Yesterday I wrote about concessions to the PA that Barak was eager to make before the arrival of Secretary of State Rice next week.
Today we have news of more of the same. Barak has now decided that he will permit 600 PA police officers into Jenin. They will be responsible for maintaining law and order during the day, while the IDF will retain security control and will operate at night.
Barak explained that "It is clear to us all that we must exhaust all possible ways of assisting the negotiations with the Palestinians. We must ease restrictions on the Palestinians whenever it does not conflict with defense, even at the price of a calculated risk."
Responded MK Yuli Edelstein (Likud), "The defense minister, who is being guarded and secured 24 hours a day, is putting the citizens’ safety at risk."
His point is well taken: it’s easy for Barak to talk about risks to others.
In truth I’m not certain how much risk this entails. Not if the IDF is still on the scene, still responsible for security, and able to operate against terrorists every night. The Palestinian police, who are being trained in Jordan, will be responsible for stopping hooligans from harassing people on the street, preventing the illegal shooting of guns, and the like.
What MK Edelstein is referring to, however , is not the failure of PA police to stop terrorism, but their complicity in terrorism: "…one can ask the Zoldan family, the Rubin family and the Amichai family, which turned into victims following the murders of their sons in recent months by PA policemen."
What infuriates me is the entire notion that we "must" do everything possible to assist the negotiations, even if it comes with a risk to Israeli citizens. Says who?
A little bit more "wait and see" may be necessary, but right now the prospects for that reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah is looking dim. The stumbling block is Hamas’s unwillingness to give back Gaza.
Whatever happens, however, I wish to make one exceedingly important point: Abbas was willing. His stipulation involved a matter only of his party’s power and control. Be aware that he never stipulated that Hamas had to agree to negotiations, to a two-state solution, or to a renunciation of terrorism. He is on the record as saying he has never asked Hamas to recognize Israel as a Jewish state.
Had Abbas gotten Gaza, he would have merged both government agencies and security forces with Hamas. And this tells us a great deal about Abbas.
The Syrians were supposed to be holding a major Arab summit in Damascus next week. But the Saudis have announced that they won’t be attending, and several other Arab states are likely to follow his example. Syria now finds itself out of favor with many Arab leaders because of its ties to a much feared Iran. There is speculation that the summit may even be called off.
At the same time, Abdullah, the very same Saudi king who decided to stay away from Damascus, has also decided to hold an interfaith conference that would have the theme of "respect among the religions."
"I invite representatives of all the monotheistic religions to meet with their brothers in faith," he said. "With God’s help we will meet our brethren from other religions, including those who believe in the Torah and in the Gospel, in order to find ways to defend humanity."
Please understand: Saudi Arabia is one of the most religiously repressive and intolerant of nations. Jews aren’t allowed in, and there has been a ban on the building of churches.
The report of this announcement explains that Abdullah is concerned with decreasing morality, and problems such as the disintegration of the family. But I wonder how there might be "disintegration of the family" in a country where women are not allowed out of the house except in the company of a male relative.
Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi may have enthused that "Our hands are extended to any peace initiative and to any dialogue that will bring about an end to terrorism and violence. I have said on numerous occasions that the true path to the peace that we long for is through interfaith dialogue."
But I’m not ready to go there yet, and can only wonder what the hidden agenda is.
I strongly recommend "U.S. Aid for Terror," by Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld and Alyssa A. Lappen:
"The CIA has apparently assumed the Palestinian terrorist-training role previously held by the former Soviet Union. Since 1994, the CIA armed and trained thousands of Palestinian ‘security forces,’ who subsequently joined every Palestinian terrorist organization.
"CIA Palestinian training success is best described by a member of the PA’s Chairman own security unit, Force 17, officer Abu Yusef: ‘The operations of the Palestinian resistance would [not] have been so successful and ‘would not have killed more than 1,000 Israelis since 2000, and defeated the Israelis in Gaza without [American military] trainings,’ he boasted in August 2007…
The PA received ‘the highest per capita aid transfer in the history of foreign aid anywhere,’ according to former World Bank country director for Gaza and the West Bank, Nigel Roberts. Not surprisingly, hundreds of thousands of Gazans spent more than $300 million in less than two weeks shopping spree, after Hamas blew up the border with Egypt. Yet, the Palestinian economy is in ruins, Why?
In March 2007, PA Prime Minister and former World Bank official Salam Fayyad, told London’s Daily Telegraph : ‘No one can give donors that assurance’ that funds reach their designated destinations. ‘Where is all of the transparency in all of this? It’s gone.’ Controlling Palestinian finances, Fayyad concluded, is ‘virtually impossible.’
Palestinian violence has escalated since the 1994 PA establishment and PA officials have produced an unbroken record of unfulfilled promises and outright deception. Yet President George W. Bush in his January 28 State of the Union Address, reassured the Palestinians that ‘America will do, and I will do, everything we can to help them achieve…a Palestinian state by the end of this year.’"
Americans, are you really furious yet?