Fed up over lack of peace process, Abbas bites back

By Olivier Pacteau

In Israel, there is an open wariness of President Obama. The fear is that Obama will turn it’s back on Israel and force a peace proposal down its throat. One that it finds impossible to digest.

But perception is in the eye of the perceiver. as a Newsweek interview with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas reveals.

Abbas tells Newsweek that Obama has turned his back on the Palestinians, and that’s what has hardened his view toward Israel.

Obama, Abbas insists, mislead him, telling Newsweek’s Dan Ephron that the U.S. president led him up a tree, climbed down a ladder, and then took the ladder away, stranding him like a cat.

Palestinian cops fire on Jewish worshipers

Jewish worshipers leaving Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus where they had gone to mark the end of Passover were fired upon by Palestinian police. One person, a nephew of a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet, was killed. Four others were wounded, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Palestinian youth clashed with Israeli soldiers and Jewish settlers threw rocks at Palestinians after the shootings.

In another incident, the Palestinian News and Info Agency reports that Jewish settlers Sunday attacked a Palestinian school bus on a field trip between Ramallah and Jerusalem breaking out most of the buses windows with rocks.

Time for an Israeli peace plan?

World Economic Forum photo

By GARY BAUMGARTEN

The pressure is on for a peace plan for the Middle East.

The Palestinians want a unilateral declaration of a nation based on the pre-’67 boundaries. Something that Israel rejects – on both security grounds and because unilateral is not a word in the government’s vocabulary. A negotiated, agreed-upon-by-all parties is the only solution, the government declares.

The signals from Washington are contradictory.  On the one hand, the Obama administration sides with Israel in that there needs to be a negotiated peace with the Arabs. On the other, the White House is crafting its own plan to present to both sides.

One could view such a proposal as a starting point for new talks. Or one could view it as an imposition by the United States. The choices could be: Take it. Or take it.

So, perhaps, now is the time for the Netanyahu government to step up to the plate with a peace proposal of its own. Instead of reacting to what others want, perhaps Israel should be proactive – put its cards on the table – show some leadership by leading with a plan.

Perhaps it will.

Israel President Shimon Peres is now urging Prime Minister Netanyahu to do just that. “We don’t need more peace plans, we need to implement peace,” YNetNews quotes Peres as saying.

There are those who might argue that doing so would be just another act of frustration; that the Arabs aren’t willing to embrace anything Israel offers. “Look,” they may say, “at what Ehud Barak offered when he was prime minister. Even that was rejected.”

While that is true, that was then and this is now. Israel can’t control what the Palestinians do. And Israel can’t control what President Obama might do. But Israel can control what Israel does.

Instead of sitting back and bemoaning that the world and the Palestinians are unfair, isn’t it time for Israel to take some action on its own? If nothing else, it would be nice for the world to see an Israel that’s really moving toward peace.

Gary Baumgarten is editor of The Jewish Reporter.

New Facebook sites call for Palestinian uprising

New sites have popped up on Facebook calling for a Palestinian uprising on May 15.

The sites have appeared after Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg pulled down one with 350,000 members for its advocacy of violence.

According to the translation of Arabic from one of the sites, May 15 was chosen for the “third Palestinian uprising”  because May 15 has been declared the  Nakba Day, or “day of the catastrophe”  – the day after Israel declared its independence from Britain in 1948.

The site claims that led to “the displacement of millions of Palestinians from their land by force, intimidation and expulsion.”

 

Arabs attack Jewish shepherd, then complain to cops

ISRAEL TODAY

JERUSALEM – Israel National News is reporting an attack on a Jewish shepherd in Samaria that characterizes the absurd situation that the Jewish residents of the West Bank often find themselves in.

The incident began  when a shepherd from the small Jewish village of Givat Ronen was tending his sheep on a hilltop not far from the Palestinian town of Nablus.

According to the report, a group of Arab men suddenly approached and attacked the Jewish man, prompting him to call for help. A number of neighbors from Givat Ronen immediately answered the call and fought back against the Arab attackers.

At this point, the Arabs called upon the Israeli police to come protect them from the Jewish settlers, despite the fact that they had initiated the confrontation.

This sequence of events is repeated on almost a daily basis in Judea and Samaria in an ongoing effort to present the Jews of the area in a negative light, both to the international community and to the rest of Israel.

That effort has been paying off, even in Israel, where average Israelis living in suburban areas like Greater Tel Aviv largely view Jewish settlers as extremists and an obstacle to peace in the region.

Article courtesy of Israel Today Magazine.

 

Clinton: Peace talks should restart immediately

WASHINGTON – Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the Middle East peace talks should begin again and immediately.

Clinton’s remarks came during the first of a series at the State Department called “Conversations on Diplomacy, Moderated by Charlie Rose” on PBS. Also joining in the conversation was former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger who unsuccessfully attempted to broker a peace between the Israelis and Palestinians during the Nixon and Ford administrations.

Returning to the bargaining table, Clinton said, “is in the best interest of both the Israelis and the Palestinians.”

The comments come against the backdrop of attempts by the Palestinians to impose a unilateral declaration of a state. Something Clinton declared the United States opposes.

“We do not support any unilateral effort by the Palestinians to go to the United Nations to try to obtain some authorization or approval vote with respect to statehood,” she said, “because we think we can only achieve the two-state solution that we strongly advocate through negotiation.”

The comment suggests the U.S. would veto at the UN Security Council any resolution unilaterally declaring a Palestinian state.

Israel to ban release of child killers

Fogel family massacred at Itamar

ISRAEL TODAY

JERUSALEM – Israel’s Knesset is advancing a bill that would prohibit the release of terrorists who killed children in any future prisoner exchange deals with the Palestinians.

“I think this bill will send the message that although all terrorism is bad, terrorism against children is unforgivable,” the bill’s author, MK Yoel Hasson of the Kadima Party, was quoted as saying by The Jerusalem Post.

Hasson said it is time for Israel to make clear that such killers can never hope to regain their freedom. “This bill will go a long way in strengthening Israel’s deterrence,” he noted.

The bill was initiated in the wake of the massacre of Udi and Ruth Fogel and three of their young children in the northern Samaria Jewish community of Itamar last month.

Last week, Israel confirmed that it had captured the two terrorists responsible for butchering the Fogel family. Already, Palestinian officials have said they will insist that the two killers go free as part of a future peace deal.

Hasson’s bill is also in response to ongoing efforts to win the freedom of abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Israel has signalled that it is willing to free thousands of jailed Palestinians in exchange for Shalit, but will not meet Hamas demands that terrorists who have succeeded in killing Israelis be among that number.

Many Israelis argue that even freeing terrorists who failed to kill Israelis is going too far, as most of them are certain to take a second shot at becoming murderous “martyrs.”

The new bill enjoys the unquestioned support of lawmakers from across the political spectrum, and is expected to easily pass into law.

Article courtesy of Israel Today Magazine.

Stalemate over peace

Ashwari/By Carsten Sohn

By GARY BAUMGARTEN

It’s becoming a familiar refrain.

The Palestinians want their own state. The Quartet; the EU, Russia, the USA and the UN, push for an agreement.

The Israelis want to negotiate. The Palestinians claim they do. But not so long as the Israelis continue to build on the West Bank.

Stalemate.

Now, a PLO official is rejecting out-of-hand a proposal being drafted by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The AFP quotes Hanan Ashrawi as saying the plan is a “reinvention of Israeli occupation.”

The plan, mind you, hasn’t even been released yet. Ashrawi is rejecting based on reports of possible pieces of the plan that have been leaked.

Stalemate.

Those leaked reports, if accurate, reflect a proposed resolution. That’s what happens in negotiations. One side proposes. The other side counter-proposes. Somewhere along the way there is a give and take. And then, hopefully, as a result of the negotiations, there is, ultimately, an agreement. But the Palestinian leadership, isn’t interested in first seeing the proposal, then counter proposing. Any proposal, the report says, that doesn’t give them everything they want, will be rejected.

Stalemate.

The Palestinian game plan, it seems, is to say “no” to anything Israel offers even before it’s offered. In the hopes of getting the UN to believe that Israel is being unreasonable and uninterested in a negotiated settlement. In the hopes that a Palestinian state, with boundaries to their liking, will be declared and imposed. Leaving the Israelis out of the equation.

It’s not a strategy likely to work. Because, even an Obama administration that’s viewed as less-than-friendly toward Israel by many Israelis, isn’t likely to favor a non-negotiated settlement.

Stalemate.

The Palestinians want a full and unconditional withdrawal from the West Bank of all Israelis, who they argue are illegally occupying land. The Israelis argue that ownership of the land’s in dispute. But even if they were successful in displacing about half-a-million Jews, a question remains. Would that actually result in a peace?

Given that the complete Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza in the name of peace hasn’t stopped the rocket attacks, launched, literally, from land the Israelis abandoned, one must wonder.

Israel is placed in a poor light even when it makes a complete withdrawal. Palestinians fire rockets into Israel. Israel retaliates. Israel gets criticized. Because its military prowess and weapons arsenal so surpasses that of the Palestinians. Palestinians who wanted them to leave in the name of peace. Then continued to attack when they did.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will address the United States Congress next month. Perhaps, then, he will detail his plan for a negotiated peace. Chances are, whatever he says, will be immediately rejected as unpalatable and a non-starting point by Ashrawi and company.

Stalemate.

Gary Baumgarten is editor of The Jewish Reporter.

Middle East peace: The impossible dream

By AVI PERRY

For the past 43 years, since the conclusion of the Six-Day-War in 1967, the American administration has recruited its best political minds and muscles for the task of bringing about a lasting peace between Arabs and Israelis. There have been some successes; Egypt and Jordan signed peace treaties with the Jewish state, and although peace between Israel and its two key neighbors has been holding for more than a decade, it has been a cold peace. The two “friendly” Arab neighbors continued their support of broad antisemitism campaigns through their government-controlled media and via their government-controlled education system; they participated actively in anti-Israel political maneuvering in international forums, including the UN and limited their commercial ties with the Jewish state to a minimum.

It is important to note that both Egypt and Jordan have no territorial disputes with Israel. Egypt traded territory (the Sinai Peninsula) and plenty of American cash for peace; Jordan abandoned its claim to Judea and Samaria (a.k.a. the West Bank) in favor of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and a future Palestinian state. At the same time, Lebanon, under Hezbollah’s manipulation, has been acting on behalf of Iran while continuing its active hostilities toward its southern neighbor, Israel; Syria continues to pose a potential threat with persistent talk about a looming war, and the Palestinian territories — the West Bank and the Gaza Strip — are boiling with hate while talking about the “peace process.”

When scratching the shiny surface and unearthing the true meaning behind the Palestinians’ code words, (which worm their way into the hearts and minds of the world’s peace lovers), one may decipher the true objective behind all Palestinian’s peace declarations. The key word Palestinians bring into play when referring to Israel is “the Occupation.” To the western naïve ear, the ironic title implies  the occupation of Gaza and the West Bank, a.k.a. the so-called Palestinian territories. However, there are no Israelis in Gaza; Gaza is not occupied, and 90 percent of the West Bank is controlled and administered by the Palestinian Authority and its President Mahmoud Abbas. What does Israel occupy?

When Palestinian refer to “the Occupation” they mean Israel proper. In their mind, Israel proper, including Tel Aviv, Haifa, Beer Sheba, etc., constitute occupied Islamic land.

They have not reconciled to the fact that Israel exists as a Jewish state. This reality has been evidenced in Abbas’s recent, public refusal to admit to it “Yes, Israel exists,” he confirmed. “It’s a fact,” he approved. But he resisted the critical part: “as a Jewish state.”

His words echoed a recent Palestinian TV game show quiz, in which Haifa was defined as a Palestinian coastal city, while as recently as a few weeks ago, PA TV called for Israelis to leave Israel and “return” to Germany and Poland (Helen Thomas only reiterated it). What’s more, a recent official PA TV has been teaching children to envision a world in which Israel does not exist and all of Israel is part of the “State of Palestine,” poisoning their minds to make certain that their Jew-hatred agenda subsisted for the next one hundred years and beyond.

The following lesson was on a very recent educational PA TV children’s program. The map used in the studio was named “Palestine” and included all of Israel.

Host: “Show me where you’ve been on the map of Palestine.”

Girl: “We went to the Sea of Galilee [northern Israel] and to the Dead Sea.”

Boy points on map: “Jaffa, Haifa.” [Israeli cities]… and Jenin and Nablus [West Bank].”

Host: “So you’ve visited many different places in Palestine, and that’s very good. It’s very good that we’re always visiting new places in our state, Palestine.

There are thousands of other similar examples. Official Palestinian maps show Israel and the Palestinian territories (of the West Bank and Gaza) as a single country named Palestine. Palestinian schoolbooks teach hate while rewriting history. Palestinian newspapers, Palestinian TV programs, especially those intended for children —  every single one of them emphasizes Jew-hatred by way of Nazi style antisemitic propaganda. They promote Shahada (death for Allah), invent conspiracy libels, demonize Jews, glorify terrorists and terror — all premeditated to deny Israel’s existence or its right to exist.

In short, Palestinians contention to a two-state solution is dishonest at best. It sounds righteous to all since the West interprets that declaration as a compromise, but the Palestinian audience understands the veritable intent — the Arab interpretation of the two-state solution does not recognize the Jewish state as one of a two-part upshot. The Arab leaders are talking about two Palestinian states living side by side before they will be unified to become one Palestine in a later phase once the Jews are eliminated.

It was Habib Bourguiba, president of Tunisia in the late 1950’s, who first came up with a “revolutionary” thinking. He suggested that Arabs should resort to a peace offensive (or a peace process) as a smoke screen in pursuit of what has been called the Salami Principle — putting international pressure on Israel to weaken itself through a series of withdrawals to earlier borders.

“It would be a first step,” he asserted, “preceding the final assault on what’s left of the Jewish state whose indefensible borders would make it an easy prey.”

The immediate reaction by the rest of the Arabs was rejection. Gamal Abdel Nasser, Egypt’s president and leader of the Arab world, was quick to remove any doubt or misunderstanding about the Arabs’ true intentions. “The liquidation of Israel,” he announced on March 8, 1965, “will be liquidation through violence. We shall enter a Palestine not covered with sand, but soaked in blood.”

Since that time, Palestinians have recognized Bourguiba’s wisdom. In his quest for “peace,” Khaled Meshaal, the current Palestinian Hamas leader, has said in his coded language, “We want to have peace in the region, but peace will not be achieved before the removal of the occupation.” He then added, “We have agreed that peace can be achieved with the removal of the occupation and the end of aggression.” One needs to understand that the term “the occupation” is synonymous to “Israel,” and the term “aggression” is a code word for “Israel’s existence.” In other words, Meshaal‘s peace initiative has called for peace with Israel as long as Israel ceased to exist.

Arabs intentions became transparent after the Camp David conference in the final days of the Clinton administration. Ehud Barak, then Israel’s prime minister, offered Arafat 95 percent of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem; 100 percent  of the Gaza strip, plus a corridor connecting the two detached territories in return for the promise of peace. It was the most any Israeli leader would ever put forward as a peace concession to any future Palestinian leader. But the offer was rejected, and the Palestinians declared war (Intifada) on Israel in its aftermath.

Palestinians reinforced Israel’s suspicion and belief that Arabs are not serious about peace, even though Palestinian leaders have been promoting their desire for peace whenever interviewed by a western reporter. Following Israel‘s withdrawal from Gaza in 2007 and emptying Gaza of all and every Israeli, Palestinians began shooting thousands of deadly rockets at “the occupation”—towns and villages of Israeli civilians who had never occupied anything Palestinian— from the same real estate vacated by the Jewish settlers as a good will gesture and given back to the Palestinians.

Responses following Israeli withdrawals from territories occupied during defensive wars had always been met by Arab deadly aggression in return. It was true in the West Bank following the Oslo Accords when suicide bombing inside Israeli cities became a daily affair; it was true following Israel’s withdrawal from Lebanon when Hezbollah took over the territory and began shooting rockets at Israeli towns and it was true all over again following Israel’s withdrawal from Gaza.

In the present environment, where Muslim religious clerics call for jihad against Jews, it has become apparent that Palestinian talk of peace is designed to mask their ever so violent intentions. Only lately, they have repeated their genocidal threat claiming that the subjugation of the Christian world will begin in Rome and that “No Jew will be left on the face of this earth.”

Any intelligent person would recognize that this kind of talk is not conducive to peace. Still, world leaders, including our own President Obama, refuse to listen, to interpret, to believe these death threats. As long as words like “peace process,” “occupation,” “aggression” supplement any Muslim’s hate speech, our leaders find comfort in the Webster Dictionary interpretation of these words rather than their genuine intent.

The only conclusion that a reasonable person can infer from a logical analysis based on actual precedents is that further Israeli concessions toward peace with the Palestinians would only bring about more violence in return. Unfortunately, Palestinians’ talk about a peace process is unmistakably consistent with their view of the Salami principle, while their Islamic teaching forbids treatment of Jews as worthy human beings.

A two-state solution is a mirage, an illusion borne by western leaders and the world’s media. It is a nightmare for sober Israelis who understand the consequences of the so-called peace; yet, it is a dream of Paradise, a lifetime ambition for all Islamic martyrs and those who send them on their jihadi mission.

Read Avi Perry at www.aviperry.org.

To build, or not to build in Ramat Shlomo

 

By JONATHAN WOLFMAN

Every U.S. President since George H.W. Bush in 1988 has lobbied very hard with each successive Israeli government not to build new housing units in Ramat Shlomo because all U.S. presidents have seen that as a deliberate attempt on the part of the Israeli right to complicate/end negotiations. The fact that, for example, a cabinet minister decided to throw this in Vice President Biden’s face when he visited last year (and behind Prime Minister Netanyahu’s back) far from showing just how fundamentally impossible it is to get serious talks going, shows that negotiations may have been closer than some wanted and that it isn’t just some Muslims who do not want a settlement.

We must reject any mythology, religious or political mythology, Jewish or Muslim, that determines at the outset and at the expense of real people, what every detail of future territory must be. We must equally reject any religious culture’s claim to a purity so precious that it simply cannot live next to others.

That has been the increasingly self-immolating, xenophobic nature of that Islam which has held the Near East in an inward-looking, backward-seeking vise-grip for 400 years and which has permeated North Africa and much of Southeast Asia.

It would be one thing were this to cripple old-world Muslims only but it doesn’t. It threatens the basis for international market economies, trade and civil libertarian ideals accepted from the start in Israel, even by Judaism’s fundamentalists, and, ironically, to an extent, by the more future-oriented, more globalist Muslim states.

Critiques aside, here’s an idea for Ramat Shlomo, one not at all for Jews and Muslims who regard one another in every place and at all times as incipient murderers. If you’re one of those, stop reading now.

New apartments-or-no needn’t be the question. Half the apartments could be allotted to Muslims, or, alternatively, a lottery could ensue with an equal number of Muslims and Jews permitted to apply (regardless of the outcome). No one would imagine immediate kumbaya moments. (No one imagined those when the Court ordered school desegregation either but they happened and the South and the Nation’s better for them.

Recall, please, though, the difference between a cynic and a skeptic:

-A cynic, because she believes nothing much good is ever really possible, never tries anything new regardless of the potential benefit – and in the end is a boring person lost to history.

-A skeptic, while wary because she believes everything, good and bad, is possible, eyes the landscape for new ideas and so fearful that she won’t test some out. She creates history.

Is this idea worth testing? Could it do more good than ill?

I can’t know yet; neither can you. Come up with other new ideas. Be a skeptic.