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May 17, 2009: Hearing It Straight

July 6, 2009

Now, as we approach the meeting between Prime Minister Netanyahu — who does not utter that phrase “two-state solution” — and President Obama — who has committed himself to formation of a Palestinian state. Now, is the time to hear this and share this.

MEMRI, the Middle East Media Research Institute, follows what Arabs are saying in Arabic to other Arabs — in TV interviews, speeches, editorials and more — and provides translations. These are the words that provide the surest key to what the Arabs intend. Yet these are the words most often ignored by politicians (decision-makers) and media. Which means that decision makers and media — afloat in an aura of wishful thinking — are often lost with regard to those intentions.


On May 7, Abbas Zaki, who is PLO Ambassador to Lebanon, gave an interview on ANB TV (Lebanon).

It’s time, he said, to stop fooling around with half-way measures in dealing with Israel, and to come to a final agreement. Everyone talks about a two-state solution:

“With the two-state solution, in my opinion, Israel will collapse, because if they get out of Jerusalem, what will become of all the talk about the Promised Land and the Chosen People? What will become of all the sacrifices they made – just to be told to leave? They consider Jerusalem to have a spiritual status. The Jews consider Judea and Samaria to be their historic dream. If the Jews leave those places, the Zionist idea will begin to collapse. It will regress of its own accord. Then we will move forward.”

Can it get any clearer than this? (Thanks! Cheryl H.)

The clip (in Arabic with translation) can be seen at: http://www.memritv.org:80/clip/en/2109.htm

The transcript of the (translated) interview is at: http://www.memritv.org/clip_transcript/en/2109.htm


I will suggest to my American readers that this quote and the URLs for the clip and transcript be sent to President Obama immediately. Ask him if he knows what he’s pushing.

Phone: 202-456-1111 Fax: 202-456-2461 E-mail form at http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/

Send this material as well to your elected representatives and senators:

To locate your representatives:


To locate your senators:



A note of explanation here. Zaki speaks in his interview of how they shouldn’t give Israel a hudna anymore, as this allows Israel to strengthen. I found this amusing. A hudna is an Islamic term, not a Western or Israeli one, and it reflects an Islamic concept of warfare. While the word is often translated as “truce,” what it more accurately means is an agreed upon temporary cessation of hostilities that allows Muslim forces to strengthen towards the day when hostilities will be initiated again. This is what Hamas aims for when it seeks a ceasefire with us.

Zaki was a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council and has served as head of Fatah operations; he is presently a PLO Central Committee member.


There is considerable press being dedicated to that meeting between Netanyahu and Obama tomorrow, with various predictions as to how hard Obama will lean on Netanyahu and how likely it is that Netanyahu will cave (and finally utter that “two state” phrase).

We must hope (and pray) that Netanyahu has gotten the message here: We don’t want him to shift his current position. The feeling is so strong that I believe he will risk his coalition if he agrees to start negotiations on a Palestinian state.

Most of the Likud faction is opposed to his doing this — in particular influential ministers such as Moshe Yaalon, Benny Begin and Yisrael Katz — and there is even talk of a rebellion within the party should Netanyahu give way. Likud MK Danny Danon wrote a letter to the prime minister last week urging him to stay strong; Danon reports that Netanyahu assured him not to worry.

Other right wing factions within the coalition are equally concerned, while residents of Judea and Samaria have demonstrated outside of Netanyahu’s residence, urging him to stay strong. Likud MK Ofir Akonis says that “The vast majority of Israelis, including representatives of the Opposition in Knesset, reject this formula” — two-states, which would (as the Palestinians intend it) ultimately be for one people. He believes that Netanyahu, who understands the situation, will not commit to establishment of a Palestinian state while in Washington.

Only Barak and his Labor associates are pushing for negotiations for two states.


There is the possibility, as well, that Obama is not even planning on lowering the boom on our prime minister on their very first meeting.

According to unnamed senior White House officials cited by YNet, Obama will not be advancing a new plan for Middle East peace now, but will be pushing for compliance on both sides with regard to Road Map stipulations.

While Obama has already met with Jordan’s King Abdullah, he is scheduled to meet with Egypt’s President Mubarak and PA President Abbas only after meeting with Netanyahu. He may yet be in relationship-building and fact-finding mode with respect to the various Middle East leaders he will be speaking with.


We must remember, as well, that while Netanyahu has said he would be going to Washington with a plan for dealing with the Palestinians based on a fresh analysis of the situation, his primary concern is Iran.

On this issue, as well, there is no meeting of the minds between Israeli and US officials, so that the possibility of conflict presents itself. But here, too, I am seeing what seems to me a subtle shift in tone from Obama. He is certainly not withdrawing his intention to pursue dialogue with Iran, but he made some statements that surprised me in an interview with Newsweek that is currently on its website.

“I understand very clearly that Israel considers Iran an existential threat, and given some of the statements that have been made by President Ahmadinejad, you can understand why.” This doesn’t mean he thinks Iran represents an existential threat, but he’s coming part way.

In fact, said the president, since Israel is “right there in the range [of Iranian missiles], their calculation of costs and benefits are (sic) going to be more acute.” Thus he didn’t see it as his place to “determine for the Israelis what their security needs are.”



Why is it then, that, according to the Post, CIA director Leon Panetta, during his trip here three weeks ago urged our leaders to “tone down” our pronouncements with regard to attacks on Iran? This is being seen as counterproductive to the US policy of reaching out a hand of peace to the Iranians — offering them inclusion in the international community in return for abandoning their nuclear development.

While Netanyahu refused to take the possibility of our attacking Iran off the table, promises were made to Panetta that “there will be no surprises”: the US will be informed if we move to attack. It is not clear to me if this means notice would be considerably in advance of an attack, or very briefly before (“we’re going into the air in an hour”) to preclude US moves to stop us.


There are mixed messages being delivered as to how the US will handle itself when dialogue with Iran fails. In that interview alluded to above, Obama said:

“…the approach we are taking is one that has to be given a chance and offers the prospect of security, not just for the United States but also for Israel, that is superior to some of the other alternatives.”

However, he explained, he wasn’t naive, and “I’ve been very clear that I don’t take any options off the table with respect to Iran…” (Have some of his aides injected a note of realism into his thinking?)

This delivers a different message than the one coming from US officials concerned about Israel sounding too bellicose. They, according to the Post, acknowledge that Obama’s efforts may fail, but they say that in this case it may be necessary for the US and its allies to live with a nuclear Iran. (So say they.) And — the most disgusting part of this entire scenario — either way there should be no threats. Talk about an appeasing attitude.


The budget has passed in the Cabinet and is expected to also pass in the Knesset. I’m particularly glad for this now, as internal struggling in the face of all we have to contend with on the outside would weaken us.


Pope Benedict is back at the Vatican, which is just fine with most of us.

I observed that he said what his hosts of the moment wanted to hear, so that, for example, he lamented with the Palestinians regarding the suffering they endure because of the imposition of the security fence: “In a world where more and more borders are being opened up – to trade, to travel, to movement of peoples, to cultural exchanges – it is tragic to see walls still being erected.” But when he was with Peres he addressed the unfortunate need to put up such a barrier against terrorism. A pointless exercise, finally.

But in the end what raised my hackles the most was his statement to Abbas:

“Mr. President, the Holy See supports the right of your people to a sovereign Palestinian homeland in the land of your forefathers.”

Excuse me? This land is our homeland, the land of our forefathers.


The new PA government, which was supposed to have been sworn in by now, is being delayed because of internal Fatah tensions regarding its composition.


I am currently in the midst of a major report on UNRWA, which has particular significance because of Hamas connections to this agency and international intentions of using it as a conduit of fund for reconstruction in Gaza.

And so, please, bear with me, my friends, if I am slow in answering communication. I will try not to skip posting on any day on which there are significant happenings.

There are, actually, several other issues regarding the UN that I want to look at, as well, in my postings.


“The Good News Corner”

Prof. Abraham Katzir of Tel Aviv University’s School of Physics and Astronomy has developed a technique for identifying contaminated water, even though it looks clear to the naked eye, by use of the infrared spectrum, which is not visible to humans.

Using a specially designed infrared spectrometer that is connected by fibers to the water source, this system is able to detect contamination as soon as it enters a reservoir or pipeline and notify authorities immediately. It can detect poison in amounts well below the thresholds set by the World Health Organization, and may be the first real-time monitor to protect against chemical attack.





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