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Posted April 16, 2007

April 16, 2007

Well, let’s hear it for peaceful overtures. At a press conference in Damascus today, Syrian Information Minister Mohsen Bilal indicated that Syria would like to have peace negotiations with Israel. However…if Israel declined to accept the Arab initiative, which would include the return of the Golan Heights to Syria, then Syria would resort to "resistance" — likely a full war or, some suggest, a terror campaign — to secure the Golan.

Every time I hear such threats they put my back up, big time. I expect and trust that the Israeli government will react similarly. We cannot be threatened into "peace."


Maj.-Gen. (res) Giora Eiland has done a strategic assessment for the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, providing five reasons why it is not in Israel’s interest to negotiate with Syria. It is a very serious, and highly informative piece, but I rather like his introduction:

Rafael (Raful) Eitan was once asked if he supported a peace settlement between Israel and Syria based on the principle of land for peace, and he said, "Certainly. If they give us more land, I will be happy to go toward them in peace. . . "



In an interview with the Canadian Broadcast Corp. TV, Olmert today said that he was amenable to an exchange of a "reasonable number" of prisoners for Shalit. The number 1,400, which is what Hamas is demanding, is too high, he says. Thankfully. While he didn’t say what number would be acceptable (and perhaps more to the point whose release would be acceptable) he spoke about a reasonable exchange "by Middle East standards," which he acknowledged would involve more prisoners than what N. American or European governments would likely agree to.

Hamas, meanwhile, is calling on other terrorist groups to join in efforts to kidnap more soldiers in order to get their prisoners released: Hamas "intends to release all the prisoners, regardless of their faction or affiliation, by all means available and at any cost, especially after the failure of the diplomatic efforts, the weak agreements and the false promises."

When, pray tell, are we going to start blowing some of these guys away?


China and Switzerland have now announced that they will deal with the new PA unity government.


In November 2005, the US conditioned the acceptance of Saudi Arabia  into the World Trade Organization (WTO) on their relinquishing of the economic boycott against Israel. The WTO prohibits members from engaging in discriminatory economic practices. Riyadh pledged to abandon the boycott and was granted membership. Upon investigation now, however, it seems that boycott is very much alive and well. Michael Freund, writing in The Jerusalem Post, has described the continuing practice of Saudi officials of barring Israel-made products or products with Israeli components from entering the country.

"’Goods made in Israel are not allowed here in Saudi Arabia,’ Khaled A-Sharif, assistant manager of the Saudi Customs Department at King Abdul Aziz Airport outside Jidda, told the Post by phone. ‘Of course it is not permitted.’"

American officials say they are continuing to press the issue.


I have been asked on occasion by readers how I think the US can win in Iraq. My reply is that while I absolutely believe that a precipitous pull-out of US troops in Iraq would be disastrous for the area, I am not a military expert and do not presume to say precisely how matters should be handled. Caroline Glick, on the other hand, had some very specific things to say about this in her column from last Friday, "The long road to victory in Iraq," which says indeed it is possible. I provide the link here for all who would like to read her analysis:



Two clarifications:

I wrote the other day about Israelis sentenced to prison for driving a terrorist to Netanya when they suspected who he was. I didn’t make it clear, and have been asked about this: These were Jews, not Arabs.

I also want to clarify a point regarding Rubin’s piece on schools in the UK: It is not the Department of Education itself that is canceling Holocaust education, it is individual schools that are taking it upon themselves to halt this education out of fear of anti-Semitic comments by Muslim students and a desire not to contradict what the Muslims are being taught. Rubin says this in his piece, but it’s easy to innocently draw the wrong conclusion.


This posting can be found at: https://arlenefromisrael.info/current-postings/2007/4/16/posted-april-16-2007.html


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