THE RAMIFICATIONS OF A PALESTINIAN STATE
..............LOUIS RENÉ BERES
Framework Proposal for a National Strategy Regarding Judea and Samaria and the Issue of Eretz Israel Arabs
by Arieh Stav
The program will be consolidated by the Ariel Center for Policy Research, will be submitted to Members of Knesset Arie Eldad and Binyamin Elon, who will get signatures from as many Knesset members as possible. The fundamentals of the proposal were formulated in discussions with the two members of Knesset and received their approval and their support.
Consolidating a political proposal with the intention of halting Israel’s defeatist campaign that is manifest in its most extreme form in the conduct of the Olmert Government.
• The Israeli public, the overwhelming majority of which (the silent majority) considers Israel defeatism an existential threat; however it lacks a clear, reasonable alternative supported by the political echelon.
• Many organizations, both within the Jewish world and beyond, primarily in the United States, which identify with the national camp but lack a determined, unequivocal message coming from Israel.
• Many Senators and Congressmen in Washington are perplexed in light of Israel’s defeatism and suddenly find themselves in a position of being "holier than the Pope".
A political program that opposes the government policy requires a synthesis of two components:
1. A detailed political proposal, based on the work of a reliable, independent think tank.
2. Parliamentary support for the proposal.
After 21 years of publishing Nativ and 11 years since the founding of the Ariel Center for Policy Research (ACPR), the time has come to issue a national program and no longer suffice with criticism – justified and reasoned though it may be. Over the course of two decades, more than 1,000 erudite articles from a long line of first-rate scholars have been published in Nativ. The ACPR has, as of today, published 175 studies and a series of books covering most of the aspects relating to the existential rationale of the State of Israel. However, as mentioned above, all of the copious material dealt predominantly with criticism and not with a political proposal that comes to offer a solution to the tangled web of existential problems facing the Jewish state.
The proposal in question includes a framework program for national strategy in the issue that is the crux of the problem: The areas of Judea and Samaria and the Arabs living there (referred to euphemistically as "Palestinians"). The complications that surround all of the problems facing the State of Israel – from the Iranian nuclear threat via the conduct of the political echelon, through the relations with the United States – all primarily stem from the lack of a resolution to this problem.
A perusal of the defeatist campaign of Israeli governments since the transfer of Sinai and the destruction of the settlements in the Camp David Accords through the systems-collapse in the Olmert Government, raises very difficult question marks regarding the ability of the State of Israel to survive if and when this government or the one that succeeds it, implements its plot to establish a sovereign Arab entity in Western Land of Israel, i.e. a terrorist entity in the heart of the Jewish state..
The strategic trend, as of today, is perfectly clear. The objectives of Teheran and Damascus (and the Iranians make these statements openly and declaratively) is to surround Israel from the north, the south and the center with an Arab terrorist entity that will lead to the destruction of the State of Israel. The miserable performance of the IDF during the Second Lebanon War proved to Israel’s enemies that 4,000 Hizbullah fighters armed with rifles and rockets circa World War II are capable of standing against a modern army armed with strategic weapons systems.
In the period that has elapsed since the war, there has been a far-reaching escalation in the scope, the armaments and the preparedness of the Hizbullah troops in preparation for the next war.
A similar situation is taking place in the south. The ethnic cleansing perpetrated by Israel against the settlers of the Gaza Strip transformed Gaza into a Hamas military base almost immediately. Here too, the rate of armament is lethal and within a year or two, Hamas will gain the operational capability to strike at planes and armored vehicles as well as rocket capability that will threaten Beersheba.
The establishment of an Arab terrorist state on the outskirts of Greater Tel Aviv will subject Israel to a choke hold from all its borders and will strip it of its right to exist even within the 1949 borders. This trend – which cannot be described as anything other than national suicide – is openly and declaratively led by the Olmert/Livni Government.
Thus, the time has come to make public a sane proposal in order to attempt to block the defeatist trends that have become, as mentioned above, the staple of the political echelon.
The proposal in question does not contain a magical formula for a "New Middle East", "peace" or "resolution of conflict". It is problematic and difficult and will therefore encounter Arab hostility and international, primarily European, antagonism. However, it will be received supportively by broad circles worldwide, including by many of Israel’s friends in the two houses of Congress – the central focal point of power in the West. Furthermore, the sole advantage of this proposal is that it is the "least of all evils" as every alternative is nothing other than a recipe for national disaster.
The concrete proposal that will be submitted to members of Knesset will be based on a comprehensive study carried out by the Ariel Center and will appear in book form in Hebrew and English. The study will be divided into two sections:
A. An analysis of the current situation through analysis of the short term political trends.
B. The political proposal that is intended to thwart the current campaign of defeatism.
A. An analysis of the current situation through assessment of the short term political trends.
1. General foreword
2. Israel as a forward outpost of the Western civilization against the Islamic expanse – and therefore a primary and decisive objective in the "war of the civilizations".
3. The Arabs of Eretz Israel – the Arab-Moslem spearhead in its war against Israel.
4. The establishment of a "Palestinian state" and its legal, military and political ramifications.
(The demand for partition borders, return of refugees, military pacts, membership in the Arab League, etc., i.e. "The Palestinian state will be established upon the ruins of the State of Israel!" – Yizhak Rabin)
5. The delusion of the "peace process" – the Geneva document as a representative model of political blindness.
6. Defeatism as an outgrowth of the weariness of the Israeli public.
7. Trends of self-destruction among the Israeli Left.
8. Escalation of the Israeli Arab struggle to destroy the State of Israel from within (a state of all its citizens, autonomy in the Galilee, etc.).
B. Political Proposal
1. Extending Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria.
2. "Jordan is Palestine" and restoration of Jordanian citizenship to the Arabs in Judea and Samaria.
3. Municipal autonomy for the Arabs of Judea and Samaria (on the basis of the Camp David Accords) accompanied by a total disarmament of the autonomous areas.
4. The areas of Arab settlements located on private property (the Mosaic Program by Dr. Yuval Arnon Ohanna).
5. Military liquidation of the military infrastructure in Gaza and according responsibility for the area to Egypt.
6. Israeli Arabs: Equal rights in exchange for equal obligations.
The submitted proposal relies to a certain extent on the "Israeli Initiative" – MK Binyamin Elon’s program. That is in terms of its two primary components: A. Extension of Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria; B. Restoring Jordanian citizenship to the Arabs of Judea and Samaria.
The proposal is unilateral, i.e. no one is deluding himself at present that the Arab side will accept the proposed resolution. However, that is a situation that is ongoing for sixty years and any proposal that contains anything less than Israel’s political and military liquidation is summarily rejected by our neighbors. (See on that note the Saudi proposal that is unifying many of the Arab enemy countries at present).
At this stage, we have approached several experts in this field, presented the principles of the program and invited them to participate in the project, each expert in his own discipline. The intention is to consolidate a group of 10 to 12 experts in order to cover the central topics in the proposal.
The intention is to publish the study within six months, i.e. towards the end of 2008.
The study will be published in the form of a 250-300 page book, in Hebrew and English in cooperation with one of the big publishing houses in Israel.
The political proposal – the gist of the study – will be submitted in the form of a 20 page booklet, half in Hebrew and half in English.
FRAMEWORK PROPOSAL FOR A NATIONAL STRATEGY REGARDING JUDEA AND SAMARIA AND THE ISSUE OF ERETZ ISRAEL ARABS
by Arieh Stav
Comments by Bernard J. Shapiro, Chairman,
Freeman Center For Strategic Studies
The Framework Proposal concept is an excellent idea and we are thankful that it was proposed by the Ariel Center For Policy Research, under the direction of Arieh Stav.
The sections: Central Objective & Projected Audience are in agreement with my views.
The section on Implementation leaves much to be desired. While the individual items are correct, they do not create a whole. That is, while I agree with them, they would not work.
A. While the analysis of the current situation and short term political trends is again very correct, there is NO WAY to implement proper change in the proposal.
B. The Political Proposal - Again mostly correct.
The problems with it are both historical and philosophical. It is 30 years too late for municipal autonomy for the Arabs of Judea and Samaria. Israeli policy since 1967 has created a Palestinian nationalism. The Genie can not be put back in the bottle. Pandora’s box has already been opened.
I agree that the TRANSFER of the hostile Arab population must be accomplished. This can be done through:
1. Economic incentive
2. Enforcement of laws protecting the Jewish population. Demolition of illegal Arab occupation of State lands.
3. Rapid settlement of Jews in lands of Judea and Samaria
4. Improved transportation from Judea and Samaria to the Israeli coast. This would create huge bedroom communities for the coastal industries and businesses.
5. Removal of all restrictions on real estate development in Israel. This includes voiding the agreement that the Jewish National Fund (JNF) made with the Israeli government, that allows it to give Jewish land to Arabs.
Item #5 on the Political Proposal calling for turning over responsibility for Gaza to Egypt is a non-starter. Israel must liquidate the terrorist infrastructure in Gaza and then re-settle the expelled Jews to re-build their homes. Gazan Arabs that are unhappy with this and are hostile to the Jewish State should be allowed forcefully to find homes in Egypt.
Item #6 offering Israeli Arabs equal right for equal obligations should be amended to include acceptance and loyalty to Israel as a Jewish/Zionist State and renunciation of the existence of a "so called palestine" as a separate nation.
Re: The Two Comments:
No one should fool themselves into thinking that giving the Arabs of Judea and Samaria Jordanian citizenship would solve anything in the long run. Jordan is not as friendly (population wise) as we are led to believe. Though the government is helpful and friendly, that could change in the blink of an eye. Should American troops leave Iraq and it falls to Iran, the consequences would be severe for Israel. With Syria, Lebanon, and Gaza under Iranian control, it could easily extend its reach to Jordan and the Judean-Samarian ridge overlooking Israel’s vulnerable coast.
My Bottom Line (Conclusion)
Israel’s central problem is psychological and no amount of beautiful rhetoric and wonderful proposals can change that.
When will the Nationalist Camp realize that we are "at war already" with the PLO/Hamas/Hezbollah supporting tyranny that rules Israel? At what point will Israelis realize that the CIVIL WAR they fear, IS ALREADY TAKING PLACE AND THEY ARE LOSING?
Why don't members of the Nationalist Camp understand that FORCE is being used by only ONE side and that is the government. The monopoly on power must be broken or there is no hope.
Under the Nazis, the Jews of Warsaw numbered over 500,000. They were depleted with regular deportations aided by Judenrats (Jewish leaders). The Revolt in Warsaw began when the Jewish population was down to 50,000 (or 90% murdered). At what point is it OK to rebel?
When is civil disobedience OK? When is civil war a better course than suicide? All throughout history there have been rebels and loyalists. History is usually written by the victors but truly there is seldom a universally accepted moral standard as to what is a proper rebellion and what is not. We can say with absolute certainty, however, that the Jewish return to Zion and our struggle today for Eretz Yisrael are more righteous than any other struggle for national liberation in the history of the world.
Conditions in Israel may have passed the period where civil disobedience would be effective. A massive outpouring of Israelis prepared to get arrested in civil disobedience would have stopped the Sharon’s Expulsion of Jews Plan two years ago. Now, it appears that only civil disobedience and a willingness to fight for their homes will save the country.
We must expect the government to try to disarm Zionist patriots, to spy on them and to send agents provocateurs to discredit them. It is quite possible that the IDF will withdraw from Yesha and leaving the Jews with a difficult choice: being massacred or abandoning their homes. Their ability to defend themselves will have been thwarted by the government in collusion with the terrorists.
The Jews of YESHA must not be passive pawns in the political surrender of their homes. They must fight the Arabs, where necessary, to maintain their travel, water, and land rights. When the Israeli government retreats, leaving them behind PLO battle lines, they must be prepared to go on the offensive militarily to secure safe contiguous areas of Jewish control. The defeatist Israeli leaders, who have surrendered our Jewish rights to Eretz Yisrael, should be told that there are still proud Jews in YESHA who will give up neither their inheritance from Abraham nor their right of self-defense.
Exercising one’s right to self-defense is a moral imperative. There is a lot of hypocritical talk coming from the government about the danger of Jew fighting Jew. These warnings are coming from the Left who delighted in shooting Zionist (Betar) teenagers swimming to shore after their forces sank the Altalena in 1948. These same hypocrites are putting the Jews of YESHA in life threatening peril. They care nothing about Jewish lives!
Should the Jews of YESHA be forced into military combat -- most likely against Arabs, but, G-d forbid, perhaps also against Jews -- they would be fully justified. They will be fighting for the security of Israel and the future destiny of the Jewish people. These brave Jews would be continuing the long tradition of Hebrew Warriors, including Joshua, David, the Maccabees and Bar Kochba, who fought against all odds to save their people and their country.
The glorious Hebrew Warriors who defeated five Arab armies in 1948, three in 1967, and two in 1973 must not surrender their Jewish homeland to evil terrorists, who delight in killing Jewish babies. The Brave Heroes of Zion must not limit themselves to passive civil disobedience. Freedom sometimes needs to be secured through the barrel of a gun. If it is considered patriotic to die fighting Arabs for Israel’s survival, then it is just as patriotic to fight against Jews who would lead Israel to destruction. While such internal Jewish fighting would be dreadful, it is a consequence of the government’s disregard for the security and well being of its citizens. At this great time of trial and apocalyptic threat, the safeguarding of the future of the Jewish people’s right to Eretz Yisrael must take precedence.
Israelis my age have fought and died in four wars and I understand their desire to be free of constant conflict. Unfortunately, there is no magic cure. I wish I could write more optimistic words. Sadly, beyond the neighboring states that Israel is negotiating with now lies another ring of unmitigated hostility led by Islamic fundamentalists in Iran.
As Jews we are all involved in this historic struggle to survive. It is not our fate or that of the Israelis that we should retire from this struggle. The only peace the Arabs are prepared to give us is the peace of the grave.
In blood and fire was Israel born and on a hot anvil was she forged. The brave young soldiers of Israel must take a quick glance back to the crematoria of Auschwitz and then go forth to face the enemy knowing that there is STILL no alternative (ein briera).
Our World: Calling Israel's bluff
Sep. 1, 2008
Caroline Glick , THE JERUSALEM POST
Hamas and its international collaborators have a new plan. To forcibly end Israel's embargo of Gaza's seacoast, they intend to operate a "ferry" service that will sail from Cyprus to Gaza every couple of weeks. The plan was announced on Friday by American Hamas collaborator Paul Larudee. Larudee and 32 other Hamas collaborators from North America and Europe disguised themselves as "peace activists" last week as they ran the gauntlet of Israel's naval blockade in a bid to facilitate Hamas's unfettered access to the high seas.
Israel is fully cognizant of what these Hamas collaborators are up to. It knows they are trying to force the country to concede its vital interest in maintaining the blockade to prevent massive quantities of heavy weaponry from being brought into Iran's Hamas-controlled enclave. Israel understands what is at stake. But it has absolutely no idea how to contend with this new challenge. Speaking to The Jerusalem Post over the weekend, defense officials said that they have no policy for contending with additional ships in international waters that set sail for Gaza with the declared aim of ending Israel's blockade of the coastline.
The Olmert-Livni-Barak-Yishai government claims that its handling of last week's blockade runners was successful. By allowing the ships to sail to Gaza and then return to Cyprus, the government argues that it averted a public relations trap that Hamas and its collaborators set for it. Had Israel interdicted the ships, they argue, Hamas and its allies on board would have been able to demonize Israel by accusing it of preventing humanitarian aid from getting through to suffering Hamas supporters and regime officials in Gaza.
While Israel's decision to capitulate rather than defend its interests did in fact avert bad headlines, that success should be a comfort to no one. For Israel's decision to permit the ships to sail to and from Gaza exposed two of the government's most egregious and devastating strategic failings.
IN STANDING down in the face of Hamas's high seas challenge, Israel demonstrated yet again that it prefers to capitulate rather than pay a price to defend its vital interests. And Israel's readiness to surrender came as no surprise to either Hamas or its European and North American agents. They have watched for three years as Israel has taken no action to end Hamas's use of Gaza's border with Egypt to smuggle sufficient quantities of advanced weaponry into the area to transform Gaza from a tactical nuisance into a strategic threat to southern Israel. Through its refusal to launch a military operation to retake control over Gaza's international border, Israel has daily demonstrated its unwillingness to fight to secure its vital interests of ending Iranian encroachment on its borders, and weakening with the intent of overthrowing the Hamas regime in Gaza. Knowing this, Hamas and its international collaborators rightly assumed that Israel would similarly take no action to prevent their access to the high seas.
The blockade runners were also quick to capitalize on was Israel's other major failing: Its consistent refusal to recognize and contend with the role of international collaborators in advancing the Palestinian war effort against it. Hamas's international allies knew that Israel would take no action against the ships because they have watched for years as Israel has capitulated to their colleagues who challenge the IDF in support of Palestinian terrorists in Judea and Samaria. They saw for instance in the weeks leading up to their decision to set sail to Gaza that the Olmert-Livni-Barak-Yishai government has preferred to humiliate and court martial IDF commanders operating against terror collaborators in Ni'ilin rather than formulate a coherent information and law enforcement strategy against them.
Since 2001, international groups posing as peace activists and human rights champions have enjoyed generous funding of European governments as they have violently challenged IDF counter-terror operations in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Operating under the aegis of groups like the International Solidarity Movement, the Israel Committee Against House Demolitions, Anarchists Against the Wall, Rabbis for Human Rights and other EU-funded anti-Israel groups, these terror collaborators have actively engaged in criminal behavior to thwart lawful IDF actions.
They have illegally entered closed military zones. They have illegally interfered with IDF operations. They have worked openly with Palestinian terror masters including Marwan Barghouti and Ismail Haniyeh. In so doing, these groups have been fully integrated into the Palestinian information war against Israel which itself is a vital component of the overall Palestinian war effort against Israel.
Far from acting to expose these criminals as terror collaborators, and then targeting their European governmental financiers, outlawing them, and arresting, imprisoning or deporting their members, Israel has not even tried to challenge their false self-identification as "peace activists." In surrendering the war of words to its adversaries, Israel has facilitated their war efforts against it. In legitimizing Hamas's international allies, Israel has ensured that as they have promised, they will expand their use of blockade running ships to enable Hamas's free access to the high seas.
The terror-enabling ships' successful challenge of the government demonstrated once again that under the Olmert-Livni-Barak-Yishai government, Israel's deterrent capacity has utterly collapsed. In international affairs, deterrence is the only truly effective way to prevent war. Deterrence is predicated on a state's ability and willingness to credibly threaten its adversaries' vital interests if its own are endangered. Under the Olmert-Livni-Barak-Yishai government, Israel's deterrence has collapsed because the government freely dispenses threats that it has no intention of carrying through. Rather than frighten its enemies and so convince them to relent in their attacks against the country, Israel's reckless recourse to empty threats under the current government has emboldened them and so placed the country in ever greater jeopardy.
THIS ABYSMAL and dangerous state of affairs was fully in evidence with the government's decision last week to tell the local media that it had just "reached a strategic decision" not to permit Iran to acquire nuclear weapons. Showing again its contempt for Israel's empty sloganeering, Iran announced it has finished installing 4,000 uranium enriching centrifuges at its Natanz nuclear facility, that it is preparing an additional 3,000 centrifuges for use, and that it has armed Hizbullah with long range missiles.
In light of our enemies' open contempt for the government's continued use of empty threats it is clear that far from preventing war, the government's continued utilization of threats actually increases the likelihood of war. The question that necessarily arises then is why is the government still making threats that its enemies do not believe?
THE ANSWER to that central question was provided on Sunday morning at the government's weekly meeting. That meeting was dominated by statements by Kadima ministers who are running to replace Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in this month's party leadership race. Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz, and Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter all outdid one another in their criticisms of Olmert's last ditch bid to conclude and accord with Palestinian Authority figurehead Mahmoud Abbas that will commit Israel to surrender Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria to the Hamas-dominated PA before he leaves office.
Their criticisms of Olmert were shocking for what they say about the fundamental cynicism of Kadima's would-be leaders. After all, in his feverish attempts to strike his deal with Abbas, Olmert is simply discharging the policies that all of them have repeatedly signed off on. Indeed, Livni has chaired Israel's negotiating team, and Mofaz and Dichter, like Shas leader Eli Yishai have repeatedly supported Olmert's and Livni's efforts in the face of outspoken criticism from Likud.
The cynicism of Kadima's would-be leaders exposes the actual target audience of the government's wholly discredited threats against Israel's enemies. That audience is not Israel's enemies, but the Israeli people. The government knows full well that none of Israel's enemies take its threats seriously. Between Iran, Hizbullah, Hamas, Fatah and their international collaborators, not a day goes by when Israel's bluff isn't called. The government makes those threats not because it actually intends to defend the country, but because it wants us all to believe that it will defend the country despite mountains of evidence to the contrary.
BUT BEYOND that, the criticisms that Olmert's own Kadima colleagues launched Sunday against the policies he is advancing with their full support and participation tells us two fundamental truths about the nature of the Israeli public.
First, it shows us that Kadima's leaders understand that in advancing the cause of capitulation to the Palestinians in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, they are acting against the wishes not only of the general public, but of their own party members. Livni, Mofaz and Dichter are vying for the support of some 70,000 Kadima members who alone have the right to vote in their primaries. By attacking Olmert for carrying out capitulationist policies they themselves have supported, they are signaling that they understand that those policies are opposed not only by their political opponents, but by their political supporters.
The second fundamental fact that their condemnations of Olmert exposes is a troubling one. While Livni, Mofaz and Dichter - like Yishai - understand that Israel's enemies are unmoved by their protestations of readiness to protect the country - they all believe that Kadima members and the Israeli public as a whole are willing to believe their cynical lies. And the polls seem to back them up. Despite the Kadima-Labor-Shas government's systematic destruction of Israel's deterrent capacity, public opinion polls show that one in five Israelis still intend to vote for Kadima in the next elections. Shas's support has not been significantly degraded since the last elections. As for the Labor party, its recent fall in the polls is due to the exposure of a new corruption scandal surrounding Defense Minister Ehud Barak and his wife, not to Barak's facilitation of Hamas's entrenchment in Gaza. Although Likud still leads Kadima in the polls, the Right's projected parliamentary majority is a narrow one.
The Kadima ministers' cynical manipulation of public opinion so prominently on display on Sunday morning together with the utter collapse of Israel's deterrent capacity makes clear the Right's central political challenge today. Likud Chairman Binyamin Netanyahu and his allies must convince the public to call the government's bluff, just as Israel's enemies have. Until the public stops its habit of believing wholly discredited threats and declarations on the part of the government, the incompetent politicians scuttling Israel's national security will continue their failed policies. Moreover, they will stand a chance of winning the public's trust to continue on this disastrous course for years to come.
A New Strategy for the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Moshe Yaalon
Former Chief of Staff, Israel Defense Forces
· Solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, says mainstream public opinion, and the rest will follow. But the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is only one of many afflicting the Middle East , and it is by no means the dominant one.
· The Palestinian leadership continues to evade accountability. Today the watchword is "weakness." The image of political impotence has become a precious asset in the Palestinian strategy. The problem is not Abbas' actual capabilities. The problem is his unwillingness and lack of determination to create and govern a viable and accountable state.
· Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and others have called for more foreign assistance for the Palestinians. This strategy has no chance of success if it is not linked to reforms. Unless the Palestinians are first convinced through education to give up the extremism which informs their national and religious aspirations, they cannot be expected to be full partners in building a vibrant Palestinian economy.
· The central conflict of the Middle East is not territorial but ideological; not about borders but about Islamic Jihadism and Western liberty. No ideology, least of all radical Islam, can be defeated by concessions, which encourage, energize, and inspire Jihadists. Those who wish for peace must face and assimilate this fact, and realize that territorial concessions, or any concessions in any realm in the struggle against militant Islam, have been consistently counterproductive.
· From Oslo to Annapolis , we have engaged in a top-down strategy. We aimed to reach a political horizon or a final settlement agreement with the Palestinian leadership, hoping that political reform among Palestinians would follow. I propose we replace this approach with a bottom-up strategy in which the PA first proves its willingness and ability to govern.
Current efforts to achieve a final settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are based on a number of deeply flawed assumptions. These have in turn produced an erroneous paradigm and a manifestly failed strategy for seeking peace and security which is preventing us from moving forward.
The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Is One of Many in the Middle East
Solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, says mainstream public opinion, and the rest will follow. Since the November 2007 meeting at Annapolis , this has become the U.S. administration's policy.
I have a great personal desire to see the Israeli-Palestinian conflict solved, for the benefit of Israelis and Palestinians, and for the benefit of all the region's peoples. Nevertheless, it is clear to me that it is not the epicenter of the region's many ills. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is only one of many afflicting the Middle East , and it is by no means the dominant one.
The most important fault-lines of the strife in today's Middle East are found rather in non-localized conflicts such as pan-national Islamic Jihadism against the West, the Shia-Sunni divide, and the Persian-Arab contest for power and influence. Within Muslim societies, across the region and beyond, there is a struggle between nationalists and Jihadists. Many, if not most, Muslim nations in the Middle East are torn internally between groups that believe happiness is achievable in this world, and groups who preach martyrdom (istish'had), the killing of infidels, and happiness in "the next world."
There are indeed more than a few struggles in the Middle East in addition to the Israeli-Palestinian one. None of them emerged from it, and none are dependent on it. Admittedly, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been exploited by those seeking to inflame passions in other arenas, often cynically and with a view to influence the prevailing wisdom in the West. It is essential for our own well-being that we maintain our clarity of vision in the face of misinformation and false optimism.
Implacable Palestinian Rejection of Israel
Another myth is that at the core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the "occupation." This term refers to the territories conquered by Israel in the Six-Day War of 1967. Among Palestinians from all sectors and factions (Fatah, Hamas, PIJ, PFLP, DFLP, etc.) there are those that use the term "'occupation" simply as a euphemism for Israel ("from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River"). This view has proponents even among Israeli Arabs. They consider Israelis to be foreign colonialists and the entire land mass of Israel including its cities, towns, villages, and kibbutz farms as "occupied" territory.
The Palestinians have maintained a posture of implacable hostility to Israel's most fundamental and inalienable rights. The PLO, for example, existed and launched terror attacks against Israelis before 1967 when the West Bank and Gaza were not yet occupied by Israel . The PLO's pre-1967 raison d'etre has not magically disappeared in the meantime. Both Fatah and Hamas continue to maintain charters denying Israel's right to exist as an independent Jewish state. We find the rejection of Israel forms an integral part of the Palestinian ethos, and is expressed in no less than the founding documents and actions of the largest and most important Palestinian factions.
Rejectionism, far from being a "mere" matter of official policy or posturing, reaches the rhetoric of the Palestinian national leadership (including Mahmoud Abbas), the educational curriculum, and the Palestinian media. It deeply informs Palestinian strategy and policy. During the preparations for the Annapolis conference, it was demonstrated in the Palestinian refusal to make a basic declaration of their belief in "two states for two peoples." Instead they spoke only of "two states," avoiding explicit recognition of the Jewish people's right to an independent state. This quibbling over words is only the tip of an iceberg.
If the solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were a territorial compromise within Mandatory Palestine, I have no doubt we would have reached this long ago. Instead, from the dawn of Zionism to the present day, the Palestinian leadership has rejected every partition plan proposed, and has reacted violently to all political initiatives seeking a settlement along those lines. This occurred in 1937 in response to the Peel Commission, in 1947 as a reaction to the UN partition plan, and in 2000 when the Palestinians rejected former Prime Minister Barak's proposal at Camp David .
Attempts by Israel at peace through territorial concession have been met, again and again, with violence by Palestinians. The core of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not the "occupation" according to its meaning in Western discourse. Rather it is the "occupation" in the Palestinian sense: The relentless refusal of the Palestinian leadership to recognize Israel's right to exist as an independent Jewish state. Professor Bernard Lewis put it succinctly in the Wall Street Journal on November 28, 2007 , a day before the Annapolis Conference: "'What is the conflict about?' There are basically two possibilities: that it is about the size of Israel , or about its existence..If.the issue is the existence of Israel , then clearly it is insoluble by negotiation. There is no compromise between existing or not existing, and no conceivable government of Israel is going to negotiate on whether that country should or should not exist."
Do the Palestinians Want a State?
It is often said that the Palestinians desire and are capable of establishing a state that will live in peace alongside Israel . Those who believe this is so must explain why the Palestinian leadership, from the implementation of the Oslo Agreement in May 1994 through to the present, have failed to take even the first baby steps toward establishing a state - this in spite of overwhelming and unprecedented international support.
The facts suggest that the Palestinian leadership has been motivated by something other than a desire to create a thriving state. Although the Palestinian national movement stands out in recent history as the cause celebre of the international community, and despite massive political and economic support, the Palestinians have failed to create and nurture stable, efficient, and accountable political institutions. They have also crushed what little civil society they had. I do not think this failure was inevitable; I believe it is directly due to Yasser Arafat's conscious decision to create a society based on "gang logic."
Arafat and his cronies brazenly violated every agreement they signed with Israel . By eschewing the principle of "one authority, one law and one gun," Arafat was able, with craftiness, to evade responsibility for what was occurring. He used Hamas, PIJ, and other terror organizations as proxies, though he had the power and legitimacy needed to confront and disarm them. While his proxies were fighting Israel, Arafat could remain aloof and appear innocent. Moreover, to bolster his influence over the chaos he had created, Arafat established his own direct terror proxy, Fatah Tanzim, or the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade as it became known after September 2000. Arafat's war by proxy required a certain level of permanent instability in Palestinian institutions, and it was this that led to the "gang logic" which we now see mostly strikingly in inter-Palestinian violence.
Arafat has since been replaced by Mahmoud Abbas, yet the Palestinian leadership continues to evade accountability, according to a modified version of Arafat's strategy. Today, the watchword is "weakness." The image of political impotence has become a precious asset in the Palestinian strategy. Western politicians, as well as many Israelis, believe that Mahmoud Abbas is the only alternative to a far more extreme Hamas. They believe, therefore, that he should be strengthened economically, and equipped with additional weapons and ammunition. This approach has not and will not pay dividends because the problem is not Abbas' actual capabilities. The problem is his unwillingness and lack of determination to create and govern a viable and accountable state.
Mahmoud Abbas is not weak. He possessed more than sufficient power to institute reforms when he was elected on January 9, 2005 . He has chosen to avoid the attempt to govern his people effectively, or to create a political culture based on "state logic." He chose "weakness" instead as his method of preserving and partially controlling the many heads of the Palestinian Authority that he inherited from Arafat. There is little difference between Arafat's "gang logic" and Abbas' "weakness" - both are designed to avoid the daunting task of Palestinian nation-building, while permitting the continuation of a bloody struggle against Israel.
The Key to the Conflict Is Not Economic
A third prevailing misconception in the Western understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict relates to the economy. This misconception holds that the key to the conflict is economic. Those who hold this view believe, just as the architects of "Oslo" believed, that a prosperous Palestinian economy would neutralize extreme nationalism and religious fanaticism, leading to peace and an improved security situation for Israel . While the improvement of the Palestinian economy should be part of any strategy for attaining peace, I do not think that the Palestinians can be forced to enjoy an improved economy and the fruits of prosperity while their own priorities remain entirely elsewhere.
Although the PA has received no less than $7 billion from donors in recent years, neither Arafat nor Abbas has managed to improve the basic living conditions of the Palestinian people in any significant way. On the contrary, the Palestinian economic situation began to deteriorate precipitously from the moment Arafat rose to power in 1994, and continues to do so under the regime of cronyism he instituted. Examples of wasted economic opportunity abound on all levels, and Palestinian terror groups have directly devastated economic resources. They engineered the closure of the Erez industrial zone which employed 4,500 Palestinians and provided for their families. After the disengagement from Gaza in 2005. the Palestinians wantonly destroyed the greenhouses left behind by the evacuees which were purchased by former WorId Bank President James Wolfenson and others for their benefit.
There is no doubt that the Palestinian economy is in dire need of assistance. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and other prominent figures have called for more foreign aid to be directed for this purpose to the Palestinians. However, unless further foreign aid is directly connected to reforms within Palestinian civil society, there is no chance of success. Unless the Palestinians are first convinced through education to give up the extremism which informs their national and religious aspirations, they cannot be expected to cooperate in the creation of their own prosperity. They can do neither of these things before first imposing law, order, and security in the territories under their control. No law can be imposed while the Palestinian leadership continues to reject all responsibility, whether under the guise of "weakness" or otherwise. Responsibility will never be assumed as long as the Palestinian people continue to nurse the dream of the disappearance of Israel as the Jewish homeland.
In light of historical experience, there are some fundamental questions we have to ask ourselves. Can we trust that a future Palestinian entity in the West Bank will not become Hamastan, as occurred in Gaza ? Could such an entity, even according to the 1967 borders, be economically viable? Would the Palestinians be satisfied with those borders as a final settlement? Would it bring stability, peace, and tranquility to the region? Are these borders defensible for the State of Israel?
A Palestinian Entity in the 1967 Borders Threatens Both Israel and Jordan
I believe, in light of the Palestinian leadership's behavior since its inception, and especially since Oslo , that the answer is an unequivocal "no." As things stand today, a Palestinian entity according to the 1967 borders would present an existential threat to Israel , to the stability of the region, to Western interests, and to Jordan .
The paradigm of the "two-state solution" within the boundaries of former Mandatory Palestine under the present status quo is both irrelevant and dangerous. It is irrelevant because today there is no Palestinian partner willing to accept it as a final settlement. It is dangerous because it fosters illusions which undermine our resolve and embolden our enemies. Ultimately, the "two-state solution" paradigm, at this juncture, threatens the security and stability of the region.
The paradigm of the "two-state solution" is based on Israeli territorial concessions. It rests on the same idea which stands behind the "land for peace" principle which has dominated Israeli politics since 1967, and which bore fruit when peace was made with Egypt in 1979. The principle then enjoyed the support of the vast majority of Israelis. A slim majority of Israelis likewise supported unilateral withdrawals from Lebanon and Gaza in 2000 and 2005, respectively. These Israelis, like many in the West, believed that peace and tranquility could be reached by addressing Hizbullah's and Hamas' talk of "occupation" as a simple territorial grievance. We now know the results. Both from Hizbullah and the Palestinians, the reaction came in the form of concerted terror wars, rockets fired at Israeli cities, and kidnapped soldiers. There is no clearer proof needed that the central conflict of the Middle East is not territorial but ideological; not about borders but about Islamic Jihadism and Western liberty.
No ideology, least of all radical Islam, can be defeated by concessions. Concessions encourage, energize, and inspire Jihadists. Those who wish for peace must face and assimilate this fact, and realize that territorial concessions in the struggle against militant Islam have only been counterproductive. As Bernard Lewis has said, this conflict is not about the size of Israel , but about its very existence.
What is worse, the mistaken paradigm and conceptions regarding Jihadism and the Middle East prevent the emergence of a new strategy. While the pundits and the public continue to debate "the solution," the problem has slipped from their view. The problem is Islamic Jihadism and Palestinian rejectionism towards Israel's most basic rights. Whoever realizes this, realizes also that what is needed is not a solution based on failed paradigms and wishful thinking. What is needed is a long-term strategy based on realistic assumptions culled from experience.
Begin with Changes in Palestinian Political Culture
Let me briefly outline a new strategy for dealing with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. From Oslo to Annapolis , we have consistently engaged in a "top-down strategy." We aimed to reach a political horizon or a final settlement agreement with the Palestinian leadership, hoping that political reform among Palestinians would follow. This approach was based on the mistaken paradigms outlined above, and failed. I propose we replace this approach with a "bottom-up strategy" in which the PA first proves its ability to govern. Real gains in stability and security on the road to peace can then be consolidated through political agreements. Experience teaches that political agreements which precede real changes in Palestinian political culture are useless, or worse.
The process of change in Palestinian society can and should be supported by Israel and the West, but most of the burden will necessarily fall on the Palestinian leadership to assume the responsibilities of good government. The process of change must begin in the territory which falls under their responsibility in the West Bank (areas A and B) and must encompass educational, law and order, security, economic and political reforms. All reforms should be carried out in parallel, with clear benchmarks in each area.
The reform process suggested would not be dependent on any issue related to a final settlement. The enforcement of law and order in Palestinian cities, for example, is not dependent on a final settlement, or on any other outstanding matter of negotiation. The same is true for the entire package of proposed reforms - none depend on new agreements.
During the imposition of law and order in the West Bank, the IDF must continue to operate in the area in order to foil attacks against Israelis, and in order to prevent the rise of Hamas in the West Bank similar to its rise in Gaza . Gaza will be considered a hostile entity as long as Hamas ideology holds sway there, and as long as it continues to serve as a base of operations for launching terror attacks against Israelis. Ultimately, only a decision by the Palestinian leadership can impose law and order on the Palestinian street, and that decision is theirs alone.
The key to all other reforms is educational reform. During the implementation of the Oslo Accords we were forced to confront a Palestinian educational system designed to inculcate hatred of Israel . It sought in a variety of ways to undermine Israel's right to exist as an independent Jewish state. It took pains to deny every connection between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel , called openly for our annihilation, and promoted terrorism and Jihadism. While the Palestinian leadership was negotiating with Israel , it was educating its young for a war of annihilation. This must change before there is any chance for the Palestinians to reach a final settlement with Israel .
An entire generation of Palestinians has already been educated according to this curriculum. Change will not come quickly. It is clear, however, that demanding Palestinian educational reform is the only path to solving the conflict which will not require Israel to relinquish the idea of a Jewish homeland, and in which Islamic Jihadism will not be unwittingly strengthened.
At the same time, there is no need to wait for the end of this process before dealing with the refugee issue, as is sometimes argued. The refugee issue should, in fact, be dealt with as soon as possible and in parallel to educational reforms in the PA. A humanitarian solution to this issue will serve to neutralize it as a weapon against Israel . As educational reform in the PA encourages new thinking and new paradigms, a regional settlement which would satisfy both parties is likely to emerge.
Today, Mahmoud Abbas is engaged with all his energy on the political horizon issues instead of using all his energy to meet certain benchmarks regarding reforms. Dealing with issues such as a political horizon or financial support is another way for him to escape the actual need to deal with reforms. So instead of dealing with law and order in Jenin, he speaks about Jerusalem and borders. First of all, let's see if the Palestinians are able to manage the autonomy that they have now to run their civil affairs and to govern themselves. That should be the main mission of former Prime Minister Blair.
Iran Is the Main Destabilizing Force in the Middle East
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not the core of the Middle East's instability. It is, in fact, the Iranian regime which is the main destabilizing force in the Middle East today. Since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, Iran has been exporting the ideology behind the rise of Islamic Jihadism, and it remains the base and center of gravity for worldwide Jihadism. We cannot afford to avoid confronting the Iranian regime. Until it is defeated, there will be no stability in Iraq , Lebanon , the Palestinian Authority, or any other nation in the Middle East .
Iranian leaders today are allowed to feel secure despite their commitment to global Jihadism. They have made a massive commitment of human, financial and military resources in order to undermine moderate regimes from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea. So far, they feel like they are winning as Hizbullah gains power in Lebanon and Hamas is strengthening its grip in Gaza. The June 2008 ceasefire agreement brokered by Egypt between Israel and Hamas is another achievement for the Jihadists. Iran is also advancing its nuclear project as it violates agreements and understandings with international institutions. The Iranian regime, with its rogue activities, has escaped paying any significant price.
Yet the government of the Ayatollahs is not a natural one in Iran , nor does it enjoy wide popular support. It will not last forever.
At the Hudson Institute in 2006 I spoke of the military capabilities needed to meet the Iranian challenge. Almost all Western air forces are capable of implementing a mission against Iranian nuclear installations.
I believe that the Iranian nuclear project can be stopped. I believe that in the end we will witness an internal change in Iran because of the domestic economic situation. Although they benefit from high oil prices, they're not in good economic shape.
Economic sanctions are the best tool to encourage those, who are considered to be 70 percent of the Iranian population, who reject the ayatollahs' way. I believe the nuclear program can be stopped by putting the regime in the dilemma of deciding whether it goes ahead or not. They do not feel the dilemma so far. They feel like they are winning, and that they can do whatever they want because of Western weakness and lack of determination. Indeed, those who try to avoid economic sanctions because of their particular economic interests actually enhance the possibility of a military confrontation with Iran.
If the Iranians are confronted with determination and are placed in a dilemma that threatens their survivability, they may prefer survival to the nuclear project. That was the reason they decided to temporarily halt the project in 2003.
Impact of the Western Offensive
In 2002, 2003, and 2004, Western civilization led by the United States enjoyed the upper hand. Muamar Khadafi, the ayatollahs, Syria , and Hizbullah all restrained themselves. The number of Hizbullah provocations in Lebanon declined from 2003 to May 2005.
It was not just the American offensive, it was the Israeli offensive as well. When Israel moved from defense to offense in Operation Defensive Shield in March 2002, there was an impact of a Western offensive, with America's offensive war against the global Jihad and Israel's offensive against Palestinian terrorism. However, in 2005 they realized that the United States had lost the stomach to go on with the offensive and that American troops were bogged down in Iraq and there was not going to be any further phase.
In the case of Israel , the disengagement was seen as weakness. Israel moved from offense to withdrawal. And the whole impact of the Western offensive ended. That is what caused what we witnessed on Israel's northern border in 2006. The same Hizbullah that restrained itself from 2002 to 2005 changed its mind. By moving again from defense and withdrawal to offense, which is up to us, we can again change the whole approach of the Jihadists, if Western civilization will show determination and not weakness.
Dealing with Gaza
I personally was against the truce with Hamas in Gaza . I believe we should use another approach there. We should have intensified our military operations immediately after implementation of the disengagement plan, in the face of daily rocket launchings - which wasn't the case before the disengagement.
In 2008 Israel launched just one brigade-size operation in Gaza , named Hot Winter, in which 130 Palestinians were killed. And Hamas stopped firing Kassam rockets immediately afterwards, without negotiating anything. That should have been done with all the Palestinian factions: intensifying military operations and putting them in the dilemma of deciding whether it is worthwhile to fire rockets at Israel or not.
I'm not calling for reoccupying Gaza . It's not my business who governs Gaza . I believe in managing the crisis, not solving it. We're not going to solve it. In this regard, I prefer intensive, medium-scale operations, and targeted killing of the leaders rather than reoccupying Gaza. I believe that in the end they will cry for a ceasefire without conditions, as happened in 2003-2004.
The Challenge for the West
The Iranians, the Syrians, and their proxies must be punished by the international community for funding terror and challenging the international order. They have been allowed to nurture international terrorism, develop WMD, and instigate the Second Lebanon War. This would not have been possible without the lack of clarity and determination in confronting them shown beforehand by the international community.
In light of the ongoing conflict between Sunnis and Shiites throughout our region, Israel and the West can and must find common interests with moderate Muslims. In order to create new political opportunities, a coordinated international policy should be instituted to ally ourselves with other nations aware of the Iranian threat.
The confrontation between Muslim moderates and extremists around the world crosses borders and threatens societies from within. There is no society in which everyone is a Jihadist. There are always those who prefer democracy and human rights over tyranny, freedom over oppression, and life over death. More and more people in the region are realizing that the culture of Jihad is a culture of death and self-destruction. The West must directly approach and strengthen those elements in order for them to gain the political strength necessary to undertake reforms in education, politics, and the economy.
It is true that this process is likely to be a long one. The challenge for Western leaders is to convince their constituencies that there are no instant solutions, and to educate their publics to patience. Western leaders cannot promise quick solutions and should not be tempted to do so. What they can do is develop a viable strategy.
The struggle against Islamic Jihadism is, in many ways, a contest of wills. As our values and way of life are challenged by Islamic Jihadists, and our legitimacy as a Jewish state is challenged by Arab nationalists, we in Israel must consolidate our belief in our path and its righteousness.
The "solution," when it comes, will be only half our doing. For us, the quest for stability in the Middle East requires moral clarity, vision, and a long-term strategy based on realistic assessments. Ultimately, the long way is the shortest way and I believe the right one which will lead towards a better future for all the peoples of the Middle East and the free world.
* * *
Lt.-Gen. (ret.) Moshe Ya'alon is a former Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces and is a Distinguished Fellow at the Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies at the Shalem Center . This Jerusalem Issue Brief is based on his presentation at the Institute for Contemporary Affairs on June 24, 2008 .
John McCain - Master Strategist
Sep. 4, 2008
Caroline Glick , THE JERUSALEM POST
Both the challenges of war and the challenges of politics are challenges of leadership. And both military strategists and political strategists agree that the most basic leadership challenge in both arenas is to know and understand yourself - your strengths and your weaknesses - and to know your opponents and their strengths and weaknesses. While this may seem like basic common sense, it is quite amazing to see how often it is ignored.
The rarity of this sort of strategic wisdom in the public sphere was brought to the fore this week in the political uproar generated by US Republican presidential nominee Sena. John McCain's selection of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate. McCain's selection of Palin was remarkable because in selecting her from the list of possible choices, he made a decision that embraced rather than ignored this most basic challenge of leadership.
Given that the universality of the logic that informed McCain's selection of Palin is followed more in the breach than in practice, it is worth analyzing his choice, both for what it tells us about his leadership skills, and about the nature of his domestic opposition. But it is also useful to reflect on his choice of Palin to draw lessons that can be applied more widely by non-leftist political and military strategists throughout the free world.
In the months preceding McCain's announcement of Palin as his running mate, his central challenges as the Republican presidential nominee came into focus. In Sen. Barack Obama, McCain faces a young, vigorous and charismatic opponent who has successfully energized his supporters and the powerful US liberal media establishment. Owing to that excitement, Obama has raised unprecedented amounts of campaign contributions. He has also rallied tens of thousands of loyal foot soldiers who have volunteered to serve his campaign. Both the donors and the volunteers are essential for winning voters and bringing them to the ballot boxes on November 4.
Obama's velvet tongue is also a formidable asset. His ability to mesmerize audiences with soaring rhetoric is compared favorably to president John F. Kennedy's eloquence. Obama's other massive advantage is the liberal media. Since he first launched his primary campaign, the liberal media - which include the major US newspapers, television news networks and two out of three cable news networks - have been actively advocating on his behalf while downplaying his opponents.
But all of these formidable strengths are matched by countervailing vulnerabilities. While Obama's supporters are energized, the drawn-out primary election battle with Sen. Hillary Clinton splintered the Democratic Party base. Whereas most of Clinton's voters will no doubt vote for Obama in the general election, their support is more tenuous in swing states where Obama's cultural cache is less appealing.
And while Obama is a stunning speaker, his record of actual accomplishments is all but nonexistent. The combination of his extraordinary speeches and his ordinary empty resumé engenders a sense that Obama suffers from extreme arrogance.
Then, too, while the media has done its best to project a positive and credible image of Obama, his past political associations with radicals such as Rev. Jeremiah Wright and William Ayres and corrupt influence peddler Tony Rezko call both his patriotism and his honesty into question.
McCain's balance of assets and deficits is almost the polar opposite of Obama's. He has a wealth of leadership experience and demonstrable political accomplishments. His patriotism is massively recognized and respected.
On the other hand, McCain has been unable to generate excitement in his party. His reputation as a maverick has often been earned at the expense of his political base, which is overwhelmingly socially conservative and suspects him of being a closet liberal. This has made fund-raising a challenge, and raised concerns that many conservatives will simply not vote on Election Day.
Moreover, McCain has never distinguished himself as a great communicator. His war wounds, which prevent him from raising his arms above his shoulders, make him appear even older than his 72 years. When compared to the vigorous, handsome 46-year-old Obama, McCain tends to look and sound like an old man.
This age and rhetorical distinction is only magnified by the disparity of media coverage of the two candidates' campaigns. The media have a pronounced and documented tendency to play up McCain's weaknesses and Obama's strengths while downplaying McCain's strengths and Obama's weaknesses.
IN LIGHT of these realities, McCain's strategic challenge has been on the one hand, to transform Obama's strengths into weaknesses while bringing Obama's actual weaknesses to the public's attention in a persuasive way. On the other hand, McCain needs to unify his own party around his candidacy without alienating independents and Democrats whose votes can be won.
In recent weeks, largely through the well-conceived, satirical use of television ads, McCain sought to meet these basic challenges. By comparing Obama's speech in Berlin to Moses's parting of the Red Sea, he playfully yet effectively drew attention to Obama's arrogance and called the credibility of his rhetorical skill into question. Other ads effectively brought Obama's slim record of actual achievements into view. Still other ads sought to attract disaffected Clinton voters by using her own primary campaign denunciations of Obama's record and radical associations.
Most importantly, in the lead-up to Palin's selection as his running mate, McCain has successfully provoked a public debate about the fairness of the media's support of Obama.
McCain's selection of Palin as his running mate, then, came after he had set the conditions for a strategic assault on Obama by successfully weakening him and discrediting his support base. The surprise entry of a young, accomplished woman with a compelling personal story who was all but unknown to the national audience, placed the Obama campaign and particularly his media supporters in a state of shock. And in their shocked reaction to her selection, the liberal media destroyed their own credibility - not to mention likability - among the general public.
The media claimed that McCain's choice of Palin was ill-conceived for three reasons. First, they argued that the popular Alaska governor has no experience in foreign policy and with only two years in state-wide office, little demonstrable experience in governing. Yet their assertions merely highlighted Obama's own inexperience while amplifying McCain's wealth of experience.
Second, the media insinuated that Palin is unfit for office because she has an infant child with Down's Syndrome. Either she will be a bad mother, or she will be a bad vice president, they claimed. Yet in so arguing, the liberal media merely demonstrated their own hypocrisy. While claiming the mantle of feminism, the media commentators belittled Palin's right to choose - together with her macho, blue collar husband - to serve her country as a mother of a child with special needs. Their harping on her personal family choices angered the vital demographic of middle class working mothers who felt personally insulted by their attacks on Palin.
Finally, of course, there was the media circus generated by Palin's belated announcement that her teenage daughter Bristol is pregnant and engaged to marry her teenage boyfriend. The news of her daughter's pregnancy evoked the ugliest media assault on a teenager in recent memory. Here, too, the media's pillorying of Palin as a lousy mother and her daughter as morally challenged discredited the media while increasing Palin's sympathy with voters shocked by this scurrilous assault on her daughter and her family values.
At the same time as McCain's selection of Palin as his running mate pushed the media over the edge, it profoundly rallied his own Republican base to his side. Palin's opposition to abortion, her membership in the National Rifle Association, her remoteness from Washington, her Pentecostal faith, together with the media attacks on her family gave social conservatives reason to be enthusiastic about the prospect of a McCain presidency.
IT BEARS noting that that the sight of Palin's pregnant daughter appearing happily with her clean-cut fiancé at the Republican Convention on Wednesday served to reinforce the fact that women who are "pro-choice" actually have the choice not to abort unplanned pregnancies. Their presence in the hall demonstrated that embracing the responsibility of parenthood even at an early age can be a source of happiness and personal fulfillment for both fathers and mothers. That image alone no doubt ensured that on Election Day, tens of thousands of volunteers will work to bring voters to the polls for McCain.
Indeed, the value of the image is so enormous that the possibility arises that using his understanding of the media as an adversary and his understanding of his own political base, McCain viewed Bristol Palin's pregnancy as an electoral asset.
In the midst of the maelstrom swirling around her in the days that preceded her address to the Republican Convention, it was noted repeatedly that Palin's performance Wednesday evening would make or break McCain's candidacy. If she failed to present herself in a compelling fashion, she would destroy McCain's chances of election because her failure would serve as an indictment of his judgment. But if she succeeded, she would advance significantly the Republican ticket's chances of winning on November 4.
Many argued that McCain took an unnecessary gamble by placing such an enormous burden on her shoulders. Yet the fact is that McCain no doubt knew precisely what her capabilities are as a speaker. Unlike the media, he claims that he has been watching her political rise for years. He knew that she was capable of rising to the challenge. Far from a gamble, his move was a stroke of brilliance that showed an acute understanding of who Palin is, how he himself is perceived, and what motivates both the media and his own party base.
McCain's undoing of the elite, leftist media provides a universal lesson for contending with the Left. At base, the Left's ideology, whether relating to women's rights, human rights, academic inquiry or war and peace is not universal but tribal. Moreover, when the Left is challenged on any one of its signature issues, because it cannot actually make a case for the universal applicability or even logic of its views, it tends instead to embrace the politics of personal destruction while ignoring the obvious contradictions between its stated beliefs and actual behavior.
Although a necessary component of political warfare against the Left is the ability to expose its hypocrisy, exposing its hypocrisy alone will not bring victory. Leaders and policies capable of supplanting the Leftist elite and their failed ideas are also required. In the case at hand, had Palin been perceived as under-qualified to serve as vice president on Wednesday night, McCain's chances of winning the presidency would have been vastly diminished despite his successful unmasking of the Left's hypocrisy.
McCain's strategic grasp of the requirements for a successful presidential race provide an important lesson for policy-makers and political leaders. To win in politics and war you must be willing to acknowledge both your strengths and your weaknesses, and those of your opponent. It is never easy to look reality in the face. But unless leaders are willing to do so, they will never win. What's more, they will lose.
Our World: Olmert's malingering legacy
Sep. 9, 2008
Caroline Glick , THE JERUSALEM POST
What a difference a year makes. It was just one year ago this week that the IAF destroyed the North Korean built, Iranian financed nuclear reactor in Syria. The raid exposed Syria as a full partner in the Iranian-led jihadist axis. Its prolonged diplomatic isolation was a foregone conclusion. But just one year later, Syria is being feted by France. It's signing billion-dollar oil and gas deals with France's oil giant Total. A triumphant President Bashar Assad is openly demanding that the US follow France's lead and start licking his boots. Syria has Israel to thank for its stunning reversal of fortunes. It opened the door that Assad gleefully walked through this week as he playacted the role of responsible international leader while remaining loyal to Iran, Hizbullah, Hamas and the terror militias in Iraq. Israel opened the door by participating in Turkish-mediated talks with Syria regarding a surrender of the Golan Heights. Although both sides referred to the talks as "peace negotiations," it was obvious that no peace would come from them. Since the early 1990s, Syria has recognized that intermittent, fruitless discussions with Israel about the Golan Heights are the best means of maintaining or reestablishing its acceptability in the West. After Assad ordered the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri in February 2005, he immediately turned to Israel to pull his fat from the fire by offering to renew negotiations regarding a surrender of the Golan Heights. Israel held out for two and a half years and during those years, Assad wasted away in international isolation. With even the UN breathing down his neck, Assad and his regime were hanging on for dear life. But then suddenly, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert came to the rescue. Thanks to Olmert, Syria is back in the driver's seat and as one could have expected, Assad's first order of business was to throw Israel under the bus. No longer in need of its assistance, as he stood next to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Assad announced that the "peace talks" are suspended. And both Assad and Sarkozy blamed their suspension on Israel, whose "political instability" makes it impossible to proceed. There is no doubt that the country will pay a price for Olmert's decision. But it is also fairly clear that the next government - whether led by Kadima or the Likud - will be unlikely to repeat his mistake. Olmert's political opponents warned him that his move would endanger Israel by legitimizing Syria and rewarding it for its strategic alliance with Iran. And his opponents' view that Olmert was wrong to reach out to Assad is shared by a majority of the public and a fair amount of the media. Indeed, since Israel began negotiating the surrender of the Golan Heights in 1992, the consistent view of the majority has been that the country is better off with the Golan than without it, even if that means no peace treaty with Syria. WHEREAS OLMERT's Syrian gambit is unlikely to cause any irreparable damage and is unlikely to be repeated by his successors, the same cannot be said of his gambit with the Palestinians. There Olmert acts against little organized or coherent opposition. And his actions are openly supported by his colleagues in Kadima, who have to varying degrees all committed themselves to continue his policies. Kadima was elected on a platform of unilateral withdrawal from Judea and Samaria. While it never disclaimed its intention to expel up to 100,000 Israelis from their homes in the areas and withdraw, after the Hamas takeover of Gaza and after the war with Hizbullah in 2006, the government claimed that it would only expel them after it signed a deal setting out the contours of a Palestinian state with Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas. And in the interest of achieving just such a deal, the government has been carrying out negotiations for the past year. As has been the case with the talks with Syria, the government has precluded public debate about the wisdom of a potential deal by hiding the details of its discussions and its intentions from the public. Backed by the Bush administration, which has championed the negotiations, the Olmert-LivniBarak government has kept their content secret. At the same time, it has quieted its opponents by loudly proclaiming that the chances that a deal will be concluded before President George W. Bush, Abbas and Olmert leave office are slim. Moreover, in light of Hamas's control of Gaza and its threat to Fatah in Judea and Samaria, both the government and the Bush administration have argued that the agreement being negotiated will not be implemented even if it is concluded. It will only be implemented after Palestinian society accepts Israel's right to exist and agrees to live at peace with the Jewish state. The agreement, they claim, will provide impetus to the Palestinians to accept Israel because it will commit all future governments to treat Judea, Samaria and parts of Jerusalem as Palestinian territory and so offset any lingering doubts about Israel's commitment to peace. THE CONCERN has lately arisen that although the Palestinians will certainly not implement their side of the agreement, Israel will implement its pledged withdrawal from Judea and Samaria. This is the case for two reasons. First, unlike the situation with Syria, Olmert's support of the deal with Fatah is shared by Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, who is expected to succeed him, by Kadima and Labor and by the media. It is quite possible that they will argue that the existence of the agreement suffices to move ahead with their original intent to destroy Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria and expel their residents. The concern that the Olmert-Livni-Barak government or its successor is planning to withdraw has increased in recent weeks, as military and police authorities have begun abrogating the legal rights of residents of Judea and Samaria in a way they haven't done since the expulsions from Gaza. Two weeks ago, OC Central Command Maj.-Gen. Gad Shamni issued orders evicting three residents of Samaria from the area for four months. No criminal charges were filed against the three; they are suspected of no crimes; they have been arrested for no crimes. Yet the IDF has decided to expel them from their homes and separate them from their families by arguing that they are "provocateurs." Last Tuesday, the men's supporters and families decided to stage a protest outside Shamni's house in Re'ut. The police had other ideas. A bus holding 50 protesters was stopped en route to the protest. Its passengers were arrested and brought to the police stations in Ramle and Modi'in and told they were being held due to suspicion that they were intending to attend an illegal demonstration. There is of course, no crime on the books regarding a person's "intention" to participate in a demonstration. And yet the would-be demonstrators were held until the middle of the night. The last time such draconian actions were taken against lawabiding citizens was in 2005 in the lead-up to the expulsions from Gaza. The fear that the government is planning to begin expelling Israelis intensified on Sunday when, in a surprise move, the government convened a discussion of a bill setting out the levels of restitution those who are forced to leave their homes in Judea and Samaria will receive. Why would the government debate such a bill if it doesn't believe it is about to sign a deal with Abbas? And why would it debate such a bill if it truly intended to shelve its agreement until after the Palestinians eschewed their hopes for Israel's destruction? THE SECOND reason justifying concern that the government is planning to withdraw from Judea and Samaria is due to the contrast between how the public views a withdrawal from the Golan and how it views a withdrawal from Judea and Samaria. Whereas the consistent majority view is that the country is more secure with the Golan Heights than without it, since 1993 there has been sustained majority support for the view that it will be better off without large swathes of Judea and Samaria. This view has been cultivated by leftist activists and their supporters in the media who claim that the chief strategic challenge is not the Iranian axis, but the presence of what they consider an unabsorbable Palestinian population in Judea and Samaria. The belief that the Palestinians are the greatest strategic danger to the country is belied by reality. Putting aside the open question of whether they are truly incapable of integrating into Israel society or whether they challenge the country's identity as a Jewish state, the fact is that Judea and Samaria today constitute the least dangerous front Israel faces. And this is so because the IDF controls the area. Iran, Gaza, Lebanon and Syria are Israel's primary concerns today. And Gaza and Lebanon are dangers precisely because Israel followed the left's demographic and political arguments and surrendered them to Iranian proxies. The fact that a majority has been convinced that the Palestinian population in Judea and Samaria is a critical threat just because it exists means that the threat of a withdrawal will remain acute until the Kadima-Labor-Shas triumvirate is driven from power in a general election and replaced by a Likud-led government and even then it will not abate. The threat will only abate if a Likud-led government is able to lead a public discussion about an alternative strategic assessment of Judea and Samaria. Such an assessment would necessarily begin with the following assertions: Israel should not be rewarding the Palestinians for their aggression and has a duty to secure areas necessary for its national security. Such assertions engender the conclusion that far from ceding its rights to Judea and Samaria, Israel should apply its law to the parts of them that are critical to its defense, including Gush Etzion, Gush Adumim, Gush Ariel and the Jordan Valley.
To a degree that exceeds the dangers of Olmert's ill-advised talks with Assad, his talks with the Palestinians imperil the country by setting the conditions for disastrous withdrawals. Unfortunately, this danger will remain in place for as long as Israelis believe that our only viable option in Judea and Samaria is retreat.
When dictatorships end with a whisper
Sep. 11, 2008
Caroline Glick , THE JERUSALEM POST
With its nuclear weapons program, its control of Lebanon, Gaza and Syria, its massive influence in Iraq and Afghanistan and its messianic, global ambitions, Iran is rightly viewed as the greatest threat to global security today.
One of the most disturbing aspects of the Iranian challenge is that on the issues of greatest concern to the West, there is no way to divide and conquer the regime. Anti-Semitism, anti-Americanism and the quest for Islamic dominance worldwide are sentiments shared by all levels of the regime. The desire for nuclear weapons that can be used together with terror armies to destroy Israel and the West is shared by all members of Teheran's decision-making bodies.
Those who preach appeasement towards Iran claim that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is not reflective of the regime. They argue that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei is far more moderate than Ahmadinejad, and it is Khamenei, not Ahmadinejad who calls the shots.
While it is true that Khamenei calls the shots, it is not true that he is moderate. Khamenei is just as radical as Ahmadinejad. It was Khamenei's decision to elect Ahmadinejad president. And Khamenei has approved every move Ahmadinejad has made in office. Moreover, last week Khamenei announced that he wants Ahmadinejad to serve a second term.
Then, too, Khamenei's rhetoric is just as vitriolic as Ahmadinejad's. On Tuesday, he exhorted Iranian judges and members of parliament to patiently await Islam's defeat of the West and not accept calls to embrace "rationality and moderation" or agree to peacefully coexist with "the global arrogance," which is how he refers to the US and Europe.
The Iranian regime came to power in a violent revolution 29 years ago. Led by the charismatic Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the hate-spewing, Koran-thumping ayatollahs overthrew the pro-Western autocracy of the shah. The Islamic revolution was a popular revolution. The shah's repressive policies and the resonance of Khomeini's Islamic dogmas gave the ayatollahs broad support among the Iranian people.
In the years and months that preceded the fall of the shah, the West failed to understand either the sources or the dangers of the revolution. The US, Europe and Israel had such close relations with the shah that they hadn't realized that while broad, Iran's alliance with the West was skin deep. Indeed, the fact that the Iranian people identified the West with the shah made it easy for Khomeini and his followers to convince them that the West was no less their enemy than the shah was.
THE IRANIAN revolution is frequently recalled as a cautionary tale for the West as Americans, Israelis and Europeans continue to view unpopular, yet ostensibly pro-Western Arab autocracies as stable. Such warnings have been uttered with increasing frequency in recent years in regards to Egypt, whose pro-Western dictator Hosni Mubarak now enters the twilight of his reign.
Mubarak has been ruling Egypt with an iron fist since 1981. He is 80 years old and the state of his health is uncertain.
The Egypt Mubarak presides over is an economic basket case. Egypt's population of 80 million - the highest in the Arab world - has doubled since he took power after Anwar Sadat's assassination. Forty percent of Egyptians are under 15 years old.
Mubarak has done little to advance his country's economic prospects. A fifth of Egyptians subsist on less than a dollar a day. The average per capita income, which has been declining since 2000, was $1,485 in 2006. With few job prospects, Egypt's youth increasingly turn to the mosques for consolation. There they embrace the jihadist doctrines of the Muslim Brotherhood. Like its spinoffs - al-Qaida and Hamas - the Muslim Brotherhood upholds jihad in the quest for Islamic world domination as its highest goal. And due in large part to Mubarak's failure to develop his country, the Muslim Brotherhood is the strongest social force in Egypt.
Owing to Mubarak's careful cultivation of Egypt's military and intelligence services and his control of the media, the US and Israel uphold him as a strong leader of a strong state.
Yet Egypt's inherent weakness and Mubarak's own incompetence is exposed every time something goes wrong in the country. Whether al-Qaida strikes in Sinai or ferries sink to the bottom of the Red Sea, Egyptian authorities are incapable of handling disasters.
On Saturday, at least 50 families were buried in rubble as part of a rocky cliff crashed onto a shantytown in Cairo. According to The New York Times, in the months leading up to the rock slide, residents had complained to authorities repeatedly that the cliff was disintegrating. But the authorities ignored them.
On Saturday it took rescue workers several hours to respond to calls for help. And when they arrived, they occupied themselves not with saving those trapped beneath the rocks, but with preventing the crowds from demonstrating against the regime. By Thursday, 64 bodies had been pulled from the rubble and the excavation was far from complete.
For the past several years, Mubarak has been grooming his son Gamal to replace him. But it is far from clear, even if he replaces Mubarak, that Gamal will be able to maintain a grip on power similar to that of his father. Unlike Mubarak, who commanded the Egyptian Air Force before he became Sadat's vice president, Gamal has never served in the military. He does not enjoy the strong backing of the military command, which prefers to see Mubarak's heir emerge from its ranks.
The prospect that a post-Mubarak Egypt will be seized by jihadist fervor capable of fomenting a jihadist takeover of the country is real. And both Israeli and US policy-makers should be planning contingencies for such a turn of events. But recent developments in Pakistan show that while it is possible that the Muslim Brotherhood could take over Egypt after Mubarak dies, it is also possible that a less conclusive reality will ensue.
MUBARAK'S RULE of Egypt bears many similarities to recently ousted president Pervez Musharraf's rule of Pakistan. Like Musharraf before him, Mubarak understands that his hold on power is based not on his own people's consent but on the US's continued political and financial support for his regime. Consequently, like Musharraf, Mubarak views secular democrats - who enjoy Western support - as greater threats to his regime than the jihadists, whom the West opposes.
So, too, like Musharraf, Mubarak's owes his ability to remain in power to his control of Egypt's military and intelligence services. And like Musharraf, Mubarak has maintained their support both because he himself emerged from their ranks and because he showers the army and intelligence services with economic power and social prestige.
It was the US's support for Musharraf's secular opponents and their call for elections that forced Musharraf from power this summer. The Pakistan the US now confronts is led by the weak government of newly elected President Asif Ali Zardari, who was sworn into office on Tuesday. Unlike Musharraf, who commanded the military as president, Zardawi has little sway over Pakistan's General Staff and the powerful Inter-Services Intelligence force.
After the September 11 attacks on the US, Washington was so concerned with the prospect of what would happen if Musharraf were to leave office that it subordinated its own interest in defeating the Taliban and al-Qaida to its interest in maintaining him in power. For six years the US refrained from attacking al-Qaida and Taliban redoubts inside Pakistan for fear that doing so would weaken Musharraf's credibility within the military and among the Pakistani population in general. Like their Egyptian counterparts, Pakistanis are better disposed toward jihadists than they are toward the US. And in the interest of maintaining Musharraf's support for its operations in Afghanistan, the US allowed him to host al-Qaida and the Taliban in Pakistan.
In Musharraf's last two years in office, the US's policy of self-restraint became increasingly untenable. The Taliban and al-Qaida took control over more and more of Pakistan's border provinces with Afghanistan and used the areas as launching pads for their stepped-up insurgency in Afghanistan. In recent months, it became apparent to Washington that if the US wishes to achieve victory in Afghanistan, it will need to extend its fight to Pakistan's border provinces.
Counterintuitively, it was Musharraf's very exit from power that has enabled the US in recent weeks to steeply intensify its operations in Pakistan. While Pakistan's military commander Gen. Ashfaq Kayani is far less supportive of the US than Musharraf was, he is also far weaker. What's more, the US has little investment in his longevity in power. The same is the case with Zardawi's government.
Last month, Kayani met with Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen and Gen. David Petraeus, who has now taken command of the US Central Command, aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier. There he apparently rebuffed their request for Pakistani military support for American operations in Pakistan.
But given the US's lack of investment in Kayani, his refusal did not have the same effect as Musharraf's opposition to such raids had. Whereas the US respected Musharraf's refusal to allow American forces to operate in Pakistan, Washington feels free to ignore Kayani's objections.
The fact that in Pakistan today no one person or faction has the power to control the country is what rendered the US's stepped up operations inside of its border provinces with Afghanistan politically feasible. The US's stony silence in the face of Kayani's condemnation Wednesday of its ground forces' raid on a Taliban camp in Pakistan this week showed that America is no longer deterred by Pakistani objections.
There is no doubt that the current state of affairs in Pakistan is inherently unstable. If the US raises its military profile in Pakistan too much, it is liable to foment a backlash that could propel its enemies to power in that nuclear-armed state. But if the US is able to press its advantage with a weak regime, it may be able to defeat the Taliban and al-Qaida before they muster the strength necessary to take over the country and so secure Pakistani neutrality for the foreseeable future.
RECENT DEVELOPMENTS in Pakistan show that the situation in Iran need not repeat itself in Egypt after Mubarak exits the scene. Weak interim regimes provide opportunities that do not exist in strongly authoritarian and deeply unpopular regimes.
Based on the current situation in post-Musharraf Pakistan, perhaps the US and Israel should not be fearing that if Gamal Mubarak fails to secure full control of Egypt after his father dies they will have to contend with an Iranian-style Muslim Brotherhood regime. Maybe what will emerge is a more amorphous situation where no one group will have the power to assert absolute power. Such a situation could free the US and Israel to concentrate on simply defeating their enemies, without concerning themselves with the fortunes of those who have yet to join in the fight against the forces of global jihad.
Go With The Gut...
by Gerald A. Honigman
Israel’s tragic—and dangerous—Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is finally stepping down.
Not the only leader, by far, to prove the Hebrew Prophet Samuel correct about the pitfalls of worldly leaders, he nonetheless excelled in putting his own interests above those of the long-awaited resurrected state of his people.
Not that it was all his fault, mind you.
When the most powerful nation on Earth—and Israel’s best friend-- tightens the screws, it’s hard to say no. But keep in mind Lord Palmerston’s advice regarding states, friends, and interests…
Once upon a time, Israel did have leaders who knew how to draw the lines beyond which further arm-twisting would not be tolerated. Menachem Begin, for one—of blessed memory—comes to mind.
That brings me to an AP article in my local paper on September 18th by Steven Gutkin.
The article focused on Olmert’s Foreign Minister, Tzipi Livni, set to take over leadership of the Kadima Party.
That one of Arafat’s pathetic Jew stooges, Yossi Beilin, loves her should send out an important message to all who have their heads out of the sand. He thinks the latter day Arafatians in suits and ties are just swell too.
Gutkin then compared Livni to her main rival, Iranian-born Shaul Mofaz:
A victory by Mofaz would have raised serious questions about Israel’s involvement in peace talks with both the Palestinians and Syrians. His approach is seen as far less conciliatory than hers…
Two short sentences that say much indeed.
Tsipi, you see, is good friends with Condi …
Now, to any who have eyes and see, who have ears and hear, who have brains with functioning neurons, etc. and so forth, that “friendship” spells trouble big time.
Livni and Olmert simply caved repeatedly to virtually all that Secretary of State Rice and her Foggy Folks asked of them—be it supplying weapons to Abbas’s latter-day Arafatian Fatah “good cops” (later used to massacre Jews), forsaking Israel’s right, a la UNSC Resolution 242, to “secure and recognized” boundaries instead of the currently imposed ’49 armistice lines which make it practically invisible on a map of the world, and so forth.
Gutkin’s article also contrasted Livni with Benjamin Netanyahu’s “hardline” Likud Party.
I’m always amazed by those who write in such terms regarding Israel. When Jews do it—like Gutkin, I assume—nauseated is the better word.
A three-thousand mile wide America can fight wars, bomb targets, topple unfriendly governments, acquire territory, and so forth thousands of miles away, but Jews who want their sole state to have secure and defensible borders instead of a 9-mile wide rump state existence are “extremists.”
Such unreasonable Jewish hardliners ask what the lessons of Israel’s retreat from Gaza years ago--with thousands of rockets and mortars fired at Israel proper from Gaza ever since—are regarding further retreat in Judea and Samaria, aka the “West Bank.”
Those “extremists” fear Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, the Knesset, Ben Gurion Airport, and so forth will get the same treatment Sderot has gotten non-stop.
How paranoid of them!
After all, those Arabs—who still show no Israel in school textbooks, maps, etc.—are such trustworthy peace (of the grave) partners.
Gutkin mentioned the Syrian card as well.
Nations who repeatedly attack neighbors over decades from territory often end up losing such territory. Wake up and smell history…
Israel has already--long ago--offered to return to Syria far more than it deserves on the Golan Heights.
As in Judea and Samaria with Abbas and his Fatah Arafatians, a real territorial compromise must be the answer with Damascus as well…not what an Arab petrodollar-greased American State Department dictates. Syria must never again be able to shell Israeli farms and such from the Heights, nor control Israel’s key water sources. What would America do with such an enemy? Need I ask?
Back home in the States, we’re about to choose a new leader as well.
That Arabs and jihadists all over the world love Barack Obama, and that the latter has too many key advisors and buddies who are anti-Semites and/or anti-Zionists (not that there’s really a difference) says something loud and clear…and I’m a former Democrat myself, now an Independent.
In November, I’ll go with my gut instincts.
I suggest that those in Israel who truly care about the long term future of the Jewish State do likewise when they have to choose between Bibi and Tsipi.
Our World: Your abortions or your lives!
Sep. 22, 2008
Caroline Glick , THE JERUSALEM POST
American Jews have good reason to be ashamed and angry today. As Iran moves into the final stages of its nuclear weapons development program - nuclear weapons which it will use to destroy the State of Israel, endanger Jews around the world and cow the United States of America - Democratic American Jewish leaders decided that putting Sen. Barack Obama in the White House is more important than protecting the lives of the Jewish people in Israel and around the world.
On Monday, the New York Sun published the speech that Republican vice presidential nominee and Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin would have delivered at that day's rally outside UN headquarters in New York against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and against Iran's plan to destroy Israel. She would have delivered it, if she hadn't been disinvited.
The rally was co-sponsored by the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations, the National Coalition to Stop Iran Now, The Israel Project, United Jewish Communities, the UJA-Federation of New York and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. Its purpose was to present a united American Jewish front against Iran's genocidal leader and against its genocidal regime which is developing nuclear weapons with the stated intention of committing the second Holocaust in 80 years.
Palin's speech is an extraordinary document. In its opening paragraph she made clear that Iran presents a danger not just to Israel, but to the US. And not just to some Americans, but to all Americans. Her speech was a warning to Iran - and anyone else who was listening - that Americans are not indifferent to its behavior, its genocidal ideology and the barbarity of its regime. Rather, they are outraged.
After that opening, Palin's speech set out clearly how Iran is advancing its nuclear project, why it must be prevented from acquiring nuclear weapons and why and how the regime itself must be opposed by all right thinking people - not just Israelis and Americans - but by all people who value human freedom.
PALIN'S SPEECH was a message of national - rather than simply Republican - resolve against Iran's nuclear weapons program and its active involvement in global and regional terrorism. She made this point by quoting statements that Democratic Sen. Hillary Clinton has made against the Iranian regime.
The speech detailed Iran's past and current attacks against the US, beginning with its bombing of US servicemen in Lebanon in 1983 and continuing with Iran's proxy war against US forces in Iraq and against Iraqis who oppose its intention of taking control of their country. By discussing Iran's role in Iraq she not only made a convincing case for why an American victory there is essential for defeating Iran. She also made clear that Iran is actively making war against the US, not just Israel.
From Iran's war against Israel, the US, and freedom loving peoples worldwide, Palin's speech turned to the regime's war against its own people. She attacked the regime for its systematic repression of Iranian women. She applauded the extraordinary bravery of women like Delaram Ali who risked their lives and their families to demand basic rights for Iranian women. Ali, she noted, was sentenced to 10 lashes and three years in prison for having the courage to speak out. An international outcry has temporarily suspended her sentence.
Then Palin returned to Iran's nuclear weapons program and its support for terrorist groups pledged to Israel's destruction and to the destruction of the US. She returned to Ahmadinejad's calls for Israel's annihilation. She reiterated Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain's solemn promise to work with Israel to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and she joined her name to his promise to stand side by side with Israel to prevent another Holocaust.
IF PALIN had been allowed to deliver this speech at Monday's rally, she would done just what the organizers of the rally, and what the Jewish people in Israel, America and worldwide need to have done. She would have elevated the imperative of preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and the implicit moral and strategic imperative of overthrowing the regime in Teheran to the top of America's national security agenda. Given the massive media attention she garners at all of her public appearances, Palin's participation in the rally would have done more to steel Americans - across the political spectrum - to the cause of opposing Iran than 10 UN Security Council sanctions resolutions could do.
It was a remarkable speech, prepared by a remarkable woman. But it was not heard. It was not heard because the Democratic Party and Jewish Democrats believe that their partisan interest in demonizing Palin and making Americans generally and American Jews in particular hate and fear her to secure their votes for Obama and his running-mate Sen. Joseph Biden in the November election is more important than allowing Palin to elevate the necessity of preventing a second Holocaust to the top of the US's national security agenda.
The rally's organizers invited both Clinton and Palin to speak. It was a wise move. In light of Iran's monstrous oppression of Iranian women, had the two most powerful women in American politics joined forces in opposing the regime and its war against human freedom, their appearance would have sent a message of American unity and resolve that would have reverberated not just throughout the US and in the US presidential race, but throughout the world and into Iran itself. But it was not to be.
The moment that Clinton found out that she was to share a stage with Palin, she cancelled her appearance. By cancelling, she signaled to Jewish Democrats - and Democrats in general - that opposing Palin and the Republican Party is more important than opposing Ahmadinejad and the genocidal regime he represents.
THE JEWISH Democrats on the rally's organizing committee got the message loud and clear. Two of the rally's co-sponsors - the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and the UJA Federation of New York demanded that the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations disinvite Palin.
The JCPA is led by Steven Gutow. Before joining the JCPA, he served as the founding executive director of the National Jewish Democratic Council, which is the Jewish support arm of the Democratic Party. The UJA Federation of New York is led by John Ruskay, who began his Jewish communal career as an anti-Israel "peace" activist in the radical CONAME and Breira organizations. Among their other endeavors, CONAME and Breira opposed US military assistance to Israel during the Yom Kippur War and called for US recognition of the PLO after the group massacred 26 children in Ma'alot in 1974.
Gutow and Ruskay were supported in their demand to disinvite Palin by the National Jewish Democratic Council and by the new Jewish pro-Palestinian lobbying group J-Street.
In an attempt to assuage Gutow and Ruskay, the rally organizers invited Biden to speak. But he had a scheduling conflict. So the organizers contacted the Obama campaign and asked it to send a representative. The campaign offered Congressman Robert Wexler.
But the Democrats knew that Wexler would be no match for Palin. So they continued on the warpath, absurdly claiming that by inviting Palin (and Clinton, Biden and Wexler), the organizers were endangering the sponsoring organizations' tax-exempt status. That is, through Ruskay and Gutow, in their bid to prevent Palin from appearing at the rally, the Democrats threatened to bring down the organized Jewish community.
Never mind that the threat is absurd. The likelihood that the Internal Revenue Service would open an investigation against every major American Jewish organization for daring to invite Palin to a rally opposing Ahmadinejad's appearance at the UN and Iran's stated intention of annihilating Israel is just slightly smaller than the prospect of Ahmadinejad wrapping himself in an Israeli flag and singing "Hatikva" on the UN rostrum.
But no matter. The fear that these Democratic Jews would openly split the Jewish community on the need to confront Iran frightened the organizers. The notion that the Democratic Party, and its Jewish supporters would openly turn their backs on the need to confront Iran to advance the political fortunes of their party and their party's presidential slate was too much to take. Palin was disinvited.
LIBERAL AMERICAN Jews, like liberal Americans in general, and indeed like their fellow leftists in Israel and throughout the West, uphold themselves as champions of human rights. They claim that they care about the underdog, the wretched of the earth. They care about the environment. They care about securing American women's unfettered access to abortions. They care about keeping Christianity and God out of the public sphere. They care about offering peace to those who are actively seeking their destruction so that they can applaud themselves for their open-mindedness and tell themselves how much better they are than savage conservatives.
Those horrible, war-mongering, Bambi killing, unborn baby defending, God-believing conservatives, who think that there are things worth going to war to protect, must be defeated at all costs. They must intimidate, attack, demonize and defeat those conservatives who think that the free women of the West should be standing shoulder to shoulder not with Planned Parenthood, but with the women of the Islamic world who are enslaved by a misogynist Shari'a legal code that treats them as slaves and deprives them of control not simply of their wombs, but of their faces, their hair, their arms, their legs, their minds and their hearts.
The lives of 6 million Jews in Israel are today tied to the fortunes of those women, to the fortunes of American forces in Iraq, to the willingness of Americans across the political and ideological spectrum to recognize that there is more that unifies them than divides them and to act on that knowledge to defeat the forces of genocide, oppression, hatred and destruction that are led today by the Iranian regime and personified in the brutal personality of Ahmadinejad. But Jewish Democrats chose to ignore this basic truth in order to silence Palin.
They should be ashamed. The Democratic Party should be ashamed. And Jewish American voters should consider carefully whether opposing a woman who opposes the abortion of fetuses is really more important than standing up for the right of already born Jews to continue to live and for the Jewish state to continue to exist. Because this week it came to that.
GOVERNOR PALIN’S PROMISE
Editorial of The New York Sun | September 22, 2008
What a magnificent statement Governor Palin has issued in response to President Ahmadinejad's expected appearance Tuesday at the United Nations. Her prepared remarks appear on our front page today. What a disgrace that the political constellation couldn't figure out a way for her to express her sentiments and those of Senator McCain before the thousands of demonstrators who will gather to protest the Iranian's threats against Jewry, America, and the Free World.
At first Senator Clinton was scheduled to appear at the rally. But when Mrs. Palin was put on the schedule, she backed out. When the organizers contacted Senator Biden's staff, they were told he had a prior commitment. The Obama campaign offered up Rep. Robert Wexler, who has been trying to palm off on Florida voters the idea that Mrs. Palin is an avatar of Patrick Buchanan, even though she supported Steve Forbes in the GOP primaries for 2000.
Mrs. Palin, in her speech, makes it plain that for all her alleged naivete in foreign affairs, she fully comprehends the danger Iran's president poses to the rest of us, particularly, but not exclusively, to Israel. "Senator McCain has made a solemn commitment that I strongly endorse: Never again will we risk another Holocaust," her speech says. "And this is not a wish, a request, or a plea to Israel's enemies. This is a promise that the United States and Israel will honor, against any enemy who cares to test us."
The urgency is underscored by a report last week from the International Atomic Energy Agency that concluded Iran's regime has blocked the efforts of the world to learn the full history of Iran's nuclear program. It is now nearly five years that international diplomacy, meetings, strongly worded demarches, and inspections have been used to try to stop Iran's nuclear program. Yet we are in a worse place than we were in 2002, when the world first learned of enrichment activities in Natanz.
Sadly the sense of urgency in Mrs. Palin's speech is missing from other quarters. A panel last week at George Washington University featured five former state secretaries. All agreed that the next president must start talking to Iran without preconditions. As Warren Christopher, secretary between 1993 and 1997, said: "Frankly the military options here are very poor. We don't want to go down that route."
[COMMENTS BY EMANUEL A. WINSTON: Each of the 5 former Secretaries of State: Henry Kissinger, Warren Christopher, Madelyn Albright, James Baker III and Colin Powell were shown to be anti-Israel in their mind-set, planning and programs during their various tenures. Their interests were primarily the oil and not the survival of Israel.]The secretaries nodded sagely. Secretary Powell expressed regret that private American talks with Iran abruptly ended in 2003. Secretary Albright said we do better when we reach out, instead of isolate, our adversaries. Secretary Kissinger was only slightly more hard-headed, saying we needed a new approach to dealing with the world's leading sponsor of terrorism. What will Mr. Ahmadinejad make of it while supping with the Quaker lobby at the Iftar dinner scheduled in Mr. Ahmadinejad's honor Thursday at the Hyatt Hotel on 42nd Street?
President Bush himself sent the third ranking American diplomat, William Burns, to Geneva this summer to deliver the latest offer to get the Iranians to stop their nuclear enrichment. Shortly after the Swiss parley, the French daily Le Monde got hold of the minutes of the meeting and quoted Mr. Burns explaining that all the tensions between American and Iran amounted to a big misunderstanding.
Before sending Mr. Burns to meet with Iran's nuclear negotiators, Mr. Bush has pursued talks in Baghdad to press the Iranians to end their support for Shiite death squads. Ambassador Khalizad has held numerous back channel talks with Iranian diplomats. Messages have been delivered to the mullahs by American allies, from the Kurdish Iraqi leadership and other foreign governments. Secretary Rice has offered to meet Iran's leaders any time and any place if they end their uranium enrichment.
These offers of dialogue have been met with emboldened behavior from the mullahs. Whether it's Iran's continued support for the Hezbollah coup in Lebanon, the rapid expansion of the centrifuge facilities, or the Tehran conferences on Holocaust denial, the message from the Islamic Republic is that the leadership is in no mood for talking. Nonetheless it seems that some will always seek dialogue with this regime.
This is the context in which to view Governor Palin's remarks. It turns out that the governor of our biggest state is no novice. She displays the kind of shrewdness necessary for affairs of state in this dangerous era. She offered no cheap talk of any kind. She did not offer to stand down militarily. She stated in respect of Mr. Ahmadinejad simply: "Our task is to focus the world on what can be done to stop him." And her promise in respect of an attack on the Jews. "Never again."
Palin on Ahmadinejad: 'He Must Be Stopped'
By SARAH PALIN | September 22, 2008
Governor Palin, the Republican nominee for vice president, was scheduled to speak today at a rally in Dag Hammarskjold Plaza to protest the appearance here of President Ahmadinejad of Iran. Her appearance was canceled by rally organizers who sought a nonpolitical event. Following are the remarks Mrs. Palin would have given:
I am honored to be with you and with leaders from across this great country — leaders from different faiths and political parties united in a single voice of outrage.
Tomorrow, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will come to New York — to the heart of what he calls the Great Satan — and speak freely in this, a country whose demise he has called for.
Ahmadinejad may choose his words carefully, but underneath all of the rhetoric is an agenda that threatens all who seek a safer and freer world. We gather here today to highlight the Iranian dictator's intentions and to call for action to thwart him.
He must be stopped.
The world must awake to the threat this man poses to all of us. Ahmadinejad denies that the Holocaust ever took place. He dreams of being an agent in a "Final Solution" — the elimination of the Jewish people. He has called Israel a "stinking corpse" that is "on its way to annihilation." Such talk cannot be dismissed as the ravings of a madman — not when Iran just this summer tested long-range Shahab-3 missiles capable of striking Tel Aviv, not when the Iranian nuclear program is nearing completion, and not when Iran sponsors terrorists that threaten and kill innocent people around the world.
The Iranian government wants nuclear weapons. The International Atomic Energy Agency reports that Iran is running at least 3,800 centrifuges and that its uranium enrichment capacity is rapidly improving. According to news reports, U.S. intelligence agencies believe the Iranians may have enough nuclear material to produce a bomb within a year.
The world has condemned these activities. The United Nations Security Council has demanded that Iran suspend its illegal nuclear enrichment activities. It has levied three rounds of sanctions. How has Ahmadinejad responded? With the declaration that the "Iranian nation would not retreat one iota" from its nuclear program.
So, what should we do about this growing threat? First, we must succeed in Iraq. If we fail there, it will jeopardize the democracy the Iraqis have worked so hard to build, and empower the extremists in neighboring Iran. Iran has armed and trained terrorists who have killed our soldiers in Iraq, and it is Iran that would benefit from an American defeat in Iraq.
If we retreat without leaving a stable Iraq, Iran's nuclear ambitions will be bolstered. If Iran acquires nuclear weapons — they could share them tomorrow with the terrorists they finance, arm, and train today. Iranian nuclear weapons would set off a dangerous regional nuclear arms race that would make all of us less safe.
But Iran is not only a regional threat; it threatens the entire world. It is the no. 1 state sponsor of terrorism. It sponsors the world's most vicious terrorist groups, Hamas and Hezbollah. Together, Iran and its terrorists are responsible for the deaths of Americans in Lebanon in the 1980s, in Saudi Arabia in the 1990s, and in Iraq today. They have murdered Iraqis, Lebanese, Palestinians, and other Muslims who have resisted Iran's desire to dominate the region. They have persecuted countless people simply because they are Jewish.
Iran is responsible for attacks not only on Israelis, but on Jews living as far away as Argentina. Anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial are part of Iran's official ideology and murder is part of its official policy. Not even Iranian citizens are safe from their government's threat to those who want to live, work, and worship in peace. Politically-motivated abductions, torture, death by stoning, flogging, and amputations are just some of its state-sanctioned punishments.
It is said that the measure of a country is the treatment of its most vulnerable citizens. By that standard, the Iranian government is both oppressive and barbaric. Under Ahmadinejad's rule, Iranian women are some of the most vulnerable citizens.
If an Iranian woman shows too much hair in public, she risks being beaten or killed.
If she walks down a public street in clothing that violates the state dress code, she could be arrested.
But in the face of this harsh regime, the Iranian women have shown courage. Despite threats to their lives and their families, Iranian women have sought better treatment through the "One Million Signatures Campaign Demanding Changes to Discriminatory Laws."
The authorities have reacted with predictable barbarism. Last year, women's rights activist Delaram Ali was sentenced to 20 lashes and 10 months in prison for committing the crime of "propaganda against the system." After international protests, the judiciary reduced her sentence to "only" 10 lashes and 36 months in prison and then temporarily suspended her sentence. She still faces the threat of imprisonment.
Earlier this year, Senator Clinton said that "Iran is seeking nuclear weapons, and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps is in the forefront of that" effort. Senator Clinton argued that part of our response must include stronger sanctions, including the designation of the IRGC as a terrorist organization. John McCain and I could not agree more.
Senator Clinton understands the nature of this threat and what we must do to confront it. This is an issue that should unite all Americans. Iran should not be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons. Period. And in a single voice, we must be loud enough for the whole world to hear: Stop Iran!
Only by working together, across national, religious, and political differences, can we alter this regime's dangerous behavior. Iran has many vulnerabilities, including a regime weakened by sanctions and a population eager to embrace opportunities with the West. We must increase economic pressure to change Iran's behavior.
Tomorrow, [September 23rd] Ahmadinejad will come to New York. On our soil, he will exercise the right of freedom of speech — a right he denies his own people. He will share his hateful agenda with the world. Our task is to focus the world on what can be done to stop him.
We must rally the world to press for truly tough sanctions at the U.N. or with our allies if Iran's allies continue to block action in the U.N. We must start with restrictions on Iran's refined petroleum imports.
We must reduce our dependency on foreign oil to weaken Iran's economic influence.
We must target the regime's assets abroad; bank accounts, investments, and trading partners.
President Ahmadinejad should be held accountable for inciting genocide, a crime under international law.
We must sanction Iran's Central Bank and the Revolutionary Guard Corps — which no one should doubt is a terrorist organization. Together, we can stop Iran's nuclear program.
Senator McCain has made a solemn commitment that I strongly endorse: Never again will we risk another Holocaust. And this is not a wish, a request, or a plea to Israel's enemies. This is a promise that the United States and Israel will honor, against any enemy who cares to test us. It is John McCain's promise and it is my promise. Thank you.
The ramifications of a Palestinian state
Aug. 26, 2008
LOUIS RENÉ BERES , THE JERUSALEM POST
With many issues now surfacing in the US presidential campaign, few are more important than the next president's position on "Palestine." To date, neither candidate has been open on this issue. Would one or the other (or both) feel the current president's commitment to a Palestinian state? Significantly, any such continuance would enlarge the terror threat to Western democracies in general, especially to Israel and the United States.
Even before George W. Bush, the formal US mantra had called for a "two-state solution." Yet the official maps of the Palestinian Authority (an authority with no proper electoral basis and no clearly fixed territory) still include Israel only as a part of Palestine.
This inclusion refers to all of Israel proper - not merely to Judea, Samaria and Gaza. The so-called road map still favored by President Bush offers a devious and ironic cartography. Everything about this plan presumes Israel's disappearance. Not even the irreconcilable and bloody divisions between warring Palestinian factions has diminished the overriding commitment of all of them to Israel's demolition. It is notably ironic, therefore, that the current government of Israel is on record in favor of a Palestinian state. What can Olmert be thinking? From the Oslo agreements onward, prime ministers from Rabin to Olmert have failed to understand that the true struggle with Arab enemies is less about territory than about God.
TODAY, EACH Palestinian faction remains utterly loyal to a strategy for the "liberation of all Palestinian territory." This "phased plan" was first adopted by the Palestinian National Council in Cairo in June 1974. Under it, any Palestinian state would welcome assorted jihadist terror groups, including al-Qaida. Such cooperation is already on full display in Hamas-controlled Gaza.
Israel, of course, would be the primary target. Additionally, a Palestinian state would aim to undermine the essential security interests of the US. Most perilous would be the inevitable competition for control of such a fragile and anarchic state by the various Sunni Arab regimes now being armed by Washington, and by Shi'ite Iran, being armed by Russia. Candidates McCain and Obama should be made aware of certain ominous linkages between a Palestinian state and regional war. Here, together with Israel's prime minister, they should also consider plausible connections with nuclear war.
A PALESTINIAN state would have no proper authority under international law. Whatever its mode of self-declaration, any such presumption of Palestinian sovereignty could not satisfy the authoritative expectations of statehood. Candidates John McCain and Barack Obama should understand and acknowledge that every state must satisfy four specific requirements of the 1934 Montevideo Treaty: (1) a permanent population; (2) a defined territory; (3) a government; and (4) the capacity to enter into relations with other states.
Although the PA could satisfy none of these criteria, it will argue otherwise. Almost certainly, this will involve incorrect legal references to "fundamental rights of self-determination and national liberation." The right of statehood under international law is never contingent upon goodness. For better or worse, there are no moral or ethical considerations that must be taken into account in the granting of sovereignty.
This means that the openly declared and indisputable Palestinian goal of Israel's forcible destruction and America's incremental destabilization will have no legal bearing on whether or not a Palestinian state is created. Nor will unending and widespread Palestinian acceptance of violence. International law does not insist on any standard of decency for aspiring states, not even the most rudimentary acceptance of peaceful coexistence. While it is true that such acceptance is required for membership in the UN, the logically prior expectations of statehood are less stringent.
In law, all that matters in establishing statehood are certain identifiable demographic, geographic and political facts. It is these particular facts on the ground, defined at Montevideo - not the codified and far-reaching Palestinian indifference to comity and civility - that would make any Palestinian declaration of statehood illegitimate.
A Palestinian state remains contrary to America's strategic interests, and to the binding claims of both national and international law. Naturally, and notwithstanding the incomprehensible government stance in Jerusalem, such a state would be especially dangerous to Israel. It should, therefore, be rejected by both presidential candidates, and by Israel's next prime minister.
The writer is professor of international law at Purdue, and was chairman of Project Daniel, which presented its final report on Iran to former prime minister Ariel Sharon. Beres is also the the academic advisor for the Freeman Center For Strategic Studies.