I want to start with the news that’s hopeful, precisely because so very little is hopeful. According to a spokesman for MK Effie Eitam (National Union), as reported by YNet, Eitam is going to join with Nobel laureate Israel (Robert) Aumann, to form a new right wing nationalist party that would serve as an umbrella for several smaller parties.
That is all together a good thing, for part of the problem in the right wing camp is that there are several small groups. If a cohesiveness is established, then with it comes greater electoral strength and greater political clout. And boy, do we need it.
Aumann is a man who engenders enormous respect: he demonstrates solid traditional values and great insight in analyzing the problems of this nation. His stated views have been most somber. He himself has no interest in running for the Knesset — he only wishes to help establish the party. It speaks well for him that he is stepping forward out of concern for the nation, and not for personal political gain.
Let’s watch, and hope , and see where this goes.
So…Bush is coming and the news this morning was that the US was preparing a plan to station third party troops in Judea and Samaria. Why? Because there is a problem regarding how to deal with "the period between when Israel leaves large swaths of the West Bank and the PA is able to take over control."
Well. I try. I really do. I want to live a long life and fury is not good for my health. But I don’t know how to avoid that fury when I read garbage such as this. Foreign troops in Judea and Samaria would be a disaster for a variety of reasons — not least of which because we would be prevented from going after terrorists, who would essentially be shielded by those international troops.
But there’s more: why is anyone even talking about our pulling back before the PA can handle security? This business of negotiating a state before the PA is ready is horrendous. But according to that plan (something Rice and Livni cooked up, I think) we’re supposed to determine what that state would look like — in the diplomatic jargon, to give them a "political horizon" — to motivate them to relinquish terrorism. Nonsense, but that’s the plan. However, according to this, we do not actually give them anything until they have proved themselves. The plan Bush envisions pushes it all further, to a point that is even more ridiculous.
The Palestinians, it seems, will be held to zero accountability.
Who ever heard of giving people land when they are not equipped to hold it and maintain it? They have this coming to them? This is going to solve the world’s problems?
I raise this entire issue because it is indicative of how the president of the US is thinking, and of the dangers we face.
But it is all moot. For later tonight, this plan was rejected: The PA will not consider foreign troops in Judea and Samaria. Well, this was good news. And it was also good for my health, because laughter releases tension. The reason why they rejected it? Because, according to a senior PA official, "the Palestinian security forces are capable of assuming their responsibilities in the area."
That is good for a very big laugh. These are the security forces that arrest people who steal olive oil instead of going after gunmen. Whose leader, Mahmoud Abbas, is afraid to leave Ramallah and go into Jenin or Nablus.
We’re dealing in some sort of alternate universe here, for sure.
I cannot write off so glibly the comments of Sec. of State Rice, who, incidentally, is coming along with Bush’s entourage. Says she: "…the United States doesn’t make a distinction" between settlement activity in east Jerusalem and the West Bank. She claims that we have to stop all construction past the Green Line. It’s our obligation under the roadmap, you see.
I would have problems with what she says in any case, because I believe absolutely that this is our land and we have a right to build — and no where so more than in Jerusalem.
But what irks me even further is that the PA is not remotely meeting its obligations, although it does a surface job of pretending to do so. We’ve been seeing a spate of terrorist killings and planned killings by Al Aksa gunmen who are members of the security forces of the PA, for heaven’s sake. We’ve just seen security forces personnel who cover for such murders, lying to the IDF in the process. Condoleezza Rice is advised to cock an eye in that direction and see exactly what we’re dealing with before talking about how we must met our "obligations."
Tomorrow is another day, a day in which I will be at my computer. No where I intend to go with the roads closed for Bush’s visit. And so I’ll pick up then and look in more detail at a variety of other political and security doings. Things are happening quickly and matters are often muddled.