Saturday, October 4, 2008

America as the last man standing Part I

 

1st part of 2

 

"In a generation or two, the US will ask itself: who lost Europe?"

 

Here is the speech of Geert Wilders, chairman Party for Freedom, the Netherlands, at the Four Seasons, New York, introducing an Alliance of Patriots and announcing the Facing Jihad Conference in Jerusalem (which I hope to be attending).

 

The speech was sponsored by the Hudson Institute on September 25.

 

Dear friends,

Thank you very much for inviting me. Great to be at the Four Seasons. I come from a country that has one season only: a rainy season that starts January 1st and ends December 31st. When we have three sunny days in a row, the government declares a national emergency. So Four Seasons, that’s new to me.

 

It’s great to be in New York. When I see the skyscrapers and office buildings, I think of what Ayn Rand said: “The sky over New York and the will of man made visible.” Of course. Without the Dutch you would have been nowhere, still figuring out how to buy this island from the Indians. But we are glad we did it for you. And, frankly, you did a far better job than we possibly could have done.

 

I come to America with a mission. All is not well in the old world. There is a tremendous danger looming, and it is very difficult to be optimistic. We might be in the final stages of the Islamization of Europe. This not only is a clear and present danger to the future of Europe itself, it is a threat to America and the sheer survival of the West. The danger I see looming is the scenario of America as the last man standing. The United States as the last bastion of Western civilization, facing an Islamic Europe. In a generation or two, the US will ask itself: who lost Europe? Patriots from around Europe risk their lives every day to prevent precisely this scenario form becoming a reality.

 

My short lecture consists of 4 parts.

 

First I will describe the situation on the ground in Europe. Then, I will say a few things about Islam. Thirdly, if you are still here, I will talk a little bit about the movie you just saw. To close I will tell you about a meeting in Jerusalem.

The Europe you know is changing. You have probably seen the landmarks. The Eiffel Tower and Trafalgar Square and Rome’s ancient buildings and maybe the canals of Amsterdam. They are still there. And they still look very much the same as they did a hundred years ago.

 

But in all of these cities, sometimes a few blocks away from your tourist destination, there is another world, a world very few visitors see – and one that does not appear in your tourist guidebook. It is the world of the parallel society created by Muslim mass-migration. All throughout Europe a new reality is rising: entire Muslim neighbourhoods where very few indigenous people reside or are even seen. And if they are, they might regret it. This goes for the police as well. It’s the world of head scarves, where women walk around in figureless tents, with baby strollers and a group of children. Their husbands, or slaveholders if you prefer, walk three steps ahead. With mosques on many street corner. The shops have signs you and I cannot read. You will be hard-pressed to find any economic activity. These are Muslim ghettos controlled by religious fanatics. These are Muslim neighbourhoods, and they are mushrooming in every city across Europe. These are the building-blocks for territorial control of increasingly larger portions of Europe, street by street, neighbourhood by neighbourhood, city by city.

 

There are now thousands of mosques throughout Europe. With larger congregations than there are in churches. And in every European city there are plans to build super-mosques that will dwarf every church in the region. Clearly, the signal is: we rule.

 

Many European cities are already one-quarter Muslim: just take Amsterdam, Marseille and Malmo in Sweden. In many cities the majority of the under-18 population is Muslim. Paris is now surrounded by a ring of Muslim neighbourhoods. Mohammed is the most popular name among boys in many cities. In some elementary schools in Amsterdam the farm can no longer be mentioned, because that would also mean mentioning the pig, and that would be an insult to Muslims. Many state schools in Belgium and Denmark only serve halal food to all pupils. In once-tolerant Amsterdam gays are beaten up almost exclusively by Muslims. Non-Muslim women routinely hear “whore, whore”. Satellite dishes are not pointed to local TV stations, but to stations in the country of origin. In France school teachers are advised to avoid authors deemed offensive to Muslims, including Voltaire and Diderot; the same is increasingly true of Darwin. The history of the Holocaust can in many cases no longer be taught because of Muslim sensitivity. In England sharia courts are now officially part of the British legal system. Many neighbourhoods in France are no-go areas for women without head scarves. Last week a man almost died after being beaten up by Muslims in Brussels, because he was drinking during the Ramadan. Jews are fleeing France in record numbers, on the run for the worst wave of anti-Semitism since World War II. French is now commonly spoken on the streets of Tel Aviv and Netanya, Israel. I could go on forever with stories like this.

 

Stories about Islamization.

A total of fifty-four million Muslims now live in Europe. San Diego University recently calculated that a staggering 25 percent of the population in Europe will be Muslim just 12 years from now. Bernhard Lewis has predicted a Muslim majority by the end of this century.

 

Now these are just numbers. And the numbers would not be threatening if the Muslim-immigrants had a strong desire to assimilate. But there are few signs of that. The Pew Research Center reported that half of French Muslims see their loyalty to Islam as greater than their loyalty to France. One-third of French Muslims do not object to suicide attacks. The British Centre for Social Cohesion reported that one-third of British Muslim students are in favour of a worldwide caliphate. A Dutch study reported that half of Dutch Muslims admit they “understand” the 9/11 attacks.

 

Muslims demand what they call ‘respect’. And this is how we give them respect. Our elites are willing to give in. To give up. In my own country we have gone from calls by one cabinet member to turn Muslim holidays into official state holidays, to statements by another cabinet member, that Islam is part of Dutch culture, to an affirmation by the Christian-Democratic attorney general that he is willing to accept sharia in the Netherlands if there is a Muslim majority. We have cabinet members with passports from Morocco and Turkey.

 

Muslim demands are supported by unlawful behaviour, ranging from petty crimes and random violence, for example against ambulance workers and bus drivers, to small-scale riots. Paris has seen its uprising in the low-income suburbs, the banlieus. Some prefer to see these as isolated incidents, but I call it a Muslim intifada. I call the perpetrators “settlers”. Because that is what they are. They do not come to integrate into our societies, they come to integrate our society into their Dar-al-Islam. Therefore, they are settlers.

Much of this street violence I mentioned is directed exclusively against non-Muslims, forcing many native people to leave their neighbourhoods, their cities, their countries.

Politicians shy away from taking a stand against this creeping sharia. They believe in the equality of all cultures. Moreover, on a mundane level, Muslims are now a swing vote not to be ignored.

 

Our many problems with Islam cannot be explained by poverty, repression or the European colonial past, as the Left claims. Nor does it have anything to do with Palestinians or American troops in Iraq. The problem is Islam itself.

 

Allow me to give you a brief Islam 101. The first thing you need to know about Islam is the importance of the book of the Quran. The Quran is Allah’s personal word, revealed by an angel to Mohammed, the prophet. This is where the trouble starts. Every word in the Quran is Allah’s word and therefore not open to discussion or interpretation. It is valid for every Muslim and for all times. Therefore, there is no such a thing as moderate Islam. Sure, there are a lot of moderate Muslims. But a moderate Islam is non-existent.

 

The Quran calls for hatred, violence, submission, murder, and terrorism. The Quran calls for Muslims to kill non-Muslims, to terrorize non-Muslims and to fulfil their duty to wage war: violent jihad. Jihad is a duty for every Muslim, Islam is to rule the world – by the sword. The Quran is clearly anti-Semitic, describing Jews as monkeys and pigs.

 

The second thing you need to know is the importance of Mohammed the prophet. His behaviour is an example to all Muslims and cannot be criticized. Now, if Mohammed had been a man of peace, let us say like Ghandi and Mother Theresa wrapped in one, there would be no problem. But Mohammed was a warlord, a mass murderer, a pedophile, and had several marriages – at the same time. Islamic tradition tells us how he fought in battles, how he had his enemies murdered and even had prisoners of war executed.

 

Mohammed himself slaughtered the Jewish tribe of Banu Qurayza. He advised on matters of slavery, but never advised to liberate slaves. Islam has no other morality than the advancement of Islam. If it is good for Islam, it is good. If it is bad for Islam, it is bad. There is no gray area or other side.

 

Quran as Allah’s own word and Mohammed as the perfect man are the two most important facets of Islam. Let no one fool you about Islam being a religion. Sure, it has a god, and a here-after, and 72 virgins. But in its essence Islam is a political ideology. It is a system that lays down detailed rules for society and the life of every person. Islam wants to dictate every aspect of life. Islam means ‘submission’. Islam is not compatible with freedom and democracy, because what it strives for is sharia. If you want to compare Islam to anything, compare it to communism or national-socialism, these are all totalitarian ideologies.

 

This is what you need to know about Islam, in order to understand what is going on in Europe. For millions of Muslims the Quran and the live of Mohammed are not 14 centuries old, but are an everyday reality, an ideal, that guide every aspect of their lives. Now you know why Winston Churchill called Islam “the most retrograde force in the world”, and why he compared Mein Kampf to the Quran.

 

Which brings me to my movie, Fitna.

 

America as the last man standing Part II.

 

2nd part of 2

 

My movie, Fitna.

 

I am a lawmaker, and not a movie maker. But I felt I had the moral duty to educate about

Islam. The duty to make clear that the Quran stands at the heart of what some people call terrorism but is in reality jihad. I wanted to show that the problems of Islam are at the core of Islam, and do not belong to its fringes.

 

Now, from the day the plan for my movie was made public, it caused quite a stir, in the Netherlands and throughout Europe. First, there was a political storm, with government leaders, across the continent in sheer panic. The Netherlands was put under a heightened terror alert, because of possible attacks or a revolt by our Muslim population. The Dutch branch of the Islamic organisation Hizb ut-Tahrir declared that the Netherlands was due for an attack. Internationally, there was a series of incidents. The Taliban threatened to organize additional attacks against Dutch troops in Afghanistan, and a website linked to Al Qaeda published the message that I ought to be killed, while various muftis in the Middle East stated that I would be responsible for all the bloodshed after the screening of the movie. In Afghanistan and Pakistan the Dutch flag was burned on several occasions. Dolls representing me were also burned. The Indonesian President announced that I will never be admitted into Indonesia again, while the UN Secretary General and the European Union issued cowardly statements in the same vein as those made by the Dutch Government. I could go on and on. It was an absolute disgrace, a sell-out.

 

A plethora of legal troubles also followed, and have not ended yet. Currently the state of Jordan is litigating against me. Only last week there were renewed security agency reports about a heightened terror alert for the Netherlands because of Fitna.

 

Now, I would like to say a few things about Israel. Because, very soon, we will get together in its capitol. The best way for a politician in Europe to loose votes is to say something positive about Israel. The public has wholeheartedly accepted the Palestinian narrative, and sees Israel as the aggressor. I, however, will continue to speak up for Israel. I see defending Israel as a matter of principle. I have lived in this country and visited it dozens of times. I support Israel. First, because it is the Jewish homeland after two thousand years of exile up to and including Auschwitz, second because it is a democracy, and third because Israel is our first line of defense.

 

Samuel Huntington writes it so aptly: “Islam has bloody borders”. Israel is located precisely on that border. This tiny country is situated on the fault line of jihad, frustrating Islam’s territorial advance. Israel is facing the front lines of jihad, like Kashmir, Kosovo, the Philippines, Southern Thailand, Darfur in Sudan, Lebanon, and Aceh in Indonesia. Israel is simply in the way. The same way West-Berlin was during the Cold War.

 

The war against Israel is not a war against Israel. It is a war against the West. It is jihad. Israel is simply receiving the blows that are meant for all of us. If there would have been no Israel, Islamic imperialism would have found other venues to release its energy and its desire for conquest. Thanks to Israeli parents who send their children to the army and lay awake at night, parents in Europe and America can sleep well and dream, unaware of the dangers looming.

 

Many in Europe argue in favor of abandoning Israel in order to address the grievances of our Muslim minorities. But if Israel were, God forbid, to go down, it would not bring any solace to the West. It would not mean our Muslim minorities would all of a sudden change their behavior, and accept our values. On the contrary, the end of Israel would give enormous encouragement to the forces of Islam. They would, and rightly so, see the demise of Israel as proof that the West is weak, and doomed. The end of Israel would not mean the end of our problems with Islam, but only the beginning. It would mean the start of the final battle for world domination. If they can get Israel, they can get everything. Therefore, it is not that the West has a stake in Israel. It is Israel.

 

It is very difficult to be an optimist in the face of the growing Islamization of Europe. All the tides are against us. On all fronts we are losing. Demographically the momentum is with Islam. Muslim immigration is even a source of pride within ruling liberal parties.

 

Academia, the arts, the media, trade unions, the churches, the business world, the entire political establishment have all converted to the suicidal theory of multiculturalism. So-called journalists volunteer to label any and all critics of Islamization as a ‘right-wing extremists’ or ‘racists’. The entire establishment has sided with our enemy. Leftists, liberals and Christian-Democrats are now all in bed with Islam.

 

This is the most painful thing to see: the betrayal by our elites. At this moment in Europe’s history, our elites are supposed to lead us. To stand up for centuries of civilization. To defend our heritage. To honour our eternal Judeo-Christian values that made Europe what it is today. But there are very few signs of hope to be seen at the governmental level. Sarkozy, Merkel, Brown, Berlusconi; in private, they probably know how grave the situation is. But when the little red light goes on, they stare into the camera and tell us that Islam is a religion of peace, and we should all try to get along nicely and sing Kumbaya. They willingly participate in, what President Reagan so aptly called: “the betrayal of our past, the squandering of our freedom.”

 

If there is hope in Europe, it comes from the people, not from the elites. Change can only come from a grass-roots level. It has to come from the citizens themselves. Yet these patriots will have to take on the entire political, legal and media establishment.

 

Over the past years there have been some small, but encouraging, signs of a rebirth of the original European spirit. Maybe the elites turn their backs on freedom, the public does not. In my country, the Netherlands, 60 percent of the population now sees the mass immigration of Muslims as the number one policy mistake since World War II. And another 60 percent sees Islam as the biggest threat to our national identity. I don’t think the public opinion in Holland is very different from other European countries.

 

Patriotic parties that oppose jihad are growing, against all odds. My own party debuted two years ago, with five percent of the vote. Now it stands at ten percent in the polls. The same is true of all smililary-minded parties in Europe. They are fighting the liberal establishment, and are gaining footholds on the political arena, one voter at the time.

 

Now, for the first time, these patriotic parties will come together and exchange experiences. It may be the start of something big. Something that might change the map of Europe for decades to come. It might also be Europe’s last chance.

 

This December a conference will take place in Jerusalem. Thanks to Professor Aryeh Eldad, a member of Knesset, we will be able to watch Fitna in the Knesset building and discuss the jihad. We are organizing this event in Israel to emphasize the fact that we are all in the same boat together, and that Israel is part of our common heritage. Those attending will be a select audience. No racist organizations will be allowed. And we will only admit parties that are solidly democratic.

 

This conference will be the start of an Alliance of European patriots. This Alliance will serve as the backbone for all organizations and political parties that oppose jihad and Islamization. For this Alliance I seek your support.

 

This endeavor may be crucial to America and to the West. America may hold fast to the dream that, thanks tot its location, it is safe from jihad and shaira. But seven years ago to the day, there was still smoke rising from ground zero, following the attacks that forever shattered that dream. Yet there is a danger even greater danger than terrorist attacks, the scenario of America as the last man standing. The lights may go out in Europe faster than you can imagine. An Islamic Europe means a Europe without freedom and democracy, an economic wasteland, an intellectual nightmare, and a loss of military might for America - as its allies will turn into enemies, enemies with atomic bombs. With an Islamic Europe, it would be up to America alone to preserve the heritage of Rome, Athens and Jerusalem.

 

Dear friends, liberty is the most precious of gifts. My generation never had to fight for this freedom, it was offered to us on a silver platter, by people who fought for it with their lives. All throughout Europe American cemeteries remind us of the young boys who never made it home, and whose memory we cherish. My generation does not own this freedom; we are merely its custodians. We can only hand over this hard won liberty to Europe’s children in the same state in which it was offered to us. We cannot strike a deal with mullahs and imams. Future generations would never forgive us. We cannot squander our liberties. We simply do not have the right to do so.

 

This is not the first time our civilization is under threat. We have seen dangers before. We have been betrayed by our elites before. They have sided with our enemies before. And yet, then, freedom prevailed.

 

These are not times in which to take lessons from appeasement, capitulation, giving away, giving up or giving in. These are not times in which to draw lessons from Mr. Chamberlain. These are times calling us to draw lessons from Mr. Churchill and the words he spoke in 1942:

 

“Never give in, never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy”.

 

THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS MAKING PEACE.

 

by Victor Sharpe

 

On September 10th, 1964, the Radio Times, a British magazine, quoted President Woodrow Wilson that, 'Right is more precious than peace.' The great humorist, Jerome K. Jerome, suggested many years before that, '... we all love peace, but not peace at any price.'

In actuality, peace is a paradox, especially when applied to the world of politics. Peace is only a reality between states that are friendly towards each other. They, after all, do not need to make peace. But the nation that strives for peace with an enemy can only find it when both parties have reached sufficient deterrent power to prevent warfare.

The peaceniks, the liberal groups, the lefties, and all those who shout out the vacuous phrase, 'peace and justice,' have turned those once noble words into soiled and tarnished rags. They have become the very folk who, through one of life's supreme ironies, shout down other voices — often attended by their own violent acts — and thus become guilty of the very behavior they claim to oppose.

The universities and colleges have become hotbeds of radicalized students who chant slogans of peace and justice yet howl down invited speakers with whom they disagree. Free speech withers on today's university campus while professors, smiling indulgently, espouse the monolithic message of the Left, which tolerates no disagreement.

That word, 'peace' has permeated the democracies for decades and flowed from numerous pulpits. But despite untold forests cut down in order to produce posters, books, banners, placards and learned tomes calling for peace, there is less peace in the world today and more hypocrites selling it like snake oil peddlers.

On the banks of the East River in New York City stands the Temple of Peace, the huge United Nations building that claims to be its repository, but which in reality is the ultimate Temple to Hypocrisy.

The worshippers of Peace are the supreme idealists who never abandon their dreams even if their naïve acts lead them to inadvertently make tyrants stronger and create living nightmares for the very victims for whom they claim they are bringing peace.

There is no such thing as making peace. If a nation desires peace with its neighbor, but that neighbor implacably rejects peace, then any imposed peace process from outside is nothing more than a handmaiden to futility or worse.

The peacemaker often creates a catastrophic erosion of security for the peace loving nation, which because of its peaceful intentions is the only party that is then leaned upon to make endless and one-sided concessions to a belligerent enemy. Such has been the curse of the peace process for Israel in its attempts to survive relentless Arab aggression.

Israel's leaders have sought peace above all else and considered its attainment with hostile neighbors as the great panacea. But making peace must never be the goal of a nation when confronted by enemies who look upon peace with contempt.

For almost a century Jews have begged the Arab world to agree to a lasting peace. They have offered what no other nation or people would dream of offering to a belligerent. But they have received nothing for the simple reason that the Muslim Arab is only interested in a limited ceasefire so as to continue aggression against the Jews as soon as he feels strong enough.

Deterrence, unwavering strength and deterrence, is the only salvation for Israel against the Islamic onslaught just as it is for an equally blinded West increasingly confronted with Islamic terrorism.

To cry peace, peace, when there is no peace, as the Jewish prophet, Jeremiah, taught us long ago, is not an expression of hope but a foolish and dangerous abrogation of reality. It dulls the mind and the aspiration of a people who then become lost and blinded under a veritable veil of deception.

Peace is impossible for a nation like Israel without its own demonstration of unassailable military strength and its utter rejection of concessions to an implacable enemy. The Arab world respects strength. It treats concessions with complete and utter scorn. It considers overtures of peace as a sign of weakness and becomes emboldened in its aggression.

When that enemy is an Arab entity unwilling to make any concession whatsoever, and when the world expects Israel always to give and the Arabs always to take, then to continue along that same path to nowhere, becomes an Israeli self-delusion, leading to worse: Self destruction.

It is high time for Israel to be making demands upon the Arabs, starting with territorial concessions from the vast Arab world. Based upon prior precedents in Muslim history going back to the time of Mohammed and his dealings with the Queresh tribe in Mecca, the Arabs will never make peace or accept a Jewish sovereign state in territory they have previously conquered in the name of Allah.

Thus, Israel should now begin reclaiming territory it has foolishly given away since the Oslo 'peace' Accords. The Arabs will be forced to accept such demands if they finally realize that the Jewish state is once again so overwhelmingly strong militarily, morally and spiritually that they simply cannot destroy it.

There is no hope for the Jewish state surviving in the nastiest neighborhood in the world if it presents itself as inwardly irresolute and unwilling to engage in war. The Arab adversary should always be fully aware that Israel is resolute, steadfast and more ready to wage war than agree to a fraudulent peace.

If the Arab and Muslim world rejects Israel, it must live with the consequences of its enmity and become the ultimate loser. A Jewish state, which no longer seeks to make peace at any price will prosper and grow. It will also engender respect from both its friends and its enemies.

As W.B Yeats once wrote, '... peace under a semblance of peace ... is but a manifold illusion.' And discussing self proclaimed peacemakers, A.N. Whitehead described their efforts as '...a deliberate aim at Peace, which very easily passes into its bastard substitute: anesthesia.'

 
Victor Sharpe is author of the book "PoliticideThe attempt to murder the Jewish state" and "The Blue Hour and Other Strange Tales."

 

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

 

 

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

DIPLOMACY AND TERROR - SYRIAN-STYLE.

 

by Jonathan Spyer

  
PART 1. SUBTLY AND DETERMINEDLY, SYRIA IS TAKING OVER LEBANON

 

Lebanese President Michel Suleiman is to visit Syria next week, to discuss the opening of diplomatic relations between the countries, a Lebanese official told reporters this week.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy last month hailed President Bashar Assad's expression of willingness in principle to establish diplomatic relations with Lebanon as "historic progress."

The establishment of a first-ever Syrian Embassy in Beirut is probably not imminent, for various reasons. Nevertheless, the signs of normalization in relations between Syria and Lebanon are significant. They are the latest indication of Syria's growing confidence, and far from being a harbinger of more peaceful times in the neighborhood, they offer clues as to the shape of possible further strife.

The formation of the new Lebanese government after the Beirut clashes in May represented a very significant gain for the pro-Syria element in Lebanese politics. Hizbullah now controls a blocking 11 of the 30 cabinet seats. With a Lebanese government of this type, there is no reason for Syria to be in dispute there. The short period when Damascus felt the need to express its will in Lebanon solely in a clandestine way is drawing to a close.

Still, Western hopes for the rapid establishment of formal relations between the two countries are probably exaggerated. Damascus is in no hurry. Syria's return to Lebanon is a work in progress. Assad has listed the preconditions for the establishment of diplomatic relations to become a real possibility. These include the passing of an election law, and the holding of the scheduled May 2009 general election.
 

BEHIND ASSAD'S HONEYED WORDS, ONE MAY GLIMPSE THE CONTOURS OF SYRIAN STRATEGY in the next stage. The election of May 2009 will be conducted under the shadow of Hizbullah's independent and now untouchable military capability.

Intimidation will go hand in hand with the real kudos gained by the movement and its allies because of recent events ursued by Syria, whereby its clients — for example Hizbullah — including the prisoner swap with Israel, and the Doha agreement that followed the fighting in May. The result, the Syrians hope, will be the establishment of a government more fully dominated by Hizbullah and its allies, in which the pro-Western element will have been marginalized.

Such a government would mark the effective final reversal of the events of the spring of 2005, when the Cedar Revolution compelled the Syrian army to leave Lebanon. Damascus would then go on to conduct friendly and fraternal relations with the new order in Beirut. Mission accomplished.

If this strategy plays out, however, it will represent not the normalization of Syrian-Lebanese relations, but rather the enveloping of Lebanon into the regional alliance led by Iran, of which Syria is a senior member.

On the ground in Lebanon, this regional alliance is still engaged in consolidating its gains. The lines separating the official Lebanese state from the para-state established by Hizbullah continue to blur. The new government's draft policy statement, which is still to be discussed by the parliament, supports the "right of Lebanon's people, the army and the Resistance to liberate all its territories."

This statement thus nominally affords the Resistance. i.e. Hizbullah, equal status with the Lebanese Armed Forces, and appears to consider it an organ of official government policy.

The new organ of government policy, meanwhile, is building its strength. Ostensibly for the mission of "liberating" 20 square kilometers of border farmland, Hizbullah has built a capability of 40,000 missiles and rockets, is frenziedly recruiting and training new fighters, and is expanding and developing its command and logistics center in the Bekaa.

The latest talk is of Iranian-Syrian plans to supply Hizbullah with an advanced anti-aircraft capacity that would provide aerial defense to the investment in rockets and missiles. Such a move would represent a grave altering of the balance of power. Serious moves towards it could well prove the spark for the next confrontation.

In all its moves, the Iranian-Syrian-Hizbullah alliance has known how to combine brutal military tactics on the ground with subtle and determined diplomacy. Its willingness to throw away the rule book governing the normal relations between states has been perhaps its greatest advantage. While the West sees states as fixed entities possessing certain basic rights, Iran and Syria see only processes of rising and falling power. They see themselves as the force on the rise, and the niceties of internationally fixed borders as a trifle unworthy of consideration.
 

THE REGION HAS KNOWN THE RISE OF SIMILAR SYSTEMS OF POWER AND IDEOLOGY in the past. Experience shows that such states and alliances have become amenable to change and compromise — if at all — only after experiencing defeat, setback and frustration.

The Syrians and their allies, of course, are far weaker in measurable military and societal terms than their rhetoric would suggest. Western (including Israeli) actions over the last years have tended to blur this fact. The general acceptance of the transformation of Lebanon into a platform for this alliance — and the lauding of it as 'historical progress' is the latest example of this. The reacquaintance of rhetoric with reality on all sides is long overdue.
 


PART 2. WE'LL TAKE THE DOWRY — YOU KEEP THE BRIDE

A fourth round of indirect talks between Syrian and Israeli representatives was concluded in Istanbul this week and as the Turkish mediators kept themselves in shape conveying messages between the hotel rooms of the two countries' delegations, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was keen to stress the urgency of the hour.

The time was approaching, the prime minister said, when gestures would no longer be enough. Rather, it would soon be time for the Syrians to make their choice between the "Iranian grip" and their partnership in the "axis of evil," and rejoining the "family of nations" in pursuit of peace and "economic development."

Actions and statements from Syria and its allies, however, convey a distinctly less pressing sense of the negotiations. More indirect contacts have been tentatively scheduled for later this month, but for the Syrians, the already considerable benefits derived from the very act of talking are more important than the talks themselves. Damascus's allies in Iran have also given no sign of real concern that their most important Arab allies are about to jump ship.
 

DAMASCUS'S MAIN AIM IN ENTERING THE TALKS WAS TO USE THEM AS A MEANS TO REBUILD RELATIONS WITH THE US AND OTHER WESTERN POWERS, in particular France. These reached a nadir in recent years, most importantly because of Syrian subversion in Lebanon, and suspicions of Damascus's involvement in the murder of former prime minister Rafiq al-Hariri and a string of subsequent political murders in that country. Syria is determined to prevent the functioning of the international tribunal into the Hariri murder.

The talks with Israel are intended to demonstrate Syria's willingness to conform with Western hopes for a peace breakthrough in the region. They are part of a sort of "carrot and stick" strategy pursued by Syria, whereby its clients — for example Hizbullah — make tangible gains through the brute employment of political violence. Once it has been established that Syria and its friends cannot be ignored, Damascus then sets out to reap diplomatic gains by offering a cautious hand of reconciliation.

But this hand of reconciliation is intended to add a layer to the gains achieved through violence — not to bargain them away. This strategy has served Syria well in the past. It has been likened to an arsonist who offers his service to the fire brigade.

With regard to Syria's contact with Israel, the terms have been clear from the outset. Damascus is in no hurry. Syrian officials, speaking in Arabic, have made clear that they believe the negotiations would likely take between one and three years for completion, and that no summit meeting would be likely in the foreseeable future.
 

THE SYRIANS HAVE ALSO MADE CLEAR THAT DAMASCUS'S LONG-STANDING ALLIANCE WITH IRAN IS NOT A SUBJECT OF DISCUSSION in the talks, which are concerned with regaining the Golan Heights by Syria only. As Samir Taqi, the Syrian "independent researcher" who handled the initial contacts preceding the negotiations put it, "It would be naive to think Syria will neglect or abandon its strategic alliances that do not stem from the Arab-Israeli conflict."

So far, the strategy seems to be paying dividends. For the cost of the flight tickets and hotel rooms in Istanbul, Assad has ended Syria's isolation. He and his wife found themselves feted in Paris in early July where Syria was welcomed into French President Sarkozy's new Mediterranean Forum. Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem beamed after his meetings with French officials that the Hariri tribunal had not even been mentioned.

The reception in Washington has been more cautious, of course. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Welsh made it clear that he was not prepared to meet with Syrian official Riad Daoudi as part of talks with an "unofficial" Syrian delegation in the US last week.

But here, given Syria's projected time frame for negotiations with Israel, it is evident that Damascus is looking beyond its foes in the Bush Administration. Assad evidently expects a more friendly face in the White House by early 2009, and this offers a further reason for Syria's lack of haste.

With all this rapprochement going on, the alliance with Iran seems safe and sound. Muallem was in Teheran this week, and met with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad. The two reconfirmed what Ahmedinejad called their "regional cooperation," and the Iranian president lauded the foiling of "the Zionist regime" and America's plans in Lebanon and Syria.

Thus, the act of talking in Istanbul seems a worthy investment. But it is the side benefits of the conversation which interests Damascus.

This was perhaps most eloquently summed up yesterday on the Web site of the official Syrian newspaper Tishreen. While the regional newspaper Sharq al-Awsat devoted two editorials this week to dissecting the negotiations, on the same day that the talks resumed, Tishreen's homepage failed even to acknowledge that they were taking place. Instead, the lead story on its Web site informed readers that his excellency President Bashar Assad met with a delegation of American churchmen. In the meeting, we are told, his excellency stressed the importance of dialogue between nations.

There could be few more eloquent demonstrations of Syrian intentions. When it comes to negotiating with Israel, Assad is keen to take the dowry, while showing little enthusiasm for embracing the bride.

 
Dr. Jonathan Spyer is a senior research fellow at the Global Research in International Affairs Center (GLORIA) at the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya Israel.

 

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

 

Sunday, September 28, 2008

NO, MR. KOUCHNER, MIDEAST REALITY IS NOT WHAT YOU THINK.

 

by Salomon Benzimra

 

1st part of 2

During the visit of French President Nicolas Sarkozy to Israel last June, his Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Bernard Kouchner, was interviewed by Guysen News International, a francophone online network based in Jerusalem. On the issue of the Middle East peace process, Mr. Kouchner's observations can be summarized as follows:

Everyone knows that a viable Palestinian state must be created side by side with Israel, and it must be done urgently. To this effect, Israel must put an end to the colonization; remove a few tens of thousands of settlers; compensate them to return to Israel; and hand over their homes to the Palestinians, without destroying them, as was the case in Gaza. Of course, Hamas continues to fire rockets, but Israel must stop the confrontation that feeds extremism. Later, the return of the refugees and the issue of Jerusalem must also be discussed. (Note 1)


THIS HODGE-PODGE OF WORN OUT IDEAS, DOGMATIC PRONOUNCEMENTS AND MENDACIOUS TERMINOLOGY must first be confronted with factual truths.

First, the destruction of Jewish owned houses in Gaza was not only coordinated but encouraged at the highest levels of the Palestinian Authority (PA). On May 5, 2005, Mr. Saeb Erekat, chief Palestinian negotiator, declared in an interview to Voice of Peace: "I will tell the Israelis to demolish all [the houses] and even take all the rubble with you, because this is our firm position - to demolish these houses because we do not want to live in them." This decision was later confirmed on May 26, 2005, by Mr. Mohamed Shtayyeh, the Palestinian Minister of Public Works: "If Israel does not destroy the settlers' homes, we will destroy them" (Note 2). Destruction was not limited to buildings and housing units. Most greenhouses, highly efficient productive centers, were vandalized by the Palestinians in spite of a $14 million private fund raised by James Wolfensohn, the former president of the World Bank.

Second, Hamas is not the only group to fire rockets from the Gaza Strip. Ignoring the recent cease-fire agreement, the Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigade claimed responsibility for the latest round of rockets. Let us not forget that these Brigades are part of Fatah and under the authority of President Mahmoud Abbas with whom, according to Mr. Kouchner, negotiations are possible.

But beyond these "details", Mr. Kouchner's position must be challenged on more fundamental grounds. While everyone is entitled to his opinion on the "Palestinian cause", no one should be allowed to distort the facts. It is high time that this "urgent necessity to create a viable Palestinian state" (in Judea & Samaria, of all places, and after uprooting all its Jewish communities) be assessed rationally.
 

NEITHER INTERNATIONAL LAW, NOR HISTORICAL FACTS, NOR GEO-STRATEGIC CONSIDERATIONS COULD SUPPORT THE CREATION of a new Arab state between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. Even though Mr. Kouchner tells us that "everyone knows...", here is what everyone should really know.
 

On legal grounds:

The 1922 Mandate for Palestine (Note 3) recognized the region known as "Palestine" as the historic, national and exclusive heritage of the Jewish people. This key document of international law –– which has never been abrogated, and the spirit of which was entrenched in Article 80 of the Charter of the United Nations –– should be the basis of any resolution of the Israeli-Arab conflict. When this document was approved by the Council of the League of Nations in July 1922, Palestine had already been carved out of its eastern region (Transjordan [now called Jordan]), as shown in Article 25. This partition resulted in "postponing or withholding" all Jewish settlements east of the Jordan River and, to this day, there are no Jews living in that area.

How many times must Palestine be partitioned? Was it not a violation of the provisions of the Mandate (Article 5) to envisage a further partition of Palestine, as recommended by the Peel Commission in 1937 (Note 4) or by UN Resolution 181 in 1947 (Note 5)? Even though Israeli jurists Meir Shamgar and Theodor Meron, in the wake of the Six Day War of 1967, wrongly advised their government to view Judea & Samaria (the "West Bank") as "territories regulated by the Geneva Conventions", the validity of the provisions of the Mandate remains intact. So, how many more transgressions of international law are Mr. Kouchner and his western colleagues prepared to suggest, even to support, in order to appease the real transgressors whose final objective is the destruction of Israel?

The Mandate is also very clear with regard to the establishment of Jewish communities in Palestine. Article 6 encourages the development of these communities in all the lands located west of the Jordan River, which makes their status perfectly legal. When Mr. Kouchner refers to these communities as colonies and urges Israel to put an end to the colonization –– a most derogatory term –– he shows his ignorance of the facts. Dismantling these Jewish communities would be tantamount to condoning the ethnic cleansing that Arabs have practiced in the region up to 1967.

End part 1

Salomon Benzimra

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

 

NO, MR. KOUCHNER, MIDEAST REALITY IS NOT WHAT YOU THINK.

 

by Salomon Benzimra

 

2nd part of 2

On historical grounds:

There is no doubt about which territories Israel should purportedly abandon in order to create a Palestinian state. They include mainly the "West Bank" –– a misnomer widely used by all those who favour a new partition, to actually designate Judea and Samaria. It just happens that Judea and Samaria hold over 90% of the historic patrimony of the Jewish people [It is much of Biblical Israel]. Withdrawing from these territories would not only be a national suicide but an invitation to any number of further territorial demands made by the Arabs (Galilee, coastal zone, etc.), where Jews could not possibly claim as strong historical links as in Judea & Samaria. And let us not even mention the partition of Jerusalem, and its supposed holiness to Islam, so recently touted!

Since the establishment of the State of Israel, contemporary history never ceases to remind us of a reality that the world persists to ignore. For reasons that escape reason, the armistice line of 1949 (the "Green Line") has acquired the status of an "internationally recognized boundary." Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, who seldom misses an opportunity to distort the reality of the Middle East, repeats this nonsense in an article published in USA Today in May, 2006 (Note 6). In 1967, the Green Line vanished but the error persists. It is useful to recall the parallel between the War of Independence of 1948 and the Six Day War of 1967. In both events,

  • the goals of the Arabs were the same: the destruction of the State of Israel, through military aggression.
  • the calls to violence broadcast by the Mufti in 1948 and by Nasser in 1967, were eerily similar: the eradication of the "Zionist entity." In fact, Nasser was convinced that the aggression of 1967 was the natural pursuit of the 1948 war.
  • the methods used by the Arabs breached international law: the UN Charter (Art. 2) in 1948 and the closing of the Straits of Tiran in 1967 (casus belli).
  • the outcome of both wars was the same: the loss, by the aggressors, of territories populated mainly by Arabs: Western Galilee in 1948, and Judea & Samaria in 1967.

One may then wonder why the outcomes of these two wars should be treated differently. On the one hand, no one questions the legality of the acquisition of territories by Israel in 1948-49 and, on the other hand, diplomats around the world consider that the "West Bank" and "East-Jerusalem" are occupied territories. Actually, these territories are as "occupied" as Western Galilee, Beersheba and Ashdod, which were all part of the Arab state proposed by the Partition Plan of Palestine in 1947 (UN Resolution 181 which, let us not forget, violated the provisions of the Mandate). The notion of "occupied Palestinian territories" is a monumental sham, all the more so when one compares the original version of the PLO Charter of 1964 –– where there is no mention of a "Palestinian people" and where the "West Bank" is excluded from the lands to be "librated" –– to its second version of 1968, in which the "Palestinian people" suddenly appears to "liberate Palestine ... in all the territory of the British Mandate" (Note 7).

How is it that the whole world could be duped by this Arab-forged Palestinian mythology, while Colonel Qaddafi of Libya, in an unusual outburst of common sense, exposed it openly to his mesmerized colleagues of the Arab League? (Note 8).

Nevertheless, Israel has pursued the so-called "peace process", by withdrawing from several territories. Following the Oslo Accords, Palestinian terrorism increased dramatically. The disengagement from the Gaza Strip was rewarded by thousands of Kassam rockets targeting towns in the western Negev. And after the withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2000, a month long war was triggered by Hezbollah's aggression six years later, in spite of UN guarantees. In view of these empirical correlations, perhaps Mr. Kouchner could explain how a further withdrawal would put an end to Arab violence.
 

On geo-strategic grounds:

It is hard to imagine a viable Palestinian state contained in the 6,000 square kilometres of Judea & Samaria, especially when allowing for the "right of return" of some 4 million "refugees." It is inconceivable to contemplate uprooting a quarter million Israeli Jews who live there, in order to meet the grievances of the Palestinian Arabs who, ironically, condemn the "Israeli apartheid." Therefore, if Israel were to keep a significant portion of those territories –– where most Jewish urban centers are located –– the putative Palestinian state would be even less viable. Why, then, hold on to this fantasy of "viability", as Mr. Kouchner insists? Moreover, if the Gaza Strip, "liberated" since 2005, were to be linked to the "West Bank" by a safe passage corridor, would there be anyone concerned with the viability of Israel? Why this obstinate effort in obfuscating reality?

Given that the "peace process" has been around for the past 15 years, there is only one word that comes to mind: madness. Or, to put it more mildly, an assault on reason under diplomatic cover.

Since 1967, all military strategists, Israelis as well as American, have been adamantly opposed to any Israeli withdrawal from the heights of Judea and Samaria. No country would expose its most densely populated area to the constant threats of a potential enemy, by reducing its width to 15 km. The Lod airport –– the only international airport in Israel –– would be even more exposed. These strategic issues were dramatically brought to the fore during the missile attack by Hezbollah in 2006.
 

WHAT IS URGENT IS NEITHER THE CREATION OF A PALESTINIAN STATE, NOR THE PURSUIT OF A MINDLESS PACIFISM where justice and truth are often ignored.

What is really urgent is to have the courage to face reality.

And a good place to start is in semantics.

As long as misnomers such as "colonization", "illegal occupation", "Palestinian territories", "right of return of refugees", will be endlessly repeated, peace will remain out of reach, as Albert Camus aptly observed: "Misnaming things compounds the troubles of the world."

As long as cause (extremism) and effect (confrontation) are inverted, à la Kouchner, the conflict will not be understood and surely not resolved. A cursory reading of the founding documents of the PLO, Fatah and Hamas would quickly dispel many long held misconceptions (Notes 7, 9, 10).

As long as the international community stubbornly seeks to resolve a complex problem without sorting out its various components, the process will lead to failure. Deal first with the legal aspect of territorial sovereignty, before addressing the status of the resident population.

Insofar as diplomacy and rational thought are not entirely divorced, it is apparent that one cannot be both pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian (Note 11). It behooves all of us to take a stand and to cast aside the many fantasies that perpetuate the conflict.
 

Notes:

1. Interview (in French) of Mr. Bernard Kouchner by Ms. Caroll Azoulay, Guysen News International, June 26, 2008:
Video: http://www.guysen.com/tv/index_flash.php?vida=2395
Transcript: http://www.guysen.com/articles.php?sid=7447

2. Statements made by Messrs Erekat and Shtayyeh in May 2005, as reported by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Peace Process Guide

3. Official text of the Mandate for Palestine, July 24, 1922, prefaced by Attorney Howard Grief, a Jerusalem based lawyer focused on international law.
http://www.therightroadtopeace.com/infocenter/Heb/MandateforPalestine.html

4. The report of the Peel Commission, submitted to the British Parliament in July, 1937, contrasts the extraordinary economic development achieved by the Zionists with the situation of the Arab population, and dismisses any possibility of "fusion or assimilation between Jewish and Arab cultures" in spite of the substantial demographic growth and the improvements in living conditions of the Arab population since 1920. However, the report concludes on the necessity of a second partition of Mandatory Palestine, contrary to Britain's commitments made 15 years earlier:
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/peel1.html

5. Anticipating the termination of the British Mandate, Resolution 181 was passed by the General Assembly of the United Nations on November 29, 1947, with a majority of 33 votes for, 13 against and 10 abstentions. This resolution of the General Assembly was only a "recommendation" and is not binding on the parties. Besides its incompatibility with the spirit and the letter of the Mandate, Resolution 181 proved itself ineffective in stopping the armed aggression against Israel in May, 1948, even though it clearly allowed the Security Council, under Chapter VII of the Charter, to intervene in the event of "threats to peace".
http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/un/res181.htm

6. Article penned by former President Jimmy Carter in USA Today, May 15, 2006.
http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/editorials/2006-05-15-carter-israel-edit_x.htm For a rebuttal to Jimmy Carter, see:
http://www.newyorkmonthlyherald.com/political_commentary.htm

7. The two versions of the Charter of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO):
1964: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Peace/cove1.html
1968: http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/mideast/plocov.htm
For a comparative analysis of these two documents and a historical overview of the region, please refer to the excellent report of Professor Francisco Gil-White (April 30, 2006):
http://www.hirhome.com/israel/pal_mov2.htm

8. Colonel Muammar Qaddfi addresses the members of the Arab League at their plenary session of March, 2008, in Syria. The Al-Jazeera network aired Qaddafi's speech on March 29, 2008. MEMRI included English subtitles.
Video: http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/1731.htm
Transcript: http://www.memritv.org/clip_transcript/en/1731.htm

9. The Constitution of Fatah (the party of Mr. Mahmoud Abbas) was written in 1964, three years before any "occupation of Palestinian territories." Of special interest are Articles 8, 12, 19 and 22. You decide whether Fatah can be labelled "moderate."
http://www.middleeastfacts.com/middle-east/the-fatah-constitution.php

10. The Hamas Charter was produced in August, 1988. Articles 7, 14, 28 and 32 are particularly revealing. This document is nothing but an open call to genocide:
http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/mideast/hamas.htm

11. The world at large now seems to "define" Palestinians as those Arabs who live in the "West Bank", Gaza, the scattered refugee camps, maybe even those living abroad, and on occasion Arabs living in Israel proper are included. But the Palestinians living in Jordan (>70% of the population) are excluded from this definition, as they are considered "Jordanians" I raise this doubt about the definition of the word "Palestinian" because there is really a large cloud on their actual identity. And it is precisely the widely accepted definition of "Palestinians" (those Arabs in the West Bank especially) that makes it impossible to be, at the same time pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian, because that would entail truncating Israel to a non viable size, once the "Palestinian state" is carved out.

 
Salomon Benzimra, P.Eng., lives in Toronto, Canada.

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

 

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