Sunday, February 06, 2005

Makin' Me Nervous

In her latest column, Caroline Glick voices a lot of the same concerns I had after hearing what Condoleezza Rice had to say about a "contiguous" Palestinian state. Do you agree -- in Comments.

13 Comments:

At 11:06 PM, Blogger Esther said...

Column One: The peacemongers are back
By CAROLINE GLICK/Jerusalem Post

Speaking with State Department personnel on Monday, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice gave form to the Palestinian state that now stands at the center of American Middle East policy. "The Israelis," she said, "were going to have to recognize that there was going to have to be land for – contiguous land for the Palestinian state to exist on."

Contiguous land? Well, how can there be contiguity between Judea and Samaria on the east and the Gaza Strip on the west unless Israel is split in two? It's simple geography. Either Israel will separate two sections of the Palestinian state or the Palestinian state will divide Israel in two. And now we know where America stands on the issue.

The contiguity statement also bodes ill for Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley. After all, Israel's control of Jerusalem cuts off the Hebron and Bethlehem areas from Ramallah. And Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley would cut Jericho off from the rest of the Palestinian cities in Judea and Samaria.

The most amazing aspect of Rice's statement is that it was made before Israel and the Palestinians have even begun to negotiate. Then again, since the so-called road map is the only plan in town, we already know that America has joined Europe, the UN, Yossi Beilin and Vice Premier Shimon Peres in believing that at the end of the day, Israel will enable the establishment of a sovereign Palestinian state. That state will share borders with Egypt and Jordan (and after Israel gives the Golan Heights to Syria, with Syria); will encompass all of Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip; and will have its capital in Jerusalem. In addition, there will be foreign troops in the areas to prevent Israel from defending itself.

On Tuesday, Rice made clear that now that America has joined the bandwagon of those calling for Israel's disembowelment, it should be able to patch up its relations with the EU. In her words, "This great alliance that has faced very grave threats now faces really remarkable opportunities in the world."

The first opportunity she mentioned was "the opportunity to support the parties in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to try and find a two-state solution." It is odd that the US, in trying to patch up its relations with Europe, has preferred to give in to Europe's Palestinian fetish over say, building on common interests. As Robin Shepherd from the Center for International and Strategic Studies wrote in The Washington Post last week (the article also appeared in Tuesday's Jerusalem Post), the core of Europe's rift with America is Europe's emotional and irrational antipathy for Israel. And, as he warned, "Americans should now be aware that on one crucial issue, at least [i.e., Israel], it is Europe, and not America, that needs to clean up its act."

All the same, it is hard to feel too betrayed by America when the charge to strengthen Palestinian terrorists at the expense of Israel's national security is being led today – just as it was in 1993 – by the Israeli government.

Thursday, the "security cabinet" – stacked with security geniuses like Shimon "Arafat's Great" Peres and Haim "Israel is Bad" Ramon – decided to release 900 Palestinian terrorists from prison. This is just the latest of the Israeli payoffs to the democratically elected PA leader Mahmoud Abbas.

And what has Abbas done to deserve such largesse? He has purportedly reached an agreement with Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah that involves these terrorist groups temporarily ceasing their attacks. (This is probably news to the residents of Gush Katif who had 15 mortars and rockets lobbed at them over the past few days.) During this temporary cessation of terrorist attacks, the terrorists will not be disarmed. If they desire, Abbas told a Russian newspaper this week, they can be integrated into the Palestinian security services. Those would be the same security services to which Russia pledged to donate helicopters; to which Turkey has asked to donate uniforms and guns; which Rice says America will train; and which President Bush wishes to finance.

And, if terrorists are dissatisfied with the pace of Israeli withdrawals or other appeasement measures, Abbas promised them that they can always go back to murdering Israelis.

In addition to his mollification of terrorists, Abbas announced a ban on illegal weapons. That would seem a promising move, except that his announcement has no enforcement mechanism, is directed against "criminal elements," and makes no mention whatsoever of gun-toting terrorists.

Abbas has also deployed PA militias in Gaza. But these forces have been given strict orders to take no action against terrorists.

As to reform of Palestinian institutions, in one of his first "law enforcement" actions, Abbas instructed the PA's mufti to speed up the process of executing the 51 Palestinians who have been sentenced to death by Palestinian "courts." At least seven of those 51 were convicted of the capital crime of "collaborating" with Israel.

Then there is the question of economic transparency, which the US demands Abbas shore up. In an interesting move on this score, one of the first "economic" issues that the Palestinians raised this week was their demand to reopen the casino in Jericho. That particular edifice is the concrete manifestation of everything that is corrupt about the PA and about the "peace process" itself. Jibril Rajoub, Muhammad Rashid and Abbas have all been investors in the casino. Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's adviser, Dov Weisglass, has represented casino shareholders. And the late Yossi Ginnosar, who set up meetings between Omri Sharon and Yasser Arafat back when Sharon first came into office four years ago, was both a member of the Board of Directors of the Peres Peace Center and an investor in the casino.

Perhaps most indicative of Abbas's intentions is his acceptance of Iran's invitation to conduct a state visit. This willingness to truck with global terrorists who are pursuing nuclear weapons aligns nicely with Abbas's visits to Syria and Lebanon, where he was mollycoddled by dictators and terror masters while campaigning for the office he won in a largely uncontested, highly corrupt election.

It stands, of course, to reason – in the Orwellian world that so characterizes Israel when it is peace-drunk – that our leaders would look at all that Abbas has done and say, "Wonderful, let's give this guy a state!" So here we are. Our army has been ordered not to protect us, because the Palestinians will do that for us now. PA security forces will now be deployed in Judea and Samaria, as well as in Gaza. Wanted Palestinian terrorists – mass murderers – are free to go back to their homes. Israel won't harm them. Palestinian terrorists whom Israel caught and imprisoned will now be released on their own recognizance.

It's all in the interest of peace, after all, and we can rest assured that they won't return to killing, because they will all be required to sign declarations promising not to be terrorists anymore. That's crucial. Let's not forget that the terrorists who carried out the bombings in Cafe Hillel and outside Tzrifin military base in September 2003 signed precisely such declarations before they were released as part of a confidence-building gesture to Abbas.

In addition to rushing to embrace Abbas, Israel is doing everything it can to shore up Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak in the hope that he will protect us after we run away from Gaza. Crowned with legitimacy as a peacemaker after he and his security chief, Omar Suleiman, have spent the better part of two weeks getting Hamas and Islamic Jihad to agree to absolutely nothing – according to Hamas chieftain Khaled Mashal – Mubarak next Tuesday will host a peace party in Sharm e-Sheikh, where peace-drunk Israeli politicians and media flacks will gush, and Palestinians will demand that Israel take down the security fence and the roadblocks and release still more murderers from jail in order to give them confidence to make "hard steps" toward peace sometime later on down the line.

In the meantime, because of his vital role in the "peace process," Mubarak can safely assume that he will receive no flak from America for having imprisoned Ayman Nur, the leader of the only opposition party trying to challenge his one-party rule in Egypt. King Abdullah, too, can be sure he will pay no price for trying to prevent Iraq from becoming a democracy.

And herein lies the greatest irony of the peace process. American supporters of both Bush and Israel are now backing Sharon's plan to withdraw from Gaza and northern Samaria and Bush's plan for Palestinian statehood, claiming the world has changed since Oslo. They promise that Bush is going to cause a democratic revolution in the Arab world that will change the entire strategic balance in Israel's favor.

What they don't seem to remember is that the world had also changed after the fall of the Soviet Union and the 1991 Gulf War. Then, as now, there was an expectation that the Arabs would be forced to change the way they treated Israel and America. Then, as now, the reactionary forces in the region were saved by one thing – the peace process with Israel. Back in 1992 at Madrid and in 1993 at Oslo, the Arabs learned that the way to ensure the longevity of their authoritarian, terror-supporting and jihad-engendering regimes was by attacking Israel with olive branches. These earn legitimacy from the Jewish state and gratitude from the White House. Since peacemakers are of course indispensable, all thought of democracy must be put aside in the furtherance of a greater good.

So, here we are again, at the dawn of a new peace process which will bring no peace; will legitimize terrorists and the authoritarian regimes that support them; will weaken Israel's democratic institutions while endangering its citizenry; and will engender scorn for America and faith in Israel's eventual destruction in the hearts of millions of people who today waver between support for freedom and support for terror.

 
At 11:11 PM, Blogger RomanWanderer said...

This is extremely depressing. First the $350 million dollars, now Condy's plans.
The Golan Heights need to stay. They can have the 'danger:landmine' fields if they want them.
Childish, I know, but what is America up to?

 
At 11:13 PM, Blogger Esther said...

RW, it beats the hell outta me. My boyfriend thinks/hopes that they're giving the Palestinians enough rope to hang themselves. I wish I could be that optimistic. Feels like the US has gone mad.

 
At 9:53 AM, Blogger American On Line said...

Why did anyone expect that Bush could be relied upon to accomplish what nobody else could?

Much of the major new support Bush got in the Jewish community these days comes from a vision that he would stand by Israel shoulder to shoulder, and not engage in the phony baloney of an "honest broker," as others have been accused of in the past. That is why, IMHO, so many people gave him a pass on the many many "miscalculations" made in Iraq.

Having squandered his 'capital' in Iraq, his ability to gain approval from his 'Arab allies' (K.S.A., Kuwait, Jordan, Egypt, etc.), and 'European' allies for an Israel "solution," now requires him to approach Israel in a way that no one else could: force them to give up land, where others could not. Like Nixon going China (he could never be accused of being a commie), Bush has built himself an Israel-credibility cushion that allows him to push Israel around without being accused of being anti-Jewish or anti-Israel, especially if he get to have Joe Lieberman as his next SoD.

Of course, those who looked to him for unprecedented support, will be slow to call it what it is, as they have hitched their wagon to his parade.

I do not thing he will sell out Israel, I simply think that he will bring greater risk to them in his desire to appease the Arab/Muslim world.

For a more severe look at Rice, etc., a review of the posts at http://www.israpundit.com/ is helpful.

 
At 9:53 AM, Blogger American On Line said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 10:27 AM, Blogger Gindy said...

For the last few years I have been uncomfortable with is what is going on. This is just an Oslo 2. It looks like the same nonesense will continue. The Israelis will make concessions. They will be attacked at the Palestinians convienence. The world will blame Israel.

 
At 10:34 AM, Blogger Esther said...

Marty, I removed one of your double postings. Thanks for the links about Condi -- I'm definitely going to check them out!! I'm not ready to think the worst, but I'm definitely a bit nervous.

Gindy, yep...that's what I am nervous about.

 
At 10:49 AM, Blogger American On Line said...

Sorry 'bout the double comment Esther; I am sure my PC has been invaded by blog-orists killing my VOA activites.

Here's the latest blurb from Debka on Rice:

Visiting US secretary of state Rice in talks with Sharon in Jerusalem Sunday night. After meeting Israel FM Shalom, US secretary voiced hope that "our friends and partners in Israel can take the hard decisions needed to be taken to promote peace."

Israeli security forces step up security precautions against Palestinian terrorist plans to disrupt Rice visit and summit.

 
At 10:58 AM, Blogger Esther said...

Marty, no worries about a double post. Blogger can be evil; we all know that. ;)

Thanks for the Debka quote. I hope she speaks tough to Abu Mazen as well. I think we all know the Israelis can make the tough decisions. Hell, look at the Gaza disengagement (which I hate). That sure hasn't been easy and is certainly making Sharon unpopular in Israel. I think what remains to be seen is whether the Palestinians can do the same. And even if they can (and that's a HUGE "if"), will Syria and Iran allow it?

 
At 11:17 AM, Blogger American On Line said...

Yes Israelis are tough. They are not silly people.

And for the optimists, one can assert that Rice makes these 'appealing public statements,' for public consumption only, while all the while she is winking at Sharon.

In half that regard she would be following the footsteps of Powell. The other half? Powell was not winking.

 
At 11:20 AM, Blogger Esther said...

Good lord, Marty, were you in my living room an hour ago? That's pretty much what I was just saying to my boyfriend. He's a believer that it's for public consumption (and that Glick might be giving in to a knee-jerk response) and my fear is that there is no winking going on. I would love to trust here, but my confidence level is quite low.

 
At 12:37 PM, Blogger American On Line said...

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/536399.html

 
At 12:47 PM, Blogger Esther said...

Thanks for the link, no matter how puzzling it is to me. So are they claiming Israel military is censoring news? Where? Cause I can't believe it's being done at the Jerusalem Post. Granted they didn't want Mordechai Vanunu squawking to the press about Dimona but that IS a matter of national security. I'm shocked they let him speak as much as they did!

'Still, sources at the military censor justified their decision to ban news items by claiming that they were acting at the behest of the Bush administration to "moderate information."'

This paragraph is very interesting, especially when in conjunction with this one:

'It is unclear whether the American administration is operating on two directly opposing fronts - one that regards Israeli censorship as damaging to human rights, and the other seeking to utilize it to further U.S. interests.'

So do we have a faction in our govt looking to get the Israelis to help everyone to stay on message and another that (like the ones who tried to discredit AIPAC) is looking to inflict as much damage as possible on Israel?

 

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