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Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu today rejected the key proposal in President Obama’s Thursday address on the Middle East, stating unequivocally that Israel will not return to the 1967 borders.

Netanyahu, in deeply personal remarks made in the Oval Office after the two leaders met, called the borders indefensible and created the temptation for past attacks.  Click to read the rest of this article

Watch the video from Fox News http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fcZtDrkuCd0

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http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/144360.

What Will Prime Minister Netanyahu Say to the US Government?
by INN Staff PM's Speech to US Congress

Dear Friends, Senators and Congressmen, Representatives of the American people who are the best friend the Jewish people have had in all of history,

The Jewish people and the state of Israel are honored that the Prime Minister of Israel is invited to stand here before both houses of the American Congress.

I wish, in the name of the Israel’s citizens, to thank you for this opportunity to talk to you.

In 1492, two events of great historical significance occurred.

An evil decree of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain brought about the expulsion of the 150,000 Jews of Spain from the country where they had once lived tranquilly and had had a semblance of civil rights.

Yet an act of deliverance preceded this debacle, when, in the same year, Christopher Columbus discovered America. This was the start of the American nation, the nation whose very existence is an act of grace for the entire world and for the Jewish people in particular.

America was fated one day to become a place of refuge and support for the Jewish people.

Our people feel great affection for the American nation, which became a safe harbor for us towards the end of our exile. We thank the Almighty for choosing the American people to be the best and most helpful friend in our efforts to establish a national homeland for the Jewish people.

From the very start, there has been a covenant of love and friendship between the American people and the Jewish people and its state. The United States of America has stood by Israel in the past, in the present and will, please G-d, stand by her forever.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Senators and Congressmen,

At the close of a forced, long and cruel exile, we returned to our land. During all the 1900 years of exile, we never forgot our land, the land of Israel, our birthplace, the land promised to us and our descendants by the Creator of the world, the land of the Bible. Generations of Jewish children, young and old, studied and memorized the words of the Bible and our daily prayers, day and night, in hunger and thirst, cold and poverty, in secret and in the open, longing for a return to Jerusalem and the cities of Judea. Jerusalem is mentioned 21 times in a Jews’ daily prayers.

The Passover Haggadah that is recited at the yearly Seder, the very same one we have said through the ages, in Casblanca, Paris, Fez, London, Tsana,Barcelona, Addis Ababa, St. Petersburg, Alexandria, G’erba, Munich, Rome, and New York—whatever place we were exiled to—ends with the song “Next year in Jerusalem”.

The pioneering spirits among our people attempted to found a Third Commonwealth, but the nations of the world prevented them from succeeding. A small number managed to actually reach the land of the Bible. They started an awakening. They were followed by successive waves of tens, then hundreds, thousands and tens of thousands who founded villages, communities, cultural institutions and spread throughout the holy land, but the land remained desolate looking as It had been since its destruction thousands of years earlier.

After 18 centuries of exile, bubbles of longing began coming to the surface of Jewish life, and in the last 300 years, a large number of Jews left their places of residence to return to Israel. Today, at the state of Israel’s 63rd birthday celebration, we can state with confidence that our land was glad to see us back. Israel is a beautiful country, has one of the most stable economies in the world, is blessed with investments, research and development—it is a beacon to the entire world—and this is in addition to the rennaisance of Jewish culture and scholarship in the Jewish state.

In his book, “The Innocents Abroad”, Mark Twain describes journeying to the holy land with a group of pilgrims in the 1860’s. He describes a barren and desolate land, that contains nothing but deserts, wastelands, swamps, full of neglect and contagious diseases. All this was before the Jews returned. Once they began coming, Arab tribes followed in their footsteps, so that Arab claims to being in the land from time immemorial are put to the lie even by Twain.

In the Passover Haggadah I mentioned earlier, we also say each year: “In every generation they rise to destroy us, but the Lord rescues us from their hands.” No one, not even today, has a rational explanation for the continued existence of anti-Semitism.  We only know that it is there, kicking and screaming. It began with our becoming a nation, in Egypt, and continued all through the years of exile during which period most of our nation was systematically murdered. That is how we find ourselves, after 1900 years and after the Holocaust, approximately the same population size as we were when the long exile began.

Possibly, anti-Semitism is a product of Israel’s G-d-given task of being “a light unto the nations,” commanding the Jews to set a moral example and to spread monotheism in the ancient world of paganism and cruel idol worship. That may have caused jealousy and hatred, mixed with admiration. Jewish tradition had it that the world was round 1200 years before Galileo was hounded by the Church for saying so.  In Jewish law,  women were called “daughters of kings” long before the world realized the basic rights of women. The Jewish people served as an island of culture, purity, charity and lovingkindness, all found in the 613 commandments, those between man and his fellowman, those between man and his God.  Although most of the world has abandoned idol worship by now, that hatred did not cease in the bitter exile with which we were subjected, but in which we never bowed. We remained stalwart spiritually and it is that strength that gave us the foundations for our national steadfastness.

On November 2, 1917, Lord Arthur James Balfour, Foreign Secretary and past Prime Minister of Great Britain, issued the famous Balfour Declaration, that posits the founding of a national home for the Jewish people in the land of Israel. Its authors were referring to the Biblical borders of Israel, with whose boundaries the English people were familiar from studying the Holy Book, that land which lay on both sides of the Jordan River, extending from the northernmost Golan Heights to Aqaba in the south, close to 116 thousand square kilometers.

In 1920, the San Remo International Conference confirmed the Balfour Declaration and gave Britain the mandate over both sides of the Jordan River.  King Feisal of Iraq, in the name of the Arab delegation to the 1919 peace conference after WWI, wrote: “Our delegation here in Paris are fully aware of the suggestions the Zionist Federation made to the peace conference. In our eyes they are modest and fitting, and we will do our best to have them accepted. We will welcome the Jews warmly when they come home.

Two years later, the eastern bank of the Jordan, an area of about 90,000 square kilometers, was separated and closed to Jewish immigration.  What remained for the Jews was the west bank of the Jordan, an area of only 26,000 square kilometers. The decision to hand over the land east of the Jordan to the head of the Saudi royal family, was decided on by Great Britain for political ends.

The plan to partition the land of Israel west of the Jordan River, as suggested by the Peel Committee in 1936, was called “a midget-sized Jewish country”, by revisionist leader Zeev Jabotinsky, in his 1937 speech before Parliament.  The heads of Jewish settlement in Israel declared that even if the Jews are forced to accept the partition against their will, they see it as a temporary solution. Chaim Weizmann, later Israel’s first president, said: “This is an arrangement that can last 25-30 years”, and David Ben Gurion, later to be Israel’s first Prime Minister, reacted: “I see our future as cancelling the partition, once we have become secure in our state”.

In 1947, the United Nations Assembly ratified the Partition Plan, a decision that led to the declaration of the state of Israel on the tiny bit of land left for the Jewish homeland. Our capital,Jerusalem, was divided in two,  and her heart, the site of our Holy Temples, was outside our borders. All the parts of Israel that had been clearly promised to us by God were also outside these borders.

The Arabs never accepted the Partition Plan and, led by Amin El Huseini, continued their terror attacks against the Jewish people. Huseini met with Hitler in Bernlin at the height of WWII in order to plan the extermination of the Jews in Israel and the east.

Immediately after the declaration of Israel’s independence on May 15, 1948, the armies of 7 Arab states invaded the fledgling country to attempt to murder all its Jewish residents. For the next 19 years, we lived while paying for our existence in unending bloodshed. In the War of Independence alone, 6000 soldiers and civilians were killed, that was 1% of the population at the time. God helped us defeat our enemies and we succeeded in building a wonderful country despite its narrow borders and their limitations.

Then began the infamous announcements of President Nasser of Egypt in 1967, who, together with Syria’s ruler Hafez el Assad, and Jordan’s King Hussein, decided to invade tiny Israel and wipe it off the map.  Israel’s boundaries were the indefensible Green Line, called “Auschwitz Borders” by then-Foreign Minister Abba Eban. In the June 1967 war that ensued, the state of Israel and its heroic soldiers, defeated Egypt in six days and freed the remaining sections of Israel on the west of the Jordan River.

From the beginning, the Arab countries have engaged in anti-Israel incitement. Israel, for its part, has always yearned for peace with its enemies, but was always given the cold shoulder—and worse, unceasing terror attacks and bloodshed.

In 1993, a minority Israeli government signed the Oslo Accords with the PLO terrorist leader Yasser Arafat. The US government had reservations about the agreement limits at various stages of its development.  The immediate result of these agreements was the terrorist murders of over 1500 Israelis, most of them civilians: the elderly, women, men, children – in the city centers, on buses, at restaurants and shopping centers. The PLO broke the Oslo Accords and forced Israel to engage in a military operation to reestablish full security control in PA cities, an act that was taken to  prevent terror in Israel today.

It is no secret that of the 120 members of the United Nations General Assembly, 57 are Islamic, and that they vote automatically against Israel no matter what the issue. The United States of America, along with several other countries, have led the fight against anti-Israel activities in the UN for the 63 years since Israel’s establishment.

We are immeasurably grateful to the Presidents, Cabinet Members, Senators and Congressman who kept the hate and anti-Semitism in check, not allowing them to win another war waged against the Jewish people who have come home after thousands of years in exile.

In recent years, another enemy of the Jewish people has arisen, one who reminds us of Adolf Hitler, an enemy who does not hesitate to declare that he wishes to complete the genocide that Hitler planned. Israel, the entire world and especially the United States must make the battle to eliminate this ruler, who is developing non-conventional weapons of destruction and preparing his army to destroy Israel,  a top priority. We must act towards Ahmadenijad as the United States did successfully and so bravely against arch- terrorist Osama Bin Laden.

Six years ago, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon decided on a “Disengagement Plan” and expelled 10,000 Jews from the Katif Bloc. Although I was in the coalition when this was decided, I realized my mistake and left the government. Today, in retrospect, almost everyone admits that this plan was an egregious error and that Israel should have remained in that part of the Gaza Strip instead of leaving it for Iran’s puppet, Hamas.

Israel expelled Jews, destroyed their homes and brought about the burning of their synagogues by rioting Arabs. Immediately afterwards, Israel became a target for missiles raining from Gaza.

Over 10,000 rockets and missiles have been launched at Israeli cities as a result of this immoral and irresponsible decision. Our strategic, existential and security status have all become more vulnerable. We were forced to initiate the Cast Lead Operation to try to change the situation, but at great cost.

Israel yearns for peace, it is capable of overcoming past grievances. It has diplomatic, economic and even security relations with countries that took part in the destruction of the Jews only 70 years ago.

Israel gives equal rights to all her citizens, even those who once fought against her, and even to those who work against her even at present – and announce publicly that they do so.

There is no Arab or Muslim country in the world whose citizens have the freedom that Israel’s Arabs have. They vote, are members of the Knesset, serve as judges on the Supreme Court and in any capacity they wish.

Our right to the land of Israel is inalienable. It is an historical right and is stated clearly in the Book of Books. God’s command is that the Jewish people be connected to the holy land forever and ever. We must do our best to rebuild its ruins and settle its desolate areas.

My grandfather, the gifted speaker and well known Zionist, Rabbi Natan Milikovsky-Netanyahu, may he rest in peace, was a good friend of the first Chief Rabbi of Israel, Rabbi Avraham Kook. He traveled round the world at his behest, most especially to American Jewish congregations, during the 1920’s, to convince Jews to move to Israel and live their Zionism. Speaking in Rochester, New York in 1927, he said: “ We will not abandon our people to die. We must live. We have proven our integrity and just cause for two thousand years. We have our old weapons with us—justice and integrity—we will return to our homeland, our birthplace, our past and independence. The land awaits us.”

Dear Senators and Congressmen,

I wish to tell you that of some 7.5 million residents of the state of Israel, 6 million are Jews. 650,000 of them live in what is called “East” Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria – Israel’s heartland, the dwelling place  of our forefathers, liberated in the Six Day War.

A good many places in the United States are named for Jewish holy cities: Beit El, Bethlehem, Shiloh and more.

The anti-Semitism always unleashed against the Jewish people, is now aimed at the Jewish state. It is inconceivable that 500 years after the Jews were expelled from Spain and suffered  so many  expulsions from the countries of Europe through the centuries, that Israel will be expected to expel 650,000 Jews from their ancestral homes, the cities of ancient Israel that have come back to life: Beit El, Hevron, Shechem, Elon Moreh, Kiryat Arba, Susiya, and above all, Jerusalem.

There is no doubt that the American people, who enjoy American’s freedom, who love and know the uniqueness of the Bible, will come to the aid of the millions of Jews who have renewed their lives in all parts of the holy land. You are the representatives of this wonderful nation and there is no doubt in our hearts that you will stand at our side and help defend our rights to live everywhere in biblical Israel.

At the present time, the Arab residents of Judea and Samaria are being led astray by leaders who are eaten up by hatred. Anti-Semitic caricatures in the PA press are an everyday occurrence.  PA media, official textbooks, do not accept the existence of Israel and the Jewish people’s rights for a state in the holy land. Children are taught to be shahids from an early age, taught to kill as many Jews as possible. As long as this goes on, there is no way of talking to the PA. The treaty they signed with Hamas only makes this more obvious.

In exactly the same way we offered full citizenship to Israel’s Arab citizens decades ago, we are willing today to extend that gift to the Arabs of Judea and Samaria. Accept Israeli citizenship and become loyal to the state.

We are a peace loving nation. We will always be one. We never tried to undermine the countries in which we lived during our centuries of exile and always wanted peace. But peace is not derived from the destruction of another. Peace is the ability to live together.

Our integrity is reflected in our policies. I am the head of the Likud party, voted in on a platform that vowed to keep all of Israel in the hands of the Jewish people. I must tell you that in the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria, not counting “East” Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, 26.5% of the voters chose me. They have not authorized me to destroy their homes, even had I wished to do so.

In the name of the Israeli nation that has sent me here, I ask you to help bring a painful isue that puts a pall on the quality of our relationship to an end. I am referring to Jonathan Pollard, and it seems to me that we must decide together, in the name of rationality as well as morality, to free him. He has paid a much higher price than anyone who has committed  a comparable crime.

I turn to you to also help us gain freedom for our soldier Gilad Schalit from the hands of Hamas terrorists, the ones who expressed outrage and grief at the elimination of Ben Laden.

We in Israel have to learn from the United States, not to negotiate with terrorists. Gilad has not been visited by the Red Cross, has not seen a lawyer. Hamas ignores international principles of the freedom of mankind and commits crimes against humanity. We ask the world to raise its voice against this.

To close, I wish to pray that one day the world realize that the shared longing of the Jewish and American peoples for peace and liberty, is one that the entire world should share. May we pray together for world peace.

Thank you once again for the opportunity to address you. All of you are invited to visit the holy land, the land of the Bible, to enjoy her beauty, her rebuilding and progress.

Note: This speech was written by MK Yaakov Katz (“Ketsaleh”), head of the National Union party, and sent to INN for translation and posting, in the hope that Prime Minister Netanyahu will stand firm and present its message to the government of the United States.

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/144360.

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/133525

(IsraelNN.com) Cabinet Minister Dr. Benny Begin, a member of the seven-minister security cabinet, praises Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for not giving in on settlement construction – and says there is no chance for negotiations while the Palestinian Authority continues to seek Israel’s destruction.

Please click here to see the video report.

The minister also spoke earlier in the day with IDF Army Radio in the wake of what appears to be a diplomatic victory for Israel: successful American pressure on PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to participate in a three-way summit with U.S. President Obama and Netanyahu, even though the latter has not agreed to freeze Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria.

(Go to the Israel National News link to view the entire article and watch the video. Pray for Israel as they stand against terror, Islamists and unrighteousness according to God’s sovereign will.  -Ruth Mayfield)

http://www.carolineglick.com/e/

May 8, 2009, 6:42 PM
Obama’s green light to attack Iran
Caroline Glick

Arctic winds are blowing into Jerusalem from Washington these days. As Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s May 18 visit to Washington fast approaches, the Obama administration is ratcheting up its anti-Israel rhetoric and working feverishly to force Israel into a corner.

Using the annual AIPAC conference as a backdrop, this week the Obama administration launched its harshest onslaught against Israel to date. It began with media reports that National Security Adviser James Jones told a European foreign minister that the US is planning to build an anti-Israel coalition with the Arabs and Europe to compel Israel to surrender Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem to the Palestinians.

According to Haaretz, Jones was quoted in a classified foreign ministry cable as having told his European interlocutor, “The new administration will convince Israel to compromise on the Palestinian question. We will not push Israel under the wheels of a bus, but we will be more forceful toward Israel than we have been under Bush.”

He then explained that the US, the EU and the moderate Arab states must determine together what “a satisfactory endgame solution,” will be.

As far as Jones is concerned, Israel should be left out of those discussions and simply presented with a fait accompli that it will be compelled to accept.

Events this week showed that Jones’s statement was an accurate depiction of the administration’s policy. First, quartet mediator Tony Blair announced that within six weeks the US, EU, UN and Russia will unveil a new framework for establishing a Palestinian state. Speaking with Palestinian reporters on Wednesday, Blair said that this new framework will be a serious initiative because it “is being worked on at the highest level in the American administration.”

Moreover, this week we learned that the administration is trying to get the Arabs themselves to write the Quartet’s new plan. The London-based Al-Quds al-Arabi pan-Arab newspaper reported Tuesday that acting on behalf of Obama, Jordanian King Abdullah urged the Arab League to update the so-called Arab peace plan from 2002. That plan, which calls for Israel to withdraw from Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights and accept millions of foreign Arabs as citizens as part of the so-called “right of return” in exchange for “natural” relations with the Arab world, has been rejected by successive Israeli governments as a diplomatic subterfuge whose goal is Israel’s destruction.

By accepting millions of so-called “Palestinian refugees,” Israel would effectively cease to be a Jewish state. By shrinking into the 1949 armistice lines, Israel would be unable to defend itself against foreign invasion. And since “natural relations” is a meaningless term both in international legal discourse and in diplomatic discourse, Israel would have committed national suicide for nothing.

To make the plan less objectionable to Israel, Abdullah reportedly called on his Arab brethren to strike references to the so-called “Arab refugees” from the plan and to agree to “normal” rather than “natural” relations with the Jewish state. According to the report, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was expected to present Obama with the changes to the plan during their meeting in Washington later this month. The revised plan was supposed to form the basis for the new Quartet plan that Blair referred to.

But the Arabs would have none of it. On Wednesday, both Arab League General Secretary Amr Moussa and Fatah leader Mahmoud Abbas announced that they oppose the initiative. On Thursday, Syria rejected making any changes in the document.

The administration couldn’t care less. The Palestinians and Arabs are no more than bit players in its Middle East policy. As far as the Obama administration is concerned, Israel is the only obstacle to peace.

To make certain that Israel understands this central point, Vice President Joseph Biden used his appearance at the AIPAC conference to drive it home. As Biden made clear, the US doesn’t respect or support Israel’s right as a sovereign state to determine its own policies for securing its national interests. In Biden’s words, “Israel has to work toward a two-state solution. You’re not going to like my saying this, but not build more settlements, dismantle existing outposts and allow the Palestinians freedom of movement.”

FOR ISRAEL, the main event of the week was supposed to be President Shimon Peres’s meeting with Obama on Tuesday. Peres was tasked with calming the waters ahead of Netanyahu’s visit. It was hoped that he could introduce a more collegial tone to US-Israel relations.

What Israel didn’t count on was the humiliating reception Peres received from Obama. By barring all media from covering the event, Obama transformed what was supposed to be a friendly visit with a respected and friendly head of state into a back-door encounter with an unwanted guest, who was shooed in and shooed out of the White House without a sound.

The Obama White House’s bald attempt to force Israel to take full blame for the Arab world’s hostility toward it is not the only way that it is casting Israel as the scapegoat for the region’s ills. In their bid to open direct diplomatic ties with Iran, Obama and his advisers are also blaming Israel for Iran’s nuclear program. They are doing this both indirectly and directly.

As Obama’s chief of staff Rahm Emmanuel made clear in his closed-door briefing to senior AIPAC officials this week, the administration is holding Israel indirectly responsible for Iran’s nuclear program. It does this by claiming that Israel’s refusal to cede its land to the Palestinians is making it impossible for the Arab world to support preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Somewhat inconveniently for the administration, the Arabs themselves are rejecting this premise. This week US Defense Secretary Robert Gates visited the Persian Gulf and Egypt to soothe Arab fears that the administration’s desperate attempts to appease the mullahs will harm their security interests. He also sought to gain their support for the administration’s plan to unveil a new peace plan aimed at isolating and pressuring Israel.

After meeting with Gates, Amr Moussa – who has distinguished himself as one of Israel’s most trenchant critics – said categorically, “The question of Iran should be separate from the Arab-Israel conflict.”

Just as the administration is unmoved by objective facts that expose as folly its single-minded devotion to the notion that Israel is responsible for the absence of peace in the Middle East, so the Arab rejection of its view that Israel is to blame for Iran’s nuclear program has simply driven it to escalate its attacks on Israel. This week it opened a new campaign of blaming Israel directly – through its purported nuclear arsenal – for Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Speaking at a UN forum, US Assistant Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller said, “Universal adherence to the [Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty] NPT itself, including by India, Israel, Pakistan and North Korea… remains a fundamental objective of the United States.”

As Eli Lake from The Washington Times demonstrated convincingly, by speaking as she did, Gottemoeller effectively abrogated a 40-year-old US-Israeli understanding that the US would remain silent about Israel’s nuclear program because it understood that it was defensive, not offensive in nature. In so doing, Gottemoeller legitimized Iran’s claim that it cannot be expected to suspend its quest to acquire nuclear weapons as long as Israel possesses them. She also erased any distinction between nuclear weapons in the hands of US allies and democratic states and nuclear weapons in the hands of US enemies and terror states.

The Israeli media are largely framing the story of the US’s growing and already unprecedented antagonism toward Israel as a diplomatic challenge for Netanyahu. To meet this challenge, it is argued that Netanyahu must come to Washington in 10 days’ time with an attractive peace plan that will win over the White House. But this is a false interpretation of what is happening.

Even Ethan Bronner of the The New York Times pointed out this week that Obama’s Middle East policy is not based on facts. If it were, the so-called “two state solution,” which has failed repeatedly since 1993, would not be its centerpiece. Obama’s Middle East policy is based on ideology, not reality. Consequently, it is immune to rational argument.

The fact that if Iran acquires nuclear weapons, all chance of peace between Israel and the Palestinians and Israel and the Arab world will disappear, is of no interest to Obama and his advisers. They do not care that the day after Hamas terror-master Khaled Mashaal told The New York Times that Hamas was suspending its attacks against Israel from Gaza, the Iranian-controlled terror regime took credit for several volleys of rockets shot against Israeli civilian targets from Gaza. The administration stills intends to give Gaza $900 million in US taxpayer funds, and it still demands that Israel give its land to a joint Fatah-Hamas government.

REGARDLESS OF the weight of Netanyahu’s arguments, and irrespective of the reasonableness of whatever diplomatic initiative he presents to Obama, he can expect no sympathy or support from the White House.

As a consequence, the operational significance of the administration’s anti-Israel positions is that Israel will not be well served by adopting a more accommodating posture toward the Palestinians and Iran. Indeed, perversely, what the Obama administration’s treatment of Israel should be making clear to the Netanyahu government is that Israel should no longer take Washington’s views into account as it makes its decisions about how to advance Israel’s national security interests. This is particularly true with regard to Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

Rationally speaking, the only way the Obama administration could reasonably expect to deter Israel from attacking Iran’s nuclear installations would be if it could make the cost for Israel of attacking higher than the cost for Israel of not attacking. But what the behavior of the Obama administration is demonstrating is that there is no significant difference in the costs of the two options.

By blaming Israel for the absence of peace in the Middle East while ignoring the Palestinians’ refusal to accept Israel’s right to exist; by seeking to build an international coalition with Europe and the Arabs against Israel while glossing over the fact that at least the Arabs share Israel’s concerns about Iran; by exposing Israel’s nuclear arsenal and pressuring Israel to disarm while in the meantime courting the ayatollahs like an overeager bridegroom, the Obama administration is telling Israel that regardless of what it does, and what objective reality is, as far as the White House is concerned, Israel is to blame.

This, of course, doesn’t mean that Netanyahu shouldn’t make his case to Obama when they meet and to the American people during his US visit. What it does mean is that Netanyahu should have no expectation that Israeli goodwill can divert Obama from the course he has chosen. And again, this tells us two things: Israel’s relations with the US during Obama’s tenure in office will be unpleasant and difficult, and the damage that Israel will cause to that relationship by preventing Iran from acquiring the means to destroy it will be negligible.

Originally published in The Jerusalem Post.
Posted on May 8, 2009 at 6:42 PM

To visit Joel’s weblog site and get the latest developments in Israel, Iraq and the epicenter — including the latest on Netanyahu’s efforts to form a new government in Israel and an analysis of the U.S. economic crisis in light of Bible prophecy — please click here

 

The big question in Israel right now is this: Will Ehud Barak join Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu to form a government that can and will defend Israel from the apocalyptic ayatollahs in Iran?

Netanyahu has said from the beginning that he wants a broad, “unity” government rather than a narrow, partisan one. He believes that he made a mistake in 1996 not asking Labor Party leader Shimon Peres not to join his government. So now he’s going the extra mile to invite Labor’s current leader onto the team. Privately, he has offered Barak the opportunity to stay on as Defense Minister, and has offered key positions to other members of Labor.

Personally, I hope Barak says yes, not for partisan political reasons but to unify the country in the face of the threat of Radical Islam. I met Barak once at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem and I have come to like him. True, he was not an effective Prime Minister. In 2000, he made a serious error of judgment. He gave away southern Lebanon for nothing. In 2006, Israel paid for that error, receiving 4,000 rockets and missiles from Hezbollah as a “thank you” present. Political leadership has not been Barak’s strong suit. Still, he was an amazing general – one of the most decorated in Israel’s modern history. He helped rebuild the IDF after the 2006 debacle (which he was not in government for) and led a brilliant campaign into Gaza in January (which PM Olmert ended too quickly). Most importantly, Barak understands the Islamic revolution. He understands the existential threat Israel faces now from the ayatollahs in Iran who are feverishly trying to acquire or build nuclear weapons and the missiles to deliver them. Bibi could really use him at his side.

The challenge: the Labor Party’s rank and file membership – as well as some of its top officials – can’t stand Netanyahu. The party is filled will “ABBs” – people who want “Anybody But Bibi” to lead Israel. So it’s not clear by any means that Barak can persuade Labor to accept Netanyahu’s generous offer. What has become clear in the last 24 hours that Barak wants to accept Bibi’s offer. To his credit, I believe he sees it as his patriotic duty, not a matter of partisan politics. He knows the future of his country is on the line, and like the good soldier he has always been, Barak wants to suit up and help.

Please pray faithfully for Messrs. Netanyahu, Barak and their advisors. Pray for wisdom. Pray for unity. Pray for clear vision and courage to do the right thing. The deadline to submit the final coalition is Sunday at 3pm local time. Netanyahu could ask for a two week extension, but he has indicated he does not want to. Let’s pray he can finalize a broad, stable, “unity” government quickly and get on with the urgent business of governing right away. Time is short and the stakes are high. 

 

 

Mon, 26 Jan 2009
updated Sun, 1 Mar 2009

http://www.danielpipes.org/blog/2009/01/give-up-on-the-two-state-solution.html

I have devoted an entry, “The West Bank to Jordan, Gaza to Egypt,” to those voices (including mine) who have given up on the two-state solution and instead advocate for or against the idea that the Jordanian and Egyptian governments take over, respectively, the West Bank and Gaza.

But this leaves out the growing debate over the two-state solution that does not mention the Jordan-Egypt option; their ideas will be recorded here, as a complement to the original weblog entry.

I shall also include a few prominent voices that continue to place their hopes in a Palestinian state – starting with the newly-inaugurated Barack Obama, who said today, “I think it is possible for us to see a Palestinian state—I’m not going to put a time frame on it—that is contiguous, that allows freedom of movement for its people, that allows for trade with other countries, that allows the creation of businesses and commerce so that people have a better life.” (January 26, 2009)

Feb. 1, 2009 update: Nathan J. Brown of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace concludes in “Palestine and Israel: Time for Plan B” that “the international effort to achieve a two-state solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict has come to a dead end.” His Plan B offers makes no mention of Jordan-Egypt but involves three steps that center on recognizing Hamas:

The first step in a new diplomatic approach must be to establish a cease-fire that builds on the common interest of both Israel and Hamas to avoid fighting in the short term. …

The second step must be an armistice that would offer each side what they crave for the present—Israel would get quiet and a limit on arms to Hamas; Palestinians would get open borders, a freeze on settlements, and an opportunity to rebuild their shattered institutions. Such an armistice must go beyond a one-year cease-fire to become something sustainable for at least five to ten years.

Finally, the calm provided by the armistice must be used to rebuild Palestinian institutions and force Palestinians and Israelis to confront rather than avoid the choices before them.

Comment: One has to wonder what planet Brown lives on, making plans on the basis that Hamas can be tamed and made to accept the existence of a sovereign Jewish state between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River.

Feb. 17, 2009 update: Giora Eiland, a leading Israeli strategist, has issued a study, “The Future of the Two-State Solution,” in which he calls the two-state solution “a big illusion.” In its stead, he offers a baroque plan whereby Cairo grants Gaza 600 sq. km. of its territory, Jerusalem annexes 600 sq. km. of territory on the West Bank and it grants a final 600 sq. km. of territory in the Negev desert to Egypt. Eiland does not explicitly say this last tranche would cut Israel in two, but that is implied when he writes that “Egypt could get a land corridor to enable movement from Egypt to the rest of the Middle East without the need to cross Israel.”

Comment: This has to be concurrently the least likely and least good idea anyone has come up with lately.

Feb. 28, 2009 update: Binyamin Netanyahu punts when asked in an interview if he endorses the 2-state solution, saying neither yes or no:

Q. What do you say when asked if you believe in a two-state solution as George Bush outlined in 2002?

A. Substantively, I think there is broad agreement inside Israel and outside that the Palestinians should have the ability to govern their lives but not to threaten ours.

Israel’s Likud party leader Benjamin Netanyahu (R) shakes hands with Foreign Minister and Kadima party leader Tzipi Livni in Jerusalem February 22, 2009.

Mar. 1, 2009 update: Emerging from unsuccessful talks with Netanyahu to form a Likud-Kadima government, Tzipi Livni of Kadima blamed their failure in large part on Netanyahu’s unwillingness to commit to pursue a two-state solution.

Israel is facing challenges and I told him that Kadima would support the correct moves made by the government. But to deal with the challenges, I wanted three basic principles that you know about. Two states for two peoples is not an empty slogan. It is the only way Israel can remain Jewish and fight terrorism. It’s a fundamental issue. … This meeting has ended without agreements on issues that I see as essential.

(The other two demands were changes to the electoral system and reforms in the Interior Ministry.)

Comment: (1) Coalition talks are where the real platform gets hammered out. (2) But the evolution of Likud’s Ariel Sharon in 2003 shows how the real platform can change dramatically. Here is my account of what happened then:

Mr. Sharon decisively won re-election in January 2003 over Amram Mitzna, a Labor opponent who advocated an Oslo-style unilateral retreat from Gaza. Mr. Sharon unambiguously condemned this idea back then: “A unilateral withdrawal is not a recipe for peace. It is a recipe for war.” After winning the election, his talks in February 2003 about forming a coalition government with Mr. Mitzna failed because Mr. Sharon so heavily emphasized the “strategic importance” of Israelis living in Gaza. By December 2003, however, Mr. Sharon himself endorsed Mr. Mitzna’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza.

So, coalition talks are a good but not entirely reliable guide to future policy.

Mar. 1, 2009 update bis: Aluf Benn of Ha’aretz points to “obvious political reasons” to explain Netanyahu’s reticence on this issue: “It would cost him his potential coalition with the right-wing National Union and Habayit Hayehudi, and force him into a rotation arrangement with Livni.” Plus, writes Benn, his opposition to a Palestinian state “is also a matter of principle, one he has held for many years.” Finally,

Netanyahu also has a tactical reason for objecting to a Palestinian state: He believes that this must come through negotiations, rather than being something conceded by Israel in advance. He considers the Annapolis process that outgoing prime minister Ehud Olmert and Foreign Minister Livni conducted with the Palestinian Authority’s Mahmoud Abbas and Ahmed Qureia to be a joke. In his opinion, Israel must not offer a near-total withdrawal from the West Bank in advance, which he believes would achieve nothing and only encourage the Palestinians to demand more.

 Today, Israel will elect their new Prime Minister and government. As the “experts” are busy predicting the outcome, we need to focus on praying for God’s will and purpose to be accomplished. Scriptures tell us that righteousness will arise from Jerusalem. Instead we see rampant selfishness, appeasement and apathy from government, candidates and the public. Pray that Israelis will overcome their apathy, take responsibility, and vote wisely according to God’s will, rather than sitting home and then complaining about the results. World crisis and threats dictate that it is the hand of God and His wisdom that is needed in this hour to overcome evil that is bent on destruction. Pray for God’s mercy. His mighty right arm is able to save and intervene. He has set the times and the seasons and they cannot be changed by any force set against Him or His people.

Below is an article by Caroline Glick which gives a candid assessment of the elections:

February 07, 2009

Israel’s Fateful Elections    By Caroline Glick
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2009/02/israels_fateful_elections.html

Tuesday’s general elections will officially end the briefest and most nonchalant electoral season Israel has ever experienced. Regrettably, the importance of these elections is inversely proportional to their lack of intensity. These are the most fateful elections Israel has ever had. The events of the past week make this point clearly.

On Monday Iran successfully launched a domestically manufactured satellite on a ballistic missile called the Safir-2 space rocket. Since the launch, experts have noted that the Safir-2 can also be used to launch conventional and nonconventional warheads. The Safir-2 has an estimated range of 2,000-3,000 kilometers. And so the successful satellite launch showed that today Iran is capable of launching missiles not only against Israel, but against southern Europe as well.

Many Israeli leaders viewed Monday’s launch as a “gotcha” moment. For years they have been saying that Iran’s nuclear program is a threat to global security – not merely to Israel’s. And Monday’s launch demonstrated that they were right all along. Israel isn’t the only country on Iran’s target list.

Unfortunately for Israel, the international community couldn’t care less. Its response to Teheran’s latest provocation was to collectively shrug its shoulders.

On Wednesday emissaries of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany convened in Wiesbaden, Germany, to discuss their joint policies toward Iran in the aftermath of the satellite launch. Some Israelis argued that Iran’s provocation forced these leaders’ hands. Their reputations for toughness were on the line. They would have to do something.

Unfortunately for Israel, the emissaries of Russia, Britain, China, France, Germany and the US are more interested in convincing the mullahs that they are nice than in convincing them that they are tough.

Far from deciding to take concerted action against Iran, the great powers did nothing more than wish the Obama administration good luck as it moves to directly engage the mullahs. As their post-conference press release put it, the six governments’ answer to Teheran’s show of force was to “agree to consult on the next steps as the US administration undertakes its [Iranian] policy review.”

As President Barak Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have explained, the US is reviewing its policy toward Iran in the hopes of finding a way to directly engage the Iranian government. While they claim that the aim of these sought after direct negotiations will be to convince the mullahs to give up their nuclear weapons program, since taking office the new administration has sent out strong signals that preventing Iran from going nuclear has taken a backseat to simply holding negotiations with Teheran.

According to a report in Aviation News, last week the US Navy prevented Israel from seizing an Iranian weapons ship in the Red Sea suspected of carrying illicit munitions bound for either Gaza or Lebanon. A week and a half ago, the US Navy boarded the ship in the Gulf of Aden and carried out a cursory inspection. It demurred from seizing the ship, however, because, as Adm. Michael Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, explained on January 27, the US believed it had no international legal right to seize the vessel.

In inspecting the ship the US was operating under UN Security Council Resolution 1747, which bars Iran from exporting arms. The US argued that it lacked authority to seize the ship because 1747 has no enforcement mechanism. Yet the fact of the matter is that if the US were truly interested in intercepting the ship and preventing the arms from arriving at their destination, the language of 1747 is vague enough to support such a seizure.

And that’s the point. The US was uninterested in seizing the ship because it was uninterested in provoking a confrontation with Teheran, which it seeks to engage. It was not due to lack of legal authority that the US reportedly prevented the Israel Navy from seizing the ship in the Red Sea, but due to the administration’s fervent wish to appease the mullahs.

Today the ship, which was sailing under a Cypriot flag, is docked in the Port of Limassol. Cypriot authorities have reportedly inspected the ship twice, have communicated their findings to the Security Council, and are still waiting for guidance on how to deal with the ship.

ALL OF this brings us back to next Tuesday’s elections. With the US effectively giving up on confronting Iran, the entire burden for blocking Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons falls on Israel’s shoulders.

This means that the most important question that Israeli voters must ask ourselves between now and Tuesday is which leader and which party are most capable of achieving this vital goal?

All we need to do to answer this question is to check what our leaders have done in recent years to bring attention to the Iranian threat and to build coalitions to contend with it.

In late 2006, citing the Iranian nuclear menace, Israel Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman joined the Olmert government where he received the tailor-made title of strategic affairs minister. At the time Lieberman joined the cabinet, the public outcry against the government for its failure to lead Israel to victory in the war with Iran’s Lebanese proxy Hizbullah had reached a fever pitch. The smell of new elections was in the air as members of Knesset from all parties came under enormous public pressure to vote no confidence in the government.

By joining the government when he did, Lieberman single-handedly kept the Olmert government in power. Explaining his move, Lieberman claimed that the danger emanating from Iran’s nuclear program was so great that Israel could not afford new elections.

But what did he accomplish by saving the government by taking that job? The short answer is nothing. Not only did his presence in the government make no impact on Israel’s effectiveness in dealing with Iran, it prolonged the lifespan of a government that had no interest in forming a strategy for contending with Iran by two years.

In light of this fact, perhaps more than any other Israeli politician, Lieberman is to blame for the fact that Israel finds itself today with no allies in its hour of greatest peril. Had he allowed the people to elect more competent leaders in the fall of 2006, we might have been able to take advantage of the waning years of the Bush administration to convince the US to work with us against Iran.

Then there is Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. If Lieberman was the chief enabler of Israel’s incompetent bungling of the Iranian threat, as Israel’s chief diplomat, it is Livni – together with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert – who deserves the greatest condemnation for that bungling.

Throughout her tenure as foreign minister and still today as Kadima’s candidate for prime minister, Livni claims that she supports using diplomacy to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. But in her three years as Israel’s top diplomat, Livni never launched any diplomatic initiative aimed at achieving this goal. In fact, she has never even publicly criticized the European and American attempts to appease the mullahs.

Livni has remained silent for three years even though it has been clear for five years that the West’s attempts to cut a deal with Teheran serve no purpose other than to provide the Iranians time to develop their nuclear arsenal. She has played along with the Americans and the Europeans and cheered them on as they passed toothless resolutions against Iran in the Security Council which – as the Iranian weapons ship docked in Cyprus shows – they never had the slightest intention of enforcing.

As for Defense Minister Ehud Barak, as a member of the Olmert government, his main personal failure has been his inability to convince the Pentagon to approve Israel’s requests to purchase refueling jets and bunker buster bomb kits, and to permit Israeli jets to fly over Iraqi airspace. To achieve these aims, Barak could have turned to Israel’s friends in the US military and in Congress. But he did no such thing. And now, moving into the Obama administration, Israel finds itself with fewer and fewer allies in Washington’s security community.

For the past several years, only one political leader in Israel has had the foresight and wisdom to both understand the dangers of Iran’s nuclear program and to understand the basis for an Israeli diplomatic approach to contending with the threat that can serve the country’s purposes regardless of whether or not at the end of the day, Israel is compelled to act alone.

In 2006, Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu took it upon himself to engage the American people in a discussion of the danger Iran poses not only to Israel but to the world as a whole. In late 2006, he began meeting with key US governors and state politicians to convince them to divest their state employees’ pension funds from companies that do business with Iran. This initiative and complementary efforts by the Washington-based Center for Security Policy convinced dozens of state legislatures to pass laws divesting their pension funds from companies that do business with Iran.

Netanyahu also strongly backed the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs’ initiative to indict Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as an international war criminal for inciting genocide. Both the divestment campaign and the campaign against Ahmadinejad have been Israel’s most successful public diplomacy efforts in contending with Iran. More than anything done by the government, these initiatives made Americans aware of the Iranian nuclear threat and so forced the issue onto the agendas of all the presidential candidates.

Instead of supporting Netanyahu’s efforts, Livni, Barak and Lieberman have disparaged them or ignored them.

Because he is the only leader who has done anything significant to fight Iran’s nuclear program, Netanyahu is the only national leader who has the international credibility to be believed when he says – as he did this week – that Israel will not allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons. Likud under Netanyahu is the only party that has consistently drawn the connection between Iran, its Palestinian, Lebanese, Iraqi and Afghan terror proxies, its Syrian client state and its nuclear weapons program, and made fighting this axis the guiding principle of its national security strategy.

GIVEN THE US-led international community’s decision not to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, it is clear that in the coming months Israel will need to do two things. It will need to put the nations of the world on notice that they cannot expect us to stand by idly as they welcome Iran into the nuclear club. And Israel will need to prepare plans to strike Iran’s nuclear installations without America’s support.

More than ever before, Israel requires leaders who understand the gravity of the hour and are capable of acting swiftly and wisely to safeguard our country from destruction. Only Netanyahu and Likud have a credible track record on this subject.

For the sake of our country, our nation and our posterity, it is our responsibility to consider this fact when we enter the voting booths on Tuesday.

NOTES FROM CONFERENCE CALL WITH BENJAMIN NETANYAHU

Warns of Iran’s “nightmare scenario”

By Joel C. Rosenberg

(Jerusalem, Israel, January 12, 2009) — Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in a 25 minute conference call today with conservative bloggers in which I had the opportunity to participate, made it clear that he sees Israel’s current war against Hamas in Gaza as a “just war,” as a proxy war with Radical Muslim leaders in Iran, and very possibly as a prelude to a future war to stop Radicals in Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, an event he described as a “nightmare scenario.”

Israel is pursuing a “just war,” Netanyahu said early in the discussion. He noted that “Hamas is pursuing an illegitimate goal to accomplish the annihilation of the Jewish State” and is using “illegitimate means,” including the “firing rockets on innocent civilians.”

“This is a classic case of justice pitted against injustice” and “against the forces of darkness,” said the Likud leader who when the war began suspended his party’s campaign for the February 10th elections. “Everyone has to choose which side of the battle he is on?”

Is this really an isolated local skirmish, asked one blogger, or is there a larger story at work here?

“Our fight with Hamas,” he replied, is with terrorists who have “backers in Iran” and have shown the “willingness to use any methods including firing rockets on innocent civilians….Israel is now the front line in the battle between militant Islam and the rest of the world – witness what has happened [in terms of terrorist attacks in recent years] in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Mumbai, New York, Washington….and there are enormous global consequences. Does Iran have a victory in one of its two forward outposts [the other being Hezbollah]?”

“Israel cannot tolerate an Iranian forward position [in Gaza],” he continued, saying that Israel’s long-term goal needs to be blocking Iran from becoming the dominant regional power. He also noted that Israel’s “immediate goal should be…removing the threat by stopping the firing and preventing the resupply of rockets and other weaponry by Hamas.”

The call was organized by One Jerusalem, an organization founded in the fall of 2000 by former Israeli deputy prime minister Natan Sharansky. One Jerusalem’s executive director, Allen Roth, moderated the discussion.

I had emailed in a question asking what can Jews, evangelical Christians and others can do to help Israel in the current conflict. Undoubtedly other bloggers emailed in similar questions. This was the second question posed to the former Prime Minister by Allen Roth.

“The most important thing [friends of Israel can do] is to tell the truth,” Netanyahu said. “There is a campaign of lies against us,” including that Israel started this conflict [they didn’t], that Israel is targeting innocent Palestinian civilians [they aren’t], that Israel isn’t allowing humanitarian aid to enter Gaza to care for innocents who are suffering [they are]. “Get the facts straight….the facts do count….the sequence counts.”

Hamas, he noted, has been “firing these rockets for eight years – eight years! Can you imagine what the U.S. would do if 6,000 rockets were fired from Mexico at San Diego? Would the U.S. wait eight years? Would they wait eight months? I don’t think they would wait eight minutes to fight back.”

Netanyahu pointed out that Hamas is launching rockets out of mosques, hospitals, elementary schools, universities — putting innocent Palestinians in harm’s way when Israel seeks to retaliate. “We don’t deliberately target civilians, though we regret when civilians are injured or killed,” he said. “That basic fact should be spoken…loud and clear by the friends of Israel and the friends of Jews.”

Regarding the immediate future of the Arab-Israeli peace process, Netanyahu said “the idea that you can have a final settlement….I think that is just not realistic.”

He noted that he had resigned from the cabinet in 2005 when the government of then-Prime Minister Ariel SharonGaza for free and when it came to any future potential “deals” with the Palestinians, “don’t repeat the mistakes of the past.” decided to give away

Before there is anymore international talk of Israel ceding territory to the Palestinians, Israel needs to pursue four strategies:

1. Fight Islamic radicals
2. Strengthen Islamic moderates
3. Reestablish security on all of Israel’s borders
4. Begin rapid economic development for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza

He was asked if he thought Hamas was holding out for the new administration of Barack Obama, hoping that Obama would put new pressure on Israel to stop fighting and accepting a potentially premature cease fire.

“I do remember Mr. Obama visited Sderot not long ago and said something to the effect that, ‘If my two girls lived in a home that was rocketed by terrorists, I would do everything in my power to stop it.'” He added, “I think the U.S. has an interest in stopping terrorists wherever they are.”

Netanyahu said the biggest threat Israel faces is not from Hamas, or even from Hezbollah, but from Radical Islamic terrorists or states possessing nuclear weapons. He described Iran acquiring such weapons of mass destruction as a “nightmare scenario,” along with militant Islamists seizing control of Pakistan. Though he did not lay out how he would approach the Iran crisis should he be elected Prime Minister, he strongly hinted that time is running out and that the West had to take decisive action before it is too late.

Netanyahu concluded by insisting that Israel “should do everything can to return Gilad Shalit, the IDF soldier kidnapped by Hamas on June 25, 2006, though he declined to criticize the current Olmert government when asked if Olmert and his team were doing enough to bring Shalit home and to make his return a precondition of a cease fire.

Not asked — unfortunately — was whether Netanyahu believed Israel’s government should fully invade Gaza’s urban centers and bring down the Hamas leadership and terror infrastructure once and for all. It would have been useful to get his take on this because at the moment, my read is that the Olmert government is hedging on that decision. True, they have been calling up the Reserves and putting those Reserves into the Gaza theater to bolster the IDF forces already inching their way forward towards Hamas positions. But we have not seen a full scale ground campaign into Gaza’s toughest urban centers, the strongholds of the Hamas forces. Instead, the Olmert government seems to be waiting for a deal to emerge with Hamas, Egypt and the international community to bring about a rapid cease fire. Many here in Israel are worried that Olmert will accept a cease fire too quickly, as he did with the Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006. No Israeli parent wants to see another of their sons killed in combat. But scores of Israeli parents are telling me they want to see “the whole job done” — Hamas destroyed and the rocket threat squashed once and for all. They do not want to have the nation sacrifice so much in the last sixteen days only to see the threat reemerge all over again. Finish the job, they say. Under the circumstances, I agree.


To visit Joel’s weblog site and get the latest developments in the war between Israel and Hamas — including links to pictures from the relief project The Joshua Fund just assisted with in Sderot — please click here

[01.12.2009]
Exclusive One Jerusalem Call With Benjamin Netanyahu

   [Download MP3]

In a news-making and fact-filled presentation, Israel’s former Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, briefed American and international bloggers on Israel’s defensive action against Hamas, Iran’s role in the conflict and its threat to the free world, and the need for friends of Israel to set the record straight — by repeating the facts.

The facts include:

  • Eight years of rockets being fired on innocent Israeli citizens
  • Hamas’s commitment to the destruction of the State of Israel
  • Israel’s humanitarian treatment of Arabs caught in the crossfire.

 

In answer to the charge that Israel is targeting civilians, Mr. Netanyahu reminds listeners that during World War II, Britain carpet-bombed German cities. In contrast, Israel’s air strikes have been directed against military targets. Netanyahu also noted that Israeli hospitals are treating wounded civilians from Gaza.

In response to a question about the goals of this operation, Mr. Netanyahu said that objectives are to re-establish Israel’s security and to end the supply of armaments for Hamas.

Time and again, Mr. Netanyahu reminds the audience that Hamas is a proxy for Iran. Defeat of Hamas is a defeat for Iran. Netanyahu ended the call with an interesting insight into the dangers of Iran any any radical Islamic regime that possesses nuclear weapons. Mr. Netanyahu further recalled President-elect Obama’s comment about raising children under the threat of enemy rockets.

This is one of these important One Jerusalem exclusives we have been able to bring to the world. Please listen and pass it along to family and friends. Also, please consider making an $18 donation to One Jerusalem (Tax Deductible!) so we can expand our efforts.

We have built a vibrant Internet community that helps set the record straight. This is why someone like Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to spend his time with us and utilize our network to communicate the message. With your financial commitment, we can grow bigger – faster.

http://www.danielpipes.org/article/6118

 

Israel’s Strategic Incompetence in Gaza

by Daniel Pipes


Jerusalem Post

January 11, 2009

Commentary on the Israel-Hamas war has tended toward partisan pleading, making the moral case for or against Israel. That’s a crucial debate but not the only one; there’s also a need for a cool strategic assessment; who is winning, who is losing?

Hillel Frisch argues that Hamas (which he calls “a small isolated movement that controls a small strip”) has “grossly miscalculated” by antagonizing the Egyptian government and making war on Israel. He concludes Hamas has embarked on “strategic suicide.”

Perhaps, but scenarios exist in which Hamas gains. Khaled Abu Toameh notes the powerful and growing support for Hamas around the Middle East. Caroline Glick offers two ways for Hamas to win: a return to the status quo ante, with Hamas still in charge of Gaza, or a ceasefire agreement whereby foreign powers form an international monitoring regime to oversee Gaza’s borders with Israel and Egypt.

As this suggests, an assessment of Hamas’ war record depends primarily on decisions made in Jerusalem. Those decisions being the real issue, how well has Israel’s leadership performed?

Disastrously. Jerusalem’s profound strategic incompetence continues and heightens the failed policies since 1993 that have eroded Israel’s reputation, strategic advantage, and security. Four main reasons lead me to this negative conclusion.

First, the team in charge in Jerusalem created the Gaza problem. Its leader, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert immortally explained in 2005 the forthcoming unilateral Israeli withdrawal from Gaza: “We [Israelis] are tired of fighting, we are tired of being courageous, we are tired of winning, we are tired of defeating our enemies.”

Olmert had a vital role in (1) initiating the Gaza withdrawal, which ended the Israel Defense Forces’ close control of the territory, and (2) giving up Israeli control over the Gaza-Egypt border. This latter, little noted decision, enabled Hamas to build tunnels to Egypt, smuggle in matériel, and launch missiles into Israel.

Secondly, Olmert and his colleagues failed to respond to the barrage of rockets and mortar shells. From the Israeli withdrawal in 2005 until now, Hamas has launched over 6,500 missiles into Israel. Incredibly, Israelis endured nearly eight attacks a day for three years; why? A responsible government would have responded to the first rocket as a casus belli and immediately responded.

Thirdly, a committee of the French parliament published an important technical report in mid-December, establishing that “there is no longer doubt” about the military purposes of the Iranian nuclear program, and that it will be up and running in 2-3 years.

The waning days of the Bush administration, with the current president nearly out the door and the president-elect yet in the wings, offers a unique moment to take care of business. Why did Olmert squander this opportunity to confront the relatively trivial danger Hamas presents rather than the existential threat of Iran’s nuclear program? This negligence has potentially dire repercussions.

Finally, from what one can discern of the Olmert government’s goal in its war on Hamas, it seems to be to weaken Hamas and strengthen Fatah so that Mahmoud Abbas can re-take control of Gaza and re-start diplomacy with Israel. Michael B. Oren and Yossi Klein Halevi captured this idea in a recent article title: “Palestinians need Israel to win: If Hamas gets away with terror once again, the peace process will be over.”

Bitter experience, however, invalidates this thesis. For one, Fatah has proven itself a determined enemy intent on eliminating the Jewish state. For another, Palestinians themselves repudiated Fatah in 2006 elections. It strains credulity that anyone could still think of Fatah as a “partner for peace.” Rather, Jerusalem should think creatively of other scenarios, perhaps my “no-state solution” bringing in the Jordanian and Egyptian governments.


More dismaying even than Olmert’s ineptitude is that the Israeli election a month from now pits three leaders of his same ilk. Two of them (Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defense Minister Ehud Barak) currently serve as his main lieutenants, while two (Barak and Binyamin Netanyahu) failed badly in their prior prime ministerial stints.

Looking beyond Olmert and his potential successors comes the worst news of all, namely that no one at the upper echelons of Israel’s political life articulates the imperative for victory. For this reason, I see Israel as a lost polity, one full of talent, energy, and resolve but lacking direction.

 

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