No standing firm on the ground for these guys. With what I suppose they imagine to be nimble steps, they move this way and that. Except that their steps, seen from here, are shamefully clumsy.
Today Saeb Erekat, PA negotiator, declared that Israel was twisting Palestinian words, as they never said they were going to declare a state unilaterally.
No? You could have fooled me.
All they want, he explained, is to preserve the two-state solution, as one state is not an option. And, since negotiations are stalemated (through no fault of theirs, of course), they want the Security Council to endorse the two-state solution, with the border of the new Palestinian state set at the Green (pre-’67) Line.
This strikes me as patently ridiculous. Every mention within the international community of the two-state solution or anything akin to it — Oslo, which was formally signed, the informally agreed-to Road Map, etc., specifies that the details must be determined via negotiations.
Even SC Resolution 242, which doesn’t even mention Palestinians, never mind address a “two-state solution,” says Israel’s borders must be determined via negotiations.
And let’s look back even further than this: When Israel signed an armistice agreement with Jordan in 1949, it stated explicitly that the armistice line that was being established (which is the Green Line) would not prejudice negotiations in the future to determine the final border for Israel. The Green Line wasn’t it.
At least one Israeli government source is cited as saying that the statement by Erekat is an effort to backtrack after it became apparent that the EU and the US were not supportive of a unilaterally declared state. Slip-sliding…
But I’m seeing something else, as well: “One state is not an option…”
Yet not long ago leaders in the PA were saying that if the negotiations weren’t going to progress, it was time to think about one state. Of course, in voicing this threat, they were envisioning a “bi-national state” that would render it impossible for Israel to be a Jewish state — that would, ultimately, be Arab/Muslim in nature.
But then matters shifted. WE said, well, if negotiations aren’t going to progress, and there are going to be unilateral declarations from the PA, we might unilaterally move to assume full sovereignty over significant parts of Judea and Samaria. That would make the bulk of Judea and Samaria, which the Palestinians covet, very Jewish indeed, and block the very possibility of forming a viable Palestinian state.
So they, slip-sliding, said, uh oh, let’s reverse tactics.
What we learn from this is the value of making offensive moves and not appeasing.
There might have been some advantage to the unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state, however.
MK Uri Ariel, of the right wing Ihud Leumi (National Union), is one of those who sees it this way:
“I pray for Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority, to declare a state unilaterally. That is the only way we can finally annul the wretched Oslo accord, which exacted a price in blood and brought the PLO terrorists into the state of Israel.
“A statement of this nature means that the government will have no choice but to annex all of the communities in Judea and Samaria. In practice, it will have to annex the entire region and formally turn it into a part of the state of Israel.”
Everything is so much in flux, it’s difficult to predict what will come next. But it remains extremely unlikely that we’ll extend sovereignty over even parts of Judea and Samaria except in response to some PA stance that essentially voids Oslo. More’s the pity.
At very least there has been a paradigm shift of sorts — as Israel is making it increasingly clear that return to the Green Line is not an option.
And, as the PA leaders continue to slip-slide, we must not forget the option of “armed resistance,” which they maintain is their right. This past August, Fatah (the major constituent party of the PA) held a congress, its first in 20 years. This provided the party with an opportunity to genuinely moderate, by adjusting its constitution to eliminate the call for violence. That, however, is not what happened. They continue to embrace this option.
And it happens that I see the following news item as having a connection to their embrace of this option:
The PA is calling an international conference, which will be attended by representatives of such countries as Spain, Canada, Britain, Ireland, South Africa, and Sweden who are involved in international legal systems.
A major goal they intend to advance in the course of the conference: Securing a change in the status of their terrorists in Israeli prisons to “prisoners of war.”
According to Israel National News, this will enable them to secure more “rights” for the prisoners under the Geneva Conventions. But frankly I find it hard to believe that it would be possible to provide them with any more rights. As it is, I’m ashamed that these terrorists are treated as well as they are. They not only can have family visitations, but also conjugal rights. And they can actually earn a degree from an Israeli university while sitting in our prisons.
I would suggest the possibility that what they really want is to redefine terrorism down. Terrorism, what terrorism? Our brave soldiers are merely engaging in “resistance against the occupation,” which is their right under international law. Watch and see.
Sources in the Netanyahu government are claiming that there is no crisis with the US over our building in Gilo. Although surprised at the intensity of the US response (with the US saying it is “dismayed” about this), these sources maintain that it is understood that there will be no building freeze in Jerusalem. This reaction, they say, is a show for PA consumption.
I’m not sure if this take is quite accurate. Obama has actually given an interview to Fox news, in which he criticized the plans to build in Gilo, saying this makes it more difficult to re-start negotiations and “embitters” the Palestinians. Embitters? Give me a break.
A question occurs to me here:
The statement about how it’s understood that there is no freeze in Jerusalem makes it clear that we are abiding by some informal and very quiet agreement regarding a freeze at least in major settlement blocs in Judea and Samaria (whatever the parameters with regard to completing units for which tenders have already been issued).
This was supposed to be done to make the PA happy, so negotiations could begin. Obviously, Obama is still hoping — oi! is he hoping — this will happen. But if the PA is intransigent, and there are no negotiations, precisely how long do we wait before we say the deal is off? This is the danger inherent in these open-ended arrangements.
The articles about Fort Hood keep coming, and just when I think I’ve read enough, one appears that is significant enough to merit being shared. (Thanks, Dick B)
This powerful piece has a significantly different tone because it is written by an ex-army man. Lieutenant Colonel Allen B West (US Army, Ret) was actually a Battalion Commander at Fort Hood and is now running for Congress in FL.
“…A military installation, whether it is Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine, or Coast Guard, is supposed to be a safe sanctuary for our Warriors and their families. It is intended to provide a home whereby our “Band of Brothers and Sisters” can find solace and bond beyond just the foxhole, but as family units.
“A military installation is supposed to be a place where our Warriors train for war, to serve and protect our Nation.
“On Thursday, 5 November 2009 Ft Hood became a part of the battlefield in the war against Islamic totalitarianism and state sponsored terrorism.
“There may be those who feel threatened by my words and would even recommend they not be uttered. To those individuals I say step aside because now is not the time for cowardice. Our Country has become so paralyzed by political correctness that we have allowed a vile and determined enemy to breach what should be the safest place in America, an Army post.
“…Saudi Arabia is sponsoring radical Imams who enter into our prisons and convert young men to a virulent Wahabbist ideology….one resulting in four individuals wanting to destroy synagogues in New York with plastic explosives. Thank God the explosives were dummy. They are sponsoring textbooks which present Islamic-centric revisionist history in our schools.
“We must recognize that there is an urgent need to separate the theo-political radical Islamic ideology out of our American society. We must begin to demand surveillance of suspected Imams and mosques that are spreading hate and preaching the overthrow of our Constitutional Republic……that speech is not protected under First Amendment, it is sedition and, if done by an American, treason.
“There should not be some 30 Islamic terrorist training camps in America. That has nothing to do with First Amendment Freedom of Religion. The Saudis are not our friends and any American political figure who believes such is delusional.
“When tolerance becomes a one way street it certainly leads to cultural suicide. We are on that street. Liberals cannot be trusted to defend our Republic, because their sympathies obviously lie with their perceived victim, Major Nidal Malik Hasan.
“I make no apologies for these words, and anyone angered by them, please, go to Ft Hood and look into the eyes of the real victims. The tragedy at Ft Hood Texas did not have to happen. Consider now the feelings of those there and on every military installation in the world. Consider the feelings of the Warriors deployed into combat zones who now are concerned that their loved ones at home are in a combat zone.
“Ft Hood suffered an Islamic jihadist attack, stop the denial, and realize a simple point.
“The reality of your enemy must become your own.”
Share this man’s words broadly, my friends.
“The Good News Corner”
From many places on the earth, there are Jews who come home to Israel. In some cases, individuals whose ancestors were Jews come here to reclaim their heritage and join with us.
See this video of descendants of the Jews of Kaifeng, China, come to Israel to re-connect with their Jewish roots and convert formally to Judaism.
http://www.youtube.com:80/watch?v=edhtdoPukk0 (Thanks, Cheryl)