Monday, April 23, 2012

Arlene Kushner On One Year After The Revolution In Egypt

From Arlene Kushner:

April 23, 2012

"Too Much, Really"

As I write, I have no further word on the situation at Givat Ha'Ulpana.  Time is short, and I am mindful that all of the words from nationalist members of the government and the Knesset might end up being no more than words, unless the proper strings are pulled.  What there is genuine determination to accomplish here, can be accomplished.

What I do have is a video of the plea of Beit El resident Yoel Tzur to Prime Minister Netanyahu.  I wrote last night about the fact that this neighborhood had been constructed in memory of Ita Tzur and her son Ephraim, who had been killed by terrorists.  Yoel is the bereaved husband and father, who was in the car when it was attacked by three terrorists.

His words are what is "too much."  Too much pain, and too much outrage.


“I am calling out to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, because this depends only on him,.We have heard what the MKs said, there is no need to add anything. I will just remind you, Mr. Prime Minister: Fifteen years ago you accompanied our community after the disaster that befell us with Ita and Efraim. You personally accompanied our family. And it was fifteen years and a few months ago that we said, just below where we stand, in the cemetery, that a large neighborhood needs to be built here. You promised, and you delivered.

"I am addressing your feelings, your heart and your wisdom, to find the proper ways not to enable the decree that was decreed here, which you yourself said is one that the public cannot bear. Harm caused to the Ulpana neighborhood is harm to our community and to our beloved ones who gave their lives – and even then you told me, and I told you, and we strengthened each other – that wherever there is a terror attack, we will build a settlement."

From Bereaved Husband and Father to Netanyahu: Stop the Demolition


See the video, please.  And then I urge you to consider writing to Prime Minister Netanyahu.  Tell him that you know that in the end what happens to Givat Ha'Ulpana depends upon him.  Ask him if his Zionist commitments weigh more than political advantage.  Challenge him to be true to his past words and deeds with regard to this neighborhood.

Fax: 02-670-5369 (From the US: 011-972-2-670-5369) and also (underscore after pm) use both addresses


As I write my postings, I sometimes do "triage": I "throw out" issues that are important because I cannot write about everything.  Today I would like to touch some of those bases that have been passed by in recent postings.

Egypt is perhaps a good base to touch first, as that country has just cut off the natural gas supply to Israel, in spite of understandings in the peace treaty and a subsequent memorandum of understanding in 2005 between the two countries that guarantees an uninterrupted flow of gas to Israel

See Memorandum of Understanding - Egypt guarantees supply of gas.

The Israeli government is clearly determined not to make much of it. Netanyahu is saying the basic reason for the cutoff is commercial and not political: "It’s actually a business dispute between the Israeli company and the Egyptian company."  He reassured the nation that Israel has adequate reserves of gas to be self-sufficient.  Foreign Minister Lieberman speculated that this may also be about "the [presidential] election campaign and afterwards things will return to normal."

But, of course, it is also possible to look at this and speculate that the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt hangs by a rather slender thread.


You might want to go the site of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs where you can see briefings about Egypt, with opinions of various experts.

Itzhak Levanon, who served as Israel's ambassador to Egypt from 2009 to 2011, assesses Egypt's first year after the revolution
"...Few in Egypt believe that the army is sincere about the transfer of power to the civilians. Many believe that the real objective of the army is to maintain its special status, which the army has had in Egypt since the revolution of 1952. They have their own hospitals and hotels. They are deeply involved in the economy, and they have their own budget. This is an institution that is quasi-independent, and very strong. 
"After years of imposed political exile, the Muslim Brotherhood has entered domestic political life in Egypt by the front door. At an early stage after the revolution, we detected at least a tacit understanding between the military and the Muslim Brotherhood, to the detriment of the revolutionaries. 
"...There are still security contacts at the upper levels between Israel and Egypt, and this is because there is an interest on both sides, but there are no bilateral relations. The public in Egypt is not aware enough that the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt is an Egyptian interest, no less than an Israeli one.
"My assessment is that the Muslim Brotherhood will compromise with others and will seek a consensus. They understand that if there is failure, the failure will be theirs. This is why they would like to share it with others, and this basically means pluralism. This does not mean that they will not work very hard in order to reach their objective, which is to capture the public, not to change the regime. If they can spread their ideology to enough people, the change will come from them.
"...At this point, I believe that the peace treaty is safe. The military is in power and they support peace between Israel and Egypt. The army supports the treaty because they understand that canceling it is not in the interest of Egypt. Secondly, the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt has three legs; the third leg is the United States. This is why I think the peace treaty is safe, more or less, at this particular time. However, uncertainty about the future [and the entrance into the game of those with radical ideologies] raises real concerns..."  

Jacques Neriah -- who previously served as a foreign policy advisor to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Deputy Head for Assessment of Israeli Military Intelligence -- asks whether the Islamists are headed for a collision with the military
"Much has been written about a tacit agreement between the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) led by Field Marshal Tantawi and the Muslim Brothers. But as events leading up to the presidential elections began to unravel, it has become clear that no such arrangement was ever brokered between the two sides, and if it were, it is today null and void.
"Fourteen months after the revolution it is an accepted fact that the Islamists have hijacked the revolution and have become the leading force in Egypt. They adopted a tactic to create the illusion that they would share power with the non-Islamic forces, but then went on to win 70 percent of the seats in parliament.
"The current situation has been created by the inability of SCAF to rule Egypt since the end of the Mubarak regime. Their zig-zag policy, particularly towards the Islamists, has created a situation in which liberals and secular forces lost at each encounter.
"The Presidential Election Committee has barred three leading candidates: former Minister for Intelligence Omar Suleiman, Salafi candidate Hazem Abu Ismail, and leading Muslim Brotherhood candidate Khairat el Shater. (The Brotherhood was careful to nominate an additional presidential candidate who qualified, Mohammad Morsi.)
"Egypt is entering a period of political instability with dire consequences for its neighbors, first and foremost for Israel. The Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty could become a 'scapegoat' to divert attention from unsolvable domestic economic problems, seeking to blame outside factors for Egypt’s deteriorating situation."

And from a reliable intelligence source I have information that the Arab Gulf States are carefully watching Egypt and do not intend to accept "an aggressive Islamic regime in Egypt."


Samara  Greenberg, writing for the Jewish Policy Center, provides information about the recent visit of the Brotherhood to Washington:

In due course I hope to have more to say about Brotherhood influence in the US.  For now the watchword is Beware!
But, speaking of Washington, I would like to segue to the topic of the US Secretary of State.  Actually, Clinton was speaking to a group of young Tunisians, when she made the troubling comment that I want to share here:
The following question was posed to her:
"After the electoral campaign start[ed] in the United States…we noticed here in Tunisia that most of the candidates from the both sides run towards the Zionist lobbies to get their support in the States. And afterwards, once they are elected, they come to show their support for countries like Tunisia and Egypt for a common Tunisian or a common Arab citizen. How would you reassure and gain his trust again once given the fact that you are supporting his enemy as well at the same time?”
Her answer:

“Well, first, let me say you will learn as your democracy develops that a lot of things are said in political campaigns that should not bear a lot of attention. There are comments made that certainly don’t reflect the United States, don’t reflect our foreign policy, don’t reflect who we are as a people. I mean, if you go to the United States, you see mosques everywhere, you see Muslim Americans everywhere. That’s the fact. So I would not pay attention to the rhetoric..." (Emphasis added)
So, let's get this straight: Clinton is saying that when candidates support Zionists, it is merely campaign rhetoric, and the truth of the US embrace of Muslims is demonstrated by the fact that there are mosques and Muslim Americans all over?

I said it above, and I say it again here: Beware!
See the written text and video at Yid with Lid:

According to YNet, citing a report yesterday in Al-Quds Al-Arabi (London), there is considerable tension between PA Prime Minister Fayyad and PA President Abbas because of Fayyad's refusal to deliver a letter written to PM Netanyahu by Abbas. 
Fayyad was scheduled to meet with Netanyahu last week but at the last minute failed to show. The reason given was that PA prisoners were on a hunger strike.  Is this, then the true reason -- that Fayyad balked at being "Abbas's postman"?  Fayyad is said to be angry that Abbas had the nerve to expect him to show up in Israel on "prisoner day."  More to the point, most likely, is that he was not asked to help draft that letter.
What is probably the most moving and incredible -- and inspiring! -- Holocaust story I have ever read was sent to me today by my daughter Sharon.  It is a story told by Rabbi Yosef Wallis, of Arachim Israel (an outreach organization), given in testimony to Project Witness about his father, Judah Wallis, who was born and raised in Pavenitz, Poland.
It came as an attachment, and so I have put it on my website, with full accreditation, so that you may access it and read it for yourself: Holocaust Story: How My Parents Met
A subsequent piece of the story can be found here: Beyond Survival, by Rabbi Yoseph Wallis


© Arlene KushnerThis material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.

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