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March 30, 2008: Deplorable

March 30, 2008

Well, it was unlikely that Rice , who is here, would have readily walked away without further concessions from Israel for the sake of the "peace process." Some concessions, of some sort, from our craven, appeasing government. But what has taken place is above and beyond.

After Rice met with Defense Minister Barak and PA Prime Minister Fayyad here in Jerusalem, she actually said she was "amazed" by the gestures being advanced by Israel. I don’t wonder at her amazement, as this sort of one-sided, tushy-kissing effort to be nice to an entity that in fact wishes us gone is quite breath-taking. But, rather than being "amazed," I’m just plain shocked. And outraged.

Rice announced that a number of concrete actions will be taken to improve the situation.


Take a deep breath before reading this list of Barak’s major offers:

[] The establishment of a Palestinian city (or series of neighborhoods) north of the town of al-Bireh, outside of Ramallah, to be paid for by a Jordanian businessman, to alleviate housing shortages in the Ramallah area. It would house tens of thousands of Palestinians.

This strikes me as most offensive of all . After the PA screams bloody murder about building a few hundred units in existing communities, and just one day after Abbas lied about this and said we were doing unprecedented building, we make this offer?

[] Increasing the number of laborers allowed into Israel to 5,000.

[] Taking down one checkpoint and 50 roadblocks , in order to ease the movement of Palestinians between the cities of Jenin, Tulkarm, Kalkilya and Ramallah.

As I remember, these roadblocks went up because easy movement between these cities allowed weapons to be transported.

[] Easing of restrictions on Palestinian public figures.

But just about a week ago a Palestinian official was caught smuggling large numbers of phones from Jordan.

[] Easing security checks for Palestinian businessmen.

Of course, a businessman would never aid a terrorist.

Barak further suggested:

[] Upgrading the infrastructure for aiding the Palestinians waiting at the crossings, the cost of which is estimated at NIS 8.3 million.

[] Transferring 325 cars and logistic equipment from the IDF to the Palestinian security organizations, including generators, blankets and first aid kits.


I have on occasion commented that our leaders who take such actions are crazy. But I’ve been cautioned by some readers to avoid saying that, because truly crazy people are absolved of responsibility for their actions — and the comment is on the mark.

What I will say, instead, is that this is very sick, but that Barak remains fully responsible for his decisions.


You may be wondering what the PA will be offering in all of this. After all, Fayyad and Barak met together to put forward suggests to improve the situation.

Well, it was agreed that the Palestinian security forces must assume "greater responsibility."

I did not note a precise delineation of responsibility for what.

They also agreed to step up efforts to "prevent terror."

Again, that vagueness. Nothing that could be quantified or measured — the way Barak’s promises on taking down 50 roadblocks or allowing 5,000 laborers into Israel can be measured.

I heard tonight, by the way, from a very reliable source that Rice said today that the US would be watching Israel closely to see that these commitments were honored.

But the Palestinians? Hey, they can say they made an effort to prevent terror, they gave it their best.


And Fayyad? This particular son of a bitch refused to make a public statement with Olmert and Rice. Take all that’s offered, but not be seen to be too close to Israeli leader, who is an enemy of Palestine, after all. The photo op would not have served him in the street, which admires Hamas.


And as if this is not bad enough, Barak and Olmert are making gestures to Syria regarding resuming peace negotiations.

From a military perspective this is a disaster. I heard Maj. Gen (res) Yaakov Amidror — former Commander of the IDF’s National Defense College and currently with the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs — speak on a panel sponsored by Likud Anglo tonight. As Syria’s demand for peace is return of the Golan Heights, his assessment was that negotiating peace with Syria might mean we would ultimately find ourselves fighting Iranians in the Galil.

Another panel member, Dan Diker — Director of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs and a Senior Foreign Policy Analyst at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs — made this incisive observation: Timing is everything. We have just seen that heads of major Arab countries are snubbing Syria by not participating in the conference in Damascus. And now? Now is the time we pick to undercut that message and confer legitimacy on Syria by reaching out to Assad?

A theme of this panel was the recognition that concessions don’t work. Israel, in 1993, had the notion that the more we gave the more the world would respect us. But the reverse has happened, as the world has lost respect for us and has stopped understanding that we have legitimate rights in this land. As we fail to stand up for ourselves, it is the Palestinian narrative that is being internalized internationally.


One last comment before closing: I heard it tonight from an American with major contacts (as I’ve hard it before from an international lawyer here with Washington DC connections): Rice is running the show, and she’s doing the work of Saudi Arabia. But Bush’s attitude towards Israel is not the same as Rice’s. He is being seriously misled: By Rice, whom he trusts, and by the PA leaders, whose lovely words of peace he trusts, and by the Israeli leaders, who tell him how much we’re willing to give up.

It may be futile. But it must be attempted at every juncture, calling on every possible political contact, sending every possible message: Bush needs to be provided with the realities.




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