Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Ideologue-in-Chief.

 

by Caroline B. Glick

While Obama's supporters champion his "realist" policies as a welcome departure from the "cowboy diplomacy" of the Bush years, the fact of the matter is that in country after country, Obama's supposedly pragmatic and nonideological policy has either already failed — as it has in North Korea — or is in the process of failing

For a brief moment it seemed that US President Barack Obama was moved by the recent events in Iran. On Friday, he issued his harshest statement yet on the mullocracy's barbaric clampdown against its brave citizens who dared to demand freedom in the aftermath of June 12's stolen presidential elections.

Speaking of the protesters Obama said, "Their bravery in the face of brutality is a testament to their enduring pursuit of justice. The violence perpetrated against them is outrageous. In spite of the government's efforts to keep the world from bearing witness to that violence, we see it and we condemn it."

While some noted the oddity of Obama's attribution of the protesters' struggle to the "pursuit of justice," rather than the pursuit of freedom - which is what they are actually fighting for — most Iran watchers in Washington and beyond were satisfied with his statement.

Alas, it was a false alarm. On Sunday Obama dispatched his surrogates — presidential adviser David Axelrod and UN Ambassador Susan Rice — to the morning talk shows to make clear that he has not allowed mere events to influence his policies.

After paying lip service to the Iranian dissidents, Rice and Axelrod quickly cut to the chase. The Obama administration does not care about the Iranian people or their struggle with the theocratic totalitarians who repress them. Whether Iran is an Islamic revolutionary state dedicated to the overthrow of the world order or a liberal democracy dedicated to strengthening it, is none of the administration's business.

Obama's emissaries wouldn't even admit that after stealing the election and killing hundreds of its own citizens, the regime is illegitimate. As Rice put it, "Legitimacy obviously is in the eyes of the people. And obviously the government's legitimacy has been called into question by the protests in the streets. But that's not the critical issue in terms of our dealings with Iran."

No, whether an America-hating regime is legitimate or not is completely insignificant to the White House. All the Obama administration wants to do is go back to its plan to appease the mullahs into reaching an agreement about their nuclear aspirations. And for some yet-to-be-explained reason, Obama and his associates believe they can make this regime — which as recently as Friday called for the mass murder of its own citizens, and as recently as Saturday blamed the US for the Iranian people's decision to rise up against the mullahs — reach such an agreement.

 

IN STAKING out a seemingly hard-nosed, unsentimental position on Iran, Obama and his advisers would have us believe that unlike their predecessors, they are foreign policy "realists." Unlike Jimmy Carter, who supported the America-hating mullahs against the America-supporting shah 30 years ago in the name of his moralistic post-Vietnam War aversion to American exceptionalism, Obama supports the America-hating mullahs against the America-supporting freedom protesters because all he cares about are "real" American interests.

So too, unlike George W. Bush, who openly supported Iran's pro-American democratic dissidents against the mullahs due to his belief that the advance of freedom in Iran and throughout the world promoted US national interests, Obama supports the anti-American mullahs who butcher these dissidents in the streets and abduct and imprison them by the thousands due to his "hard-nosed" belief that doing so will pave the way for a meeting of the minds with their oppressors.

Yet Obama's policy is anything but realistic. By refusing to support the dissidents, he is not demonstrating that he is a realist. He is showing that he is immune to reality. He is so committed to appeasing the likes of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Ali Khamenei that he is incapable of responding to actual events, or even of taking them into account for anything other than fleeting media appearances meant to neutralize his critics.

Rice and Axelrod demonstrated the administration's determination to eschew reality when they proclaimed that Ahmadinejad's "reelection" is immaterial. As they see it, appeasement isn't dead since it is Khamenei — whom they deferentially refer to as "the supreme leader" — who sets Iran's foreign policy.

While Khamenei is inarguably the decision maker on foreign policy, his behavior since June 12 has shown that he is no moderate. Indeed, as his post-election Friday "sermon" 10 days ago demonstrated, he is a paranoid, delusional America-bashing tyrant. In that speech he called Americans "morons" and accused them of being the worst human-rights violators in the world, in part because of the Clinton administration's raid on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas in 1993.

Perhaps what is most significant about Obama's decision to side with anti-American tyrants against pro-American democrats in Iran is that it is utterly consistent with his policies throughout the world. From Latin America to Asia to the Middle East and beyond, after six months of the Obama administration it is clear that in its pursuit of good ties with America's adversaries at the expense of America's allies, it will not allow actual events to influence its "hard-nosed" judgments.

 

TAKE THE ADMINISTRATION'S response to the Honduran military coup on Sunday. While the term "military coup" has a lousy ring to it, the Honduran military ejected president Manuel Zelaya from office after he ignored a Supreme Court ruling backed by the Honduran Congress which barred him from holding a referendum this week that would have empowered him to endanger democracy.

Taking a page out of his mentor Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez's playbook, Zelaya acted in contempt of his country's democratic institutions to move forward with his plan to empower himself to serve another term in office. To push forward with his illegal goal, Zelaya fired the army's chief of staff. And so, in an apparent bid to prevent Honduras from going the way of Daniel Ortega's Nicaragua and becoming yet another anti-American Venezuelan satellite, the military — backed by Congress and the Supreme Court — ejected Zelaya from office.

And how did Obama respond? By seemingly siding with Zelaya against the democratic forces in Honduras who are fighting him. Obama said in a written statement: "I am deeply concerned by reports coming out of Honduras regarding the detention and expulsion of president Mel Zelaya."

His apparent decision to side with an anti-American would-be dictator is unfortunately par for the course. As South and Central America come increasingly under the control of far-left America-hating dictators, as in Iran, Obama and his team have abandoned democratic dissidents in the hope of currying favor with anti-American thugs. As Mary Anastasia O'Grady has documented in The Wall Street Journal, Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have refused to say a word about democracy promotion in Latin America.

Rather than speak of liberties and freedoms, Clinton and Obama have waxed poetic about social justice and diminishing the gaps between rich and poor. In a recent interview with the El Salvadoran media, Clinton said, "Some might say President Obama is left-of-center. And of course that means we are going to work well with countries that share our commitment to improving and enhancing the human potential."

But not, apparently, enhancing human freedoms.

 

FROM IRAN to Venezuela to Cuba, from Myanmar to North Korea to China, from Sudan to Afghanistan to Iraq to Russia to Syria to Saudi Arabia, the Obama administration has systematically taken human rights and democracy promotion off America's agenda. In their place, it has advocated "improving America's image," multilateralism and a moral relativism that either sees no distinction between dictators and their victims or deems the distinctions immaterial to the advancement of US interests.

While Obama's supporters champion his "realist" policies as a welcome departure from the "cowboy diplomacy" of the Bush years, the fact of the matter is that in country after country, Obama's supposedly pragmatic and nonideological policy has either already failed — as it has in North Korea — or is in the process of failing. The only place where Obama may soon be able to point to a success is in his policy of coercing Israel to adopt his anti-Semitic demand to bar Jews from building homes in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria. According to media reports, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has authorized Defense Minister Ehud Barak to offer to freeze all settlement construction for three months during his visit to Washington this week.

Of course, in the event that Obama has achieved his immediate goal of forcing Netanyahu to his knees, its accomplishment will hinder rather than advance his wider goal of achieving peace between Israel and its neighbors. Watching Obama strong-arm the US's closest ally in the region, the Palestinians and the neighboring Arab states have become convinced that there is no reason to make peace with the Jews. After all, Obama is demonstrating that he will deliver Israel without their having to so much as wink in the direction of peaceful coexistence.

So if Obama's foreign policy has already failed or is in the process of failing throughout the world, why is he refusing to reassess it? Why, with blood running through the streets of Iran, is he still interested in appeasing the mullahs? Why, with Venezuela threatening to invade Honduras for Zelaya, is he siding with Zelaya against Honduran democrats? Why, with the Palestinians refusing to accept the Jewish people's right to self-determination, is he seeking to expel some 500,000 Jews from their homes in the interest of appeasing the Palestinians? Why, with North Korea threatening to attack the US with ballistic missiles, is he refusing to order the *USS John McCain* to interdict the suspected North Korean missile ship it has been trailing for the past two weeks? Why, when the Sudanese government continues to sponsor the murder of Darfuris, is the

administration claiming that the genocide in Darfur has ended? The only reasonable answer to all of these questions is that far from being nonideological, Obama's foreign policy is the most ideologically driven since Carter's tenure in office. If when Obama came into office there was a question about whether he was a foreign policy pragmatist or an ideologue, his behavior in his first six months in office has dispelled all doubt. Obama is moved by a radical, anti-American ideology that motivates him to dismiss the importance of democracy and side with anti-American dictators against US allies.

For his efforts, although he is causing the US to fail to secure its aims as he himself has defined them in arena after arena, he is successfully securing the support of the most radical, extreme leftist factions in American politics.

Like Carter before him, Obama may succeed for a time in evading public scrutiny for his foreign-policy failures because the public will be too concerned with his domestic failures to notice them. But in the end, his slavish devotion to his radical ideological agenda will ensure that his failures reach a critical mass.

And then they will sink him.

 

Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East Fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, DC and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post.

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

A Test of Force with the Hamas.

 

 

 

by Raphael Israeli

 

Three years after Gilad Shalit was abducted by the Hamas, it has become apparent that the organization has not budged from its starting position of not releasing him, unless Israel responds to their demand of liberating hundreds of Hamas operatives who have committed horrors in Israel. The Hamas has stood consistently by its demands even though part of its parliamentary  leadership, including the Speaker of the Parliament, have been taken into custody by Israel in order to ensure Gilad’s freedom. But like Mustafa Dirani, who was taken by Israel from Lebanon, did not help advance Ron Arad’s cause, so it appears that Speaker Duweik’s incarceration in Israel  has not moved the Hamas from its initial goal. (both were ultimately released one-sidedly in view of the vanity of their arrests).

 

The Hamas, unlike Israel, has a stronger capacity of resistance to public will, due to its tough, doctrinaire and uncompromising leadership, who does not ply to the pressures of the families of the hostages. Moreover, when such influences are exerted, the Hamas leadership, especially the one abroad which is not subject to local public opinion, has been consistent in subordinating their public will to the greater public clamor of repatriating the many more numerous prisoners of much longer periods.

 

Consequently, many prominent and devoted Israelis have of late shifted from expecting Hamas to show flexibility, to focusing on the successive Israeli governments of Olmert and Netanyahu to evince more openness to pay the requisite prize and complete the deal. This would, of course, not only credit Hamas with a great victory, but would also constitute the first step towards the next abduction of more Israeli servicemen, in order to ensure a repeat of Israel’s capitulation and the release of yet another bunch of Hamas killers. Let us not confuse ourselves: we are not talking about a process of prisoner exchange that usually follows the conclusion of hostilities between two rivals. On the one hand we are talking about the kidnapping of an innocent Israeli soldier from his defensive position; on the other about thousands of murderers who were convicted by courts of law and incarcerated for long periods.

 

To posit one side of the equation against the other as if they were equivalent, and demand that Israel ought to show more “flexibility”, as if there were any negotiations when  an un-negotiable ultimatum has been hurled at Israel, who is required to capitulate, does not bode well for the resilience power of our society, nor does it evince any fairness towards our leadership who is required and expected to pronounce the terms of the capitulation, and then take the responsibility for its consequences. Had this been a one-time, aberrant solution, which would have resolved once and for all the problem of Palestinian prisoners, most Israelis would have swallowed it for the sake of the Shalit family and for our national sanity. But the Hamas promises us that this “exchange of prisoners”, if implemented, would be followed by so many more.

 

Would this capitulation to a gang of unscrupulous murderers, who have vowed the annihilationist goals of their Iranian sponsors, even if Israel should make the requisite concessions to settle the Palestinian issue with the PLO, remain the only option open to us? Do not those who counsel surrender, out of concern for the family of the abducted soldier to be sure, realize, that raising a white flag now would by necessity generate more and more painful and costly losses? Is there truly no other option but to capitulate? There were years when surrender was not even contemplated, since we all understood and feared the price of surrender. Then, in order to rescue our sons, we had to find ways to vanquish the enemy and make it retreat, instead of capitulating to it. It is the Hamas which must come to the conclusion that it stands no chance, in view of the vast arsenal of ideas, initiatives, stratagems which used to and should fill our quiver, especially at a time when our defense is headed by the most daring and decorated commando officer in our history.

 

All it takes is imagination and determination. We should be prepared, for example, to hurt humanitarian needs of the Palestinians to achieve that goal, announcing to the world that Shalit too is a humanitarian problem which has sapped our national patience for three years, and since the Hamas is responsible for it, any suffering of the Palestinians could be stopped immediately if Shalit is repatriated. Those who only pressure Israel to respond to “humanitarian needs” while our soldier is kept isolated and cut off from the world, should be directed to pressure the responsible Hamas government to put an end to this tragedy. Means such as economic siege, military curfew or a total paralysis of Gaza until Shalit is returned, are doable and no less “moral” than holding Gilad and our entire land hostage to Hamas reprehensible tactics.

 

We could, for example, announce, after a proper warning, that no food, services, aid would cross into Gaza as long as Gilad is not back. Those who would exert pressures on us or threaten us should be advised that it would be much easier to press the Hamas to relent and thereby bring about the end of the suffering. It is hard to imagine how long the Hamas government could withstand the starvation of the population, but if IT does not care, why should WE? Collective punishment is unacceptable? True, but after three years of torturing 6 million Israelis  because of Gilad, we may also punish 1 million and a half Palestinians to get him back.

We could also impose a curfew on the entire Strip and search it systematically from house to house. That would take time and expense, but we have wasted three years waiting in vain.

We could also arrest all the leadership of Hamas and its government and coerce them to ply to our demand. That would take time and sacrifices, but would be insignificant compared to what we will spare ourselves, if we were to capitulate.

 

Just think about our regained deterrence, credibility and pride, if we could retrieve Gilad without yielding in the least to Hamas demands and blackmail.

 

 

 

Raphael Israeli teaches Islam at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem.

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

 

Monday, June 29, 2009

Obama tells Jews where they can live

 

by Joseph Farah

Barack Obama is taking what he and his administration refer to as "a more balanced approach to Middle East policy."

Let me explain what that literally means in real terms.

It means the U.S. government is now using its clout with Israel to insist Jews, not Israelis, mind you, but Jews, be disallowed from living in East Jerusalem and the historically Jewish lands of Judea and Samaria, often referred to as the West Bank.

I want you to try to imagine the outrage, the horror, the outcry, the clamoring, the gnashing of teeth that would ensue if Arabs or Muslims were told they could no longer live in certain parts of Israel – let alone their own country.

Of course, that would never happen with "a more balanced approach to the Middle East."

It's the 1930s all over again. This time, it's the enlightened liberal voices of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama who are telling Jews where they can live, how they can live and how far they must bend if they want to live at all.

I know you haven't heard it put like this before. I don't really understand why. There is simply no other accurate way to explain the machinations behind the latest demands on Israel from the West and the rest of the world.

WND's Aaron Klein gets to the heart of Israel's decline in his new book, "The Late Great State of Israel: How Enemies Within and Without Threaten the Jewish Nation's Survival"

Israel is being reduced to "Auschwitz borders." Jews have already been told they can no longer live in the Gaza Strip. Now they are being told they can no longer choose to live in any of the areas being set aside by international elites for a future Palestinian state.

Again, I ask, "Why would internationalists seek to create, by definition, a racist, anti-Jewish state that doesn't even tolerate the mere presence of Jews?"

Can anyone answer that question for me?

Obama and Clinton – and, thus, by definition, you and me, the taxpayers of the United States – have determined they will yield to the racist, bigoted, anti-Semitic demands of the Palestinian Authority that no Jews be allowed to live in their new state.

I like to think that in any other part of the world, this kind of effort at ethnically cleansing a region would be roundly condemned by all civilized people. Yet, because most people simply don't understand the clear, official plan by the Arab leaders to force out all Jews from the new Palestinian state, the policies of capitulation retain a degree of sympathy, even political support, from much of the world.

Think about what I am saying: It is the official policy of the Palestinian Authority that all Jews must get off the land! Why is the United States supporting the creation of a new, racist, anti-Semitic hate state? Why is the civilized world viewing this as a prescription for peace in the region? Why is this considered an acceptable idea?

Is there any other place in the world where that kind of official policy of racism and ethnic cleansing is tolerated – even condoned?

Why are the rules different in the Middle East? Why are the rules different for Arabs? Why are the rules different for Muslims?

Why are U.S. tax dollars supporting the racist, anti-Semitic entity known as the Palestinian Authority?

That's what we do when we forbid "settlement construction," repairs, natural growth, additions to existing communities.

This is "balance"? Are there any impositions upon the Arabs and Muslims suggesting they can no longer move to Israel? No. Are there any impositions on Arabs and Muslims suggesting they cannot buy homes in Israel? No. Are there any impositions on Arabs and Muslim suggesting they cannot repair their existing homes in Israel? No. Are there any impositions on Arabs or Muslims suggesting the cannot build settlements anywhere they like? No.

Now, keep in mind, there are already quite a few Arab and Muslim states in the Middle East. Many of them already forbid Jews to live in them. Some prohibit Christians as well. But now, the only Jewish state in the world, and one that has a claim on the land dating back to the days of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, is being told Jews must keep off land currently under their own control, but destined for transfer to people who hate them, despise them, want to see them dead and will not even accept living peacefully with them as neighbors.

All the while, Israel continues to hold out its na├»ve hand of friendship to the Arabs and the Muslims – welcoming them in their own tiny nation surrounded by hateful neighbors. Arabs and Muslims are offered full citizenship rights – and even serve in elected office. They publish newspapers and broadcast on radio and television freely.

But, conversely, Jews are one step away from eviction from homes they have sometimes occupied for generations. Gaza is about to happen all over again.

I hope my Jewish friends remember this well. Many of them voted for Barack Obama. Many of them voted for Hillary Clinton. These are not your friends. These are the same kinds of people who turned away ships of Jewish refugees from Germany in the 1940s. These are the same kinds of people who appeased Adolf Hitler at Munich. These are the same kinds of people who made the reformation of the modern state of Israel so difficult.

I say, "No more ethnic cleansing. No more official anti-Semitism accepted. No more Jew-bashing. No more telling Jews where they can live, how they can – and if they can live."

 

Joseph Farah is an American journalist of Arabic heritage.

 

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

 

 

The 'Rape' of Israel.

 

by Moshe Dann

Two years ago, Haaretz 's chief editor David Landau advised US Sec of State Condoleezza Rice to "rape Israel," to force it into making concessions. Rice tried to follow Landau's suggestion, but her efforts were not matched by her boss, President Bush. Now, that policy seems to be led by President Obama himself.

Assisted by Rahm Emanuel, Hillary Clinton, Dennis Ross, Dan Kurtzer, and others, Pres Obama seems intent on taking Israel down. In addition to the usual left wing Jewish organizations, the Reform Movement's PAC, Americans for Peace Now, a collection of marginal anti-Israel organizations have also lined up for the gang rape.

 

The analogy is appropriate: A stronger power forces his will upon a weaker victim regardless of what is fair, moral, and without any concern for the trauma he inflicts. The rapist (in this analogy) does what he thinks is good for himself. He wants what he wants.

 

When rape occurs in a family situation the rapist is often aided and abetted by a family member, often the wife/mother, either to please the rapist, or - in denial - to pretend that it wasn't happening, or carelessness bordering on neglect. That a family member is involved in the rape makes the act even more traumatic, since it involves the ultimate betrayal.

 

President Obama and his Jewish (and some Israeli) facilitators may believe that what they are doing is for Israel's own good. That might be acceptable if they explained how it works. Would a second Arab Palestinian state run by terrorists enhance Israel's security, promote peace with Israel and in the region, resolve the issues of Jerusalem, and millions of "Palestinian refugees"? Would the Palestinians and Arab states recognize Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state, and acknowledge facts of Jewish and world history? Would the proposed state include Jews with full rights, as Israel includes Arabs with full rights?

 

Nowhere in Obama's agenda are these questions raised or answered. Nowhere is there a hint of how his plan will be carried out, nor concern for what might happen if things don't go according to his visions. That's understandable, since his policy, like sexual aggression, is single minded.

 

His Jewish and Israeli enablers, like family members who participate in rapes, no doubt believe that what they are doing is in the name of Love. They might even argue that rape is better than murder, that forcing Israel to surrender and survive, albeit crippled and more vulnerable, is preferable to isolation, attack and invasion.

 

Raping Israel might be convenient for some, temporarily, even a perverted rescue from more dire consequences that would assuage any feelings of guilt. As long as the victim remains alive and available, however, the rapist will return. There's nothing like conquest to whet the appetite for more.

 

Finally, the most difficult aspect of rape is when there is compliance, when the victim, because of her fear and desperate need to please and be loved, allows the rape to occur. Many Israeli politicians and pundits believe that Israel's survival depends on American and international good will. They will do anything to achieve it, including denying national interests and integrity. Battered by accusations of causing humiliation, suffering and oppression, "the occupation," they surrender. Hungry for acceptance and temporary security, they acquiesce.

 

For those whose "wet dream" (as Landau described it to Rice) is the destruction of Jewish homes and communities "in order to advance 'the peace process,' " to reward Arab terrorists with a state of their own, the consummation of rape may satisfy them for a while; it's no consolation for those being violated, nor will it prevent the next savagery.  

 

 

Moshe Dann, a former asst professor of History, is a writer and journalist living in Jerusalem.

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

 

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Hillary is wrong about the Settlements, the U.S. and Israel reached a clear understanding about natural growth.

 

by Elliott Abrams

Mr. Abrams, a senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, handled Middle East affairs at the National Security Council from 2001 to 2009.

Despite fervent denials by Obama administration officials, there were indeed agreements between Israel and the United States regarding the growth of Israeli settlements on the West Bank. As the Obama administration has made the settlements issue a major bone of contention between Israel and the U.S., it is necessary that we review the recent history.

In the spring of 2003, U.S. officials (including me) held wide-ranging discussions with then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in Jerusalem. The "Roadmap for Peace" between Israel and the Palestinians had been written. President George W. Bush had endorsed Palestinian statehood, but only if the Palestinians eliminated terror. He had broken with Yasser Arafat, but Arafat still ruled in the Palestinian territories. Israel had defeated the intifada, so what was next?

Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, President George W. Bush, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Jordan's King Abdullah, June 4, 2003.

We asked Mr. Sharon about freezing the West Bank settlements. I recall him asking, by way of reply, what did that mean for the settlers? They live there, he said, they serve in elite army units, and they marry. Should he tell them to have no more children, or move?

We discussed some approaches: Could he agree there would be no additional settlements? New construction only inside settlements, without expanding them physically? Could he agree there would be no additional land taken for settlements?

As we talked several principles emerged. The father of the settlements now agreed that limits must be placed on the settlements; more fundamentally, the old foe of the Palestinians could -- under certain conditions -- now agree to Palestinian statehood.

In June 2003, Mr. Sharon stood alongside Mr. Bush, King Abdullah II of Jordan, and Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas at Aqaba, Jordan, and endorsed Palestinian statehood publicly: "It is in Israel's interest not to govern the Palestinians but for the Palestinians to govern themselves in their own state. A democratic Palestinian state fully at peace with Israel will promote the long-term security and well-being of Israel as a Jewish state." At the end of that year he announced his intention to pull out of the Gaza Strip.

The U.S. government supported all this, but asked Mr. Sharon for two more things. First, that he remove some West Bank settlements; we wanted Israel to show that removing them was not impossible. Second, we wanted him to pull out of Gaza totally -- including every single settlement and the "Philadelphi Strip" separating Gaza from Egypt, even though holding on to this strip would have prevented the smuggling of weapons to Hamas that was feared and has now come to pass. Mr. Sharon agreed on both counts.

These decisions were political dynamite, as Mr. Sharon had long predicted to us. In May 2004, his Likud Party rejected his plan in a referendum, handing him a resounding political defeat. In June, the Cabinet approved the withdrawal from Gaza, but only after Mr. Sharon fired two ministers and allowed two others to resign. His majority in the Knesset was now shaky.

After completing the Gaza withdrawal in August 2005, he called in November for a dissolution of the Knesset and for early elections. He also said he would leave Likud to form a new centrist party. The political and personal strain was very great. Four weeks later he suffered the first of two strokes that have left him in a coma.

Throughout, the Bush administration gave Mr. Sharon full support for his actions against terror and on final status issues. On April 14, 2004, Mr. Bush handed Mr. Sharon a letter saying that there would be no "right of return" for Palestinian refugees. Instead, the president said, "a solution to the Palestinian refugee issue as part of any final status agreement will need to be found through the establishment of a Palestinian state, and the settling of Palestinian refugees there, rather than in Israel."

On the major settlement blocs, Mr. Bush said, "In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949." Several previous administrations had declared all Israeli settlements beyond the "1967 borders" to be illegal. Here Mr. Bush dropped such language, referring to the 1967 borders -- correctly -- as merely the lines where the fighting stopped in 1949, and saying that in any realistic peace agreement Israel would be able to negotiate keeping those major settlements.

On settlements we also agreed on principles that would permit some continuing growth. Mr. Sharon stated these clearly in a major policy speech in December 2003: "Israel will meet all its obligations with regard to construction in the settlements. There will be no construction beyond the existing construction line, no expropriation of land for construction, no special economic incentives and no construction of new settlements."

Ariel Sharon did not invent those four principles. They emerged from discussions with American officials and were discussed by Messrs. Sharon and Bush at their Aqaba meeting in June 2003.

They were not secret, either. Four days after the president's letter, Mr. Sharon's Chief of Staff Dov Weissglas wrote to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that "I wish to reconfirm the following understanding, which had been reached between us: 1. Restrictions on settlement growth: within the agreed principles of settlement activities, an effort will be made in the next few days to have a better definition of the construction line of settlements in Judea & Samaria."

Stories in the press also made it clear that there were indeed "agreed principles." On Aug. 21, 2004 the New York Times reported that "the Bush administration . . . now supports construction of new apartments in areas already built up in some settlements, as long as the expansion does not extend outward."

In recent weeks, American officials have denied that any agreement on settlements existed. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated on June 17 that "in looking at the history of the Bush administration, there were no informal or oral enforceable agreements. That has been verified by the official record of the administration and by the personnel in the positions of responsibility."

These statements are incorrect. Not only were there agreements, but the prime minister of Israel relied on them in undertaking a wrenching political reorientation -- the dissolution of his government, the removal of every single Israeli citizen, settlement and military position in Gaza, and the removal of four small settlements in the West Bank. This was the first time Israel had ever removed settlements outside the context of a peace treaty, and it was a major step.

It is true that there was no U.S.-Israel "memorandum of understanding," which is presumably what Mrs. Clinton means when she suggests that the "official record of the administration" contains none. But she would do well to consult documents like the Weissglas letter, or the notes of the Aqaba meeting, before suggesting that there was no meeting of the minds.

Mrs. Clinton also said there were no "enforceable" agreements. This is a strange phrase. How exactly would Israel enforce any agreement against an American decision to renege on it? Take it to the International Court in The Hague?

Regardless of what Mrs. Clinton has said, there was a bargained-for exchange. Mr. Sharon was determined to break the deadlock, withdraw from Gaza, remove settlements -- and confront his former allies on Israel's right by abandoning the "Greater Israel" position to endorse Palestinian statehood and limits on settlement growth. He asked for our support and got it, including the agreement that we would not demand a total settlement freeze.

For reasons that remain unclear, the Obama administration has decided to abandon the understandings about settlements reached by the previous administration with the Israeli government. We may be abandoning the deal now, but we cannot rewrite history and make believe it did not exist.

 

Elliott Abrams is a senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, handled Middle East affairs at the National Security Council from 2001 to 2009.

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

 

Demilitarized Palestinian State?

 

by Prof. MK Arieh Eldad

 

Once upon a time, there was such a state.

 

"I don't think there's a Palestinian nation. There's an Arab nation. I don't think there's a Palestinian nation. That's a colonial invention. Since when were there Palestinians? I think there's only an Arab nation. Until the end of the 19th century, Palestine was the southern part of Greater Syria."

 

If I had said this, I would undoubtedly be called a Jewish nationalist, a racist, and worst of all - detached from reality.  Yet, note well, these words were spoken by former MK Dr. Azmi Bishara in an interview with Yaron London several years ago.  Bishara is a leader of Israeli Arab citizens who openly identify with the enemy, and who was forced to flee Israel under suspicion of aiding Hizbullah in wartime.


When Benjamin Netanyahu delivered his Bar-Ilan speech
, he could have used these words.  He could have ripped the mask of deception from the terrible historical lie that we have taken to our hearts as if it were written on the Tablets of the Law given at Sinai.  "Two States for Two Nations" has become holy dogma and anyone who challenges its validity is suspected of blasphemy.


But even if we assume that Netanyahu wished to speak in terms acceptable to Europe and the United States, rather than to fight a battle which he considered lost, still it would have been better had he not deceived his listeners with the scam known as "a demilitarized state."


When I heard the speech, my initial reaction was: "There ain't no such animal."  Of course, I don't mean nano-states such as Andorra or the Vatican, which have themselves chosen not to maintain an army.  There is no real state in the world defined as a demilitarized state.  And Netanyahu did not make do with a misleading general statement, he went into details: the state won't have missiles and rockets and planes, and will not be able to sign treaties.

 

The more I listened to this and said to myself that there is no such thing, I was reminded of something quite bothersome.  Was there once such a state?  And then one of my friends reminded me there had been.


"It will be forbidden to Germany to maintain or build fortifications... in this territory (West of the Rhine).... It is forbidden for Germany to maintain an army.... the German army will not include more than seven infantry divisions.... It is forbidden for Germany to import or export tanks or any other military hardware.... The German naval forces will be limited and are not to include submarines.  The armed forces of Germany will not include any air forces.... In the political realm, Germany is forbidden to enter into any treaty with Austria."


So it was written and sealed in the Treaty of Versailles.  The treaty was signed on June 28, 1919, as part of the Paris Peace Conference following the First World War. Essentially, Germany became a demilitarized state and was also limited from a political perspective.

 

So what happened?  Did the "demilitarized" status prevent the Second World War and, worst of all, the destruction of European Jewry?

 

By 1922, an agreement between Russia and Germany had been signed in the Italian city of Rapallo.  The agreement was open and met the terms of the Versailles Treaty, but the conference that prepared it was secret; and there, Soviet Russia and Germany agreed on joint establishment of weapons factories, poison gas and ammunition.  German army officers were sent to Russia to be trained in the use of weapons that were forbidden to be maintained in Germany. In Germany, civilian factories were refurbished into arms factories, funded, as it were, by private individuals, not the state.


When I heard about the widespread activity of Jews in the Obama court and about the extreme anti-Israeli stance they are taking
, and about the anger of the extreme Left in Israel over Netanyahu's speech - in that he did not express a willingness to take in Arab refugees, give away Jerusalem and dismantle settlements, all as a prepayment for negotiating with the enemies of Israel - I again thought of the Rapallo TreatyIt was the Jewish foreign minister of Germany, Walther Rathenau, who stood behind the agreement that years later gave Nazi Germany its powerful war machine.  And it was Erhard Milch, the son of a Jewish father, who subverted the Versailles Treaty and, in the guise of civilian aeronautic companies and flying clubs, established Lufthansa, which during the war became the Luftwaffe, the German air force that in weeks overcame Poland and France and bombed London in the BlitzThe Jewish people can be trusted to bring forth warped members who will arm the "demilitarized Palestinian state", if one should ever come to be.

 

The lesson being that there is no political power that can prevent a sovereign state from doing whatever it wants.  Netanyahu knows that if ever a Palestinian state should, Heaven forbid, be established, Israel will not be able to declare war on it if it should choose, for instance, to sign an international tourism agreement with Cyprus or a transfer-of-technology agreement with Iran. If pipes are manufactured in Tulkarm, Israel will not be able to start a war that can be justified in the eyes of the world if steel cutters turn the pipes into Kassam rockets.  Since nothing other than Israeli force could possibly preserve demilitarization, Netanyahu is deceiving the people of Israel and promising them something that cannot be delivered.

 

But all of the above is not the main thing.  The main thing is that Netanyahu has recognized the right of Arabs to establish a sovereign state in our homeland.  None of his conditions and reservations can hide this abominationWhoever recognizes the right of his enemy to establish a state in his homeland has abandoned all principle and all that is left to do is argue over the price. Whoever has left his religion and changed his faith cannot insist on observing the commandments of what is no longer his faithWhoever has abandoned his patrimony has no basis on which to insist on continuing to build on its lands.

 

 

 

Prof. MK Arieh Eldad

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

 

Friday, June 26, 2009

Barack Obama vs. International Law

 

by Caroline B. Glick

True champions of law should demand the American president end his administration's contempt for the US's actual — rather than imaginary — legal obligations

US President Barack Obama consistently couches his demand that Israel prohibit Jewish people from constructing or expanding our homes and communities in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria in legal-sounding language. Obama has called settlements "illegitimate." And he has said that Israel "has obligations under the road map," while referring disparagingly to "settlements that, in past agreements, have been categorized as illegal."

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Obama's Middle East envoy George Mitchell have repeatedly uttered similar statements.

By characterizing its demand that Israel prohibit Jews from building homes in Israel's capital city and its heartland as a legal requirement, the Obama administration portrays Israel as an international outlaw. After all, if building homes for Jews is a crime, and Israel is not prohibiting Jews from building homes, then Israel is at best guilty of enabling a crime to take place, and at worst, it is a criminal state.

It makes good political sense for the Obama administration to make its case against Israel in this fashion. According to a survey of US public opinion published in early 2006 by the Boston Review, whereas only seven percent of Democrats support going to war to spread democracy — versus 53 percent of Republicans; 71 percent of Democrats — versus 36 percent of Republicans — support going to war to help the United Nations "uphold international law."

What this poll shows is that for Obama supporters, the idea that Israel should be treated poorly because Israel is in breach of international law resonates deeply.

The problem with the Obama administration's characterization of a ban on Jewish building in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria as an Israeli legal obligation is that Israel has never taken upon itself a legal obligation to prohibit such building activities. Israel has never signed an agreement that has characterized any Jewish communities as "illegal."

Moreover, both former prime minister Ariel Sharon's chief of staff Dov Weisglass and former president George W. Bush's deputy national security advisor for the Middle East Elliot Abrams have gone on record stating that Sharon's much vaunted decision to curtail Jewish building in Judea and Samaria, (never Jerusalem), in line with the road map negotiating framework was based on a series of explicit understandings with the Bush administration that spelled out the scope of Jewish building that Israel would maintain for the duration of the peace process. As Abrams wrote on Thursday in the Wall Street Journal, "Not only were there agreements, but the prime minister of Israel relied on them…"

Then too, since the road map was approved as a mere government decision — as opposed to an international agreement — the Netanyahu government has no legal obligation to actively advance it. Indeed, if it wishes, it can abrogate Israel's acceptance of the document at any time simply by calling for another vote.

More importantly perhaps from the Obama administration's perspective is that the road map itself lacks the force of international law. Although it was adopted by the UN Security Council, it was not adopted as an internationally binding document under Chapter VII of the UN Charter. Consequently, Israel has no international legal obligation to end Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria or Jerusalem. Like the US, Israel is a signatory to the 1976 International Convention for Civil and Political Rights, which among other things prohibits all forms of discrimination against people on the basis of religion and nationality. Consequently, Israel is barred from discriminating specifically against Jews who wish to build homes on legally controlled lands in Judea and Samaria. As a binding treaty, this convention takes precedence over the non-binding road map. Indeed, given the road map's prejudicial position on Jewish building it can be reasonably argued that the road map itself calls for a breach of international law.

Finally, there is always the claim made by Israel's critics that Jewish communities located beyond the 1949 armistice lines are illegal by dint of the Fourth Geneva Convention from 1949. That Convention prohibits an occupying power from transferring parts of its population to occupied territory. Legal authorities have long disputed whether this Convention is applicable to Judea and Samaria, but even if it is applicable, according to Prof. Avi Bell from Bar Ilan University Law School, it "only proscribes state actions."

Bell explains, "The Fourth Geneva Convention does not purport to limit in any way what individual Jews may or may not do on their legally held property or where they may or may not choose to live."

 

Whereas upon examination it is clear that the Obama administration is wrong in insinuating that Israel is in breach of its international legal commitments through its refusal to bar Jewish construction in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, the Obama administration's own policy towards the Palestinians places it in clear breach of both binding international law and domestic US law.

On September 28, 2001, the UN Security Council passed binding Resolution 1373. Resolution 1373, which was initiated by the US government, and was passed by authority of Chapter VII, committed all UN member states to "refrain from providing any form of support, active or passive, to entities or persons involved in terrorist acts."

Resolution 1373 further required UN member states to "deny safe haven to those who finance, plan, support, or commit terrorist acts or provide safe haven" to those that do.

In 1995 the US State Department acknowledged that Hamas fits the legal definition of a terrorist organization. Today, due to its policies towards Hamas, the Obama administration is in breach of both Resolution 1373 — that is, of international law — and of US domestic law barring the provision of support and financing to foreign terrorist organizations. According to an internal State Department document cited Wednesday by the Atlas Shrugs website, the US has already transferred or is in the process of allocating $300 million dollars to Gaza through USAID and the International Committee for the Red Cross. Since Hamas controls "humanitarian" organizations in Gaza, and Hamas has openly and repeatedly stolen "humanitarian aid," there is little doubt the transfer of funds to Gaza constitutes indirect assistance to Hamas and is therefore prohibited by Resolution 1373 as well as by domestic US statute.

The Obama administration is further in breach of international and domestic US law due to its attempts to coerce Israel into opening international passages between Israel and Gaza to enable trade and commerce with Hamas-controlled Gaza and to end or curtail travel restrictions for people between Gaza and Israel. Resolution 1373 stipulates that all states must "Prevent the movement of terrorists or terrorist groups by effective border controls." Given the fact that the Gaza side of the border is controlled by a terrorist organization, any significant relaxation of Israeli border controls puts Israel at risk of facilitating the movement of terrorists and permitting direct and indirect support to terrorists.

So too, Resolution 1373 requires all states to "Ensure that any person who participates in the financing, planning, preparation or perpetuation of terrorist acts or in supporting terrorist acts is brought to justice." Yet rather than calling on Israel to arrest all persons working with Hamas and operating in its territory, the US itself pledged $900 million to rebuilding Gaza. Moreover, it is demanding that Israel allow the importation of dual use materials like cement into Gaza which will enable Hamas to rebuild its infrastructures that were destroyed during Operation Cast Lead. It is also attempting to coerce Israel into transferring cash to Hamas-controlled banks in Gaza.

Then too, as Dan Diker reported in a study published by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, US-supported Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad recently acknowledged that the US-financed PA continues to pay the salaries of Hamas terrorists.

 

Multiple news reports in recent days have indicated that the Obama administration is working to facilitate the establishment of a Palestinian government that will include Hamas. US efforts to legitimize the incorporation of a terrorist group in a Palestinian government are a severe violation of US and international law. This is the case since it would clearly involve aiding a designated terrorist organization and helping to provide it with a safe haven.

Hamas itself is not the only terrorist organization to which the Obama administration is providing assistance — again, in apparent breach of international and US law. The administration is also aiding Hizbullah in various ways. Ahead of his June 4 address in Cairo, Obama met with members of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood at the White House. He also invited members of the Muslim Brotherhood to be present at his speech.

Shortly before the White House meeting, Egyptian legal authorities alleged that the Muslim Brotherhood provided material support to Hizbullah terrorists in Egypt. These Hizbullah operatives — and their Muslim Brotherhood partners — were allegedly engaged in a plot to commit massive terrorist attacks in Egypt whose goal was the illegal overthrow of the government. That is, the Muslim Brotherhood was allegedly involved in a terrorist conspiracy led by Hizbullah -- a designated foreign terrorist organization. Furthermore, the plot was apparently hatched by Iran — which the US State Department has designated as state sponsor of terrorism.

By meeting with representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood suspected of providing material support to a designated terrorist organization, Obama was arguably illegally providing indirect assistance to Hizbullah — again in breach of Resolution 1373 and US domestic law.

Then there is the US's direct assistance to the Lebanese military. During the 2006 war between Israel and Hizbullah, the Lebanese military provided direct assistance to Hizbullah operatives in carrying out their illegal war against Israel. Since then, continued and expanding Hizbullah influence over the Lebanese military has been copiously documented. Consequently, by providing direct US military assistance — including weapons — to the Lebanese military, the US government is arguably in breach of Resolution 1373 and domestic US law.

Going back for a moment to the Palestinians, Hamas of course is not the only terrorist organization that is materially assisted by the Obama administration's policies. As Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook wrote in the Jerusalem Post last month, the US is financing the construction of a Palestinian computer center named for arch Fatah terrorist Dalal Mughrabi who led the 1978 bus bombing on Israel's coastal highway in which 37 civilians including 12 children and US citizen Gail Rubin were murdered.

As Marcus and Crook note, the 2008 US Foreign Operations Bill bars US assistance to the Palestinians from being used "for the purpose of recognizing or otherwise honoring individuals who commit or have committed acts of terrorism."

Obama, the former law professor, never tires of invoking international law. And yet, when one considers his policies towards Israel on the one hand, and his policies towards illegal terrorist organizations on the other, it is clear that Obama's respect for international law is mere rhetoric. True champions of law in both Israel and the US should demand an end to his administration's contempt for the US's actual — rather than imaginary — legal obligations.

 

Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East Fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, DC and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post.

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

 

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