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December 1, 2011: Tough Going, with Glimmers of Light

December 1, 2011

A goof, which a handful of readers caught and which I correct here: The PA became a member of UNESCO, not UNICEF.  Sorry.  It may be that my brain begins to turn into a pumpkin after midnight.


The news concerning Iran is mildly encouraging.  Here perhaps is where we see the glimmers.

First, with regard to the explosion reported in Isfahan.  When I last wrote about this, there was little solid information regarding precisely what had been hit.  Now we know and it’s significant: The uranium enrichment facility there took the hit, and, particularly, it is believed, the area where raw materials were stored.  This is from the Times of London.

Without question, this was sabotage.  Was it at Israel’s hands?  A good chance, but no one’s talking — which is how it should be. 

The Iranians have to be  going crazy, and not just because of the damage done.  This was the second such incident in mere weeks, and they have no way of knowing what’s coming next.


Then as to the attack by an Iranian mob on the British Embassy earlier this week — it had the effect we hoped for: 

The British, understanding that the Iranian government was either complicit in, or deliberately turned a blind eye to, that attack, are thinking of additional sanctions.  One source reports that Britain is ready to support a ban on Iranian oil imports.

Britain has shut down the Iranian Embassy in London and expelled all staff, in addition to closing its embassy in Tehran.  Diplomatic relations between the two countries will be reduced to the lowest level.  Said one expert in Iranian studies, “It’s rock bottom as far as Anglo-Iranian relations are concerned.  The Iranians have a mountain to climb.  I don’t think they fully understand how difficult it is for them….”

Negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program are now “dead,” said this expert. “What you are moving into is a period of containment and quarantine…they are going to tighten the noose.”


Other members of the EU — but not all — are responding in solidarity with Britain.  Germany, which has had an all-too cordial relationship with Iran (with its ambassador to Iran once referring to the “treasured” German-Iranian relationship), has now recalled that ambassador, reduced its diplomatic staff in Tehran, and summoned Iran’s ambassador for a warning. 

France has said it would push the EU foreign ministers to look at additional sanctions.

So, it’s going in the right direction, but we’re not there yet. 

Just today, the EU added 180 entities and people to its sanctions list. But the EU is still just “considering” the possibility of additional sanctions in the energy and financial sectors — and those are the sectors that matter the most.

We must hope that this is the beginning of a downward spiral — that the more beleaguered Iran feels, the more belligerent will be its behavior, and the more this will inspire a tightening of that noose.


My last post was on November 29, which is when, in 1947, the UN General Assembly passed Resolution 181 recommending the partition of Palestine into two states.  In commemoration, I shared some of the history with regard to that event.

But what was the UN doing on November 29th?  Marking “International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.”  As Anne Bayefsky, of Eye on the UN, has described the day:

“Notwithstanding alleged UN support for a two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, at New York Headquarters Tuesday only the flag of the non-state of Palestine was flown alongside the UN’s own flag. The flag of the member state of Israel was barred.”

Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon delivered a message for the day, via a deputy: 

“The Palestinian Authority is now institutionally ready to assume the responsibilities of statehood…Jerusalem must emerge from negotiations as the capital of two states.”

As Bayefsky pointed out, this statement about Jerusalem contradicted the conclusion to Ban’s message: that “the goal” was “a negotiated peace agreement on all final status issues including…Jerusalem.”  But we shouldn’t expect logic from the UN.


Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian ambassador to the UN, made his statement as well:

“He accused Israel of the alleged offense of ‘Judaization,’ in addition to ‘ethnic cleansing’ and ‘apartheid.’ Without batting an eye over the preposterous distortion, he claimed Israel’s membership in the UN was ‘conditional’ upon ‘Israel’s commitment to the partition resolution’ which he stressed gave it less area than it has now. He never mentioned that in 1947 Jews accepted the resolution and Arabs rejected it.”

This is the Arab attempt to turn back the clock and force Israel into the area originally proposed by the General Assembly for a Jewish state.  The fact that Israel today is in control of a considerably larger area is the result of our having won defensive wars fought when attacked by Arabs.


The event moved from ugly to obscene, as “the UN ‘Committee on the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People’ encouraged everyone to attend the screening by the UN of the film…’The Land Speaks Arabic’ – ‘in order to show solidarity with the Palestinian people.’  Advertised in the UN daily journal, the film draws parallels between the Nazis’ final solution and the alleged Zionist ‘brutal plans’ for Palestinians.”


As awful as this is, we need to know what is going on.  You can see Bayefsky’s full article at:


And the statement of Israeli Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor here:



You want to know about Israeli “apartheid”? Consider this news story put out by the IDF:
A five-year old Palestinian boy, Abdullah Ramal, who suffered from chronic kidney disease, was brought into Israel for life-saving surgery back in September. After undergoing rigorous dialysis treatments at Shaarei Tzedek Hospital he was moved to Bellinson Hospital in Petach Tikvah, where he received a kidney donated by his father, Ibrahim.

The Israeli Civil Administration coordinated the procedures and covered full costs for the surgery and associated medications — 380,000 NIS (roughly $100,000). In all, the Civil Administration donated about 2.5 million shekels in 2011 to ensure organ transplants for 5 Palestinian families.  (Emphasis added)



Last month, the Quartet requested that both Israel and the PA submit their proposals on security arrangements and borders by January.  The PA, complying, has apparently submitted a plan, complete with a map. 

According to YNET, this happened in mid-November in a meeting between Saeb Erekat and Quartet officials. The only information provided about the borders is that the map — of course! — delineated the ’67 armistice line (the Green Line) as the border, with a 1.9 % swap in territory.  That is, Israel would be permitted 1.9% of Judea and Samaria beyond the ’67 line, but the PA would be given an equivalent amount of land inside the Green Line. 1.9%?  That much, huh?

Needless to say, this is totally unacceptable to Israel.  Just as any proposal Israel would make would be unacceptable to the PA.

Originally it had been reported that Israel had agreed to comply with the Quartet request, which was worrisome, as any commitment on paper, even if tentative and predicated on certain conditions, is not a good idea. 

YNet now reports that the Israeli government says there will be no proposal submitted until negotiations resume. A relief, if so. Israel’s guiding principle in negotiations has been that nothing is decided until everything is decided and that partial offers cannot be made outside the context of a full agreement.


From Barry Rubin of BESA we have the latest assessment with regard to the Egyptian elections, and it is very somber indeed:

“Since last February I have predicted that the Muslim Brotherhood would win elections in Egypt. People have thought me very pessimistic. Now the votes are starting to come in and…it’s much worse than I thought. But my prediction that the Brotherhood and the other Islamists would gain a slight majority seems to have been fulfilled and then some. According to most reports the Brotherhood is scoring at just below 40 percent all by itself.

“Why worse? For two reasons:

“First, the votes we now have come from the most urban areas of the country. If there are Facebook sophisticates they’re going to be in Cairo and Alexandria. If the moderates do that bad in the big cities, what’s going to happen in the villages up the Nile?…

“The Brotherhood came in first in Cairo and Alexandria. Think about that. Of course there are millions of migrants from rural areas in those places but that’s also where the middle class, such as it is, lives.

“Second, the moderate parties didn’t even come in second they came in third or close to it. The Salafists—that is people who are even more radical than the Muslim Brotherhood—came in second. That they did that well is a surprise. That they did that well without bumping the Brotherhood down a notch is really shocking.


“…the Facebook kids of January are getting 5 to 10 percent. Even together with the other two main moderate parties that means the liberals won’t be able to block anything. Already the Brotherhood is tasting blood and talking about pressing the army junta to accelerate the turnover of power.

“It’s hard to see, though that there can be any such transfer of power. The voting is far from finished and will be going on for about three months more, followed by a presidential election. Oh, yes, the results so far suggest that the Islamists will also win the presidency.

“That’s when the fun really starts. President Barack Obama is going to face a challenge he is incapable of meeting since he doesn’t even understand what’s going on. He’s like a man who has been told that a ferocious lion is really a playful kitten and then tries to feed it by hand. (Emphasis added)


“For the purposes of this election, Egypt has been divided into three sections and each section will have a second round. I predict the moderates will fail to work together and that the Islamists will thus end up doing even better than it seems now.

“The Wall Street Journal correspondent is saying that the Salafists will push the Brotherhood further to the ‘right’ and that’s a very sensible point. Why should the Brotherhood even pretend to be moderate when the people have spoken and they want Sharia with cherries on top.

“So the Islamists won and the election was fair. Should we feel good that democracy has functioned and that the people are getting what they want?

“Or should we feel bad that the people want a repressive dictatorship, the repression of women, the suppression of Christians, conflict with Israel, hatred of the West, and the freezing of Egyptian society into a straitjacket that can only lead to continue poverty and increasing suffering?

“…This is what [Egyptian] democracy looks like.” (Emphasis added)



I’ve been reading today about Obama at a political fundraiser, at which he was “challenged” by Jack Rosen, Chair of the American Jewish Congress, who said there were many in the Jewish community who are “concerned” about US-Israel relations.  This was a throw-away line, as the fund-raiser was in Rosen’s house.

The president, on cue, responded that:

“I try not to pat myself too much on the back, but this administration has done more for the security of the state of Israel than any previous administration  We don’t compromise when it comes to Israel’s security … and that will continue.”

I might, in less dire circumstances, say, “Don’t make me laugh, Mr. President.”  But as things stand now, with Obama having promoted “democracy” in Egypt, and thus encouraged the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, which threats Israel’s security, I cannot laugh at all.  Even though talk about his not compromising Israel’s security is a joke — a colossal, sick joke.

If  he tries to pat himself on the back about this, his arm will break.

My only hope that American Jews — and all those in America who support Israel! — will see the light.  We’re going into an election year, my friends.


Let me end, then, with a light-hearted story about Israeli agricultural innovation:

The Baranes family of southern Israel, which runs the company 2Macho, has developed a variety of cherry tomato that can be dried whole. 

“This tomato is an Israeli innovation,” explained Yehuda Baranes. “The innovation is that it has microscopic holes and when it’s dried, the water comes out of the microscopic holes, in contrast to a regular cherry tomato, which is sealed and in order to be dried must be is cut in half.”


The family calls these “raisin” tomatoes. They pack a wallop in terms of flavor and nutrition.   But they are also extremely sweet. And so, they are also being offered chocolate covered.


© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.



1 Comment

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