Technorati Tag: Israel and Middle East and Netanyahu and Obama.
January 30, 2012
"Fear and Rumor"
I am always reluctant to repeat here speculative, unconfirmed reports that pass as "news." For once I repeat them, I am reinforcing the impression that what I am saying is solid news.
Here, then, I will just allude in the most general terms to unsubstantiated talk about the fact that Prime Minister Netanyahu might be willing to offer the Arabs a good deal of territory in Judea and Samaria.
One must begin by asking why in hell he should be ready to offer anything (if indeed that is the case). Why should there even be such speculation now? Why isn't he standing up on two feet and speaking for Israel's rights -- now especially when the Palestinian Arabs have been so obstructionist and so unwilling to seriously negotiate, so willing to abrogate the Oslo Accords via various unilateral gambits at the UN, and so quick to praise as martyrs obscene child-murders.
The answer is fairly obvious: International pressure that he may not be capable of resisting. Resisting, actually, is not his style: he prefers to play the game and look like the good guy (whatever that means in this context). We've seen it over and over -- the way he walks a very fine line, slipping evermore down that slippery slope.
How far down that slope he may be prepared to go now is something we don't know. But the question I ask is whether he is truly prepared to give away the store.
Netanyahu has been taking positions of late that are most definitely not reassuring. His move to block the legislation that would save Migron is just one example.
Another is his statement with regard to an Israeli presence in the Jordan Valley. He said he would not forge an agreement that did not permit such an Israeli presence, and this was supposed to show how strong he was with regard to Israeli security and to provide reassurance. But I was not reassured. Because he didn't talk about retaining land in the valley, which is what is necessary. And he didn't allude at all to the necessity for Israel to retain high places in Samaria, also for security.
But, the flip side is that there are reports about other things that he insists he will not cave on -- a united Jerusalem, no accepting "refugees," the demand that the PA recognize Israel as the Jewish state, the requirement that the PA sign off on the agreement as end of conflict, etc. And he knows with absolute certainty that if he doesn't cave on these things there will be no deal because the other side will never, ever buy it.
So the question: Is he thinking that if the Palestinian Arabs would let us keep Jerusalem, and would settle their "refugees" elsewhere, etc. etc., then he would truly be happy to give them most of Judea and Samaria? Or is he thinking that it's safe to go down that slope in order to make the international community happy, because our enemies, who can be counted on to reject what he offers, will ensure that in the end nothing happens anyway?
I cannot see into his heart, but my betting, even now, is that the answer is the latter. As nervous as Netanyahu has been making me, I persist in my belief that he is not an Ehud Olmert, who truly couldn't wait to give almost everything past the Green Line, including half of Jerusalem, to the Arabs.
And yet, when Netanyahu exclaims with great passion, as he just did, "I'm willing to travel to Ramallah to meet with Abbas," I cringe -- drama meant for the international community though I recognize it to be.
If this discussion has the feeling of deja vu, it's because I have examined these issues before. Yet in light of the current situation I felt obliged to revisit it here.
And then I want to throw another thought into the hopper. This news, which just broke today, is something I will surely return to in its broader aspects:
According to Israel National News:
"Mossad director Tamir Pardo is in Washington for talks about a possible attack on Iran's nuclear installations...
"Pardo's visit, which would normally be conducted in secret, was revealed by US Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, 78, who made the faux pas at committee hearing.
"The hearing was being broadcast live by US television.
"Feinstein said she had spoken with Pardo, who also met with CIA director David Petraeus, adding that the Mossad chief had mentioned the possibility of unilateral Israeli action against Iran."
This still has the feeling of rumor about it. We don't really know what Pardo and Petraeus discussed. But it is within the realm of possibility that there is a quid pro quo somewhere. It might be that Netanyahu is prepared to advance a "plan" to entice the PA back to the table, in exchange for some sort of passive US acquiescence, should Israel decide to hit Iran.
Speculation. My point is that the situation is vastly complex and we are not privy to all of the parameters.
It is now about 1:45 AM as I write in Israel. I have been waiting for results of Tuesday's Likud primary with regard to the selection of party leader. If figures that have just been released are correct, it is cause for much satisfaction. That Netanyahu would win was never in doubt -- the issue was by how much. The challenger, a nationalist Moshe Feiglin, had secured some 23% of the vote last time around. Tonight it may be as much as 36% (this according to the JPost).
This delivers a message to Netanyahu to attend to the demands of the right flank of his party or risk losing voter support. It's letting him know that his position on such issues as Migron is not sitting well with a whole lot of people.
Follow-up as necessary tomorrow.
With regard to Obama:
An article -- "No Matter What" -- has been circulating broadly. Purportedly written by Dr. Walter Williams, an economist on the faculty of George Mason University in Virginia, it advances the thesis that Obama cannot lose the election. But it is a fraud!
See the disclaimer and apology from the university: Explanation and Apology for "Bad Dream?" Column that appeared here.
Let people know about this, for advancing the notion that Obama cannot lose has a psychological effect on how some might vote. It will not be an easy battle, but the fact is that Obama most certainly can lose.(Thanks to Barbara O. here.)
Then, Yoram Ettinger, writing about "A Return to Andalusia."
This makes crystal clear what Palestinian Arab intentions truly are -- and provides understanding as to why there is no compromise in dealing with them. What they are fighting about is the fact that Jews have no right to a presence on any land that, "in the eyes of Muslims, is Waqf - an inalienable religious endowment."
"On January 9, 2012, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Muhammad Ahmad Hussein, a close associate of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, stated that all of Israel has been Waqf since 637 C.E., and will be forever. The statement was made at the annual rally of Fatah, which Abba heads.
"This principle of 'holy land' is permanent, and is stronger than any leader or passing policy, and it applies to any land that was ever under Islamic control. It is an inseparable part of the legacy of Muhammad and Islamic law...
"The centrality of 'holy land' in the Muslim experience can be understood from the example of Andalusia, the Arabic name for most of the Iberian Peninsula, which was under Islamic rule from 711-1492 C.E. The Muslim Golden Age did not take place between the Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea, but rather in Andalusia...In 1492, Spain was liberated from the control of Muslims, who today still view 'Andalusia' as their 'holy land.' Muslim terrorist plots in Madrid in March 2004 killed 191 people and wounded around 1,800. The attack intended to correct the 'injustice of Andalusia.' Saudi Arabia is constructing the second largest mosque in the world in Cordoba, the former capital of Andalusia, while mosques are springing up like mushrooms all over Spain."
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Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Arlene Kushner on Fears About Netanyahu; False Rumors About Obama
From Arlene Kushner: