Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Arabs Say They Will Not Recognize Israel As A Jewish State

Surprisingly, something useful has emerged from the combination of the misconceived Annapolis meeting and a weak Israeli prime minister, Ehud ("Peace is achieved through concessions") Olmert. Breaking with his predecessors, Olmert has boldly demanded that his Palestinian bargaining partners accept Israel's permanent existence as a Jewish state, thereby evoking a revealing response.
Unless the Palestinians recognize Israel as "a Jewish state," Olmert announced on November 11, the Annapolis-related talks would not proceed. "I do not intend to compromise in any way over the issue of the Jewish state. This will be a condition for our recognition of a Palestinian state."
He confirmed these points a day later, describing the "recognition of Israel as a state for the Jewish people" as the "launching point for all negotiations. We won't have an argument with anyone in the world over the fact that Israel is a state of the Jewish people." The Palestinian leadership, he noted, must "want to make peace with Israel as a Jewish state."
Raising this topic has the virtue of finally focusing attention on what is the central topic in the Arab-Israeli conflict — Zionism, the Jewish nationalist movement, a topic that typically gets ignored in the hubbub of negotiations. Since nearly the birth of the state, these have focused on the intricacies of such subsidiary issues as borders, troop placements, armaments and arms control, sanctities, natural resources, residential rights, diplomatic representation, and foreign relations.
The Palestinian leadership responded quickly and unequivocally to Olmert's demand:
• The Higher Arab Monitoring Committee in Nazareth unanimously called on the Palestinian Authority not to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
• Salam Fayad, Palestinian Authority "prime minister": "Israel can define itself as it likes, but the Palestinians will not recognize it as a Jewish state."
• Yasser Abed Rabbo, secretary general of the Palestinian Liberation Organization's executive committee: "This issue is not on the table; it is raised for internal [Israeli] consumption."
• Ahmad Qurei, chief Palestinian negotiator: "This [demand] is absolutely refused."
• Saeb Erekat, head of the PLO Negotiations Department: "The Palestinians will never acknowledge Israel's Jewish identity. … There is no country in the world where religious and national identities are intertwined."
Erekat's generalization is both curious and revealing. Not only do 56 states and the PLO belong to the Organization of the Islamic Conference, but most of them, including the PLO, make the Shari'a (Islamic law) their main or only source of legislation. Saudi Arabia even requires that every subject be a Muslim.

Further, the religious-national nexus extends well beyond Muslim countries. Argentinean law, Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe points out, "mandates government support for the Roman Catholic faith. Queen Elizabeth II is the supreme governor of the Church of England. In the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, the constitution proclaims Buddhism the nation's 'spiritual heritage.' … 'The prevailing religion in Greece,' declares Section II of the Greek Constitution, 'is that of the Eastern Orthodox Church of Christ'."
So, why the mock-principled refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state? Perhaps because the PLO still intends to eliminate Israel as a Jewish state.
Note my use of the word "eliminate," not destroy. Yes, anti-Zionism has until now mainly taken a military form, from Gamal Abdel Nasser's "throw the Jews into the sea" to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's "Israel must be wiped off the map." But the power of the Israel Defense Forces has prodded anti-Zionism toward a more subtle approach of accepting an Israeli state but dismantling its Jewish character. Anti-Zionists consider several ways to achieve this:
Demography: Palestinians could overwhelm the Jewish population of Israel, a goal signaled by their demand for a "right of return" and by their so-called war of the womb.
Politics: Arabs citizens of Israel increasingly reject the country's Jewish nature and demand that it become a bi-national state.
Terror: The 100 Palestinian attacks a week during the period, September 2000-September 2005 sought to induce economic decline, emigration, and appeasement.
Isolation: All those United Nations resolutions, editorial condemnations, and campus aggressions are meant to wear down the Zionist spirit.
Arab recognition of Israel's Jewish nature must have top diplomatic priority. Until the Palestinians formally accept Zionism, then follow up by ceasing all their various strategies to eliminate Israel, negotiations should be halted and not restarted. Until then, there is nothing to talk about.

By Daniel Pipes

Monday, November 26, 2007

Will Bush and Rice do whatever necessary to secure a legacy?

Leaked document

The mood is dark in the IDF's General Staff ahead of next week's "peace" conference in Annapolis. As one senior officer directly involved in the negotiations with the Palestinians and the Americans said, "As bad as it might look from the outside, the truth is ten times worse. This is a nightmare. The Americans have never been so hostile."
Thursday a draft of the joint statement that Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are discussing ahead of the conference was leaked to the media. A reading of the document bears out the IDF's concerns.
The draft document shows that the Palestinians and the Israelis differ not only on every issue, but differ on the purpose of the document. It also shows that the US firmly backs the Palestinians against Israel.
The Palestinians are also trying to take away Israel's right to determine for itself whether to trust the Palestinians and continue making diplomatic and security concessions or not by making it the responsibility of outside actors to decide the pace of the concessions and whether or not the Palestinians should be trusted.
As the leaked draft document shows, the Americans have sided with the Palestinians against Israel. Specifically, the Americans have taken for themselves the sole right to judge whether or not the Palestinians and the Israelis are abiding by their commitments and whether and at what pace the negotiations will proceed.
But the Americans are have shown themselves to be unworthy of Israel's trust. By refusing to acknowledge Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah party's direct involvement in terrorism and indeed the direct involvement of his official Fatah "security forces" in terrorism, the Americans have shown that their benchmarks for Palestinian compliance with their commitments to Israel are not necessarily based on the reality on the ground. Then too, the US demands for wide-ranging Israeli security concessions to the Palestinians even before the "peace" conference at Annapolis have shown that Israel's security is of little concern to the State Department.
If the administration has decided to embrace the Palestinians as a means of weakening Iran, its decision is wrong on three counts. First, given Iran's support for the Palestinians, empowering them against Israel simply advances Iran's interest. Second, the Annapolis conference has become a hostage of Iranian goodwill which is non-existent. And finally, even if it were formed, an anti-Iranian Arab coalition would be powerless to check Iran's power.
Even though the summit at Annapolis weakens the US's position vis-à-vis Iran, it might still make sense for the Bush and Rice to support Palestinian statehood if doing so enhanced public support for the administration. But the opposite is occurring. Bush and Rice's seeming obsession with Palestinian statehood is being criticized from all sides of the aisle.
So then there is no good excuse for the Bush administration's decision to embrace the Palestinians at Israel's expense. It all comes down to Bush and Rice not thinking through the consequences of their moves.
It is a singular tragedy that Israel's elected leaders are too weak to make them understand that by harming Israel, they are harming the United States and making fools of themselves.

By Caroline B. Glick

Monday, November 19, 2007

Israel rescues England

November 18, 2007
Yesterday, Israel defeated Russia in soccer 2-1 on a last minute goal, thus handling England a life-line in its quest to qualify for next year's European championship. Had Russia won the match in Tel Aviv, England would have been on life support. Had the match been a draw, England would have needed to defeat Croatia on Wednesday. But with Israel's win, England only needs a draw. That's particularly significant because England will be without its two starting center backs and its two starting forwards (including Wayne Rooney, who had been scoring in virtually every match for club and country until his latest injury).
Israel was lucky to win. Russia outplayed the Israelis for much of the match, and saw what would have been a go-ahead goal hit the post moments before Israel scored the winner. However, Israel played well throughout the qualifying tournament, including a draw against England.
Israel's performance represents another step in the rise of its soccer. This runs contrary to the trend of the past 25 to 30 years. During that period, as one would expect, large nations -- Mexico, the U.S., Japan, Australia -- have progressed significantly, and smaller ones -- Scotland, Belgium, Peru, and Austria -- have declined.
It's not clear why Israel has bucked this trend. I suspect it's because Israel has been unable to compete in Asia due to the hostility of the Arab countries and Iran. Forced to compete in Europe, where the opposition is vastly superior, Israeli soccer has improved dramatically. The downside is that it's much more difficult for Israel to qualify for the World Cup, something Israel has yet to accomplish.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Palestinian political movement launched

Hundreds of Palestinian business people and professionals, led by an influential billionaire, launched a new political movement Thursday, reflecting growing disillusionment with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah party.
Fatah dominated Palestinian politics for decades, but failed to reform or clean up its corrupt image, even after a painful loss to Hamas in parliament elections two years ago.
Billionaire businessman Munib al-Masri, 73, inaugurated his "Palestine Forum" with meetings in Ramallah and Gaza, linked by video conference. Supporters said he would convert the new group into a political party and field candidates in the next Palestinian election. No date for an election has been set.
Fatah and Hamas have been locked in a bitter struggle since the 2006 election swept Fatah from power. In June, Hamas forces overran Gaza, prompting Abbas to dismiss the Hamas-led government and appoint his own, which, in effect, rules only the West Bank.
Recent polls have shown that about a third of the people have no faith in either party. Al-Masri said he plans to step into that breech, emphasizing the economy, education and welfare programs for the needy as well as reuniting the West Bank and Gaza.
"My concern about the fate of my people has driven me to form a national democratic body that cares about people," al-Masri told The Associated Press. "The situation is very difficult, the national cause is deteriorating and people are frustrated."
The U.S.-educated al-Masri runs an investment company that controls the telecommunications sector and has holdings in industry, agriculture, tourism and in banks. His leadership appeals to the West Bank's elite and middle class, trying to protect their investments and businesses in a chaotic political situation.
Since Abbas formed his new government, the West has resumed aid to his regime, but the situation remains critical, with overall unemployment of about 30 percent and more than half the people under the poverty line.
At the same time, Israel sealed the borders of Hamas-ruled Gaza, deepening poverty there. Hamas, which rejects the existence of Israel, is listed as a terror group by Israel, Europe and the United States. Fatah favors peace with Israel.
The 2006 election reflected frustration with Fatah for corruption, nepotism and ineffective rule as much as support for Hamas. Members of the Palestine Forum said if Fatah does not reform itself, the new group is poised to replace it.
Palestinian public opinion expert Jamil Rabah said that is a distinct possibility. The people "are closer to Fatah," supporting a peaceful solution to the conflict with Israel, so "if Fatah doesn't reform itself, people would see the Forum as an alternative."


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Rice Pressing Israel To Surrender Jerusalem

Jerusalem - As she visits the Middle East this week, USSecretary of State Condoleezza Rice is pressing Israeli and Palestinian leaders to commit to confidence-building measures and a timetable ahead of an upcoming US-sponsored peace conference in Annapolis, Md.
Israel has resisted a timetable, but Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said in a major speech Sunday night that he is ready to begin accelerated peace talks – even on final-status issues such as Jerusalem.
Mr. Olmert's statement reiterated recent remarks by Israel's deputy prime minister indicating that Israel must be prepared to discuss giving up parts of Jerusalem – potentially dividing the city – in upcoming negotiations with the Palestinians.
"It is in Israel's interest that all the Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem receive international recognition and that Arab neighborhoods like Walajeh and Shuafat are transferred to the Palestinians," Haim Ramon, the vice premier, told cabinet members last month.
Whether intended as a trial balloon or as a genuine attempt to get Israelis accustomed to the idea of turning Arab neighborhoods over to Palestinian control, the message sent shock waves through both Israeli and Palestinian society.
Many Palestinian residents opposed
Those feeling skittish about the city's potential partition aren't just Israelis – who traditionally take the position that Jerusalem should be Israel's united capital – but also Palestinian Jerusalemites, who fear that their standard of living will fall if they come under the control of the Palestinian Authority (PA).
"I don't want to have any part in the PA. I want the health insurance, the schools, all the things we get by living here," says Ranya Mohammed as she does her afternoon shopping in Shuafat.
"I'll go and live in Israel before I'll stay here and live under the PA, even if it means taking an Israeli passport," says Mrs. Mohammed, whose husband earns a good living from doing business here. "I have seen their suffering in the PA. We have a lot of privileges I'm not ready to give up."

The Israeli newspaper Maariv reported that two veterans in Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking, Yossi Beilin and Yasser Abed Rabbo, have been meeting secretly and have reached a document agreeable to both sides that lays out possible solutions to the conflict. In it, Palestinians showed a willingness to be flexible on their historic claim to a "right of return" to houses that are now inside Israel proper, accepting instead a mixed solution that would include some refugees returning to the Palestinian state-to-be, some to Israel, and many other to be resettled in third countries. Israel's outlook showed a willingness to accept the concept to returning to the 1967 borders by doing land swaps, meaning that it would annex settlement blocks but give the Palestinians a tract of land of the same size elsewhere.
Neither side was willing to comment on the report.

The Chomsky Hoax

The Chomsky Hoax
Exposing the Dishonesty of Noam Chomsky