I don’t know what else one would call it. Consider: Olmert says unequivocally (or as unequivocally as Ehud Olmert ever says anything) that he will demand at the start of negotiations that the PA recognize us as a Jewish state. No compromise on this, he has stated: "Israel is a state of the Jewish people. Whoever does not accept this cannot hold any negotiations with me."
And the PA is growing increasingly adamant about not giving us this recognition. Even PA Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad, who is supposed to be the most "moderate" of the bunch, has now rejected this demand. Pretty much makes the whole thing a non-starter. No?
But "well-placed sources" have told the Post that Olmert believes the Annapolis joint statement will address the matter satisfactorily, enabling negotiations to proceed. That’s interesting, since we’ve heard that so far there is no joint statement. And, in any event, it would seem to be possible to resolve this. What are we missing here?
I mentioned Saudi Arabia last night , with regard to the fallaciousness of the Palestinian claim that no nation is connected to a religion. That example came to my mind because it is so glaring. But several pieces have been generated on this subject and a whole host of examples has been put forward — such as the Church of England.
But the best example was put forth by Aaron Lerner of IMRA, who pointed out that the PA draft constitution names Islam as the official religion of the Palestinian state.
Earlier today the Egyptian newspaper Al Ahram reported that Syria would be attending the conference if it would receive a proper invitation. But now Assad is saying again that the conference must deal with the Golan Heights.
He made this statement after meeting with the head of the Arab League, Amr Moussa. Said Moussa, the Arabs were going to come up with a united plan for the conference at a meeting of foreign ministers in Cairo on November 22 -23.
"What we want is a conference that deals with the Arab-Israeli conflict and starts serious negotiations under international supervision," explained. Abbas will address the group and Khaled Mashaal of Hamas, in Damascus, will be consulted.
This makes my blood run cold. Walking into such a situation is insanity, truly. Especially as we are going from a position of weakness, as Olmert rushes always to make concessions.
I’m not exactly buoyed by Evelyn Gordon’s piece in the Post, either. She reports that one concession Olmert has already made is to allow the US to decide when there has been compliance with the Road Map. This is of concern with regard to PA counterterrorism efforts — have they sufficiently reformed their security forces, confiscated guns, arrested terrorists. Once they have done this to determined satisfaction, we are required to pull back. And if they are not equipped to handle the situation we would see a huge increase in terrorism.
Trust the US on this? With Rice, who has a history of putting us in positions that generate security risks, in charge? And Dayton, who has turned out to be a fool, making judgment on the ground? Not a good scene.
This ain’t great either (the bad news seems to come in bunches, doesn’t it?): Eighty-nine Congresspersons have written to Condoleezza Rice, saying that "current levels of US assistance are insufficient to leverage…real change and improvement by the Palestinian Authority…" They request increased giving to the PA, and ask that Israel be "engaged" regarding the release of tax revenues to the PA.
Among those 89 Congresspersons were nine Jewish lawmakers, including — I am sorry to have to report — Gary Ackerman, chair of the subcommittee on the Middle East, Tom Lantos, the only Holocaust survivor in the Congress, and Henry Waxman.
Compare this with what Congresswomen Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Shelley Berkley (D-NV) have to say on the subject:
"The US has spent, and continues to spend , millions of dollars on programs to assist the PA…
"Despite [this], Abu Mazen and his corrupt Fatah party failed miserably at curbing terrorism and implementing government reforms…
"Yet, the US has done little to change their behavior, instead, counseling patience and offering further aid. This only encourages a culture of victimhood and unaccountability among the Palestinians, a culture feeding terror and perpetuating and deepening the present conflict. Therefore, given the history of the PA and Fatah, the Administration’s recent proposal to hand Abu Mazen hundreds of millions in additional funding is simply wrong.
."..It is time for a new approach.
"We must pursue a policy that sets and enforces higher standards for Palestinian behavior, and provides consequences if they fail to perform. The first step is to link our support to results. Instead of disbursing millions to Palestinian leaders in the hope they will change their ways, we must link each disbursement of funds to tangible progress…
"If the Palestinians do not achieve the intended results, they must not receive US assistance or the legitimacy of political support from US officials."
We DO have friends who get it.
Two years ago, the American-Israel Demographic Research Group released information showing that the commonly cited demographic time bomb with regard to Arab population overtaking Jewish population in Israel — a major rationale presented for giving up Judea and Samaria — didn’t exist. Seems the figures were wrong: the PA was using projections from old figures, and those projections were wrong. Many thousands had left the area, some were being counted twice because they lived in Jerusalem, etc. All in all, said this group, there were about one million fewer Palestinians than was claimed, and if we were to keep Judea and Samaria, we would still retain a Jewish majority for the foreseeable future.
Now Bennet Zimmerman, an American member of this group, has given an interview debunking demographic arguments for dividing Jerusalem. The Arab birthrate is going down (a function of modernization or "Israelization", and the Jewish birthrate is going steadily up. Says Zimmerman, "for the first time since 1967, Israel has a stable 2-1 majority" and "a two thirds majority in Jerusalem."
Coincidentally, one of the Israeli members of that team, Yoram Ettinger, a former envoy in the Israeli Embassy in Washington DC, has just written a piece for YNet. It has nothing to do with demographics, but rather with "Wrong approach to peace."
Ettinger sites Professor Majid Khadduri, now deceased, from Johns Hopkins University, who was the world’s leading authority on Arab definitions of peace and war. Peace, Khadduri had explained, is viewed as a tactical means of achieving the strategic objective of defeating the enemy. "Peace constitutes a temporary break in the ongoing war against the enemy…&quo
An important read on a little understood subject: