Archive Page 2

27
Apr
10

Rabbi Aryeh Spero’s Speech at April 25 Break the Silence Rally for Israel

Speech by Rabbi Aryeh Spero

Break the Silence Rally, April 25, 2010

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for coming out today in the rain in support of Israel and to protest the anti-Israel policies of the Obama administration.  It’s time to break the silence. 

Mr. President: Jerusalem is not a settlement. It is, all of it, the greatest Jewish city in the world!

President Obama: you are not Israel’s landlord. You are not Jerusalem’s landlord.  Neither is Hillary Clinton.

Jews have a right to build and live in all of their Israeli cities!

Mr. Obama, Secretary Clinton: you seem more angry over a Jewish family building a home and raising their children in Jerusalem than you do about Iran building a nuclear bomb to destroy Israel and America!

Mr. Obama, for too many centuries leaders have arisen demanding that certain cities and areas of the world be off limits to Jews – that certain areas be Judenrein, free of Jews. Now you demand that vast segments of Jerusalem, already populated by Jewish families, be free of Jews. You propose expulsion of the Jews.  To that we must say: Barack Hussein Obama – no, no, NO! Barack Hussein Obama – lo, lo, LO!

We now hear of plans from Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton to impose a solution on Israel. They want to divide Jerusalem, internationalize our holy sites and areas containing our historic synagogues. They want to populate Israel itself with Moslem Arabs hostile to the Jewish people who harbor hate in their heart and yearn for the destruction of Israel.  President Obama, your solution seems more like a Final Solution.

Mr. Obama: we have heard your blood libel – that Israel is somehow responsible for the loss of, as you say, “American treasure and blood.”  This is a canard, a self-serving distortion to frighten Israel and the Jewish community.

Mr. Obama, you treat Hugo Chavez better and with more regard than you do the Prime Minister of Israel. That may be your mode of conduct, but this sentiment and conduct is not in the American tradition. Your disgraceful conduct is an embarrassment to the American People. You have embarrassed the American people.  We don’t act the way you do.

—————–      ——————————–   ———————

And now, we must ask the most important question of the day: where are the heads of the major Jewish organizations? Where have they been over the last five weeks of day-to-day, 24/7 humiliation and vilification of Israel?  I’ll tell you: They have been hiding. They have been silent. 

Moreover, they have decided, in principle, to remain silent. They remain silent as they did 70 years ago becauset they don’t want to be on the “outs’ with the President and loose the invitations to the White House they love and crave. Worse, perhaps, is that some actually agree with Obama’s policy on Israel. 

But most of American Jewry disagrees with the Conference of Presidents and are appalled by your lack of leadership, your lack of courage, your lack of Jewish pride, your wimp-iness, your misguided world view. 

At crucial moments like this, when choices must be made, when sides must be chosen, one finds out where a person really stands.  Well, we now know. The major Jewish organizations have chosen Obama over Israel – because he’s their guy. They have chosen Hillary Clinton over Jewish nationalism – because she’s their gal.  They have chosen liberalism over Jerusalem.  

Yes, you are hiding.  If you can’t or won’t lead, step aside now and let others lead. With their silence, the Conference of Presidents have allowed and elevated the anti-Israel J Street to become the spokesgroup of the Jewish People. But the members of J street are traitors. They have gone over to the side of darkness.

The people of the George Soros-funded J Street, and some who head the major Jewish organizations, are, sad to say, embarrassed by a strong Israel, embarrassed by a distinctly Jewish state.They are first and foremost transnationalists.They care only about what their leftist cohorts think.They will jeopardize Israel if that’s what it takes to keep up their invitations to avante garde cocktail parties and events. We dare not depend on them.

Their heroes are not strong Israelis, nor strong, proud, Americans.Their heroes are those on the Left, the multiculturalists, who wish to weaken America and Israel .Their personal ambitions are more important to them than our survival.The Jewish leadership’s need to always appear reasonable, respectable, and accommodating to our enemies is a formula for Jewish suicide, American suicide. 

———————–   —————————   ———————-

And now let us say something to Prime Minister Netanyahu. The Obama Administration is not a true friend of Israel. You know who is? The American People – sixty eight percent of them, and even as high as 82 percent among Repubicans. The Obama Administration is not going to stop Iran from producing a nuclear bomb. The Obama administration’s view is, as one of their top men has said: “Just get used to living in a world with the Iranian bomb.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu, this is your moment in history. A moment where you can rise above the other frightened world leaders who are simply caving in. Now is your chance to be a Joshua, a Winston Churchill. You speak of your admiration of Winston Churchill who saved the West from Nazism. President Obama, on the other hand, is not an admirer of Winston Churchill. Indeed, one of his first actions when arriving at the White House was to remove the bust of Winston Churchill that for years was poised in the Oval Office and return it to Great Britain.

Some in America are acting like Chamberlain, not Churchill.

Stand tall, Mr. Netanyahu, and give your people pride. It is unseemly, it is unbecoming, it is so not like Winston Churchill to witness a nickel-and-diming away of this neighborhood in Jerusalem so as to retain and keep a different neighborhood in Jerusalem. It is unbearable to watch Jerusalem being treated as if it were an item being negotiated in the bazaar, the shuk. Jerusalem and Israel are not for sale; it’s not on the auction block; it’s not up for barter.

Do not act like one who is afraid. If you do, G-d Forbid, your nation, the citizens of Israel will be afraid. Act with courage and your people will be filled with courage.

Mr. Prime Minister, you do not have to prove that Israel is a peaceful nation. We all know that it is. To whom do you feel you have to prove that Israel is a peaceful nation? To Mahmoud Abbas, the United Nations, to President Obama? 

Do not participate in this never- ending game called “process” that demands that Israel, for the one hundreth time, has to give up land to demonstrate she wants peace.These clever demands for “just a little more land”, by Arabs, will not stop until they have utterly weakened , shrunk, and demoralized Israel. There is no such thing as Land for Peace. It must be simply: Peace for Peace. Take it or leave it!

Many Jews are frustrated by the continuum of Israeli Prime Ministers delivering the Arab narrative, and how the Muslims must have a state of their own, and this of their  own, and that of their own. Oh-so sensitive to Moslem needs and honor.

We are looking for an Israeli leader to speak of the Jewish narrative, to speak of how Israel is ours by virtue of the Bible and history, and how we built it and made the Land shine once again. We want to hear about Great Jewish Aspirations, Jewish honor, Jewsh Destiny. The Big Idea — not about Ramot, yes, French Hill, no, maybe Gilo II.  

The American People will support and respect those who show self-respect — vigorous, emphatic self-respect. It’s about time we heard someone say: We sure as hell are not going to uproot our citizens, forfeit our land, and continually turn our country inside-out like a guilt-ridden, wounded pretzel to get approval for our right to exist. We have the right to exist – because we exist.

The world must know that this Arab conflict against Israel is not simply a local issue, but part of the greater Jihad. Islam wants the Philippines, Kashmir, parts of India, southern Asia, Israel, Europe, countries in South America and all of Africa. They accomplish this through terror, and too many are appeasing and submitting to this terror. Sadly, President Obama and Hillary Clinton want to hand Islam, Jerusalem. Whose capital is next?  What other parts of the world will President Obama, in the name of “peace”, hand over to Islam?

President Obama and secretary Clinton’s policies of U.S. disarmament, their vilification of Israel, their tacit nod to Islamization, and their preference for dictators has become a curse on this great nation, America, and a plague on Western civilization. Stay away from it! Caveat emptor!  Stay away from it!

Am Yisrael Chai!  G-d Bless America, Sweet land of Liberty.

Advertisements
23
Apr
10

The Hon. Edward Koch: “THE SILENCE IS DEAFENING”

Please forward this YouTube video of the legendary former Mayor of New York City to others.

21
Apr
10

Inappropriate Use of the Fourth Geneva Convention

February 2, 2010 | Eli E. Hertz

In advising that Jewish settlements are illegal, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) went beyond its own mandate from the General Assembly without being asked to do so.

In paragraph 120 of the Court’s opinion [Advisory Opinion July 9 2004), the ICJ declares:

“The Court concludes that the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (including East Jerusalem) have been established in breach of international law.”

The ICJ based its conclusion on the inappropriate use of an article of the Fourth Geneva Convention which stipulates:

“The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”

Once the ICJ has ‘established evidence’ that the West Bank and Gaza are unlawfully occupied territories, it then applies this status to the Fourth Geneva Conference de jure, stating in paragraph 120 of the opinion that:

“As regards these settlements, the Court notes that Article 49, paragraph 6, of the Fourth Geneva Convention provides: ‘The Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.‘ [italic by author]

“In this respect, the information provided to the Court shows that, since 1977, Israel has conducted a policy and developed practices involving the establishment of settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, contrary to the terms of Article 49, paragraph 6, just cited.” [italics by author]

One can hardly believe this baseless ICJ assertion that Israel used “deportation” and “forced transfer” of its own population into “occupied territories. ”

The Court unlawful attempts to broaden the definition of Article 49 to possibly ‘fit’ some wrong doing on the part of the State of Israel, all with no authority or reference to law, adding:

“That provision prohibits not only deportations or forced transfers of population such as those carried out during the Second World War, but also any measures taken by an occupying Power in order to organize or encourage transfers of parts of its own population into the occupied territory.” [italics by author]

In the above conclusion, the ICJ fails to disclose the content of the “information provided” (information the Court based its decision on), and the anonymous ‘authorities’ that provided such. Anyone interested in the subject at hand is aware of the difficulties the Israeli Government faces in its decision to relocate some Israeli settlements out of the “Territories, ” a fact that seems to be contrary to the “information provided” to the ICJ.

Professor Stone touches on the applicability of Article 49 of the Geneva Convention. Writing on the subject in 1980:

“That because of the ex iniuria principle, Jordan never had nor now has any legal title in the West Bank, nor does any other state even claim such title. Article 49 seems thus simply not applicable. (Even if it were, it may be added that the facts of recent voluntary settlements seem not to be caught by the intent of Article 49 which is rather directed at the forced transfer of the belligerent’ s inhabitants to the occupied territory, or the displacement of the local inhabitants, for other than security reasons.) The Fourth Geneva Convention applies only, according to Article 2, to occupation of territory belonging to ‘another High Contracting Party’; and Jordan cannot show any such title to the West Bank, nor Egypt to Gaza.”.

Support to Stone’s assertion can be found in Lauterpacht’ s writing in 1968:

“Thus Jordan’s occupation of the Old City-and indeed of the whole of the area west of the Jordan river-entirely lacked legal justification; and being defective in this way could not form any basis for Jordan validly to fill the sovereignty vacuum in the Old City [and whole of the area west of the Jordan River].”

Professor Rostow concludes that the Convention is not applicable to Israel’s legal position and notes:

“The opposition to Jewish settlements in the West Bank also relied on a legal argument – that such settlements violated the Fourth Geneva Convention forbidding the occupying power from transferring its own citizens into the occupied territories. How that Convention could apply to Jews who already had a legal right, protected by Article 80 of the United Nations Charter, to live in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, was never explained.”

It seems that the International Court of Justice “never explained” it either.

For more on the subject see: http://www.mythsand facts.org/ article_view. asp?articleID= 164

20
Apr
10

Caroline Glick: The Strategic Foundations of the US-Israel Alliance

April 19, 2010, 6:27 PM

In honor of Israel’s 62nd Independence Day, and in light of President Obama’s repeated claims that US interests are best served by distancing itself from Israel, I decided to write the following essay explaining why a strong Israel is essential for US national security.

Yom Ha’atzmuat Sameach.

Israel’s status as the US’s most vital ally in the Middle East has been so widely recognized for so long that over the years, Israeli and American leaders alike have felt it unnecessary to explain what it is about the alliance that makes it so important for the US.

Today, as the Obama administration is openly distancing the US from Israel while giving the impression that Israel is a strategic impediment to the administration’s attempts to strengthen its relations with the Arab world, recalling why Israel is the US’s most important ally in the Middle East has become a matter of some urgency.

Much is made of the fact that Israel is a democracy. But we seldom consider why the fact that Israel is a representative democracy matters.The fact that Israel is a democracy means that its alliance with America reflects the will of the Israeli people. As such, it remains constant regardless of who is power in Jerusalem.

All of the US’s other alliances in the Middle East are with authoritarian regimes whose people do not share the pro-American views of their leaders. The death of leaders or other political developments are liable to bring about rapid and dramatic changes in their relations with the US.

For instance, until 1979, Iran was one of the US’s closest strategic allies in the region. Owing to the gap between the Iranian people and their leadership, the Islamic revolution put an end to the US-Iran alliance.

Egypt flipped from a bitter foe to an ally of the US when Gamal Abdel Nasser died in 1969. Octogenarian President Hosni Mubarak’s encroaching death is liable to cause a similar shift in the opposite direction.

Instability in the Hashemite kingdom in Jordan and the Saudi regime could transform those countries from allies to adversaries.

Only Israel, where the government reflects the will of the people is a reliable, permanent US ally.

America reaps the benefits of its alliance with Israel every day. As the US suffers from chronic intelligence gaps, Israel remains the US’s most reliable source for accurate intelligence on the US’s enemies in the region.

Israel is the US’s only ally in the Middle East that always fights its own battles. Indeed, Israel has never asked the US for direct military assistance in time of war. Since the US and Israel share the same regional foes, when Israel is called upon to fight its enemies, its successes redound to the US’s benefit.

Here it bears recalling Israel’s June 1982 destruction of Syria’s Soviet-made anti-aircraft batteries and the Syrian air force. Those stunning Israeli achievements were the first clear demonstration of the absolute superiority of US military technology over Soviet military technology. Many have argued that it was this Israeli demonstration of Soviet technological inferiority that convinced the Reagan administration it was possible to win the Cold War.

In both military and non-military spheres, Israeli technological achievements – often developed with US support – are shared with America. The benefits the US has gained from Israeli technological advances in everything from medical equipment to microchips to pilotless aircraft are without peer worldwide.

Beyond the daily benefits the US enjoys from its close ties with Israel, the US has three fundamental, permanent, vital national security interests in the Middle East. A strong Israel is a prerequisite for securing all of these interests.

America’s three permanent strategic interests in the Middle East are as follows:

1 – Ensuring the smooth flow of affordable petroleum products from the region to global consumers through the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Aden and the Suez Canal.

2 – Preventing the most radical regimes, sub-state and non-state actors from acquiring the means to cause catastrophic harm.

3 – Maintaining the US’s capacity to project its power to the region.

A strong Israel is the best guarantor of all of these interests. Indeed, the stronger Israel is, the more secure these vital American interests are. Three permanent and unique aspects to Israel’s regional position dictate this state of affairs.

1 – As the first target of the most radical regimes and radical sub-state actors in the region, Israel has a permanent, existential interest in preventing these regimes and sub-state actors from acquiring the means to cause catastrophic harm.

Israel’s 1981 airstrike that destroyed Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor prevented Iraq from acquiring nuclear weapons. Despite US condemnation at the time, the US later acknowledged that the strike was a necessary precondition to the success of Operation Desert Storm ten years later. Richard Cheney – who served as secretary of defense during Operation Desert Storm – has stated that if Iraq had been a nuclear power in 1991, the US would have been hard pressed to eject Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi army from Kuwait and so block his regime from asserting control over oil supplies in the Persian Gulf.

2 – Israel is a non-expansionist state and its neighbors know it. In its 62 year history, Israel has only controlled territory vital for its national security and territory that was legally allotted to it in the 1922 League of Nations Mandate which has never been abrogated or superseded.

Israel’s strength, which it has used only in self-defense, is inherently non-threatening. Far from destabilizing the region, a strong Israel stabilizes the Middle East by deterring the most radical actors from attacking.

In 1970, Israel blocked Syria’s bid to use the PLO to overthrow the Hashemite regime in Jordan. Israel’s threat to attack Syria not only saved the Hashemites then, it has deterred Syria from attempting to overthrow the Jordanian regime ever since.

Similarly, Israel’s neighbors understand that its purported nuclear arsenal is a weapon of national survival and hence they view it as non-threatening. This is the reason Israel’s alleged nuclear arsenal has never spurred a regional nuclear arms race.

In stark contrast, if Iran acquires nuclear weapons, a regional nuclear arms race will ensue immediately.

Although they will never admit it, Israel’s non-radical neighbors feel more secure when Israel is strong. On the other hand, the region’s most radical regimes and non-state actors will always seek to emasculate Israel.

3– Since as the Jewish state Israel is the regional bogeyman, no Arab state will agree to form a permanent alliance with it. Hence, Israel will never be in a position to join forces with another nation against a third nation.

In contrast, the Egyptian-Syrian United Arab Republic of the 1960s was formed to attack Israel. Today, the Syrian-Iranian alliance is an inherently aggressive alliance against Israel and the non-radical Arab states in the region. Recognizing the stabilizing force of a strong Israel, the moderate states of the region prefer for Israel to remain strong.

From the US’s perspective, far from impairing its alliance-making capabilities in the region, by providing military assistance to Israel, America isn’t just strengthening the most stabilizing force in the region. It is showing all states and non-state actors in the greater Middle East it is trustworthy.

On the other hand, every time the US seeks to attenuate its ties with Israel, it is viewed as an untrustworthy ally by the nations of the Middle East. US hostility towards Israel causes Israel’s neighbors to hedge their bets by distancing themselves from the US lest America abandon them to their neighboring adversaries.

A strong Israel empowers the relatively moderate actors in the region to stand up to the radical actors in the region because they trust Israel to keep the radicals in check. Today’s regional balance of power in which the moderates have the upper hand over the radicals is predicated on a strong Israel.

On the other hand, when Israel is weakened the radical forces are emboldened to threaten the status quo. Regional stability is thrown asunder. Wars become more likely. Attacks on oil resources increase. The most radical sub-state actors and regimes are emboldened.

To the extent that the two-state solution assumes that Israel must contract itself to within the indefensible 1949 ceasefire lines, and allow a hostile Palestinian state allied with terrorist organizations to take power in the areas it vacates, the two-state solution is predicated on making Israel weak and empowering radicals. In light of this, the two-state solution as presently constituted is antithetical to America’s most vital strategic interests in the Middle East.

When we bear in mind the foundations for the US’s alliance with Israel, it is obvious that US support for Israel over the years has beenthe most cost-effective national security investment in post-World War II US history.

http://us.mc383.mail.yahoo.com/mc/showFolder?&.rand=1650220172&&abnumadded=1&abnames=+Ami++Horowitz+&abids=16781375&abgrpup=1&abnuminlist=1&abgrpname=Israel+Activists&abgid=16781294#_pg=showMessage&sMid=1&&filterBy=&.rand=1219748704&midIndex=1&mid=1_47341445_ABZ9v9EAAQRqS801FAK8XCcXoFc&fromId=caroline@carolineglick.com&m=1_47342175_ABF9v9EAASAYS8016ARuwSgtB08,1_47341445_ABZ9v9EAAQRqS801FAK8XCcXoFc,1_47340915_ABJ9v9EAABS9S80wrQi3bRVVCBg,1_47340278_ABR9v9EAAPrtS80tDA4FXzqyQdo,1_47339628_ABd9v9EAAO7SS80sLA7B1B4g3mI,1_47339035_ABZ9v9EAAMaIS80sFQi21ghOc%2FQ,1_47338391_ABV9v9EAAPaDS80mAwmFjiaoPJA,&sort=date&order=down&startMid=0&.jsrand=1670285Posted on April 19, 2010 at 6:27 PM

20
Apr
10

Hundreds of lawmakers urge Obama to take ‘punishing measures’ against Iran

Bridget Johnson and Russell Berman – The Hill,  April 14th, 2010

Congressional proponents of swift, tougher sanctions on Iran have finished gathering signatures on letters to President Barack Obama.

The letter recently recirculated by Reps. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) and Mike Pence (R-Ind.) is being submitted to Obama with 363 House members’ signatures.

“Mr. President, you have stated this issue is a priority for your administration. You have attempted to engage the Iranian regime for over a year. You have gone to the United Nations Security Council in an effort to impose tough new sanctions on Iran. But time is not on our side,” the letter states.

“We cannot allow those who would oppose or delay sanctions to govern either the timing or content of our efforts,” it says, in reference to the lack of support at the Security Council by veto-wielders China and Russia.

The letter calls on Obama to “fulfill your June 2008 pledge that you would do ‘everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon,’” to “rapidly” implement the sanctions legislation when it comes out of conference and use whatever presidential powers at his means to impose “punishing measures” on Tehran.

Jackson and Pence, along with Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.), as well as Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and Dan Burton (R-Ind.), confirmed the culmination of their effort at a Wednesday afternoon press conference.

“This is a moment where traditional loyalties and interests give way to the interests of the United States of America,” said Pence, who characterized the letter to Obama as “firm but respectful.”

“We are assuring the president of strong bipartisan support for tough and decisive measures,” Pence said. “We urge the president to move rapidly.”

“It has been the consistent policy of this administration and a consistent policy of this Congress that a nuclear-armed Iran is unacceptable,” Hoyer said. “We need to act. We need to act now, and we must act decisively.”

In the Senate, a similar letter circulated by Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) has gathered 76 signatures and was expected to be sent to Obama as early as Wednesday afternoon.

“Preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons remains a diplomatic imperative,” the letter states. “But time is not on the side of those who seek to prevent a nuclear Iran.

“… We urge you to move quickly to implement your existing authority on Iran and the legislation we send you, and to galvanize the international community to take immediate, substantive steps. Now is the time for action focused on preventing a nuclear Iran. We look forward to working with you on this important task.”

In December, the House approved 412-12 a measure enabling Obama to ban foreign firms that supply Iran with refined petroleum from doing business in the U.S. The Senate passed its own version of sanctions targeting Iran’s energy sector by voice vote on Jan. 28.

“I don’t think there is any other bill that is as important insofar as furthering U.S. national security interests as this bill,” Cantor said at the Wednesday press conference.

Cantor acknowledged Obama’s attempts to gain international consensus on resolutions at the United Nations, but noted that Congress was on “a separate track””It is of the utmost importance that this Congress act now and act decisively,” Cantor said. “There will be some teeth in these sanctions if all goes as planned.”

Cantor said he expected an announcement on a congressional schedule for action on sanctions on those doing business with Iran in the next couple of days.

18
Apr
10

Benny Morris: Obama is denying Israel the right to self-defense when it is not his, or America’s, life that is on the line.

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-morris16-2010apr16,0,6295075.story

April 16, 2010

I take it personally: Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, wants to murder me, my family and my people. Day in, day out, he announces the imminent demise of the “Zionist regime,” by which he means Israel. And day in, day out, his scientists and technicians are advancing toward the atomic weaponry that will enable him to bring this about.

The Jews of Europe (and Poles, Russians, Czechs, the French, etc.) should likewise have taken personally Adolf Hitler’s threats and his serial defiance of the international community from 1933 to 1939. But he was allowed, by the major powers and the League of Nations, to flex his muscles, rearm, remilitarize the Rhineland and then gobble up neighboring countries. Had he been stopped before the invasion of Poland and the start of World War II, the lives of many millions, Jews and Gentiles, would have been saved. But he wasn’t.

And it doesn’t look like Ahmadinejad will be either. Not by the United States and the international community, at any rate. President Obama, when not obsessing over the fate of the ever- aggrieved Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, proposes to halt Ahmadinejad’s nuclear program by means of international sanctions. But here’s the paradox: The wider Obama casts his net to mobilize as many of the world’s key players as he can, the weaker the sanctions and the more remote their implementation. China, it appears, will only agree to a U.N. Security Council resolution if the sanctions are diluted to the point of meaninglessness (and maybe not even then). The same appears to apply to the Russians. Meanwhile, Iran advances toward the bomb. Most of the world’s intelligence agencies believe that it is only one to three years away.

Perhaps Obama hopes to unilaterally implement far more biting American (and, perhaps, European) sanctions. But if China and Russia (and some European Union members) don’t play ball, the sanctions will remain ineffective. And Iran will continue on its deadly course.

At the end of 2007, the U.S. intelligence community, driven by wishful thinking, expediency and incompetence, announced that the Iranians had in 2003 halted the weaponization part of their nuclear program. Last week, Obama explicitly contradicted that assessment. At least the American administration now publicly acknowledges where it is the Iranians are headed, while not yet acknowledging what it is they are after — primarily Israel’s destruction.

Granted, Obama has indeed tried to mobilize the international community for sanctions. But it has been a hopeless task, given the selfishness and shortsightedness of governments and peoples. Sanctions were supposed to kick in in autumn 2009; then it was December; now it is sometime late this year. Obama is still pushing the rock up the hill — and Ahmadinejad, understandably, has taken to publicly scoffing at the West and its “sanctions.”

He does this because he knows that sanctions, if they are ever passed, are likely to be toothless, and because the American military option has been removed from the table. Obama and Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates — driven by a military that feels overstretched in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq and a public that has no stomach for more war — have made this last point crystal clear.

But at the same time, Obama insists that Israel may not launch a preemptive military strike of its own. Give sanctions a chance, he says. (Last year he argued that diplomacy and “engagement” with Tehran should be given a chance. Tehran wasn’t impressed then and isn’t impressed now.) The problem is that even if severe sanctions are imposed, they likely won’t have time to have serious effect before Iran succeeds at making a bomb.

Obama is, no doubt, well aware of this asymmetric timetable. Which makes his prohibition against an Israeli preemptive strike all the more immoral. He knows that any sanctions he manages to orchestrate will not stop the Iranians. (Indeed, Ahmadinejad last week said sanctions would only fortify Iran’s resolve and consolidate its technological prowess.) Obama is effectively denying Israel the right to self-defense when it is not his, or America’s, life that is on the line.

Perhaps Obama has privately resigned himself to Iran’s nuclear ambitions and believes, or hopes, that deterrence will prevent Tehran from unleashing its nuclear arsenal. But what if deterrence won’t do the trick? What if the mullahs, believing they are carrying out Allah’s will and enjoy divine protection, are undeterred?

The American veto may ultimately consign millions of Israelis, including me and my family, to a premature death and Israel to politicide. It would then be comparable to Britain and France’s veto in the fall of 1938 of the Czechs defending their territorial integrity against their rapacious Nazi neighbors. Within six months, Czechoslovakia was gobbled up by Germany.

But will Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu follow in Czech President Edvard Benes’ footsteps? Will he allow an American veto to override Israel’s existential interests? And can Israel go it alone, without an American green (or even yellow) light, without American political cover and overflight permissions and additional American equipment? Much depends on what the Israeli military and intelligence chiefs believe their forces — air force, navy, commandos — can achieve. Full destruction of the Iranian nuclear project? A long-term delay? And on how they view Israel’s ability (with or without U.S. support) to weather the reaction from Iran and its proxies, Hezbollah, Hamas and Syria.

An Israeli attack might harm U.S. interests and disrupt international oil supplies (though I doubt it would cause direct attacks on U.S. installations, troops or vessels). But, from the Israeli perspective, these are necessarily marginal considerations when compared with the mortal hurt Israel and Israelis would suffer from an Iranian nuclear attack. Netanyahu’s calculations will, in the end, be governed by his perception of Israel’s existential imperatives. And the clock is ticking.

Benny Morris is the author of many books about the Middle East conflict, including, most recently, “1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War.”

16
Apr
10

Arutz Sheva: Clinton Pushes Israel, not PA, to Take Risks for Peace

 Arutz Sheva – April 16, 2010

by Maayana Miskin

United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has increased the pressure on Israel again to strengthen the PLO and Fatah and make concessions to the Palestinian Authority. The pressure is an apparent response to an impasse in talks between Israel and the PA, which has refused to hold direct negotiations. It is in direct contradiction to Obama’s recent remarks about not continuing to concentrate on the Middle East, since he sees no progress after all the U.S. efforts to start talks.

For an analyst’s look at how to get things going, click here.

Clinton spoke Thursday at the opening of the S. Daniel Abraham Center for Middle East Peace think tank. While she called for the PA, led by Mahmoud Abbas, to end its incitement against Israel, she had a number of steps for Israel to take.

“We encourage Israel to continue building momentum toward a comprehensive peace by demonstrating respect for the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinians, stopping settlement activity and addressing the humanitarian needs in Gaza,” she said. “And to refrain from unilateral statements and actions that could undermine trust or risk prejudicing the outcome of talks.”

Israel must strengthen the PA and the PLO in order to counter Hamas, Clinton said. “Israel can and should do more to support the Palestinian Authority’s efforts to build credible institutions and deliver results,” she argued.

Clinton praised Abbas’s work in the PA, but said that if Abbas is seen as unable to get results, “there is no doubt his support will fade and Palestinians will turn to alternatives – including Hamas.”

As Israel has halted construction in Judea and Samaria’s Jewish communities, Clinton’s reference to “settlement activity” was apparently in regard to the construction of Jewish homes in Jerusalem. Israel’s capital city was split in 1949 as Jordan seized half the city, and reunited in 1967 during the Six Day War.

Israel has declared united Jerusalem as its capital. The PA has demanded that those areas that were under Jordanian control for 18 years be given to the PA as the capital of a future Arab state.

When Clinton served as senator of New York she supported Israel’s position, stating that Jerusalem’s status as Israel’s undivided capital “must never be questioned.” However, since her appointment as President Barack Obama’s secretary of state, Clinton has changed her position in favor of the PA, and recently called the construction of housing in the Jewish neighborhood of Ramat Shlomo “insulting”.

Following the Obama administration’s insistence that Israel cease construction in much of Jerusalem, the PA took up the same demand and PA leaders have now stated that they will not hold direct talks with Israel as long as Jews are allowed to build in areas once under Jordanian control – including historically Jewish neighborhoods such as the Old City.