See my most recent article, on UNRWA, which exposes the attitude of Commissioner-General Karen Abu-Zayd to Israel:
Getting back in routine, post-Rosh Hashana, there are several issues I would like to touch upon just briefly:
Syria. Assad has been fluctuating between saber rattling and peace overtures of late. Israel has been smart enough not to take those overtures seriously, saying, quite properly, that the test is in his actions not his words. He’s a purveyor of terrorism and facilitating the re-arming of Hezbollah. What peace?
Barry Rubin has just put out a column on this subject:
Says Rubin: "The Syrian government does not want to make peace, become moderate, or reform its economy. It wants to control Lebanon, wipe out Israel, buy off the Islamists by supporting Hezbollah and the Iraqi insurgency, and thus demagogically make its people cheer for Bashar as the great warrior of resistance."
Any notions of attempting negotiations with Syria, or, G-d forbid, offering to pull out of the Golan, would be a disaster. There are reports of massing of Syrian troops at the Golan border, possibly in anticipation of military action.
The PA. Tensions have grown between Fatah and Hamas and at this point a unity government looks very very unlikely. A good thing for us, so that there can be no pretense of moderation in the PA. Hamas is simply not about to recognize Israel or acknowledge previous agreements.
Fiscally, this spells trouble for the PA, as there were hopes that assistance withheld by the international community after the Hamas electoral victory would again be forthcoming.
UNIFIL and Lebanon. Turns out that the new improved enlarged enhanced UNIFIL with the powerful new mandate is pretty much the same as the original worthless UNIFIL. Is there anyone who doubted this would happen? A real tip off came when it was announced some while ago that General Alain Pellegrini (French), who commanded the old UNIFIL, would be keeping his job. This man is bad news.
So, UNIFIL has been given an enlarged mandate: it may now use force to disarm Hezbollah. However, Pellegrini is saying UNIFIL is there only to assist the Lebanese army. They will take no strong action against Hezbollah, not to disarm it and not to stop it in aggressive acts against Israel. If UNIFIL saw "something dangerous" in process, it would observe and inform the Lebanese army, and act only if that army requested it. Needless to say, this is not sitting well with Israel. The IDF is supposed to be out of Lebanon by the end of the week, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. Negotiations are still going on between Israel and UNIFIL with regard to a number of unresolved issues. At a bare minimum, Israel intends to continue to run air surveillance over Lebanon until Resolution 1701 is fully enacted — something unlikely to ever happen.
It should come as no surprise, either, that Hezbollah is being rearmed.
Iran. Front page in today’s Jerusalem Post: "PM says Bush won’t allow nuclear Iran." This is one time that I hope that Olmert, who says he believes Bush would take necessary military action, is correct. But I’m not calling it and neither are a number of pundits I know.
More significant than what Olmert thinks is this: There are a flurry of reports regarding a new degree of cooperation between Israel and Saudi Arabia because of the mutual concern about Iran. According to one report, Olmert met recently with high level Saudi officials, but this is being vociferously denied by both parties. That there are new avenues being considered for dealing with Iran seems likely, but Dr. Guy Bechor, of the Interdisciplinary Center at Herzliya, cautions that everything must be done with utmost discretion.
Politics. A number of polls taken since the war indicate a definite swing to the right on the part of the Israeli populace. Who knows what tomorrow will bring, but right now in polls Netanyahu is way ahead of Olmert, and Likud much stronger than Kadima. Now we need to see this government come down.
This posting can be found at: https://arlenefromisrael.info/current-postings/2006/9/26/posted-september-26-2006.html