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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Gaza: Obama Supports Hamas

On whose side is the Obama administration in Israel's current war with Hamas? Although Israeli ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer would, for public consumption, feel compelled to deny it, Obama supports Hamas.

In a New York Times article entitled "Arab Leaders, Viewing Hamas as Worse Than Israel, Stay Silent" (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/31/world/middleeast/fighting-political-islam-arab-states-find-themselves-allied-with-israel.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&version=HpSum&module=first-column-region&region=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0), David Kirkpatrick writes:

"Egypt and other Arab states, especially the Persian Gulf monarchies of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, are finding themselves allied with Israel in a common opposition to Iran, a rival regional power that has a history of funding and arming Hamas.

For Washington, the shift poses new obstacles to its efforts to end the fighting. Although Egyptian intelligence agencies continue to talk with Hamas, as they did under former President Hosni Mubarak and Mr. Morsi, Cairo’s new animosity toward the group has called into question the effectiveness of that channel, especially after the response to Egypt’s first proposal.

As a result, Secretary of State John Kerry turned to the more Islamist-friendly states of Qatar and Turkey as alternative mediators — two states that grew in regional stature with the rising tide of political Islam after the Arab Spring, and that have suffered a degree of isolation as that tide has ebbed.

But that move has put Mr. Kerry in the incongruous position of appearing to some analysts as less hostile to Hamas — and thus less supportive of Israel — than Egypt or its Arab allies."

Kirkpatrick, however, is only partially correct. Although Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are silently rooting for the destruction of Hamas, their support of Israel has little to do with "common opposition to Iran." Hamas has allied itself with the rebels in Syria, fighting against the Iranian proxy regime of Bashar al-Assad, and for this reason Hamas moved its headquarters from Damascus to Qatar. Rather, the opposition to Hamas of Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE is grounded upon their fear of Sunni Islamic radicalism, as embodied by ISIS (alternatively "ISIL"), which also poses a threat to Shiite Iran.

Note that Hezbollah, Iran's proxy in Lebanon, has been holding its fire against Israel during the current war.

So why did Kerry turn to "the more Islamist-friendly states of Qatar and Turkey as alternative mediators"?

I would observe that notwithstanding identical denials from Obama's West Wing and Netanyahu's PMO (Prime Minister's Office), I have been informed by a reliable source that Obama did instruct Bibi on Sunday to agree to an immediate unilateral ceasefire, as reported by Israel's Channel 1. I am told that Obama also declared that he trusts Qatar and Turkey, and that Israel is not in a position to choose mediators.

In addition, I would note that Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian Authority were not invited to Kerry's meeting on Friday with the foreign ministers of France, Italy, the UK and Germany to discuss Gaza. Rather, Kerry invited the foreign ministers of Qatar and Turkey, Hamas's principal backers, to join this meeting. And on Saturday, Kerry had a separate follow-up meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Qatari Minister of Foreign Affairs Khalid bin Mohammad al-Attiyah.

Qatar, known for its abuse of foreign laborers, has been bankrolling a bankrupt Hamas. Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David Cohen said of Qatar earlier this year (http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/jl2308.aspx):

"Qatar, a longtime U.S. ally, has for many years openly financed Hamas, a group that continues to undermine regional stability. Press reports indicate that the Qatari government is also supporting extremist groups operating in Syria. To say the least, this threatens to aggravate an already volatile situation in a particularly dangerous and unwelcome manner."

Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, known for his horrific anti-Semitic outbursts, several days ago said that Israel has "surpassed what Hitler did to them" and declared Israel a "terrorist state" (see: http://washington.cbslocal.com/2014/07/25/turkish-prime-minister-israel-has-surpassed-what-hitler-did-to-them/). By the way, the Turkish government also objects to women laughing in public (see: http://abcnews.go.com/International/turkish-women-defiantly-laugh-official-lol/story?id=24779386).

Given their fervent support of Hamas, Qatar and Turkey were "peculiar" choices by Obama to mediate the conflict between Israel and Hamas. They were even stranger choices given the fact that by seeking to appoint these two countries as mediators, Obama knew that he would be insulting Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinian Authority. Stupidity on Obama's part, or something far more insidious?

But more to the point, why is Obama so intent upon reaching an immediate cease-fire between Israel and Hamas? Why isn't Obama willing to allow Israel to "win," i.e. eradicate Hamas?

Yesterday, in an editorial entitled "The U.S. push for a Gaza cease-fire should empower moderate Palestinians" (http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-us-push-for-a-gaza-cease-fire-should-empower-moderate-palestinians/2014/07/29/daba4f3e-1735-11e4-9e3b-7f2f110c6265_story.html), The Washington Post stated:

"More broadly, the Obama administration should be working with Egypt and Mr. Abbas, as well as Israel, to end the conflict in a way that reduces rather than reinforces Hamas’s power over Gaza. This is not unrealistic: A recent agreement between Mr. Abbas’s Fatah movement and Hamas to form a single government for the West Bank and Gaza, followed by elections for new leaders, could provide a mechanism. Mr. Abbas, who has been working closely with Egypt, is reportedly proposing that his U.S.-trained security forces secure the border between Gaza and Egypt, displacing Hamas."

However, Obama is plainly not interested in ousting Hamas and installing Fatah in Gaza. Rather, the Obama administration is busy playing the "both sides are culpable" game, when it is not actively seeking to undermine Israel. As acknowledged by Barak Ravid, writing for Israel's left-leaning Haaretz in an article entitled "Kerry's cease-fire draft revealed: U.S. plan would let Hamas keep its rockets" (http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.607379), Kerry's cease-fire plan ignored all of Israel's basic security needs:

"Israel's demands were mentioned in the most general of terms in the phrase 'address all security issues.' There was no one mention of demilitarizing the Gaza Strip of its rocket supply or advanced weapons, and not the dismantling of the terror tunnels."

Was Kerry acting in renegade fashion, i.e. without the knowledge of Obama, when drafting his cease-fire proposal? Not a chance.

As Obama nears the end of his second term, we will see more and more of his "true colors." It is becoming increasingly apparent that the president is no friend of Israel, despite what Israeli Ambassador Dermer might feel compelled to say in order to prevent Israel's relationship with the Obama administration from completely unraveling.

Did Obama Order Netanyahu to Agree to an Immediate Unilateral Ceasefire? My Sources Say "Yes"

Notwithstanding identical denials from Obama's West Wing and Netanyahu's PMO (Prime Minister's Office), did Obama instruct Bibi on Sunday to agree to an immediate unilateral ceasefire, as reported yesterday by Israel's Channel 1? Did Obama say that he trusts Qatar and Turkey, and that Israel is not in a position to choose its mediators?

I have been told that the substance of the transcript of the conversation, translated from English to Hebrew and then back to English (see: http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.co.il/2014/07/obama-demands-that-israel-agree-to.html), is correct.

Later today, I'm hoping to have more details, which I might, or might not, be able to share.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Maureen Dowd, "Night at the Opera?": Or For Whom the Bell Tolls?

In her latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Night at the Opera?" (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/30/opinion/maureen-dowd-night-at-the-opera.html), Maureen Dowd tells us of the budgetary travails of the Metropolitan Opera and the angst of its general manager, Peter Gelb. Dowd concludes her opinion piece by observing:

"As the clock ticks down, I’m rooting for Valhalla, not Götterdämmerung."

I don't know anything about opera, but I wonder whether Dowd shouldn't be training her eye on her own employer, The New York Times, instead of the Metropolitan. Yesterday, The New York Times reported its operating results for the second quarter of 2014, which included a decrease in print advertising revenue of 6.6 percent compared with the corresponding period in 2013, and an increase in operating costs of 5.2 percent.

Missing the earnings expectations of analysts, The New York Times was one of the 10 biggest percentage decliners on New York Stock Exchange (http://finance.yahoo.com/news/nyse-stocks-posting-largest-percentage-174225999.html).

Regarding prospects for the third quarter of 2014, The New York Times stated (http://finance.yahoo.com/news/york-times-company-reports-2014-123000424.html):

"In the third quarter of 2014, total circulation revenues are expected to be flat compared with the third quarter of 2013.

Total advertising revenues in the third quarter of 2014 are expected to decrease in the mid-single digits compared with the third quarter of 2013.

Operating costs and adjusted operating costs are each expected to increase in the low- to mid-single digits in the third quarter of 2014 compared with the third quarter of 2013.

In addition, the Company expects the following on a pre-tax basis in 2014:

Results from joint ventures: loss of $1 to $3 million,

Depreciation and amortization: $75 to $80 million,

Interest expense, net: $53 to $57 million, and

Capital expenditures: $40 to $50 million."

These are indeed worrisome times for the Gray Lady, which is in desperate need of rejuvenation. Maybe, looking ahead, Obama can lend the Times some money. What a shame . . .

Roger Cohen, "Zionism and Its Discontents": With Zionists Like Cohen, Who Needs Enemies?

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Zionism and Its Discontents" (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/30/opinion/roger-cohen-zionism-and-israels-war-with-hamas-in-gaza.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss&_r=0), subtitled "Zionism and Israel’s War with Hamas in Gaza," Roger ("Iran is not totalitarian") Cohen tells us that he is a Zionist. However, Cohen immediately goes on to say:

"What I cannot accept, however, is the perversion of Zionism that has seen the inexorable growth of a Messianic Israeli nationalism claiming all the land between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River; that has, for almost a half-century now, produced the systematic oppression of another people in the West Bank; that has led to the steady expansion of Israeli settlements on the very West Bank land of any Palestinian state; that isolates moderate Palestinians like Salam Fayyad in the name of divide-and-rule; that pursues policies that will make it impossible to remain a Jewish and democratic state; that seeks tactical advantage rather than the strategic breakthrough of a two-state peace; that blockades Gaza with 1.8 million people locked in its prison and is then surprised by the periodic eruptions of the inmates; and that responds disproportionately to attack in a way that kills hundreds of children."

What isn't Cohen telling us this time?

As always, Cohen makes certain not to mention that in 2008, when Israeli Prime Minister Olmert offered Palestinian Authority President Abbas an independent state along the 1967 lines with agreed upon land swaps and Palestinian control of east Jerusalem, Abbas refused. Cohen also ignores the fact that several years earlier, Israeli Prime Minister Barak similarly offered to withdraw from 97 percent of the West Bank and tear down 63 Israeli settlements. In exchange for the settlements that would remain part of Israel, Barak said he would increase the size of Gaza by a third. Barak also agreed to Palestinian control of much of East Jerusalem, which would become Palestine's capital, and Palestinian sovereignty over the Temple Mount. Arafat, however, also refused.

Cohen tells us that Gaza has "1.8 million people locked in its prison." However, Cohen fails to mention that the population of Gaza was some 300,000 in 1967 after Israel occupied Gaza during the Six Day War (Israel unilaterally evacuated Gaza in 2005). Needless to say, the main reason Gaza is so crowded is that Gazans have been very busy having children. Then, too, life expectancy in Gaza of 74.64 years, according to the CIA World Factbook, is considerably higher than life expectancy in Turkey amounting to 73.29 years.

Cohen doesn't tell us about Gaza's eight universities and colleges, or its gourmet restaurants (e.g., "Roots"), or its 5-star hotel ("The al-Mashtal"). And then there was also the "Crazy Water Park," which was burned down by Hamas, because Hamas didn't want men and women intermingling.

That's quite an extraordinary prison you have there, Roger.

Cohen also fails to note that the border between Israel and Gaza was not always closed. It was closed after suicide bombers, sent into Israel from Gaza and the West Bank, killed more than 1,000 Israeli civilians. By the same token, Cohen ignores the more than 10,000 rockets and mortar rounds that were fired from Gaza at Israeli towns and cities prior to the current war.

Regarding the death of children in Gaza, Cohen refuses to acknowledge that many of the more than 3,000 rockets targeting Israel during the past three weeks have been fired from Gazan hospitals, schools and mosques.



By the way, for the third time during the current round of fighting, UNRWA has discovered rockets stored in its Gazan schools (see: http://www.timesofisrael.com/rockets-found-in-unrwa-school-for-third-time/).

Cohen is a Zionist? With Zionists like Cohen, who needs enemies?

Obama Allegedly Demands That Israel Agree to an Immediate Unilateral Ceasefire

Is Obama seeking to deprive Israel of its sovereignty and its right to defend itself?

Israel's Channel 1 has published a Hebrew transcript of President Obama's conversation with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu on Sunday. The White House had previously released a "read out" of Obama's conversation with Netanyahu (http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/07/27/readout-president-s-call-prime-minister-netanyahu-israel), but apparently much "went missing" from this summary.

According to the English translation of the Hebrew transcript of a highly revealing segment of this alleged conversation (see: http://www.timesofisrael.com/day-22-five-soldiers-killed-four-of-them-in-mortar-attack-idf-bombards-gaza/) between Barack Obama (BO) and Benjamin Netanyahu (BN):

"Barack Obama: I demand that Israel agrees to an immediate, unilateral ceasefire and halt all offensive activities, in particular airstrikes.

Benjamin Netanyahu: And what will Israel receive in exchange for a ceasefire?

BO: I believe that Hamas will cease its rocket fire — silence will be met with silence.

BN: Hamas broke all five previous ceasefires. It’s a terrorist organization dedicated to the destruction of Israel.

BO: I repeat and expect Israel to stop all its military activities unilaterally. The pictures of destruction in Gaza distance the world from Israel’s position.

BN: Kerry’s proposal was completely unrealistic and gives Hamas military and diplomatic advantages.

BO: Within a week of the end of Israel’s military activities, Qatar and Turkey will begin negotiations with Hamas based on the 2012 understandings, including Israel’s commitment to removing the siege and restrictions on Gaza.

BN: Qatar and Turkey are the biggest supporters of Hamas. It’s impossible to rely on them to be fair mediators.

BO: I trust Qatar and Turkey. Israel is not in the position that it can choose its mediators.

BN: I protest because Hamas can continue to launch rockets and use tunnels for terror attacks –

BO: (interrupting Netanyahu) The ball’s in Israel’s court, and it must end all its military activities."

If this transcript is correct, are we to understand that Israel must agree to an immediate unilateral ceasefire, notwithstanding the fact that Hamas has broken all previous ceasefires?

Are we to understand that Israel has no say regarding the mediators?

Are we to understand that Obama trusts Turkey and Qatar?

Hamas, which has been bankrolled by Qatar, is designated by the US as a terrorist organization. Qatar is also infamous for its abuse of foreign laborers.

Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan is known for his horrific anti-Semitic outbursts and recently declared:

"[Israel] curse[s] Hitler morning and night. However, now their barbarism has surpassed even Hitler’s."

Meanwhile, as also being reported by The Times of Israel:

"Muhammad Deif, the titular head of Hamas’s Al-Qassam Brigades, says in a recorded statement broadcast on Al Aqsa TV that his forces will not accede to a ceasefire until Israeli hostilities end and the siege on Gaza is lifted."

Deif further explicitly declared on Tuesday (see: http://www.jpost.com/Operation-Protective-Edge/Hamas-military-commander-There-will-be-no-ceasefire-victory-will-be-ours-369336):

"There will be no ceasefire. Victory will be ours."

[Both the US National Security Council and the Prime Minister of Israel’s Office are claiming in identical statements that the transcript is a "fabrication." However, as reported by The Times of Israel: "Despite rejections by American and Israeli officials, Channel 1′s Or Nahari insists that the transcript leaked to him by a 'senior American official' is authentic, but acknowledges that the quotes he published were merely an excerpt from a long conversation."]

Monday, July 28, 2014

David Brooks, "No War Is an Island": Obama, Read This Op-ed!

Yesterday, the US State Department's Jen Psaki ("It's simply not the way partners and allies treat each other") and an "anonymous" senior aide to Obama were busy berating the Israeli government for scorning John Kerry's efforts to reach a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas pursuant to the terms of Hamas (see: http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.co.il/2014/07/david-grossman-israel-without-illusions.html). As reported by The Washington Free Beacon (http://freebeacon.com/national-security/obama-admin-u-s-israel-relationship-in-jeopardy-over-criticism-of-kerry/):

"According to the AP’s Matt Lee and Julie Pace, administration officials used 'unusually harsh language' to declare that 'criticism of Kerry could put the relationship between the U.S. and Israel in jeopardy' and had 'crossed a line.'"

However, the threatening language directed at Israel mysteriously disappeared from the article written by Lee and Pace (see: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/us-fuming-over-israeli-criticism-kerry), and suddenly both Obama and Kerry were talking about the need for a demilitarized Gaza, a key Israeli demand which was absent from Kerry's cease-fire proposal.

What happened? Why did the White House back off?

As might be expected, conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer yesterday went further than the Israeli cabinet in denouncing Kerry (http://freebeacon.com/national-security/krauthammer-chaos-around-the-world-result-of-obamas-disengagement-and-withdrawal/):

"Kerry goes over and negotiates in Paris, who with? Qatar and Turkey. And returns essentially as the lawyer for Hamas, hands Israel a proposition that is so outrageous that the cabinet votes 19-0 against it. Israeli cabinets have never voted 19-0 on whether the sun rises in the east. It was unbelievable. It would have given Hamas all of its demands."

But the real bombshell for the Obama administration was the Washington Post opinion piece entitled "John Kerry’s big blunder in seeking an Israel-Gaza cease-fire" (http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/david-ignatius-john-kerrys-big-blunder-in-seeking-an-israel-gaza-cease-fire/2014/07/28/ab3fbfd2-1686-11e4-9349-84d4a85be981_story.html?hpid=z2#) by David Ignatius, a friend of the White House, who yesterday observed:

"Kerry’s error has been to put so much emphasis on achieving a quick halt to the bloodshed that he has solidified the role of Hamas, the intractable, unpopular Islamist group that leads Gaza, along with the two hard-line Islamist nations that are its key supporters, Qatar and Turkey. In the process, he has undercut not simply the Israelis but also the Egyptians and the Fatah movement that runs the Palestinian Authority, all of which want to see an end to Hamas rule in Gaza."

Suddenly, the West Wing woke up to the havoc wrecked by Kerry and feverishly entered into damage-control mode.

Which brings us to David Brooks's latest New York Times op-ed entitled "No War Is an Island" (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/29/opinion/david-brooks-when-middle-east-conflicts-become-one.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=c-column-top-span-region&region=c-column-top-span-region&WT.nav=c-column-top-span-region&_r=0), subtitled "When Middle East Conflicts Become One." Brooks, who is read by Obama, writes today:

"After the Arab Spring, the Islamists briefly gained the upper hand [in Egypt]. But when the Muslim Brotherhood government fell, the military leaders cracked down. They sentenced hundreds of the Brotherhood’s leadership class to death. They also closed roughly 95 percent of the tunnels that connected Egypt to Gaza, where the Brotherhood’s offshoot, Hamas, had gained power.

As intended, the Egyptian move was economically devastating to Hamas. Hamas derived 40 percent of its tax revenue from tariffs on goods that flowed through those tunnels. One economist estimated the economic losses at $460 million a year, nearly a fifth of the Gazan G.D.P.

Hamas needed to end that blockade, but it couldn’t strike Egypt, so it struck Israel. If Hamas could emerge as the heroic fighter in a death match against the Jewish state, if Arab TV screens were filled with dead Palestinian civilians, then public outrage would force Egypt to lift the blockade. Civilian casualties were part of the point."

Or stated otherwise, Hamas is bankrupt, isolated and fighting for its survival on the world stage. Hamas has nothing to lose in this war, and will not agree to a cease-fire without first having something tangible to show to the Arab street for its efforts.

Brooks fails to mention that Hamas lost the support of Iran, after Hamas backed the rebels fighting against Bashar al-Assad in Syria and moved its headquarters from Damascus to Qatar. It is no accident that Hezbollah, Iran's proxy in Lebanon, has refused to fire a single missile at Israel during the past three weeks. (The scattering of rockets fired at northern Israel from Lebanon during the past three weeks has been attributed to militant Palestinian factions.)

Essentially, Kerry spent the past week in Cairo, Tel Aviv, Ramallah and Paris in an effort to throw a lifeline to Hamas, which has been designated as a terrorist organization by the United States. Kerry is only now beginning to comprehend the damage caused by his acceptance of the cease-fire terms demanded by Hamas, as pressed upon him by Qatar and Turkey. Notwithstanding Obama administration declarations to the contrary, these were not the cease-fire terms of Egypt, and the terms did not take into account Israeli calls for a demilitarized Gaza.

Egypt, by the way, has become overtly contemptuous of Obama. As part of a widely publicized effort to demean the American secretary of state, Kerry last week was screened with a metal detector device before meeting with Egyptian President Sisi. Kerry, however, seems to have been blissfully unaware of this Middle Eastern insult.

Is Kerry hostile to Israel? I don't think so. The man is simply out of his depth.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

David Grossman, "An Israel Without Illusions": Talk With Hamas?

I am a great admirer of Israeli author David Grossman, whom I have met only once. Several years ago, we sat next to one another on a flight to Amsterdam, and he mentioned to me that there had been a bit of confusion concerning our seating arrangement owing to our shared surname. I mentioned that my oldest boy was a paratrooper, and I wanted to ask about his suffering after the death of his son in the 2006 Lebanon War, but I dared not broach the subject.

Today, in a guest New York Times op-ed entitled "An Israel Without Illusions" (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/28/opinion/david-grossman-end-the-grindstone-of-israeli-palestinian-violence.html?ref=opinion&_r=0), David Grossman writes:

"Since I cannot ask Hamas, nor do I purport to understand its way of thinking, I ask the leaders of my own country, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his predecessors: How could you have wasted the years since the last conflict without initiating dialogue, without even making the slightest gesture toward dialogue with Hamas, without attempting to change our explosive reality? Why, for these past few years, has Israel avoided judicious negotiations with the moderate and more conversable sectors of the Palestinian people — an act that could also have served to pressure Hamas? Why have you ignored, for 12 years, the Arab League initiative that could have enlisted moderate Arab states with the power to impose, perhaps, a compromise on Hamas? In other words: Why is it that Israeli governments have been incapable, for decades, of thinking outside the bubble?"

"Without even making the slightest gesture toward dialogue with Hamas"? My own feeling is that it is extremely difficult to engage in dialogue with persons belonging to a party whose charter calls for the murder of all Jews, not just Israelis.

Grossman goes on to say:

"[T]he Palestinian majority, represented by Mahmoud Abbas, has already decided in favor of negotiation and against terrorism."

Well, not quite. According to the recent results of a Washington Institute for Near East Policy poll (http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/new-palestinian-poll-shows-hardline-views-but-some-pragmatism-too), "a clear majority [of Palestinians] (60% overall, including 55% in the West Bank and 68% in Gaza) say that the five-year goal 'should be to work toward reclaiming all of historic Palestine, from the river to the sea.'"

Of course, I share David Grossman's desire to see a democratic prosperous state of Palestine. However, I have no illusions concerning the ultimate desires of a majority of Palestinians, particularly at a time when Islamic radicalism is sweeping the Middle East.

If Israel will only be nicer to the Palestinians, might their attitude toward Israel change? This is not far removed from the Father Flanagan style of diplomacy adopted by Barack Obama when he entered the Oval Office in 2009: If America will merely extend a hand of friendship to the world's bullies and tyrants, they will surely find their way back into the fold of moderate nations ("There's no such thing as a bad leader"). Five and a half years later, given developments in the Ukraine, Syria, Iran, Libya and Iraq, I would imagine that even Obama is prepared to admit that his policy has proven a catastrophic geopolitical experiment.

Obama? Over the course of the past few days, his secretary of state, John Kerry, has managed to infuriate Israel, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority - no small achievement - by seeking a cease-fire between Hamas and Israel, based upon the demands of Hamas.  Kerry's proposal included:

  • Acceptance of Hamas demands for the opening of border crossings into Gaza, which of necessity would facilitate shipment of armaments to Hamas and Islamic Jihad;
  • The building of a seaport for Gaza, opening the way for the import of large advanced weapons systems, which, in the past, could not squeeze through the tunnels from Egypt;
  • The free flow of funds for Hamas from Qatar and Iran, despite the fact that Hamas is designated by the United States as a terrorist organization.

On the other hand, John Kerry's proposal would have prevented Israel from continuing to destroy the Hamas tunnel network.

Israel's reaction? As reported by The Times of Israel (http://www.timesofisrael.com/kerry-completely-capitulated-to-hamas-in-ceasefire-proposal-says-israel/):

"Channel 2′s diplomatic reporter Udi Segal said 'voices' from the cabinet had described Kerry as 'negligent,' 'lacking the ability to understand' the issues, and 'incapable of handling the most basic matters.'"

Given the firestorm created by Kerry's whirlwind trip to Cairo, Tel Aviv and Paris, Obama is now attempting to put out the flames. Yesterday, Obama called Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, after which the White House issued a "readout" of the conversation (http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/07/27/readout-president-s-call-prime-minister-netanyahu-israel) (my emphasis in red):

"Building on Secretary Kerry’s efforts, the President made clear the strategic imperative of instituting an immediate, unconditional humanitarian ceasefire that ends hostilities now and leads to a permanent cessation of hostilities based on the November 2012 ceasefire agreement. The President reaffirmed the United States’ support for Egypt’s initiative, as well as regional and international coordination to end hostilities. The President underscored the enduring importance of ensuring Israel’s security, protecting civilians, alleviating Gaza’s humanitarian crisis, and enacting a sustainable ceasefire that both allows Palestinians in Gaza to lead normal lives and addresses Gaza’s long-term development and economic needs, while strengthening the Palestinian Authority. The President stressed the U.S. view that, ultimately, any lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must ensure the disarmament of terrorist groups and the demilitarization of Gaza."

Regrettably, Kerry did not take into account Egypt's terms for a cease-fire. Instead, he accepted all of the demands of Hamas, proposed by Qatar and Turkey, whose foreign ministers participated in Kerry's partie in Paris (representatives of Israel, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority were not on the guest list). In addition, Kerry's proposal did not call for the disarmament of Hamas and the demilitarization of Gaza.

The US State Department is now in a huff over criticism of the secretary of state. As reported by The Times of Israel (http://www.timesofisrael.com/obama-call-netanyahu-urges-immediate-unconditional-ceasefire/):

"[A] senior US official said Sunday night that the ceasefire proposal ostensibly issued by Kerry, which the Israeli cabinet rejected unanimously, was just a confidential draft to be used for deliberations and did not give in to Hamas’s demands. Kerry spoke to Hamas supporters Qatar and Turkey to exert greater influence over the terrorist organization, he said.

The official also harshly attacked Israeli reports that criticized the secretary of state for championing a proposal they reported as being too generous to Hamas while all but ignoring Israel’s security needs.

. . . .

Many reports in the Israel media about the American initiative were either inaccurate, contained 'overheated assertions' or mischaracterized Kerry’s strategy and motivations, the plainly bitter official lamented. Some articles about the secretary included 'ad hominem and gratuitous attacks on him, even going as far as to accuse him of betrayal of our ally Israel, which is a charge I think is extremely offensive,' he said."

Ad hominem attacks against John "Botox-face" Kerry? Given all of Kerry's imbecilic self-gratifying efforts over the past week, why would anyone stoop to that level?

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Open Letter to President Obama: Keep Kerry Away From the Middle East

Dear President Obama,

Over the past five and a half years as President of the United States, you have routinely declared your support of Israel. On March 5, 2012 you stated:

"Our commitment to the security of Israel is rock solid. And as I've said to the Prime Minister in every single one of our meetings, the United States will always have Israel's back when it comes to Israel's security. This is a bond that is based not only on our mutual security interests and economic interests, but is also based on common values and the incredible people-to-people contacts that we have between our two countries."

Indeed, your willingness to fund the Israeli-developed short-range rocket defense system called Iron Dome has enabled Israel to withstand the current onslaught of more than 2,500 rockets fired from Gaza at Israeli population centers over the past three weeks. For this assistance, Israel is forever grateful.

However, if your support is "rock solid," why did your secretary of state initiate his efforts to achieve a cease-fire involving the current war between Israel and Hamas by traveling to Egypt? If Israel is indeed an ally, shouldn't John Kerry have begun his discussions by meeting with Israel's government in order to better understand its needs in this time of crisis?

John Kerry flew from Cairo to Tel Aviv, notwithstanding a ban on flights to Israel by America's Federal Aviation Administration, a move regarded by many in Israel as intended to place pressure on Israel to agree to the terms of a cease-fire being imposed proposed by Kerry. As you can well imagine, this ban threatened to choke off Israeli commerce at a time when Israel was desperately in need of support from its friends.

Prime Minister Netanyahu explained to John Kerry during his visit to Israel that the Israel Defense Forces had obtained intelligence that Hamas intended to attack Israeli agriculural communities via a network of tunnels during the upcoming Jewish High Holy Days, in order to take hostages back to Gaza. Ignoring this information, John Kerry proposed a week-long cease-fire that included:

  • Acceptance of Hamas demands for the opening of border crossings into Gaza, which of necessity would facilitate shipment of armaments to Hamas and Islamic Jihad;
  • The building of a seaport for Gaza, opening the way for the import of large advanced weapons systems, which, in the past, could not squeeze through the tunnels from Egypt;
  • The free flow of funds for Hamas from Qatar and Iran, despite the fact that Hamas is designated by the United States as a terrorist organization.

On the other hand, John Kerry's cease-fire proposal would have prevented Israel from continuing to destroy the Hamas tunnel network.

After Israel rejected the risible terms of John Kerry's proposed one-week cease-fire, Mr. Kerry traveled to Paris, where he engaged in discussions with diplomats from France, Britain, Italy and Germany, and also the foreign ministers of Qatar, which has been primarily responsible for funding Hamas armaments and tunnels, and of Turkey, whose prime minister welcomes Hamas visitors and regularly engages in anti-Semitic diatribes. Although Qatar and Turkey were allowed by Kerry to advocate on behalf of Hamas, Israel was prevented from attending the conference. Egypt and the Palestinian Authority, opponents of Hamas and also refused entry to Kerry's Parisian partie, are also furious with America's secretary of state.

John Kerry's conduct of these negotiations has created significant backlash in Israel. As reported by The Times of Israel (http://www.timesofisrael.com/kerry-completely-capitulated-to-hamas-in-ceasefire-proposal-says-israel/):

"Channel 2′s diplomatic reporter Udi Segal said 'voices' from the cabinet had described Kerry as 'negligent,' 'lacking the ability to understand' the issues, and 'incapable of handling the most basic matters.'"

Mr. President, you have stated that "the United States will always have Israel's back when it comes to Israel's security." Well today, we have learned that Kerry has once more acted behind Israel's back and promised Hamas a pay-off in exchange for its agreement to his cease-fire terms. Again, as reported by The Times of Israel (http://www.timesofisrael.com/kerry-told-hamas-many-of-its-demands-would-be-met-under-ceasefire-deal/):

"US Secretary of State John Kerry informed Hamas via Qatar last week that under his proposal for a ceasefire with Israel, based on the original Egyptian initiative, the US would guarantee the fulfillment of many of Hamas’s demands for an end to the war, Palestinian sources told The Times of Israel on Saturday.

. . . .

The guarantees promised to Hamas by Kerry under a ceasefire, as relayed to The Times of Israel by the Palestinian sources, pertain to the following issues: an easing of restrictions on the passage of goods from Israel to Gaza; an easing of restrictions on the passage of traders and businessmen from Gaza to Israel; expansion of the permitted Gaza fishing zone to 12 miles off the coast; the opening of the Rafah crossing with Egypt, to be manned by Palestinian Authority officials; and a promise to ensure the transfer of salaries to Gaza’s government employees."

I ask you, Mr. President, does John Kerry's behavior evidence "rock solid" support of Israel? Is this any way to treat an ally in a time of crisis? Please explain to me how Kerry's offer to Hamas does not amount to appeasement of a terrorist organization?

Mr. President, you appointed John Kerry as secretary of state, and it is for you alone to judge his diplomatic capabilities, as evidenced by his handling of the crisis in the Ukraine, Iran's nuclear weapons development program, and the negotiations he sponsored between the Palestinian Authority and Israel. On the other hand, Kerry's most recent communications with Israel concerning his cease-fire proposal can only be described as antagonistic, self-aggrandizing and destructive of America's longstanding relationship with Israel.

Mr. President, if you believe that John Kerry is advancing American overseas credibility, it is of course your prerogative to retain him as your secretary of state. On the other hand, if your support of Israel is truly "rock solid," please find someone else to engage in cease-fire negotiations involving the war in Gaza.

John Kerry is no friend of Israel.

Yours sincerely,
Jeffrey

Amos Yadlin, "To Save Gaza, Destroy Hamas": Is Obama a Friend of Israel?

In a guest New York Times op-ed entitled "To Save Gaza, Destroy Hamas" (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/26/opinion/to-save-gaza-destroy-hamas.html?ref=opinion&_r=0), former head of Israeli military intelligence Amos Yadlin writes:

"The latest round of warfare showed that Hamas had become more dangerous, and its offensive capacity stronger, than we had known. Its ability to threaten Israeli towns through its tunnels and to rain rockets on Israeli cities raised what had been a nuisance to a challenge of strategic proportions.

For these reasons, Hamas’s rule over Gaza must be brought to an end, its military wing disarmed, and Gaza’s people given the chance to elect new leaders."

Yadlin's determination is identical to that of Michael Oren, former Israeli ambassador to the United States, who stated two days ago in a Washington Post opinion piece entitled "Israel must be permitted to crush Hamas" (http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/michael-oren-israel-must-be-permitted-to-crush-hamas/2014/07/24/bd9967fc-1350-11e4-9285-4243a40ddc97_story.html):

"U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary of State John Kerry and the foreign ministers of Great Britain and France all are rushing to achieve a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. Their motive — to end civilian suffering and restore stability to the area — is noble. The images of the wounded and dead resulting from the conflict are indeed agonizing. However, these senior statesmen can be most helpful now by doing nothing. To preserve the values they cherish and to send an unequivocal message to terrorist organizations and their state sponsors everywhere, Israel must be permitted to crush Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

. . . .

Though bitter, the fighting between Israel and Hamas raging in Gaza’s alleyways is merely part of the far vaster struggle between rational nations and the al-Qaeda and Islamic State-like forces seeking their destruction. Relative to that global conflict, Operation Protective Edge may seem small, but it is nevertheless pivotal. To ensure that it concludes with a categorical Israeli win is in the world’s fundamental interest. To guarantee peace, this war must be given a chance."

Regrettably, Barack Obama and John ("Botox") Kerry do not see it this way, and yesterday, Israel was forced to reject a seven-day cease-fire proposed by John Kerry, which, according to The Times of Israel (http://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-and-us-openly-at-odds-over-gaza-ceasefire-terms/) would have prevented Israel from continuing to destroy the Hamas tunnel network.

All of which calls into question the priorities of Obama and Kerry. Does Obama truly regard Israel as an ally? If so, why did Kerry first stop in Cairo to discuss the terms of a cease-fire, before traveling to Israel? Why did the Obama administration not interfere with the determination by the FAA to prevent American planes from landing at Ben Gurion Airport? By the way, does anyone really wish to claim that landing at Ben Gurion is more dangerous today than landing in Kiev or Baghdad? Kerry landed at Ben Gurion, despite the FAA order.

According to the old proverb, "A friend in need is a friend indeed." Obama is no friend of Israel. As observed by Commentary's Tom Wilson (http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2014/07/25/kerrys-unacceptable-ceasefire-seeks-to-appease-hamas/):

"If nothing else, the fact that the Egyptians came up with a ceasefire that Israel could accept, whereas Kerry has come up with something that Israel appears poised to reject, certainly says something about just how far down the rabbit-hole the Obama administration has gone with its foreign policy."

Of course, Israel does have friends in Washington. Listen to what Senator Marco Rubio has to say about the conflict in Gaza:


Friday, July 25, 2014

US Pressuring Israel Into Cease-Fire

What you are not reading in The New York Times or hearing on CNN:

Israel is being coerced to agree to a cease-fire being brokered by the United States and Egypt, just as Hamas and Islamic Jihad opposition to the IDF is beginning to crumble. Owing to additional funding being provided by the US to Israel for more Iron Dome anti-rocket systems, Israel is under great pressure to agree to John Kerry's proposal.

Additionally, captured Hamas fighters have revealed that a major kidnapping operation was planned for the Jewish High Holy Days, i.e. late September, making use of the tunnels leading from Gaza into Israel. Unknown to the world, these tunnels have been dug over the course of many years in preparation for this attack.

In short, the current war has averted a disaster in the making.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Roger Cohen, "Hope in the Abattoir": Where Is Cohen's Apology?

Roger ("Iran is not totalitarian") Cohen has no credibility. He also has no journalistic integrity.

As recently reported by The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) (http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_context=2&x_outlet=35&x_article=2764):

"Days after a New York Times editorial completely distorted a Hebrew poem cited by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – the Chaim Nahman Bialik was a rejection of human revenge, not an endorsement of it – columnist Roger Cohen similarly distorts another Israeli source. Cohen writes ('Israel's bloody status quo'):


Sheldon Adelson’s right-wing Israel Hayom, the biggest-selling newspaper in Israel, has called for Gaza to be 'returned to the Stone Age.' During the last Israeli bombing campaign in Gaza, in 2012, a government minister called for Gaza to be consigned 'to the Middle Ages.' Before that, there was the Gaza War of 2008-2009, in which 1,166 Palestinians died and 13 Israelis, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

The story goes on and on. There is no denouement. Gaza, a small place jammed with 1.8 million people, does not recess to the Stone, Iron, Middle or other Ages. It does not get flattened, as Ariel Sharon’s son once proposed. The death toll is overwhelmingly skewed against Palestinians. Hamas, with its militia and arsenal of rockets, continues to run Gaza. The dead die for nothing.

Like the editorial writer who either ignored or did not comprehend the well-known, crucial lines of the Bialik poem rejecting the notion of human vengeance, Cohen has completely distorted an excerpt from Israel Hayom by removing it from its context. Here is what Israel Hayom's Amos Regev actually wrote:

The Gaza Strip must be returned to the Stone Age. Not in the sense of destroying every home and all the infrastructure, which would leave Gaza residents wandering among ruins. Rather, Israel should eliminate every rocket, bomb and gun in Gaza. In other words, get rid of the arsenal Hamas has accumulated over the past 10 years. The snake must be defanged, leaving Hamas without rockets. The most it would have left would be stones. . . .

Rather, Israel must return Hamas to a situation in which the most it can do is throw stones. This is how it was when Hamas was founded, in Gaza, during the First Intifada. But since then, particularly over the past 10 years, Hamas equipped itself with long-range rockets. It would take only 10 days to return Hamas to the Stone Age.

In other words, Regev is not talking about 'flattening' Gaza, as Cohen would have readers believe. Rather, Regev's reference to the 'Stone Age' refers to the demilitarization of Gaza, in which Hamas, stripped of its rocket arsenal, would be armed only with stones."


Does Cohen bother apologizing for this grotesque distortion in his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Hope in the Abattoir" (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/25/opinion/roger-cohen-the-shared-destiny-of-israel-and-gaza.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=c-column-top-span-region&region=c-column-top-span-region&WT.nav=c-column-top-span-region)? No way.

Instead, Cohen concludes his op-ed today concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with a vacuous conclusion:

"Nobody is going away. The peoples of the Holy Land are condemned to each other. Without that realization, any truce, even any demilitarization of Gaza, will only be a way station to the next round of slaughter."

Needless to say, Cohen makes certain not to mention that in 2008, when Israeli Prime Minister Olmert offered Palestinian Authority President Abbas an independent state along the 1967 lines with agreed upon land swaps and Palestinian control of east Jerusalem, Abbas refused. Cohen also ignores the fact that several years earlier, Israeli Prime Minister Barak similarly offered to withdraw from 97 percent of the West Bank and tear down 63 Israeli settlements. In exchange for the settlements that would remain part of Israel, Barak said he would increase the size of Gaza by a third. Barak also agreed to Palestinian control of much of East Jerusalem, which would become Palestine's capital, and Palestinian sovereignty over the Temple Mount. Arafat, however, also refused.

Also, no mention by Cohen of the recent results of a Washington Institute for Near East Policy poll (http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/new-palestinian-poll-shows-hardline-views-but-some-pragmatism-too) which determined (my emphasis in red):

"Regarding the longer-term, fundamental issue of a two-state solution, Palestinian public opinion has clearly taken a maximalist turn. Other recent polls, even after the collapse of the latest peace talks, showed a majority or plurality still favoring the goal of an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, alongside Israel (though the numbers were gradually declining). But now, a clear majority (60% overall, including 55% in the West Bank and 68% in Gaza) say that the five-year goal 'should be to work toward reclaiming all of historic Palestine, from the river to the sea.'"

Or in other words, Israelis are willing to accept a demilitarized Palestinian state. On the other hand, a clear majority of Palestinians refuse to accept Israel's right to exist. But why should Cohen mention this, given his need to "balance" the blame for the latest outbreak of fighting in Gaza?

Disgusting.

New York Times Editorial, "Gaza’s Mounting Death Toll": More Distortions From the Times

In an editorial entitled "Gaza’s Mounting Death Toll" (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/25/opinion/gazas-mounting-death-toll.html?ref=opinion&_r=0), The New York Times begins by declaring:

"These days, even a school — clearly identified as a shelter run by the United Nations — cannot protect Palestinian civilians in Gaza from deadly attacks."

Although the Times goes on to acknowledge, "There are competing charges over who carried out the attack" on the school in Beit Hanoun, the Times goes on to ask if Israel is "doing enough" to avoid damage to UN facilities:

"According to a United Nations official in New York, at least 72 United Nations schools, hospitals and offices have been damaged in the fighting, even though they are clearly marked. At the same time, the United Nations did not enhance its own credibility and influence when its Human Rights Council focused entirely on Israel in a resolution on Wednesday, opening an inquiry into possible Gaza-related human rights violations."

Needless to say, no mention by the Times that in recent days rockets have twice been discovered in UNRWA schools in Gaza (see: http://www.unrwa.org/newsroom/press-releases/unrwa-condemns-placement-rockets-second-time-one-its-schools) and that these rockets have been turned over by the UNRWA to Hamas. Why does this information go missing from the Times editorial?

The Times concludes its editorial by observing:

"Secretary of State John Kerry has been working feverishly to get a cease-fire, but his mission is hugely complicated. Meanwhile, the killing goes on."

No mention by the Times that Hamas, not Israel, has been refusing efforts to achieve a cease-fire. As reported by Yahoo! News (http://news.yahoo.com/hamas-stubbornly-refusing-ceasefire-bid-kerry-150758663.html):

"US Secretary of State John Kerry Sunday blamed Hamas for the continuation of the conflict in Gaza, saying the Islamic militants were refusing all ceasefire efforts.

'They've been offered a ceasefire and they've refused to take the ceasefire,' Kerry told ABC television, adding Hamas has 'stubbornly' refused efforts to defuse the conflict 'even though Egypt and others have called for that ceasefire.'

By its behavior, Hamas had 'invited further actions' by the Israelis to stop the rocket fire from the Gaza Strip into southern Israel, Kerry said.

'It's ugly, obviously. War is ugly, and bad things are going to happen. But they need to recognize their own responsibility,' he added, referring to Hamas."

But why should The New York Times acknowledge that Hamas is responsible for the continuation of the fighting? After all, this would not be in keeping with ongoing efforts being made by Andrew Rosenthal's op-ed page to vilify Israel (see: http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.co.il/2014/07/mohammed-omer-darkness-falls-on-gaza.html).

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Washington Post Editorial, "The U.S. should push for the disarming of Hamas in Gaza-Israel cease-fire": Bravo!

The John Kerry comedy show? After failing to reach agreement with Iran in Vienna two weeks ago (see: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/07/john-kerry-in-vienna-extension-of-nuclear-talks-likely-108845.html), Kerry handed Khamenei sanctions relief totaling $2.8 billion in exchange for a 4-month extension of the meaningless P5 +1 talks. This way, Obama, currently AWOL from the Oval Office, was not forced to acknowledge failure.


Next, Kerry was off to Cairo to try his hand at fostering a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. Prior to meeting with Egyptian President Sisi at the presidential palace, Kerry and his aides were forced to undergo a humiliating metal detector test (see: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-28444187), amounting to yet another sign of international contempt for the embattled Obama administration.


Yesterday evening, Kerry left Israel following a frosty photo-op session with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu (see: http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.606915).


Where will Kerry land next? Maybe it's time for more Botox injections.


Meanwhile, no IDF fatalities overnight. As mentioned yesterday, Israel is learning how to effectively conduct ground operations in built-up areas by means of enhanced ground-air coordination. Last night, more than 150 Hamas militants surrendered to the IDF in Khan Yunis and Rafiyah (see: http://www.globes.co.il/en/article-150-hamas-terrorists-surrender-to-idf-1000957726).


Also, the FAA has cancelled its ban on flights to Israel after it "carefully reviewed both significant new information and measures the Government of Israel is taking to mitigate potential risks to civil aviation." Senator Ted Cruz had suggested that the Obama administration was responsible for the FAA action "in order to try to force our ally to comply with his foreign-policy demands"  (see: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/07/ted-cruz-barack-obama-israel-faa-109294.html).


In addition, Israel has received some important backing from The Washington Post. In an editorial entitled "The U.S. should push for the disarming of Hamas in Gaza-Israel cease-fire" (http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-us-should-push-for-the-disarming-of-hamas-in-gaza-israel-cease-fire/2014/07/23/7c2d1d9e-1284-11e4-8936-26932bcfd6ed_story.html?hpid=z4), WaPo provides the moral clarity that has been absent from Andrew Rosenthal's New York Times op-ed page:

"THE DISTINGUISHING feature of the latest war between Israel and Hamas is 'offensive tunnels,' as the Israeli army calls them. As of early Wednesday, 28 [now 31 - JG Caesarea] had been uncovered in Gaza, and nearly half extend into Israel, according to Israeli officials.

. . . .

The newly discovered structures have only one conceivable purpose: to launch attacks inside Israel. Three times in recent days, Hamas fighters emerged from the tunnels in the vicinity of Israeli civilian communities, which they clearly aimed to attack. The ­concrete-lined structures are stocked with materials, such as handcuffs and tranquilizers, that could be used on hostages. Other tunnels in northern Gaza are designed for the storage and firing of missiles at Israeli cities.

. . . .

By design, many of the tunnels have entrances in the heavily populated Shijaiyah district, where the Israeli offensive has been concentrated. One was found underneath al-Wafa hospital, where Hamas also located a command post and stored weapons, according to Israeli officials."

Indeed, Israel's only option is to eliminate these tunnels and thereby prevent future massacres of civilians in the agricultural communities adjoining the Gaza Strip. Wars are ugly, but this is a war of necessity. Moreover, I cannot think of another country capable of facing such a missile onslaught - more than 2,000 rockets fired from Gaza at Israel since the renewal of hostilities - with such stoic forbearance.

* * *

By the way, do you remember how Obama once named Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan as one of his top five international friends? Well, Erdoğan is no longer talking with America's president (see: http://rt.com/usa/174700-erdogan-talk-obama-syria/).

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Mohammed Omer, "Darkness Falls on Gaza": A Propaganda Piece Finds Its Way Into the Times

In a guest New York Times op-ed entitled "Darkness Falls on Gaza" (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/23/opinion/gaza-under-israels-onslaught.html?ref=opinion&_r=0), subtitled "Gaza Under Israel’s Onslaught," Mohammed Omer writes:

"RAMADAN, when night descends, is usually a joyous time. Friends and family gather to break their fast at the iftar meal. Not this year.

Nights are the worst. That is when the bombing escalates. Nowhere is safe. Not a mosque. Not a church. Not a school, or even a hospital. All are potential targets."

Okay, we know that Hamas launches rockets from mosques, schools, hospitals and cemeteries (see: http://www.algemeiner.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Shujaiya-2.jpg). But why does Omer interject "churches"? Christians in the Muslim Middle East, especially in Gaza, have been singled out for persecution. As Michael Curtis, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Rutgers University, wrote in a Gatestone Institute article entitled "The Disquieting Treatment of Christians by the Palestinians" (http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/2838/palestinians-christians):

"Christian graves in the Gaza Strip have been dug up. Anti-Christian graffiti has appeared, and Christian cemeteries and statues have been defaced. . . . In Gaza in June 2007 a leader of the Baptist Church, one of the oldest in the area and which contains Gaza's only Christian library, was kidnapped and murdered. The Sagrada Familia school in Gaza was torched, and the nuns' building in the Convent of the Sisters of the Rosary in June 2007 was looted, and holy images and sacred books were burned."

Notwithstanding discrimination against Christians by Palestinian Muslims, Omer is obviously intent upon winning over Christian readers of the Times.

Omer goes on to say:

"The long siege has bled the Gaza Strip dry. There is no money for public services; the majority of the population lives in abject poverty. And now at least 120,000 Gazans have been displaced by the fighting, thousands taking temporary shelter in United Nations schools. Many will return to homes damaged or destroyed, with little or no means to rebuild. Cement is especially severely rationed because Israel suspects it is diverted by Hamas to build tunnels for fighters."

Fascinating! Israel "suspects" that cement has been "diverted by Hamas to build tunnels for fighters"? Are we to believe that the miles of tunnels leading out of Gaza, which were intended for attacks against Israeli agricultural communities, are the product of spontaneous generation and were not built with cement imported from Israel? And tunnels for "fighters"? Is this what people who indiscriminately target Israeli civilian population centers are called? Sorry, Mohammed, but "terrorists" is a far more apt description.

Omer continues:

"A cease-fire agreement is possible, but all parties need to be at the table; Hamas was not consulted over the one proposed by Egypt last week. Even peace might be possible — if the international community has the courage to engage in dialogue with Hamas. The terms outlined by Hamas for a cease-fire are the same as those the United Nations has called for repeatedly: open the border crossings; let people work, study and build the economy. A population capable of taking care of its own would enhance Israel’s security. One that cannot leads to desperation."

"[I]f the international community has the courage to engage in dialogue with Hamas"? Needless to say, no mention by Omer of the Hamas charter, which denies Israel's right to exist and calls for the murder of all Jews, not just Israelis. Omer would have us believe that it takes "courage" to chat up such monsters? Personally, I think it takes "stupidity."

However, far more odious than Omer's op-ed is the escalating barrage of venomous commentary being aimed at Israel by Andrew Rosenthal's New York Times op-ed page. Nathan Thrall's "How the West Chose War in Gaza" (see: http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.co.il/2014/07/nathan-thrall-how-west-chose-war-in.html) was absurd. Omer's opinion piece amounts to abject propaganda.

* * *

Just a few words about the fighting in Shajaiya, where Hamas has introduced a brigade-sized force to confront the Israeli army. We are witnessing a learning curve involving IDF ground-air coordination, and tactics are evolving, which should reduce IDF casualties.

Monday, July 21, 2014

David Ignatius, "How to break Hamas’s stranglehold on Gaza": Two Blind Mice

The geocentric model of the universe, which explained how the sun, the moon and the stars revolve around the earth, persisted until the 16th Century. Although the underlying facts were wrong, some of world's most brilliant people continued to "improve" the geocentric model until Copernicus came along in 1543 with his heliocentric model of the solar system. Bottom line: Before wedding yourself to a universally accepted model, review the underlying facts.

In his latest Washington Post opinion piece entitled "How to break Hamas’s stranglehold on Gaza" (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2014/07/21/how-to-break-hamass-stranglehold-on-gaza/?hpid=z3), David Ignatius writes:

"Hamas’s biggest weakness of all is its unpopularity among Palestinians in Gaza now. A poll taken in June, before the latest fighting began, showed that 70 percent of Gazans wanted a continuing cease-fire with Israel; 57 percent wanted a Fatah-Hamas unity government to renounce violence against Israel; 73 percent thought nonviolent resistance had a positive impact, and large majority thought Hamas had failed to deal with crime and corruption.

The future? Asked if Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas should send security personel and other officials to take over administration of Gaza, 65 percent said yes. The poll was published in July by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and its senior fellow, David Pollock."

So what isn't Ignatius telling us about the results of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy poll results (http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/new-palestinian-poll-shows-hardline-views-but-some-pragmatism-too)? David Pollock also states (my emphasis in red):

"Regarding the longer-term, fundamental issue of a two-state solution, Palestinian public opinion has clearly taken a maximalist turn. Other recent polls, even after the collapse of the latest peace talks, showed a majority or plurality still favoring the goal of an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, alongside Israel (though the numbers were gradually declining). But now, a clear majority (60% overall, including 55% in the West Bank and 68% in Gaza) say that the five-year goal 'should be to work toward reclaiming all of historic Palestine, from the river to the sea.'"

Ignatius commends Jackson Diehl for his WaPo opinion piece published yesterday (see: http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.co.il/2014/07/jackson-diehl-when-gaza-fighting-is.html), in which Diehl declared:

"A smart U.S. strategy would aim at brokering a deal between Israel, Abbas and Hamas whereby prisoners are released and the blockade on Gaza eased in exchange for Hamas’s commitment to a long-term cease-fire and free and fair elections for a unified Palestinian government. The result could be a new generation of Palestinian leaders with a genuine mandate from their people."

However, as I observed yesterday, Diehl is also ignoring Palestinian radicalism, held by a majority of Palestinians in both the West Bank and Gaza, which rejects Israel's basic right to exist.

Build a model for peace based upon Palestinian moderation and common sense? Regrettably, both Ignatius and Diehl are ignoring the underlying facts.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Jackson Diehl, "When Gaza fighting is over, there is a way to change for the better": Keep Kerry Far Away!

In a Washington Post opinion piece entitled "When Gaza fighting is over, there is a way to change for the better" (http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/jackson-diehl-when-gaza-fighting-is-over-there-is-a-way-to-change-for-the-better/2014/07/20/a597a540-0dc1-11e4-b8e5-d0de80767fc2_story.html?hpid=z2), Jackson Diehl writes:

"A smart U.S. strategy would aim at brokering a deal between Israel, Abbas and Hamas whereby prisoners are released and the blockade on Gaza eased in exchange for Hamas’s commitment to a long-term cease-fire and free and fair elections for a unified Palestinian government. The result could be a new generation of Palestinian leaders with a genuine mandate from their people. The new crowd might turn out to be more or less willing to negotiate with Israel or to lay the groundwork for statehood. But they would, at least, end a dismal era in which one set of Palestinian leaders dodged multiple peace proposals and the other engaged in futile wars."

Ease the blockade on Gaza, so Hamas can import more concrete for building tunnels into southern Israel and acquire more advanced missiles from Iran? No way.

Diehl, whom I respect, needs to have another look at the Hamas charter:

"But even if the links have become distant from each other, and even if the obstacles erected by those who revolve in the Zionist orbit, aiming at obstructing the road before the Jihad fighters, have rendered the pursuance of Jihad impossible; nevertheless, the Hamas has been looking forward to implement Allah’s promise whatever time it might take. The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said: The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!

. . . .

For Zionist scheming has no end, and after Palestine they will covet expansion from the Nile to the Euphrates. Only when they have completed digesting the area on which they will have laid their hand, they will look forward to more expansion, etc. Their scheme has been laid out in the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and their present [conduct] is the best proof of what is said there. Leaving the circle of conflict with Israel is a major act of treason and it will bring curse on its perpetrators."

Israel should enter into a brokered deal with Abbas and Hamas? Diehl is ignoring Hamas's raison d'être.

Meanwhile, John Kerry is planning a trip to Cairo to implement a ceasefire. Caught on a hot mic yesterday, (see: http://edition.cnn.com/2014/07/20/politics/mideast-kerry-hot-mic/index.html?hpt=hp_t1), Kerry discussed the Israeli military operation in Shejaiya with a State Department aide, Jonathan Finer:

Kerry: "It's a hell of a pinpoint operation. It's a hell of a pinpoint operation."

Finer: "Right. It's escalating significantly. It just underscores the need for a cease fire."

Kerry: "We've got to get over there."

Finer: "Yup, yup."

Kerry: "Thank you, Jon. I think, Jon, we ought to go tonight. I think it's crazy to be sitting around. Let's go."

Well, how about not going, John. What is it that you hope to accomplish? As noted by Jackson Diehl today, "this is the third mini-war between Israel and Hamas in less than six years," and Gaza needs to be demilitarized in order to free Israel from an incessant missile threat and to ensure that hundreds of millions of dollars being given to Gaza be used for the social welfare of its some 1.8 million inhabitants, instead of for armaments and tunnels.

What should Kerry, whose negotiations involving the Ukraine, Iran, Syria and the Palestinian Authority have come to naught, do instead with his time? How about a few more Botox injections, John?

The IDF's need to continue its current ground operation was highlighted by two incursions into Israel this morning by Hamas terror squads. As reported by Ynetnews (http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4547287,00.html):

"The IDF Spokesperson's Unit said two terror cells infiltrated into Israeli territory Monday morning through a tunnel in the northern Gaza Strip.

Observation units identified the terrorists; Israeli Air Force planes attacked and hit the first cell. An IDF force deployed to the area killed some 10 terrorists from the second cell. IDF forces are continuing to scan the area.

The terrorists infiltrated into Israeli territory Monday morning between two kibbutzim, Erez and Nir Am. After two hours, in which residents were directed to remain indoors and lock their doors – roads were even closed to traffic south of Ashkelon – IDF forces killed the terrorists."

A video of one of the attempted infiltrations this morning:



Bottom line: Notwithstanding the tragic loss of life on both sides, there is still work that needs to be done to prevent future Hamas terrorism.

Support for Israel from the international community? Although Obama and Kerry are providing Israel with wavering support at best, Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister, John Baird, yesterday told it like it is (http://www.international.gc.ca/media/aff/news-communiques/2014/07/20b.aspx?lang=eng):

"Canada condemns in the strongest terms Hamas’s shameful decision to continue its cowardly and indiscriminate violence that has today cost the lives of 13 soldiers. Yet another breach of a ceasefire by Hamas in Shejaiya confirms that it has no interest in peace.

Hamas’s continued aggression, combined with cowardly tactics that endanger civilians, has resulted in the tragic deaths of approximately another 87 Palestinians. Innocent civilians living in Gaza deserve far better than the reckless actions of this terrorist organization."

God bless Canada!


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Maureen Dowd, "A Popular President": Start Building the White House Bachelor Suite?

Over the course of a lifetime, I have only been in the physical proximity of two presidents: Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton. One exuded inquietude and malaise, while the other radiated charm and charisma. True, Nixon at the time was seeking reelection, and the seeds of Watergate had begun to germinate. My chance encounter with Clinton, on the other hand, was several years after his second term, yet I still believe that Clinton by nature is and always was very comfortable in his own skin.

In her latest New York Times op-ed entitled "A Popular President" (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/20/opinion/sunday/maureen-dowd-a-popular-president.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss&_r=0), Maureen Dowd questions why Bill Clinton's popularity continues to wax, while that of Hillary and Obama has begun to wane. Dowd writes:

"As Hillary stumbles and President Obama slumps, Bill Clinton keeps getting more popular.

The women, the cheesy behavior, the fund-raising excesses, the self-pity, the adolescent narcissism, the impeachment, the charges of racially tinged insults against Obama in 2008, the foundation dishabille — all that percussive drama has faded to a mellow saxophone riff for many Americans."

Dowd goes on to observe:

"Speaking at the 92nd Street Y last month, Bill O’Reilly was asked by Geraldo Rivera whether the country would have been better off electing Hillary instead of Barack Obama.

'With Hillary you get Bill,' O’Reilly replied. 'And Bill knows what’s going on. You may not like him but he knows what’s going on. Hillary doesn’t understand how the world works.'"

But did Bill Clinton really know what he was doing? Maybe. He added a mere $1.4 trillion to US national debt, peanuts compared with the "contributions" of George W. Bush and Obama, and although his foreign policy was never deemed stellar, he certainly never promised "flexibility" to the likes of Vladimir Putin.

Or stated otherwise, when Bill Clinton left office, there were still possibilities, whereas today it's all but over.

US debt under the incredible shrinking president has reached an unsustainable $17.6 trillion. Obama has also presided over a string of stinging foreign policy debacles - Russia, the Ukraine, Syria, Libya, Iran, Israel-Palestine and China, and America's standing overseas has never been lower. Yup, "Abandon hope all ye who enter here."

Can Hillary make it better? Probably not. Although she logged countless frequent flyer miles as secretary of state, even her most ardent admirers have trouble pointing to a single foreign policy success.

Does absence make the heart grow fonder? Perhaps. But if so, Hillary's failed book tour was poorly timed, and there is now talk of an emerging Elizabeth Warren challenge.

Start building a White House bachelor suite for Bill? Not yet. Place him front and center, and a fickle American electorate could soon have misgivings.

New York Times Editorial, "Israel’s War in Gaza": The Blind Leading the Blind

In an editorial entitled "Israel’s War in Gaza" (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/19/opinion/Israels-War-in-Gaza.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=c-column-top-span-region&region=c-column-top-span-region&WT.nav=c-column-top-span-region&_r=0), The New York Times relies on three would-be authorities: President Obama, the UN and Nathan Thrall. Regarding President Obama, the editorial tells us:

"There was no way Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was going to tolerate the Hamas bombardments, which are indiscriminately lobbed at Israeli population centers. Nor should he. As President Obama said on Friday, 'No nation should accept rockets being fired into its borders, or terrorists tunneling into its territory.'

. . . .

Hamas leaders deserve condemnation for storing and launching rockets in heavily populated areas, cynically knowing they will draw Israeli fire to places where civilians live and play. Still, in a call with Mr. Netanyahu, Mr. Obama was right to express concern about the 'risks of further escalation and the loss of more innocent life.'"

Of course, if President Obama says it, it must be right. No mention by the Times that the US, the UK and Afghan government forces have killed a total of some 6,500 innocent Afghan civilians in recent years (see: http://www.thenation.com/afghanistan-database).

Also no mention by the Times of US drone attacks in Pakistan. As reported in a 2014 Huffington Post article entitled "The Toll Of 5 Years Of Drone Strikes: 2,400 Dead" (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/23/obama-drone-program-anniversary_n_4654825.html) by Matt Sledge:

"Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International issued a pair of reports in October fiercely criticizing the secrecy that shrouds the administration's drone program, and calling for investigations into the deaths of drone victims with no apparent connection to terrorism. In Pakistan alone, [the Bureau of Investigative Journalism] estimates, between 416 and 951 civilians, including 168 to 200 children, have been killed."

Apparently unbeknownst to Obama and the editorial board of The New York Times, the Israeli Defense Forces are also seeking to minimize civilian casualties:



Of course, this does not mean that civilians are not going to be killed in a war in which Hamas uses schools to store its missiles (see: http://www.unrwa.org/newsroom/press-releases/unrwa-strongly-condemns-placement-rockets-school), but the IDF is making efforts to reduce civilian casualties, which include leaflets asking civilians to evacuate battle zones, phone calls to civilians warning of an imminent attack, and "knocking-on-the-roof" (a warning with a rocket that does not contain an explosive charge) prior to an air strike.

The Times editorial also quotes the United Nations:

"The United Nations says that of the more than 260 Palestinians killed, three-quarters were civilians, including more than 50 children."

However, the United Nations receives its casualty figures from the health ministry in Gaza, which is run by . . . Hamas. Hamas, needless to say, is actively interested in inflating the number of civilians killed for propaganda purposes.

Finally, the Times editorial refers its readers to a guest op-ed by someone named Nathan Thrall, which was published by the Times yesterday (see: http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.co.il/2014/07/nathan-thrall-how-west-chose-war-in.html). Thrall would have us believe that Israel, with the help of Egypt and the West, brought the current war with Hamas upon itself. However, Thrall's risible essay fails to mention:

  • The Hamas charter, which calls for the murder of all Jews, not just Israelis.

  • Past suicide bombings in Israel perpetrated by Hamas operatives (425 terrorist attacks between September 2000 and March 2004, which killed 377 and wounded 2,076).

  • The thousands of rockets fired into Israeli population centers from Gaza by Hamas and Islamic Jihad over the course of more than a decade.

Thrall does, of course, repeat Obama's declaration that the situation in Gaza is "unsustainable."

Truly an instance of the blind leading the blind.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Nathan Thrall, "How the West Chose War in Gaza": The New York Times Continues to Wage Op-ed War Against Israel

In a guest New York Times op-ed entitled "How the West Chose War in Gaza" (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/18/opinion/gaza-and-israel-the-road-to-war-paved-by-the-west.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=c-column-top-span-region&region=c-column-top-span-region&WT.nav=c-column-top-span-region&_r=0), Nathan Thrall would have us believe that Israel, with the help of Egypt and the West, brought the current war with Hamas upon itself. Thrall begins:

"AS Hamas fires rockets at Israeli cities and Israel follows up its extensive airstrikes with a ground operation in the Gaza Strip, the most immediate cause of this latest war has been ignored: Israel and much of the international community placed a prohibitive set of obstacles in the way of the Palestinian 'national consensus' government that was formed in early June.

That government was created largely because of Hamas’s desperation and isolation. The group’s alliance with Syria and Iran was in shambles. Its affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt became a liability after a July 2013 coup replaced an ally, President Mohamed Morsi, with a bitter adversary, Gen. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Hamas’s coffers dried up as General Sisi closed the tunnels that had brought to Gaza the goods and tax revenues on which it depended."

No mention by Thrall of the Hamas charter, which calls for the murder of all Jews, not just Israelis.

No mention by Thrall of past suicide bombings in Israel perpetrated by Hamas operatives (425 terrorist attacks between September 2000 and March 2004, which killed 377 and wounded 2,076).

No mention by Thrall, after an initial fleeting reference in his first paragraph, of the thousands of rockets fired into Israeli population centers from Gaza by Hamas and Islamic Jihad over the course of more than a decade.

Bear in mind, Hamas, after losing the support of the Muslim Brotherhood when Sisi came to power in Egypt, and after losing the support of Iran's Supreme Leader Khamenei by siding with the opposition in Syria, is bereft of backing, and Israel now needs to come to its aid in order to pay Hamas's 43,000 civil servants. You see, when a terrorist organization is facing collapse, you need to help it back on its feet. Yeah, right.

Those rockets fired into Israel which Thrall so studiously ignores? See the following table provided by the IDF (http://www.idfblog.com/facts-figures/rocket-attacks-toward-israel/):



Rocket fire? Mere mosquito bites, right? Who cares if they are now being indiscriminately aimed at Beersheva, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem? But can you imagine the response in the US if debris from exploding rockets was falling on the heads of the inhabitants of Philadelphia, New York and Washington? Americans would not put up with this for an instant.

Thrall declares:

"It is unsustainable for Gaza to remain cut off from the world and administered by employees working without pay. A more generous cease-fire, though politically difficult for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, would be more durable."

Of course, Thrall is aping President Obama, who three days ago also declared that the situation in Gaza in "unsustainable" (http://www.timesofisrael.com/obama-even-after-truce-status-quo-unsustainable/). Regrettably, it never occurred to Thrall or Obama that it is "unsustainable" for Gaza to be ruled by a terrorist organization calling for the murder of all Jews, and that a cease-fire should begin with a renunciation by Hamas of its offensive racist charter.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

New York Times Editorial, "Keep Negotiating on Iran’s Nukes": Obama Spins His Wheels, Khamenei Spins His Centrifuges

The P5+1 will not reach agreement with Iran over its nuclear weapons development program by the July 20 self-imposed deadline set by the negotiations. Surprise, surprise, surprise! What next?

In an editorial entitled "Keep Negotiating on Iran’s Nukes" (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/17/opinion/Keep-Negotiating-on-Irans-Nukes-.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=c-column-top-span-region&region=c-column-top-span-region&WT.nav=c-column-top-span-region&_r=0), The New York Times takes the position that the US and its so-called partners must continue the negotiations with Iran for an additional six months. According to the editorial:

"None of that has impressed the hard-liners in Tehran and Washington who are determined to sabotage any deal. Some in Congress are demanding conditions that would tie President Obama’s hands and make it impossible to lift sanctions on Iran, essential to any agreement.

. . . .

There are risks in any deal. But there are many more if there is no deal, Iran’s program resumes unchecked and an opportunity to work with Iran on other regional challenges slips away."

Unbeknownst to the Times, there is only one person in Iran who makes all of the decisions, i.e. Supreme Leader Khamenei, and what "hard-liners" or purported moderates might have to say is of no consequence. Moreover, Khamenei has made his position clear: Iran needs 190,000 operating centrifuges (see: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/07/15/us-iran-nuclear-khamenei-exclusive-idUSKBN0FJ25L20140715).

There are more risks if there is no deal? Fine, gradually reimpose the sanctions and compel Iran to take the negotiations over the next six months seriously. Unfortunately, however, Obama already dismantled much of the sanctions regime, and it would be almost impossible, in the face of Russian and Chinese opposition, to put the genie back into the bottle.

"Work with Iran on other regional challenges"? Oh really? The editorial board of the Times honestly believes that Tehran is going to issue orders to Nasrallah for the removal of Hezbollah forces in Syria? It's simply not going to happen.

You see, Obama is already known throughout the Middle East and beyond as a quivering 98-pound weakling, who is unable to make good on any of his threats.

By the way, The Washington Post also favors continuation of the negotiations with Iran, but their editorial entitled "Nuclear talks with Iran should be given more time" (http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/nuclear-talks-with-iran-should-be-given-more-time/2014/07/16/b30ff36e-0d10-11e4-b8e5-d0de80767fc2_story.html?hpid=z3) gives vent to significant skepticism:

"[Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad ] Zarif’s maneuvering, however, supports two sobering conclusions. One is that the Iranian regime is not feeling as much economic pressure as it was a year ago and no longer sees the removal of sanctions as urgent. The other is that Tehran is positioning itself in such a way that it will be unable to make the concessions that should be required for a long-term settlement without a major climb-down and accompanying loss of face.

. . . .

[The Obama administration] should begin seriously preparing for the moment when time runs out — and when, as seems likely now, Iran refuses to yield."

When "Iran refuses to yield"? Actually, it's when Khamenei refuses to yield, and Obama, who is busy running down the clock on his second term as president, will almost certainly seek any way humanly possible to pass the mess over to Hillary in 2017.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Thomas Friedman, "Order vs. Disorder, Part 2": Fresh Horse Manure

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Order vs. Disorder, Part 2" (http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/16/opinion/thomas-friedman-israeli-palestinian-conflict-order-disorder.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&module=c-column-top-span-region&region=c-column-top-span-region&WT.nav=c-column-top-span-region&_r=0), would-be Middle East expert Thomas Friedman provides a solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Friedman writes:

"In my view, the only way Israel can truly curtail the Hamas rocket threat is if the Palestinians of Gaza demand that the rockets stop. Sure, Israel can inflict enough pain on all of Gaza to get a cease-fire, but it never lasts. The only sustainable way to do it is by Israel partnering with moderate Palestinians in the West Bank to build a thriving state there, so Gaza Palestinians wake up every day and say to the nihilistic Hamas: 'We want what our West Bank cousins have.' The only sustainable controls are those that come from within."

Yeah, right. Unbeknownst to Tom, according to a very recent poll commissioned by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, "55% in the West Bank and 68% in Gaza, reject permanently accepting Israel’s existence and instead suggest their leaders 'work toward reclaiming all of historic Palestine, from the river to the sea'" (see: http://www.jpost.com/Diplomacy-and-Politics/Majority-of-Palestinians-now-oppose-two-state-solution-new-poll-finds-360489).

Israel should partner with moderate Palestinians in the West Bank? Maybe sometime in the next century, when a majority of Palestinians finally get around to accepting Israel's right to exist.