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Energy Minister to sell our gas to Arabs

Uzi LandauThe Minister of Energy, Uzi Landau, has joined the roster of Israeli officials making public plans to sell gas from fields that are not even operational yet. But Uzi excelled his fellow bureaucrats by demanding to export the gas first to Palestine and Jordan. In his money-driven mind, that would build ties between our countries.

Would it? Why, then, does Hamas want none of our electricity? And why, after selling us gas for many years, is Egypt more hostile than before?

Landau must be motivated by the example of Barak, who abandoned offshore gas fields to Gaza, also to build ties with Arafat.

Post-Zionist leaders cannot accept a simple fact: God gave us the gas to enable us to become independent, not to sell it to our enemies and return to economic serfdom after the resource runs out.

Politics is not about legalese

Avigdor LiebermanThe Israeli Foreign Ministry recently distributed talking points for its staff to use when arguing against the PA’s statehood bid. All these points are mistaken.

To prove the absence of a permanent population, the FM claims Palestinian ambiguity on the right of return. This is nonsense. Israel also claims the right of return for Jews worldwide, yet her domestic population is definitely permanent. If anything, Israel faces a higher emigration rate than Palestine.

On the ‘defined territory’ criterion, the paper cites absence of agreement with Israel on Palestine’s borders. By the same token, however, Israel has no internationally recognized border with Palestine.

On the absence of effective government, the FM cites the fact that Abbas does not rule Gaza. Well, a few weeks after Palestinian Independence and IDF withdrawal, Hamas would rule the West Bank as well.

As for the final criterion, the capacity to enter into relations with other states, Palestinians can travel visa-free to more countries than Israelis.

Instead of inventing legal absurdities, Lieberman should have taken care to prevent Abbas’ diplomatic mission abroad by denying him a transit permit in Israel.

Palestinian statehood: when everyone is bluffing

Abbas and ObamaA year ago, without thinking much, Obama said to the UN that next year he hopes to see Palestine among its members. The PLO’s leadership took him at his word and launched a campaign for UNGA statehood recognition. Now the White House is pressing Abbas to abstain—not so much because of Israel, but to avoid discrediting Washington as the regional broker.

Abbas would be happy to abandon the bid for statehood, but he cannot. His refusal to prosecute Israel in the UN over the Gaza war still reverberates in Palestinian society, and backing down from the campaign for UN recognition might well bring him down. His international credibility will also hit new lows if he withdraws after Arab countries have decided to support his bid.

The US will not cut Palestinian aid, as the White House has threatened to do if Abbas goes to the UN. The US provides aid to several non-compliant regimes, including Pakistan and Egypt, and cannot cut aid to Palestine, if only it supports Israel as well, and needs to appear evenhanded. Indeed, Abbas would gain a lot by going to the UNGA: at home and abroad he will be seen as a strong statesman defying the Americans.

Two states for the Palestinians, three for the MB

The White House is pressing the Jordanian king for democratic reforms. If implemented, these reforms would ensure a Palestinian majority in the Jordanian parliament. The Muslim Brotherhood will enter the government as the major force. Palestinians in the parliament will change the makeup of the Jordanian army, which hitherto has relied on Bedouins to guard the monarchy against the Palestinian majority. Jordan will end up embroiled in a civil war pitting the Palestinian Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood against the Bedouins.

The democratization of Jordan would leave the Palestinians with two states in the West Bank and Jordan, and possibly a third one in Gaza. The Muslim Brotherhood will dominate Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and possibly Palestine.

Attitude toward terrorism changed in Palestine

Following the Itamar murders, Palestinian media rushed to blame immigrant workers or even Jews themselves for the crime. According to Abbas’ logic, Jews cannot blame Palestinian Arabs for the murder until courts sentence the perpetrators.

Though despicable, that attitude signifies a major new twist in the Arab mentality. Many of them are no longer happy with terrorist murders. Years ago, the West Bank would have erupted in celebrations over this terrorist act, just as Gaza did. This time, praise was muted and criticism transparently implied.

Perhaps the other side has also grown weary of the war.

Meanwhile, other Arabs do not laud Gadhafi for defying American pressure to step down. Years ago, he would have been idolized by the Arab street for fighting despite the US orders. Now, Arabs shrugged at his bloody methods. It seems that Arabs are losing their Bedouin mentality to consumerism and quickly acquire ethical values similar to Europeans.

Israel in provisional boundaries

Unable to sell their citizens the concessions necessary for a peace treaty with the Palestinians, Israeli leaders are trying to push Abu Mazen into accepting an interim agreement. According to the terms of this agreement, a Palestinian state will be established in temporary borders, with Jerusalem and the settlements not to be discussed for some time. The Palestinians rightly refuse to accept this plan: once their state is created, international pressure on Israel will wane, and they will never get Jerusalem (unless they take it over demographically).

In the meantime, Israel is falling into the same trap. Jews tread the very path of incremental concessions which Palestinians refuse. Under the 1972 Egyptian peace offer, we could have had a peace treaty with all Muslim states by abandoning the West Bank. Today, we would only have an agreement with the Palestinians. One by one, Israel surrenders her bargaining chips: we evacuated Gaza, withdrew from most of Judea and Samaria, and have unofficially agreed to abandon the Temple Mount. Israeli bargaining power diminishes while international pressure on us increases to stop squabbling over minute details.

It is not Palestine, but Israel that is being pushed into provisional borders by the settlement construction freeze. Just as the Palestinians would have sat in their provisional borders dreaming of Jerusalem, Israel holds the settlements dreaming of their expansion. Palestine’s actual borders are now firm and won’t become less so, while Israel’s borders shrink with every new initiative.

We play on ourselves exactly the trick we intended to play on the Palestinians.

Normal people wish death on their enemies

Tens of thousands of Arabs demonstrated in Gaza against peace with Israel. The Palestinians chanted their customary, “Kill the Jews!” Quite a peace partner we have there.

What is more important is their sense of normality. They hate the Jews who dispossessed them, and are not shy about expressing that hatred. Compare them with the abnormal Jews who suffer rocket and mortar fire from Gaza, but do not come into the streets shouting, “Death to Palestine!” Instead, these abnormal people come to demonstrations pushing the government to make peace with those who dream of murdering us.

15 years without Rabin

Yitzhak RabinAs Israeli officialdom prepares to commemorate Rabin’s death (which many Jews would prefer to celebrate), let us recap some of the highlights of his career.

Since the early 1970s, Rabin was adamant that we hold the West Bank as a bargaining chip for a peace treaty with the Arabs. He only agreed to exchange this land for full normalization of relations with all Arab states, not just Palestine. In this sense, he was to the right of Netanyahu.

Rabin objected to prisoner exchanges in situations wherein might exist the slightest chance of extracting our hostages by force; that was his reasoning behind the Entebbe operation. There can be little doubt that at some point in Shalit’s three years of captivity there was a chance, however slight, to free him by force.

Rabin refused to give the Jordan Valley to the PA. Netanyahu only pleads with Washington to allow Israel to station our troops there for some time.

Rabin advocated a step-by-step approach in which the Palestinians would gain attributes of statehood only on the condition that they improve their security cooperation with Israel. Netanyahu does not ask for that much in his talks with Abbas.

Rabin insisted on sealing Gaza off so that the Arabs would “kill each other like spiders in a can.” Netanyahu has all but agreed to lift the Gaza blockade.

During Rabin’s last years, right-wingers denounced him as a traitor and were mostly gleeful when he was killed. Puzzlingly, their attitude toward Netanyahu is much more permissive.

Lunch in Washington, blood at Rimonim

Disregarding a clear and credible warning of imminent terror attacks, Netanyahu continued his friendly peace talk in Washington. Sure enough, a second terrorist attack occurred: a car was ambushed near Rimonim junction. Two Jews were wounded, their car riddled with bullets.

Hamas’ military wing claimed responsibility for the attack. Nevertheless, Israel did not interrupt cargo transit or the electricity supply to Hamas-ruled Gaza. Unwilling to jeopardize its relations with Obama, the government refuses to declare a state of war with the enclave.

Obama condemned the terrorist attacks as senseless bloodshed. Presumably, attacks on civilians would have been more justifiable and sensible.
Netanyahu called on settlers to show restraint, which infamously has been Jewish policy since the Arab pogroms of 1930s. It is a policy under which Jews busy themselves with burying their dead rather than preventing future deaths. Shabak, the Israeli security service, has vowed to intensify its operations against Jewish right-wing groups lest they retaliate against Muslims.

One thing is fishy, though. Why would Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran go hysterical over another hopeless round of peace talks? Hamas seriously jeopardizes its currently near-free traffic of arms and cargo. Hezbollah prepares for an all-put war with Israel, a conflict into which Syria might well be drawn. There was nothing like fervor this during Annapolis. It seems that the real issue being discussed in Washington has more to do with attacking Iran than making peace with Palestine.

Palestine burning lightly

Arabs rioted in Shuafat near Jerusalem. For all their rock-throwing, no one was hurt.

Arabs rioted in Burin, over something to do with a water-well dispute with local Jews. Just one Arab was killed with rubber bullet, and a second one may succumb to his wounds.

IAF struck six shacks in Gaza. As usual, the Jewish pilots were remarkably precise: only empty buildings were hit in densely populated areas, so that no Arabs would be killed.

IDF to soldiers: you die, not Arabs

Military prosecution had confirmed the Goldstone allegations by indicting two IDF sergeants.

The sergeants, who naturally wanted to live, forced Palestinian teenagers to open boxes that had possibly been booby-trapped by their elected Hamas government during the 2009 war in Gaza.

There is not the slightest doubt that the soldiers did the right thing according to Jewish religious law.

Fatah recognizes Hamas rule in Gaza

Nabil Shaath has become the first high-ranking Fatah member to visit Gaza since the Hamas takeover. He made a point of delivering his passport for registration in Gaza, thus formally recognizing Hamas’ authority there.

Palestinians issue their own passports, which are recognized by more than 70 countries and allow visa-free entry into more than 40 countries. But Israelis delude themselves into thinking that Palestine is somehow not a state yet.

Palestine abandons democracy

Four years after the US administration, to great fanfare, forced Israel to accept the democratic elections in Palestine which brought Hamas to power, democracy has been rescinded. The PLO council will allow Abbas to stay in power until elections are held in the West Bank or Gaza—that is, until the unlikely reconciliation with Hamas.

Abbas has remained in office illegally since his presidential term expired last winter. He was to have passed the authority to Hamas’ spokesman of the Palestinian council.

Fatah and Hamas: no reconciliation

Hamas condemned Abbas’s decision to hold Palestinian elections. As things stand now, Fatah will rig the elections in the West Bank and Hamas will do the same in Gaza. Hamas, thus, will assuredly lose.

Hamas has refused to participate in the elections. If elections are held, they will cement the separation of Palestine into two enclaves, an outcome more than welcome for West Bankers, who would hate to have pauperized and criminal Gazans pouring into the affluent West Bank.

Israel turns into Gaza

Just as Gaza depends on its enemy for its water supply, so may Israel. The government has resumed talks with Turkey about importing fresh water. Turkey, an increasingly Islamist, pro-Iranian country, would be tempted to use water supply as leverage against Israel.

Even as she seeks to import water, Israel continues supplying Kineret water to Jordan and Palestine. Why don’t they import water from Turkey?

Fatah spurns Egypt’s hand

By assassinating Hamas’ top men in Kalkilya, Fatah crossed the Rubicon. The reconciliation talks in Cairo are dead, and Egypt has been greatly humiliated by its failure to reestablish a Palestinian unity government.

Egypt needs the unity government to enthrone Fatah in Gaza and prevent the Strip from becoming a base for the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood.

The Americans want Hamas delegitimized in order to conduct Fatah-only elections and claim democracy in Palestine. Israel benefits from the Fatah-Hamas clashes because they stave off the peace process.

Abbas’ attacks on hugely popular Hamas frame him as an Israeli puppet, which dooms him in the next elections. Even if Hamas independents aren’t allowed to run, Fatah’s militant young leaders will make up the core of the Palestinian parliament.

Lieberman framed Abbas

The Israeli Foreign Ministry reacted angrily to a Palestinian petition to the Hague court to investigate Israeli “war crimes” in Gaza.

That the Palestinians are preparing this petition is not news; they announced their intentions in January.

Lieberman used the petition as a pretext to beat Abbas into the dirt. Indignant, the Foreign Minister claimed that Abbas had repeatedly asked Israel to invade Gaza, and that Fatah operatives provided extensive intelligence to IDF. Humiliatingly for Abbas, the FM revealed that Fatah intelligence was instrumental in preventing mass rocket attacks on Israel during the war.

Fatah’s collaboration with Israel against Gazans will haunt the terrorist group in the next elections. Like Sharon during the Gaza disengagement, Lieberman seems to seek Hamas’ triumph in Palestine. With the demise of the only plausible peace partner, Fatah, the world might ease its pressure on Israel.

Obama: Jews live in Palestine

Commenting on the prospects for peace, Obama remarked that peace can only come through a two-state solution in Palestine. To call the Jewish land “Palestine is to presume the Arabs are its owners, and Jews the occupiers.

Among other things, Obama does not realize that Palestinians already have two states of their own—Jordan and Gaza; and that Israeli Arabs, such as those from the Galilee Freedom Battalions, do not concede to Jews a state of any size.

British government: Yitbach Yahud

It seems that high-ranking Brits have embraced the Arab cry, “Slaughter the Jews!”

After a Palestinian NGO filed a case in Britain alleging British support of Israel, the Quartet’s Tony Blair visited Gaza for the first time. Speaking to future terrorists at UNRWA school in Beit Hanun, Blair said about them, “These are the people who need to be the focus of all our efforts for peace and progress from now on.” Schoolchildren of Sderot who have spent their entire lives under rocket fire from Gaza are not Blair’s focus.

Britain also pledged $43 million to rebuild Gazan houses. Some math, perhaps? A total of about 3,000 houses were destroyed. First, Iran paid close to $6,000 per house, which is an honest reconstruction cost. Then came the pledge from Saudis. Then from the EU. Then from Britain. Now $3 billion from the donor conference. How many times over the $20 mil damage should be paid?

British International Development Secretary Alexander urged Israel to “do the right thing” and open Gaza’s border for dual-use materials. During the Holocaust, Britain had a different perception of “right things,” and kept the Palestine Mandate borders closed to Jews.

Egypt shows Israel an example

Israel can really look to Egypt to learn many things.

The Egyptians have closed Gaza’s border without apology. They shoot Gazans without much reason and with no remorse. Despite all that, Hamas would not even think of staging a terrorist attack inside Egypt, or kidnapping Egyptian soldiers.
When Iranians staged a single demonstration against Mubarak, Egypt almost broke relations with the mullahs.

Today, the Egyptian FM sharply rebuked the United States for the State Department’s negative review of its human rights record. Egypt receives just a bit less American aid than Israel, and that aid is much more important for impoverished Egypt than for Israel. But unlike Jews, Egyptians are sensible and realize than America needs them more than vice versa—and they can look at Americans as partners rather than masters.

Maddeningly, the US Administration continues its efforts at democratizing stable countries. In Iraq, democracy turned into violent anarchy. In Pakistan, it brought Islamists to power. In Lebanon and Palestine, the elections handed victory to Hezbollah and Hamas, respectively. In Egypt, democratic elections would mean the victory of Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas’ parent organization.