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Unity, Sekhel Tov, & Love
Prof. Eugene Narrett
Rav Chama bar Chanina said, ‘the son of David will not come until the petty government has ceased from Israel, as it is stated, ‘He will cut off the shoots with shears.’ After that it is written, ‘at that time a gift will be brought to Hashem of Hosts, a people pulled and torn.’ And Rav Yehoshua said, upon the cessation of the power of the holy people”…when you see a generation upon whom disasters surge like a river” 
When will redemption come to the Jewish people especially in the Land of Israel, made for each other as the Eternal terms each of them His morasha (“heritage”)? Commenting on the discussion cited above, Rashi and HaRav Shlomo Eidels state that as redemption proceeds along its bumpy track, “riding on a donkey”  “the Jewish people will not have “even the most petty vestige of autonomy.” Eidels (1560-1630) interpreted “the petty kingdom” as a reference to “the corrupt and debased” dominion of Rome - Edom who have lorded it over Israel for two millennia as it does now through surrogates. His further comment that “He will cut off the debased ones [Rome] with songs” evokes a literal translation of la m’natzeach b’neginot, mizmor shir” “to Him Who grants victory through the power of music, a glory of song” .
We have observed that redemption is delayed “until the arrogant [government and judges] are removed from Israel “and leave in your midst a humble and forbearing people” (Zephaniah 3:10-12). Previous essays have explained that this is a clear reference to the “sorcerers” or spin-masters and “idolatrous judges” who betray Jews to gentile powers, more evidence that the sages of the Mishna and Talmudic Midrash saw our own day through the oppressions of theirs . The fashioners and sellers of today’s diplomatic processes and media ‘interpretation’ or conditioning, of confounding truth with lies and debasing language exemplify the “stealing of eyes” and stealing of minds (gonev da’at) that is a form of idol worship and the reduction of human freedom to fatalism and inability to perceive clearly and think . Primary 20th century expressions of this idolatry and official lying, this teaching of falsehood is the notion that there is a “Palestinian people” that this non-nation should have a “Palestinian State” carved from the center of ancient Israel and its holiest sites, and that Israel thus will receive “peace,” that is, the peace of the grave as the Pax Romana often has been termed by the victims of its protection racket. As the Jewish people, having been delivered by a series of autocratic governments (Avot 2:3) suffer expulsions, rocket barrages, and the steady loss of their autonomy, the modern Roman solution to its Jewish problem appears: the Promised Land with Jewish sovereignty reduced to “Holy Land Theme Park” administered by the UN, policed by NATO and the EU, including its subservient local contractors, the IDF all for the benefit of a Vatican-“Palestinian” bilateral accord to be followed, after the inevitable escalating violence, by the last Crusade .
Israel again is being dispossessed of its dearly regained heritage, -- and so is the Creator. The answer inheres in the nature of the Eternal One and has been articulated and is being urged by hundreds of Israel’s best, -- students from yeshivas demanding that all those who care for Jewish survival and sovereignty unite. Unity and love is the essence of Israel’s internal relations and stance to the world; the fullness and perfection of mitzvah yichud called figuratively, “the Kingdom of Heaven” fulfilled in an intact Israel, Yisrael shleimah . Because Israel is the heritage of the Eternal, there is no forgiveness for dividing it or scattering the Children of Israel for that is denying the Unity of God.
Rav Yisachar Shlomo Teichtal made this a central theme of his amazing work, “Em HaBanim Smeichah (“A Glad Mother of Children”) written and printed as he fled the Nazis in Hungary . The fourth and last chapter of this masterwork of scholarship and focused compassion is titled, “Unity and Peace: Israel’s Restoration.” The gist of this unique work is captured by a sub-title heading, “a plea to the survivors [of the shoah]: return to your motherland” (3.6) and of abundant proofs brought to support “the importance of settling the land,” “our obligation to support and build the land” and at the thematic core, “the Unification of Israel through the mitzvah of Yishuv Eretz Yisrael (“settling the Land of Israel”) .
In regard to the Mishna cited in the epigraph and discussed in paragraph one, above, Rav Teichtal wrote that “Redemption will come only at a time of extreme poverty and hardship” (I.5). It would have pained but not shocked him that the disunity and mutual recriminations he saw, though he spoke little of the hatred of the secular Jews for the observant, and, ultimately for Judaism and the central focus on settlement which in his days they led were leading to the disintegration of the state under the relentless hammer blow pincers of diplomacy and attrition orchestrated and equipped by Edom. Rav Teichtal cites the very passage from Mishna, “I will leave in your midst a humble and forbearing people” and notes that “it is a time of trouble for Jacob, but he will be saved from it” (Jeremiah 30:7). Commenting on the crying of the infant Moshe (Exodus 2:6) he quotes the sages of the Zohar in linking this to the adoption by Pharaoh’s daughter (“and she had compassion on him”) to explain that “the era of ‘in its time’ (b’ita) will arrive at a time to weep, as Kohelet said .
Millennia of abuse by the nations have turned Israel’s might and self-respect into fear, bickering and even hatred of each other, and more. Perhaps this is why Rav Teichtal so repeatedly and thematically related unity to love among Jews. One notable occasion is when he quotes the Rabbi of Belz telling another senior Rabbi that until Mashiach comes “it is of the utmost importance that the Jews love one another. One must love even the lowliest Jew as himself. One must engender unity and keep far away from anything that causes disunity; the salvation of Israel during times of trouble depends on this” . In this context, Rav Teichtal quoted the verse, “indeed they are my people” (Isaiah 63:8) adding, “even when they sin it is a mitzvah (commandment) to love them, to bring them near [to you] and treat them affectionately. In this way we will achieve salvation” ; for Hashem’s portion is His people: Jacob is the measure of His inheritance” (Deut 32:8).
It is ironic and terrible that in recent years, so notably at the expulsion of the Jews from Gush Katif, it was the observant who followed this council, showering love and sweet reason on soldiers, government officials, and the nation and in return being treated, at the orders of American diplomats and the joy of the sinners – or the Erev Rav – among Israel as if they and not the Arabs were the enemy. Of that part of the ruling class that is Jewish it is written, “all of his evil deeds are the result of the strengthening [in this world] of the evil forces and are due to the hardships and suffering which have caused him to lose his understanding. I swear by the Eternal God, that all of the wicked Jews in this country are like infants kidnapped by gentiles. They act under [internalized] duress and speak out of ignorance” . It is for this reason that Maimonides commented extensively on the terrible damage done by “time deciders” and “conjurors” as noted above, and for this reason that he enumerates so explicitly the commandments against studying, thinking about or gazing at the practices and idols of the star worshippers or idol makers and their philosophies . The love that pours from the brilliant and afflicted Rav Teichtal as he cites Rav Komarno recalls the wise teaching that time, place, community, and forebears all shape a person’s capabilities and judgment . Yet in this context too, as the times seem designed to teach us, the words of the Rambam are very timely that those who give the lives or property of fellow Jews to gentiles are themselves like gentiles. These recall the Mishnaot and Talmudic teachings on the sorcerers and arrogant, idolatrous judges discussed above and this is the saving lesson of these days.
In simplest terms, and to a degree that might shock Rav Teichtal writing from the midst of terrible affliction (and that shocks millions of Jews today) it is the Jews who took the lead in building, planting, and settling large parts of the land who most often forget his and the Torah’s essential points of unity, love and brotherhood encapsulated in the commandment “to love your fellow Jew as yourself” (Vayikra 19:18). The hatred by these for other Jews proves the stringencies of Rambam’s comments on “those who worship other gods” whether these are pride, money, the power of NATO or the ability that the latter gives to afflict their fellows and serve as their alien taskmasters.
Nevertheless, Rav Teichtal wrote, “not a single Jew will be cast aside [at the time of the redemption], not even the greatest and most rebellious of sinners.” Here again one sees his conflation of love, unity and sovereignty, following the views of Rav Shmuel and Rambam that the main change in the era of Mashiach is Israel’s liberation from rule by foreign nations . “Unity,” the Rav stresses, “is the only remedy for widespread adversity. Disunity is worse than idolatry [supra, on fragmenting Israel vs. mitzvah yichud]. Those who unify belong to Ya’akov’s camp and those who divide belong to Lavan’s” (Genesis 28-31). Support for this comes from the practical problems addressed by the students and their call for unity among those who support Yisrael Shleimah, and thus the integrity of the Creator, and from Rambam who explains that there are warnings, negative exhortations against factionalism and “schisms in the nation” contained within the prohibition against lacerating oneself when mourning (Sefer HaMitzvoth II. 45).
An pertinent aspect of achieving unity and redemption is explained by Rav Avraham Yitzhak Kook in commenting on the influence of Amalek, the eternal enemy of Israel, its election and mission of exemplifying godliness; an enemy who has never been more fiercely intent than today when the hills of Israel have once again put forth their fruit and the Children of Israel in large numbers have fulfilled the mitzvah of Yishuv Ha’Aretz, settling the Land. He notes the verses, “God told Moses, ‘write this as a reminder in he Book and repeat it in Joshua’s ears: I will totally obliterate the memory of Amalek…the Eternal shall be at war with Amalek for all generations” (Exodus 17:14, 16). There is no pointless repetition in the Torah so what is the point of the apparent redundancy,” asks Rav Kook. He explains that it in part refers to the written (“write it in the Book”) and the Oral Torah (“and repeat it in Joshua’s ears”). In fact implicit evidence for the beginnings of teaching Torah orally had begun in Exodus 12:2 and were clearly referenced by Yithro a few verses later in chapter 18. Rav Kook explains that this passage refers not only to the singular enmity of Amalek and the obligation of Israel to remember their hatred and destroy them “for all generations” but to the integration of the written and oral Torah. To the extent that Amalek is destroyed, Torah achieves some of its original unity and the complementarity of the written and oral teachings is affirmed, as will be the unification of all factions and degrees of observance among the Children of Israel as they embrace the mitzvah of settling the land .
Rav Teichtal quotes the Rambam on an issue critically important in these times as it has been, as Rambam notes, since the exile of Edom and Ishmael, with all their shmadot (“destructions,” assimilation and forced conversions) began. “We must not rely on miracles alone,” Rav Teichtal writes, speaking of settlement, unity, and love. As tradition says, “man must begin and the Eternal will complete.” More formally this is stated, “it is not your duty to complete the work, neither are you free to desist from it” (Pirke Avot 2:21). The Rav cites two letters from Rambam to prove his point that metaphysical and spiritual perfection are one with physical and earthly redemption. Rambam tells the Jews of Marseilles that astrology books “are absolutely foolish,” distract and steal the mind, as he explains in many mitzvoth we have noted. And Rambam added strong admonitory words to this caution: “this [focus on esoteric wisdom] is what abolished our kingdom, destroyed our Beit HaMikdash [“Holy Temple”], prolonged our exile and brought us to our present predicament…our fathers imagined that these wisdoms, vanities that cannot avail, were glorious and they did not study warfare and land conquest; instead they imagined that these wisdoms would help them...but they are vain” . This is the good sense and practical wisdom that is part of Jewish holiness and it is apt that it focuses on sovereignty, the Temple and, implicitly, its service. This harks to the opening of the famous Mishna, “on three things the world is based: Torah, Temple Service, and deeds of kindness” (Avot 1:2). In the absence of the entire Torah and Temple service and all the loving kindness and blessing it sustains, “the sword comes into the land for the delay of justice and the perversion of justice” (Avot 5:11). It is just such perversion that the youth of the land and all those who fulfill mitzvah Yishuv strive to halt and prevent, and to fulfill the mitzvah of not standing idly by while your brother’s blood is shed (Vayikra 19:16). Moreover, Em HaBanim Smeichah was directed mainly at observant Jews who had refrained from the practical study of war, leaving it to the secular who now use it against them, degrading their own military capabilities in the process. “The sun will not rise before dawn,” he notes citing many sources. The first faint glimpse of the morning star, its strengthening and then the dawn are the pattern for human effort to initiate great changes. “The gedolim and ‘shepherds’ of Israel must lovingly accept any opportunity for redemption and strive to bring it to completion. They are responsible for using their wisdom for the mitzvah of gathering and uniting [Israel] as one” .
Neither the Rav nor Rav Kook would have guessed the degree to which the original HaShomrim (“guardians” of the rural Jewish settlements) would evolve from lack of observance or faith to the hatred of Jews and a Jewish Israel that characterizes post-Zionist Israel. Thus Rav Kook wrote in 1913 that “though there are many souls who are on a very low level with regard to their willed-holiness [and] are afflicted with immoral behavior and dreadful beliefs, their innate segula [Jewish potential for glowing holiness] shines brightly. That is why they so dearly love the Jewish people and the Land of Israel” .
All the more reason to emphasize Jewish unity, love and good sense; politics, factions and power-brokering are Greek imports; Israel is enjoined against them as noted. All of the Jewish people are tzaddikim, saintly, a “branch of My planting” says the Holy One, “for me to glory in” as they rejoice in My land, bringing redemption close and increasing to “a mighty nation” (Isaiah 60:21-2). Unity, good sense, and love among Jews; remembering and warring against Amalek; achieving the integrity of the land as an essential basis of unity and the dominion of the Highest Wisdom. As Amalek tramples and demands, thrusting their mockery world into the place of the Creator’s these principles blaze more and more clearly to the Nation of Israel: “they will attain joy and gladness; sadness and sighing will flee” from the dominion of Israel, “a holy nation.”
1. Isaiah 18:5 cited in Sanhedrin 98a2 Talmud Bavli, Tractate Sanhedrin III (Mesorah 1995; 2004, Daf Yomi edition), Rabbis Dicker, Katz and team. Sekhel Tov is “good sense,” common sense informed by Torah study.
2. The phrase is in Zechariah 9:9 and describes the Mashiach when redemption is “in its time” (b’ita, Isaiah 60:22) in due course and much anguish, pain and confusion. The comments by Rishonim and Achronim are discussed by Rabbis Dicker & Katz, supra. They note the etymology linking zalzalim, “shoots” and zalah (“petty”).
3. For example psalm 67, etc. Rav Shimshon Raphael Hirsch, Hirsch Psalms (1882; English translation, Feldheim 1960; 1997, Gertrude Hirschler); cf. Genesis 43:11, “take of the Land’s glory” (mizimrat Ha’Aretz); on Edom and the nations that covet Israel and would preempt its flourishing see Ezekiel 36:4-12
4. Sanhedrin 98a3 with comments.
5. Rambam, Sefer HaMitzvoth II.32 (Moznaim 1993)
6. Vatican-Palestinian Accord for “Protection of Holy Sites,” February 2000; cf. all prophecies on Edom.
7. Rambam, Sefer HaMitzvoth I.2, Hilchot Yesodei HaTorah 1.7-12; on the initiative of the students, see www.israelnationalnews.com 4-01-8 item #10
8. Em HaBanim Smeichah, printed December 1943, English translation Moshe Lichtman (Kol Mevaser 2000), distributed in America by Lambda Publishers, Brooklyn, NY
9. ibid. III.5, 12, 9 in order quoted.
10. ibid. 123-5 with notes, Kohelet (“Ecclesiastes”) 3:4, “a time to weep and a time to laugh,” hence, “a glad mother of children” in the title, quoting psalm 113:9, this being an ultimate analogy for “lifting the destitute” such as Israel was during the shoah and has become, diplomatically, for many of them now with the institutions of state indoctrinating students and soldiers into seeing their brethren and heritage as obstacles to joy, much as the major media have taught the world to see Israel’s restoration. Thus we live in a world of war processes called peace, a world of lies and shadow wars, of sterile virtual reality cloaking more and more of life. See www.Israelnationalnews.com item #6, 4-01-08 and archives
11. Ibid. 111-12; the exhortation was addressed to Rav Moshe David Teitelbaum.
12. ibid. 112-13
13. Rav Teichtal quotes Rav Isaac of Kamarno, ibid. 105-06 and passim
14. Hilchot Avodat Kokhavim 2:1-4; Sefer HaMitzvoth II.10: “even to gaze at the form of the external image and to consider its construction is forbidden…or giving thought to idolatry” (cf. Deut. 11:16); and “do not contemplate them with the eye of intellect” (Deut. 12:30). The practical aspect of this is “people have limited powers of understanding” and “might destroy the whole world” even by intellectual meddling with these principles that pervert creation and Creator (Avodat Kokhavim 2:3, cf. Sefer HaMitzvoth II.32
15. Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzato (Ramchal), Derekh Hashem 2.3.7 (Feldheim 1997 revised translation)
16. Rav Shmuel in Sanhedrin cited by Rambam in Hilchot Melachim 11:1-3, 12:1
17. Rav Abraham Yitzhak Kuk, Igrot Ha’Reiyah, III, pages 86-7 (1917) cited and elaborated in Gold from the Land of Israel: a New Light on the Weekly Torah portion from the writings of Rav Kuk, Rav Chanan Morrison (Urim, Jerusalem, 2006), 127-9; On Amalek, Rambam, Sefer HaMitzvoth I.187-90; II. 48-51, 59
18. Teichtal, op. cit. 272-3 quoting Rambam, Igrot U’Teshuvot, Igrot Shonot, p. 21; Rambam Hilchot Melachim 1:1-2, 5:1,4,5 passim
19. Teichtal, 267-74, passim; “our redemption depends upon redemption of the land.” And adds (267) “we must not disregard or ignore any redemptive event” like the building of outposts or marches to Homesh. A main source for the reference to the morning star and dawn is Rav Chiya cited in Brachot 1:1 of Jerusalem Talmud.
20. Rav Kook, Igrot HaReiyah, II.555 cited in Morrison, op cit, 126
The regime-affiliated Iranian Fars news agency published a sensational story this week. According to the Fars report, Saudi Arabia and Israel collaborated in killing Iranian terror-master Imad Mughniyeh in Damascus in February. The story is important regardless of whether it is true. It is important because it says something important about the nature of Iran's relationship with Syria. Specifically, it says that Iran views Syria as a vassal state.
If Teheran were not convinced of its control of the Syrian regime, it would never have dared to publish a story that places the Assad regime in an open confrontation with Saudi Arabia. An even partially independent Syria would never go along with such an open challenge to Saudi Arabia.
Syria, of course, is not Iran's only proxy in the Arab world. There is the Hamas regime in Gaza as well. On Thursday the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center released an in-depth report on Hamas's military buildup since Israel's withdrawal from Gaza in September 2005. The report notes that Hamas receives arms and funding from Iran and Syria and sends its fighters for extending training at camps in Iran and Syria.
By directly supporting Hamas and by supporting Hamas indirectly through Syria and Hizbullah, Teheran has transformed Gaza into a wholly-owned subsidiary of Iran. While Hamas may have independent interests, the fact is that any independent will Hamas may have had at one time has become entirely subservient to Teheran. This is so because Teheran has rendered itself Hamas's indispensable ally and protector. Without Iran, Hamas would have no staying power.
Then there is Lebanon. The weak Saniora government, which was brought to power by the anti-Syrian and anti-Iranian March 14 Democracy Movement three years ago, is clearly no match for Iran and its proxies. Presidential elections have been held up for five months due to Hizbullah's Syrian- and Iranian-ordered refusal to agree on a compromise candidate. The Saniora government needs Hizbullah's agreement because Iran's proxies have murdered a sufficient number of cabinet ministers and members of parliament to take away Saniora's parliamentary capacity to elect a successor to the Syrian-puppet, former president Emile Lahoud.
The assassination of political opponents in Lebanon, of course, began in earnest with the March 2005 assassination of pro-Western and pro-Saudi former prime minister Rafik Hariri. This week in Washington, Sen. Arlen Specter asked Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to comment on an interesting Syrian offer. According to Specter, during Jordanian King Abdullah's visit to Washington last month, he suggested that Syria might be willing to rein in Hizbullah and Hamas in exchange for an offer of immunity for President Bashar Assad in the UN's probe of Hariri's murder. Rice rejected the offer, but that is not what is interesting.
What is interesting is that Syria would feel comfortable making what amounts to a confession of control over Hizbullah and Hamas. While at first glance the Syrian offer seems to contradict the assertion that Syria is an Iranian proxy, it actually does no such thing. It shows that Iran is willing to shuffle some proxies around to protect other ones. To protect Assad, for instance, Iran may be willing to have Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal temporarily decamp to Teheran or Qatar or Bahrain. While such a move would have absolutely no impact on Iran's continued control over its proxies, it could neutralize the UN tribunal's threat to the Syrian regime.
To sum up, through its proxy strategy, Iran has taken control of Syria, has paralyzed and is increasingly calling the shots in Lebanon, and has effective control over Gaza, from which it can attack Israel and Egypt at will. And of course, it is the primary sponsor of the insurgency in Iraq.
LED BY Saudi Arabia and Egypt, the Sunni Arab states are well aware of Iran's proxy strategy for attaining regional dominance, and they are not pleased. The partial boycott of the Arab League summit in Damascus last month was the Sunni Arab states' way of showing their displeasure with Iran's domination of Syria and Lebanon.
On a more operational level, this week the Syrian media reported that the Syrian oppositionist National Salvation Front run by the Muslim Brotherhood and former Syrian vice president Abd al Halim Khaddam will launch an anti-regime satellite television channel in a few months. Presumably wealthy Gulf kingdoms are bankrolling the project.
Strategically, the Sunni Arab states have voiced varying degrees of interest in building their own nuclear programs to compete with the Iranian nuclear program But diplomatic snubs, jihadist television stations with anti-regime bents, and loud plans to build nuclear reactors will not suffice to defeat Iran or even to slow down its bid for regional domination. And the fact is that the Sunni states are aligned with most of Iran's policies. They keep Iraq at arm's length and loudly criticize US operations in the country. They continue to back Hamas and ostracize Israel. And they have taken no substantive stands against Hizbullah's subversion of the Saniora government since the end of the Second Lebanon War.
The main reason that the Sunni Arab countries cannot contend with Iran is that their publics share Iran's jihadist ideology. And their publics share Iran's general jihadist ideology because the Sunni states have indoctrinated their publics to believe in jihad through their state-controlled media.
Egypt, Saudi Arabia and their Sunni Arab brothers are in no position to argue with Iran publicly or to confront Iran's Arab proxies because they can't explain to their own people why Iran's bid to destroy Israel and to dominate the world in the name of Islam is a bad thing.
The attraction of Iran's jihadist ideology for so many Muslims has also helped Teheran expand its army of proxies. Acting as the avant guard of global jihad, Iran has collected otherwise adversarial terror groups in their hours of need and has transformed them into Iranian proxies over time. After the al-Qaida leadership fled Afghanistan in late 2001, for instance, many of its leaders received sanctuary in Iran from which they continued to operate.
The late al-Qaida in Iraq commander Abu Musab Zarkawi received medical care in Iran and entered Iraq from Iran. He received his operational orders from the al Qaida leadership in Iran.
In a recent interview with the Qatari Al-Arab newspaper translated by MEMRI, Ahmad Salah al-Din, who serves as the spokesman for the Iraqi Sunni jihadist group Hamas-Iraq, alleged that al-Qaida in Iraq today is wholly subservient to Iran. Salah al-Din claimed, "We found Iranian toman [currency] at an al-Qaida headquarters that we uncovered. We have also captured Iranian weapons, not to mention audio and video recordings containing announcements by al-Qaida fighters that they had received training in Iranian military camps and that al-Qaida wounded were being transported to Iran for medical treatment."
So too, Iran has a long history of collaboration with Fatah dating back to the early 1970s, when Ayatollah Khomeini's future revolutionary leaders received training in PLO camps in Lebanon. In 1999, as Yasser Arafat geared up his terror armies ahead of the launch of his terror war against Israel in 2000, Iran began funding Fatah terror cells. Today, after sponsoring Hamas's rout of Fatah in Gaza last June, Iran no longer needs to deal with the Fatah leadership. Through Syria, Hamas and Hizbullah it controls Fatah terror cells directly.
IRAN'S POLICY of combining a proxy war strategy with a popular revolutionary ideology is almost an exact reenactment of the Soviet Union's Cold War strategy for fighting the US. Two things, however, distinguish Iran's war against the West today from the Soviets' war against the West in the 20th century. First, Iran is much less powerful than the Soviet Union was. Second, the Iranian regime is far less open to deterrence than the Soviets were.
As David Wurmser, US Vice President Richard Cheney's former Middle East adviser noted recently at an address before the Philadelphia-based Middle East Forum, the Iranian regime is motivated by a messianic ideology with a strong apocalyptic component. This renders useless the threat of mutually assured destruction.
The other main distinction between the Soviet war against the West and the Iranian war against the West is that the US-led West embraced a dual strategy of confrontation and containment against the Soviets. Today, the same US-led West follows no coherent strategy for contending with Iran.
The only battleground where Iranian proxies are directly confronted today is in Iraq. After the 2006 Iranian proxy war against Israel, the US largely abandoned its support for the Saniora government. Hizbullah has been permitted to rebuild its forces and its arsenal and to reassert control over much of south Lebanon and to extend its control north of the Litani River. Rather than confront Hamas, at the US's insistence, Israel has done nothing to prevent Hamas's military buildup in Gaza or even to prevent it from continuing its rocket campaign against the western Negev.
Then too, by supporting the defeated Fatah leadership, the US and Israel are indirectly strengthening Hamas. During the Arab League summit, Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas announced that he spends some 58 percent of his US, Israeli and European supplied budget on paying the salaries of 77,000 officials who serve under the Hamas regime in Gaza. So by funding Fatah, which supports Hamas, Israel and the US are strengthening Iran's control of Gaza through its Hamas proxy. They are also facilitating the weaker Fatah's incremental absorption into the Iranian axis.
As for Syria, both Israel and the US consistently ignore the fact that Syria is no longer an independent actor. By effectively adopting the Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group's recommendations from 2006, the Bush administration and Israel give credence to the notion that Syria will moderate its behavior if Israel surrenders the Golan Heights, and so encourage Iran to continue its aggression by seeming to reward it.
Then too, while allowing Sunni states to support the Muslim Brotherhood as a presumed counterweight to Iran, Israel and the US ignore the repeated pleas of Syrian Kurds for assistance in their campaign to overthrow the Syrian regime in favor of a federal, anti-Iranian democratic state. The Syrian Kurds receive no assistance from either the US or Israel in their own bid to set up a pro-democracy satellite television station to broadcast into Syria, even as they are violently repressed by the regime.
In the absence of a strategy of confronting Iran either directly or through its proxies, the only coherent course that remains is one of containment. But this option is raft with danger. With Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's announcement this week that Iran is introducing 3,000 upgraded centrifuges to its Natanz nuclear installation, it is clear that international sanctions have had no impact on Iran's quest for nuclear weapons. It is also clear that if Iran acquires nuclear weapons, it will be impossible to confront its proxies, who will operate under Iran's nuclear umbrella.
So as Iran progresses forward with its grand strategy for regional hegemony, the West dithers and so assists it. No wonder Ahmadinejad is always smiling.
Road Map to the Arab Federation: the Aaronsohn Saga in Context
Prof. Eugene Narrett
The diplomatic initiative, the Road Map which is the ostensible contribution of the Bush Administration to settling the problem the nations have with a Jewish state is simply bad old wine in new bottles, cutting shards covered in “smooth words.” The entire Jewish land for Arab promises of peace processes are an extension of British policy for “Palestine” dating at least to 1915. These policies have been methodically, often brutally pursued even when the results include genocide and ceaseless attrition.
The modern aspects of this war on Judaism (a war on the Jewish people sovereign in their land) are readily accessed; I will not repeat them here beyond noting that from the Rogers Plan to Camp David, Madrid, Oslo, Oslo II, Wye River and the Road Map that they have been relentless. The following remarks focus on how the intertwined NATO-Quartet-EU-UN axis of our day is an extension of British policy nine decades old, one replete with exploitation and betrayal of Jews who labored, counseled, dared, fought and died to help England win World Wars I and II.
In the summer of 1915, Aaron Aaronsohn, a botanist of international standing and driving force in the founding of the American Agricultural Experimental Station at Athlit, a dozen miles south of Haifa, sailed with his sister Rivka from the Land of Israel, then still part of the Ottoman Empire, to Egypt, a British protectorate. Aaronsohn brought with him maps and his vast and unique knowledge of the terrain, geology and demography of what the British then (and increasingly now) call “Palestine.” First hand evidence of Turkish slaughter of Armenians and the beginnings of decrees against the Jews in Eretz Israel convinced him that Jews there must assist the British in order to liberate themselves and restore their ancient nation.
Aaronsohn discovered at Cairo an astonishing degree of arrogant ignorance by British officers and diplomats about Turkish capabilities. He demonstrated the weakness of the Turkish-German coastal defenses and urged a sea borne flanking attack to dislodge the main axis forces from Gaza. After months of explaining and insults, during which the British nevertheless used his invaluable information and that of his group, NILI, and after the British were defeated twice in frontal assaults on the Gaza line, Aaronsohn persuaded them to pursue the flanking attack around Beersheba which made General Allenby famous and enabled the British to lay claim to creating the modern Middle East, its artificial borders and wars of attrition meant to produce the scripted outcome of an Arab Federation .
When Aaronsohn first presented his information, Katz writes, “he was treated with open distrust” as well as abundant anti-Jewish contempt and stereotypes. He met, for example, with Colonel S. F. Newcombe, “one of a group of British Intelligence officers who were busy setting up what would be named the Arab Bureau. Its master plan was to promote a comprehensive Arab federation under British tutelage throughout the whole area” of the Ottoman Empire. “The idea of a Jewish Palestine could be given no part in this grandiose scheme” .
With his eloquence, dignity, strength of character, unique knowledge and maps, Aaronsohn eventually won the respect of the major British officers on site, including the initially anti-Semitic Col. Mark Sykes (of the Sykes-Picot agreement). Those won over included even Col. Reginald Wingate who, though a strong supporter of Aaronsohn and eventually of NILI shared the vision of Newcombe, “to build a confederation of Arab States under the tutelage of Great Britain.” So Wingate supported Aaronsohn for imperial as well as personal reasons for without defeating the Turks Britain would have no Arab Federation for a protectorate and without Aaronsohn’s and NILI’s data, daring and skills, it would not defeat the Turks .
The early British preference for an Arab Federation also was urged vigorously by John Dove, editor (1921-34) of the Round Table, the publication of the Rhodes-Milner policy group and initial source of the Royal Institute for International Affairs and its American cousin, the CFR. “Dove declared that the whole Arab world should be one state and it should have Syria and Palestine for its front door.” In 1919 he wrote, citing the authority of T. E. Lawrence (see below) for what should have been his embarrassing a-historicism, “the Arab belongs to the Mediterranean…I suggest that partition [of the Ottoman Empire] not be permanent, but this should not mean that a stage of friendly tutelage is necessarily a bad things for the Arabs” he added with the manipulative and patronizing ‘respect’ that characterizes Western use of Arab volatility to this day. Dove wrote with more menacing condescension that he “didn’t see the slightest bit of harm in Jews coming to Palestine, under reasonable conditions [as he would define them] so long as they bring capital and labor that will bring industries to start.” In this comment Dove also shows ignorance, like that of the Cairo Office about Turkish defenses during the war of the Jewish settlement and development of the Promised Land that already had initiated its astonishing rebirth and renewed flourishing. The Jews, Dove concluded with equal parts malice and insincerity, “need have no fear of this unit or absorption, for they have everything to gain from an Arab Federation” . This is the geopolitical version of the assimilation pressed by New Age Aquarian theosophist as “a solution to the Jewish problem…by racial absorption” .
While Lords Milner, Balfour and Amery, among others dissented, sometimes vigorously from this view, it was the proponents of an Arab Federation into which the Jews would have to absorb and whose prosperity they would have to generate that prevailed as policy. While Milner planned an Jewish majority entity west of the Jordan, so long as “it never become a Jewish state, and Balfour as late as 1929 publicly insisted that the entire area of the original Mandate was intended for a Jewish state, by 1937 the Peel Commission urged the “partition of the area west of the Jordan into a Jewish State, an Arab State and a neutral enclave containing the holy places” [Jerusalem west to the sea]. By 1939 and the White Paper severely restricting Jewish immigration, the main basis of the League of Nations granting Britain the mandate in the first place, the dominant policy clearly emerged as “a partitioned Palestine within a federation of Arab states. The round Table offered this as its program [officially] in its issues of March and June 1939” . This, as Amery noted, was “the final step in the scaling down of Jewish hopes that began in 1922 [with the separation of the lands east of the Jordan river from the Jewish National Home] and a yielding of principle to Arab terrorism,” that the British themselves provoked and armed. The policy continued through and after WW II, and was picked up by America in the aftermath of Israel’s victory on the battlefields of 1967.
Actually, American diplomats at the highest levels joined this effort half a century earlier when Secretary of State Robert Lansing refused to endorse the pending release of the Balfour Declaration. “Many Christians,” Lansing told President Wilson “would resent their holy places being handed over to the race responsible for the death of our lord” [sic]. Among the general public, anti-Zionist sentiment was promoted by the Red Cross in the guise of critiquing “British imperialism” which was briefly prepared to end 18 centuries of imperial occupation of Judea and Israel . The Evian Conference over which President Roosevelt presided in 1938 made clear that the upper echelons of American policy-making had no room for Jews in America and little interest in their survival in the post-War world. The State Department’s response to President Truman’s brief support for even a truncated Jewish National Home showed that this sentiment was dominant in the shadows of the holocaust.
Even in the immediate aftermath of the Declaration, and with Britain completing the conquest of the Turks assisted by invaluable Jewish military and intelligence assistance (H. W. Gribbon stated Allenby’s opinion that this saved at least 40,000 British casualties) the British military administration in Palestine ignored the Declaration completely and continued a high-level of incitement of Arabs against Jews. They appointed an Arab mayor of Jerusalem, that long had had a Jewish majority, and seven Arabs dominated two Jews on the Jaffo (“Tel Aviv”) city council even as many thousands of Jewish residents expelled by the Turks wandered the Land. “Jews who had experience of the pogroms and anti-Semitism of Tsarist Russia claimed that British anti-Semitism in Palestine was very similar.” Weizmann, Jabotinsky (many times) and Richard Meinertzhagen detailed these ugly realities . Perhaps most bitterly, even as the supporters of the Jewish National Home presented the case for its viable, historical boundaries to “the Council of Ten” in Versailles, the occasionally pro-Jewish David Lloyd George had secretly traded away the headwaters of the Jordan and its eastern watershed to Clemenceau and the French in exchange for British dominance throughout Mesopotamia which remains the keystone of Anglo-American dominance in the region to this day . Already the Jewish State had been truncated by the ‘ally’ for which it had given so much.
As for “the Arab Revolt” against the Turks, of which the British, led by Lawrence puffed up to justify granting the Arabs a congeries of states (to be subsumed into a Federation-Protectorate), “they found they could achieve the same result from the pretense of a revolt” [10, emphasis added]. And thus it continues in the form of the ceaseless war of attrition, a war process (“the peace process”) that Western powers enable and encourage Arabs to maintain against Israel; indeed Esau (the West) inflames and exploits the hate of Jews sprinkled through Islam to use the Arabs to whittle down ISrael. There is no greater continuity of policy in the world during the past ninety years, -- or century if one includes Russia’s dissemination of “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” and the enthusiastic regurgitation of this genocidal slander by Henry Ford in a myriad of widely distributed magazines and books.
Since slander, hatred, despoliation, expulsion and murder of Jews remains the default option of the West, its metaphysical and ontological center of gravity it is fitting that this essay conclude with a few notes Aaronsohn made on his occasional meetings with T. E. Lawrence. A busy and serious man, after the first meeting in 1916, Aaronsohn described the actor “in one word: ‘arrogant.’” After a subsequent experience he left a slightly fuller view: “Lawrence has a high opinion of himself. He gives me a lesson on our settlements and the spirit of our people and says we shall be doing the right thing if we assimilate among the Arabs, etc. Listening to his words, I felt that I was at a lecture by a Prussian ‘scientific’ anti-Semite who expresses himself in the English language…He hates us openly. Fundamentally, he is of the missionary breed” .
This most recent study of Shmuel Katz completes his in depth and indispensable research on the struggle to renew Israel which also provides in depth glimpses of British imperial policy from 1914 onward, the personalities and factions within Zionism and now this engrossing view of Aaron Aaronsohn, Nili, and the British ability to defeat the Turks and then shape the nightmare of the 20th century middle east. We learn about the international fascination with and support for Aaronsohn’s botanical and geological studies beginning in the 1890s and see, though Katz does not stress it, the real extent of the Promised Land in its physical features and great pioneering spirits that did so much to bring the vision of the prophets and Promise of the Creator into view. As HaRav Yisachar Shlomo Teichtal demonstrates, the merit of the patriarchs is rooted in the Land and its covenant . And we see a type of the suspicion and undermining that afflicted daring and brilliant efforts at national restoration as diverse as those of David Reubeni and Ze’ev Jabotinsky.
Readers also learn that the maneuvers, confidence-building measures, compromises, and other charades of the “peace process” are as much a sham as the adventures of T.E. Lawrence and have from the first been directed toward the same purpose. So the book is not only a fascinating historical study and biography, it illuminates geopolitics and a keystone of the world state projected by people like Julian Huxley and H.G. Wells . A great and good man like Aaronsohn could not be permitted a place in their world . And so they made their deals with the Ben Gurions and others that repeatedly ‘sank the Altalena.’
An ironic undertone of tragic dimensions surrounds these matters. Brilliant, courageous and active men of accomplishment like Aaronsohn, Jabotinsky and Weizmann decided that Britain was the great power whose tradition of civil liberties would support Jewish restoration (a movement popular in 19th -20th century America and England, viz. the Blackstone Memorial). Judge Louis Brandeis remained a staunch believer in “British Justice” even when Weizmann and Aaronsohn pressed upon him evidence to the contrary . Certainly the various brutalities of Russia and the Turks argued looking to Britain, -- though some held out hopes for Germany. Yet, time proved the attitudes that Aaronsohn encountered in Cairo were deeply entrenched in Britain at all levels from the military and diplomatic corps, to the Universities, to New Age theosophists and internationalists (see note six). So relentless has British betrayal and vilification of the Jews been that one today can hardly imagine groups of English university students fighting with Jews in the streets of Jerusalem to fend off Arab attacks, as happened in August 1929 . So sustained, fierce and lethal was the British betrayal, even before the holocaust geared up that Colonel John Henry Patterson, who had been involved in the events in the Mandate for years wrote bitingly about “the isolationists and fifth column men” in the British cabinet that would not permit formation of an American Jewish army to fight with England when it was alone. “Lord Lloyd and his pro-Nazi minions in the Colonial Office have had their way,” Patterson wrote, but they have also brought England another step nearer her doom. You may rest assured that if England continues her anti-Jewish policy it will be destroyed…I loved England and have hated to see her betrayed by a gang of pro-Nazi, neo-pagan permanent officials…one Jewish mechanized division would be worth more than all the Arabs in the Near East” .
Patterson was right in every particular though he couldn’t know that the desire of England’s ruling class for a “new world order” and a “solution of the Jewish problem” through “wider fusions and synthesis” would continue to this day, or that England indeed would be destroyed by its encouragement of “pan-Islamic nationalism” and later by a revanchist Germany dominating a European Union, a mirror of the policy pursued by that same British ruling clique that had betrayed its promise to the Jews. These tragic ironies were not within the power of Aaronsohn or other great men to control though they did heroic work in shifting them. Only “the Highest Wisdom” knows how their sacrifice and the loss of so many has been part of a providence leading to the best possible outcome . As a European-initiated “Mediterranean Peace & Prosperity Zone” plans to swallow Israel (2010 is the target date), Israel still has nominal sovereignty in Jerusalem, Hebron and more, a strong economy and armed forces. Aaronsohn, Nili and the other greats of Israel’s restoration could provide only in part the spirit and inspiration to redeem, settle and be sovereign over the Land. Their remarkable story remains entwined with the global drama of Britain’s and the West’s suicidal brutality and treachery in regard to its “Jewish problem.”
1. Shmuel Katz, The Aaronsohn Saga (Gefen, Jerusalem 2000 [Hebrew], English edition 2007); NILI was an acronym for Netzach Yisrael lo Yishakeir, “the eternity of Israel does not lie,” the name of the group of Jewish farmers and professionals who risked their lives to gather and transmit information to the British. Many of them were caught, tortured and hanged a few weeks before the British long delayed assault at the end of October 1917, followed, a few days later by the Balfour Declaration.
2. Ibid. 79-80; in all his great works, Katz tends to use the Roman and British term “Palestine” as used by them, unfortunate given the fictions that have been created under this imperial nomenclature, the creation of a non-nation and fictional people to serve the purpose of the pan-Arab federation: negating a Jewish state and the providence of the Hebrew Scriptures. See for example, Battleground: Fact & Fantasy in Palestine (1975; 1983 third edition, expanded). The geology, ecology and expeditions of Aaronsohn, and of Oliphant and others before him made clear, as was indicated in the original borders of the “Jewish National Home” included all of what became “Transjordan” as well as much of the Lebanon, a state created in 1945 out of a mountain range as a residue of British and French jousting for imperial sway.
3. ibid. 210-13; Col. Reginald Wingate should not be confused with Captain Orde Wingate the committed Zionist and friend of the Jewish people who assisted their pre-state military training in the 1930s. See Katz, Lone Wolf, a Biography of Ze’ev Jabotinsky (NY 1996), volume II; an example of the pervasive anti-Jewish bigotry was Sykes’ initial tendency to believe that a conspiracy of Jews and Freemasons dominated the world, etc. a position initially held as well by William G. A. [Lord Harlech] Ormsby-Gore.
4. Carroll Quigley, The Anglo-American Establishment (NY 1981), 171
5. Alice A. Bailey, “The Hidden Source of the Outer Turmoil,” January 1939 in the volume, “the General World Picture: the Cause of the World Difficulty” collected in The Externalization of the Hierarchy (Lucis 1957: 2001) 75-77. Bailey associated the Jews with “the Forces of Darkness… separateness, criticism and cruelty.” She added “their influence is potent and widespread,” the remnants of “a previous solar system [who] failed to make the grade” and evolve as had the Aryans. Castigating Jewish desire to return to and settle Zion as “Zionist lies” and insisted that Jerusalem was an international city (May 1947, “the Return of the Christ”). Her ideas track closely with the shifting policies of Britain’s diplomatic elite. In “the Coming World Order” (April 1940) she argued for “a new world order” and “new economic order that will end the age of separateness” (typified by Jews and Judaism) whose “governmental methods” will bring “wider fusions and synthesis” first to “a Federated States of Europe along the lines of the British Commonwealth of Nations…or the Soviet Socialist Republics.” Still, “the major racial problem for many centuries,” she stressed, “has been the Jewish problem which is capable of solution if coupled with an effort by the Jews themselves to solve and be cooperative in the world efforts to adjust their problem… the Jew is separative.” The solution to this problem is his “fusion with other peoples” (ibid. 174-200). “The Wandering Jew must learn the lesson of absorption,” she wrote. “When humanity has solved the Jewish problem…racial fusion will then be possible” (“Source of the Outer Turmoil,” op cit). This is the Aquarian version of the Shaw White Paper of 1935 (restricting Jewish immigration and purchase of land) and the better known one of 1939.severely limiting immigration on the eve of WW II, and enforcing the ban.
6. Quigley 172-5
7. Katz, Aaronsohn Saga, 308-09, cf. Frank Manuel, The Realities of American Palestine Relations (1949) and Katz, 317
8. Aaronsohn Saga, 318-19, 328; shortly before his death, Mark Sykes, who had become an enthusiast for Jewish restoration, returned from Israel to confirm the reports of Jabotinsky that “the British officers in the administration are opposed to the Jews.” See also Katz, Lone Wolf, 510-51; 688-95 passim
9. Aaronsohn Saga, 326-7
10. ibid. 130
11. ibid. 210; Katz refers readers to Richard Aldington’s study, Lawrence of Arabia: a Biographical Inquiry (London 1955) which demonstrates that Lawrence and his Arab exploits both were faked and that the British diplomatic establishment and an American publicity man created his legend to enhance their plans for an Arab Federation.
12. Rav Teichtal, Em HaBanim Smeichah (Budapest 1943; “A Glad Mother of Children,” English translation by Rabbi Moshe Lichtman, Moznaim 2000); it is a further irony that Rav Teichtal stressed love among Jews, citing innumerable sources in oral and written Torah, as essential for activating and bonding with “the merit of the land.” Shocked by the holocaust into recognizing and explaining the bond between “Zionism” and Judaism, who would have been pained and sought to redress the hostility, ostracism and at length, the betrayal that socialist and other members of the Jewish community directed at Aaronsohn, his family and Nili. Katz details how it was through these doubts, resentments and fears that Nili was exposed to the Turks, broken up and many of its members tortured and hanged. Sarah Aaronsohn spoke of this in her last letter, when she called for “revenge, both upon our Jews [who betrayed us] and especially against the rulers under whom we are living.” Katz, Aaronsohn, 334; under whom do Jews in Israel live today?
13. See Wells, the Shape of Things to Come (1933) and Julian Huxley, the Purpose of UNESCO (1947)
14. Katz offers only an understated, just-the-facts, two-page appendix (Saga 340-1) on the curious plane crash that killed Aaronsohn as he shuttled between the Versailles Conference and London. The plane landed in the channel only fifty yards from a fishing boat but he was already dead. British records are skimpy. But when one owes someone very much and one already has decided that this person is not to receive what he earned, and this person has enormous strength of character and international support it is inconvenient for him to be around to critique your perfidy.
15. the Aaronsohn Saga 327-8 and Lone Wolf, 510-14
16. Katz, Lone Wolf, volume II, 1126
17. ibid. 1762-3
18. Rav Moshe Chaim Luzzato (Ramchal), Derekh Hashem (“the Way of the Eternal One”), 2.3.7 (Feldheim 1977; 1998 revised, p. 111-19): “when an individual is judged, Providence takes account of what precedes and follows him…in relation to his forebears, his descendants and the people of his generation, city and community who are associated with him. After all this is taken into account, he is given his particular service assignment and challenge as well as his specific responsibility in serving God…the manner in which this is accomplished [for the good] is beyond our intellect’s ability to grasp,” at least until after the fact (see Exodus 33:20-23).
By P. David Hornik
FrontPageMagazine.com | 4/30/2008
Hamas, under pressure from Israel's partial blockade of Gaza, Israel's military activities, and Egypt's clampdown on the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Sinai, is pulling a trusty weapon from its sheath that will probably get it out of this jam: a ceasefire.
According to a deal being discussed by Hamas and Egyptian intelligence minister Omar Suleiman, Hamas is talking about a stoppage of rocket fire and other terrorist attacks on Israel for six months. Israel is saying in return that the deal would have to apply not only to Hamas but also to the smaller terrorist factions in Gaza, and would have to include a total halt to weapons smuggling into the Strip.
The Olmert government has good reason to try and sound stringent this time. During a previous almost-six-month "ceasefire" with Hamas that lasted from November 26, 2006, to May 15, 2007, various Gazan terror groups never ceased to fire, launching a total of 315 rockets at Israel without a single Israeli response.
But even if Hamas et al. were to genuinely hold their fire this time, senior Israel Defense Forces officers are against such a deal and Maj.-Gen. Yoav Galant, head of Southern Command, has reportedly "expressed fierce opposition" to it.
It's not hard to see why: Israel's chances of enforcing a no-smuggling clause would be nil; Hamas would use the time, as Galant warned, to "rebuild its damaged infrastructure and increase its arms smuggling under the Philadelphi Corridor from Sinai"; Egypt has reportedly already assured Hamas that the Rafah crossing, used in the past to smuggle terrorist personnel and funds, would be reopened.
Nor is that all: reportedly Hamas, in cooperation with its parent Egyptian Islamist organization the Muslim Brotherhood, has already acquired and transferred to Gaza know-how and equipment to make bomb-carrying drones; reportedly Iran is already succeeding to smuggle rockets and other advanced weapons into Gaza by sea.
Against these rational military and strategic considerations, however, stands the Olmert government, led by Israel's most superficial, incompetent, sound-bite prime minister of all time and easily enticed by short-term promises of respite or, as Hamas calls it, tadhiyyeh.
It's hard to imagine Olmert resisting the chance to declare a ceasefire as Israel's 60th anniversary celebrations in May approach; it's much nicer to have a party when the only aerial explosions are fireworks instead of rockets bursting in air beside terrified citizens. Olmert would also like to claim he's making progress toward freeing captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit even though a ceasefire wouldn't change the fact that the chances of Hamas proposing terms for a prisoner exchange that even Olmert can live with are small.
And still another factor likely to dispose Olmert toward a ceasefire is that the Bush administration is now also, reportedly, pushing for it.
Bush's plans to visit Israel on May 14, its 60th Independence Day, don't seem to have affected the usual disdain for Israel's independent decision-making as pressure grows to accept a deal with Hamas. Quiet in Gaza, the U.S. believes, will increase the likelihood of Israel and the Palestinian Authority signing a peace settlement by the end of 2008.
Bush's perseverance toward that goal is especially striking given that PA president Mahmoud Abbas didn't share Bush's enthusiasm after their meeting in the White House last Thursday.
Bush, in his upbeat report on their parley, said that he "assured the president that a Palestinian state is a high priority for me and my administration. A viable state, a state that doesn't look like Swiss cheese, a state that provides hope.. I am confident that we can achieve the definition of a state."
Abbas, though, in an interview to a decidedly un-Israel-friendly Associated Press reporter, said that "Frankly, so far nothing has been achieved." He complained especially bitterly about Israeli building in places he demands to be Judenrein and about Bush's, and Rice's, refusal to commit to driving Israel back to the 1967 borders. He didn't mention any problems on the PA side like persistent terrorism and inculcating anti-Israel hatred in a whole generation.
Despite, though, the Israeli military's well-founded objections to a ceasefire and the stark irrationality of subordinating all other concerns to creating a Palestinian jihad-state by the end of this year, Hamas knows the weaknesses of its Israeli and American opposite numbers and knows it has a good chance of being saved by them once again.
The U.S., after all, initially pushed to allow Hamas to run in the 2006 PA elections and, almost two months ago, put a quick stop to what finally looked like a larger-scale Israeli campaign to hit Hamas hard. Why change now?
P. David Hornik is a freelance writer and translator living in Tel Aviv. He blogs at http://pdavidhornik.typepad.com/. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.