This is most likely the last posting before Rosh Hashana begins tomorrow night. And so here I extend my wishes for a year of blessings and peace to everyone.
Dip your apple in the honey: Take the time to know life’s sweetness.
As for Klal Yisrael (the Community of Israel), my prayer is that we will stand together during these hard times, protected from Above.
Last week, I spoke about the marvelous counter-conference — “Perils of Global Intolerance at the UN” — held in a hotel across the street from the UN while Durban III was going on. Sponsored by the Hudson Institute and Touro College, under the dedicated and vigorous guidance of Anne Bayefsky of Eye on the UN, the conference hosted a magnificent series of participants.
I had wanted to summarize some of their talks, but found it a bit overwhelming, What I hoped was that the talks would appear on video on the Internet, and indeed this has turned out to be the case. The streaming video live presentation was done under the auspices of PJTV (PJ Media) and it is PJTV that is now carrying the videos.
I strongly urge you to access these videos and watch at least some of them. It takes a bit of patience, but it’s worth it and then some. Go to www.pjtv.com and register. This can be done without making payment, although some subscription deals do require payment. Once registered, you can access “Durban Watch” in the library of videos.
So many superb speakers to choose from. My recommendations:
Elie Wiesel, author and Nobel Prize Laureate, who was deeply touching.
John Bolton, diplomat, who gave background on how the UN can be fought if there is determination.
Simon Deng, Sudanese human rights leader, who gave an extraordinarily moving presentation.
Dore Gold, former Israel ambassador to the UN, who gave a clear explanation of Israeli security needs.
Douglas Murray, UK journalist and author, who managed to be incisive and very funny at the same time.
Ruth Wisse, Harvard Professor, who speaks with breathtaking intelligence.
Khaled Abu Toameh, Arab-Israeli journalist, who tells the truth about media bias against Israel.
Shelby Steele, Hoover Institute Fellow, who looks hard at Palestinian Arab self-perceptions.
Not to be missed!
So far so good. Netanyahu has let it be known that he will not pursue another freeze in building in Judea and Samaria in order to bring the PA to the table. “Been there, done that,” was the sense of his message on the topic. This demand — being made once again by Abbas — was, he said, merely a ruse, an excuse to avoid coming to the table.
The prime minister declined today to intervene in a meeting of the District Planning Committee of the Ministry of the Interior that was called to discuss construction of additional housing units in Gilo, which is over the Green Line. This in spite of the fact that the Quartet had pointedly asked that there be no “provocative actions” taken.
And indeed, the Committee today approved the construction of some 1,100 housing units and ancillary buildings such as schools. May no bureaucratic or behind-the-scenes delays prevent this from truly happening!
The PA has already charged that this is a “unilateral” move, and that we are building on “Palestinian land.” Not so. Gilo is on land that had been purchased by Jews before WWII. It is solidly part of the city of Jerusalem.
A member of the Committee said, “We must clarify to the world that Jerusalem is not up for sale.”
I just mentioned Khaled Abu Toameh above, and here I recommend an article of his, “Abbas Gives the Finger to Obama.”
Abbas, says Abu Toameh, has decided to stop swimming against the anti-US tide seen in a good part of the Arab world:
“By distancing himself from Washington, Abbas has moved closer toward the Arab world’s anti-US camp, led by Iran and consisting of Hamas, Hezbollah and other radical groups.
“It is no surprise, therefore, that some Hamas leaders have come out in support of Abbas’s decision to spit in the face of the Obama administration. In a sign of improved relations between the two parties, Abbas’s Fatah faction has now decided to resume unity talks with Hamas in the hope of forming a new government in the near future.
“The campaign of incitement against Obama and the US will also whip up anti-American sentiments in the Arab world and could lead to endangering the lives of US citizens and troops in the Middle East.”
All the more reason to block a Palestinian state. Let’s see how Obama responds.
There is momentum in the Knesset both with regard to sanctioning the PA and annexation of parts of Judea and Samaria. The Land of Israel caucus in the Knesset, jointly with Coalition Head Ze’ev Elkin (Likud) and heads of the Shas, National Union and Habayit Hayehudi factions, have written a letter to the prime minister calling for the sanctions, and for increased building in Judea and Samaria, with gradual annexation of areas that have been settled. Additionally, it calls for a halt to all Arab building in Area C (under Oslo, under full Israeli control).
Says the letter:
“Israel will defend its interests, and turn the crisis into an opportunity. Any diplomatic attack will be turned into a victory….
“The Palestinian commitment to avoid unilateral steps is the only thing Israel got in return for all it has given up since the Oslo Accords. The PA’s unilateral bid for recognition of statehood in the UN is a clear violation of the agreements, which for the last 18 years cost us a high price.”
The letter warned that failure by Netanyahu to take these steps will, “encourage the Palestinians to continue acting against [Israel] in the international arena.
“The international damage to Israel from the UN vote is much smaller than the damage Israel may inflict on itself if we do not follow the principle of ‘if they give, they will get, if they don’t give, they will not get,’ [a well-known quote from Netanyahu’s first term as prime minister]. This principle has saved Israel from deteriorating into the abyss opened by the engineers of the Oslo Accords.”
Sweeter than honey is the sound of Israeli leaders standing up for the nation with determination. Let this be the beginning of a badly needed new tone for the new year. Little by little, let the situation change.
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.