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June 28, 2010: Still Determined

September 20, 2010

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, that is, with regard to carrying out the municipality’s development plan, which will include the demolition of 22 illegally-built houses in Gan Hamelech, in Silwan.  This in spite of major Arab rioting last night.  Good going for the mayor, at least so far.


Sorry that I cannot say the same for Prime Minister Netanyahu. 

The Border Police, it was reported today, will be holding a massive drill in Judea and Samaria this week aimed at dealing with an escalation in Israeli and Palestinian Arab violence.  One of the scenarios being rehearsed is the situation that will ensue if the building moratorium is extended.

I would not say with certainty that Netanyahu has already decided that the freeze will be extended — that he already knows he will give the nod to Obama when he visits Washington next week.  That decision, one would guess, is going to be played out within a larger dynamic — with various factors to be considered, such as how supportive the president shows himself to be on other issues and how hard Netanyahu’s arm is twisted.  But it is clear that a scenario in which the freeze is extended is being given weight as a distinct possibility.

How nice it would have been to read, simply, that the police were preparing for the eventuality of increased Palestinian Arab violence in response to the resumption of building in Judea and Samaria in late September.  That, of course, is what should have been the case, given the prime minister’s repeated insistence that the freeze will not be extended.


If Netanyahu does cave, my guess is that we will not know it right away: Our prime minister is not likely to return and say, “My fellow Israelis, I know I gave my word, but the threats were so ominous, or the deal offered so attractive, that I reversed myself while sitting in the Oval Office.”  Nah…

The pertinent information will come to us slowly, piecemeal.  Perhaps there will be leaks and innuendoes. Or maybe the freeze will be continued de facto, with approvals for building held up, and awareness dawning after some measure of time. 

While Netanyahu is in Washington, he will have a photo op with Obama and will smilingly tell reporters how wonderful his visit with the president was.


Indeed, the prediction is that Netanyahu will find a very warm welcome at the White House, for Obama is trying to undo the political damage that ensued as a result of his hostile attitude to Israel.  There is a multitude of signs indicating a shift in how the administration is conducting itself with regard to Israel.  Yet it’s imperative that form and substance not be confused.

Commentator Isi Leibler, in his recent piece, “Netanyahu, Place not your trust in princes,” addresses this very issue:

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is likely to receive a red carpet reception from President Barack Obama at the White House combined with a reaffirmation about the ‘unshakeable US-Israel alliance.’ However we should not delude ourselves. It is clear that Obama’s recent charm campaign was primarily in response to pressure from the American people and in particular from Jewish Democratic supporters shocked into action by the administration’s increasingly negative approach toward Israel and the crass reception accorded to Netanyahu during his last visit.

“The bonhomie was intended to assuage domestic anger to avert loss of votes and funding for the forthcoming congressional elections. Even though administration officials, including Rahm Emanuel, conceded that they ‘had screwed up the messaging’ and are unlikely to repeat their previous boorish humiliation of Israel, there are no signs that the US administration is about to modify its policy.”



One more dumb move:

Mosab Hassan Yousef is the son of Hamas leader Sheikh Hassan Yousef.  But he is also a convert to Christianity who worked with the Israeli Shin Bet (Security) for nine years, providing information on terrorists that averted attacks and saved numerous lives.

In the US for three years, he has had his request for asylum rejected because he alluded in his memoirs to the fact that he worked with Hamas.  His book, “Son of Hamas,” was published earlier this year; when he wrote it, he had no idea that it would sabotage his appeal for asylum.  In spite of his explanation that his association with Hamas was undercover and that he was working to subvert Hamas, authorities came to the conclusion that he was a Hamas-supporting terrorist.  Thus he is threatened with deportation.

Mosab was honored Wednesday night at a Washington DC dinner, at which the pro-Israel organization run by Sarah Stern, Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET), granted him a “Rays of Light in the Darkness” Award. 

Mosab faces a death threat because of his renunciation of Islam.

This past week, his former Israeli handler, G. Ben-Itzhak, a Shin Bet agent, revealed his identity for the first time in order to speak on behalf of Mosab Yousef.  “Mosab is not a terrorist!  He risked his life every day in order to prevent [violence],” he told those present at the EMET dinner.

Ben-Itzhak is in the US in order to testify at Mosab’s deportation hearing on June 30.  “I need to come to the courthouse,” he said, “and tell the judge the truth.”


According to one documentary about Mosab Yousef, when he was asked if the Palestinians and Israel can live together, he replied: “There is no chance. Is there any chance for fire to co-exist with the water?”

It has been suggested that Obama would benefit from reading his book.



While I believe that the Lebanese ships may still be on their way, Iran has cancelled plans to send a flotilla to attempt to break the blockade of Gaza. 

According to Hossein Sheikholeslam, secretary general of the International Conference for the Support of the Palestinian Intifada:

“The Zionist regime has made the blockade a political issue and we do not wish to politicise this kind of humanitarian aid because the most important thing for us is to break the blockade of Gaza.”

Cute, no? 

He said the voyage was cancelled as Israel “had sent a letter to the United Nations saying that the presence of Iranian and Lebanese ships in the Gaza area will be considered a declaration of war on that regime and it will confront it.

“In order to deprive the Zionist regime of any excuse, the aid collected for the oppressed people of Gaza will be delivered to them by other means without mentioning the name of Iran.”

There is a great deal going on behind the scenes, and I do not wish to speculate on exactly what did discourage the Iranians.  Not yet, at any rate.  What I will say is that things may not be as bad as we often feel they are.  The fact of the matter is that Iran pulled back, unprepared to confront us — our deterrence power must be OK.


With the emphasis on Gaza in recent weeks, there has been a resurgence of publicity here to bring home Gilad Shalit. Right now, a march for Shalit, from the north to Jerusalem, is underway, led by Noam Shalit, who is accompanied by thousands.

I will not belabor this here.  I’ve made my position clear over time.  I, too, would dearly love to see this man brought home.  But not — not ever — at the cost of releasing a thousand terrorists who would put many other Israeli civilians at risk and increase the likelihood of further kidnapping of soldiers to boot.  We must not be blackmailed this way, and it cannot be Gilad Shalit at any cost.

So far, thankfully, no movement from our government on this.  It has been made clear that a deal was offered six months ago, which would permit the release of 600 prisoners, but would not include those responsible for major terrorist operations.  Certain Hamas people who would be released would be required to go somewhere other than Judea and Samaria — it is felt their release to this area is sought in order to strengthen Hamas operations there. 

This deal is not to Hamas’s liking.

Unfortunately, the pressure on the government to bring Shalit’s release at any cost may serve to strengthen Hamas resolve that if they hold out they can get what they want.


Obama is opposed to the release of prisoners in this deal.  Not because he cares one iota about endangering Israelis, but because this would give Hamas a victory that would weaken Abbas.  It would be very ironic indeed if Obama’s opposition helped to maintain the starch in Netanyahu’s spine on this issue.


I strongly recommend the video provided here:


This is an interview of Itamar Marcus, who heads Palestinian Media Watch, here in Israel, by Richard Landes, academic and author who is an associate professor at Boston U and spends part of his time in Israel.  Landes coined the term “Pallywood, which means “productions staged by the Palestinians, in front of camera crews, for the purpose of promoting anti-Israel propaganda.” Ignore the pitch to become a subscriber to PJTV and wait for the interview. The 16 minutes is well worth it.

In the course of discussing the need to pay attention to what PA leaders say to their own people in Arabic (something that the Obama administration apparently does not at all!), Marcus touches upon a great many important facts.  The video ends with a clip of PA president Mahmoud Abbas, speaking in Arabic recently, and putting the lie to all the sweet and lovely “moderate” things he said while in the US to see Obama.

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