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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

May 10, 2003

The Forgotten Middle East Refugees

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Israel under siege

Some days are worse than others, and today was so bad, one need not have even read the news in detail - Flash News is more than sufficient. Below is the Flash News panel from Ha'Aretz, 10/05/2003, 8:10 PM EDT, with my comments inserted in brackets and bold font. The news only covers a period of three and a half hours, with lots more - and much worse - in detailed stories.

02:26 Bashar Assad to Newsweek: Syria hasn`t decided whether to restrict Palestinian militant groups operating on its soil [In other words, Syria simply ignores anything and everything Powell has said].

02:03 Israel lifts closure from territories, allowing Palestinians to enter Israel to work [In other words, while the PA is openly flouting the Roadmap, while terror continues undiminished -- see below -- Israel has already been coerced into making concessions. Tomorrow's bin Ladnes are taking note.]

23:51 Shots fired at IDF troops in West Bank city of Tul Karm; no injuries or damages reported [And why should the terror cease? The PA already knows that the US will give it a state, regardless.]

22:37 Yasser Arafat`s Fatah movement calls upon Palestinian government to boycott U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell [Well, did anyone think the PA will be grateful for Powell serving as their emissary? As bin Laden said, people see a strong horse and a weak horse...]

22:30 Egyptian FM Maher accuses Israel of `dodging` duties set out in Mideast road map [...But not a word about terrorist Aratrash trashing even the weak demands made on the PA by the Roadmap!]

22:18 Series of rockets fired at northern Gaza Strip settlement in Gush Katif bloc; two people lightly wounded [Terrorism, terrorism, terrorism. Let's reward them with a sovereign state by 2005]

22:11 Powell: As President Bush has said, we expect settlement activity to end, we have assurances from Israel about this [Will Powell also demand that no Jews be allowed to build in NYC? Then why should they not build in the Jews' ancestral land?]

22:07 Powell: Israel, Palestinians to deal with Palestinian right of return in due course [So, the PA gets a major concession form the outset - a promised state. But Israel gets zero. And in fact, Israel's comments are ignored with contempt. That's how the US treats its ally! Shame, shame!]

22:06 Powell: I visited Syria to make sure it understood that there is new strategic situation in region [See first item above. They understand, and ignore. As soon as Powell assured Syria there would be no use of force, he bacme a "weak horse", to be ignored.]
The simple truth is that the US administration is no friend of Israel, and the only hope Israel has is the support and pressure from simple folk like us. If we don't raise our voices in support of Israel, her security will be compromised, to the great delight of terrorists everywhere. And then they will come for us. They did so in 9-11, didn't they?

This is not True Peace

Colin Powell recently said "Terrorism will not stop Peace", say what!?

He seems to have found a human anomaly in which Peace consists of Terrorism.

This oxymoron has not stopped his intent to force Israel to have "Peace" with Terrorism, whatever that means.

Here are some helpful pointers for the clueless on what True Peace does NOT consist of.

True Peace does not consist of: Terrorism

True Peace does not consist of: Jew-free neighborhoods within Israel

True Peace does not consist of: Children murdered in their beds.

True Peace does not consist of: Rockets being shot into your country on a regular basis.

True Peace does not consist of: Daily incitement to murder Jews on government funded media.

We must all ask ourselves "why is he fighting for a fake peace?"

Why is Powell intent on "peace" with Terrorism?

What kind of peace is that?

What kind of Peace is that Colin Powell, is that peace you can live with?

Then do NOT ask me to!

To Our Friends in Israel Colin Powell does not speak for us Americans and his objective is not in our name so do not go along with it at all, we are with you do not give up!

StandWithUs: Anti-Incitement Petition

    We the undersigned, endorse the following petition:

    The Palestinian authority must be accountable for ending incitement against Israel.

    Target: Bush Administration, Secretary of State Colin Powell, the Senate, and House of Representatives

    Sponsor: StandWithUs

    Co-sponsors: Coalition for Jewish Concerns—AMCHA, Hasbara Fellowships of Aish HaTorah, South Area Israel Action (SAIAT), The David Project, Join the Boycott, The Council of Israeli Community (CIC), see more sponsors

    Signatures: 10133
    Goal: 10,000
    Deadline: 5/31/2003
Roadmap: Mini-Status Report

Through his mailing list, Mike Diamond contributes significantly to the cause of pro-Israel advocacy by disseminating relevant articles and by promoting discussion. In a recent e-mail missives, Mike presented a mini-status report with which I did not agree. The feedback I sent to Mike is reproduced below becuase it summarizes a few of the recent, significant developments.

Ottawa, 9 May 2003

Dear Mike,

In your letter dated 9 May, 2003, you state that, "There is little news on the Roadmap at this point- which suggests that most of what is happening is going on in the back rooms. "

I beg to differ. There is much that is going on, all bad for Israel, and all in the open - for those who wish to see. The object of this letter is to substantiate this statement.

First, I'd like to refer you to two items from the daily news bulletin of Arutz 7. The first deals with Arafat's consolidation of power:

PLO chieftain Yasser Arafat has appointed, over the past few days, dozens of senior clerks and officials throughout the PA administration...

A senior PA official told Itim News Agency that Arafat is attempting to amass more power and support within the PA. The source said that more than 58 Fatah members from all over the PA-controlled areas have been appointed to senior positions...

The PA source also said that Arafat has intervened directly in the Abu Mazen government, by promoting Abdel Aziz Sharia - who is responsible for "appointments" in the PA - to a position equivalent to that of government minister...Arafat similarly promoted his chief office manager, Ramzi Hori, to a ministerial rank...

In a word, rather than "there is little news", in fact there is crucial news: Arafat is openly flouting both the June 24, 2002, speech and the Roadmap. Furthermore, not only is Arafat openly consolidating power, but he continues to preside over constant Arab violence, as the following Arutz 7 report testifies:
The small Negev city of Sderot... was fired on six more times this morning. Two of the Kassam rockets landed in populated areas, wounding an elderly woman and a girl.

More attempted murders by PA terrorists against Israelis last night: Arabs fired at soldiers near Yitzhar in central Shomron last night? A jeep was fired on near Ateret further south? Even further south, past Hevron, Palestinian terrorists fired at a car near Otniel...

Second, I'd like to refer you to three articles posted in IsraPundit.

Today, May 9, 2003, an article entitle "It never rains but it pours", quotes abu Mazen as saying,

"This is Arafat's government and I don't believe he is placing obstacles in its path. Therefore its success is as important for him as it is important for everybody else."

In other words, abu Mazen himself confirms that the new "Palestinian" government contravenes the stipulations of the June 24, 2002, speech and the Roadmap.

Yesterday, 8 May, 2003, an article entitled "The PA has already failed the Roadmap test", quotes a ZOA weekly report on Arab progress regarding the Roadmap. The ZOA report examined nine different areas, showing zero progress or negative progress in all. The foregoing IsraPundit article also refers to a MEMRI report proving serious incitement by a PA representative in Morocco.

I urge you to reproduce the ZOA report in your e-mail, so that people can get a glimpse of reality.

A third Israpundit article, posted on 7 May, 2003, is entitled "How "Palestinians" demonstrate their burning desire for peace", quotes the mainstream media as follows:
Abbas, a refugee himself, said, "The refugees issue is for the final status. Keep it there and we will discuss it.

"Why would I drop the right of return for refugees? It is not my right to drop it."
The three IsraPundit articles cited above have this thread in common: the "Palestinians" are once again pulling the wool over our eyes - Oslo revisited.

Those, like Dennis Ross, who see progress, are blind on two levels. First, the level of daily life on the ground, as illustrated above. The daily news reflects anything but progress. Second, on the root cause level, the one that addresses such issues as (i) Arab incitement (ongoing with full vigour), (ii) the fact that Israel is accepted neither by the Arabs in Yesha nor by the Arab states around; (iii) the fact that Israel's existence is incompatible with the creation of a sovereign, terrorist Arab state in Western "Palestine"; (iv) the fact that the Arabs cling to the "right of return" fiction. There has been no change in any of these areas.

Let us not confuse the way thins are with the way we'd like things to be.

I strongly recommend joining Mike's (free) mailing list:

Thanks a LOT, Mr. Secretary

By Stan Goodenough

News item: Secretary of State Colin Powell has let it be known that acts of terrorism against Israel will not be able to stop the implementation of the Road Map towards the creation of a Palestinian state.

According to the Secretary's statement, it is the position of the Bush administration that a Palestinian state will be established alongside Israel, even if suicide bombings, drive-by shootings, and other forms of terror continue unabated.

This stated official position of the United States government has effectively denied Israel any and all hope that by pursuing the international community's latest plan, true and lasting peace will come to pass.

It is bitterly ironic that the same words that rob Israel of this hope affirm the ambitions of statehood in the hearts of the Palestinian Arabs, for they now know they will receive a state - for the first time in history, and on lands belonging to another nation - whether they effectively stop terrorism against Israel or not.

The Road Map will therefore simply perpetuate the status quo, where all the PA has to do to end up with a state is continue the performance so tried and tested to date - issue statements condemning "all acts of terrorism" while Israel (sometimes) receives a day or two's grace to mourn its dead before being pushed to continue down this hopeless road.

The PA can issue such statements, even in the most sincere of tones, because it simply does not view as terrorism attacks on Jewish civilians in the context of its struggle for "liberation". At the same time the PA does call Israel's defensive measures acts of state terror.

In other words, as one analyst put it, the State Department has relieved the Palestinian leadership of any need to comply with its one main obligation under the Road Map:

Whether they stop the violence or not, the Palestinians will receive their state.

Ten years ago, the Oslo Accords were signed giving PLO leader Yasser Arafat possession of many of Israel's most precious national and security assets in exchange for his commitment to end all acts of terrorism and violence against the Jewish state.

Oslo also required Arafat - who claimed to be the indisputable leader of the Palestinian Arabs and was supported in his claim by world opinion - to ensure that no other groups in areas under his control could inflict terrorist aggression upon Israel.

The veteran terror chief was ensconced in power in an election that was anything but free and fair, and received tens of thousands of armed personnel with which to police his new domain, plus hundreds of millions of dollars to enable him to run his show as he had pledged to do.

The idea was that he would stabilize the areas under his control, remove the terror threat to Israel and prove that he was truly in command of his people, after which he would be given more land and more authority until eventually he had received a state of his own - a state that could and would live peacefully alongside Israel.

Jewish blood is the ink that has recorded Arafat's absolute failure to even try and keep his side of the deal. After being given control of Gaza and Jericho, he went on to take, one after the other, all the major towns in Judea and Samaria, until upwards of 97 percent of all Palestinian Arabs were no longer under Israeli jurisdiction but under his.

And all the while, Israeli intelligence reports revealed that Arafat was encouraging unceasing violence and terror, promoting Jew-hatred on his television station and in his newspapers, flashing green lights to the Hamas and Islamic Jihad to continue their attacks, and eventually unleashing his own Fatah Tanzim to kill and maim as many thousands of Jews as they could.

This failure to keep his side of the agreement has cost him nothing.

He has inflicted terrible casualties on the Jewish people - assuring himself ongoing strong popular support. The territories placed under his control during the interim phase of Oslo, territories that Israel had the right to take back, are now considered de facto the foundational blocks for his Palestinian state, and it is no longer permitted for Israel to retain them under its control.

In the eyes of his people, Arafat has taken everything from Israel to date, and given nothing in return. So stated Arafat's newly appointed prime minister, Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), in an interview given just over a year ago when he said:

"There is another thing that we did in Oslo. We took the land without giving anything in return, and the final status issues [borders, refugees, settlements, Jerusalem] remained as they were."

Sharon insists that Israel will not carry out any of the steps required from it under the Road Map until there is a complete cessation in terror attacks by the Palestinians.

For all the notice Secretary of State Powell is taking of that condition, Sharon might as well be talking to the wall.
Israel's Biggest Birthday Bash

Judy Lash Balint writing in Jerusalem Diaries! celebrates Independance Day

As night falls, bringing relief from the agony of Remembrance Day, Israelis come out to celebrate Israel's 55th birthday in their own way. In Jerusalem, hundreds dressed in blue and white stream into synagogues all over the city for special prayers of thanksgiving.

At the Ohel Nechama synagogue, a few steps away from the President's house and the Jerusalem Theater, the baal tefilla (prayer leader) is a white-haired survivor of the Holocaust. His voice is strong as he belts out the Hallel and leads the congregation in the Shehechiyanu prayer, thanking God for allowing us to reach this special time.

The brief service over, congregants pour out into the street mingling with youngsters on their way into town for the traditional music and dancing on the streets that are closed to traffic.

Meantime, the official Independence Day opening ceremonies are getting underway at Mt Herzl. It's the closest we get to a military parade. Dozens of representatives of Israel's armed forces take part in a meticulously choreographed march-by set to patriotic music. The formality of the ceremony is very un-Israeli.

Meanwhile, back in town there are two main stages set up on King George Street and in Zion Square featuring some of Israel's most popular groups. The plaza in Safra Square is set aside for Israeli dancing.

Buildings all over the city are adorned with massive Israeli flags. The roof of the Dan Panorama Hotel on Keren Hayesod Street is aflutter with dozens of smaller flags and strings of white lights. Cars sport flags attached from every conceivable opening.

Teenagers roam from one stage to the other squirting anyone within range with white goop from an aerosol can. Foreign news cameras ask kids to pose so they can document the mayhem.

At 10:30 p.m. people start to congregate near the Sheraton Plaza Hotel to watch the main fireworks display. Fifteen minutes after it was scheduled to begin, the sky lights up with an awesome array of pyrotechnics. The noise is deafening, the colors against the black sky are stunning.

Many of the non-teen revelers head down to the Jerusalem Theater after the fireworks. The lobby is packed and impossibly hot as hundreds have packed themselves in to join Yehuda Elisa and Oshik Levi in a free sing-along of classic Israeli numbers. Starting at 11:30 p.m, there's a dance party there that features samba, salsa and 70s style music.

This morning, I hear the military band start up at the President's House nearby. President Moshe Katzav, one of Israel's most popular presidents, is on the receiving line all morning for dignitaries who come to present their good wishes. Mid-morning, several air force jets do a stunt fly-by, leaving a trail of blue and white smoke in their wake.

Regular folks have already headed out to the parks and beaches for the traditional "mangal" or barbecue. There are regular radio updates on the gridlock covering certain parts of the country. By mid-day, several national parks are closed because there's just nowhere to squeeze in another vehicle.

It's the one day in the year that feels like a Sunday. Pure recreation with no major religious obligations. No newspapers, banks or mail to take the mind off finding the best place to set up the portable barbecue.
"Are the media being secretly controlled by a cabal of Jews who enjoy making 'em look like idiots every spring?"

This Mark Steyn column is pretty entertaining.

Where's the fight, the fierce attachment?

Emanual A. Winston compares the Arab attachment to the land that they coveted for fifty years and never were sovereign in, to the willingness of most Jews to give it all away notwithstanding a 3000 year attachment to the land. In an article in Arutz Sheva he asks
So, why is it that Jews like Israel’s Prime Minister Ariel (Arik) Sharon and all those before him, are willing to discuss giving up even an inch of land to proven and self-declared terrorists? Have they no pride, no national memory of their ancient and honorable forefathers, no real love of the Land? Sharon, in his time of glory, proved his love of the Land. But now? Did he grow old and forget the battles and the building of the communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza (Yesha)? His memory of what and why faded, to be replaced with politics. Tell him that G-d gave the Jewish people the Land of Israel and he will nod with a distant look in his eyes, as he considers how to please the Bush family and the Europeans. Why are so many Jews empty of pride in the Land, embarrassed by our Biblical lineage and so anxious to please a world who wants us out of the way?
and warns,
[...] I have heard from credible sources that the Bush Administration, along with the Arabist U.S. State Department, is about to launch a very expensive public relations campaign to force Israel into accepting the "Road (Rogue) Map" without any modifications. Every conceivable pressure will be brought to bear, including the continued delay of the loan guarantees (for loans Israel will pay back). This was the same tactic used by Bush, Sr. against then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir and only when they had pushed Yitzhak Rabin into office, followed by Oslo, were those long-promised guarantees extended.
and concludes
[...] Israel still awaits a leader who will simply state to our friends, and friends of our enemies, "This is our land! We shall not move, nor shall we negotiate such a move. We will not discuss it further, period."
Now is the time to fight and claim all of the land.

Aziz quotes Haggai, who earlier quoted this:
In 1953, when a rumor that Hitler might still be alive circulated around the world, an Arab newspaper asked some public figures what they would say to Hitler if they could contact him. As quoted in Bernard Lewis' book "Semites and Anti-Semites," this Arab officer responded: "I congratulate you with all my heart, because, though you appear to have been defeated, you were the real victor." [...] 24 years later, in 1977, the Nazi collaborator and author of that passage--Anwar Sadat--became the first Arab leader to visit Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.
Now, this logic supposedly should be applied to abu-Mazen. I am not going to dwell on the several reasons why the two cases are different. I am just going to poiint out two important facts. One is that Sadat is dead (not a natural death, mind you). The other is that the real reason Egypt has not been at war with Israel since 1973 has little to do with the fact that Sadat visited Jerusalem (although this is the reason why he is dead). The real reason for this non-war status is the fact that Egypt was badly beaten in 1973. Another is that there is no longer a Soviet Union to support Egypt financially and militarily. On the other hand, there is the American financial support, that is clearly conditioned on Egypt's nonbelligerency. Just folow the money, and things clear up.

May 09, 2003

Participating in the National Coast-to-Coast NPR Protests

Minnesotans Against Terrorism Supporters will be demonstrating at KNOW, Minnesota Public Radio, in St. Paul. We will be protesting National Public Radio’s (NPR) distorted coverage of Palestinian terror attacks, as part of a Coast-to-Coast Series of Protests.

Vote Against the "Road Map" in a Real-time Referendum


    National Issues Requiring Your Vote:

    Cast Your Votes:

    Issue A: Should we reward murderous, Palestinian terrorism with statehood? What's your opinion?

    Issue B: Should we enforce President Bush's pre-conditions of halting Palestinian violence before any Palestinian statehood is considered? What's your opinion?

    Issue C: Should we accept a "Road Map to Arab-Israeli Peace" from a quartet which includes Russia, France and Germany, countries hostile to Israel, who disparage U.S. interests? What's your opinion?

    Issue D: Should we document the responsibility of Iran, Syria, Libya, and Saudi Arabia for supporting Islamic terrorism? What's your opinion?

    Issue E: Should we combat media ignorance and bias in Middle East coverage and virulent Anti-Israel/Anti-Semitic agitations on campus? What's your opinion?

    Issue F: Should we solidify and chart future strategy for the emerging alliance of Jewish and Christian Zionists? What's your opinion?

Don't sell out our friend Israel!

Tell Bush: 'road map' will only lead to future bloodbath

From Conservative

    Want to find the path to peace in the Middle East? Don't ask France, Germany, Russia or the United Nations for directions. They're not to be trusted for advice on how best to fight terrorism, either.

    Nevertheless, in a shocking reversal of President George W. Bush's stated policies, the U.S. State Department is advancing this suspicious cast of characters to devise and direct a so-called "road map" that supposedly will settle the Palestinian conflict.

    Instead of a peaceful solution, this road map ominously leads only to an even greater bloodbath for Israel and oppression by corrupt Arab leadership for the Palestinian people! Its stealthy result would be to eradicate Israel as a Jewish state, and maintain the Palestinian population under the brutal control of terrorist thugs.

    Your help is urgently needed to make sure a fatal U-turn in America's alliance with Israel is not the road taken by the Bush Administration. Palestinian "leadership" is already navigating the road map's ominous path, and now Israel is being pressured to agree to its disastrous direction.

    It is not too late to turn America and Israel from sure disaster -- if you act now! Sign the petition below urging President George W. Bush and U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell to throw this errant road map out the window and stay our course in defending Israel, our friend and ally. Tell our leaders -- for the safety of our nation and the world -- America must ensure that any pursuit of the Mid-East "peace process" will:

    Oppose rewarding murderous Palestinian terrorism with statehood that undermines our own war on terror and -- through dangerous concessions of security, territory and sovereignty -- ultimately fosters renewed Arab aggression against an increasingly vulnerable Israel.

    Reconfirm the stated U.S. policies of June 24, 2002, that specified essential pre-conditions for support of Palestinian statehood. These policies stated: 1. that new Palestinian leadership must be "untainted by terror," and 2. all terrorist activities against the Jewish State must have ceased. These policies have been abandoned by Powell's State Department -- and the "road map" erodes America's credibility, debases our enduring national interest, and threatens the survival of Israel.

    Withdraw American support from this ploy promoting Arab-Israeli "peace" via the U.N. and the European Union. The "road map" quartet's other three voting members -- Russia, France and Germany --routinely harm U.S. interests, are compromised by their colonialist histories in the region and are hostile to Israel.

    Israel must be defended and protected, not betrayed for some suspicious political promise of peace from untrustworthy partners. The so-called "road map" to peace is a highway to the peace of the grave. It is a plan that surely will bring even more death and destruction to Israel and the Palestinian people. Demand President Bush and Secretary Powell set the road map aside -- now! -- and not lead America and Israel astray.

    Bill Devlin

    Then email everyone you know!

GENIOUS (Breaking Oslo's Spell)

You will have to read it to believe it. Saul Singer writes in JPOST:

In a classic move of political jujitsu, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has just paired two significant, seemingly contradictory steps.

This week Sharon said he would meet with Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), but that negotiations would begin only once the Palestinians had given up their demand to "return" to Israel itself.

When White House spokesman Ari Fleischer was asked about Sharon's new condition, he responded with an ominous "all parties have responsibilities" line what you say to kids fighting in the back seat when you want them to sort it out or equally feel the consequences.

Missed here is the significance of what Sharon has done, which could well have a more lasting impact than Abbas's appointment. The issue of refugees was defined by Oslo as a "final status" issue and was left to the final stage of Oslo's new incarnation, the "road map," as well. What right does Sharon have to move it up to the front, as a precondition for talks?

First a reality check. Now that Saddam is gone, winning the peace in Iraq is rightly uppermost on Bush's foreign policy agenda, contending with Syria and Iran next, and making a run at Arab-Israeli peace third. Bush, like Sharon, does not believe much will come of the Abbas/Yasser Arafat combination, but the road map is something that can be used to fend off accusations that the US has no post-Iraq peace policy.

This situation produces two camps: those appalled that Bush is not pushing the road map, which they equate with the prospects for peace, hard enough; and those happy that the road map will become hopelessly entangled, since it cannot lead to peace in any case.

I find myself in neither camp. My concern is not so much that the Palestinians, Europe, and the State Department will succeed in using the road map to turn the screws on Israel, but that an opportunity for creating a new paradigm for peacemaking is being at least delayed and perhaps missed.

It is in this context that I find Sharon's new negotiating condition encouraging. It is the first real innovation since Bush postulated, in his June 24 speech, that it was the Palestinian leadership that was the principal obstacle to peace.Sharon has put his finger on a critical truth that anyone who is serious about peace should embrace: If the Palestinians are not willing to give up "returning" to Israel, there's nothing to talk about. (Emphasis added).

Those who claim that it is cheating for Sharon to front-load a final-status issue should take a closer look at the road map itself. Right at the beginning, at the "outset of Phase I," the plan sets out supposedly parallel demands. The Palestinians are supposed to reiterate Israel's right to exist, call for an end to "armed activity," and end incitement against Israel.

Israel, at this same stage, is required to issue an "unequivocal statement affirming its commitment to the two-state vision of an independent, viable, sovereign Palestinian state living in peace and security alongside Israel." There should not be any real problem with asking Israel to say up front that it is committed to living alongside a peaceful Palestinian state, despite the fact this is a final-status issue. Sharon has said as much already.

BUT THE PARALLEL step is not for the Palestinians to once again promise to end terrorism and recognize Israel, promises that have proven worthless. Now that the Palestinian commitment in Oslo to the peaceful resolution of disputes has become a cruel joke, remaking the same promises will impress no one. What would be significant is if the Palestinians say up front they agree to solving the refugee problem outside, and only outside, of Israel.

Such a statement would not take the issue of refugees off the final-status table. There is much to be discussed regarding how to resolve a problem that the Arab world has carefully cultivated all these years. But unless the idea of a "right" of Palestinians to move to Israel is dropped, talk of recognizing Israel's right to exist is meaningless.

Rather than acting piqued, the White House should endorse and amplify Sharon's new precondition. This is where the Arab world should come in.Bush, to his credit, always mentions the responsibility Arab states have in advancing peace. But he does not say what those responsibilities are, except for not supporting terrorism.

The Arab states could, at US insistence, take the lead in saying that they will help solve the refugee problem, and agree that it can be solved outside of Israel. This may sound unrealistic. But it is more unrealistic to expect Israel to embark on serious negotiations before such a step is taken.

The simplest way for Bush to get the ball rolling is for him to point out the obvious inconsistency of claiming to recognize Israel on the one hand, and flood it with refugees on the other. Either the Palestinians believe in two separate states or they do not. Israelis do not imagine they would have a right to move to a Palestinian state; no Palestinian should have a right to move to Israel. If Washington is unwilling to reiterate this, why should Arab capitals?

It took a while, but the Americans and Israelis became used to saying that there will be a Palestinian state. Americans and Arabs must become equally used to speaking of the "right of return" as an obsolete concept, abandoned in favor of creating two states for two peoples. Until this happens, the spell of failure cast by Oslo will not have been broken, and a peace process worthy of the name cannot begin.

Settlements are not the root problem

Jerry Rapp has as good a take on it as anybody.
The contention that Israeli settlements built on land occupied by Israel after the war of June, 1967, are the major obstacle to peace between Israel and the Palestinians is a red herring. That war, the third in just 19 years that Israel was forced to wage in self-defense, was virtually universally recognized at the time as being necessary for Israel's survival because of provocative and belligerent threats from its Arab neighbors. MORE
A good historical overview.

Lords Over Lebanon

Syria's still in charge, but the U.S. presence in Iraq could change that.
Although it went unreported in the international media, during last weekend's visit to Beirut by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, 250 protesters took to the streets demanding the withdrawal of Syrian forces from Lebanon. Riot police intervened and several demonstrators were imprisoned or taken to the hospital. Judging from Powell's mollifying statements on Syria, they can probably expect little help from Washington.

Nevertheless, the façade of Syrian power in Lebanon is slowly changing, even if the underlying reality is not. A few years ago anti-Syrian protests would have been inconceivable. Walk the streets of Beirut today and you won't feel the same weight of Syrian domination you would have in the past. In an effort to prove his army is not an occupation force, Syrian President Bashar Assad has gradually pulled troops out of areas in and around Beirut and in the north. Gone are the more egregious signs of Syria's military presence—portraits of the late President Hafez Assad, intelligence agents questioning passengers at Beirut airport, and soldiers occupying expensive properties—so that one might almost forget that Lebanon very much remains a Syrian province.

Syrian forces entered Lebanon in 1976, at the height of its civil war, a move later endorsed by the Arab League. When Lebanon's war ended in 1990, Syria was the paramount authority in the country. Its military presence is today, mantralike, defended by the Beirut government as "necessary, legal, and temporary." I recall that during an interview with Daily Star editors in which I participated, Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri fumbled the order of the adjectives until a minister came to his assistance. Still, if asked to leave Lebanon, the Syrians would refuse. The country is too important for them: Hundreds of thousands of Syrian laborers who would be unemployed in Syria find work here and send money home. Lebanon is Syria's ticket to regional relevance, allowing the regime to play footsy with Israel through Hezbollah. And it's a source of revenue and patronage for Syria's political and military elite, which is involved in both licit and illicit business transactions that Lebanon's postwar reconstruction process made more lucrative.

With American forces now in Iraq, however, Syria will have to change the way it does business in Lebanon. Hezbollah is a Bush administration target, which means the Syrians may have to suspend, at least for a time, the party's sporadic attacks against Israeli forces in the disputed Shebaa Farms in south Lebanon, which Lebanon and Syria claim is occupied Lebanese land. The United Nations and the Israelis, who pulled out of south Lebanon in May 2000, say the farms are not Lebanese, insisting, therefore, that Hezbollah must halt its strikes—a view the United States shares.

Less clear is whether the U.S. administration will push the Syrians out of Lebanon. After years of inattention, officials in Washington now openly call Syria's presence an "occupation." Last March, Powell told a House subcommittee, "I don't think we have reached the point whereby Lebanon is governed by the Lebanese people without the existence of a Syrian occupation army." It was the first time an administration official had used the "O" word. However, Powell pointedly avoided using it again on his latest trip, since he needs Syria to control Hezbollah and seeks its support for the Palestinian-Israeli "road map." This doubtless means Lebanon will again be sacrificed at the altar of improved American-Syrian relations. Still, Syria's enemies in Washington know it is vulnerable on Lebanon, and that the occupation charge makes it nervous.

Damascus is acutely sensitive to U.S. congressional legislation known as the Syria Accountability Act, which threatens sanctions against Syria unless, among other things, it "halt[s] … support for terrorism, end[s] its occupation of Lebanon, [and] stop[s] its development of weapons of mass destruction." While the administration doesn't want to implement the act right now, it does agree with its spirit. In an interview I conducted last year with Bouthaina Shaaban of the Syrian foreign ministry, the depth of her hostility to the legislation was palpable: "If the U.S. continues such policies," she said, "in 10 years time it will have no one to talk to in the region."

Whether the Syrian presence is technically an occupation or not, it is perpetuated by a combination of incentives and intimidation. Syria rewards its local allies by offering them influence, since it controls Lebanon's political institutions—shaping governments, influencing parliament, and even selecting Lebanese presidents. Syria also has more robust means of enforcing compliance, even though it usually avoids using force directly or operates through Lebanon's security services. Syria has 15,000-20,000 soldiers in Lebanon. It also controls a network of intelligence agents supervised by Rustom Ghazaleh, an officer who heads the Syrian Security and Reconnaissance unit.

Ghazaleh took over from Syria's long-standing viceroy in Lebanon, Ghazi Kanaan, when the latter was recalled to Damascus last October. Kanaan, like the Assads, is an Alawite (from the minority religious group ruling Syria, which is an offshoot of Shiism) and had served in Lebanon since the mid-1980s. In 1987, he showed his teeth when ordering his men to shoot 23 Hezbollah militiamen, after the party tried to assassinate him when he mediated a dispute between it and a rival militia (his relations with Hezbollah have since improved). After peace returned to Lebanon, Kanaan played a complex balancing game with local politicians, alternately breaking and reviving careers but always ensuring his supremacy in the political system. Political conversations in Beirut often centered on Kanaan's manipulations.

Ghazaleh, Kanaan's former senior deputy, is a Sunni, reflecting Bashar Assad's desire to show that his regime is more ecumenical than his father's, where Alawites held most key security posts. Ghazaleh also has a purported academic bent, earning a doctorate in history from the Lebanese University. He's hardly effete, however: Like Kanaan, he knows the ways of power, running Lebanon mainly by telephone from Anjar, near the Syrian-Lebanese border, or receiving local politicians at his office or residence, where they might wait for hours before being received.

The Syrians know this situation can't last forever. Israel's withdrawal from south Lebanon removed a key justification for their military presence. Moreover, the Lebanese are growing restless. The only problem is that Damascus thrives on inertia. The Iraq war brought America to Syria's doorstep. Washington will not fight a war on Lebanon's behalf, but somehow the Syrians are far less reassured than they used

Where's the Outrage?

Jonathan Usher learned that an Orthodox Jewish professor had been speaking out against Israel as part of a university lecture. Here is Jonathan's email to M. Diamond on the subject
"I just heard an orthodox Jewish professor (at his university) rant against the "occupation" of the West Bank etc. The result of his teaching is that one of his students said that it was good to know him as it is good to know that there are some Jews that are good people.

Obviously his teaching has left his impressionable non-Jewish students with the idea that Israel enjoys oppressing the Arabs and that most Jews (except for him and a few others) are bad people.

Needless to say, I was highly upset by his outrageous performance and the resultant anti-Semitism and anti-Israel attitude it encouraged.
And here is his letter to the Toronto Star.
Here is my outrage

Antonia Zerbisias in her article Where is the outrage over activist's death in Thursday's Star asks for outrage over the death of the activist Rachel Corrie. Here is my outrage. Rachel Corrie she was clearly supporting the Palestinians. The same week that she died a young Christian girl was killed in Haifa in a suicide bombing. There was no public outrage over her death, a death in which Rachel Corrie indirectly participated by opposing the destruction of the homes of suicide bombers. That outrages me!

Next, there is no mention in the article that Israel has offered to give the West Bank to Jordan in 1971 and it was refused, and they offered to give Gaza to Egypt and it was refused. Barak offered to give most of the West Bank and Gaza to Arafat just before the intifada, and it was refused. What kind of occupiers do that? If Israel had done what any other reasonable country would do, disperse the Palestinians, it would not have this mess on its hands. It is only because it has acted gently that it now has to defend itself against the suicide bombers of the intifada by taking forceful actions that it obviously doesn't want to do. Criticism of Israel as a cruel occupier outrages me!

Lastly I am outraged that there are universities and professors who teach their students that social activism includes putting themselves in danger for causes that they don't fully understand in the name of "acting against oppression". After their deaths, they consider these student activists as heroes rather than the deluded innocents that they are. They are as deceived as the poor young suicide bombers who give themselves to martyrdom. That outrages me!
Good for you Jonathan.

Face it.

They mean it.

Sarah Shapiro writing in the Jewish World Review on the occaision of Israel's 55th aniuversary had a quote from Arafat (not recent but during Oslo process),
We Palestinians will take over everything, including all of Jerusalem. Within five years we will have six to seven million Arabs living in the West Bank and Jerusalem … If the Jews can import all kinds of Ethiopians, Russians, Uzbekians, and Ukranians as Jews, we can import all kinds of Arabs ... We plan to eliminate the State of Israel and establish a Palestinian State. We will make life unbearable for Jews by psychological warfare and population explosion. Jews will not want to live among Arabs." Then he added: "I have no use for Jews. They are and will remain Jews."
Any doubters left?

The Wonder That Is Israel

Israel's 55th birthday this week is a time to step back, if just for a moment, from the whirlwind of daily events — terrorist attacks against Israelis, road map prognostications, internal Palestinian maneuvering, Labor Party changes in Israel — and reflect on the larger picture.

The story of Israel these last 55 years, above all, is the wondrous realization of a 3,500-year link among a land, a faith, a language, a people and a vision. The establishment of the State of Israel in 1948; the embrace of democracy and the rule of law, including an independent judiciary, free and fair elections and smooth transfers of power, and the impressive scientific, cultural and economic achievements of Israel are accomplishments beyond anyone's wildest imagination.

All this was accomplished not in the Middle West but in the Middle East, where Israel's neighbors were determined from the beginning to destroy it and were prepared to use any means available to them — from full-scale wars to wars of attrition; from diplomatic isolation to attempts at international delegitimation; from primary to secondary to even tertiary economic boycotts; from terrorism to the spread of antisemitism, often thinly veiled as anti-Zionism.

No other country has been subjected to such a constant challenge to its existence, or experienced the same degree of international vilification by an automatic majority of nations reflexively following the will of the energy-rich and more numerous Arab states, and, in doing so, throwing truth and fairness to the wind.

Yet Israelis have never succumbed to a fortress mentality, never abandoned their deep yearning for peace or willingness to take unprecedented risks to achieve that peace, and never flinched from their determination to build a thriving state.

To understand the essence of Israel's meaning, it is enough to ask how the history of the Jewish people might have been different had there been a Jewish state in 1933, in 1938, even in 1941. If Israel had controlled its borders and the right of entry instead of England, if Israel had had embassies and consulates across Europe, how many more Jews might have escaped and found sanctuary from the Nazis?

Instead, Europe's Jews had to rely on the good will of embassies and consulates of other countries and, with woefully few exceptions, they found neither the "good" nor the "will" to assist.

I have seen firsthand Israel do what no other Western country had ever done before — bring out black Africans, in this case Ethiopian Jews, not in chains for exploitation, but in dignity for freedom.

Awestruck, I have watched firsthand Israel never falter in transporting Soviet Jews to the Jewish homeland, even as Scud missiles launched from Iraq traumatized the nation. It says a lot about the conditions they were leaving behind that these Jews continued to board planes for Tel Aviv even while missiles were exploding in Israeli population centers. And equally, it says a lot about Israel that, amid all the security concerns, it managed without missing a beat to continue to welcome the new immigrants.

And how can I ever forget the surge of pride that enveloped me in 1976 on hearing the news of Israel's daring rescue of 106 Jewish hostages held by Arab and German terrorists in Entebbe, Uganda, 2,000 miles from Israel?

The unmistakable message of a Jewish state is this: Jews in danger will never again be alone and helpless.

To be sure, nation-building is an infinitely complex process. In Israel's case, that nation-building took place against a backdrop of tensions with a local Arab population that also laid claim to the same land; as Israel's population literally doubled during its first three years of existence, putting an unimaginable strain on severely limited resources; as the nation was forced to devote a vast portion of its budget to defense expenditures, and as the country coped with forging a national identity and social consensus among a population that could not have been more geographically, linguistically, socially and culturally heterogeneous.

Israelis, with only 55 years of statehood under their belts, are among the newer practitioners of statecraft. With all its remarkable success, look at the daunting political, social and economic challenges the United States faced during its first 55 years, or even 155 years, after independence — or, for that matter, the challenges it faces today. And let's not forget that the United States, unlike Israel, is a vast country blessed with abundant natural resources, oceans on two-and-a-half sides, a gentle neighbor to the north and a weaker neighbor to the south.

Like any vibrant democracy, America is a permanent work in progress. So, too, is Israel.

The Israeli record is imperfect, but in just 55 years, Israel has built a thriving democracy; an economy whose per capita gross national product exceeds the combined total of its four contiguous sovereign neighbors — Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt; eight universities that contribute to advancing the world's frontiers of knowledge; a life expectancy that places it among the healthiest nations; a prolific culture utilizing an ancient language rendered contemporary, and an agricultural sector that has shown the world how to conquer an arid land.

In the final analysis, we should consider the sweep of the last five and a half decades. In doing so, we can more readily appreciate the light-years Jews have traveled since the darkness of the Holocaust, and marvel at the miracle of a decimated people returning to a tiny sliver of land — the land of Zion and Jerusalem — and successfully building a modern, vibrant and democratic state, against all the odds, on that ancient foundation.

David A. Harris is executive director of the American Jewish Committee.

Next Headache: Schizophrenic Turkey
By K Gajendra Singh, Indian ambassador (retired), served as ambassador to Turkey from August 1992 to April 1996. He is currently chairman of the Foundation for Indo-Turkic Studies.

Tensions building up between Turkey's secular elite, led by its powerful armed forces, and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which has Islamic roots, ever since the latter's electoral triumph last November, have up to now remained under check. This was because of Turkey's preoccupation with more important matters, such as an admission date into the Europe Union, a United Nations-led attempt to resolve the Cyprus problem and the United States efforts to persuade Turkey to join in the war against Iraq.

With these issues now either resolved or in limbo, the first battle lines between the two sides were drawn on April 23 when President Ahmet Sezer, a former head of the Constitutional Court, and the top military brass led by General Hilmi Ozkok, refused to attend a reception at parliament house hosted by its speaker, Bulent Arinc of the AKP, to mark National Sovereignty and Children's Day, as hostess Munnever Arinc planned to wear a Muslim head scarf. The opposition, left of the center People's Republican Party (RPP), also boycotted the reception. A last-minute announcement that Mrs Arinc would not attend the reception came too late.

Since the establishment of the secular republic in 1923, Ottoman and Islamic dresses have been forbidden in public places. Many an Islamist women has lost her job or place in university, and some women their seats in parliament, for defying this regulation.

On April 30, a statement issued after a meeting of Turkey's National Security Council (NSC), underlined secularism as one of the basic pillars of the Turkish Republic. Reiterating that its "vigilant protection cannot be over-emphasized", it urged the AKP government to protect the secular state. The NSC is Turkey's highest policy-making body and is composed of the chief of general staff (CGS) of the armed forces and top military commanders, the prime minister and his senior colleagues and is chaired by the president of the republic. The CGS is next in protocol after the prime minister and forms one of the three centers of power, along with the president.

In 1997, Turkey's first-ever Islamist prime minister, Najemettin Erbakan, then heading a coalition government with a secular party, was made to resign by the armed forces for his failure to curb growing Islamic fundamentalism. In 1971, the military members of the NSC had forced premier Suleiman Demirel to resign for his failure to implement land and other radical reforms and curb left-right strife. The military also intervened directly in 1960 and 1980, when politicians had brought the country to an impasse.

But after cleaning up the mess created by the politicians and getting a new constitution in place, the armed forces, self-styled custodians of Kemal Ataturk's legacy of secularism, as usual, returned to the barracks. Ataturk had forged the secular republic from the ashes of the Ottoman empire after its defeat in World War I. "

(Go to the article for the rest.)

London Mayor meets with Terrorist sympathizers

Frank Sensenbrenner writes to us
I rarely tout my own posts, but what I found was so disgusting, I think it needs to be publicized.

Go on to Friends of Al-Aqsa's site, and you'll see intifada poems, letters to papers praising Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and other fun stuff to convince everyone that they're just a harmless social group
It seems the Mayor of London is cozying up to them.

Should the Roadmap lead to a Palestinian State?

Insight Mag contains an article by Don Feder who is a conservative journalist who argues that even if "Even if Arafat and company scrupulously adhered to The Road Map's conditions, a Palestinian state would still be the grave of Israel." His arguments are well presented and to this poster, convincing.

The also have the contrary argument presented by Edward Walker former US Ambassador to the United Emiratess and a constant shill for the Arabs.

You decide.


Saul Singer lauds Sharon for making it a precondition that the "right of Return" be abandoned as a means to give teeth to the recognition that Israel has a right to exist as a Jewish State. He argues that the Arabs can't accept a two state solution while still claiming the "right of return".

Ron Dermer says Bush's about face from the June speech to the R$oad Map is a return to the faults of Oslo. He argues that the June speech is a long term formula (20 years) which is better than the Roadmap which is a short term solution leading failure.

Barry Rubin discusses just how bad Syria is and whether the US is serious about doing something about it. He tends to think not. He points also to the support Syria can count on from France, Britain and Russia. His arguements about the lack of US resolve appear to be bourn out by the facts. Remember deeds not words.

Oren Shachor argues that the Road is a rocky road and will prove to be a long one. Each of the concessions Israel is asked to make along the way and in final settlement is enough to choke on. And so long as Arafat is there the Arabs won't proceed in good faith. He also argues that the US has other priorities in the ME and the elections are coming.
There are many more worthwhile articles in today's issue.

UN: The Arabs Did Not Attack Israel in 1948, TThere Was No War

Here is an excerpt from the Uited Nations website on the history of the "Question of Palestine":
After looking at various alternatives, the UN proposed the partitioning of Palestine into two independent States, one Palestinian Arab and the other Jewish, with Jerusalem internationalized (Resolution 181 (II) of 1947). One of the two States envisaged in the partition plan proclaimed its independence as Israel and in the 1948 war expanded to occupy 77 per cent of the territory of Palestine. Israel also occupied the larger part of Jerusalem. Over half the indigenous Palestinian population fled or were expelled. Jordan and Egypt occupied the other parts of the territory assigned by the partition resolution to the Palestinian Arab State which did not come into being.

Notice there is no war. The UN's failure to even portray factual history clearly demonstrates why it is part of the problem, not the solution.
Israel Puts Skids

Is Sharon refusal to go forward until refugee issue withdrawn a deal breaker?
{...}“If [Israel] wants the Palestinians to abandon the right-of-return as the initial down payment to get anything started, then we are not going to get anywhere,” said Miller, who retired in January to become president of Seeds of Peace, a group that promotes Arab-Jewish peace through their young people.

Miller said Israel should “park that final-status issue and deal with other issues, from Palestinian security performance and incitement, to settlement activity and restrictions on Palestinian movement.”

He said Powell is expected to press to “get the security situation to the point where there is normal life for Israelis and Palestinians. The elimination of the threat of suicide bombers and terrorist attacks will eliminate IDF [Israel Defense Forces] responses. It is doable, but it is not for the fainthearted.”

“To govern in Palestinian politics,” Miller continued, “you need money, guns and political legitimacy. Abu Mazen has been accepted [as prime minister], but that is only the first step. Arafat will continue to compete for these three resources, and Abu Mazen will be sandwiched between Arafat and Hamas and Islamic Jihad.”

Ehud Olmert, Israel’s minister of industry and trade, said the success of the road map depends on the “efforts of the Palestinians towards terrorist organizations.”

He also debunked the notion that Israel would accept 100 percent Palestinian effort to end terrorism while 80 percent of the attacks continue.

“Forget about it,” he told members of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organization here this week. “If terror continues, there will be no meaningful progress. As long as Arafat is there, nothing of great consequence will happen.

“Don’t get carried away with Abu Mazen and [Mohammed] Dahlan,” Olmert said.
The usual perspective of the Right and the Left on this or most issues[more]
Hamas and the Islamic Jihad

This is a FAQ listing by The Council on Foreign Relations on Hamas--its history, actions, financing, goals, appeal.
Jew-Haters Search For Signs of Intrigue

During the Terror War, Jew-hating floated to the surface like a dead fish. Anti-war demonstrators in France waved signs that read "Vive Chirac. Stop the Jews." It was the fashion to blame such outbursts on France’s large North African immigrant population, yet it’s not fair to scold poor Algerians when a French diplomat called Israel a "shitty little country." Where the beau monde leads, the canaille will follow.

On this side of the pond, anti-warriors from the Maureen Dowd left to the paleocon right harped on the malign influence of Paul Wolfowitz and William Kristol. The assistant secretary of defense and the editor of The Weekly Standard, it seems, were behind every scene, in the best tradition of sinister ventriloquist Yids going back through Svengali to the Jew of Malta. For inveterate Bush-haters, surely there is conspiracy gridlock here. Isn’t Vice President Dick Cheney the channel of commands to the dull-witted Texan from Halliburton, Bechtel and the rest of the military-industrial complex? Or is there a hierarchy of manipulation, in which Jews trump corporations? William Kristol’s powers are truly amazing. During the 2000 campaign, he was a pro-McCain zealot who did more than anyone outside the Florida Supreme Court to keep George W. Bush out of the White House. Now he’s his puppeteer. If Howard Dean wins the 2004 election, look for the stories 18 months later about how William Kristol is pulling his strings.

The hunt for the Jew behind the arras is related to the notion that entourages run leaders: Mr. Cheney, Mr. Kristol or whoever rules George W. Bush, just as Dick Morris ruled Bill Clinton and Henry Kissinger ruled Richard Nixon. In fact, anyone who climbs the greasy pole of ambition is avid to rule himself and those around him. The notion that big egos like Mr. Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Colin Powell take orders from anyone other than their own egos is ridiculous, as is the notion that Mr. Bush takes orders from them. A few months ago, I wrote a piece on Mr. Bush for The Atlantic Monthly. The best quotation I got unfortunately came after the piece appeared, from a former Bush speechwriter. "Bush," he said, "is a prick." He meant it as description, not judgment. As Thoreau urged, Bush "step[s] to the music which he hears, however measured or far away."

But these days, the hunt for Jewish influence is a special case. The tensions and the strategic value of the Middle East draw attention to it, to our policies and to our policy-makers.

Those who hunt for influential American Jews draw justification from the sympathies of American Jews themselves. In his farewell address, George Washington warned America against partiality toward foreign countries. "The Nation, which indulges towards another an habitual hatred, or an habitual fondness, is to some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest." Washington, in 1796, was thinking of the French Revolution and the ideological passions it had produced in this country. But as America became a magnet for immigrants, Americans took stands on foreign policy based on ethnic affinities. The Irish Catholic diaspora supported Irish independence with money, weapons and, on one occasion, an unsuccessful plot to invade Canada. German-Americans in the upper Midwest were reluctant to enter World War I against the Vaterland. WASPs, redefined by immigration as an ethnic group, felt the tug of Anglophilia. Mrs. Bridge, Evan Connell’s Kansas City matron, lands at Southampton and has a Molly Bloom moment on the train to London. "Yes, she said to herself slowly, yes, I was here before." The same pressures touch the same chords in American Jews.

If the ideal of passionless discussion of foreign policy is utopian, we must still evaluate the passions that foreign countries arouse. If American Jews are disposed, more than non-Jewish Americans, to support Israel, what kind of country are they disposed to support?

I see no self-evident justification for Zionism, or for any other form of nationalist state-building. Jews, it is argued, needed a country of their own after the Holocaust. Yet the Zionist movement preceded the Holocaust by decades, and millions of post-Holocaust Jews feel no need to move to Israel. Catastrophes like the Holocaust, or the potato famine, are symbols of national longing, not causes.

Ethnic affinity is assumed to be a sufficient basis for nationhood. But who defines the affinity, and how far do they push their claim? Why is Corsica a part of France? Why is Sicily a part of Italy? Why is the South a part of the United States? Many ethnicities do not rouse themselves to nationhood; others are violently blocked. Neither race, nor language, nor religion is destiny, where political independence is concerned. Destiny is what we make of it.

Every nation or would-be nation must then be judged by its track record. The facts must be submitted to a candid world. Israel is a republican government, with elections and rights. It has maintained both through the pressure of repeated wars. Israel did not "deserve" to exist before it was created, but it deserves its existence by its behavior. When its interests are in sync with ours, it deserves our support.

The various Palestinian liberation movements and the Palestinian Authority have their own track record, and it is not good. They use terror to achieve their goals, and Yasir Arafat’s proto-state is a thugocracy. To the extent the Palestinian people support these methods, they are implicated in the immorality—though it is hard to know exactly what Palestinians think, given their dictatorial regime. Palestinians may change what they think. That is supposed to be a way station on the much-discussed road map. Maybe the appointment of Mahmoud Abbas, the new prime minister, is a portent.

America takes on the tones of those who live here. Carl Jung wrote of "the slightly Negroid mannerisms" of white Americans. By now, gentile Americans are probably slightly Jewish—more ironic, more skeptical than they once were. But the influence works both ways. Blacks, Jews, Catholics and all the other minorities who live here are different from their counterparts in other countries, and sometimes those differences seep back to their fellows abroad. America now has millions of Middle Eastern Muslim immigrants. Can it have any positive effect on them or on their homelands? This is a more important question than who is in William Kristol’s phone book.
Mideast map too broad for solid peace

Many supporters of Israel, including me, have trepidations about the road map, the latest peace plan for the Middle East. The very evenhanded nature of the proposal suggests equivalent responsibility for the evolution of the crisis. But supporters of Israel know that the source of conflict over the past half century has been Arab rejectionism.

Before there was an Israeli occupation, there were multiple wars challenging Israel's right to exist. Before there were settlements, anti-Israel terrorism had become all too common. Two and a half years ago, when peace was achievable, the Palestinian leadership chose violence.

More importantly, supporters of Israel are concerned that the other three quarters of the quartet of nations which drew up this plan will fixate on the proposed timetable for it instead of the need to truly achieve its key benchmarks. Or, that they will treat partial (or even token) compliance as satisfactory rather than disrupt a mirage of momentum. These are genuine concerns, animated by a passionate desire to protect innocents from the scourge of terrorism.

So there is no shortage of skittishness, even amid the hope that this latest attempt at achieving peace can succeed.

The question then becomes, what are the steps that can be taken to increase the likelihood of success without increasing the dangers? One piece of the puzzle is to press for real adherence to the detailed obligations in the road map. But another is to focus both parties on the eventual prize.

The road map itself is opaque about end points. On the "big four" -- borders, refugees, settlements and Jerusalem -- the road map provides guidance that is more delphic than specific. However, the general terms of an eventual agreement are relatively clear. And, leading members of the international community (including and particularly the Bush Administration) should articulate that outline to support the process and give realistic structure to both expectations and negotiations.

The basic framework can be summarized as two states with borders about the same as before the 1967 war; a sharing of Jerusalem; and no "right of return" for Palestinians to Israel, but massive international assistance for them to return and/or settle in the new Palestinian state, which would also receive generous international assistance to get up and running. Israel would abandon settlements that are not contiguous with its renegotiated borders, democracy and the rule of law would prevail in both states, with solid security guarantees for each.[more]
The Roadblock on the Road Map

Last June 24 President Bush announced a radical departure in American Middle East policy. He expressed strong support for Palestinian statehood, but only under a new, reformed Palestinian leadership that did not include Yasser Arafat.

The reason is uncomplicated: As long as Yasser Arafat wields power, there can and will be no peace between Israel and the Palestinians. In 2000 the most dovish Israeli government in history presented Arafat with the most generous offer the Palestinians have gotten from anyone -- a Palestinian state on 97 percent of the West Bank, with its capital in a shared Jerusalem. Arafat, intent on getting land without peace, responded by starting a now 31-month-old bloodbath.

For a long time, there was no Palestinian alternative to Arafat. Now there is. Abu Mazen, a close comrade of Arafat for 40 years, wanted to accept the Camp David 2000 deal. Moreover, Abu Mazen has spoken out against the intifada as a terrible historical mistake. Is he sincere? No one knows for sure, but his courage entitles him to at least a test of his sincerity.

On April 30, Abu Mazen was sworn in as prime minister by the Palestinian Legislative Council. The United States and its peace partners then released the "road map" to Palestinian statehood by 2005. The problem is that Abu Mazen is not yet in control. And he may never be.

The consistent and principled American policy had been that the road map and the push to statehood would occur only when a Palestinian government dedicated to real reform and real peace replaced the violent and corrupt Arafat regime. That has not occurred.

During the decade of the phony Oslo peace, Arafat had set up seven "security organizations" -- private militias and secret police -- under his command. They were supposed to be transferred to Abu Mazen's control. They have not been. Arafat still controls five of the seven, including Force 17, which is actively involved in terrorism.

And Arafat controls more than guns. In pre-confirmation backroom maneuvering, Arafat managed to pack the ostensible Abu Mazen cabinet with a dozen Arafat loyalists. Indeed, the crucial portfolios of foreign affairs and peace negotiations were given not to Abu Mazen's people but to Arafat's old guard.

The Bush administration can pretend that none of this has happened. It can pretend that Abu Mazen is really in control. It can pretend that Abu Mazen, without control of the security apparatus, is somehow going to stop the violence. That would be a precise repetition of the disaster of the Oslo "peace process," in which the United States willfully and repeatedly ignored the realities on the ground -- Arafat's corruption, incitement and support of terrorism -- until all hell broke loose in September 2000, and it could pretend no more.

To publish the road map with Arafat still wielding enormous power over security, terrorism and negotiations is simply to step back into the Oslo morass. It can end only as Oslo did.

What to do? The only way peace will be possible is if we stick to the June 24 principle that Arafat must go. That means freezing the road map until Abu Mazen is ceded real control. This is a strategic decision the Palestinians themselves must make. But the United States should not be inducing them to make the wrong one.

The shunning of Arafat by the Bush administration helped bring Abu Mazen out of nowhere. To relax that shunning now, to reward the Palestinians by demanding Israeli concessions and by encouraging negotiations while the violence continues with the support and cooperation of Arafat, will do nothing but strengthen Arafat and doom any chance for a real transfer of power.

But that is precisely what our road map partners, the Europeans, are doing. They insist on having some pompous official -- the latest is German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer -- ostentatiously visit Arafat in his compound, keeping alive his claim to "international legitimacy." Even Britain's Jack Straw, foreign secretary of our closest and warmest ally, said: "Arafat is still the person who we are dealing with." (Asharq al-Awsat, May 1.)

Nothing could be worse for peace. On June 24, 2002, the United States told the Palestinians: If you want a state, we will get you one. But you won't get there with Arafat, who has led you into a wilderness of blood and with whom we cannot deal because he will never make peace. This brought ferment among the Palestinians and brought Abu Mazen to the fore. But it is diplomatic suicide to stop that reform process now by proceeding along the road map as if Arafat didn't exist, when he is in fact still pulling levers. And triggers.


Arlene Peck (post of 8th.) has a rather sad story of being censored by Arab-appeasing fellow-Jews. What idiots! Like Saddam, the Palestinian Arabs can be defeated but never appeased. That any Jew can have forgotten the failed appeasement of 1939 is incomprehensible to me.

Via Dissecting Leftism

Denying history

I call your attention Ethan Bronner's review of a book 'Shattered Dreams' from Sunday's New York Times Book Section. Bronner starts off with an excellent observation:
I once asked King Hussein of Jordan whether he considered Zionism legitimate. Did he accept that there was any historical basis to the Jews' claim to a portion of Palestine as their homeland? He looked at me as if I were from Mars and ducked the question. Later he told a Jordanian colleague that only a Jew could have posed such a strange question. Perhaps by the time of his death in 1999 he had softened his view. But his reaction still exemplifies that of the vast majority of Arabs today.
Unfortunately, it's all downhill from there. Next he writes:
Ask most Israelis about Palestinian nationalism or the centrality of Jerusalem to Palestinian history and you will get a dismissive wave of the hand and a lecture asserting that there was no Palestinian identity until the Arabs invented it as a weapon to wield against Israel.
That's right, the denial of Jewish history is equated with denying the "centrality of Jerusalem to Palestinian history." Bonner acknowledges later that "Palestinians refuse to accept that the spot ever contained the temples, despite near unanimity on the point among archaeologists and historians." But as Daniel Pipes has shown (on more than one occasion) there is no Muslim claim to Jerusalem.
There's another line where Bronner seems to acknowledge the lack of symmetry between the two sides:
Until the two sides teach their children what it means to have stood in the shoes of their adversaries -- something the Israelis began doing but stopped, and something the Palestinians have never done -- the chance of real peace remains slim.
Unfortunately Bronner handles this on the sly. Why did Israelis stop trying to understand their enemy? Is it because they were rewarded for making efforts at coming to terms with the Palestinian with the brutal violence of the "Aqsa" intifada? Of course Bronner wants to explain that away too.
The accepted story in the United States is that after several years of halting negotiations, at Camp David the Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered Yasir Arafat some 90 percent of the West Bank and Gaza Strip and a reasonable deal on Jerusalem. Arafat balked, made no counteroffer and two months later gave his real response, the violent uprising, complete with suicide bombings.
Again, so far so good, but then ...
Enderlin's story makes clear that there is truth to this version but, by itself, it will not do. Unless you understand the way Barak ignored the Palestinians in 1999 in a failed effort to cut a deal with the Syrians first; unless you see the accelerated level of Jewish settlement building; unless you grasp the dynamic by which the Israeli right interrupted the peace process, forcing Barak to pull back, you will not have a complete picture. In this book, we learn what was offered at Camp David -- 76 percent of the West Bank -- and how it grew to 92 percent the following January before talks broke down. Errors, misjudgments, false moves and internal tensions -- Israeli, Palestinian and American -- are all part of the sad story.

One example concerns the visit of Ariel Sharon, then the leader of the opposition, to the holiest Muslim site in Jerusalem, followed by the uprising. Israelis have long argued that the visit was an excuse for an already planned uprising. The Palestinians have said the violence was spontaneous. Enderlin shows that it was the poor judgment of an Israeli deputy police commander -- based on faulty intelligence -- that set off the worst of the violence, which was then taken over by Palestinian leaders seeking to make their mark.
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. As Joseph pointed out earlier this week, there's a movement afoot to absolve Arafat from blame for the intifada. Read for example Amb. Yehuda Lancry's letter from October 2, 2000. He noted that the violence started on September 13. Take a contemporaneous account from Ha'aretz on September 18, 2000 that Arafat had released every single Hamas and PIJ leader from jail and you realize that the violence occurred because the ringleaders were released from prison and allowed to operate freely by the PA.
Clearly Bronner has to toe the company line at the NY Times and can't admit that Arafat never wanted peace. Like Friedman and many others in the media (and the diplomatic corps) there's no crime committed by the PA that is so large that it can't be explained away.

Bronner ends by writing:
But in the end, this book suggests, until there is a mutual acceptance of competing historic and religious claims, a lasting solution will not emerge.
That indeed is the problem. What Bronner won't allow himself to say is that Palestinian nationalism is built upon the denial of Zionism and that until that changes there will be no peace. It's not a balanced issue here. There is a good side and a bad side. Trying to blame both sides is not the sign of even handedness but the sign moral blindness.

Cross posted to IsraPundit and David's Israel Blog.
Does he realize what he's saying?

I don't think that Oslophile, Thomas Friedman, understood what he wrote in his most recent column:

It isn't often you get to see a live political science experiment, but that is what we're about to witness in Iraq as the first interim Iraqi government is formed from the different factional leaders in the country. What American advisers and this Iraqi interim government will attempt to answer is the most fundamental question facing the Arab world and many developing countries: How do you get from here to there? How do you go from a brutal authoritarian regime to a decent, accountable, democratizing society, without ending up with an Iranian-style theocracy or chaos?

Interestingly enough, what the smartest experts in the democracy field all seem to agree on is that this interim Iraqi authority should not focus on holding national elections — the hardware of democracy. Elections should come last. Instead, it must start with the software — building, brick by brick, the institutions of a free society — so that when people do get to vote, when national power is up for grabs, they have a range of choices and can be assured that there will be a rotation of power.
Well one thing you don't do is give the tyrant control of all apparatuses of government and no penalties for misbehavior. That's what happened with Oslo and it didn't seem to bother Mr. Friedman. Oslo failed because the "software" was ignored. The Palestinians used every government body necessary to deliver their message of hatred towards Israel and Jews. Instead of building commerce they built weapons factories and organizations to smuggle them. Friedman and others in similar positions had a responsibility to point this out. They didn't.
Cross posted to IsraPundit and Doubting Thomas.
Fisking Dennis Ross

Dennis Ross has retired from peacemaking and landed with Robert Satloff's Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Given the sloppiness of Ross's work, I wonder how he got such a prestigious position. No mind. Let's critique his work.
In the last week the prospects for peace between Israelis and Palestinians appeared to be improving. The Palestinians approved Mahmoud Abbas as their first-ever prime minister, and he declared that terrorism threatened to destroy the Palestinian cause — language one never heard from Yasir Arafat. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel reiterated his understanding that it would take painful concessions by Israel to achieve peace, including a willingness to part with areas central to Jewish history like Bethlehem, Shilo and Beit El. And Secretary of State Colin Powell is on his way to Jerusalem to promote President Bush's "road map" toward a peacefully coexisting Israel and Palestine.
True, as Ross notes, that one never heard Yasir Arafat saying that violence was counterproductive. So then why did Ross put so much stock in Arafat for eight years if Arafat never acknowledged that violence was not the way to achieve the PA's goals. It's nice for Ross to make this observation now, but why didn't he make it - and force Clinton to act upon it - during the 90's?

Still I suppose even a little progress is preferable to none at all. So what if Abbas, just a few weeks ago, said that he considered Jews living in Judea, Samaria and Gaza legitimate targets? Well we'll just ignore the inconvenient stuff.
But these hopeful signs were accompanied by a suicide bombing in Tel Aviv and an Israeli incursion in Gaza, which yet again left noncombatants dead on both sides. Then Mr. Abbas was stymied by Mr. Arafat and other Palestinian leaders over his plans to reorganize the Palestinian security services. And aides to Mr. Sharon said Israel was unlikely to commit to the road map until after he meets with President Bush in a few weeks.
Here's one of those annoying equivalences. "...noncombatants dead on both sides." Yes but which side targeted the noncombatants? And which side hides its combatants among noncombatants?
Are we watching yet another brief moment of opportunity undone by Palestinian terrorism and Israeli reprisal? Perhaps not — we are at a promising stage because the interests of the Israelis and Palestinians have greatly converged. But everyone involved must recognize what is possible and what is not. These shared concerns of the leaders on both sides only involve stopping the current Intifadah. We must focus on changes in the near-term reality, not a lasting peace that would require concessions neither side can make now.
Despite what Ross implies here it's not up to both leaders to stop the intifadah. That is the responsibility of Abbas alone. And no, I don't buy excuses such as "our police can't do their jobs until the Israelis retreat." Israel's retreated before only to watch terrorism increase. There is plenty of work the PA can do even with Israel around. (The PA, it should be noted, has little difficulty rooting out those they thinking are helping Israel.)
Mr. Sharon knows that Israel's economic woes cannot be overcome so long as the daily struggle with the Palestinians goes on. Nor can the Israeli Defense Force stay in the Palestinian cities of the West Bank indefinitely. It is not only that Israel's army, largely made up of reserves, is being sapped in terms of manpower and morale, but also that the Palestinians' hostility toward Israel will continue as long as they feel the cities are under siege.
I get the impression that morale is not a problem among Israeli reservists. Why suggest it? And is the hostility the result of the "siege" or is it the result of an orchestrated hate campaign? Did the level of hate go down when Netanyahu was Prime Minister and there were few if any closures?
Thus neither prime minister is focused on the endgame of peacemaking right now. Mr. Abbas has no authority to make concessions on issues like the control of Jerusalem, borders and refugees. To gain credibility on tackling these core questions, he has to show that he can reform the Palestinian Authority and reduce Israeli control of Palestinian lives. Ariel Sharon, for his part, won't consider addressing the major issues until he knows that he has a partner who will truly dismantle all the terrorism networks in the Palestinian areas. None of this will happen overnight.
As IMRA notes, Abbas claims he has no authorization to compromise on the right of return ever. Given that admission, it's hard to see where building trust will help.
Moreover, the absence of clear measuring sticks for judging performance will leave each side in a position to claim it has done what was required, no matter the reality. For example, the Palestinians are supposed to make arrests and dismantle terrorist groups. But how many people should be arrested, and who are the key targets? What does the essential terrorist network consist of, and does it include the Dawa — the social support structure of the terrorist group Hamas?

On the Israeli side, what is the real number of illegal settler outposts? Israel is supposed to withdraw to its defense force positions of September 2000, but where exactly were they?
Terrorist infrastructure clearly includes the "social services" branch of Hamas. No distinction necessary. And this lack of specificity is one of the failures of Oslo. Of course the PA even ignored its obvious obligations. So it's not clear that adding specificity to the Road Map will bring any improvement in PA compliance.
The two sides need to be clear on what each is going to do, where it is going to do it, how it is going to do it, and when it is going to do it. Can they come to an agreement on their own? I doubt it. From my long experience dealing with the two sides, I know that the potential for using the same language to mean different things existed even in the best of times of dialogue and cooperation. Now, in a very hostile environment, the potential to talk past each other and inadvertently create profound misunderstandings is even greater. It is already visible in the debate over "confronting" Hamas — with Palestinians feeling this means persuasion, the Israelis that it means physical destruction.

Israeli expectations must be reconciled with Palestinian capacities — and that will happen only with American help. Mr. Powell has the best chance of success this weekend if he puts his emphasis on near-term specifics. His success at getting the two sides to agree on what to do now will determine whether the road map is a genuine path toward peace or yet another Middle Eastern cul-de-sac.
And if this is to work, Powell must bring pressure to bear on the PA that controlling Hamas means destroying it. Persuasion is long past. In the past whenever Arafat tried to co-opt Hamas, his apologists - in the media and in the diplomatic - would excuse it as Arafat trying to moderate Hamas. But these agreements always included permission for Hamas to strike at Jews in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. So the PA was violating its commitment to end violence by entering into those agreements. It was up to the world to condemn him for it. The world didn't then. Now there's no choice. Hamas must be destroyed. And the United States must bring pressure to bear to make that happen.
Cross posted on IsraPundit and David's Israel Blog.

"It never rains but it pours"

Sadly, today's [May 9, 2003] news reports confirm this proverb, at least as far as Israel is concerned.

1. Ha'Aretz reports as follows in an article entitled, "U.S. slams IDF strike on Hamas man in Gaza Strip":
The United States criticized Israel on Thursday for the assassination of a top Hamas activist in the Gaza Strip earlier in the day, saying that such measures were an obstacle to peace.
The same report had no parallel condemnation for Arab terrorism, which included:
An armed Palestinian in a booby-trapped car was killed in the Gaza Strip on Thursday evening while attempting to blow up an IDF tank, after at least one Palestinian opened fire at a group of soldiers.
A mortar shell was fired early Thursday evening at a settlement in the southern Gaza Strip, causing damage to one house, Army Radio reported. Another mortar shell was fired at a Gush Katif settlement in Gaza; there were no injuries.
So that's what good friends do - they criticize their friends but can't find a critical word to say about their friends' attackers!

2. Well, one might say, that's State, but Congress is different. Unfortunately, it seems that Congress, too, is not what one is led to believe it is. For one thing, Congress appears to fully endorse the Roadmap. Here is today's story, again from Ha'Aretz, under the heading, "Congress cmte. promises aid if Palestinians follow road map":
A House of Representatives committee approved legislation Thursday that would offer Palestinians substantial economic and humanitarian aid if they follow a U.S.-backed international blueprint for peace with Israel.
The bill approved by the House International Relations Committee also goes further than the traditionally pro-Israel House has before in supporting a Palestinian state.

3. It figures. Didn't Bush talk about a leadership untainted by terrorism? Wasn't Aratrash singled out as the one to be sidelined? If that is so, then how come the US is lauding this new/improved government, when in fact it is Aratrash's government, and abu Mazen himself says so. Following is a quotation from Ha'Aretz, May 9, 2003, in a news story entitled, "Bush says optimistic about road map for Mideast peace":
Abu Mazen, co-founder of the PLO's mainstream group Fatah and Arafat's longtime colleague, played down any tensions [between Aratrash and himself].

"This is Arafat's government and I don't believe he is placing obstacles in its path. Therefore its success is as important for him as it is important for everybody else."
This too cannot be good news for Israel or for the West as a whole.

4. ...And then there is Syria. If anyone believed that the new Middle East would mollify this dictatorship, and if anyone put credence in the Syrian alleged peace feelers towards Israel, then today's news report on the matter should settle all doubts. In a headline that leaves no doubts whatever, "Mideast peace requires 'total retreat' by Israel", Ha'Aretz reports as follows:
Lasting peace in the Middle East depends on a "total retreat" by Israel from the territories it seized in the 1967 war, Syria's ambassador to Spain said Wednesday.
The statement came hours after the leader of a radical Palestinian group Ahmed Jibril [leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Command] confirmed that he is ready to shut offices in Damascus in order to ease U.S. pressure on Syria, but added that Syrian officials had made no such demand.
Nayef Hawatmeh, the leader of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, another Damascus-based radical Palestinian group, expressed hopes Wednesday that the Syrian government would not bow to U.S. pressure.
And so, while doing nothing to comply with Powell's demands, Syria has the audacity to set pre-conditions for peace negotiations. So what has changed in Syria since Saddam's ignoble defeat?

5. The fifth news story in the sequence comes from a piece entitled "Tel Aviv University: dramatic increase in global anti-semitic acts", which was posted on the website of Jpost:
The year 2002 witnessed the highest number of violent anti-Semitic acts in more than 12 years, according to Tel Aviv University.

Tel Aviv University's annual report: Anti-Semitism Worldwide 2002/3, is a country-by-country survey published in partnership with the Anti-Defamation League and the World Jewish Congress.

A total of 311 violent anti-Semitic attacks were reported in 2002, among them 56 major attacks involving the use of weapons, and 255 major violent incidents.
Like I said, "it never rains, but it pours", and for Israel it's been pouring almost daily.