I begin by sharing the link to my latest article , which went up on Front Page Magazine yesterday. It provides documentation of ways in which the PA is demonstrating — via words and actions — that it is not moderate.
In fact, the PA is so much not a partner for peace that the whole very dangerous Annapolis process does seem other-worldly. Maariv has done an article — translated and summarized by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs — that provides some of that surreal evidence.
"Israel’s security services believe that if they were not making arrests in the West Bank every night, it is quite probable that Hamas would overcome Fatah there as it did so easily in Gaza. In practical terms, this means that, to a great extent, Fatah control in the West Bank is an optical illusion. Israel’s security services are concerned at clear signs of Hamas strengthening in the West Bank….
"[Hamas] forces are training and building bunkers in cities like Nablus and Kalkilya, while its activists plan attacks on Israeli civilian targets. Given this reality, is there any point in conducting negotiations with the heads of Fatah when the issue being discussed is the transfer of land that Fatah is unable to control without the continued presence of the IDF and the Israel Security Agency (Shabak). Of additional concern are the thousands of rifles and millions of bullets that were brought in from Jordan for the Palestinian police. In recent years, due to intensive IDF activity against weapons smuggling, the price of a bullet had risen to tens of shekels. It has now fallen drastically as ammunition from PA police warehouses finds its way into the hands of terrorists."
Please note: "…ammunition from PA police warehouses finds its way into the hands of terrorists."
This is the stuff of nightmares . And we have our so-called leaders to blame. What’s the point in conducting negotiations? There’s the rub, because we shouldn’t be conducting negotiations. THIS is the dangerous part. For the plan, as it’s shaping up, has at least two separate tracks. There is the "bilateral negotiation track" that "will keep the process alive and active." With blinders on, the Israeli team will negotiate core issues and the presumed eventual parameters of a Palestinian state. This is what the parties are saying they hope to wind up by the end of 2008: on paper and signed, an agreement as to what the Palestinian state will look like.
At the same time, as a second track, there will be road map implementation — which means the PA dismantling terrorist infrastructure and Israel removing illegal settlements and stopping expansion. The US will decide when implementation has been done satisfactorily. That is, the US will decide if the PA has eliminated terrorism — and the person responsible for this, Gen. James Jones, is said to tilt to the Palestinians.
The road map was not supposed to take place this way. There was supposed to be compliance with the stipulated commitments in stage one before the parameters of a state were even discussed.
I am not speaking metaphorically when I say this gives me pains in my stomach. For, as I’ve explained numerous times, it’s clear as clear can be that if we were to agree on paper, sign on, to certain parameters for a Palestinian state, it would ultimately be shoved down our throat by the US and the world whether the PA had complied or not.
The PA — even if it had the will, which it does not — is not CAPABLE of eradicating terrorism. You see the evidence above. What Bush and Rice are saying to us is that it would have been nice if the PA could have eliminated terrorism, but it suits their distorted vision, their convoluted needs, to produce a Palestinian state, and they will do their best to see that there is one, everything else be damned.
Now, I hasten to qualify this dire perspective . We don’t know how the next few months will play out. Hamas could take Judea & Samaria, or, more likely, could strike agreement again for a unity government with Fatah (see below), in which case — as before — Hamas would call the shots. Then not only Olmert but also Bush and Rice would be hard put to maintain that we must support a "moderate" Fatah as a foil against Hamas. Negotiations could fail because at the end of the day Abbas — who has compromised on nothing and is not capable of compromise because Hamas is breathing down his neck — will demand more than Olmert is capable of giving if he is to retain his coalition.
But we don’t know what has been agreed behind closed doors; we have already agreed to negotiations that shouldn’t be happening and have ceded power to the US that should have been retained by us. And so, we must fight the good fight to the very best of our ability, without letting up.
Good friends, I receive so many messages that are comforting and let me know that there is support for us in the US. I know I’ve asked repeatedly that you communicate with elected officials. But I must ask, and do so again now. This time I ask that the president and your senators and congresspersons receive the paragraphs above in quotes about Fatah control of the West Bank being an optical illusion. Copy and paste it, and send via fax (which is better) or e-mail. Say that Rice’s plan is a threat to the existence of Israel, and that there should be absolutely NO negotiations on a Palestinian state until the PA is strong enough and has eliminated terrorism. Demand that Bush stop this horrendous plan. Ask your elected representatives to help.
Making noise this way works only if there are numbers. So, please, take the time to do this. And send this to everyone else you can think of who also might do this.
Use this material, as well, to write letters to the editor of your newspapers and talkbacks on blogs, and to do call-ins for talk shows. Broadcast the message.
President George Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500
You can find your Senators contact info. here: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
And your Congresspersons here: http://www.house.gov/house/MemberWWW.shtml
It has been announced that Bush will be visiting here the second week of January; Olmert arranged this when he was in the US for Annapolis. I’m picking up conflicting reports regarding whether Bush will also see Abbas, but I’d be surprised if he didn’t.
This is not good news , as it can only increase the pressure.
Almagor, an Israel organization that represents victims of terror, has released a study indicating that Palestinian terrorists released previously by Israel have been responsible for at least 30 terror attacks that have taken 177 Israeli lives. Eighty percent of prisoner
s released return to terror.
A sign of "peace and moderation": The UN has apparently proposed a Middle East environmental training center. This seems to be the case, although I hadn’t read about it, because a Saudi official has said the Arabs reject it since it would include Israel.
Nothing, but nothing has changed.
"Arabs don’t need training from Israel," he said. The joke is that the Arab world is beset by problems of desertification and Israel is the world leader on making the desert green. They could learn a great deal from us.
PA chief negotiator Ahmed Qurei has said that negotiations will be coordinated with Syria.
Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi recently said that the IDF was ready for a major operation in Gaza and what remained was the political decision. There had been the feeling that the operation was to occur after Annapolis, but so far it has not happened.
Defense Minister Barak paid a visit to the Gaza Division of the IDF this evening, accompanied by Ashkenazi, and there are hints that the operation, considered by the IDF to be inevitable, may be moving closer.
Continual delays suggest a caving of resolve at the political level that is not acceptable.
Hamas is making overtures to Fatah . Haniyeh is calling for "an unconditional dialogue to heal the Palestinian wounds." Reportedly Saudi Arabia, which brokered the Mecca agreement, carried a message to Abbas, who is said to be holding out for Hamas to relinquish control of Gaza. Note, please, that he is NOT holding out for Hamas to recognize Israel and acknowledge previous agreements, so that negotiations can proceed on behalf of all Palestinians.
The IDF spokesman has announced that today armed gunmen in Bethlehem opened fire on members of the IDF during an operation. Some of the gunmen were later identified as Palestinian security personnel.
This is getting to be a habit , isn’t it?
Once again, let me close with lovely news . A dig in a parking lot right outside the Dung Gate (the gate that leads to the Kotel), done before the enlargement of the parking lot, has now revealed a major structure from Second Temple times; it has been dated by associated pottery and coins. Archeologist Doron Ben-Ami, who is heading the dig, says there is a high probability that it is the palace of Queen Helena, whose family built lavish buildings in the City of David (outside the present Old City walls), and who was known for generosity to the poor of Jerusalem. This finding indicates that the City of David was larger than had been thought.
What perspective this provides.