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May 31, 2007: Nonsense

May 31, 2007

In Hebrew it’s called shtuyote, and that is what I’m seeing. But it’s hardly benign nonsense — it’s a patently ridiculous way of handling things that leads to risks for our nation.

Olmert is seeking a way to stop the launching of Kassams into Israeli territory without taking the strong defensive measures that are actually required to do this. His latest gambit is to suggest that there’s interest in the Arab League "peace plan," but that we can’t talk about it until the Kassams stop.

Said Olmert yesterday, in a meeting with four Congressmen: "We see a tangible change in the Arab position by virtue of the fact that 22 Arab countries are looking for a way to make peace with Israel, not war." But, he indicated, it was impossible to hold serious negotiations on this while the Kassams were flying.

Does he really believe that 22 Arab nations want to make peace with Israel? Does he not see that what they are offering is not "peace" but an agreement that would weaken Israel substantially — that they are simply seeking to do us in without the war?

Remember, the Arab League plan calls for us to withdraw to the untenable pre-67 borders, which means surrendering Judea & Samaria and every community there, eastern Jerusalem with the Kotel and the Temple Mount, and the Golan Heights, and taking in Palestinian Arab "refugees" as well. Even if this were modified somewhat (something the Arabs said they wouldn’t do: it was "take it or leave it"), it is unlikely that modifications would be sufficient to make this acceptable.

So that’s the first thing wrong with what Olmert seems to be suggesting.


But it’s only the first thing: There is also the issue of whether the Arab League could stop the Kassams even if they tried to. Egypt, which feels threatened by the Gaza unrest, has been remarkably unsuccessful in effecting changes. Those shooting the Kassams don’t want to see peace with Israel. Why would they cooperate with something that ostensibly leads in that direction? The nations supporting the terrorists in Gaza — Iran and Syria — who would command some attention, don’t want to see peace here either.


And lastly, and perhaps most importantly, is the tendency of the Olmert government to rely on the international community in one context or another, to do our defensive work for us. Time was when we defended ourselves. Anything less is a disaster. For we become a vulnerable vassal state, without independent deterrent power. I return time and again to the example of what happened in Lebanon: Instead of continuing with strength to seriously weaken or take out Hezbollah, we opted for "the diplomatic option" a la Tzipi Livni, and hoped that UNIFIL would prevent smuggling of arms from Syria, block return of Hezbollah to the south of Lebanon, etc. Ha! (See more on this below.)


Olmert is avoiding a ground operation, in spite of the fact that the Kassams are still coming and persons as knowledgeable as Gen. Moshe Ya’alon say it is essential — that only ground forces can do what needs to be done in cleaning out the terrorist infrastructure. But even without doing that, there are a great many things that might be done to show additional toughness on our part.

MK Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beitenu) has now made a few suggestions: Declare Gaza a hostile entity and isolate it, allowing it no contact with Judea and Samaria. Refuse all contact with Abbas. Deny all visitor rights to the Palestinians in prison in Israel (did you know that their families visit them regularly?) until Shalit is released. Refuse to use Ashdod as a port for receiving materials destined for Gaza or shipping out materials from Gaza. And so forth.

We won’t do these things, because the world will scream "humanitarian crisis," blaming us rather than Hamas for the problems that would ensue. Last time we did a major operation into Gaza — when Shalit was kidnapped — we hit a major transformer there, so that the flow of electric power to the people was reduced (not stopped entirely). The carrying on by the Palestinians, as well as UNRWA, was considerable. I know from IDF contacts that the degree of emergency was considerable exaggerated. Olmert worries about being seen as the "bad guy." He does not withstand international pressure well.


So where does that leave us? Resembling sitting ducks.

In 1970, the Palestinians in Jordan, where the PLO was headquartered under Arafat, tried to take over the country. King Hussein massacred thousands and then drove many more from the country. No international uproar. This was only Arabs killing Arabs. The uproar is saved for every miniscule action that Israel takes against Arabs.

What country in the world would tolerate what we are dealing with now, without mounting a major action? This inability to forcefully defend ourselves is most worrisome — indicative of a sick mentality, lacking in national self-esteem.

Are there innocent Palestinian Arabs in Gaza? Certainly. And we bend over backwards to avoid damaging them. But in war it happens that innocents are sometimes hurt. Preventing their produce from leaving via Ashdod to be sold elsewhere would be small potatoes compared, say, with carpet bombing of their villages or other wholesale aggressive actions we never take. Our innocents in Sderot and surrounding areas are certainly hurting, and it is our responsibility to protect them .


Ultimately, however, this is not just about stopping the Kassams. It’s important to realize this. It’s about deterrence power and the way our enemies perceive us. If we are weak here, they gear up to hit us in other ways, convinced that we are vulnerable and can be defeated. Weakness here puts us at further existential risk. We cannot afford weakness.


Here’s what we face from the world: The Quartet — the US, the UN, the EU, and Russia — met in Berlin yesterday to discuss the situation in the Middle East. This morning they released a statement. Yes, they condemned the Kassam attacks and said Shalit should be released — none of which makes a particle of difference to those launching Kassams and holding Shalit.

However, they said Israel must use restraint in responding to Kassam attacks, so that civilians are not hurt and there would not be "damage to civilian infrastructure." Now, I put it to you: The terrorists deliberately shoot from civilian areas. They don’t care about civilian damage. How are we supposed to respond without ever damaging "civilian infrastructure"? The members of Hamas must be laughing their heads off at this.

And there’s more: The Quartet registered concern about that fact that we have arrested several Hamas members of the PA government, whom our government says have terrorist connections. And they think we should be releasing customs tax funds we are holding, so that the Palestinian economy can improve. In other words, business as usual — without even economic repercussions — for the PA, even while the Kassams continue.


Putting it bluntly, Condoleezza Rice makes me sick to my stomach. My patience with putting it more politely has worn thin.

Speaking today in Vienna, she said that she sees hopeful signs for progress in forging peace here. The two-state solution, she said, is "one of the centerpieces" of our [i.e., US] policy. The way she sees it, this is a "time of opportunity." If she were an ordinary citizen, and not secretary of state, and made statements as out of touch with reality as this within
a different context, her mental stability might be questioned.

Need I say it again? That the PA is growing ever more radical and intransigent, and wants Israel destroyed, and has no intention of genuinely forging peace with Israel?


Rice also recently made a comment about possible Israeli-Syrian negotiations, suggesting they were premature and saying that "There’s no substitute for trying to get to the place where the Palestinians finally have their state."

But this leads to consideration of what’s going on with the possibility of Israeli negotiations with Syria. The US — with Rice at the forefront — has sent out mixed signals in this regard. Syria was thoroughly ostracized by the US for a time, and the message was firm that they prefer we have nothing to do with this member of the axis of terrorist-supporting regimes; there was particular hostility to Syria in the US because of terrorists hitting US soldiers in Iraq who had come out of Syria. But of recent there’s been a softening of this position on the part of the US, with some mixed messages being sent out. Earlier this month, Rice met with Syrian foreign minister, Wallid Mua’alem, in Egypt.

This subtle shift was followed by a hint of a possible policy shift here in Israel. Until very recently, Olmert was adamant that Syria wanted a peace process (to take the heat off) and not peace, and that there would be no negotiations. But now, according to The Jerusalem Post, Olmert has sent a third party, who remains unidentified, to check out what Syria would offer, while Olmert’s spokesperson, Miri Eisen, has now said that Olmert has always indicated that he is "in favor of peace with Syria." Reportedly, Olmert would require Syria to cut ties with Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran as a pre-condition to negotiations, so negotiations are not likely to start tomorrow.


When news of a possible shift in the Israeli position emerged, there were two suggestions as to why this might be happening. One, as mentioned above, was the reduced opposition by the US to contact with Syria, as evidenced by Rice’s meeting with Mual’alem. And two was — are you ready? — the fact that the possibility for a negotiated settlement with the PA was dim now and we cannot stagnate, so we need to move on another front.

Here is a stunning example of dangerous shtuyote: The idea that even if neither party is genuinely interested in peace, we have to move ahead negotiating somewhere, so as to not be doing nothing.


Olmert just the other day explained to the Knesset that he doesn’t have to resign over the Lebanon war because it wasn’t really a failure, as Hezbollah was moved out of south Lebanon.

Well, Shaul Mofaz (Kadima), formerly defense minister and now minister of transportation, has countered the claims of the head of his party in an interview on Israel Radio. Hezbollah has essentially returned to the strength it had before the war, he says, and we should not be deceived by an apparent absence of positions in the south of Lebanon. They are digging underground, and are close to the Israeli border.


With all of the talk about maybe peace here, maybe peace there, we are in the midst of a schizoid situation. The Home Front command, it has been announced, is going to be preparing the public for all out war.


Norway has resume direct aid to the PA, and will be providing $10 million.


Britain is the worst. Because of the laxness of restrictions and a politically correct mind-set, it is the European country most infiltrated by radical Muslims.

Baroness Caroline Cox and Dr. John Marks, who co-authored The West, Islam, and Islamism, are currently attending a conference at Bar Ilan University, and were interviewed by Ynet.

According to Cox, "Britain has become a base for training and teaching militant Islam," and moderate Muslims who speak out face threats.

As evidence of the degree of radical Muslim infiltration in Britain, Cox shared the case of Salah Idris, whose Sudanese pharmaceutical factory was destroyed by the US in the late 1990s because it was linked with al-Qaeda. Idris is today a shareholder in two high-tech security firms that provide security for the British parliament, UK military bases, and 11 nuclear installations.

"When we brought this matter to the attention of the authorities, we were told there was no cause for concern."

According to Marks, textbooks being used in Saudi-funded Muslim schools in Britain utilize the "same anti-Semitic texts based on the Koran that you find in Palestinian Hamas schools."

Of particular concern is the assessment by Cox that British educational institutions have been infiltrated, and that college campuses are key sites for recruitment.

These experts believe that British citizens who are radical Muslims present a security threat to Israel, and, of course, also to Great Britain, where it is likely only a matter of time before there is another terrorist attack.

Time is running out. Will Britain wake up before it’s too late? And will the rest of the western world, including the US, draw lessons from this situation?


Given the above, is it any wonder that every other day another group in Britain takes a stand against Israel?

On Wednesday, the University and College Union of Great Britain — which represents 120,000 British college teachers — asked members to “consider the moral implications of existing and proposed links with Israeli academic institutions” and endorsed the idea of a boycott. This was not an actual boycott, but rather a recommendation that individual members consider boycotting. The fallout from this has been considerable.

Now the largest labor union in Britain, UNISON, is threatening to boycott Israeli products, with a vote to take place in mid-June. Attempts are being made now to avert this, as it would also mean that British union pension funds would no longer invest in Israel.


The wheeling and dealing is considerable, but no word yet on who will support whom (Ayalon or Barak) in the Labor party run-off.


Oh joy. Olmert and Abbas will be meeting next week , somewhere in a PA area (presumably but not necessarily Ramallah). This is the first meeting they will have had since April, even though they were, in accordance with an agreement with Rice, supposed to meet every two weeks.

This is bad news because on June 19 Olmert is invited to the White House, where bi-lateral ties and other issues will be discussed. Guaranteed. Guaranteed. Olmert will be forthcoming with Abbas so as to come to Bush with evidence of his efforts for "peace." To show he’s a good guy.

Remember that in a recent press conference Bush led with comments about Palestinian suffering because of roadblocks.

As I said, Oh joy.




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