two rival parties have very different visions of Palestinian society with Hamas hoping to eventually install the same kind of theocratic rule in the West Bank that it established in the independent Palestinian state in all but name in Gaza. But at the moment there is no fundamental difference between the two on dealing with Israel. Despite its unwillingness to recognize Israel even in principle and its refusal to back away from its charter that calls for the Jewish state’s destruction and the slaughter of its people, Hamas doesn’t want an open war with Israel anymore than Fatah. But by the same token, Fatah has demonstrated repeatedly over the last 15 years that it is as incapable of making peace with Israel, even on terms that would have gained it sovereignty over almost all of the West Bank and a share of Jerusalem, as Hamas. The two parties are genuinely unified in their desire to keep chipping away at Israel’s international legitimacy and to avoid peace at any cost.

 

Admitting this would be a bitter pill for an Obama administration that has invested heavily in Abbas, a man they have wrongly portrayed as a peacemaker even as they have vilified Netanyahu as an obstacle to a deal. So rather than honestly assessing their policy and owning up to the fact that five and a half years of attempts to appease Abbas and tilt the diplomatic playing field in his direction have done nothing to make him say yes to peace, the administration will go along with the PA’s deception.

 

That’s a blow to Israel, which now finds itself more isolated than ever. But the real betrayal doesn’t involve Obama’s broken promises to the Jewish state or to pro-Israel voters. By buying into the myth that Hamas isn’t involved with the new PA government, the president is putting a spike into the last remote chances for a peace deal in the foreseeable future. So long as the Palestinians are allowed to believe that there is no price to be paid for rejecting peace, there will be no change in their attitudes. By allowing American taxpayer dollars to flow to a government controlled in part by Hamas, Obama is violating U.S. law. But he’s also signaling that the U.S. has no intention of ever pressuring the Palestinians to take the two-state solution they’ve been repeatedly offered by Israel and always rejected. For a president that is obsessed with his legacy, that’s a mistake for which history ought never to forgive him.

 

Contents
                                  

WHY THERE IS NO PALESTINE

Rachel Bresinger             

Jerusalem Post, June 1, 2014

 

After nine months of intensive talks between the Israelis and Palestinians, US Secretary of State John Kerry found out for himself that solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not as simple as he might have thought. For those unfamiliar with the history of the Israeli- Palestinian conflict, as Kerry seems to have been, it may seem perplexing that the Israelis and Palestinians still can’t come to a peace agreement. The parameters for an agreement have been known for years – borders, Jerusalem and refugees, with two states for two peoples.

Since the Oslo Accords in the mid- ’90s, countless politicians and statesmen from all across the world have pushed for a peace agreement and the establishment of a Palestinian state. After years of discussions and hundreds of millions of dollars invested, chances for peace seemed as hopeful as ever in 2000 with the Camp David Accords. Then Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak offered Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian people everything they wanted – a Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip and some 98 percent of the West Bank, with east Jerusalem as their capital and compensation for the Palestinian refugees. To the world’s surprise and president Clinton’s shock and dismay, Arafat turned down Barak’s offer without even making a counter-offer, after which Palestinian terror in the form of the second intifada soon followed.

The Palestinians were given essentially everything they asked for, yet did not accept the Israeli offer for peace and the creation of a Palestinian state. Why would the Palestinians have turned down an offer for everything they said they wanted? The answer is actually quite simple – because what the Palestinians and Yasser Arafat told the Western world they wanted was not in reality what they wanted. The Palestinians did not just want a Palestinian state in the Gaza and West Bank, but a Palestinian state in all of Israel. They wanted and still want all of what they term “Palestine,” from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River, with there being no Jewish state in between.

Those who have studied in depth the history of the Israel-Palestinian conflict know that this fact is nothing new. Back in 1947 with the UN Partition Agreement, a state of Palestine could have been formed along with the creation of a very small, disjointed Jewish state, but the Arabs living in the area refused the UN’s proposal while the Jews accepted it. And just as Palestinian violence followed the Camp David Accords, so did Palestinian and Arab violence follow the 1947 Partition Agreement with the War of Independence in 1948. As Israel just celebrated its 66th year of independence, the Palestinians could have also been celebrating 66 or 67 years of independence.

The Palestinians voice their true desires quite openly in Arabic, but the Western diplomats seem to not watch the Arab TV channels. There is an organization called Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) which is dedicated to monitoring Palestinian news sources and translating them from Arabic to English/Hebrew. It would have done John Kerry a great deal of good to have watched some of their clippings before blindly throwing himself into trying to force the Israelis and Palestinians to come to an agreement.

So when will there be a state of Palestine? The truth is this will only occur when the Palestinians’ desire to create their own state is greater than their desire to destroy the only Jewish state.

The onus however is not completely on the Palestinians. In order for there to be true peace, some Israelis will have to give up their dream of a Greater Israel, although in reality the majority of Israelis gave up on this dream quite some time ago. The Palestinians, however, still dream of Haifa and Jaffa. Those who are realistic know that they will never control Haifa or Jaffa again, but those people seem to be very much in the minority.

It is for this very reason that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has insisted that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state, as opposed to part of what many view as Zionist-controlled “Palestine.” If the Palestinians do not recognize Israel as a Jewish state, there will never be a true end to the conflict even if a Palestinian state is created in Gaza and the majority of the West Bank in the future.

Once the majority of Palestinians and their leadership accept the fact that after thousands of years of persecution, the Jewish people will not give up the State of Israel, there can be genuine progress toward the creation of a Palestinian state and a true, lasting peace. Until then, there will be continual breakdowns of whatever talks the Israelis are forced into again and the ever elusive Israeli-Palestinian peace will remain just that – elusive.

 

Abbas: Why Would Israel Reject Palestinian Arab Unity Government?: Jewish Press, June 1, 2014—Hamas and the PLO will announce their Unity Government on Monday, June 2, according to Palestinian Arab media outlet Ma’an.

Netanyahu Urges World Not to Recognise Palestinian Unity Government: Jeffrey Heller, Reuters, June 1, 2014—Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on Sunday against any international rush to recognize a Palestinian government due to be announced under a unity pact between the Fatah and Hamas Islamist groups.

In Ottawa, a Taxpayer-Funded Tribute to a Palestinian Terrorist: Karen James, National Post, May 30, 2014—Stephen Spielberg’s 2005 film Munich opens with a group of young athletes returning to the Olympic Village late at night.

                               

 

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Contents:         

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine: Israzine.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing is available by e-mail.
Please urge colleagues, friends, and family to visit our website for more information on our ISRANET series.
To join our distribution list, or to unsubscribe, visit us at http://www.isranet.org/.

The ISRANET Daily Briefing is a service of CIJR. We hope that you find it useful and that you will support it and our pro-Israel educational work by forwarding a minimum $90.00 tax-deductible contribution [please send a cheque or VISA/MasterCard information to CIJR (see cover page for address)]. All donations include a membership-subscription to our respected quarterly ISRAFAX print magazine, which will be mailed to your home.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing attempts to convey a wide variety of opinions on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world for its readers’ educational and research purposes. Reprinted articles and documents express the opinions of their authors, and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research.

 

 

Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org

Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284 ; ber@isranet.org

PALESTINIAN STATEHOOD: AN OXYMORON? ABBAS’ REVIVAL OF HAMAS, PA’S CORRUPTION, UNRWA’S “RIGHT OF RETURN” SUPPORT—ALL BLOCK PAL. STATE

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 – Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284; E-mail: rob@isranet.org

 

Abbas Pumps New Life Into Hamas: Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute, Apr 30, 2014—  These are wonderful days for the Palestinian Islamist movement, Hamas.

Running Away from Statehood, Again: Efraim Karsh, Middle East Forum, Apr. 28, 2014 — The "historic" agreement of last week between The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and Hamas, to form a united government casts a serious doubt not only on the Palestinian leadership's commitment to a two-state solution, but also on its interest in the attaining of statehood at all.

After EU Audit, Corruption Could Become an Expensive Problem for Ramallah: Cnaan Liphshiz, Jewish Press, May 8, 2014 — When Israeli police found thousands of contraband cell phones in the car of senior Palestinian Authority official Rawhi Fattouh, he was promptly removed from office — for about two months.

The Real Palestinian Refugee Crisis: Asaf Romirowsky, The Tower, May, 2014— Perhaps the most insurmountable and explosive issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the so-called “right of return”—the demand that millions of Palestinians must be allowed to “return” to the State of Israel under any peace agreement.

 

On Topic Links

 

Hamas-Fatah Unity Government to be Announced by End of Month: Khaled Abu Toameh, Jerusalem Post, May 12, 2014

Fatah and Hamas Reconciliation: Rushing to Judgment: Alon Ben-Meir, Huffington Post, May 1, 2014

Palestinian Authority: Combatants Against Peace: Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute, May 12, 2014

The Misleading Nakba Narrative: Jonathan S. Tobin, Commentary, May 8, 2014

Palestinian Unity Deal Creates a Stir in Middle East: Nicholas Casey, Wall Street Journal, May 2, 2014

The Myth of the Moderate Hamas: Dore Gold, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Apr. 27, 2014

 

                            

ABBAS PUMPS NEW LIFE INTO HAMAS                      

Khaled Abu Toameh                                                                  

Gatestone Institute, Apr. 30, 2014 

 

These are wonderful days for the Palestinian Islamist movement, Hamas. Just when everyone thought that Hamas — an officially designated terrorist group and an offshoot of Muslim Brotherhood — was on its way to vanish as a result of Egypt's tough measures, Palestinian Authority [PA] President Mahmoud Abbas stepped in to save the movement by inviting its leaders to join a Palestinian unity government. Abbas's recent decision to sign a "reconciliation" agreement with Hamas is the best gift that the Islamist movement could have dreamed of receiving. Even if Abbas is not serious about the "reconciliation," his deal with the movement's leaders in the Gaza Strip has injected new blood into Hamas.

 

Hamas is now talking about running in the next Palestinian parliamentary elections and is even hoping to use the "reconciliation" accord as a vehicle for restoring its relations with Egypt. Buoyed by Abbas's deal, Gaza's Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh phoned former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and invited him to serve as a monitor in the election. Carter and hundreds of international monitors supervised the last parliamentary election in 2006, which resulted in a Hamas victory. Hamas, of course, is confident that it would score another victory in any upcoming vote.

 

Until recently, Hamas was concerned only about one thing: how to remain in power despite Egypt's unprecedented measures against the movement and its leaders. These measures include the destruction of hundreds of smuggling tunnels along the border between the Gaza Strip and Egypt during the past few months — a move that created a severe economic and humanitarian crisis for the Palestinians living under Hamas's rule. Moreover, Egypt's massive crackdown on Hamas-affiliated terrorists in the Sinai Peninsula in particular, and the outlawing of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood organization in general, have dealt Hamas a severe blow. Ever since the removal of President Mohamed Morsi from power, the Egyptian authorities have been working hard to delegitimize Hamas and undermine its grip on the Gaza Strip. The Egyptians even went as far as also declaring Hamas a terrorist organization, holding it responsible for a series of terrorist attacks in Egypt over the past few months. Even some of Hamas's top leaders have admitted that the Egyptian measures caused their movement huge damage. Last month, Hamas denounced the Egyptian measures as a "war crime."

 

Egypt's war on Hamas has now suffered a major setback as a result of Abbas's sudden decision to mend fences with the movement. The Egyptian authorities worked hard to delegitimize Hamas in the hope of ending its control over the Gaza Strip. But Abbas's move has legitimized Hamas, paving the way for the movement's return to center stage. Hamas is not the only party that stands to benefit from Abbas's gesture. The Muslim Brotherhood organization, which had also been dealt severe blows in the aftermath of the removal of Morsi from power, also stands to benefit from the "reconciliation" pact. Abbas's alliance with Hamas is likely to put him on a course of collision with the Egyptian government, which regards Hamas as a threat to Egypt's national security.

 

If Abbas has decided that Hamas is a legitimate partner and is worthy of joining his government and the PLO, why shouldn't the Muslim Brotherhood also demand equal treatment from the Egyptian authorities? And why shouldn't other branches of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Arab world demand that they be treated the same way as Hamas? Abbas's rapprochement with Hamas can only embolden Muslim fundamentalists and undermine moderate secular forces throughout the Arab world. But Abbas has not only emboldened Hamas. He and the Palestinian Authority have now assumed the role of Hamas advocates in a bid to whitewash the movement in the eyes of the rest of the world. Chief PLO Negotiator Saeb Erekat this week went as far as arguing that Hamas is not a terrorist organization. "We might agree or differ with Hamas," Erekat said. "But Hamas is not a terrorist organization. The occupation, according to international law, is the worst form of terrorism."

 

Abbas's "reconciliation" accord with Hamas is most probably aimed at exerting pressure on Israel to make far-reaching concessions at the negotiating table. But Abbas's move will soon prove to be counterproductive. Hamas's goal is to seize control over the Palestinian Authority and replace Israel with an Islamic empire. Abbas is deceiving himself and others when he says that a unity government with Hamas would recognize Israel and renounce violence. Hamas has already made it clear that the deal with Abbas does not mean that it would change its ideology or renounce terrorism.

                                                                       

Contents
                                       

RUNNING AWAY FROM STATEHOOD, AGAIN

Efraim Karsh                                                                         

Middle East Forum, Apr. 28, 2014

 

The "historic" agreement of last week between The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) and Hamas, to form a united government casts a serious doubt not only on the Palestinian leadership's commitment to a two-state solution, but also on its interest in the attaining of statehood at all. Not that this should have come as a surprise to anyone. For nearly a century, Palestinian leaders never have missed an opportunity to impede the development of Palestinian civil society and the attainment of Palestinian statehood.

 

Had the Jerusalem mufti Hajj Amin Husseini, who led the Palestinian Arabs from the early 1920s to the late 1940s, chosen to lead his constituents to peace and reconciliation with their Jewish neighbors, the Palestinians would have had their independent state over a substantial part of mandate Palestine by 1948, and would have been spared the traumatic experience of dispersal and exile. Had Yasser Arafat, who dominated Palestinian politics from the mid-1960s to his death in November 2004, set the PLO from the start on the path to peace and reconciliation instead of turning it into one of the most murderous and kleptocratic terrorist organizations in modern times, a Palestinian state could have been established on numerous occasions: In the late 1960s or the early 1970s; in 1979, as a corollary to the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty; in May 1999, as part of the Oslo process; or more recently at the Camp David summit of July 2000. Had Mahmoud Abbas, who succeeded Arafat as PLO chairman and PA president, abandoned his predecessors' rejectionist path, a Palestinian state could have been established after the Annapolis summit of November 2007, or in June 2009, during President Obama's first term when Benjamin Netanyahu broke with the longstanding Likud precept by publicly accepting the two-state solution and agreeing to the establishment of a Palestinian state.

 

But why should the Palestinians engage in the daunting tasks of nation-building and state creation if they can have their hapless constituents run around in circles for nearly a century while they bask in international sympathy and enrich themselves from the proceeds of their self-inflicted plight? The Palestinian leadership in Mandate Palestine (1920-48) had no qualms about inciting its constituents against Zionism and the Jews while lining its own pockets from the fruits of Jewish development and land purchases. So too, the cynical and self-seeking PLO "revolutionaries" have used the billions of dollars donated by the Arab oil states and the international community to lead a luxurious lifestyle in sumptuous hotels and villas, globe-trotting in grand style, acquiring properties, and making financial investments worldwide – while millions of ordinary Palestinians scramble for a livelihood, many of them in squalid and overcrowded refugee camps.

 

This process reached its peak following the September 1993 signing of the Israel-PLO Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements (DOP, or Oslo I) and the establishment of the Palestinian Authority. For all his rhetoric about Palestinian independence, Arafat had never been as interested in the attainment of statehood as he was in the violence attached to its pursuit. In the late 1970s, he told his close friend and collaborator, the Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, that the Palestinians lacked the tradition, unity, and discipline to become a formal state, and that a Palestinian state would be a failure from the first day. Once given control of the Palestinian population in the West Bank and Gaza as per the Oslo accords, Arafat made this bleak prognosis a self-fulfilling prophecy, establishing a repressive and corrupt regime in the worst tradition of Arab dictatorships. The rule of the gun prevailed, and huge sums of money donated by the international community for the benefit of the civilian Palestinian population were diverted to funding racist incitement, buying weaponry, and filling secret bank accounts.

 

Not only has Abbas done nothing to clean up the Palestinian Authorities' (PA) act, but he seems to have followed in his predecessor's kleptocratic footsteps, reportedly siphoning at least $100 million to private accounts abroad and making his sons at the PA's expense. In the words of Fahmi Shabaneh, former head of the Anti-Corruption Department in the PA's General Intelligence Service: "In his pre-election platform, President Abbas promised to end financial corruption and implement major reforms, but he hasn't done much since then. Unfortunately, Abbas has surrounded himself with many of the thieves and officials who were involved in theft of public funds and who became icons of financial corruption. … Some of the most senior Palestinian officials didn't have even $3,000 in their pocket when they arrived [after the signing of the Oslo accords]. Yet we discovered that some of them had tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars in their bank accounts. …"

 

The attainment of statehood would have shattered the paradise established on the backs of the long suffering public in the West Bank and Gaza. It would have transformed the Palestinians in one fell swoop from the world's ultimate victim, into an ordinary (and most likely failing) nation-state, thus terminating decades of unprecedented international indulgence. It would have also driven the final nail into the PLO's false pretense of being "the sole representative of the Palestinian people" (already dealt a devastating blow by Hamas's 2006 electoral rout) and would have forced any governing authority to abide, for the first time in Palestinian history, by the principles of accountability and transparency. Small wonder, therefore, that whenever confronted with an international or Israeli offer of statehood, Palestinian leaders will never take "yes" for an answer.

                                                                       

Contents
                               

AFTER EU AUDIT, CORRUPTION COULD BECOME

AN EXPENSIVE PROBLEM FOR RAMALLAH                                  

Cnaan Liphshiz   

                                                                                    

JTA, May 8, 2014

 

When Israeli police found thousands of contraband cell phones in the car of senior Palestinian Authority official Rawhi Fattouh, he was promptly removed from office — for about two months. A consultant to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Fattouh was reinstated in May 2008 after his driver, a state employee, confessed to the smuggling, which Israeli border police discovered when searching Fattouh’s car at a border crossing between Jordan and the West Bank. The scandal drew international media attention, but by 2011, the case had been closed. Palestinian prosecutor Ahmed al-Moghani said his office had no information implicating Fattouh.

 

Still, critics say, the scandal and others like it are part of a lingering corruption problem that has plagued the Palestinian Authority since it was formed under Yasser Arafat following the signing of the 1993 Oslo Accords. Long ignored internationally in favor of more urgent business, the problem is now prompting an unprecedented degree of scrutiny from the European Union, the largest donor to the Palestinian Authority. Since 1994, $7.7 billion in EU funds have been transferred to Ramallah. In December, the European Court of Auditors reported that the Palestinians had been using European money for years to pay Gaza workers, some of whom had not actually worked in seven years. Palestinian Labor Minister Ahmed Majdalani defended the payments, saying the employees had families to support and couldn’t just be cut off, but the European Parliament took a less sanguine view.

 

Last month, it adopted a nonbinding resolution saying that payroll problems raise concerns about money laundering and terrorist financing. It noted the Palestinian Authority’s controversial salary payments to the families of terrorists serving time in Israeli jails. In an unprecedented move, the parliament also called for future EU funding to be conditioned on Palestinian compliance with reform recommendations. “Until now, EU aid was unconditional,” said Guy Bechor, an Israeli expert on the Arab world and a former lecturer at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya. “Now, for the first time, we are seeing serious moves for conditionality and transparency.”

 

Some analysts connect Europe’s sudden vigilance to anger over the recent collapse of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The EU’s ambassador to Israel, Lars Faaborg-Andersen, warned in January there would be “a price to pay” by both sides if the talks failed. Others trace it to frustration over Ramallah’s spending habits and a general donor fatigue in Europe, where high unemployment rates and sluggish economic growth have led to belt-tightening across the continent. “How can the European Union preserve its credibility back home when it pays salaries to people who don’t work, while millions of European citizens are unemployed?” Michael Theurer, chairman of the European Parliament’s Committee on Budgetary Control, wrote in The Wall Street Journal on April 9. In his op-ed, Theurer linked the Palestinian Authority’s accountability problems to success of Hamas, the governing power in Gaza regarded as a terrorist group by the United States and Europe. “The more the Palestinian Authority is perceived as corrupt by the Palestinian people, the greater their support will be for Hamas,” he wrote. “Thus, to promote peace and stability, Brussels must help the Palestinian Authority build strong and transparent institutions.”

 

The reference to Hamas touches on yet another potential complication for EU funding. Last month, Hamas signed a reconciliation agreement with the Fatah movement of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. An EU-funded Palestinian government with Hamas aboard “would not only mean EU funds for terrorists but would conflict with the two-state solution, which is the very declared goal of the funding in the first place,” said Arie Zuckerman of the European Jewish Congress. EU officials have said they would consider a Palestinian unity government legitimate if Hamas accepts the principles underlying the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, including recognizing Israel and committing to nonviolence. The Palestine Liberation Organization has said that any interim Palestinian government formed from the reconciliation process would not include Hamas or Fatah ministers but would rather be composed of officials who are independent of the two factions.

 

Some reports have suggested there are murmurings within the European Union about cutting aid to the Palestinian Authority. If true, that threat may be directed as much at Israel as at the Palestinians, according to Oded Eran, a former Israeli ambassador to the European Union and now a senior researcher at Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies. “The prospect of cutting aid to Ramallah has served as a veiled threat to Israel,” Eran said, “because they assume that doing so would place that financial burden on Israel.”

 

Contents

THE REAL PALESTINIAN REFUGEE CRISIS                                            

Asaf Romirowsky

The Tower, May, 2014

 

Perhaps the most insurmountable and explosive issue in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the so-called “right of return”—the demand that millions of Palestinians must be allowed to “return” to the State of Israel under any peace agreement. While Israel has made clear that it cannot agree to this, since it would effectively destroy Israel as a Jewish state, the Palestinians have steadfastly refused to compromise on the issue. This has made the “right of return” the primary obstacle to any peace agreement. Despite the latest round of peace talks, there is little sign that the Palestinians are willing to change their stance. Indeed, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has unequivocally stated, “Let me put it simply: the right of return is a personal decision. What does this mean? That neither the PA, nor the state, nor the PLO, nor Abu Mazen [Abbas’ nom de guerre], nor any Palestinian or Arab leader has the right to deprive someone from his right to return.” Abbas is by no means alone in this. In fact, whenever it appears that Abbas might waver, the reaction tends to be swift and ferocious.

 

At one point, for example, Ali Huwaidi, director of the Palestinian Organization for the Right of Return (“Thabit”) in Beirut, lashed out at Abbas, saying, “Regardless of Abbas’ statements, the right of return is guaranteed, individually and collectively, through UN resolutions. The refugees will not give up their right no matter where they are living today. Abbas is worried about flooding Israel with five million refugees while Israel has brought one million people from the former Soviet Union and no one complained about this. Our refugees will not accept any alternative to their right to return to their homeland and we do not care what Abbas’ position is.” But how many actual refugees are there? Surely over the years, many of those displaced have passed away, and such status does not normally transfer from generation to generation.

 

The issue is so emotive because, in many ways, Palestinian identity itself is embodied in the collective belief in a “right of return” to “Palestine.” Along with the belief that resistance to Israel is permanent and holy, Palestinian identity is largely based on the idea that the Palestinians are, individually and communally, refugees; that they have been made so by Israel; and that the United Nations should support these refugees until they can return to what is now Israel.

 

This belief is passionately safeguarded by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). The organization was established in 1949 following the failure of the Arab war against Israel’s independence, and its original mandate was to provide services to the approximately 650,000 Arabs displaced by the conflict. Today, it is essentially a massive social welfare system serving millions of Palestinians, primarily in the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. At the same time, its activities go well beyond simple humanitarianism. It plays a distinctly political role in Palestinian society, working to further the cause of Palestinian nationalism through politicized education, activism, anti-Israel propaganda, and other activities.

 

In effect, UNRWA has come to depend on the refugee problem itself. While the refugees benefit from its services, the organization benefits even more from the refugees. They are, of course, the organization’s raison d’être. UNRWA has no incentive whatsoever to resolve the Palestinian refugee problem, since doing so would render it obsolete. As a result, the agency not only perpetuates the refugee problem, but has, in many ways, exacerbated it. In doing so, it has made Israeli-Palestinian peace all but impossible.

 

UNRWA’s role in perpetuating and even expanding the refugee problem is a complex one; but, more than anything else, it is the result of the agency’s own definition of a Palestinian refugee—which is unique in world history. The standard definition of a refugee, which applies in every case except that of the Palestinians, includes only those actually displaced in any given conflict. UNRWA has defined a Palestinian refugee as anyone whose “normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948 and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict.” But it has also continually expanded this definition, now stating “the children or grandchildren of such refugees are eligible for agency assistance if they are (a) registered with UNRWA, (b) living in the area of UNRWA’s operations, and (c) in need.”

 

As a result, the number of official Palestinian refugees—according to UNRWA— has expanded almost to the point of absurdity. The best estimates are that perhaps 650,000 Palestinians became refugees in 1948-1949; but UNRWA now defines virtually every Palestinian born since that time as a refugee. That number now reaches well into the millions. This is quite simply unprecedented. In no other case has refugee status been expanded to include subsequent generations over a period of decades…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link –Ed.]

Hamas-Fatah Unity Government to be Announced by End of Month: Khaled Abu Toameh, Jerusalem Post, May 12, 2014—The new PA unity government will be announced before the end of May, Palestinian sources said on Monday.

Fatah and Hamas Reconciliation: Rushing to Judgment: Alon Ben-Meir, Huffington Post, May 1, 2014— Characterizing the Fatah-Hamas unity, or rather reconciliation, agreement as helpful or harmful to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process is premature at best.

Palestinian Authority: Combatants Against Peace: Khaled Abu Toameh, Gatestone Institute, May 12, 2014—Palestinian peace activists have come under fire for attending a Memorial Day Ceremony in Tel Aviv for Palestinian and Israeli victims of violence. The ceremony was attended by some 2700 people.

The Misleading Nakba Narrative: Jonathan S. Tobin, Commentary, May 8, 2014—In recent years the international community has come to accept the Palestinians’ Nakba narrative in which Israel’s birth is treated as a “disaster” and indisputable proof of the need to pressure Israel.

Palestinian Unity Deal Creates a Stir in Middle East: Nicholas Casey, Wall Street Journal, May 2, 2014—Four weeks ago Munib al Masri, a Palestinian billionaire, set off quietly for the Gaza Strip to meet Ismail Haniyeh, the Islamist leader of Hamas, to propose a deal to end seven years of rivalry with the Palestine Liberation Organization and form a joint government.

The Myth of the Moderate Hamas: Dore Gold, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, Apr. 27, 2014— Every time the profile of Hamas rises as a result of some development in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, there is an effort undertaken to repackage Hamas as a moderate organization.

 

                               

 

                            

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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THE FOG OF FOG

Michelle Malkin
National Review, May 6, 2011

 

The official White House account of Osama bin Laden’s demise has seen more slapdash cosmetic surgery over the past week than your average Real Housewives reality-show star. President Obama’s allies attribute the bungled “narrative” (their word, not mine) to the “Fog of War.” But each passing day—and each new set of hapless revisions—shows that what really ails the administration is the Fog of Fog.

Errors happen. Miscommunications happen. Confusing the name of which of bin Laden’s myriad sons died (Hamza, not Khalid), for example, is no biggie.

But the hourly revamping of key details of Sunday’s raid suggests something far beyond the usual realm of situational uncertainty that accompanies any military operation. The Navy SEALs did their job spectacularly. The civilians tasked with letting the world know about the mission, however, have performed like amateur dinner-theater actors in a tragi-comic production of Rashomon Meets the Blind Men and the Elephant Meets the Keystone Kops.

Incapable of straightforward answers, Team Obama’s clarity-challenged civilians have led nauseated news-watchers through more twists and turns than San Francisco’s Lombard Street.

Take your Dramamine, and let’s review.

Take One: Bin Laden died in a bloody firefight.

On Sunday night, Obama dramatically told the world that “after a firefight,” our brave men in uniform “killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.”

Embellishing the story the next morning, White House deputy national-security adviser John Brennan said at his briefing that bin Laden “was engaged in a firefight with those that entered the area of the house he was in…and whether or not he got off any rounds, I quite frankly don’t know.… It was a firefight. He, therefore, was killed in that firefight.”

Take Two: Bin Laden did not engage in a firefight.

The day after Brennan disclosed these vivid details, White House press secretary Jay Carney walked them back Michael Jackson–style. Bin Laden, he said in version 2.0, “was not armed.” Brennan had clearly implied that bin Laden “resisted” with arms. Carney amended the narrative by insisting that “resistance does not require a firearm.” How exactly bin Laden resisted, Carney would not say.

It’s been all downhill, uphill, K-turns, and 180s ever since. Fasten your seatbelts:

Take Three: Bin Laden’s wife died after her feckless husband used her as a human shield.

Take Four: Bin Laden’s wife did not die, wasn’t used as a human shield, and was only shot in the leg. Someone else’s wife was killed, somewhere else in the house.

Take Five: A transport helicopter experienced “mechanical failure” and was forced to make a hard landing during the mission.

Take Six: A top-secret helicopter clipped the bin Laden compound wall, crashed, and was purposely exploded after the mission to prevent our enemies from learning more about it.

Take Seven: The bin Laden photos would be released to the world as proof-positive of his death.

Take Eight: The bin Laden photos would not be released to the world because no one needs proof, and it’s more important to avoid offending the peaceful Muslims who supposedly don’t embrace bin Laden as a true Muslim in the first place.

Take Nine: Bin Laden’s compound was a lavish mansion.

Take Ten: Bin Laden’s compound was a glorified pigsty.

Take Eleven: Bin Laden’s compound had absolutely no television, phone, or computer access.

Take Twelve: Bin Laden’s compound was stocked with hard drives, thumb drives, DVDs, and computers galore.

Take Thirteen: Er, remember that statement about bin Laden’s being armed? And then not armed? Well, the new version is that he had an AK-47 “nearby.”

Take Fourteen: A gung-ho Obama spearheaded the “gutsy” mission.

Take Fifteen: A reluctant Obama dithered for 16 hours before being persuaded by CIA director Leon Panetta.

Take Sixteen: Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and close advisers watched the raid unfold in real time—“minute by minute,” according to Carney—and a gripping insider photo was posted immediately by the White House on the Flickr picture-sharing website for all to see.

Take Seventeen: Er, they weren’t really watching real-time video “minute by minute,” because there was at least nearly a half-hour during which they “didn’t know just exactly what was going on,” Panetta clarified. Or rather, un-clarified.

Take Eighteen: Stalwart Obama’s order was to kill, not capture, bin Laden.

Take Nineteen: Sensitive Obama’s order was to kill or capture—and that’s why the SEAL team gave him a chance to surrender, upon which he resisted with arms, or actually didn’t resist with arms, but sort of resisted without arms, except there was an AK-47 nearby, sort of, or maybe not, thus making it possible to assert that while decisive Obama did tell the SEALs to kill bin Laden and should claim all credit for doing so, Progressive Obama can also be absolved by bleeding hearts because of the painstakingly concocted post facto possibility that bin Laden somehow threatened our military—telepathically, or something—before being taken out.

Take Twenty: “We’ve been as forthcoming with facts as we can be,” said an irritated Carney on Wednesday.

And they wonder why Americans of all political stripes think they’re blowing smoke.

 

CRACKS IN PALESTINIAN ARAB “UNITY”:
ABBAS AND MESHAL NEVER SIGNED THE AGREEMENT!
Eldad Tzion
NewsReal Blog, May 5, 2011

 

On Wednesday, Khaled Meshal of Hamas and Mahmoud Abbas of Fatah came together in Cairo and publicly signed a historic reconciliation agreement, in front of a room filed with supporters from the Arab world and the international community.

Didn’t they?

Actually, they didn’t.

Al Quds al-Arabimentions, almost in passing: “Notably, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas did not sign the agreement, as expected, and neither did Mr. Khaled Meshaal of the Islamic Resistance Movement ‘Hamas.’”

The New York Times noticed this as well: “In what appeared a sign of lingering friction, Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal did not share the podium with Abbas and the ceremony was delayed briefly over where he would sit. Against expectations, neither signed the unity document.”

That wasn’t the only weird thing that happened at the ceremony that was meant to signify a new chapter in harmonious intra-Palestinian Arab relations. There were actual public disagreements on stage, concerning who was to speak, where people were to sit, and how Mahmoud Abbas should be described (as the “president of Palestine” or as the leader of Fatah.) In fact, from all appearances, Hamas is not recognizing Abbas as the real president of the “unified” leadership!

Put all of this together and the real picture begins to emerge: the entire “unity” agreement is a facade meant to placate Westerners.… In reality, Hamas and Fatah hate each other as much as ever.…

Why is the Western world believing–and supporting!–this sham that is meant to ultimately create a terror state, one that will not compromise in the least on its major goal of destroying Israel?

 

THE LAWS OF WAR AND ISRAEL
Evelyn Gordon

Contentions, May 6, 2011

 

The international response to the Fatah-Hamas unity deal provides yet another example of a troubling development. Alone among the nations, Israel is increasingly denied the protections of the laws of war.

Thus, for instance, the West denounces Israel’s targeted killings of Hamas leaders even as it correctly deems America’s targeted killing of Al-Qaida’s leader perfectly legitimate (a double standard skewered by Alan Dershowitz this week).

Now the same double standard is being applied to Israel’s suspension of fund transfers to the Palestinian Authority. The U.S. and Europe have both demanded that Israel resume the transfers. Even the usually sensible Tony Blair, the Quartet’s Middle East envoy, echoed this demand. “The money is Palestinian money so it must be transferred,” Blair told Haaretz. “That is a Quartet position. Hillary Clinton made the same point.”

The money is indeed Palestinian: customs duties that, under a 1994 agreement, Israel collects on the PA’s behalf at its ports to spare importers the hassle of dealing with two separate customs offices. But under the laws of war, this fact is totally irrelevant.

The laws of war permit a country at war to freeze enemy assets in its territory lest they be used to finance the enemy’s campaign. And all countries do so. For instance, the U.S. and other NATO countries now bombing Libya have all frozen Libyan government assets.

No reasonable person would deny that Israel is at war with Hamas. Missiles are routinely fired at Israel from Hamas-controlled Gaza, and the Islamist organization still refuses to recognize Israel’s existence. Contrary to Washington’s wishful thinking, the Hamas-Fatah accord hasn’t softened this position, as senior Hamas official Mahmoud Zahar made clear on the very day it was signed. According to the Jerusalem Post, he told Al Jazeera that his organization “will never recognize Israel,” as Palestinians reject “the rule of Poles and Ethiopians in their land.”

Nor can Hamas be part of a new PA government without benefiting from PA funds. No matter what mechanisms are created to prevent direct transfers from the PA to Hamas, money is fungible. The very fact that the PA will now finance governmental outlays in Gaza for which Hamas previously had to foot the bill frees up funds for Hamas’s war on Israel.

Thus the moment the deal was signed to bring Hamas into the PA government, Israel was entirely justified under the laws of war in freezing fund transfers to the PA. Indeed, none of the Western countries now sanctimoniously protesting the freeze would hesitate a moment to freeze the assets of any government that included a terrorist organization committed to their own destruction.

As far as the West is concerned, though, the laws of war don’t apply to Israel. Unlike other nations, it has no right to take reasonable, legal steps in its own defense. The West may preach equality before the law, but it [is an Orwellian] definition of equality: Some countries are clearly more equal than others.

 

BIN LADEN, ISRAEL, AND OBAMA
Martin Peretz

New Republic, May 5, 2011

 

It was already deep into Yom Hashoah, the day that Israel had designated some 60 years ago as the time to memorialize the Jewish catastrophe perpetrated by the Nazis, when news leaked out and then was corroborated by President Obama that Osama bin Laden had been killed in a secured mansion hide-out in Pakistan, actually not far from the country’s capital. Apparently, the mansion was not secured nearly enough: The intelligence and defense forces of the United States had located it eight months before, and it was over that period that the United States—yes, the U.S. alone—had mobilized and meticulously carried out the operation that brought this long sought after mass murderer to justice. We should also not misrepresent and deceive ourselves about the manner in which the ultimate penalty was achieved. This was a “targeted killing,” all at once reasonable, righteous, required.…

Bin Laden’s prime targets were other than the Jews or, for that matter, the State of Israel. He had larger objectives: America itself, the world’s democracies, science, even Christianity, schismatic Muslims, many as jihadist as he. But Jewry and the Jewish nation have a special place in the poisoned hearts of his Muslim followers and in the hearts of many who aren’t quite his followers. So the redemption of Zion is a fact that nags at those who live angrily with their own cultural self-humiliation, rebukes them, haunts them. How could it be, they may ask themselves, that nearly 80 percent of the 7.5 million Jews in occupied Europe (and others elsewhere) were murdered and yet the promise of Jerusalem in the broadest sense has been fulfilled?

Nazism was the first ideology in modernity to aim at killing an entire civilization, Jewish civilization. The Turks, after all, were content to murder the Armenians on their own turf. Not so the Germans. Make no mistake about it. Almost no one wished to recognize that somber fact. The shabby excuses for why the Roosevelt administration refused to bomb the rail lines to Auschwitz (it would make it seem too much like a war for the Jews which, Lord knows, it wasn’t) make this clear.…

For nearly a decade the Reich disguised its ultimate intentions for the Jews. Dr. Ahmadinejad has no such tricks in his hat. He is as plain as day, and is an applauded figure at Columbia University, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the [UN] General Assembly. Something has changed. In fact, there are two features of the world that were not present when the terrible homicide of the Jews occurred. The first is that there is a Jewish state.

This Jewish state literally rescued and paid ransom for at least two million Jews who would otherwise have disappeared. From the Soviet Union, from Poland, from Rumania, from Ethiopia, from Argentina, from other little pockets here, there, everywhere. Of course, another million, maybe more from the Arab countries earlier on in Israel’s history. There is a place for Jews to go, a place that is their own, their home. But this place is also a temptation to the new genocidalists who happen also to be candid genocidalists. One percent of the Jewish population of Palestine was killed in the War of Independence. Those are added to the Jewish nakba of less than half a decade earlier, except that this time the Jews (just like the Arabs) had guns.

Now more than guns. And no, not just nuclear weapons of their own. But, more important, an ingrown scientific temperament and its extraordinary consequences which produced a technological universe of defense and assault.…

The new parameters of war—to take care not to attack innocents, which was hardly a consideration by either the Axis or Allied countries during the Second World War—are quite scrupulously adhered to by Western military establishments, especially including Israel. But, while “underdog” fighters often employ quite sophisticated technologies, they have no compunctions about killing at random. Often without specific targets, like Hamas against Israel. Or, as has been apparent these last three months in sequential bloodlettings in the Arab world, the very states of Libya, Syria, Bahrain, Yemen. To say nothing of a motley assortment of butchers in Pakistan and Afghanistan, some official, mostly not.

Osama bin Laden brought this butchery to America, and he spooked the American people for nearly a decade. His ghostly and ghastly presence in the shadows of time and geography had transformed him into an ubermensch, at least to those millions (and more millions) who saw the mass murderer as a message and messenger of the Prophet.… Still, in some places, many places, the violent seer remains the incarnation of hate-filled hope, not just by some wretched of the earth but also those pampered Arabs who contributed to his till.

In his dignified address to the nation and the world, the president cut him down to size. But he was no pollyanna. Osama is dead. His movement, not entirely one movement, in any event, still lives and may be reinvigorated by the resentments of his followers and hangers-on. Nonetheless…we are all more liberated now, and this lift from fear was also experienced in Israel as Holocaust memorial ceremonies drew to a close and the news sunk in that bin Laden was no more.

Yet there were a few elements in Obama’s address that trouble me. It’s not exactly that he iterated and reiterated, as he has been doing since the start of his presidency, that “the United States is not and never will be at war with Islam…our war is not with Islam.” No one wants a war with the Muslim religion or with the Muslim world. No one and certainly no American.…[Yet], Obama reverts to his trope so often that it seems, at least to me, that he is trying to convince himself that there is no space between Islam and the USA.…

Obama is certainly among those few who almost tactilely experience the politics of the Muslim faith in Pakistan. Yes, there are also tribal differences. But Islam is a great motivator. After all, it’s what motivated the Pakistani nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan to provide Iran and Libya (plus North Korea) with atomic materials and intelligence. Alas, Pakistan is also less an ally against Muslim terrorism than its protector. Steven Lee Myers and Jane Perlez have written a story in [the] New York Times about the deceptions practiced by the country’s intelligence elites against American efforts to close down terrorism in the country. After bin Laden was killed, “the Pakistani government issued a defiant statement calling the raid that killed the Al Qaeda leader ‘an unauthorized unilateral action.’” That’s an ally for you. No one has ever really come clean about Pakistan.

The Washington Posthas an astute column by Richard Cohen which states precisely the president’s predicament with one of his Muslim allies. (The other Muslim allies pose similar predicaments, poor man: Turkey, for instance.) He seized the spotlight, as he did the moment, offering us a crescendo of the word ‘I’—‘I directed’ and ‘I was briefed’ and ‘I met repeatedly’ and ‘I determined.’ But what he did not mention was that he decided to go it alone. Our nominal allies in the fight for Afghanistan, the unreliable and unpredictable Pakistanis, were kept in the dark. Their sovereignty was violated, they lost face, and the United States, as a consequence, lost some cover. It cannot be said that Osama was killed by another Muslim. A martyr has been made.

For too long now the Obama administration has shown a touching but sometimes counterproductive sensitivity for the sensitivities of the Muslim world. It has proceeded as if it was more important to be liked than to be feared and as if some differences were not fundamental but always a product of misunderstanding.… This is not the case. The U.S. can do little to mollify Islamists and others who seek the obliteration of Israel and the return of holy Jerusalem to the Muslim fold. It can do little with bigots who loathe America’s culture of tolerance.…

It was as if Obama thought he could charm these guys, reason with them—that their antipathy toward him was based on some sort of misunderstanding and not, as it was and remains, their ideology. Obama attempted something similar with Iran. He wanted accommodation, less belligerence. They know very well who we are, and we should know who they are. The same holds for Syria.… By the way, does Obama still want Israel to relinquish the Golan Heights to Assad which, of course, might strengthen him? Or to wait until the Muslim Brotherhood comes to power when Assad falls?

And now Obama faces “Palestine.” It is a new Palestine, to be run (if a phantom can truly be run) by a reunion of Fatah (or the Palestinian Authority) and Hamas, a certified terror organization which was sired by the Muslim Brothers of Egypt. Bin Laden’s is not a popular death. After all, he had brought cheer from Jenin to Gaza after September 11, as he had in every Arab state and the tiniest and wealthiest principality. No sooner had Mahmoud Abbas and Ismail Haniyah announced their organizational nuptials—an occasion on which Obama has not yet commented—than the Gazan “prime minister” denounced the assassination of a “holy warrior.” Why should he not have? They were both practitioners of random and mass death terrorism.

Bin Laden’s killing is arguably the most daring and difficult undertaking executed by the administration. Should it now accede to one of his acolytes sharing power and extending the dominion of stealth and death? If it does we will look back on this achievement as a sham.

(Martin Peretz is editor-in-chief emeritus of The New Republic.)

PART II PALESTINIAN “UNITY” DEFINED: WE WANT TERROR!— FATAH & HAMAS REUNITED ONCE MORE

 

 

 

NO PARTNER
Editorial

Jerusalem Post, April 28, 2011

 

“There will be no dialogue with these murderers,” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said back in June 2007, referring to Hamas. “There will be no dialogue with the forces of darkness.” Abbas made these remarks shortly after Hamas, in a bloody coup, had seized control of the Gaza Strip. It was also a few months after an assassination attempt against him, which he said was engineered by Hamas. Now the same Hamas members whom he once correctly referred to as “murderous terrorists” are to become Abbas’s colleagues in a “national unity” government.

Abbas purports to expect Israel to cooperate with his volte face by entering into a negotiating partnership with this new government—a Palestinian leadership featuring a terrorist group whose members promulgate the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and vow, as a core of their religious conviction, to eradicate the Jewish state from what they insist is Muslim land.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has declared that such negotiations will not happen. The PA has to choose between a peace deal with Israel and one with Hamas, Netanyahu said on Wednesday. Israel would not accept Abbas’s hair-splitting distinctions between the PLO (to which Hamas does not belong), that would supposedly be responsible for handling negotiations, and the new unity government.

The New York Times’ Ethan Bronner predicted that Israel could be blamed for Abbas’s turn to Hamas. The reconciliation, wrote Bronner, “was sure to fuel debate on whether Mr. Netanyahu had done enough in his two years in power to forge a deal with the Palestinian Authority led by Mr. Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, widely considered the most moderate leaders the Palestinians have ever had.”

Presumably, according to this reasoning, if the government had only caved in to every Palestinian demand, even those that endanger Israel’s security, Abbas would never have followed that sizable proportion of his own people who already chose, at the ballot box five years ago, to entrust their future to a reactionary form of Islamic rule that blatantly discriminates against non-Muslims and champions suicide bombings.

As anyone not prejudiced against Israel and willing to credit Palestinians with making their own decisions knows, however, the real impetus behind the reconciliation, which enjoys massive grassroots support on the West Bank and in Gaza, is that many, if not most, Palestinians truly identify with many of the goals and aims of Hamas. Similarly, many, if not most Egyptians, Jordanians and Syrians support the goals and aims of the Muslim Brotherhood in their respective countries, none of which, by the way, are under Israeli “occupation.”

Yasser Arafat fostered the foul notion among his people that there was no historical basis and no modern legitimacy for Jewish sovereignty in this land. Abbas chose not to energetically challenge that mindset. The misnamed new “unity”—which Hamas will destroy at its convenience—is the latest consequence.

Abbas failed to present to his people a compelling vision of a Palestinian state without religious extremism and violence; a state that fosters reconciliation—not with Hamas but with Israel. Instead, his PA has continued to incite against Israel in its school curriculum and its official media and to glorify terrorists who kill Israelis. It has clung to “peace” positions that no Israeli government could accommodate, and chose not to seize upon the unprecedented terms that were offered by former prime minister Ehud Olmert.

Now Abbas is…entering a partnership with an organization that…uses its own people as human shields for its rocket attacks on Israel, that attempted to assassinate him, and whose vision of a Palestinian state is another fundamentalist Muslim regime patterned after Iran. (Tellingly, one of the few senior government officials to have come out in favor of the unity deal is Iranian Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi who called it a “blessed, positive move”).…

Rapprochement with Hamas should be counterproductive to the PA’s campaign to secure UN recognition in September for an independent state.… No morally minded country should recognize a Palestinian state led by a government whose members reject the Mideast Quartet’s principles of renouncing violence, accepting past agreements, and recognizing Israel’s right to exist. “Should,” however, is the operative word here.…

Eight months ago in Washington, Netanyahu called Abbas his “partner in peace.” He isn’t any more.

 

TERRORIST UNITY AND THE PUSH FOR STATEHOOD
P. David Hornik
FrontPage, April 29, 2011

 

 

On Thursday, a day after Wednesday’s announcement of a Fatah-Hamas rapprochement in Cairo, Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas said he would keep pursuing peace talks with Israel. Almost concurrently, top Hamas official Mahmoud al-Zahar said Hamas would stick to its stance of neither recognizing nor negotiating with Israel, but “if Fatah wants to negotiate with Israel over trivialities, they can.”

Notable here is that Abbas cannot “keep pursuing” talks with Israel because he has almost totally abandoned such talks since 2009. [Accordingly], his statement appears to reflect a strategy of retaining his image as a moderate despite the reconciliation with Hamas—and al-Zahar’s grudging agreement suggests Hamas is willing to play along with the game.

And at whom is the strategy aimed? Not at Israel, which, Abbas knows, would not negotiate in any case with a Palestinian government that includes Hamas.… Probably not at the U.S. either. Senior congressmen have already threatened to cut off aid to the PA if the deal with Hamas holds. The Obama administration—which has already come out against the PA’s push for a unilateral recognition of statehood at the UN in September—also reacted coolly. But if, as observers generally agree, the Fatah-Hamas deal aims to allow Abbas to present himself as the leader of a united “Palestine”—both the West Bank and Gaza—at the UN in September, thereby strengthening his pitch for statehood, and if the deal can’t reasonably be seen as an attempt to raise his stock with the U.S., then a likely target is Europe.

Abbas knows that merely getting the standard General Assembly bloc of Muslim and underdeveloped countries to recognize “Palestine” would have little impact. Europe—and especially the key countries Britain, France, and Germany—hasn’t yet taken a clear stance on the statehood push. Abbas knows he can’t have “peace”—that is, can’t get along—with both Hamas and Israel, or Hamas and the U.S. for that matter. But Abbas would like to get along with both Hamas and Europe. That is, he would like to have “unity” with Hamas and a ringing European endorsement of his state, too. Being able to claim he represents all of “Palestine”—while still professing readiness for nonexistent “peace talks” with Israel—could be a way of getting Europe on his side.

As for the UN itself, its Middle East envoy Robert Serry already blessed the Fatah-Hamas announcement on Thursday. And as for the EU, it stated on Thursday that, while it still needs to “study the details” of the deal, “We have consistently called for reconciliation and peace under the authority of Abbas as a way to end the division between the West Bank and Gaza.” In other words, while preferring that Fatah have the upper hand, the EU hardly rules out Hamas—even though it officially defines it as a terror organization.

Much depends—with many skeptical—on whether a Fatah-Hamas unity government will indeed be formed and, if so, will last till September. That would require less than five months; the previous, 2007 Fatah-Hamas unity government lasted only three months before dissolving into bloody strife in Gaza. But these are different times, and some believe Hamas was driven to the deal by alarm over the possible fall of its patron in Damascus.

Much will also depend—presumably—on what such a government would do between now and September. One point of the agreement reached Wednesday, for instance, is a mutual prisoner release. Hamas is supposed to release Fatah prisoners held in Gaza; Fatah, Hamas prisoners held in the West Bank. That would mean hundreds of Hamas terrorists roaming freely in the West Bank, where hundreds of thousands of Israelis live. No doubt the U.S. would react negatively, since those Hamas terrorists were imprisoned in the first place by U.S.-trained Fatah forces under the strategy of helping supposedly moderate Fatah suppress and defeat Hamas. But would Europe see such a move as part of “reconciliation and peace”?

On Thursday Israeli president Shimon Peres said: “The world cannot support the establishment of a state part of whose government is a terrorist organization in every respect.” But it remains to be seen. Seemingly, Fatah’s political melding with openly genocidal Hamas should remove its—and the Palestinians’ generally—last fig leaf of purported moderation. But if it’s Jews vs. (declared) genocidists, it’s again not clear which side Europe, and others, come down on.

 

A BAD DEAL
Dore Gold

Foreign Policy, April 28, 2011

 

On Wednesday, representatives of Fatah and Hamas, the two main Palestinian factions, announced in Cairo that they had suddenly reached a reconciliation agreement. The emerging deal, which calls for the establishment of a Palestinian unity government to pave the way for elections within a year, has a lot to do with the Palestinians’ drive to gain the U.N. General Assembly’s backing this September for the establishment of an independent state.

But the world should not cheer this bargain. Although the agreement may solve some of the short-term problems of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s statehood drive, it will create larger problems that promise to doom the plan to irrelevancy.…

Abbas’s reconciliation with Hamas contains more risks than it does advantages. Hamas is designated as an international terrorist organization not only by Israel, but also by Canada, the European Union, and the United States. Moreover, it serves as a proxy force for Iran, which provides Hamas with funding, training, and weapons. So even though the Palestinians can always depend on the Non-Aligned Movement bloc for 120 or 130 General Assembly votes, these facts will imperil the Palestinians’ ability to gain the backing of major Western powers, including the EU countries.

Since coming to power in the 2006 Palestinian legislative elections, Hamas has steadfastly refused to accept the conditionsof the Quartet—the Middle East contact group that includes the United States, the U.N., the EU, and Russia—for becoming part of the diplomatic process.… Mahmoud al-Zahar, the senior Hamas leader who participated in the Hamas-Fatah talks, clarified after the agreement was reached: “Our program does not include negotiations with Israel or recognizing it.” As recently as April 17, Hamas’s military wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, reminded its supporters on its website: “We are going on the path of jihad.” Hamas’s intractability will no doubt jeopardize European diplomatic support for the Palestinian statehood drive, as well as financial assistance for any Palestinian government in which Hamas plays a role.

These concerns come on top of other serious European reservations. For example, the 1995 Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement, also known as Oslo II, clearly established: “Neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the Permanent Status negotiations.” The EU signed Oslo II as a witness. If the EU supports the Palestinian initiative at the U.N., it will be violating a core commitment of the peace process, which is that the territories’ fate should be determined only by direct negotiations between the parties.

The problems with including Hamas don’t stop there. Abbas’s hope is that a General Assembly resolution will reference the pre-1967 boundaries, which have assumed almost holy status among Palestinians. (Never mind that these were only armistice lines from the 1948 war, and were not regarded as final political borders.) In Jerusalem, the pre-1967 line will put the entire Old City, with its holy sites, like the Western Wall, under Palestinian control. Israelis will not agree to such a division of their capital in any case, but will European governments risk putting the Church of the Holy Sepulchre under a regime even partly controlled by Hamas? They know that many members of Gaza’s small Christian community have been seeking refuge abroad in order to flee Hamas rule.…

Abbas needs to choose his priority: working with Hamas, or working with Israel. Faced with the departure of his old regional ally, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, and the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas’s parent organization, Abbas appears to be recalculating his interests.… The pathway to peace is open. But by reaching out to Hamas, Abbas has plainly moved even further away from it.

 

NETANYAHU’S TIME TO CHOOSE
Caroline B. Glick
Jerusalem Post, January 29, 2011

 

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s response to the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority’s peace deal with Hamas would be funny if it weren’t tragic. Immediately after the news broke of the deal Netanyahu announced, “The PA must choose either peace with Israel or peace with Hamas. There is no possibility for peace with both.”

Netanyahu’s statement is funny because it is completely absurd. The PA has chosen.

The PA made the choice in 2000 when it rejected Israel’s offer of peace and Palestinian statehood and joined forces with Hamas to wage a terror war against Israel. The PA made the choice in 2005 again when it responded to Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza with a tenfold increase in the number of rockets and missiles it fired on Israeli civilian targets in the Negev. The Palestinians made the choice in 2006, when they elected Hamas to rule over them. They made the choice in March 2007 when Fatah and Hamas signed their first unity deal. The PA made the choice in 2008 when Abbas rejected then-prime minister Ehud Olmert’s offer of statehood and peace. The PA made the choice in 2010 when it refused to reinstate peace negotiations with Netanyahu; began peace negotiations with Hamas; and escalated its plan to establish an independent state without peace with Israel.

Now the PA has again made the choice by signing the newest peace deal with Hamas.

In a real sense, Netanyahu’s call for the PA to choose is the political equivalent of a man telling his wife she must choose between him and her lover, after she has left home, shacked up and had five children with her new man. It is a pathetic joke.

But worse than a pathetic joke, it is a national tragedy. It is a tragedy that after more than a decade of the PA choosing war with Israel and peace with Hamas, Israel’s leaders are still incapable of accepting reality and walking away. It is a tragedy that Israel’s leaders cannot find the courage to say the joke of the peace process is really a deadly serious war process whose end is Israel’s destruction, and that Israel is done with playing along.

There are many reasons that Netanyahu is incapable of stating the truth and ending the 18-year policy nightmare in which Israel is an active partner in its own demise. One of the main reasons is that like his predecessors, Netanyahu has come to believe the myth that Israel’s international standing is totally dependent on its being perceived as trying to make peace with the Palestinians.… Irrespective of the nakedness of Palestinian bad faith, seven successive governments have adopted the view that the only thing that stands between Israel and international pariah status is its leaders’ ability to persuade the so-called international community that Israel is serious about appeasing the Palestinians.

For the past several months, this profoundly neurotic perception of Israel’s options has fed our leaders’ hysterical response to the Palestinians’ plan to unilaterally declare independence.

The Palestinian plan itself discredits the idea that they are interested in anything other than destroying Israel. The plan is to get the UN to recognize a Palestinian state in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and Gaza outside the framework of a peace treaty with Israel. The PA will first attempt to get the Security Council to endorse an independent “Palestine.” If the Obama administration vetoes the move, then the PA will ask the General Assembly to take action. Given the makeup of the General Assembly, it is all but certain that the Palestinians will get their resolution.

The question is, does this matter? Everyone from Defense Minister Ehud Barak to hard-left, post-Zionist retreads like Shulamit Aloni and Avrum Burg says it does. They tell us that if this passes, Israel will face international opprobrium if its citizens or military personnel so much as breathe in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem without Palestinian permission.

These prophets of doom warn that Israel has but one hope for saving itself from diplomatic death: Netanyahu must stand before the world and pledge to give Israel’s heartland and capital to the Palestinians.

And according to helpful Obama administration officials, everything revolves around Netanyahu’s ability to convince the EU-3—British Prime Minister David Cameron, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel—that he is serious about appeasing the Palestinians. If he doesn’t offer up Israel’s crown jewels in his speech before the US Congress next month, administration officials warn that the EU powers will go with the Palestinians.

And if they go with the Palestinians, well, things could get ugly for Israel.

Happily, these warnings are completely ridiculous. UN General Assembly resolutions have no legal weight. Even if every General Assembly member except Israel votes in favor of a resolution recognizing “Palestine,” all the Palestinians will have achieved is another non-binding resolution, with no force of law, asserting the same thing that thousands of UN resolutions already assert. Namely, it will claim falsely that Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and Gaza are Palestinian territory to which Israel has no right. Israel will be free to ignore this resolution, just as it has been free to ignore its predecessors.

The threat of international isolation is also wildly exaggerated. Today, Israel is more diplomatically isolated than it has been at any time in its 63-year history. With the Obama administration treating the construction of homes for Jews in Jerusalem as a greater affront to the cause of world peace than the wholesale massacre of hundreds of Iranian and Syrian protesters by regime goons, Israel has never faced a more hostile international climate. And yet, despite its frosty reception from the White House to Whitehall, life in Israel has never been better.

According to the latest data released by the Central Bureau of Statistics, Israel’s economy grew 7.8 percent in the last quarter of 2010. International trade is rising steeply. In the first quarter of 2011, exports rose 27.3%. They grew 19.9% in the final quarter of last year. Imports rose 34.7% between January and March, and 38.9% in the last quarter of 2010. The Israel-bashing EU remains Israel’s largest trading partner. And even as Turkey embraced Hamas and Iran as allies, its trade with Israel reached an all time high last year. These trade data expose a truth that the doom and gloomers are unwilling to notice: For the vast majority of Israelis the threat of international isolation is empty.

The same people telling us to commit suicide now lest we face the firing squad in September would also have us believe that the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement is the single greatest threat to the economy. But that lie was put paid this month with the demise of the Australian town of Marrickville’s BDS-inspired boycott.

Last December, the anti-Israel coalition running the town council voted to institute a trade, sports and academic boycott against Israel. Two weeks ago the council was forced to cancel its decision after it learned that it would cost $3.4 million to institute it. Cheaper Israeli products and services would have to be replaced with more expensive non-Israeli ones.

Both Israel’s booming foreign trade and the swift demise of the Marrickville boycott movement demonstrate that the specter of international isolation in the event that Israel extricates itself from the Palestinian peace process charade is nothing more than a bluff. The notion that Israel will be worse off it Netanyahu admits that Abbas has again chosen war against the Jews over peace with us has no credibility.

So what is preventing Netanyahu and his colleagues in the government from acknowledging this happy truth? Two factors are at play here. The first is our inability to understand power politics. Our leaders believe that the likes of Sarkozy, Cameron and Merkel are serious when they tell us that Israel needs to prove it is serious about peace in order to enable them to vote against a Palestinian statehood resolution at the UN. But they are not serious. Nothing that Israel does will have any impact on their votes.

When the Europeans forge their policies towards Israel they are moved by one thing only: the US.

Since 1967, the Europeans have consistently been more pro-Palestinian than the US. Now, with the Obama administration demonstrating unprecedented hostility towards Israel, there is no way that the Europeans will suddenly shift to Israel’s side. So when European leaders tell Israelis that we need to convince them we are serious about peace, they aren’t being serious. They are looking for an excuse to be even more hostile. If Israel offers the store to Abbas, then the likes of Cameron, Merkel and Sarkozy will not only recognize “Palestine” at the UN, (because after all, they cannot be expected to be more pro-Israel than the Israeli government that just surrendered), they will recognize Hamas. Because that’s the next step.

It would seem that Israel’s leaders should have gotten wise to this game years ago. And the fact that they haven’t can be blamed on the second factor keeping their sanity in check: the Israeli Left. The only group of Israelis directly impacted by the BDS movement is the Israeli Left. Its members—from university lecturers to anti-Zionist has-been politicians, artists, actors and hack writers—are the only members of Israeli society who have a personal stake in a decision by their leftist counterparts in the US or Europe or Australia or any other pretty vacation/sabbatical spots to boycott Israelis.

And because the movement threatens them, they have taken it upon themselves to scare the rest of us into taking this ridiculous charade seriously. So it was that last week a group of washed-up radicals gathered in Tel Aviv outside the hall where David Ben-Gurion proclaimed Israeli independence, and declared the independence of “Palestine.” They knew their followers in the media would make a big deal of their agitprop and use it as another means of demoralizing the public into believing we can do nothing but embrace our enemies’ cause against our country.

The time has come for the vast majority of Israelis who aren’t interested in the Nobel Prize for Literature or a sabbatical at Berkeley or the University of Trondheim to call a spade a spade. The BDS haters have no leverage. A degree from Bar-Ilan is more valuable than a degree from Oxford. And no matter how much these people hate Israel, they will continue to buy our technologies and contract our researchers, because Cambridge is no longer capable of producing the same quality of scholarship as the Technion.

And it is well past time for our leaders to stop playing this fool’s game. We don’t need anyone’s favors. Abbas has made his choice.

Now it is time for Netanyahu to choose.

PALESTINIAN “UNITY” DEFINED: WE WANT TERROR!— FATAH & HAMAS REUNITED ONCE MORE

 

 

 

FATAH, HAMAS HAMMER OUT RECONCILIATION DEAL
Jpost.Com Staff & Reuters
Jerusalem Post, April 27, 2011

 

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah movement and its rival Hamas said on Wednesday they had resolved their deep divisions, opening the way for a unity government and national elections. The deal, which took many officials by surprise, was thrashed out in Egypt and followed a series of secret meetings.… The accord was first reported by Egypt’s intelligence service, which brokered the talks.…

Spokespeople for both Hamas and Fatah confirmed that “all differences” have been worked out between the long-feuding Palestinian political movements.…

 

SPRINGTIME FOR HAMAS & FATAH: WINTER FOR ISRAEL & U.S.
Susan L. M. Goldberg
NewsRealBlog, April 28, 2011

 

It’s the Arab Spring and love is in the air. After a torrid on-and-off affair, rival terrorist political factions Hamas and Fatah are on again. According to mutual best-friend Egypt, things are red-hot.

On Wednesday, Hamas and Fatah engaged in forming an interim government while promising to decide on a date for general elections. According to Egyptian intelligence, “The consultations resulted in full understandings over all points of discussions,” including the color for the bridal party: blood red.

A traditional reception will follow the political nuptials, the highlight of which will be the “beginning anew of the Palestinian struggle,” hosted by Deputy Hamas politburo chief Abu Marzouk.

While details of the guest list have yet to be announced, Fatah Central Committee Member Azzam Ahmad declared that “non-partisan elements that will represent the Palestinian people” will be encouraged to attend. However, analysts speculate that one name will be notably absent from the list: Gilad Shalit, the Israeli Army soldier currently being held captive by Hamas for 1,767 days and counting.

Not surprisingly, the recently liberated Egyptian government played a strategic role in reuniting the former [allies]. Bored with their decades-old union with the Jewish state, the newer, fresher Egypt is seeking to re-brand its image; according to 54% of Egyptians, this means de-friending Israel.

Scoring mutual “Likes” in the process, the interim Egyptian military government and Hamas dictatorship used the opportunity to do a little bonding of their own; relationship-building that was initiated with the release of “scores” of Palestinian prisoners from Egyptian jails over the past few weeks. It is expected that Egypt will play best man to Hamas in the upcoming union. Planned pre-wedding activities include the re-opening of the Rafah border crossing between Sinai and the Gaza Strip, [as well as] a rumoured bachelor party promise: The establishment of Hamas’s “unofficial embassy” in Cairo.…

Speaking on behalf of Israel (the scorned woman in the scenario) Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu issued a desperate plea for mediation, lest her already shaky union with Fatah truly comes to an end. “It’s either us, or Hamas; you can’t have us both!” the prime minister declared.…

[However], prospects for reconciliation between [Israel and Fatah] look dim. For example, Fatah has already declared a desire to dump the couple’s mediator: “An aide to Mr. Abbas stated recently he would sacrifice U.S. financial assistance if this was the price of unity.…” Israel, it would seem, is fooling herself if she thinks her mediator will step in to save the day.

According to…[journalist] Zvi Bar’el, “Even the United States will not be able to object to a united Palestinian government, in which Hamas is a partner. After all, it had agreed to accept and even support, economically and militarily, a Lebanese government in which Hezbollah was partner. Nor will the United States and Europe be able to object to general elections in the territories, or deny their results, when the West is demanding Arab leaders implement democratic reforms.” In short, “Israel could find itself isolated yet again if it objects to the reconciliation or the election.”

Could a Hamas-Fatah union reveal the true nature of [both movements] for the world to see? If so, would that make a difference to the 100 nations now on [their] side? Or will the international community continue to turn a blind eye to what has become the obvious truth in the melodrama: The violent, [newly-minted] partner[s] want [their] victim dead, for good.…

[O]nly one adage can offer any reassurance: “Hell has no fury like a woman scorned.”

 

FATAH-HAMAS AGREEMENT:
ANOTHER NAIL IN THE “PEACE PROCESS’S” COFFIN
Barry Rubin

Pajamas Media, April 27, 2011

 

Suddenly, after years of persistent failure, Fatah and Hamas—which means the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Hamas—have signed a detailed reconciliation agreement. Why now?

It’s preparation for the [upcoming] UN [General Assembly, where the PA will undoubtedly] claim that it is sole, legitimate representative of the Palestinians. [This will greatly increase the probability that the UN will vote in September] to unilaterally create a Palestinian State.…

[And] why is Hamas going along with this? Because the deal gives it a lot, including the promise of elections in a year. Hamas won the last elections and presumably is confident—especially as it looks at electoral successes for Hezbollah in Lebanon and probably soon for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt—that it will win again.

But there’s also another reason. Hamas is probably quite happy with the idea that many countries—and perhaps the UN—will recognize an independent Palestinian state unconditionally. In other words, there will be a widely, or internationally, accepted Palestine without the need to make peace with Israel. No concessions need be made. The Palestinians will get everything and give up nothing. They will not be bound in any way by border changes or security guarantees. The struggle to wipe Israel off the map can continue.

It’s Hamas’s dream come true.

Anyone who thinks this helps the peace process is deluded. Hamas will never accept any peace agreement with Israel and will radicalize Fatah’s negotiating position out of competition between the two rivals to prove their militancy. The race to commit the most bloody terrorist acts w[ill] intensify.

Make no mistake. Whether or not this development has any direct effect on the ground, it’s another step toward the death of any real Israel-Palestinian peace process.

(Barry Rubin will be speaking at the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research’s upcoming Gala, scheduled for June 15, 2011.)

 

PALESTINIANS LAUNCH THEIR REVOLUTION
Jackson Diehl
Washington Post, April 27, 2011

 

It’s not yet certain that a political deal announced Wednesday by the long-divided Palestinian Fatah and Hamas factions will stick—similar pacts have been proclaimed and then discarded several times in the last four years.

But one thing is sure: If Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas moves forward with the reconciliation with the Islamic Hamas movement, it will mean he has written off the Obama administration and the peace process it has tried to broker, once and for all.

Negotiations between Abbas and the Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu have been dormant since last fall—as has the administration’s diplomacy (When was the last time George Mitchell was seen in public?) But lately the administration has seemed to be preparing for another push. At a conference in Washington this month Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton promised “a renewed pursuit of a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace by the administration” and said Obama would make a major speech on the subject. Obama himself told Jewish leaders at a White House meeting in March that he believed Abbas was ready to make peace with Israel. But now it seems the Palestinian leader was headed in another direction entirely.…

For Israel and the Obama administration, the reconciliation spells a disaster. According to reports Wednesday, it probably will mean the end of the West Bank administration headed by Salaam Fayyad, a technocrat highly respected by both Americans and Israelis. If so, Congress will almost certainly suspend $400 million in annual U.S. aid. It could mean the reorganization of Fatah’s U.S.-trained security forces, which have worked with Israel to keep the peace in the West Bank for the last several years, and their eventual integration with the cadres of the Iranian-backed Hamas.

The deal will also end any serious prospect of peace talks—since Hamas is most unlikely to accept longstanding Western demands that it accept Israel, renounce violence and abide by past Israeli-Palestinian agreements. In recent weeks Hamas’ fighters have returned to firing mortars and missiles from Gaza at Israeli cities—including one missile that was aimed at a yellow Israeli school bus.

Netanyahu has been working on a new peace initiative that he planned to unveil before the U.S. Congress next month, and that could have involved withdrawals of Israeli troops from parts of the West Bank. [However], the Palestinian [unity] deal will [undoubtedly force Netanyahu to] “slam on the brakes,” an Israeli official told me. “Any effort to move forward [on this front] would be completely stopped.”

Abbas apparently doesn’t mind. For some time he has been working on a different initiative: a plan to seek an endorsement of Palestinian statehood by the UN General Assembly at its meeting in September. The Obama administration has publicly opposed the idea, and Netanyahu has warned that Israel might respond with unilateral steps of its own.

But Abbas seems deeply disillusioned with Obama. He recently trashed the U.S. president in an interview with Newsweek, saying he had mismanaged the issue of Israeli settlements. And the Palestinian leader wrote Netanyahu off as soon as he took office two years ago.…

The Palestinian announcement took the Israelis by surprise; likely the Obama administration was also blindsided.… [Accordingly], the Obama administration will have to scramble to adjust to a radically new situation in yet another Middle Eastern land.

 

ISRAEL’S FOLLY
Daniel Greenfield
Daniel Greenfield Blog, April 26, 2011

 

The State of Israel spent the first 30 years of its modern existence reclaiming its territory, and the next 33 years negotiating the terms on which it would be returned to the neighboring countries which had made war on it, as well as an entirely new terrorist state created in the name of peace and maintained in the name of war.

Thirty-three years after the country’s first “hawkish” conservative PM allowed himself to be browbeaten by Jimmy Carter into turning over territory three times its own present size to an Egypt whose new leaders are now disavowing the accords—its current “hawkish” conservative PM is readying himself to offer a whole new raft of concessions in the hopes of preempting a unilateral solution by [U.S. president] Obama or [Palestinian Authority president] Abbas.

For all the furious New York Times articles, there is little to distinguish Israel’s hawks from its doves once they take up their residence in Beit Aghion on the corner of Lord Balfour’s street. Like their American counterparts, they rapidly trade in the rhetoric about an “Undivided Jerusalem” and “War on Terror” for the burden of realpolitik built on a copy of the Art of Appeasement.

The governing mandate of every Israeli PM since 1992 (and perhaps even earlier) has been to try and make a deal with the Palestinian Arabs work. The folly of this has been amply demonstrated time and time again, filling Israel’s cemeteries and hospitals, destroying its security and international standing, and dividing its people against themselves. And yet all these factors have only spurred on the perception that the deal must be somehow made to work. Somehow.

The doves have tried multilateral negotiations. The hawks tried unilateral concessions. The sum total of their efforts is the creation of two terrorist states, one recognized by the international community…and both at war with Israel inside its own borders.

The first state is run by the KGB trained funder of the Munich Massacre and backed by the international community. The second state is run by the local affiliate of the Muslim Brotherhood, and funded by the Muslim world. These two states, popularly known as the Palestinian Authority and Hamas run Gaza, differ only in their tactics, not their aims.…

Almost two decades of negotiations have led to nothing but eighteen years of terror. A state of affairs ignored by everyone except the people living on the firing line, their family sedans scarred by bullets, their kindergartens equipped with bomb shelters and their children equipped with emergency cell phones to check in after every attack.… Year after year, and leader after leader, the Israeli response has been to push forward in the hopes of finding light at the end of the tunnel. But the tunnel has only gotten darker and narrower. And it is growing obvious to even the dimmest observer that the tunnel of peace is really a dead end. Talk of a “breakthrough” keeps alive the hope that Israel can slim down enough to squeeze through a pinhole that simply doesn’t exist.

Israeli leaders are surrounded by technocrats and diplomats who favor retreating from territory, rather than from bad policies. So the land goes, the people die and the bad policies remain. Though Rabin had remained dubious about the…Oslo Accords, the inevitability of an agreement has been adopted by the entire [Israeli] political establishment. Even the “hawks” spend most of their time moving border lines on a map to find some acceptable formula for a Palestinian state. No one asks anymore whether there should be a Palestinian state. Only how big it should be. And how many Israelis should be evicted from their homes in the name of a lasting peace.

But few Israelis believe in a lasting peace anymore. Instead they expect that some form of negotiated separation will keep their sons at home and away from the firefights in Gaza and the West Bank. Never mind that such a separation is even more of an illusion. Barak’s unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon and Sharon’s unilateral pullout from Gaza put Hezbollah and Hamas into power and brought on the Second Lebanon War and the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit.…

Even fewer in Israel’s political establishment believe that terrorism will ever end. The obligatory Rabin festivals and video clips have taken on the air of a hippie festival, charmingly idealistic and completely unrealistic.… All it takes to make your own terrorist group is a dozen friends and a Dubai bank account. The Palestinian Authority and Hamas are umbrella groups supported by numberless militias, any of whom can form their own terrorist group at any time.…

Israeli leaders search for some magic formula that will either achieve a peace agreement or convince the world that the gangs of suit-decked Palestinian…terrorists are not serious about peace. This futile brand of alchemy, with the goal of turning hate into gold, is futilely perverse.…

The “1967 borders,” [for example], are as legally and demographically random as any other. The “Green Line” is nothing but a convenient talking point. [Even if] all the territory back to the 1967 borders [were transferred to] terrorist hands, their attention would [simply] turn to the territory beyond it. 1967 would give way to 1948. New terrorist attacks would be carried out in the name of claiming even more land for the “refugees”.… And the international community would demand new concessions. And eventually a One State Solution.…

The Israeli flag is the symbol of the House of David, a lad who built a nation by standing up to Goliath. To be worthy of the flag, is to be worthy of the act. Israel survived [the first thirty years of its existence] by standing up to the armies of Islam. Not willingly, but reluctantly, [and only after] all other options had been exhausted. Now, [ however], it faces a political war in which all the diplomatic options will never be exhausted, until its enemies overreach themselves with a full invasion.

And by then, Israel may no longer be capable of defending itself.