Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Abbas is Right

According to a Jerusalem Post story Abbas presses Israel on core issues, "Abbas warned Tuesday that unless all the issues at the root of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are solved, violence will break out anew in two or three years."

Abbas is right about the need to address the core issues, but he's the one avoiding the core issues.

The core issue remains, as it has for six decades, the unwillingness of the Arabs to accept the existence of Israel and their unwillingness to coexist in peace.

When it comes to the current situation involving the Palestinian Arabs and Israel, the stumbling block is the continued violation by the Palestinian Arabs of their basic commitments under the Oslo Accords. They continue to resort to terrorism, they continue to refuse to negotiate in good faith, they continue to inflame the street with anti-Israel rhetoric, they continue to praise suicide bombers. They continue to refuse to initiate the first step called for under the "Road Map," the destruction of the terrorist infrastructure they built up in the disputed territories in violation of the Oslo Accords.

In the meantime, with incredible chutzpah, "the chief Palestinian peace negotiator, former PA prime minister Ahmed Qurei, said Tuesday there would be no talks with Israel unless a deadline was set for establishing a Palestinian state."

Unless the Palestinian Arabs are disabused of their continued belief, which unfortunately has generally been well-founded, that as long as they obstinately refuse all compromise everyone will continue to pressure Israel and blame Israel for failure, success will remain impossible.

"Palestinian officials have repeatedly said they want a detailed time line for talks that are expected to begin in earnest after the Annapolis parley. The comment by Ahmed Qurei was the first indication that Palestinians could scuttle negotiations altogether if that demand isn't met."

Condoleeza Rice should give Qurei her phone number and tell him to call if and when he's ready to get serious.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

'Arab volunteers will be dubbed lepers'

According to the Jerusalem Post, "the Israeli Arab Higher Committee has begun a national campaign to warn Arab youth against being drafted into national service."

Furthermore, "Balad Faction Chairman MK Jamal Zahalka insisted that any Arab who volunteered for national service will be considered 'leprous' and the Arab society will 'vomit him out.'"

Can you imagine the outcry in the United States if a Senator or Congressman made a statement like that?

On the one hand, the Israeli government needs to make a far greater effort to integrate the Arab minority into the mainstream of Israeli life, most importantly investing in the schools and infrastructure of the mostly Arab areas.

On the other hand, anti-Israel, including frequent treasonous, behavior on the part of Arab citizens should not be considered acceptable, particularly by members of the Knesset.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Pray for the Peace Israel's Arab Enemies Continue to Refuse

Jamilah Rasheed is coordinator of the Connecticut Islamic Speakers Bureau and a frequent contributor of biased and factually challenged commentaries for the New Haven Register. She has the misleading email address in4truth@comcast.net.

The following is a letter submitted to the Register after one of her typical op-eds was published with the title "All must pray for justice for oppressed." Several people who read it thought it was excellent, but the same editors who keep printing Rasheed's screeds did not see fit to publish it.

Jamilah Rasheed may say "all must pray for justice for the oppressed," but she has her facts wrong about who is oppressing whom and clearly has no interest in praying for justice for the 20,000 residents of Sderot in Israel, whose small town has been targeted by more than 6,000 Kassam rockets since the Palestinian Arabs initiated their current terror offensive after rejecting peace in 2000.

This amounts to more than a rocket attack for each household in Sderot. Imagine what the reaction would be if just one rocket had been launched at each home in New Haven during the last seven years!

The Arabs in Gaza whose whose deplorable living conditions Rasheed wrongly blames on Israel have been living under their own government for well over a decade, in a de facto Palestinian State completely free of Jews since Israel completely withdrew more than two years ago. While Israel tries to control its border with Gaza, just as we try to control our borders with Mexico and Canada, Israel has no control over the border between Gaza and Egypt. Hamas has had little difficulty bringing immense quantities of weapons across that border; there would be no shortages in Gaza if Hamas put that same energy into bringing food, clothing and other necessities of life rather than death across those same borders.

For more than half a century, going back even before the re-establishment of Israel, the leadership of Israel and its precursor, the Jewish Agency, has repeatedly compromised its own rights and agreed to settle for far less than half a loaf in the interest of peace. For all that time, the Arab leadership and the Palestinian Arabs have spurned every opportunity.

The lives that intransigence has ended can never be brought back to life; no prayers can address the injustice that intransigence has caused.

Therefore, I do not pray for a justice that is impossible to attain; I pray for the peace that will become attainable as soon as the Palestinian Arabs join Israelis in its pursuit.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Hamas: We'll Murder You Anyway, But If You Try to Stop Us, We'll Murder More of You

That's the essence of the threat issued after Palestinian Arab terrorist Mubarak al-Hassanat was killed when his jeep was struck by missiles.

The Associated Press ran a story which started "Israel killed a top Gaza militant with a missile strike on his car Tuesday, prompting threats of more rocket attacks from Gaza on Israeli border towns."

The Los Angeles Times included the information: "The attack came amid a flurry of salvos by Palestinian militants from the coastal enclave. Israeli military officials said more than 15 projectiles were launched during the 24 hours preceding the air attack that targeted Mubarak Hasanat."

Clearly, Arab terrorists need no incentive to murder Israelis, but they apparently think Israel will stop defending itself if they threaten to continue to do what they've been doing for the last sixty years.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Mideast Peace Plan

Le plus ca change!

Shortly after the start of the Oslo process, discussions on various groups on Internet led me to put my take on a reasonable solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Six years later, after Yassir Arafat torpedoed any hopes for peace anyone had at that time and launched another terrorist war, I took another look and realized virtually nothing had changed.

Another six years have now passed, but still little has changed and the same mistakes are being made. If anything, peace is much further away than it has been at any time since long before the Oslo Process started. I believe what I wrote a dozen years ago is still relevant.

The following is what I wrote then, unchanged except for the introduction I added in 2001.

I wrote the following outline in January 1995, in response to a question from someone on an Internet discussion list called mideast-peace. I find it amazing that very little has changed in the time since then; as I write this, in April 2001, very little would need revision other than dealing with the fact that Israel has completely left Lebanon without an agreement.

I still feel this forms the outline of a reasonable agreement and all parties would be better off if they had agreed to something along these lines years ago. This is what I wrote then:

Let me try to start the ball rolling by out the outline of a fairly comprehensive vision for peace and prosperity. I will concentrate primarily on relations between Israel and its neighbors, leaving the numerous intra-Arab disputes for intra-Arab solutions.

(Unstated in all the analysis below is the assumption that there must be peace in all respects, with an absolute and total end to the terrorist attacks which have continued to be launched against Israel and an end to the anti-Zionist and anti-semitic propaganda propagated by virtually all the Arab countries.)

Foremost are the relations between Israel and the neighboring Arab states. I'll take them one by one.

1. Israel and Jordan. There's basically little problem left there, with the peace treaty being enthusiastically welcomed by both sides formalizing a de facto peace that has already endured. This, actually, has been the prime benefit so far of the DOP between Israel and the PLO, since it helped give King Hussein the backbone to do what he's wanted to do for many years.

2. Israel and Egypt. The peace treaty has endured, but hopefully the cold peace will eventually warm. Nothing much tangible needs to be done on this front, although Egypt could help speed the peace process along by adhering to the spirit of peace. (In general, the peace process is a case of Israel giving up tangibles such as land in return for intangibles, making it crucial that the Israelis be convinced that the intangibles are actually being given.)

3. Israel and Lebanon. Although there is no signed peace treaty, this will also be a relatively simple matter if Lebanon can get its act together. The problem here is really an internal Arab problem, since Lebanon is, de facto, no longer a sovereign nation. Lebanon must reassert its independence, eliminating the rampant terrorism launched from its soil with the support of Iran, Iraq and Syria and reclaiming its independence from Syria. In reality, there is no dispute between Lebanon and Israel. All that needs to be negotiated are the assurance that cross border terrorist attacks will not take place. This will probably require some phased, mutual withdrawal by Syria and Israel, but that is a matter of logistics (at least from the Israel point of view--from the Syrian point of view, which regards Lebanon the same way Iraq regards Kuwait, it's another matter--Lebanon's real problem is not with Israel but with Syria as well as the destruction of its social fabric brought on by the civil war itself brought on by the PLO) rather than principle.

4. Israel and Syria. This is by far the most difficult area, both because it contains the only territorial problem as well as the intransigence of Syria. The basic starting positions here are that Israel needs to retain part of the Golan Heights for security purposes, while Syria insists on regaining every square inch. (One historical note: the fact that the Golan Heights were ever a part of Syria is actually an historical accident. Originally, they were to be part of the Palestine Mandate to be included in the reestablished state of Israel, but were traded--for other considerations--by Britain to France, which added them on to Syria.) The only feasible solution here which can reconcile Israel's legitimate needs and Syria's emotional demands is similar to the way the territorial disagreements between Israel and Jordan were resolved. The solution is a partial symbolic pullback by Israel, the technical transfer of sovereignty to Syria, and a permanent lease back to Israel of most of the portion of the Golan now under Israeli control.

Next comes the relations between Israel and the non-contiguous Arab and Muslim states. (Remember that Iran is not an Arab state, but is a clear problem.) Aside from the nuclear weapon programs (no small matter, but one which must be resolved) of Iran and Iraq (among others), there will be no serious problem there, no tangible concessions needed from anyone unless one considers the end of hostile policies such as the Arab boycott and the end of support for terrorism a tangible concession. Here the obvious bargain truly is simply peace for peace.

Perhaps the most complicated area is the relationship between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, where any lasting agreement will require that Israel make rather one-sided concessions and that the Palestinian Arabs give up some of their grandiose dreams and demands. There is no alternative to a territorial compromise, and both sides must exhibit flexibility. The basic principle must be that, wherever feasible, heavily Arab-populated areas be placed outside the negotiated borders of Israel while heavily Jewish-populated areas be placed within the borders of Israel. Thus, all or virtually all of the Gaza Strip would be permanently transferred to Arab control, while the disposition of Judea and Samaria, much of which is sparsely populated, would be more of a checkerboard. Most of it would probably wind up under Arab control, but the natural border with Jordan would remain under Israeli control. Arabs living in the areas to be annexed to Israel would have the option of becoming Israeli citizens or remaining as permanent resident aliens with rights to be negotiated but which would essentially give them all the rights of citizenship except the right to vote. Similarly, Jews living in the areas to be under Arab control would be given similar options. (Dual citizenship for both Arabs and Jews is one possible option.)

Initially, the legal status of the Arab controlled areas would be something akin to autonomy, but once the peace proved stable and enduring (perhaps ten years) the residents could choose any form of government they wanted as long as it was consistent with peaceful relations with Israel. While the most sensible step would be incorporation into the rest of the Arab portion of Palestine, ie Jordan, they would be free to establish a third Palestinian state if that was their desire.

The final piece of the puzzle is outside financial assistance. All of the states have borne tremendous military expenses because of the conflict, while the Palestinian Arabs have virtually destroyed their economy through the Intifada. They will all need outside assistance, but they also need to be weaned from that assistance. While it is in all their interests to proceed along the general outlines I've described regardless of outside financial assistance, it would be wise of the rest of the world to help to heal the wounds, perhaps along the following guidelines.

First of all, the foreign debts of Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria would be provisionally cancelled. (The provision is that any nation which attacked another without first being attacked itself would have its debts reinstituted, with cross-border terrorism considered an attack.) The world's economic powers would then annually contribute to a rebuilding fund which will start at 12 billion dollars the first year, to be divided up with 2 billion dollars going to each of Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and the Palestinian Arabs in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip. This funding would decrease by 200 million dollars per year, so it would be phased out after ten years, at which point each state or entity would be committed to being totally self-sufficient. Also, during this ten year period, each entity would be prohibited from taking on any foreign debt.

That's the overall vision. Obviously, some pieces could be changed, and the details of its implementation will not be automatically agreed to. It should, however, at last give us something positive to discuss on mideast-peace.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Columnist Misrepresents Israel's Actions

This letter was written in response to an error-filled column published in the Daily Campus, the student publication of the University of Connecticut. The offensive column may be viewed by clicking here.

In some of my spare time when I'm not teaching mathematics at this university, I serve as president of PRIMER-Connecticut, an organization whose acronym is based on its mission of "Promoting Responsibility in Middle East Reporting."

It is thus on two counts that I found George Maynard's column, ("Israeli Atrocities Should Not Be Masked By Friendship," Oct. 11), disappointing.

Aside from its extreme bias, with which I strongly disagree but which is certainly permissible in an opinion piece, the column contained numerous factual errors along with logical inconsistencies.

The article referred to an "official Israeli military operation" conducted at a time before the re-establishment of Israel. Clearly, at that time there was no official Israeli military and thus an "official Israeli military operation" was a logical impossibility.

The columnist completely misrepresented U.N. Security Council Resolution 242 and falsely stated that "Israel refused to comply" with the resolution as it did not "withdraw from the occupied territories."

Resolution 242, adopted Nov. 22, 1967, contained several provisions, all of which are generally ignored except for the single provision referred to incorrectly in the column.

The provision referred to called for "withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict."

During the drafting of the resolution, there was considerable debate about whether to include the definite article before the word "territories." The definite article was deliberately omitted, in line with a recognition that the armistice lines in effect prior to the war were never meant to serve as borders.

The truth is that even if it did not withdraw from any additional territory, Israel would be in compliance with both the letter and spirit of that principle, having already withdrawn from well over 90 percent of the territory it came into control of in 1967.

Of equal footing with withdrawal was the principle calling for "termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force."

The overwhelming majority of Israel's Arab enemies, including the Palestinian Arabs, continue to refuse to comply with that principle. It is that refusal which has prevented the implementation of Resolution 242 and continues to be the reason Israel's dreams for peace have yet to be realized.

Discussion and even debate about the Arab-Israeli conflict, a more appropriate term than "Israeli-Palestinian conflict" since the latter is just part of and a consequence of the former, is welcome. It is important, however, especially in a university setting, that anything presented as fact be true.

- Alan H. Stein
Associate Professor of Mathematics;
President, PRIMER-Connecticut

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Germany’s Economic Ties to Iran

Given its role during World War II, there is no question that Germany has an unpayable debt to the Jewish people and to Israel. Certainly Germany has the obligation to do whatever it can to prevent any other nation from repeating Germany's attempt to destroy the Jewish people.

It is thus especially distressing that, despite appropriate rhetoric from Germany's leadership, such as Chancellor Angela Merkel acknowledging "We must take the Iranian president’s rhetoric seriously" and Minister of Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier repeatedly expressing support for diplomatic and economic sanctions to prevent Iran from developing the nuclear weapons it would like to use to exterminate Israel, Germany's actions continue to help prop up Iran's nuclear program.

The sad facts are set forth in a backgrounder called Germany's Economic Ties to Iran on the Realité EU web site. Germany remains Iran’s number one trading partner, with "some two thirds of Iranian industry relies on German engineering products" according to Michael Tockuss, former President of the German-Iranian Chamber of Commerce in Tehran.

At the same time its foreign minister talks about supporting economic sanctions, the German government hypocritically compensates the thousands of companies doing business with Iran to the tune of 5.8 billion Euros for the risks of doing that business!

Email may be sent to the German chancellor via a web form on her web site and her postal address is:

Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel
Willy-Brandt-Stra├če 1
10557 Berlin.

Email may be sent to any of the German ministers via this form or by addressing the message to InternetPost@bundesregierung.de.

Tell the German government to stop effectively abetting Iran's drive to obtain nuclear weapons.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Quote of the Day

"We have been occupied by the Turks, the British, and the Egyptians. We were occupied by Fatah and now we are occupied by Hamas. And the best of these occupations was by the Jews." — Gaza shopkeeper Khaled abu Ahmed.

Quoted by Donald Macintyre in Palestinians divided over future under Hamas in The Independent, October 4, 2007.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Face to Face (Almost) with Yassir Arafat

I wrote this October 24, 1995, during the early days of Oslo when it was not yet clear the process would be an abject failure. I thought it was interesting, at least to me, to ponder what I thought a dozen years ago. At the time, I thought I was realistic and even somewhat cynical; in retrospect, I was clearly exceedingly over-optimistic.

Note: The organization which then had the acronym NJCRAC currently has the acronym JCPA.

It's not often that one is offered the opportunity to meet face to face with evil incarnate.

My first reaction, when presented with the opportunity by Rob Zwang, executive director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Waterbury, was that I couldn't, since I had classes to teach that day at The University of Connecticut. But the opportunity to witness history in the making, one of the first, if not the very first, appearance in the United States of Yassir Arafat before a large group of Jewish leaders, was too tempting to pass up once I realized that I could easily reschedule the class time missed.

The opportunity was a meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council (NJCRAC) Monday afternoon, October 23. The last item on the agenda was, simply, Yassir Arafat, chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization. Before Oslo and Madrid, such a meeting with the terrorist leader would have been unthinkable; today, it was reality. A call had come into the Jewish Federation asking whether any of its leadership wanted to attend, and so I found myself, along with local attorney Gary Broder, driving into New York City on Monday morning.

By 1:00 P.M., we were outside B'nai Zion, the American Israel Friendship Institute on East 39th Street, where the NJCRAC meeting was being held, and immediately saw fellow Waterbury area residents Doris and Joel Abramson, Bert and Sylvia Albert and their daughter-in-law Jan, and Robin Horwich, the assistant director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Waterbury. Mr. Arafat's appearance was scheduled for 2:00 P.M., but we had been advised to get there early because of the tight security arrangements and the fact that the NJCRAC executive board also had a full agenda to go through.

After passing through the security check, we found ourselves seated in a room roughly double the size of the room in my sister's home where my family gathers each year for a seder on the second night of Passover. In other words, it was a surprisingly small room which I estimated to be perhaps fifty feet wide and a hundred feet deep.

About eighty executive committee members and NJCRAC staff were seated around tables in the front of the room, sixty guests such as ourselves seated on chairs further back, ten photographers along the side, and perhaps twenty-five security personnel, apparently Secret Service, Israeli and New York City police, scattered around the room.

We were surprised that there were so few people there, although the room was crowded, and marvelled that we were among the select.

As NJCRAC went through its agenda, including the unanimous approval of a resolution expressing its support of the peace process, most minds clearly were distracted by the final agenda item. As Yassir Arafat entered the room from the only entrance, in the rear, only a few minutes past 2:00 P.M., the room became hushed.

He walked slowly up the center aisle, surrounded by an entourage but clearly visible, wearing his traditional kefiyah. I was sitting one seat from the aisle as he passed within five feet. If Robin Horwich, who had the aisle seat next to me, had decided to stick out her leg, he would have tripped over it. (I wondered how she suppressed the urge.)

After a brief introduction and light applause, Mr. Arafat began his prepared speech, but was almost immediately interrupted by a protestor who jumped up, screaming, to call Arafat a murderer. The security detail immediately intercepted him and ushered him out of the room. (If they had relaxed at all before then, the security detail relaxed no more. A bit later, after moving out of my seat in order to take a photograph, I was told that the security people had virtually jumped when I had stood up, and it was suggested to me that I move more deliberately the next time I take out my camera.)

Arafat began in his standard rambling fashion, talking about being the past, the present and the future, and that we are "not only cousins, but partners" in the process of building peace, and then almost immediately and theatrically put away the paper he was reading from, saying "insist to speak from my heart." (The direct quotations are verbatim, syntactical errors and all, in an attempt to better share the atmosphere of the event.)

Arafat spoke of the difficulty of overcoming the past, and asked us "not [to] forget we are overcoming what was done in the British Mandate," apparently trying to blame all the problems on Great Britain and expecting us to forget that Arab attacks on Jews in Palestine began long before the start of the British Mandate in the early 1920s.

"Since I have left my country--and you can't say it is not my country." Such was a typical sentence fragment, as most of his speech seemed to be standard sound bites; I kept listening to see if he would ever completed a sentence; such events were few and far between. He seemed to be playing for our sympathy, while also apparently hoping we were ignorant of fairly common facts, such as his being born in Cairo, not Palestine, making him about as much a Palestinian Arab as the Austrian born Hitler was a German Aryan.

"At the end we decided, from the beginning, to seek peace." He begged for sympathy, envying Rabin for only having one opposition, while he--Arafat--has "four opposition[s], at least." He explained "Peace of the brave because we know, from the beginning, [it is] not an easy target."

He played for our sympathy by telling us "you do not know the meaning of the Palestinian tragedy," and followed that up by trying to connect with us emotionally, "Did you forget that we have been kicked out of Spain together," referring to the Inquisition.

Arafat pledged, "in spite of all the obstacles," that he would continue the peace process, because there are "no alternatives." While his reason was not one to raise admiration or trust, it was worthwhile to once again get such a commitment on the public record.

Similarly, while he said nothing new in his speech, nor afterwards, and much of what he said could be considered an insult to our intelligence, the impression he gave was of someone who, regardless of his past, regardless of his evasions and distortions, regardless of his sincerity and for whatever reasons, was putting himself on record as committed to building a different future. The overall atmosphere was surprisingly low key, with little of the electricity I had expected. I consider that a good omen.

Following his speech, Arafat took written questions from the audience. I wrote down a couple of questions, but the NJCRAC staff that was reportedly circulating to collect them never appeared within my view, making me wonder whether all the questions had actually been prepared in advance. Nevertheless, the questions were appropriate ones, not the powderpuffs Arafat has often been treated to during interviews with a fawning press.

The first question asked about the difference between Arafat's rhetoric before Western audiences and his speeches, in Arabic, to his own people, particularly his repeated calls for Jihad, or Holy War. His explanation was that we misunderstood his Arab terminology, that "the Grand Jihad is building the state." That was the Jihad he was calling for, dealing with your neighbors "to establish, after the war, the new state." This answer, like most of his others, did little to inspire confidence in his honesty, especially for those who were familiar with his speeches.

The next question referred to the fact that he has yet to act on his commitment to have repealed those portions of the PLO Charter calling for the elimination of Israel. His original understanding with Israel had called for their repeal before the Madrid agreement was signed, but he had pleaded lack of time before the scheduled White House ceremony, pledging to take the promised actions shortly thereafter. The fact that he has made no movement in that direction two years later is perhaps the greatest sign to skeptics that he is not sincere.

Arafat replied by repeating something he had said before, that the provisions were "caduq," null and void. Anyone who has read the Charter, however, knows that such a declaration is meaningless, since the Charter itself contains explicit provisions for its amendment. Its provisions can certainly not be nullified by a simple statement by anyone, even the PLO chairman.

He further asserted that they were caduq "since '88, since '74," and had been accepted before he was chairman of the PLO, apparently arguing that nothing voted on before he became chairman was valid. Arafat said that the 1974 statement made by the Palestine National Council (in which it said the Palestinian Arabs were ready to establish a Palestine National Authority in any area withdrawn from by Israel) made the provisions caduq. Since that policy decision was part of the general policy of "stages," in which the PLO would attempt to dismantle Israel stage by stage, such an explanation by Arafat was not very convincing.

The next question tried to pin him down, and he replied that "definitely" the PNC would be convened after the autonomy elections and those provisions would be repealed as part of the rest of their agenda.

Asked about what he was prepared to do to have the Arab states stop their boycott of Israel, a boycott which began even before the reestablishment of Israel in 1948, he sidestepped and said "[we] want to ask the Israeli government to stop the boycott of us," referring to the closures of the Gaza Strip for security reasons following some of the bloodier Arab terrorist attacks on Israelis. "So please tell Mr. Rabin to stop the boycott of the Palestinian [Arabs]." He also pleaded, quite correctly but also disingenuously, that the termination of the boycott was not a decision for the Palestinian Arabs, but rather a decision for the Arab people as a whole. Since everyone in the room knew how Arafat has been lobbying against the end of the Arab boycott of Israel at the same time that he has signed agreements with Israel and Israel has been actively lobbying other nations to give substantial economic assistance to the Palestinian Arabs, that was not a very satisfying response.

Perhaps Mr. Arafat's most incredible response came when asked to describe the PLO's reported agreement with Hamas to stop terrorist attacks on Israel. He said that "there is no agreement," despite the fact that he "tried to obtain [an] agreement," but then complained about alleged cooperation between Arab and Israeli rejectionists and implicitly accused the Israeli army and government of collusion in Arab terrorist attacks on Israelis by referring to one bus bombing that killed twenty one Israeli soldiers, insisting that the terrorists had to pass through six different Israeli army roadblocks and could not have possibly done that without the collaboration of the army!

The last question asked about the efforts being made to reorient the Palestinian Arabs towards peace. "Remember, when we went off to Madrid, our people started to offer flowers of peace to Israeli soldiers?" He further averred that "the majority of our masses--not all of them--are with the peace process," but never quite got around to mentioning any concrete actions being taken. He also said "and we will have the elections," implying that the will of the people will be heard in the elections, the will is for peace, and the minority will abide by it.

As he finished, the audience responded with polite applause, and he walked down a side aisle, shaking some hands before being whisked outside, and leaving us to ponder the meaning of his appearance and words.

For those loudly demonstrating outside, there was little to ponder. All during Arafat's appearance, the sounds of a protest being conducted outside filtered in. LeMa'an Tzion, Ateret Kohanim and the Jewish Action Alliance had organized a rally, with speakers repeatedly screaming the words "murderer," "we will never forget," and "shame on you," the latter directed at NJCRAC for hosting Arafat. There were also numerous signs, one a reminder that "appeasement never wins," a reference to Neville Chamberlain at Munich, with others calling Arafat a murderer and Rabin and Peres suicidal fools.

But for those of us emerging, the questions were more complex. Certainly Arafat is a murderer, and blind justice would see him convicted before an international tribunal for crimes against humanity. But Judaism is a religion of action and mercy, and practicality, more than of either words or beliefs. Arafat's words did nothing to convince me of his honesty or sincerity, but sometimes circumstances can create a new reality. Whether it is circumstance or a newfound humanity that is responsible, Arafat is acting differently now than in the past, and is, however reluctantly, bringing about changes in the behavior of Palestinian Arabs. The gamble that these changes in behavior will ultimately result in a change in attitude, and a new Middle East in which Arabs and Jews live together not as reluctant neighbors but as friends and allies, is one worth taking.

At the same time, the protestors serve a valuable purpose by making it clear to Arafat that his words and actions are under scrutiny, that his lies and evasions are not going unnoticed, and that the Jewish people may be pragmatic but are not fools who will either forgive or forget the evil he has spread in his lifetime.

By 3:00 P.M. we were back to the parking lot, prepared to tackle the gridlock conditions caused by the United Nations commemorations just blocks away (the very event that brought Chairman Yassir to New York) and to further wonder about the future of the process that is so changing Israel and its neighbors.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Out of How Many Sides of Its Mouths Can the Palestinian Authority Speak at Once?

According to the Associated Press and Jerusalem Post, while Mahmoud Abbas, the chair of the Palestinian Authority, said he expected at least thirty-six states to attend the planned Middle East Peace Conference and he hopes "the number will increase to 40 states," two Palestinian Authority prime ministers gave out contradictory messages.
Head of the Palestinian negotiating team, Ahmed Qureia (also known as Abu Ala), said Saturday that if a joint Israeli-Palestinian statement is not drafted before the upcoming Middle East peace conference, the Palestinian Authority may not participate in it.

Qureia, a former PA prime minister, told Saudi newspaper Al-Watan that both sides must agree before the conference on a timetable for implementing agreements.
Meanwhile, Ismail Haniyeh, one of the two current PA Prime Ministers appointed by Abbas, said "We are going to appeal directly to the Arab brothers, especially the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and will ask them to reconsider any decision to participate in this conference."

Successful negotiations will require reasonable compromises by all sides. Since the start of the Oslo Process fourteen years ago, Israel has made countless, tangible concessions, while the Palestinian Arabs have yet to make a single concession. Even the supposedly "moderate" Mahmoud Abbas continues to insist the Palestinian Arabs must get every inch of the disputed territories, that Jerusalem must be redivided, and that the descendents of Arabs who left what is now Israel have the unrestricted right to immigrate into Israel.

Meanwhile, as reported by Khaled Abu Toameh in the article Summit failure may ignite new intifada, "A failure in the upcoming US-sponsored Middle East peace conference would have more dangerous repercussions than the botched Camp David summit in 2000, Fatah officials warned."

So much for the "moderate" Mahmoud Abbas eshewing terrorism.

If Condoleeza Rice expects to make any real progress toward an Arab-Israeli peace, the crucial first step is to start pressuring the Arab side to show some goodwill and willingness to compromise. If she doesn't do that, then the best we can hope for is the Palestinian Arabs carry out their threat to boycott the conference.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Freedom of speech-begin with telling the truth!

GS Don Morris, Ph.D.
October 2, 2007

Muslims are "masters of the world", its leaders and teachers, even if West rejects idea1.

This said by a recent appointee of the “moderate" PM Abbas. This Islamic supremacist ideology just happens to also be one the defining principles of Hamas and the Islamic Brotherhood. These two groups have been labeled terrorist groups, are shunned by America and are currently being isolated by the Western powers lead by the USA.

Abbas colleague’s extended comments follow:

“The Muslims and their societies are more advanced and more sublime than the West and its societies… are more perfect in value system and humanity. The fact that there are those who believe that these are Western values – it is a delusion and false, since the Muslims are masters of the world, its leaders and teachers, even if the West rejects this."

Let us be perfectly honest. Many individuals, with the superb insight and work of PMW1, have reported and demonstrated that the radical jihadist Islamic ideology espoused by Hamas is being adopted by Mahmoud Abbas’ own Fatah.

The public is being lied to by government officials and the media. You should know:
Both Fatah and Hamas publicly parade with weapons they use (or plan to use) on Israel.
Both are terror entities.

Both have planned and committed terror attacks against Israelis.

Both continue to work for the destruction and demise of the Jewish State. Read their respective charters.

The only real difference is that the Hamas is more overtly religious oriented, while the Fatah/PLO within the last year are displaying their honest practice of Islam. As mentioned previously Abbas’ appointed religious leader to the PLO Supreme Fatwa Council clearly demonstrates Abbas’ core beliefs and commitments; yet he is packaged as a moderate almost “secular” leader by governments and media outlets. Nothing is further from the truth. The ongoing social-religious evolution by Abbas’ Fatah and Gaza’s Hamas is well documented at this point in time. Perhaps governmental leaders should also tell the truth. Journalistic integrity has been lost and/or abandoned as no major outlet is willing to report this issue.

The dangers for Israel and the USA are enormous and they have been documented. Policy practices are playing out daily in our area. The West and the current Israeli government are backing Fatah. Hamas is under siege and is soon to be isolated. While all of this is happening, Abbas has had a series of “secret meetings with the Hamas leadership. These meetings have been reported primarily in local Arab media rather than in mainstream western media. Mind you, Abbas gave his word of honor, he would not communicate with Hamas for any reasons. So much for honor and the ability to keep commitments. Yet, we are told we have a man with whom we can deal and peace is really possible. One inconvenient truth-Hamas daily fires rockets on us in Israel and only because we have such great security services operating in Judea and Sameria have we stopped multiple homicide attackers before crossing over into Israel proper. Yes, these are Abbas’ colleagues, teammates and followers. Take your pick on how you want to be killed: by rocket or homicide bombers-these are the choices we face every week here.

These are some of the facts-can you honestly distinguish between the two groups? Do not be fooled and do not allow governments to play any of us as fools. It is time to stop this deceit and focus upon responsible strategies that have the real possibility of creating a situation in which we can all live in relative calm.

1. Palestinian Media Watch, www.pmw.org.il

Monday, October 1, 2007

Mahmoud Abbas Then and Now

Part of A Conversation with Mahmoud Abbas published in The Washington Post September 30, 2007.
Question: Is the U.S. policy of squeezing and isolating Hamas a mistake, or do you think it's the right policy?

Answer: In the beginning, I believed that they were mistaken, but now we are in the same position. I am against Hamas.
We can expect Abbas to be against Hamas unless he manages to come to another devil's agreement with them. In that case, he will once again condemn Israel for policies which are really in his own best interest.

The real lesson is the world has to learn to ignore whatever the Palestinian Arab leadership says, since it almost always talks out of both sides of its mouth. This is one case where one must suspect that, at the same time Abbas was condemning Israel for trying to isolate Hamas, he was secretly praying Israel was successful.

Meanwhile, as reported in WorldNet Daily, Eiman Abu Eita, Fatah's representative in the Bethlehem satellite town of Beit Sahour, has admitted that the "Nativity Siege" was pre-orchestrated by the Palestinian Authority.

The article recalls "Israel was widely criticized ... for laying siege to the Nativity Church [in 2002] ... after dozens of Bethlehem-area gunmen, including wanted senior Hamas, Tanzim and the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terrorists, stormed the structure and refused to come out."

According to Abu Eita, "The conspiracy was to make a siege and put all the fighters inside the church so Israel would make the siege. People from the Palestinian Authority collaborated with this conspiracy."

The siege ended after thirty-nine days with the agreement that thirteen of the terrorists would be deported to European countries. Currently, Israel is under pressure to let them return to the disputed territories. This is just another example of the worthlessness of assurances given to Israel in return for concessions.