Friday, June 29, 2007

Comedy From the Palestinian Authority

Fayad says he won't tolerate incitement

By Associated Press
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salaam Fayad delivered a stern warning Thursday to hundreds of Islamic preachers, including Hamas supporters, saying his government will not tolerate incitement in mosques and plans to collect the weapons of militants.
Read Complete Article
Does he really mean all incitement and all the weapons held by terrorists or is there the usual exception for incitement against Israel and Jews and weapons aimed at Israel and Jews?

The Palestinian Authority has had a decade and a half to do just what Fayad now says it will do but which, in violation of its most fundamental commitment under the Oslo Accords, it has always refused.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

A Year of Captivity

A year has passed since Gilad Shalit, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev were kidnapped by Hamas and Hizbollah terrorists. In violation of human rights conventions, not to mention common decency, besides holding them illegally, the terrorists have not permitted any contact with family or even visits from the International Red Cross.

In large part, earlier prisoner exchanges set the stage was set for these abductions. After initial statements demanding the unconditional release of these men, the situation is no longer clear.

The mistakes of the past should not be repeated. Every release of terrorists merely leads to additional attacks.

With the complete takeover of Gaza by the Hamas terrorists who abducted Gilad Shalit, Israel has leverage it did not have before. There is an unambiguous address to which the following message should be sent:

Unless Gilad Shalit is safely back in Israel within one week, the supply of gas and electricity by Israel to Gaza will be completely shut off.

For humanitarian purposes, Israel will not prevent food and medicines from being transported into Gaza and hospital patients may be transferred to Egypt.

Israel has no obligation to provide services to a terrorist entity pledged to its destruction and illegally holding its citizens hostage in violation of international law.

Ehud GoldwasserEldad RegevGilad Shalit
These photos are on the Keren Maor Foundation web site. Please sign their petition for the release of Ehud, Eldad and Gilad.

Mubarak Claims Egypt Needs More Troops to Stop Smuggling

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, on Israeli television, said the Egyptian forces deployed on the border between Egypt and Gaza aren't capable of stopping the weapons smuggling, blaming Israel for not agreeing to let Egypt deploy even more troops above and beyond the limits in the Israel-Egypt peace treaty.

The boundary between Egypt and Gaza is only nine miles long, with the Egyptian side consisting of a vast expanse of thinly populated desert with little vegetation. Egypt would have little difficulty shutting down the arms smuggling if it had desired, even without the additional military whose deployment Israel has already allowed.

Ultimately, this abdication of responsibility will come back to haunt Egypt in the same way the virus of terrorism Egypt harnessed for many years against Israel eventually spread to afflict Egypt as well. The Muslim Brotherhood, which poses an existential threat to the authoritarian regime of Hosni Mubarak, will only gain strength as a result of the takeover of Gaza by Hamas, its Palestinian Arab counterpart.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

'No' to false trappings of sovereignty

Daoud Kuttab is a regular contributor to The Jerusalem Post. He's considered a moderate. (See another blog entry on the absurdity of the way extremist Arabs are labeled as moderate.) I just can't avoid commenting on parts of his June 25 Jerusalem Post column 'No' to false trappings of sovereignty.

Kuttab: One of the paradoxes of the internal conflict in Palestine is that Palestinians are fighting each other without any regard to the fact that the Israeli occupation continues unabated.

Even if one ignores the reality that, for most practical purposes, the so-called occupation ended early during the Oslo fiasco, with the overwhelming majority of Palestinian Arabs in the disputed territories have been living under their own corrupt government for many years, it's utterly absurd to assert the Israeli occupation continues unabated.

Kuttab: Forty years after the 1967 Israeli occupation of Gaza and the West Bank - including Jerusalem - Palestinians have failed to find the magic formula for their liberation.

They've attempted cross border violence (late 60s), Arab and international diplomacy (70s and 80s), the first intifada ('87), secret talks ('93 Oslo) suicide attacks (90s and second intifada), cross border rockets '06 and '07), regional Arab initiatives (2000, repeated 2007), international initiatives and peace envoys (since '67), but nothing has succeeded in cracking the Israel occupation.

The one thing they haven't tried is an honest effort at ending their love affair with terrorism, giving up their dream of destroying Israel and trying to reach a reasonable accommodation with a democratic country that has made it crystal clear it wants nothing to do with running the lives of Palestinian Arabs and just want to live in peace.

Kuttab: With Gazans unable to go to work in Israel and without any resources for economic viability, the Palestinians of Gaza remained totally dependent on Israel &helips;.

Does Kuttab really think Israel has an obligation to let a hostile population cross into Israel? One of the attributes of sovereignty is the right to determine who enters. Of course, Palestinian Arabs had no difficulty entering Israel until the first intifada, when they decided to reverse all the progress they had made since 1967.

Meanwhile, there's no reason for the Arabs in Gaza, or in Judea and Samaria, to be dependent on Israel. They have hundreds of thousands of brethren in the Middle East with tremendous economic resources who could easily help them.

Kuttab: THE FALSE trappings of a state provided to Palestinians as part of the Oslo peace process and the famous White House handshake in 1993 has hurt more than helped Palestinians.

This is correct, since instead of seizing the opportunity and building a viable society, the Palestinian Authority created a terrorist entity and brought up a generation taught to hate. The Palestinian Arab leadership reversed the adage Make Love, Not War with a vengeance.

Despite Kuttab's arguments otherwise, the Palestinian Arabs have enjoyed de facto sovereignty for years. The result has been the creation of two irredentist, terrorist Palestinian Arab entities, thousands of unnecessary deaths and the setting back for decades of any hopes for a true peace and for normal lives.

It's time for the Palestinian Arabs to say 'no' to the self-directed destruction of their society and 'yes' to finally reaching out to Israel in peace.

It takes two to make peace; Israel can't do it alone.

What Is a Moderate?

I've been amazed over the years by the categorization of groups as moderate or extreme and by the different standards used when categorizing Israeli parties.

Going back a decade and a half, I remember Yitzhak Shamir invariably being called right-wing, when by the standards applied to American politicians he would have been categorized as far-left.

Think about it.

For one thing, he governed what was then a largely socialist economy and did little to change it.

When it came to foreign policy, during the Gulf War he let people in his cities get bombarded by dozens of SCUD missiles and did nothing. Even the most dovish American leader would never have stood by as his people were being attacked.

Yet he was categorized as a hard-line, right-wing hawk.

Meanwhile, Mahmoud Abbas, the leader of a terrorist organization who has steadfastly refused to adhere to the minimal provisions of the road map and refuses any compromise over the Palestinian Arab maximalist demands, is mislabeled a moderate.

The bottom line is that if the so-called moderate Palestinian Arab leaders were even half as accommodating as the most extreme Israelis, it would be easy to come up with a peace agreement.

Of course, it wouldn't be so easy to get the Palestinian Arabs to adhere to it. But that's another story.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Same Old, Same Old

One would have hoped that the loss of Gaza to their fellow terrorists from Hamas would have taught Fatah a lesson, but the signs indicate there's no basis for optimism.

Going into today's summit, the reports are Abbas is "demanding" the release of Marwan Barghouti, currently serving time for his role in countless murders. Rather than fighting terrorism, he's demanding the release of terrorists.

Another demand is for more weapons, as if Fatah didn't have plenty of weapons already. The problem has never been the lack of weapons; the problem has been they've been used to attack Israelis rather than promote the security of the Arabs living in the portions of the disputed territories administered by the Palestinian Authority.

Based on Fatah's record, Abbas might as well ask Israel to give some weapons directly to Hamas and take others and fire them randomly in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.

One has to hope the results of Olmert's goodwill gesture of releasing another 250 Arab terrorists doesn't work out as all past gestures have, with a large percentage going right back to murdering Israelis despite written pledges to refrain from returning to terrorism.

As Pete Seeger asked, when will they ever learn?

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Mahmoud Abbas Acknowledges Arab Terrorism

From Arab News, which calls itself The Middle East's Leading English Language Daily:

Abbas: Hamas Creating ‘Empire of Darkness’

By Hisham Abu Taha & Mohammed Mar’i, Arab News

RAMALLAH/GAZA CITY, 21 June 2007 — President Mahmoud Abbas lashed out at Hamas yesterday, accusing them of trying to build an “empire of darkness” in Gaza and pledging he would not talk to “murderous terrorists.”

This seems too little, too late, after Abbas destroyed the road map by refusing to adhere to its most important provision, the dismantlement of the terrorist infrastructure built up by the Palestinian Authority, but at least this admission will make it harder for Arab apologists to pretend Hamas is not a terrorist group.

Given Abbas' longtime involvement with the PLO and Fatah, he certainly is knowledgeable about Arab terrorist groups.

Mahmoud Abbas Admits Palestinian Arabs Are Not Indigenous

From a speech given to the PLO Central Council on June 20, 2007, discussing the crimes of Hamas:
One of the oldest churches in Palestine, which stood long before our arrival [in the region], was looted and set on fire.
The clear inference: Given that churches were built in Palestine long before their arrival, the Palestinian Arabs are recent immigrants rather than indigenous.

For a complete analysis of Abbas' speech, check The Middle East Media Reseach Institute.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Why Do I Use the Term Palestinian Arab?

I've been asked, both by friends and antagonists, why I continue to use the term Palestinian Arab rather that today's more common term of Palestinian?

Years ago, it was far from clear that there was a distinct Palestinian people and it appeared to me to be prudent to use a term that seemed far more accurate.

Later, it seemed that a new people was in the process of forming, primarily as a result of hatred of Israel, but I decided to keep using the same term as a reminder.

It reminds those who are knowledgeable it's only recently that those who today insist on calling themselves Palestinians started doing so and reminds them of why.

It provides me an opportunity, when asked by those who are not knowledgeable, to explain.

It reminds others, and me, of the power of language and of the way Israel and its supporters have let the Israel-haters win the war of semantics.

Prior to the reestablishment of Israel, the term Palestinian was generally understood to refer to Jews living in Palestine. Indeed, Arabs living in Palestine generally insisted they were not Palestinians. Only much later did Arab propagandists realize the benefit of redefining their identity.

As recently as 1977, Farouk Kaddoumi (Newsweek, March 14, 1977) explained there should be a linking between Jordan and the Arabs living in western Palestine "because Jordanians and Palestinians are considered by the PLO as one people." This echoed the statement "Jordan is Palestine and Palestine is Jordan. There is one people and one land, a common history and a common fate," made by Prince Hassan at Jordan's National Assembly February 2, 1970.

Today, with the overthrow of Fatah in Gaza by Hamas, the existence of a Palestinian people again seems to be in doubt. If there is a distinct nation of Arabs living in the disputed territories, distinct from their Arab brethren elsewhere, then there appears to be two distinct peoples, those living in Gaza and those living in the portions of the disputed territories formerly occupied by Jordan. It would seem that at least one of them will again have to adopt a new identity.

Getting back to semantics, there are at least two other instances in this blog entry where I've been very careful about the use of language.

I referred to the reestablishment of Israel, to remind people that Israel is not really a new invention. Anti-Israel propagandists try to convince the gullible the Israelis are the newcomers and the Palestinian Arabs are indigenous when the reverse is true.

I referred to disputed territories rather than occupied territories for similar reasons.

In both cases, the terminology I've used in more accurate and also avoids conceding the semantic playing field to the anti-Israel propagandists.

I will close with one more example of letting Israel's enemies determine the playing field.

We are now used to hearing about the Israel-Palestinian conflict; I prefer to use the more accurate term Arab-Israeli conflict.

Using the term Arab-Israeli conflict is more accurate, since the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs is just a part of, indeed a consequence of, the broader conflict.

There are two other benefits.

I think there is a subconscious tendency to think of the first party mentioned as the aggressor. Since it is the Arabs who both began and have perpetuated the conflict, they should be mentioned first.

Also, pretending the conflict is between the Palestinian Arabs and Israelis makes it easier to create the misimpression that the Palestinian Arabs are the smaller, weaker party and thus deserving of more sympathy.

Even if the conflict only involved the Palestinian Arabs, the facts and logic prove otherwise, but it's hard enough to get the truth out without conceding the language playing field.

For now, I'll keep using the term Palestinian Arab and patiently explain why when asked; it will be interesting to see what terminology the different Palestinian Arabs will use to self-identify as their split becomes more obvious and irreconcilable.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Who represents the Palestinian Arabs?

Is it the Palestinian Authority?

If it's the Palestinian Authority, which Palestinian Authority? The legislature, controlled by Hamas, or the executive branch?

If it's the executive branch, which executive branch? The unity cabinet or the new cabinet chosen under circumstances of questionable legality — as if anything done by the Palestinian Authority can be considered otherwise?

If it's the legislature, then apparently nobody represents the Palestinian Arabs, since according to the Associated Press, the parliament has been "paralyzed since Israel's roundup" of many of the Hamas terrorists who were elected to it.

If it's not the Palestinian Authority, is it the PLO? For decades, the world has insisted that terrorist group is the "sole representative of the Palestinian" Arabs, although the same Associated Press article notes the PLO has been "largely inactive in recent years."

Although the PLO may have been inactive as an organization, its constituent terror groups, including several factions of Fatah, have certainly been active when it comes to murdering innocent Israeli civilians.

Sooner or later, the Palestinian Arabs will have to decide who represents them. If they do that and follow it up by making a societal decision to work towards improving their lives rather than destroying Israel, at some point in the distant future there may be as much hope for a resolution of the Palestinian Arab-Israeli portion of the Arab-Israeli conflict as there was before the ill-fated Oslo experiment began.

That experiment was well-worth trying and might have worked if both Israel and the rest of the world had not ignored the fundamental Arab violations from the very beginning. Unfortunately, much of the damage it caused, such as thousands of unnecessary deaths, both Arab and Israeli, can never be repaired, and even if there is a decision to repair what can be repaired, such as the creation by the Palestinian Authority of a culture of hatred, those repairs will take decades.

The best that we can hope for now is that we all learn from those mistakes.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Change the Paradigm of Bias, Part 2

Published in the Connecticut Jewish Ledger, June 22, 2007

Our American government needs to adopt a truly balanced approach to the Arab-Israeli conflict, balanced in the true sense of balancing the needs and merits of the parties involved rather than in the perverse sense "balance" is interpreted today, of trying to find a middle ground between outrageous Arab demands and generous Israeli concessions, and continually moving the fulcrum as the Arab demands get more outrageous and Israeli concessions increase.

A truly balanced American policy should be based on the realities created by sixty years of Arab war against Israel along the series of partitions which have put the vast majority of the Palestine Mandate under Arab rule, approximately 17 percent on the Israeli side of the Green Line, a good portion of the West Bank and Gaza effectively under Palestinian Arab governance, and a portion in dispute.

A true balance would recognize the prime importance of Jerusalem to the Jews far outweighs its importance to Muslims. It would recognize the importance of Jerusalem to Muslims is even outweighed by the importance of Hebron to Jews.

A true balance would not continue to virtually ignore the blatant refusal of the Palestinian Authority to abide by its commitment under both the Oslo Accords and the road map to stop resorting to terrorism and would certainly not simultaneously pressure Israel to strangle Jewish communities in the disputed territories.

A true balance would recognize the disputed territories as just that, disputed rather than Palestinian Arab.

A true balance needs to recognize the basic injustices caused by six decades of war against Israel cannot be undone and thus we need to strive to facilitate peace, the only means of minimizing piling future injustices on top of past ones. The culprit behind our unbalanced and counterproductive policy of pressuring Israel into concessions under any and all circumstances is the underlying but mistaken assumption the key to peace is getting Israel to make enough concessions. Israel unwittingly plays into this because the true debate in Israel isn't about the desirability of peace, but about the price Israel should be willing to pay and whether the Arabs could be induced to accept that price. Among Arabs, however, the argument remains over whether they can get more concessions by continued intransigence or by pretending to be interested in peace.

After six decades of war, six decades of Arab refusal to make peace regardless of Israeli concessions, we (America) should put forth our own vision of a future settlement based on the present day realities and reasonable accommodations made by both sides, not just Israel. Primarily this needs to reflect a pragmatic territorial division of the disputed territories.

A pragmatic division would be just that, allocating to the Palestinian Arabs the portions which they primarily populate incorporating into Israel the portions primarily populated by Israelis. It would not involve what has been falsely called a land swap. One can only swap land one owns and the Palestinian Arabs don't own and never have owned any part of the disputed territories. Giving the Palestinian Arabs portions of Israel in return for Israel keeping portions of the territory it has as much right to as the Arabs would reward intransigence and terror, setting another unhealthy precedent.

Our vision of a future settlement should recognize the primacy of Jerusalem to Israel, keeping it undivided as the capital of Israel while recognizing the importance of the Temple Mount to Muslims by giving them a special role in administering the mosques there. Similarly, Israel needs to maintain a special role in Hebron even if it ultimately comes under Arab sovereignty.

Our vision of a future settlement should recognize Jews must have no less right to live, and live safely, in the portions of the disputed territory given to the Arabs than Arabs have to live in Israel, with the same opportunity to choose to accept citizenship there as the Arabs living in Jerusalem have to accept Israeli citizenship.

Consider the following rhetorical questions:

What message does it send when, two years into a terrorist offensive launched by the Palestinian Authority after rejecting a peace proposal offering them approximately ninety-five percent of the disputed territories, including a portion of Israel's capital, the president of the United States reverses decades of American policy and announces support for the establishment of another Palestinian Arab state?

What message does it send when, in response to the Palestinian Arabs voting a terrorist entity into power, our Secretary of State ignores our government's stated policy and insists on the importance of giving the Palestinian Arabs a political horizon they have repeatedly rejected?

There is an obvious way to begin implementing a more balanced policy. We can begin by simply adhering to an American law already on the books with the expressed support of both major parties and every recent president prior to being elected, by finally acting in accordance with the provisions of The Jerusalem Embassy Relocation Act of 1995 and ending the Orwellian situation in which there is one country in the world where we do not locate our embassy in its capital. After all, what message does it send when we give Arab terrorists veto power over the implementation of American legislation?

As a first step in creating a true peace process, our president should finally say, "This year in Jerusalem."

Israel is the World's Canary

The following letter was published in the Waterbury Republican-American, Thursday, June 21. The headline given somewhat distorts the main message, implying that it is Israel that needs support rather than it is the world which needs to support Israel as it fights our battles.

Israel Needs Support from United States in War on Terror

The implications of the Associated Press article, "Israel without ways to prevent rocket attacks," published Sunday, June 10, should be of serious concern to everyone in the Western world.

Time and again, we have paid scant attention as Arab terrorists attacked Israel.

But the weapons used against Israel are always eventually used against us, other Western countries and even the very states that supported their use against Jews in Israel.

Suicide bombings did not stay confined to Israeli cities. Terrorists tried to destroy the tallest building in Israel, the Shalom Tower in Tel Aviv, before destroying the World Trade Center.

Last summer, thousands of rockets and missiles were launched at Israeli cities and towns by Hamas, Hizbullah and other terrorist groups, with the support of Iran and Syria.

Hundreds have been launched from Gaza at the Israeli city of Sderot in the last month, making that city unlivable and causing serious emotional trauma to everyone there.

If this terror tactic continues to be used successfully against Israelis, it inevitably will spread.

For our own good, it is imperative that we support whatever steps Israel takes to defeat these terrorists.

If Israel is reluctant to do what's necessary, the international community should go into Gaza, dismantle the Palestinian Authority, disarm the terrorists and start building a civil society there.

Alan Stein

The writer is president of Promoting Responsibility in Middle East Reporting, PRIMER-Connecticut (

In the week and a half between the time the letter was submitted and the time it was published, events somewhat overtook the content, with the Palestinian Authority splitting itself in two, but the need to prevent the spread of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood remains.

Generally overlooked because Fatah is not quite as extreme as Hamas is the fact that Fatah is also an extremist terrorist group; we should have learned from the way all the weaponry we gave Fatah in Gaza fell into the hands of Hamas that it is dangerous to prop up Fatah; we should also remember that when Fatah is not using its weapons against Hamas it is using them against Israel.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Democracy on the Golan

From the Jerusalem Post:

Syria's ambassador to the UK told an audience on Saturday that Israeli residents of the Golan Heights might prefer to remain under Syrian sovereignty if the area were returned to Syria.

Dr. Sami Khiyami spoke at a conference entitled, "The Golan: Ending Occupation, Establishing Peace," held at London University's School of Oriental and African Studies and hosted by the Syrian Media Center in London.

In his address, Khiyami stressed how important it was to Syria to recover "its most precious occupied territory."

Let's take that logic one step further: Let the people living on the Golan Heights decide what state, if any, they wish to be part of. If they wish to be part of Syria, let Syria have sovereignty; if they wish to be part of Israel, let Israel continue to have sovereignty; if they wish to be an independent state of their own, so be it.

Let us not forget that the Golan was originally supposed to be part of the British Mandate over Palestine, until it was traded to France. It was only because of that legerdemain that it became part of Syria for a few short years, less time than it has been part of Israel.

Let the people decide.

Preview of Life in Palestine

The following is an excerpt which appeared in the Jerusalem Post. The full article may be viewed by clicking here.

It gives a taste of what Christians can expect not just in Gaza, but ultimately in the West Bank as well if it ever comes under the total control of the Palestinian Authority.

Gaza's Christians Fear for Their Lives: Latin Church Torched

By Khaled Abu Toameh

Christians living in Gaza City on Monday appealed to the international community to protect them against increased attacks by Muslim extremists. Many Christians said they were prepared to leave Gaza as soon as the border crossings are reopened.

The appeal came following a series of attacks on a Christian school and church in Gaza City over the past few days. Father Manuel Musalam, leader of the small Latin community in Gaza, said masked gunmen torched and looted the Rosary Sisters School and the Latin Church.

"The masked gunmen used rocket-propelled grenades to storm the main entrances of the school and church," he said. "Then they destroyed almost everything inside, including the Cross, the Holy Book, computers and other equipment."

Musalam expressed outrage over the burning of copies of the Bible, noting that the gunmen destroyed all the Crosses inside the church and school. "Those who did these awful things have no respect for Christian-Muslim relations," he said.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Messages to President George Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert

The following messages are from JINSA, The Jewish Institute for Security Affairs. They contain a dose of reality, urging caution before lavishing the corrupt Palestinian Authority with more gifts. We post them here with the gracious permission of JINSA.

Message to the President as PM Olmert Comes to Washington

[Ed. Note: this is part of a series about the demise of the Palestinian experiment in self-government and the implications for U.S. policy in the region.]

Mr. President, in the interest of the Palestinian people, please withdraw formal American support for an independent Palestinian state. There are people in the region who have staked everything on you and still look to you for moral clarity. Israel and Jordan are the friends of American interests that the Palestinians never wanted to be, and they need your help to undo the damage the notion of an independent Palestine has done.

On 24 June 2002, you offered a creative blueprint for Palestinian nationalism. It was, at least the way you said it, fairly safe for the Israelis and Jordanians who would be most directly affected by it. Yours was an "if-when-then" plan. IF Palestinian leaders created civic space, transparent institutions and consensual government, and "WHEN the Palestinian people have new leaders, new institutions and new security arrangements," THEN the U.S. "will support the creation of a Palestinian state..." You promised, "A Palestinian state will never be created by terror."

But you made the unwarranted assumption that Palestinian leaders WANTED to create a government in service of their people (which exists exactly where in the Arab world?) and further would be satisfied with rump state next to a strong and prosperous Israel.

You were wrong. But instead of calling it off, you - with active Israeli government acquiescence - kept lowering the bar for them. You ignored rampant corruption and offered money and American military training to the corrupt forces of the corrupt Abu Mazen - he should never have been "your guy." To the extent that he was, you were wrong about that too. You ignored Jew-hatred in Palestinian institutions. You knew perfectly well that elections are the last stage of democratic evolution - Natan Sharansky told you so - but you pushed for early elections that included not only corrupt secularist terrorists, but Iranian-sponsored religious terrorists as well. There was no reform, no transparency, and no peace BECAUSE THE PALESTINIANS NEVER WANTED PEACE OR CLEAN GOVERNMENT - THEY WANTED PALESTINE IN THEIR IMAGE, NOT YOURS. They got it.

The bar can't get any lower. The Palestinians failed to meet a single requirement for American diplomatic, security and financial support. Understand it and move on. Gaza is gone but the West Bank remains crucial. Please don't pretend Salam Fayyad can hold Palestine together. Funding and rearming the remnants of Abu Mazen's army only ensures that they lose that battle as well, and it is further punishment of the Palestinian people to condemn them to more Fatah incompetence and brutality.

Please use the visit of Prime Minister Olmert to discuss how to save the West Bank - because Hamastan there threatens not only Israel, but your friends in Jordan as well. The King of Jordan has done everything you could have asked of a small, poor country wedged between Iraq and the West Bank. Israeli and Jordanian security forces have worked in concert to protect both countries. Make it official.

The last, best hope for West Bank Palestinians now is some form of confederation of territory, people and security forces between Israel and Jordan. Talk to Prime Minister Olmert about that.

Message to the Prime Minister in Washington

The pattern of non-state actors filling vacuums left in weak states has created havoc for Israel and for the United States. Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon and Gaza created terrorist entities on your borders, and chaos in Iraq has allowed Iranian and al-Qaeda-supported forces to undermine the elected government’s ability to provide services and security to the people. You and President Bush must foreclose that possibility on the West Bank even as you deal with the consequences in other theaters.

This is the crisis and it should sidetrack any discussion of Syria.

Surely neither of you believes Abu Mazen and Salam Fayyed can manage security control of the West Bank, even if you continue to funnel arms and money to them. It only ensures that Hamas will continue to fight. Hamas wants it all and has already been enriched by 50,000 rifles and pistols, plus ammunition and thousands of mortars and rocket propelled grenades captured from Fatah in Gaza, according to The Jerusalem Post. Surely neither of you thinks the future stability of the region will be improved if you talk about political horizons and peace processes.

The West Bank has not descended (yet?) into the chaos of Gaza in part because Israeli security services have remained fully engaged and in part because there are still family, business and other connections to Jordan. Jordan and Israel have an equal interest in controlling the land and the people – even though Jordan is reluctant to admit it.

But if Jordan can’t say it, you can, and the President might listen to you if you make the case plain: The US and Israel should agree to formal withdrawal from the failed Oslo Accords with their unsustainable promise of a one-day independent Palestinian State. What is left is Israeli and Jordanian control of the assets, the territory and the people with the promise of the restoration of security, and the civil and human rights subverted and denied under the PA. Smart Palestinians should look upon it as a lifeline.

Mr. Olmert – you wisely decided not to have the IDF involved in the Hamas-Fatah civil war in Gaza. Israel was gone and couldn’t come back. You are, however, in the West Bank. You have to ensure that everyone believes Israel will stay there to defend the interests of the Israeli public, and to work with Jordan – your security partner – to defend the interests of the King as well.

Israel and the US are already being blamed for the war in Gaza by people who blame us for everything. “If only Israel had… If only the US hadn’t…whatever,” they say. It isn’t our fault that the Palestinians threw away the generosity of the world on a combination of venality and international Islamic fervor. However, knowing what we know, to allow Hamas to conquer the West Bank because we couldn’t admit our failures and act on our admission, future disaster will indeed be our fault.

There is a lot to do, but planning for new political conversation with Syria while Gaza burns and the West Bank trembles would be a mistake of enormous proportions.

Subcontracting Terrorism

The following are excerpts from and comments about an article Lebanese Army, UNIFIL on full alert after rocket fire into Israel published in full in The Daily Star (Lebanon).

Lebanese troops and UN peacekeepers were on full alert in Southern Lebanon Monday, a day after rockets were fired into northern Israel for the first time since the August 14, 2006, UN-brokered cease-fire that ended the summer war.

The army and police also set up snap checkpoints in the border zone a day after unidentified militants fired two rockets into northern Israel, causing no injuries and minor damage in Kiryat Shmona.

It's very convenient for terrorist groups to agree to a cease fire and then subcontract with so-called splinter groups so that they can effectively continue their terrorism while pretending to abide by the cease fire.

The attack, the first since Israel's devastating invasion last year, raised tensions in Lebanon, which since May 20 has suffered a string of deadly bombings and further shaken by battles with Islamist forces in the North.

Some day Arab states may learn that the terrorism they either promote or condone when practiced against Israel doesn't stay confined to Israel. One irony is that Lebanon would have been spared all its agony if it hadn't let Hizbollah operate as a terrorist state-within-a-state in Southern Lebanon.

We could go further back and note its civil war might have been averted had it not allowed the PLO to set up an earlier state-within-a-state in Southern Lebanon three decades ago.

UNIFIL spokeswoman Yasmine Bouziane described the incident as a "serious breach" of a nearly year-long truce and urged all parties to exercise restraint.

Bouziane said UNIFIL "got the impression" that those who launched the rockets "did not want to escalate attacks."

For now, they're perfectly happy to just occasionally launch Katyusha rockets at innocent Israelis, testing how far they can go without provoking any defensive actions by Israel.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Better Late Than Never

With the takeover of Gaza by Hamas, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has done something he previously vowed he'd never do. He has banned Hamas militias.

The key provision of the Quartet's Road Map was the dismantling of the terror infrastructure built up by the Palestinian Authority since it took over administration of much of the disputed territories.

Israel accepted the Road Map with some well reasoned reservations; the Palestinian Arabs said they accepted it but made it caduc by refusing to adhere to the first and most important provisions while simultaneously, and typically hypocritically, criticizing Israel for its reservations.

Had Abbas adhered to the provisions, Gaza would not now be Hamastan and the Palestinian Arabs would be well on their way to a prosperous state of their own.

As Abba Eban said, the Palestinian Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. Someday they may realize the Israelis are their best friends. Already, nearly half have indicated in a poll they would prefer to go back to the pre-Oslo situation, i.e. the so-called Israeli occupation which improved their lives for two decades until the intifada started reversing that progress and the Palestinian Authority brought them chaos, insecurity and general disaster.

Poetic Justice

From the Jerusalem Post:

Looters raid Arafat's home, steal his Nobel Peace Prize

By Khaled Abu Toameh
Enraged Fatah leaders on Saturday accused Hamas militiamen of looting the home of former Palestinian Authority chairman Yasser Arafat in Gaza City.

"They stole almost everything inside the house, including Arafat's Nobel Peace Prize medal," said Ramallah-based Fatah spokesman Ahmed Abdel Rahman. "Hamas militiamen and gangsters blew up the main entrance to the house before storming it. They stole many of Arafat's documents and files, gifts he had received from world leaders and even his military outfits."

Obviously, if Arafat had even minimally adhered to the commitments he made, his undeserved Nobel Prize wouldn't have been stolen.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Rhetorical Questions

If you have any rhetorical questions of your own, please help add to this list.

Isn't the PLO "the sole, legitimate representative" of the Palestinian Arabs?

When will all those who blasted Israel for avoiding dealing with the PLO acknowledge everyone, especially the Palestinian Arabs, would all be better off if Israel had never caved in to the pressure to deal with the PLO?

If the PLO is "the sole, legitimate representative" of the Palestinian Arabs, how come Hamas, which isn't even a part of the PLO, got elected to run the Palestinian Authority?

Is it time to start talking about a "four state solution?" (Hamastan, Fatahstan, Jordan, Israel)

Why do we always pressure Israel to make concessions that don't do anyone any good?

Why do we always pressure Israel to ignore it when the Palestinian Arabs violate every agreement?

If the Palestinian Arabs can't adhere to a cease fire among themselves, why does anyone think it's so important to have a cease fire between them and Israel for them to similarly ignore?

America Armed Hamastan

From the Associated Press and Jerusalem Post, June 13:

Fatah officials here confirmed that Hamas had seized large amounts of weapons and military equipment belonging to Abbas's security forces in the Gaza Strip. Some of the weapons were supplied to the PA in recent weeks by Egypt and Jordan as part of a US security plan to boost Fatah-controlled forces.

Hamas said it had seized thousands of M-16 and Kalashnikov rifles and pistols, communication equipment, armored vehicles, trucks, binoculars, military outfits, tents, sleeping bags, hand grenades, mortars and documents.

It's not as if Fatah or the Palestinian Authority were ever friends. If we're going to help arm anyone, the should be stable friends, not unstable enemies.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Answer is Blowin' in the Wind

With Hamas capturing weapons we've (foolishly) supplied to Fatah, we're now effectively arming both sides in the uncivil war going on between those terrorist groups.

We can expect at least some of those weapons to wind up being used against civilians in Israel.

We seem to get things backwards. In 1967, when Israel was facing well-armed Arab enemies on all fronts, we embargoed arms to both sides, effectively letting others arm the Arabs while Israel faced a world-wide embargo.

Now, when we should be embargoing arms to all the Arab terror groups, we're effectively arming all of them.

When will we ever learn?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Official: U.S. Pressure Tilts U.N.'s Mideast Role

According to National Public Radio:

Morning Edition, June 13, 2007 · Alvaro de Soto, the highest-ranking U.N. official in Israel, says the U.N. no longer has an impartial role as a Middle East negotiator. He blamed pressure from the United States in a confidential report leaked to newspapers.

This has to be one of the funniest dispatches about the United Nations yet, given the way that body has been tilted against Israel for decades.

de Soto complained about economic sanctions on Hamas, claiming they have led to devastating consequences, ignoring the fact that assistance to Palestinian Arabs actually increased substantially since that terrorist group was voted into power.

Perhaps de Soto is competing with Ashrawi in the Last Comic Standing competition?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Humor of Hanan Ashrawi

The Palestinian Authority is in the midst of a civil war of its own creation. CNN interviews Hanan Ashrawi and, surprise of surprises, she blames Israel and repeatedly blames so-called Israeli occupation.

Naturally, the interviewer doesn't bother to point out any occupation of the Arab-populated cities in the disputed territories ended years ago.

Perhaps he thought she was just joking.

Kassams Are a Threat to Us All

The world pays little attention when Arab terrorists attack Israel, but the weapons used against Israel are always eventually used against others, including the very states that supported their use against Jews in Israel.

Suicide bombings did not stay confined to Israeli cities. Terrorists tried to destroy the tallest building in Israel, the Shalom Tower in Tel Aviv, before they tried destroying the World Trade Center.

Thousands of rockets and missiles were launched at Israeli cities and towns by Hamas, Hizbullah and other terrorist groups, with the support of Iran and Syria, last summer. Hundreds have been launched from Gaza at the Israeli city of Sderot in the last month alone, making that city unlivable and causing serious emotional trauma to everyone there.

So far, Israel hasn't come up with an effective deterrent.

If this terror tactic continues to be used successfully against Israelis, it will inevitably spread. In its own interest, the civilized world needs to support whatever steps Israel takes to defeat these terrorists. If Israel is reluctant to do what's necessary, the United Nations should for once be constructive rather than counterproductive and go into Gaza, dismantle the Palestinian Authority, disarm the terrorists and start building a civil society there.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Poll of Palestinian Arabs belies much propaganda

Near East Consulting conducts monthly polls on perceptions among Palestinian Arabs. The results are rather interesting. Lest anyone think they're cooked up to make Israel look good, Near East Consulting is based in Ramallah.

Among the interesting results of the latest survey, available on the Near East Consulting web site:

51 percent of Palestinian Arabs support firing rockets into Israel, while 66 percent believe there's no benefit from it. Thus at least 17 percent of the Palestinian Arabs clearly just want to murder innocent Israelis for the joy of it. The percentage is even higher if any of the 34 percent who believe there's a benefit from firing rockets into Israel don't support doing so. And it's likely that many of those who support firing rockets and believe there's a benefit would still support firing rockets if they didn't believe there was a benefit from it.

Any way you look at it, the Palestinian Authority has created a sick society.

44 percent of Palestinian Arabs prefer a return to the pre-Oslo situation. In other words, after nearly a decade and a half of vicious anti-Israel propaganda by the Palestinian Authority, nearly half the population of the disputed territories would prefer Israeli rule! So much for those who claim the problem is "Israeli occupation," something that for all practical purposes ended long ago for 95 percent of the population.

Asked about the main issue that made them depressed, only 2 percent cited the so-called Israeli occupation. Economic hardship, the absence of security, the power struggle between Hamas and Fatah, being ruled by Hamas and family problems were all greater concerns.

Once again, so much for those who claim the problem is "Israeli occupation."

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Change the Paradigm of Bias, Part I

This commentary was published in the Connecticut Jewish Ledger on May 18, 2007.

Many believe the influence of the Arabists in the State Department has waned, but its malignancy came through in a recent oped by David Ignatius in the Hartford Courant (April 24). Most obvious was the writer's usual blindness to the reality of terrorism and his antipathy towards Israel; more subtle was his blind acceptance of failed policies whose continuance virtually guarantees the continuation of the Arab-Israeli conflict. He is joined in this parroting of the State Department line by most journalists, even many sympathetic to Israel.

Consider the acceptance of the alleged need to give the Palestinian Arabs a "political horizon." This is balderdash.

Ignatius approvingly relates how Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice "continues a dual-track diplomatic negotiation she describes with the somewhat nebulous phrase of 'the political horizon.' In practice, that has meant pushing Israelis and Palestinians to discuss details for administering the Palestinian state everyone says they want in principle."

There's no need to show the Palestinian Arabs a political horizon; they cannot fail to know it has only been their own actions which have prevented the establishment of an Arab state within the disputed territories.

Rice's recent diplomatic activity continues the counterproductive tradition of pressuring Israel to make concessions regardless of what its enemies do, even to the point of ignoring America's own policies.

It was the United States, in conjunction with the rest of the "Quartet," which came up with the road map calling for specified steps to be taken before negotiations for the establishment of another Palestinian state. Key among those steps was the minimal requirement which essentially amounted to an end by the Palestinian Arabs to the blatant violation of some of their previous agreements, such as their agreement to oppose terrorism rather than employ it.

It was the United States that decided it would not deal with a Palestinian Authority led by terrorists.

Not only does Ignatius ignore these facts when he misleadingly writes "Israel had argued strenuously against such contacts," but he and other journalists abdicate one of the most critical responsibilities of a free press, serving as a watchdog when the government violates its own stated policies.

The Secretary of State's current misguided diplomatic effort reflects the core misconception that the key to peace is getting Israel to give up enough to lure its Arab enemies into agreeing to give up their fight.

Thus, we always pressure Israel into making concessions, either on the pretext they are necessary to bring its enemies to the negotiating table or on the pretext they are necessary to keep the "peace process" going.

The result is the Arabs, including the Palestinian Arabs, know they can always count on us to pressure Israel, regardless of their own actions.

That paradigm needs to be changed, for the good not only of Israel but the Palestinian Arabs, as well. After all, it is the Palestinian Arabs who have suffered the most as a result of their drive to destroy Israel but have little incentive to change when we keep rewarding them for their intransigence.

Our proposals, and even Israel's proposals, have been based on trying to figure out what the Arabs may be willing to accept rather than on what would constitute a fair settlement. This has resulted in a perverse calculus that is patently absurd.

Consider the case of Israeli "settlements." It is accepted wisdom that they are an "impediment to peace."

One can reasonably argue about the wisdom of Israel encouraging or allowing Israelis to settle in parts of the disputed territory and one can certainly argue about the sanity of Jews choosing to move to certain parts of the disputed territory, but the settlements would not be an "impediments to peace" if the Arabs were actually interested in peace.

There are more than a million Arabs living as citizens within Israel. If there is truly to be peace, there is no reason tens of thousands, or even hundreds of thousands of Jews should not be able to similarly live as citizens of a Palestinian Arab state. To argue otherwise is to argue the Palestinian Arabs are incapable of building a civil society.

Unfortunately, this absurd philosophy is at the foundation of American policy. It has been unthinkingly accepted not only by unfriendly presidents like Jimmy Carter, but even by generally friendly presidents like George Bush. This unthinking philosophy is parroted by a press that ought to be doing its own independent analysis. Changing this will not guarantee peace, but continued adherence to it does guarantee failure.

Our American government needs to adopt a truly balanced approach to the Arab-Israeli conflict, balanced in the true sense of balancing the needs and merits of the parties involved rather than in the perverse sense "balance" is interpreted today.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Palestinian Arabs Always Stone the Ones Who Love Them

An article about a Peace Now rally today supporting Palestinian Arabs and protesting Israeli government actions reminded me of the song "You always hurt the one you love." The Palestinian Arabs may never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity for peace, but they certainly never miss an opportunity for violence. They stoned the Peace Now bus!