THE MACCABEAN ONLINE
Published by the Freeman Center For Strategic Studies
VOLUME 17             B"H   April 2009             NUMBER 4


POLITICAL ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY ON ISRAELI & JEWISH AFFAIRS
"For Zion's sake I will not hold My peace, And for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest"


TABLE OF CONTENTS
April 2009

 

EDITORIALS
  • THE ISRAEL QUILT ..............Bernard J. Shapiro

    INTERNATIONAL LAW
  • WHY THE OSLO ACCORDS SHOULD BE ABROGATED BY ISRAEL ..............Louis Rene Beres

    ARAB TERRORISM
  • APPEASING CHILD KILLERS ..............Caroline Glick

     

    THE MACCABEAN ONLINE [ISSN 1087-9404] Edited by Bernard J. Shapiro
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    Why the Oslo Accords Should Be Abrogated by Israel

    A Jurisprudential Memorandum for the New Prime Minister

    By Louis Rene Beres

    Benjamin Netanyahu, the new Prime Minister of Israel, intends to honor those portions of the Oslo Accords that have already become "facts on the ground." Although this intention would appear to support the authoritative expectations of international law, exactly the opposite is true. As the following argument makes clear, international law now requires abrogation, not compliance, with these invalid and illegal agreements.

    The Oslo Accords between Israel and the PLO are in violation of international law. Israel, therefore, is now obligated to abrogate these nontreaty agreements. A comparable argument could be made regarding PLO obligations, but this would make little jurisprudential sense in light of that particular nonstate party's intrinsic incapacity to enter into a legal arrangement with Israel.

    Taken by itself, the fact that the Oslo accords do not constitute authentic treaties under the Vienna Convention - because they link a state with a nonstate party - does not call for abrogation. But as the nonstate party in this case just happens to be a terrorist organization whose leaders must be punished for their egregious crimes, any agreement with this party that offers rewards rather than punishments is entirely null and void. Significantly, in view of the peremptory expectation known in law as Nullum crimen sine poena, "No crime without a punishment," the state party in such an agreement - here the State of Israel - violates international law by honoring the agreement.

    According to Principle I of the binding Nuremberg Principles: "Any person who commits an act which constitutes a crime under international law is responsible therefore and liable to punishment." It is from this principle, which applies with particular relevance to Hostes humani generis ("Common enemies of humankind") and which originates in three separate passages of the Jewish Torah, that each state's obligation to seek out and prosecute terrorists derives. Hence, for Israel to honor agreements with terrorists - agreements that require, among other pertinent violations - the release of thousands of other terrorists - is to dishonor the very meaning of international law.

    Is Yasser Arafat personally a terrorist? In the U.S. case of Klinghoffer v. Palestine Liberation Organization, the court answered in the affirmative. In the Israeli courts, a petition to charge Yasser Arafat with terrorist crimes was submitted to Israel's High Court of Justice in May 1994. This petition, filed by Shimon Prachik, an officer in the IDF reserves, and Moshe Lorberaum, who was injured in a 1978 bus bombing carried out by the PLO, called for Arafat's arrest. The petition noted that Arafat, prima facie, had been responsible for numerous terror attacks in Israel and abroad, including murder, airplane hijacking, hostage-taking, letter-bombing and hijacking of ships on the high seas. The petitioner's allegation of Arafat's direct personal responsibility for terrorism was seconded and confirmed by Dr. Ahmad Tibi, Arafat's most senior advisor: "The person responsible on behalf of the Palestinian people for everything that was done in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is Yasser Arafat," said Dr. Tibi on July 13, 1994, "and this man shook hands with Yitzhak Rabin."

    Terrorism is not the only crime in which Arafat and many of the released Palestinian prisoners are complicit. Related Nuremberg-category crimes, including crimes of war and crimes against humanity, were also committed by these persons. In this connection, the new Prime Minister should recall that units of the Palestine Liberation Army (PLA) served with Saddam Hussein's forces in occupied Kuwait, making them, and Yasser Arafat personally (the legal principle of command responsibility is known as respondeat superior, or "Let the Master Answer") responsible for multiple crimes of extraordinary horror and ferocity. And if these offenses were not enough of an affront to world law, many of the terrorists now being released from Israeli jails in furtherance of the Oslo accords are immediately accepting high positions in the Palestine Authority's security forces.

    Even if the nonstate party to the Oslo accords were not a terrorist organization, Israel would have entered into an agreement of unequal obligations, an agreement where the PLO would not be held under international law to the same standards of accountability. Several recent federal court decisions in the United States reaffirm that agreements between nonstate and state parties impose asymmetrical compliance expectations. For example, in a concurring statement in the case of Tel-Oren v. Libyan Arab Republic, a 1981 civil suit in U.S. federal courts in which the plaintiffs were Israeli survivors and representatives of persons murdered in a terrorist bus attack in Israel in 1978, Circuit Judge Harry T. Edwards stated: "../...I do not believe the law of nations imposes the same responsibility or liability on nonstate actors, such as the PLO, as it does on states and persons acting under color of state law."

    The PLO, of course, is a terrorist organization, and Israel has no right to honor the Oslo accords' requirement to release convicted members of that organization. No government, in fact, has the right to lawfully pardon or grant immunity to terrorists with respect to criminally sanctionable violations of international law. In the United States, it is evident from the Constitution that the President's power to pardon does not encompass violations of international law, and is limited to "Offenses against the United States." This limitation derives from a broader prohibition that binds all states, including Israel, namely the overriding claims of pertinent peremptory rules stemming from Higher Law or the Law of Nature. These claims are identified in Blackstone's COMMENTARIES, which acknowledge that all law "results from those principles of natural justice, in which all the learned of every nation agree../..../.."

    In its apprehension and incarceration of terrorists, Israel acted, however unintentionally, not only for itself, but on behalf of the entire community of states. Moreover, because some of the jailed terrorists had committed crimes against other states as well as against Israel, the government in Jerusalem cannot possibly pardon these offenses against other sovereigns. The Jewish State, therefore, possesses absolutely no right to grant immunity for terrorist violations of international law. No matter what might be permissible under its own Basic Law and the Oslo accords, any freeing of terrorists is legally incorrect. By its freeing of terrorists, Israel is guilty of what is known in law as a "denial of justice."

    Israel's obligation to abrogate the Oslo accords, as we have seen, stems from certain peremptory expectations of international law. Israel, however, has substantial rights of abrogation here apart from such expectations. These rights derive from the doctrine of Rebus sic stantibus. Defined literally as "So long as conditions remain the same," this doctrine of changed circumstances now augments Israel's obligations to cease compliance with Oslo. This is because Israel's traditional obligations to the accords ended promptly when a fundamental change occured in those circumstances that existed at the effective dates of the accords and whose continuance formed a tacit condition of the accords' ongoing validity. This change, of course, involved multiple material breaches by the PLO, especially those concerning control of anti-Israel terrorism and extradition of terrorists. In short, Rebus sic stantibus has become pertinent for Israeli abrogation because of the profound change created by the PLO in the very circumstances that formed the cause, motive and rationale of consent.

    According to Oslo expectations, Arafat should be actively committed to control of anti-Israel terrorism. Yet, as THE JERUSALEM POST pointed out correctly in a mid-March 1996 editorial, "Arafat not only shelters terrorists; he lets them incite, recruit, organize, train, arm, raise funds, and launch operations from areas under his control. This is now indisputable."

    The "head of the snake," admitted former Prime Minister Shimon Peres, "is in Gaza." And it is in Gaza, PLO-controlled Gaza, that Hamas - allegedly at odds with PLO - has been fomenting much of its terror campaign against Israel. It is the Palestinian security services that sustain this Hamas campaign. In the words of THE JERUSALEM POST:

    "It was the Hamas leadership in Gaza which decided on terrorist strikes and issued operational orders for the bus bombings. It was in Gaza that the Hamas military organization trained suicide bombers and assembled explosives. It was in Gaza that "the engineer" Yihye Ayyash found shelter until he was killed, and where his successor Mohammed Dief has been living openly. It was in Gaza that Arafat's Preventive Security chief was negotiating with Dief - a close friend - both before and after the first bus bombing. He knew of Dief's involvement in the bombing and did nothing either to detain him or prevent the next outrage."

    Israel's obligation to terminate the Oslo accords stems also from a related principle of national self-preservation. Under this peremptory norm, any agreement may be terminated unilaterally following changes in conditions that make performance of the agreement injurious to fundamental rights, especially the rights of existence and independence. Known in law as "rights of necessity," this norm was explained with particular lucidity by none other than Thomas Jefferson. In his "Opinion on the French Treaties," written on April 28, 1793, Jefferson stated that when performance, in international agreements, "becomes impossible, nonperformance is not immoral. So if performance becomes self- destructive to the party, the law of self-preservation overrules the laws of obligation to others." Later, in that same document, Jefferson wrote: "The nation itself, bound necessarily to whatever its preservation and safety require, cannot enter into engagements contrary to its indispensable obligations." Israel, the reader should recall, has an "indispensable obligation" to endure.

    How, exactly, do the Oslo accords impair this obligation? Here is what THE JERUSALEM POST had to say about the expected consequences of Oslo II:

    " ../...the implementation of Oslo II signals the relinquishment of Israel's security control over the territories and the assumption of such control by the PLO. For the first time, there will be a large PLO army on the outskirts of Israel's major population centers, and it will be in control of strategic areas which dominate Israel's heartland. Soon, Israel will be able to control neither the influx of Palestinians from refugee camps in neighboring countries nor the importation of arms. To expect such an arrangement to bring anything but unrest, terrorism and ultimately war, is to live in a world of make believe."

    To better understand this "world of make believe," it is instructive to consider the Charter of Hamas, another terrorist organization that is central to current difficulties in implementing "peace." According to this Charter:

    Peace initiatives, the so-called peaceful solutions,
    and the international conferences to resolve the
    Palestinian problem, are all contrary to the beliefs
    of the Islamic Resistance Movement. For renouncing
    any part of Palestine means renouncing part of the
    religion; the nationalism of the Islamic Resistance
    Movement is part of its faith, the movement
    educates its members to adhere to its principles
    and to raise the banner of Allah over their homeland
    as they fight their Jihad../..../..There is no solution to
    the Palestinian problem except by Jihad../..../..In order
    to face the usurpation of Palestine by the Jews, we
    have no escape from raising the banner of Jihad../..../..We
    must imprint on the minds of generations of Muslims
    that the Palestinian problem is a religious one, to
    be dealt with on this premise../..../.."I swear by that who
    holds in His Hands the Soul of Muhammad! I indeed
    wish to go to war for the sake of Allah! I will
    assault and kill;, assault and kill, assault and
    kill.

    Regarding relationships with the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the Hamas Charter offers the following: "The PLO is among the closest to the Hamas, for it constitutes a father, a brother, a relative, a freind. Can a Muslim turn away from his father, his brother, his relative of his friend? Our homeland is one, our calamity is one, our destiny is one and our enemy is common to both of us../..../.." On the primacy of hatred toward Judaism, not Israel (i.e., Israel is despised because it is Jewish), the Hamas Charter states: "Israel, by virtue of its being Jewish and of having a Jewish population, defies Islam and the Muslims. `Let the eyes of the cowards not fall asleep.'"

    After the assassination of terrorist Yechya Ayyash, known widely as "The Engineer," Yasser Arafat delivered a eulogy in Dura, near Hebron. Speaking before a large crowd of Hamas supporters, Arafat praised all "Palestinian martuyrs," including those who had murdered Israeli women and children in schools, buses and homes. Referring to the imminent takeover of Jerusalem from the Jews, Arafat expressed confidence that, "in a few months, we will pray together at the Al-Aksa mosque,:" adding that "those who don't like it can go and drink the water of the Dead Sea."

    At a eulogy given on June 15, 1995, for Abed Al Karim Al Aklok, a former PLO official, Arafat remarked: "We are all seekers of martyrdom in the path of truth and right toward Jerusalem the capital of the State of Palestine../..../..We will continue this difficult Jihad, this long Jihad, this arduous Jihad, in the path of martyrs - via death - the path of sacrifice../..../.." On January 30, 1996, speaking to 40 Arab diplomats at the Grand Hotel in Stockholm, Sweden, Arafat's topic was: "The Impending Total Collapse of Israel." Said Arafat, "We Palestinians wil take over everything, including all of Jerusalem../..../..All the rich Jews who will get compensation will travel to America." Further: "We of the PLO will now concentrate all our efforts on splitting Israel psychologically into two camps. Within five years we will have six to seven million Arabs living on the West Bank and in Jerusalem../..../..You understand that we plan to eliminate the State of Israel and establish a purely Palestinian State../..../..I have no usefor Jews; they are and remain Jews. We now need all the help we can get from you in our battle for a united Palestine under total Arab-Moslem domination."

    Regarding the Oslo accords and Israel's vulnerability to war, Israeli security is now increasingly dependent upon nuclear weapons and strategy. Faced with a codified and substantial loss of territories - a loss that might still be enlarged by transfer to Syria of the Golan Heights - the Jewish State will have to decide on how to compensate for its diminished strategic depth. While this shrinkage does not necessarily increase Israel's existential vulnerability to unconventional missile attack, it surely does increase that state's susceptibility to attacking ground forces and to subsequent enemy occupation. And the loss of strategic depth will almost certainly be interpreted by enemy states as a significant weakening of Israel's overall defense posture, an interpretation that could lead to great enemy incentives to strike first.

    Should Israel's sacrifice of strategic depth occasioned by the Oslo accords result in a Palestinian state, the geostrategic victory of the Islamic world would be complemented by something less tangible but no less critical: an Arab and Iranian perception of an ongoing and unstoppable momentum against the Jewish State, a jihad-centered perception of military inevitability that would reiterate the policies of war. Recognizing such perceptions, Israel could be forced to take its bomb out of the "basement," and/or it could have to accept a greater willingness to launch preemptive strikes against enemy hard targets.

    For their part, certain Arab states and/or Iran would respond to such Israeli decisions. Made aware of Israel's policy shifts - shifts that would stem from both Israel's Oslo-generated territorial vulnerabilities and from its awareness of enemy perceptions spawned by the Oslo-generated creation of Palestine, these enemy states could respond in more or less parallel fashion. Here, preparing openly for nuclearization and aggression against Israel, these states would illustrate dramatically certain far-reaching results of the Oslo accords - results that are still generally unrecognized and that provide, together with other above-listed rationales, a fully authoritative basis for permissible abrogation.

    There is one last point that would need to be emphasized by Israel's new Government. Contrary to widely disseminated but wholly erroneous allegations, a Palestinian state did not exist before 1967 or 1948. A state of Palestine was not promised by authoritative U.N. Security Council Resolution # 242. Indeed, a state of Palestine has never existed.

    As a nonstate legal entity, Palestine ceased to exist in 1948, when Great Britain relinquished its League of Nations mandate. When, during the 1948-49 War of Independence, Judea/Samaria and Gaza came under illegal control of Jordan and Egypt respectively, these aggressor states did not put an end to an already-existing state. Fromn the Biblical Period (ca.1350 BCE to 586 BCE) to the British Mandate (1918-48), the land named by the Romans after the ancient Philistines (a naming intended to punish and demean the Jews) was controlled exclusively by non-Palestinian elements. Significantly, however, a continuous chain of Jewish possession of the land was legally recognized after World War I at the San Remo Conference of April 1920. There, a binding treaty was signed in which Great Britain was given mandatory authority over Palestine (the area had been ruled by the Ottoman Turks since 1516) to prepare it to become the "national home for the Jewish People."

    Palestine, according to the treaty, comprised territories encompassing what are now the states of Jordan and Israel, including Judea/Samaria and Gaza. Present-day Israel, including Judea/Samaria and Gaza, comprises only twenty-two percent of Palestine as defined and ratified at the San Remo Peace Conference. In 1922, Great Britain unilaterally and illegally split off 78 percent of the lands promised to the Jews - all of Palestine east of the Jordan River - and gave it to Abdullah, the non-Palestinian son of the Sharif of Mecca. Eastern Palestine now took the name Transjordan, which it retained until April 1949, when it was renamed as Jordan.

    From the moment of its creation, Transjordan was closed to all Jewish migration and settlement, a clear betrayal of the British promise in the Balfour Declaration of 1917 and a patent contravention of its Mandatory obligations. On July 20, 1951, a Palestinian assassinated King Abdullah because of his hostility to Palestinian nationalist aspirations. Several years prior to Abdullah's killing, in 1947, the newly-formed United Nations, rather than designate the entire land west of the Jordan River as the Jewish National Homeland, enacted a second partition. Ironically, because this second fission again gave unfair advantage to the Arabs, Jewishleaders accepted the painful judgment while the Arab states rejected it.

    On May 15, 1948, exactly one day after the State of Israel came into existence, Azzam Pasha, Secretary General of the Arab League, declared to the tiny new nation founded upon the ashes of the Holocaust: "This will be a war of extermination and a momentous massacre../..../.." This genocidal declaration has been and remains to this day at the heart of all subsequent Arab orientations toward Israel. In 1967, almost twenty years after Israel's entry into the community of nations, the Jewish State - as a result of its stunning military victory over Arab aggressor states - gained unintended control over Judea/Samaria and Gaza. Although the idea of the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war is enshrined in the U.N. Charter, there existed no authoritative sovereign to whom the territories could be "returned." Israel could hardly have been expected to transfer these territories back to Jordan and Egypt, which had exercised unauthorized and cruel control since the Arab-initiated war of extermination in 1948-49. Moreover, the idea of Palestinian "self- determination" was only just beginning to emerge after the Six-Day War, and was not even codified in U.N. Security Council Resolution #242, which was adopted on November 22, 1967. For their part, the Arab states convened a summit in Khartoum in August 1967, concluding "No peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, no negotiations with it../..../.."

    Prime Minister Netanyahu, please take heed. International law does not require compliance with the Oslo Accords. It requires abrogation of these illegal agreements.

    =================
    Louis Rene Beres is Professor of International Law, Department of Political Science, Purdue University. He is also the academic advisor to the Freeman Center For Strategic Studies.

     


     

    Our World: Appeasing child killers

    Apr. 6, 2009
    Caroline Glick , THE JERUSALEM POST

     

     
     
    We were not supposed to see Shlomo Nativ's name in the newspapers. At least, we weren't supposed to know who he was for several years. He was just a 13-year-old boy. He was loved by his family and friends. He had brothers and sisters, parents and grandparents. His life was not our business. And, to a certain extent, now that it is over, it still shouldn't concern us.
     
    What should concern us is his death. Nativ was murdered last Thursday at the hands of a Palestinian ax murderer just a few meters from his home in Bat Ayin. And his death should interest us for what it teaches us, first of all about the nature of the Middle East and Israel's place in it.
     
    The mainstream media in Europe and the US and even here maintain that Nativ's death tells us little we didn't already "know" if we are right-thinking people. By this view of things, the cold-blooded terrorist murder of civilians - even of children - is to be expected when the victims in question are Israeli Jews who live beyond the 1949 armistice lines. It isn't nice. It isn't pleasant to say. But as far as the right-thinking people of the Western media are concerned, Israeli Jews like Nativ, who live in Gush Etzion in Judea, are simply asking to be murdered.
     
    Today, the media's view is shared by both European governments and the Obama administration. For years now the Europeans have accepted the legally unsupportable Arab claim that all Jewish presence in areas beyond the 1949 armistice lines is illegal. Since 1993, supported by the Israeli Left, the US government has gradually moved toward adopting this view. And today this view stands at the center of President Barack Obama's emerging policy toward Israel and the Palestinians.
     
    At base, this view assumes two things. First, it assumes that the root of the Arab-Israeli conflict is the absence of Palestinian statehood, and therefore the solution is the establishment of a Palestinian state. The second thing it assumes is that the Palestinian demand that any territory that Israel transfers to Palestinian control must first be ethnically cleansed of all Jewish presence is completely innocent and acceptable.
     
    OBAMA MADE clear that this is the view of his administration on two occasions in the past week. First, at a news conference before he departed for his European tour, he announced that as far as his administration is concerned, the only way of contending with the Arab conflict with Israel is by establishing a Palestinian state. In his words, "It is critical for us to advance a two-state solution." And second, last Thursday in London, Obama made clear that he supports the mass expulsion of Jews from Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria (as well as the Golan Heights), when he announced his support for the so-called Saudi peace plan.
     
    The Saudi plan, issued as a propaganda stunt by Saudi King Abdullah during a meeting with New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman in 2002, calls for Israel to commit national suicide by removing itself to within the indefensible 1949 lines and accepting millions of hostile foreign Arabs as citizens in its rump state in exchange for "regular" relations with the Arab world.
     
    Shlomo Nativ's murder shows clearly that Obama and his supporters are viewing the Arab conflict with Israel through a distorted lens. Their interpretation of both the nature of the conflict and its likely resolution are wrong.
     
    IT TAKES A CERTAIN type of person to hack a child to death with an ax. In the case at hand, Nativ's murderer actually tried to kill seven-year-old Yair Gamliel as well. But unlike Nativ, the first grader managed to escape with a fractured skull.
     
    Nativ of course was not the first child to be brutally murdered by Palestinian terrorists. Kobi Mandell and Yosef Ish-Ran were also 13 when they were stoned to death by a mob as they gathered wood for a bonfire in 2001. In 2003 five-month-old Shaked Avraham was shot in her crib by a Palestinian terrorist who pushed his way into her home. In 2002 five-year-old Matan Ohayon, four-year-old Noam Ohayon and their mother Revital Ohayon were murdered in their home in Kibbutz Metzer.
     
    And the list goes on and on and on.
    It takes a special type of person to murder a child. And it takes a special type of society to support such behavior. Palestinian society is a special society. It has become routine, indeed it has become expected that in the aftermath of successful murders of Israelis - including children - Palestinians distribute candy in public celebrations. In 2002 for instance, when word got out about the terrorist who barged into Nina Kardashov's bat mitzva party in Hadera and massacred six people, the masses took to the streets in neighboring Tulkarm to celebrate. That particular attack was carried out by a Fatah terrorist employed by the US-trained Palestinian Authority security forces. The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and the IDF now reportedly believe that Nativ was also murdered by a Fatah terrorist.
     
    TO CELEBRATE the terrorist murder of children and to glorify child murderers as heroes is to celebrate and glorify the nullification of life - or at least the life of the target society. This is the case because at the most basic philosophical level, children represent the notion that life is intrinsically valuable. Since children haven't yet had the chance to accomplish great and lasting things for humanity, all they can give us is the promise of a future.
     
    The fact that Palestinian terrorists target children specifically - both inside and outside the 1949 lines - and that Palestinian society celebrates their murder tells us that the two foundational assumptions upon which Obama and his supporters base their policies toward Israel and the Middle East are false. It is not the absence of a Palestinian state that stands at the root of the conflict, and it is not the presence of Israeli communities, or "settlements," beyond the 1949 armistice lines that renders the conflict intractable.
     
    Instead, the root of the conflict is the Arab world's rejection of Israel's right to exist - regardless of its size. And the reason the conflict is intractable is because hatred of Israel and Jews is so deep and endemic in both Palestinian society and the wider Arab world that they view the very existence of Jews - including Jewish children - in Israel as an unacceptable affront to their sensibilities. Indeed, the Jewish presence both within and beyond the 1949 armistice lines is so unacceptable that murdering Jews at every opportunity is perceived as an acceptable and indeed heroic undertaking.
     
    THIS BEING the case, the question necessarily arises, why are these basic facts so assiduously ignored by people like Obama who should know better? Why did Sen. John Kerry, who chairs the US Senate's Foreign Relations Committee, say in late February, "Nothing will do more to make clear our seriousness about turning the page [in US relations with the Arab world] than demonstrating - with actions rather than words - that we are serious about Israel's freezing settlement activity in the West Bank?" Why did Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attack Israel during her visit last month for lawfully destroying illegal Arab houses in Jerusalem? Why are Obama supporters from Peace Now to the Arab League to The Washington Post and Haaretz editorial boards urging him to coerce the Netanyahu government to accept a complete halt to all building activities for Jews in Judea and Samaria?
     
    The answer unfortunately is that in their actions, Obama, his colleagues and supporters are not motivated by facts. Instead they are motivated by a desire to ignore the facts. They wish to believe that the existence of Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria is a primary obstacle to peace because doing so allows them to ignore the fact that the reason there is no peace is because Palestinians and their Arab and Iranian brethren refuse to peacefully coexist with Israel regardless of its size. Accepting such bitter realities would make it impossible for them to move forward with their agenda of appeasing the Arab world because it would force them to acknowledge that the Arab world is unappeasable.
     
    And that's the thing of it. At base, the so-called settlements are nothing but an excuse for appeasers to curry favor with the Arabs by blaming Israel for the absence of peace while ignoring the Arabs' bigotry, hatred and aggression. What these Israeli communities represent is nothing more than an assertion of Israeli rights to land - whether that land is within or beyond the 1949 armistice lines. If these communities didn't exist - as they no longer exist in Gaza - then a surrogate, such as the IDF which protects other Israeli land, would be found to replace them.
     
    And if the IDF weren't around - as it isn't in Gaza or in southern Lebanon - then the appeasers would blame another surrogate, such as the Israeli naval quarantine of Gaza, or Israel's control over the town of Ghajar along the Lebanese border for the Arabs' bigotry, hatred and aggression against it.
     
    Here it should be noted that there is no difference in principle between the way the likes of the Obama administration and its supporters treat Israel and the way they treat the US and its non-Israeli allies. When on Sunday Obama responded to North Korea's launch of a long-range ballistic missile by announcing that he wishes to all but disarm the US of its nuclear arsenal, he was effectively arguing that US strength is to blame for North Korea's aggression. He did what amounts to the same thing when he apologized to the Iranian regime for supposed US arrogance. By Obama's lights, now that the US is humble, the Iranians may one day stop calling for its destruction, waging war against it in Iraq and Afghanistan and building a nuclear arsenal.
     
    Then too, when Denmark's Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen reportedly agreed to apologize to the Islamic world for Denmark's independent Jyllands-Postens 2005 publication of cartoons of Muhammad in exchange for Turkish support for his candidacy for NATO secretary-general, he was accepting that it is Western civilization - with its freedom of speech - that is to blame for Islamic aggression and intolerance.
    In the end then, the truth exposed by Shlomo Nativ's brutal murder on Thursday in Bat Ayin is twofold. First, it demonstrated that the so-called settlements have no relevance whatsoever to the intractability of the Arab-Israeli conflict. When your enemy hates you so much that he hacks your children to pieces, there is nothing you can do, short of committing suicide, that will appease him.
     
    Second, it reminded us of what appeasement places at risk. By attempting to appease the unappeasable, all that successive Israeli, American and European governments have done is strengthen our enemies at the expense of our security and freedom.

     

     


     

    THE ISRAEL QUILT
    By Bernard J. Shapiro
     
    Photo by JHV: MICHAEL C. DUKE<br>The Israel quilt
     
    Photo by JHV: MICHAEL C. DUKE
    Those few of you who are native Houstonians will remember the Shapiro cousins, Armand, Bernard and Doug. We were a close-knit group and hung around with a whole generation of young Jews growing up, during the 1940s and '50s, in the Riverside area (Highway 288 goes over my original house now). Of course, we grew up and went our separate ways.

    Armand became a successful businessman and financier, making millions of dollars. I had a multifaceted career as bookseller, pro-Israel activist, editor and writer. I was sort of the Don Quixote of the group. My impossible dream was that the Jewish People would wake up and prevent a Second Holocaust. They haven't yet.

    Doug was the scientific genius of the group. We all first became aware of this when he was expelled from Bellaire High School for a science experiment gone terribly wrong. His brilliance took him to Harvard, where he earned a medical degree. After practicing in Washington for three weeks, he became bored and went to London and got a Ph.D. in animal behavior. Doug traveled the world doing research on coral reef fish. He stayed on a small facility (its main inhabitants were large iguanas) off the coast of Puerto Rico for about a decade, where he discovered a sex-changing coral reef fish.

    Wanting to see civilization again, he took a job as head of the biology department at Eastern Michigan University and then became a drug researcher at Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson. Houstonians have benefited greatly from his work.

    Now, a new creative genius has entered the Shapiro family. Charlynn and Doug were married about a decade ago. Charlynn has developed over many years a remarkable ability to design and create quilts of phenomenal beauty. In her words, she described the Israel quilt she made for me:

    "One day in the early summer, my husband, Doug, was talking on the phone to his cousin, Bernard. Bernard asked him something about my quilts. Doug mentioned it to me, and before I knew it, I was lying awake at night, trying to figure out how I might make a quilt for Bernard. I knew from Doug how passionately he loved the Jewish people and Israel, the Jewish homeland. I decided to start sewing."

    "Although I had no plan or pattern, I knew immediately what some of the blocks would be: the dove with an olive branch (we all hope for peace, don't we?), a rainbow, the Exodus, Pesach, Chanukah, Shabbat, the two blocks that refers to 'the land of milk and honey.'

    "The quilt also needed to have blocks signifying some of the customs, festivals and celebrations unique to the Jewish people.

    "Included are blocks of chuppah, Sukkot, a Bat Mitzvah and a Bar Mitzvah. Fruits, wheat, the Israeli flag and the Hebrew aleph bet symbolize the Land of Israel (Eretz Yisrael). The 12 colored stones represent Jacob's sons: the 12 Tribes of Israel. The front of the quilt is full of vibrant color. (Whoever saw a white fig?) All of the blocks were completed before I decided how to put them together. The back of the quilt shows a small view of the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

    "It took seven months to complete, including research time. On a trip to New York, I found a Judaica store, where I bought a set of Hebrew flash cards. Unfortunately, one of the cards was missing. Doug's son Aidan, who is studying Hebrew in college, helped me identify which letters should be included (consonants only).

    "Another trip to New York, and I found the bees for the beehive. After the quilt top was completed, I learned from a website that, in ancient times, honey was made from dates, not honeybees. I decided to leave it as it was (artistic license).

    "I named the quilt 'Lâ'chaim' - to life. It was the most original and fun quilt that I have made so far. Now, I am really inspired to do more quilts with a Jewish theme."

    I have encouraged Charlynn to make a similar quilt to give to a Jewish or Israel museum, so that the general public can enjoy her work. From the photo, you will note that the quilt is a traditional American style. In Israel and at quilt fairs nationwide, there are many quilters using the quilt to paint a picture, much like artists using oil or watercolors. There are many abstract designs. I find the structure, discipline and concentration on one theme a major plus for Charlynn's quilt. To me it outshines all of the modern innovations and is true to the original spirit of the quilt.

    If you would like to reconnect with Doug and Charlynn, call 734-395-5983 or email
    cshapiro@aol.com. I can be reached at the Freeman Center, 713-723-6016.