Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Monday, May 30, 2011
We have seen and heard US President Barak Obama, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu's response and speech to Congress.
The Palestinian reaction to Netanyahu's speech was reported locally in an unusual manner. Predictably, Jason Koutsoukis in the Age slavishly provided the PA and Hamas viewpoint that Netanyahu's words represented a virtual declaration of war - Palestinian fury over Israeli PM's border stance.
Koutsoukis cites an array of Palestinian leaders all singing from the same hymn book - each and every one of them ignoring what Netanyahu said. But let's face it, if you read his words, you cannot interpret them as meaning anything of the sort which leads one to conclude that the Palestinian leadership under the new unity regime is simply not interested in a negotiated settlement and is instead dedicated to unilateral action through a proposal in the UN to have a Palestinian State declared. With Hamas involved such a state would be the world's first internationally recognised terror state.
The Australian editorial on Friday got it right - Shaping Palestine's destiny. The editorial maintains that "exaggerated rhetoric is a sure way to avoid peace".
When he addressed the US congress, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a telling point that should have been immediately embraced by Palestinian leaders. To change the course of history, he argued, all Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas had to do was utter six words: "I will accept a Jewish state." Mr Netanyahu pledged that with those six words "the Israeli people will be prepared to make a far-reaching compromise".
Unsurprisingly, Mr Netanyahu's suggestion has fallen on deaf Palestinian ears. So, too, has the rest of his speech in which he pointed out that the conflict with the Palestinians is not about the establishment of a Palestinian state, on which all are agreed, but Israel's right to exist.
Mr Abbas's spokesman, Nabil Shaath, mindlessly labelled the speech a declaration of war against the Palestinians, a claim that underlines the reality that until the Palestinian leadership emerges from its state of delusion, peace prospects are bleak.
Palestinian journalist Khalid Abu Toameh understands it and is in no mood to sweep it under the carpet like many western journalists - Is Obama a "Zionist Agent"?
"The reason Fatah has refrained from attacking Obama in public is because it needs Washington's financial and political backing.
"What Hamas is saying in public about Obama is what Fatah thinks in private, but is afraid to say."
The Age keeps this to itself - more material for the blank pages.
Sunday, May 29, 2011
It is more than somewhat ironic therefore that Mathew's letter appears in the same edition of the Sunday Age that contains an article by Jason Koutsoukis entitled "Egypt opens window in Gaza's dark room"which is emblematic of the smoke and mirrors treatment of the conflict between Israel and the Arabs by this journalist and in particular the misinformation spread about the situation of Gaza's population during the period of the closure of the enclave's borders by both Israel and Egypt since a violent coup placed the terrorist group Hamas in control of the Gaza Strip in May 2007.
The photograph attached to the article shows an Arab woman sitting near the Rafah crossing with a background of barbed wire and people screaming to get out of an impoverished overpopulated Gaza. The photographers used by this outfit have yet to visit the plush malls, the well stocked stores and the country clubs with swimming pools constructed in the enclave over the past four years.
The pictorial deception is overshadowed by Koutsoukis' words as he tells readers that one of the benefits of the opening of Gaza's border with Egypt is that it will enable 27-year-old Warda al-Larda to travel to Egypt for medical treatment.
"Six years ago I had one kidney removed, and now I need some special treatment, so I am going to the Nasser Institute in Cairo for an appointment."
Great news for Ms. al-Larda but if you're telling a story that the opening of the border to Egypt will give Gazans new opportunities to receive outside medical treatment why not also disclose that, despite the unresolved conflict, the suicide bombers and the missiles fired at Israeli citizens, thousands of Palestinians every year, many of them from Gaza, receive expert treatment in Israeli hospitals - 180,000 Palestinians treated in Israeli hospitals .
When this story came out late last year, it was ignored by the Age's Jerusalem Bureau chief so it's rather easy to ignore it again in this article. The truth that Sunday Age readers have not been told is that if Warda al-Larda had a need in the past four years to visit a medical specialist then the closure of Gaza's border would not have prevented her from receiving treatment at all.
So why is the story of Israeli humanitarian medical aid to the Palestinian people constantly ignored by the Fairfax media which is supposed to provide a balanced picture of events from the region?
Why not expose the humaitarian face of the Israeli people?
Perhaps the answer is contained in the opening paragraph of the Israel Today article referenced above.
"According to Israel's detractors it is a cruel and racist nation determined to oppress the Palestinians as much as possible. But medical authorities published another piece of evidence that Israel is anything but what its detractors say."
I think this is exactly what Bill Mathew means when he writes that a "news network that repeatedly misinforms its audience is failing any test of public service embodied by an ethical press."
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Interestingly enough, and as if to prove Mendes' case, there appear some truly hate soaked comments from Israel's detractors immediately below the article, many of which are based on fictions and outright lies routinely spread by the Palestine lobby.
The Palestinian tragedy is that these are also the views of the current Palstinian unity leadership which effectively rule out any possibity of an early resolution of the conflict.
Neverthless, thanks to the author and to some of those who responded to him, we are given an interesting insight into when anti-Zionism becomes anti-Jewish hatred.
Friday, May 27, 2011
Still no flotillas?
Thursday, May 26, 2011
An example of the work of the good folk at The Onion is this - Government Official Who Makes Perfectly Valid, Well-Reasoned Point Against Israel Forced To Resign
Whether or not people think it's clever or funny, most would recognise it for what it is - a sarcastic piece on the operation of the political system. However, the irony was totally lost on Australia's iconic village idiot who blogged the story believing it to be true - US Moderation Towards Palestinians Not Tolerated.
I laughed until I cried.
Hat tip: RWDB - Experienced reporter mistakes Onion satire for real news
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
I am deeply honored by your warm welcome. And I am deeply honored that you have given me the opportunity to address Congress a second time. Mr. Vice President, do you remember the time we were the new kids in town? And I do see a lot of old friends here. And I do see a lot of new friends of Israel here. Democrats and Republicans alike.
Israel has no better friend than America. And America has no better friend than Israel. We stand together to defend democracy. We stand together to advance peace. We stand together to fight terrorism. Congratulations America, Congratulations, Mr. President. You got bin Laden. Good riddance.
In an unstable Middle East, Israel is the one anchor of stability. In a region of shifting alliances, Israel is America’s unwavering ally. Israel has always been pro-American. Israel will always be pro-American.
My friends, you don’t need to do nation building in Israel. We’re already built. You don’t need to export democracy to Israel. We’ve already got it. You don’t need to send American troops to defend Israel. We defend ourselves. You’ve been very generous in giving us tools to do the job of defending Israel on our own. Thank you all, and thank you President Obama, for your steadfast commitment to Israel’s security. I know economic times are tough. I deeply appreciate this.
Support for Israel’s security is a wise investment in our common future. For an epic battle is now unfolding in the Middle East, between tyranny and freedom. A great convulsion is shaking the earth from the Khyber Pass to the Straits of Gibraltar. The tremors have shattered states and toppled governments. And we can all see that the ground is still shifting. Now this historic moment holds the promise of a new dawn of freedom and opportunity. Millions of young people are determined to change their future. We all look at them. They muster courage. They risk their lives. They demand dignity. They desire liberty.
These extraordinary scenes in Tunis and Cairo, evoke those of Berlin and Prague in 1989. Yet as we share their hopes, but we also must also remember that those hopes could be snuffed out as they were in Tehran in 1979. You remember what happened then. The brief democratic spring in Iran was cut short by a ferocious and unforgiving tyranny. This same tyranny smothered Lebanon’s democratic Cedar Revolution, and inflicted on that long-suffering country, the medieval rule of Hezbollah.
So today, the Middle East stands at a fateful crossroads. Like all of you, I pray that the peoples of the region choose the path less travelled, the path of liberty. No one knows what this path consists of better than you. This path is not paved by elections alone. It is paved when governments permit protests in town squares, when limits are placed on the powers of rulers, when judges are beholden to laws and not men, and when human rights cannot be crushed by tribal loyalties or mob rule.
Israel has always embraced this path, in the Middle East has long rejected it. In a region where women are stoned, gays are hanged, Christians are persecuted, Israel stands out. It is different. As the great English writer George Eliot predicted over a century ago, that once established, the Jewish state will "shine like a bright star of freedom amid the despotisms of the East”. Well, she was right. We have a free press, independent courts, an open economy, rambunctious parliamentary debates.You think you guys are tough on one another in Congress? Come spend a day in the Knesset. Be my guest.
Courageous Arab protesters, are now struggling to secure these very same rights for their peoples, for their societies. We're proud that over one million Arab citizens of Israel have been enjoying these rights for decades. Of the 300 million Arabs in the Middle East and North Africa, only Israel’s Arab citizens enjoy real democratic rights. I want you to stop for a second and think about that. Of those 300 million Arabs, less than one-half of one-percent are truly free, and they're all citizens of Israel.
This startling fact reveals a basic truth: Israel is not what is wrong about the Middle East. Israel is what is right about the Middle East.
Israel fully supports the desire of Arab peoples in our region to live freely. We long for the day when Israel will be one of many real democracies in the Middle East. Fifteen years ago, I stood at this very podium, and said that democracy must start to take root in the Arab World. Well, it's begun to take root. This beginning holds the promise of a brilliant future of peace and prosperity. For I believe that a Middle East that is genuinely democratic will be a Middle East truly at peace.
But while we hope and work for the best, we must also recognize that powerful forces oppose this future.They oppose modernity. They oppose democracy. They oppose peace. Foremost among these forces is Iran. The tyranny in Tehran brutalizes its own people. It supports attacks against American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq. It subjugates Lebanon and Gaza. It sponsors terror worldwide.
When I last stood here, I spoke of the dire consequences of Iran developing nuclear weapons. Now time is running out, and the hinge of history may soon turn. For the greatest danger facing humanity could soon be upon us: A militant Islamic regime armed with nuclear weapons.
Militant Islam threatens the world. It threatens Islam. I have no doubt that it will ultimately be defeated. It will eventually succumb to the forces of freedom and progress. But like other fanaticisms that were doomed to fail, militant Islam could exact a horrific price from all of us before its inevitable demise.
A nuclear-armed Iran would ignite a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. It would give terrorists a nuclear umbrella. It would make the nightmare of nuclear terrorism a clear and present danger throughout the world. I want you to understand what this means. They could put the bomb anywhere. They could put it on a missile. It could be on a container ship in a port, or in a suitcase on a subway.
Now the threat to my country cannot be overstated. Those who dismiss it are sticking their heads in the sand. Less than seven decades after six million Jews were murdered, Iran's leaders deny the Holocaust of the Jewish people, while calling for the annihilation of the Jewish state.
Leaders who spew such venom, should be banned from every respectable forum on the planet. But there is something that makes the outrage even greater: The lack of outrage. In much of the international community, the calls for our destruction are met with utter silence. It is even worse because there are many who rush to condemn Israel for defending itself against Iran’s terror proxies.
But not you. Not America. You have acted differently. You've condemned the Iranian regime for its genocidal aims. You’ve passed tough sanctions against Iran. History will salute you, America.
President Obama has said that the United States is determined to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. He successfully led the Security Council to adopt sanctions against Iran. You in Congress passed even tougher sanctions. These words and deeds are vitally important.
Yet the Ayatollah regime briefly suspended its nuclear program only once, in 2003, when it feared the possibility of military action. That same year, Muammar Qadaffi gave up his nuclear weapons program, and for the same reason. The more Iran believes that all options are on the table, the less the chance of confrontation. This is why I ask you to continue to send an unequivocal message: That America will never permit Iran to develop nuclear weapons.
As for Israel, if history has taught the Jewish people anything, it is that we must take calls for our destruction seriously. We are a nation that rose from the ashes of the Holocaust. When we say never again, we mean never again. Israel always reserves the right to defend itself.
My friends, while Israel will be ever vigilant in its defense, we will never give up on our quest for peace. I guess we’ll give it up when we achieve it. Israel wants peace. Israel needs peace. We've achieved historic peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan that have held up for decades.
I remember what it was like before we had peace. I was nearly killed in a firefight inside the Suez Canal. I mean that literally. I battled terrorists along both banks of the Jordan River. Too many Israelis have lost loved ones. I know their grief. I lost my brother.
So no one in Israel wants a return to those terrible days. The peace with Egypt and Jordan has long served as an anchor of stability and peace in the heart of the Middle East.
This peace should be bolstered by economic and political support to all those who remain committed to peace.
The peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan are vital. But they're not enough. We must also find a way to forge a lasting peace with the Palestinians. Two years ago, I publicly committed to a solution of two states for two peoples: A Palestinian state alongside the Jewish state.
I am willing to make painful compromises to achieve this historic peace. As the leader of Israel, it is my responsibility to lead my people to peace. This is not easy for me. I recognize that in a genuine peace, we will be required to give up parts of the Jewish homeland. In Judea and Samaria, the Jewish people are not foreign occupiers. We are not the British in India. We are not the Belgians in the Congo.
This is the land of our forefathers, the Land of Israel, to which Abraham brought the idea of one God, where David set out to confront Goliath, and where Isaiah saw a vision of eternal peace. No distortion of history can deny the four thousand year old bond, between the Jewish people and the Jewish land.
But there is another truth: The Palestinians share this small land with us. We seek a peace in which they will be neither Israel’s subjects nor its citizens. They should enjoy a national life of dignity as a free, viable and independent people in their own state. They should enjoy a prosperous economy, where their creativity and initiative can flourish.
We've already seen the beginnings of what is possible. In the last two years, the Palestinians have begun to build a better life for themselves. Prime Minister Fayad has led this effort. I wish him a speedy recovery from his recent operation. We've helped the Palestinian economy by removing hundreds of barriers and roadblocks to the free flow of goods and people. The results have been nothing short of remarkable. The Palestinian economy is booming. It's growing by more than 10% a year.
Palestinian cities look very different today than they did just a few years ago. They have shopping malls, movie theaters, restaurants, banks. They even have e-businesses. This is all happening without peace. Imagine what could happen with peace. Peace would herald a new day for both peoples. It would make the dream of a broader Arab-Israeli peace a realistic possibility.
So now here is the question. You have to ask it. If the benefits of peace with the Palestinians are so clear, why has peace eluded us? Because all six Israeli Prime Ministers since the signing of Oslo accords agreed to establish a Palestinian state. Myself included. So why has peace not been achieved? Because so far, the Palestinians have been unwilling to accept a Palestinian state, if it meant accepting a Jewish state alongside it.
You see, our conflict has never been about the establishment of a Palestinian state. It has always been about the existence of the Jewish state. This is what this conflict is about. In 1947, the United Nations voted to partition the land into a Jewish state and an Arab state. The Jews said yes. The Palestinians said no. In recent years, the Palestinians twice refused generous offers by Israeli Prime Ministers, to establish a Palestinian state on virtually all the territory won by Israel in the Six Day War.
They were simply unwilling to end the conflict. And I regret to say this: They continue to educate their children to hate. They continue to name public squares after terrorists. And worst of all, they continue to perpetuate the fantasy that Israel will one day be flooded by the descendants of Palestinian refugees.
My friends, this must come to an end. President Abbas must do what I have done. I stood before my people, and I told you it wasn’t easy for me, and I said - "I will accept a Palestinian state". It is time for President Abbas to stand before his people and say - "I will accept a Jewish state".
Those six words will change history. They will make clear to the Palestinians that this conflict must come to an end. That they are not building a state to continue the conflict with Israel, but to end it. They will convince the people of Israel that they have a true partner for peace. With such a partner, the people of Israel will be prepared to make a far reaching compromise. I will be prepared to make a far reaching compromise.
This compromise must reflect the dramatic demographic changes that have occurred since 1967. The vast majority of the 650,000 Israelis who live beyond the 1967 lines, reside in neighborhoods and suburbs of Jerusalem and Greater Tel Aviv.
These areas are densely populated but geographically quite small. Under any realistic peace agreement, these areas, as well as other places of critical strategic and national importance, will be incorporated into the final borders of Israel.
The status of the settlements will be decided only in negotiations. But we must also be honest. So I am saying today something that should be said publicly by anyone serious about peace. In any peace agreement that ends the conflict, some settlements will end up beyond Israel’s borders. The precise delineation of those borders must be negotiated. We will be very generous on the size of a future Palestinian state. But as President Obama said, the border will be different than the one that existed on June 4, 1967. Israel will not return to the indefensible lines of 1967.
We recognize that a Palestinian state must be big enough to be viable, independent and prosperous. President Obama rightly referred to Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people, just as he referred to the future Palestinian state as the homeland of the Palestinian people. Jews from around the world have a right to immigrate to the Jewish state. Palestinians from around the world should have a right to immigrate, if they so choose, to a Palestinian state. This means that the Palestinian refugee problem will be resolved outside the borders of Israel.
As for Jerusalem, only a democratic Israel has protected freedom of worship for all faiths in the city. Jerusalem must never again be divided. Jerusalem must remain the united capital of Israel. I know that this is a difficult issue for Palestinians. But I believe with creativity and goodwill a solution can be found.
This is the peace I plan to forge with a Palestinian partner committed to peace. But you know very well, that in the Middle East, the only peace that will hold is a peace you can defend.
So peace must be anchored in security. In recent years, Israel withdrew from South Lebanon and Gaza. But we didn't get peace. Instead, we got 12,000 thousand rockets fired from those areas on our cities, on our children, by Hezbollah and Hamas. The UN peacekeepers in Lebanon failed to prevent the smuggling of this weaponry. The European observers in Gaza evaporated overnight. So if Israel simply walked out of the territories, the flow of weapons into a future Palestinian state would be unchecked. Missiles fired from it could reach virtually every home in Israel in less than a minute. I want you to think about that too. Imagine that right now we all had less than 60 seconds to find shelter from an incoming rocket. Would you live that way? Would anyone live that way? Well, we aren’t going to live that way either.
The truth is that Israel needs unique security arrangements because of its unique size. Israel is one of the smallest countries in the world. Mr. Vice President, I'll grant you this. It’s bigger than Delaware. It’s even bigger than Rhode Island. But that’s about it. Israel on the 1967 lines would be half the width of the Washington Beltway.
Now here’s a bit of nostalgia. I first came to Washington thirty years ago as a young diplomat. It took me a while, but I finally figured it out: There is an America beyond the Beltway. But Israel on the 1967 lines would be only nine miles wide. So much for strategic depth.
So it is therefore absolutely vital for Israel’s security that a Palestinian state be fully demilitarized. And it is vital that Israel maintain a long-term military presence along the Jordan River. Solid security arrangements on the ground are necessary not only to protect the peace, they are necessary to protect Israel in case the peace unravels. For in our unstable region, no one can guarantee that our peace partners today will be there tomorrow.
And when I say tomorrow, I don't mean some distant time in the future. I mean tomorrow. Peace can be achieved only around the negotiating table. The Palestinian attempt to impose a settlement through the United Nations will not bring peace. It should be forcefully opposed by all those who want to see this conflict end. I appreciate the President’s clear position on this issue. Peace cannot be imposed. It must be negotiated. But it can only be negotiated with partners committed to peace.
And Hamas is not a partner for peace. Hamas remains committed to Israel's destruction and to terrorism. They have a charter. That charter not only calls for the obliteration of Israel, but says ‘kill the Jews wherever you find them’. Hamas’ leader condemned the killing of Osama bin Laden and praised him as a holy warrior. Now again I want to make this clear. Israel is prepared to sit down today and negotiate peace with the Palestinian Authority. I believe we can fashion a brilliant future of peace for our children. But Israel will not negotiate with a Palestinian government backed by the Palestinian version of Al Qaeda.
So I say to President Abbas: Tear up your pact with Hamas, Sit down and negotiate! Make peace with the Jewish state! And if you do, I promise you this. Israel will not be the last country to welcome a Palestinian state as a new member of the United Nations. It will be the first to do so.
My friends, the momentous trials of the last century, and the unfolding events of this century, attest to the decisive role of the United States in advancing peace and defending freedom. Providence entrusted the United States to be the guardian of liberty. All peoples who cherish freedom owe a profound debt of gratitude to your great nation. Among the most grateful nations is my nation, the people of Israel, who have fought for their liberty and survival against impossible odds, in ancient and modern times alike.
Now sit back and listen to the Palestine Authority which names public squares after suicide bombers and Hamas whose charter threatens genocide against Jews and calls for the destruction of Israel whine about not having a peace partner aand then push on towards the setting up of the terrorist state at the United Nations.
And watch how the media treats their whining.
So, it seems that there are Scottish people in the 21st Century who still try to put out damned spots.
How sad for them.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
According to Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat, the Palestinians now have new preconditions to peace talks - Erekat: If '67 lines are an illusion, peace is an illusion
Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erekat said that the Palestinians need to hear one line from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in order to return to the negotiating table. "There's one line," Erekat told Army Radio Monday, that "negotiations should lead to two states along 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps."
The PA, he repeated, is "waiting to see if Prime Minister Netanyahu says he accepts two states on 1967 lines with agreed swaps. Until we hear that, I think it would be a waste of time to speak about any other issue."
He's on a good thing Erekat when he's not resigning as Palestinian peace negotiator which is just about every second week. Perhaps he could could confirm that his people will settle on a right to return only to the new Palestinian State, that all incitement and antiSemitism from Hamas and Fatah will cease forthwith and that his people will recognise Israel as a Jewish State and then we can speak about all other issues as well.
President Obama should be commended for his emphasis on Israel's security and his concern about Hamas joining the Palestinian Authority without renouncing its violent charter. But he made one serious mistake that tilts the balance against Israel in any future negotiations. Without insisting that the Palestinians give up their absurd claim to have millions of supposed refugees "return" to Israel as a matter of right, he insisted that Israel must surrender all of the areas captured in its defensive war of 1967, subject only to land swaps. This formulation undercuts Security Council Resolution 242 (which I played a very small role in helping to draft). Resolution 242, passed unanimously by the Security Council in the wake of Israel's 1967 victory, contemplated some territorial adjustments necessary to assure Israel's security against future attacks. It also contemplated that Israel would hold on to the Western Wall, the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem and the access roads to Hebrew University, without the need for any land swaps. Land swaps would only be required to make up for any areas beyond those contemplated by Resolution 242. The Obama formulation would seem to require land swaps even for the Western Wall.
Any proposed peace agreement will require the Palestinians to give up the so-called right of return, which is designed not for family reunification, but rather to turn Israel into another Palestinian state with an Arab majority. As all reasonable people know, the right of return is a non-starter. It is used as a "card" by the Palestinian leadership who fully understand that they will have to give it up if they want real peace. The Israelis also know that they will have to end their occupation of most of the West Bank (as they ended their occupation of Gaza) if they want real peace. Obama's mistake was to insist that Israel give up its card without demanding that the Palestinians give up theirs.
Obama's mistake is a continuation of a serious mistake he made early in his administration. That first mistake was to demand that Israel freeze all settlements. The Palestinian Authority had not demanded that as a condition to negotiations. But once the president of the United States issued such a demand, the Palestinian leadership could not be seen by its followers as being less Palestinian than the president. In other words, President Obama made it more difficult for the Palestinian leadership to be reasonable. Most objective observers now recognize Obama's serious mistake in this regard. What is shocking is that he has done it again. By demanding that Israel surrender all the territories it captured in the 1967 war (subject only to land swaps) without insisting that the Palestinians surrender their right of return, the president has gone further than Palestinian negotiators had during various prior negotiations. This makes it more difficult for the Palestinian leadership to be reasonable in their negotiations with the Israelis.
It is not too late for the president to "clarify" his remarks so that all sides understand that there must be quid for quo -- that the Palestinians must surrender any right to return if the Israelis are expected to seriously consider going back to the 1967 lines (which Abba Eban called "the Auschwitz lines" because they denied Israel real security).
If President Obama is to play a positive role in bringing the Palestinians and the Israelis to the negotiating table, he should insist that there be no preconditions to negotiation. This would mean the Palestinians no longer insisting on a settlement freeze before they will even sit down to try to negotiate realistic borders. The president did not even ask the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table. Nor did he ask them to drop the condition that he, in effect, made them adopt when he earlier insisted on the freeze.
The president missed an important opportunity in delivering his highly anticipated speech. We are no closer to negotiations now than we were before the speech. My fear is that we may be a bit further away as a result of the president's one-sided insistence that Israel surrender territories without the Palestinians giving up the right of return. I hope that Prime Minister Netanyahu's visit to Washington may increase the chances of meaningful negotiations. I wish I could be more optimistic but the president's speech gave no cause for optimism. I wish it had been different because I strongly support a two-state solution based on a willingness by Israel to surrender territories captured in 1967 coupled with a willingness of the Palestinians to recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, to renounce the use of violence and terrorism and to give up any right of return.
Monday, May 23, 2011
He makes the point that Palestine must be a viable state and Israel has to be secure and reasonably defensible.
His comments on the 1967 borders simply restate what has essentially been offered to the Palestinians before and has been rejected. Notwithstanding, this is and always will be the starting point for negotiations and should be the end result of negotiations if they ever take place.
Netanyahu's response is for public consumption in his own country but it will be interesting to read how the media looks at it ... and, of course, the usual suspects will ignore the spoilers in the equation - Hamas and Fatah - neither of which want to recognise Israel as a Jewish State or any State at all and therefore do not, at least for the present, seek peace.
Will they even mention the Hamas reaction at all?
And what of the rest of Obama's speech - the part about the so-called "Arab Spring"? Will it stop Assad from butchering his own people in Syria?
Sunday, May 22, 2011
From Harry's Place: Every BDS supporter should carry one of these.
Simply print, clip and put in your wallet. But read the fine print first -
Israel developed a drug that delays Alzheimer’s and helps Parkinson’s patients.
Two out of three common Multiple Sclerosis drug treatments were developed in Israel.
Israel developed a revolutionary pill for diagnosing diseases of the digestive system.
Israel developed a device for identifying unwanted substances in bodily fluids.
Israel developed a revolutionary device for diagnosing sleep related breathing disorders.
Saturday, May 21, 2011
This is the letter of the week and is a response to Kazak's error filled rant:
Another side to the Israel-Palestine story
Ali Kazak wishes to "set the record straight" with his own brand of the truth which is in itself clearly biased and factually incorrect (Letters, May 18). Let's clarify two very simple truths about the incursion from Syria into Israel by Palestinian "refugees". These protesters attempted to cross a border between two nations who are very much at war with each other and should expect to be killed immediately and without question, just as if they were South Koreans deciding to cross the border into North Korea.
Israel is, after all, and despite Arab objections, a democratic sovereign state. Second, you have to wonder why, after more than 30 years, they have finally now decided to protest in this way and that has a lot to do with the Syrian government's agenda of trying to divert attention away from its own internal battles and massacre of civilians. No matter how Ali or any pro-Palestinian activist twist it, the truth is that the Middle East would be an incredibly peaceful place today if the Arabs finally accepted the Jewish peoples' right to simply exist in Israel.
Tamir Aloni Caulfield (Vic)
Friday, May 20, 2011
Obama's speech - I think it's best to listen for yourself rather than to read other peoples' interpretations and reactions.
Text regarding Israel (37:15 to 47:10 in the video):
For decades, the conflict between Israelis and Arabs has cast a shadow over the region. For Israelis, it has meant living with the fear that their children could be blown up on a bus or by rockets fired at their homes, as well as the pain of knowing that other children in the region are taught to hate them. For Palestinians, it has meant suffering the humiliation of occupation, and never living in a nation of their own. Moreover, this conflict has come with a larger cost to the Middle East, as it impedes partnerships that could bring greater security and prosperity and empowerment to ordinary people.
For over two years, my administration has worked with the parties and the international community to end this conflict, building on decades of work by previous administrations. Yet expectations have gone unmet. Israeli settlement activity continues. Palestinians have walked away from talks. The world looks at a conflict that has grinded on and on and on, and sees nothing but stalemate. Indeed, there are those who argue that with all the change and uncertainty in the region, it is simply not possible to move forward now.
I disagree. At a time when the people of the Middle East and North Africa are casting off the burdens of the past, the drive for a lasting peace that ends the conflict and resolves all claims is more urgent than ever. That’s certainly true for the two parties involved.
For the Palestinians, efforts to delegitimize Israel will end in failure. Symbolic actions to isolate Israel at the United Nations in September won’t create an independent state. Palestinian leaders will not achieve peace or prosperity if Hamas insists on a path of terror and rejection. And Palestinians will never realize their independence by denying the right of Israel to exist.
As for Israel, our friendship is rooted deeply in a shared history and shared values. Our commitment to Israel’s security is unshakeable. And we will stand against attempts to single it out for criticism in international forums. But precisely because of our friendship, it’s important that we tell the truth: The status quo is unsustainable, and Israel too must act boldly to advance a lasting peace.
The fact is, a growing number of Palestinians live west of the Jordan River. Technology will make it harder for Israel to defend itself. A region undergoing profound change will lead to populism in which millions of people -– not just one or two leaders — must believe peace is possible. The international community is tired of an endless process that never produces an outcome. The dream of a Jewish and democratic state cannot be fulfilled with permanent occupation.
Now, ultimately, it is up to the Israelis and Palestinians to take action. No peace can be imposed upon them — not by the United States; not by anybody else. But endless delay won’t make the problem go away. What America and the international community can do is to state frankly what everyone knows — a lasting peace will involve two states for two peoples: Israel as a Jewish state and the homeland for the Jewish people, and the state of Palestine as the homeland for the Palestinian people, each state enjoying self-determination, mutual recognition, and peace.
So while the core issues of the conflict must be negotiated, the basis of those negotiations is clear: a viable Palestine, a secure Israel. The United States believes that negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan, and Egypt, and permanent Israeli borders with Palestine. We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states.
The Palestinian people must have the right to govern themselves, and reach their full potential, in a sovereign and contiguous state.
As for security, every state has the right to self-defense, and Israel must be able to defend itself -– by itself -– against any threat. Provisions must also be robust enough to prevent a resurgence of terrorism, to stop the infiltration of weapons, and to provide effective border security. The full and phased withdrawal of Israeli military forces should be coordinated with the assumption of Palestinian security responsibility in a sovereign, non-militarized state. And the duration of this transition period must be agreed, and the effectiveness of security arrangements must be demonstrated.
These principles provide a foundation for negotiations. Palestinians should know the territorial outlines of their state; Israelis should know that their basic security concerns will be met. I’m aware that these steps alone will not resolve the conflict, because two wrenching and emotional issues will remain: the future of Jerusalem, and the fate of Palestinian refugees. But moving forward now on the basis of territory and security provides a foundation to resolve those two issues in a way that is just and fair, and that respects the rights and aspirations of both Israelis and Palestinians.
Now, let me say this: Recognizing that negotiations need to begin with the issues of territory and security does not mean that it will be easy to come back to the table. In particular, the recent announcement of an agreement between Fatah and Hamas raises profound and legitimate questions for Israel: How can one negotiate with a party that has shown itself unwilling to recognize your right to exist? And in the weeks and months to come, Palestinian leaders will have to provide a credible answer to that question. Meanwhile, the United States, our Quartet partners, and the Arab states will need to continue every effort to get beyond the current impasse.
I recognize how hard this will be. Suspicion and hostility has been passed on for generations, and at times it has hardened. But I’m convinced that the majority of Israelis and Palestinians would rather look to the future than be trapped in the past. We see that spirit in the Israeli father whose son was killed by Hamas, who helped start an organization that brought together Israelis and Palestinians who had lost loved ones. That father said, “I gradually realized that the only hope for progress was to recognize the face of the conflict.” We see it in the actions of a Palestinian who lost three daughters to Israeli shells in Gaza. “I have the right to feel angry,” he said. “So many people were expecting me to hate. My answer to them is I shall not hate. Let us hope,” he said, “for tomorrow.”
That is the choice that must be made -– not simply in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but across the entire region -– a choice between hate and hope; between the shackles of the past and the promise of the future. It’s a choice that must be made by leaders and by the people, and it’s a choice that will define the future of a region that served as the cradle of civilization and a crucible of strife.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
I'm not conccerned with this decrepit old hag or the fact that most western media outlets shy away from stories such as this one even though I understand there are many other Palestinians who share these abominable sentiments.
My problem is with the President of the Palestine Authority and the lies he his telling about his family history - Was Mahmoud Abbas's Family Expelled From Palestine?
How do you make peace with the man, especially now that he is in bed with Hamas?
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Responding to a question about musicians and film makers who boycott the State of Israel because of its policies and actions, screenwriter and director Ethan Coen said, 'People respond to real problems from the heart, and they think that's the right thing to do. We don't agree with that opinion, that that's how to deal with these problems.'
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Monday, May 16, 2011
What would the newspaper headlines be?
This is the headline attributed by the Age newspaper when protesters tried to infiltrate Israel's northern borders with Syria and Lebanon to demonstrate against the 63rd anniversary of the founding of the Jewish State.
Israeli troops gun down Palestinians in day of protest
The article from Jason Koutsoukis reporting from "Qalandia, West Bank" is not much better. He explains that the demonstrators had gathered to mark Nakba Day which he describes as "the Arabic word for catastrophe that attempts to define the dispossession and loss experienced by up 750,000 Palestinians who fled their land and homes during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War."
Koutsoukis fails to mention that behind the dispossession and loss was a failure by Arab armies massed along the nascent State's border to massacre its Jewish inhabitants.
He also fails to mention other reports that indicate that most if not all of the causalties might have been caused by the Lebanese Army:-
"In similar clashes along the Lebanese border, conflicting reports spoke of between 3 and 10 people killed, while the IDF said that most and possibly all of the casualties were caused by the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF). At the same time, scores of Palestinians attacked IDF soldiers at the Kalandiya border crossing between Ramallah and Jerusalem with stones and gasoline bombs. In the Gaza Strip, one Palestinian was killed and at least 80 others were wounded when thousands of Palestinians marched toward IDF troops at the Nahal Oz and Erez border crossings, sources in Gaza City said." - Abbas: Those killed in Nakba Day marches are martyrs
Blank page stuff that Age readers will never read about from an ailing newspaper whose bosses will try to tell you produces a balanced coverage.
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Saturday, May 14, 2011
The US newspaper did it for reasons of modesty.
I wonder what reason the Age has for regularly airbrushing the bad deeds of the Hamas terrorists from their newspaper.
Readers of this blog know full well that the Age has form in blocking out the history of Palestinian terrorism. The notorious six page Good Weekend liftout of a Paul McGeough article lionising the ISM "movers and shakers" that passed without a mention of Hamas but managed to include the lie about Mohamed al Dura being murdered by Israeli fire because Fairfax belatedly came out with a microscopic item a few days later saying that the error was due to some sort of an editing problem.
These guys are as much of a joke as the Yiddish boys in the states but they don't realise it.
Friday, May 13, 2011
Thursday, May 12, 2011
Hundreds dead in Syria as Assad's tanks fire directly at protesters yet we hear nothing of a Goldstone Commission clone (let alone of a flotilla to rescue the victims of his oppressive regime). Syria's bid for a seat might have stalled but only because of a possible deal with Kuwait to switch places on the waiting list.
Gaddafi's still alive and kicking and protesters are still being killed and beaten up across the Arab world and just quietly in the Palestinian territories.
But the "bad guy" remains the only true democracy in that part of the world.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
It is high time these values-free misfits received a new appellation.Amen.
Practically speaking, they oppose mainstream Left thinking on virtually every subject. Amazingly they can see no tangible difference between a theocracy and a democracy nor denounce Islamic fundamentalism in unequivocal terms. To my mind, they should be known for what they are: nihilists.
So let them rail against liberal democracy and chant: "We are all Hezbollah" from the rooftops but do not besmirch the good name of others by deeming themselves Left. No, let them stand with like-minded nihilists, Jew-haters and other enemies of social democracy, including a recently deceased jihadist unlikely to be enjoying a judenrein paradise of virgins. On behalf of the sane Left, good riddance to the lot of them.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Monday, May 09, 2011
He told his audience last Tuesday that the people of Gaza "have been blockaded for many years and this blockade has affected all of your lives".
Well, it may have affected their lives but they still have malls, shopping centres, swimming pools and most of the necessities of life and there's no blockade affecting the territory because the Egyptians are removing their blockade. One supposes that they can now look after the ordinary everyday needs of the local population without bothering the Israelis.
As for the weapons and missiles that are imported into Gaza, they have been looking after themselves for some time. These include laser guided missiles of the sort used by Gazan authorities (aka Hamas) to shoot across the border recently into Israel at a schools bus that killed a 16 year old countryman of Barenboim’s.
Of course, we’re told everything’s changed now. We should ignore the Hamas Covenant which calls for Israel’s destruction and, according to this recent article in the Age - Peace deal may give Palestinians a stronger voice PA President Mahmoud Abbas's position appears to have changed, stating that 'it is not required of Hamas to recognise Israel' in the formation of the new interim Palestinian government.
So why not move all the goalposts and stop talking about occupation and settlements as a pre-requisite to peace talks as well and sit down at the peace table with the Israelis?
Quite frankly, this posturing by the Palestinian leadership has become a farce.
As I indicated above, Barenboim the musician is an extraordinary person. He plays Wagner, the favourite music of the Nazis, and lives in Berlin. The extraordinary thing about him is that for a man of such talent, he doesn't understand that he is just another useful idiot if he thinks that playing some music for Gazans is anything more than yet another sop for the genocidal regime that rules these people and keeps them under the jackboot.
That makes him another Finkler.
Saturday, May 07, 2011
Friday, May 06, 2011
One man was holding court, loudly ranting on about bin Laden's demise and he was clearly upset with the Americans about the killing which he described as the hunting down and criminal assassination of a man instead of doing what's right and decent, namely to capture him and bring him to stand for trial in a court of law.
"They treated him worse than an animal," he said.
At which point another patron stood up and told him,
"I hope you enjoyed that steak but quite frankly, I find you an offensive person too. I'm in mourning for the cow you just ate."
Not funny, but the place went quiet and we were able to finish our meals in peace.
Thursday, May 05, 2011
Bin Laden's Death Creates Teachable Moments about the Middle East
DOROTHY: "I thought you said she was dead."
GLINDA: "That was her sister--the Wicked Witch of the East. This is the Wicked Witch of the West. And she's worse than the other one was." - "The Wizard of Oz"
It's astounding that Hamas, Fatah al-Aqsa Brigades, and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood all issued pro-bin Laden statements. They didn't have to do it. He was no friend of theirs. Yet out of Islamic solidarity, anti-Western hatred, and perhaps fear that it could happen to them they did. It's extraordinary these groups could say such statements and not be totally discredited in American eyes for taking the side of the September 11 terrorist leader.
Ding-dong, bin-Ladin’s dead. The Wicked Terrorist of the West is no more. But there are plenty more around.
In fact, several events are already proving it. The question is: Does the U.S. government, its European friends, and the Munchkins of their intellectual elite know a wicked witch when they see one?
Even the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades of Fatah—the ruling party in the “moderate” Palestinian Authority (PA) of which “President” Mahmoud Abbas is a leader (Abbas himself didn't criticize the operation)—cheered bin Laden. In other words, the militia of a group that has received lavish U.S. funding has now endorsed the September 11 attacks! Will the mass media notice this point? Will Congress?
To make the story even more interesting, Palestinian Media Watch pointed out that the Palestinian news agency edited out that message in its English-language site. What a marvelous case study of the usual practice of expressing extremism in Arabic for their own audience and moderation in English for the Western journalists, policymakers, and “experts.”
The statement is truly remarkable. Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Brigades didn’t owe bin Laden anything. It is supposedly a secular-oriented group and has never cooperated with al-Qaeda. Yet so great is the power of radical Islamism, anti-Americanism, and pure hatred of the “other” that this group—which easily could have remained silent—couldn’t help itself.
The statement reads—and note the use of the word “jihad” from a Fatah group:
“The Fatah-affiliated Al-Aqsa Brigades mourned Tuesday the death of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, following his assassination Sunday by American troops in Pakistan.
“His death, a statement said, `won't stop our Jihad mission against injustice and occupation….The Islamic nation was shocked with the news that bin Laden had been killed by the non-believers."
He left a generation who follows the education he gave in Jihad, the statement continued. The fighters in Palestine and around the world who have lost their leaders did not stop their mission and will continue in the tutelage of their masters."
"We say to the American and Israeli occupier: The umma, [Islamic nation] which produced leaders who changed the course of history through their Jihad and their endurance is a nation that is capable of supplying an abundance of new blood into the arteries of the resistance and is capable of restoring the glory of Islam and the flag of Allah's oneness, Allah willing.'"
And Ma’an in English changed the end of that passage as follows:
"We tell the Israeli and the American occupiers that we have leaders who have changed history with their Jihad and their steadfastness. We are ready to sacrifice our lives to bring back peace."
Get it? The Fatah group says jihad, Islamism, terrorism hooray! Bin Laden was their great teacher. But the version given out to the world is that they are ready to die for peace. This is the gap that usually exists and usually goes unnoticed.
It is less surprising that Hamas expressed anger at its sister’s demise. Yet remember that historically Hamas was not an ally of bin Laden's. Yet it couldn't resist either. Hamas’s candidate for Palestinian prime minister Ismail Haniyeh—you know, the guy we are always being told leads the “moderate” faction—mourned the death of this “Arab holy warrior.” He was confirming that bin Ladin was properly waging jihad.
Haniyeh continued, “We regard this as a continuation of the American policy based on oppression and the shedding of Muslim and Arab blood.”
Now, if you just see that line quoted consider what it means. Haniyeh is declaring a blood feud with the United States which means that Hamas is committing itself to kill Americans. Saying that the United States sheds “Muslim and Arab blood” is not an accidental phrase.
Of course, this comes after the U.S. government successfully intervened to press Israel to reduce sanctions on the Gaza Strip to an absolute minimum; okayed the passing of $400 million of U.S. taxpayer money to the Gaza Strip (through the Palestinian Authority) to take care of folks there; and helped overturn an Egyptian government keeping Hamas in check.
You call that gratitude? Objectively, the Obama Administration has been one of Hamas’s best friends. Moreover, Hamas has just signed a unity agreement with Fatah. Scores of countries will vote in September at the UN General Assembly to recognize a Fatah-Hamas government unconditionally.
Incidentally, note that it is portrayed as an act of aggression for the United States to try to kill or capture the man who launched a bloody, unprovoked attack on it. This is precisely the way much of the Western mass media and a number of governments portray Israel's self-defense against terror attacks.
The Washington Post’s Jackson Diehl asks the right question:
“Should the mourner of bin Laden be recognized as a worthy partner for peace with Israel, or a potential leader of a new Arab state? Haniyeh’s comments won’t leave the White House--which has been weighing how to respond to the Palestinian unity deal -- with much of a choice.”
Perhaps and perhaps not. And how about the leaders of all those other democratic countries just aching to break bread with Hamas? In fact, what is career moderate Mahmoud Abbas and the moderate Palestinian Authority making a deal with Hamas?
Well, a few hours later the PA signed a unity agreement with Hamas. Backing the September 11 attack seems no barrier to their cooperation. Or to continued U.S. aid and diplomatic support? Or to Europeans supporting a Fatah-Hamas state? Guess what? The British government immediately issued a statement applauding the Fatah-Hamas deal.
And that’s not all. Haniyeh also urged the Palestinian Authority to rescind its past recognition of Israel. Remember, that’s no longer a demand by an enemy but a proposal made by a partner and ally. In Haniyeh’s words: Israel’s presence “on our land is illegal and cannot be recognized.” Be sure that he was not talking about parts of the West Bank and east Jerusalem but the whole shebang.
Meanwhile, the Syrian regime’s killing of more than 500 unarmed demonstrators is not damaging its standing at the UN, where Syria may soon receive a seat on the Human Rights’ Council. Well, why not? Libya and Iran have achieved such rewards.
And what about Hizballah, now a major part of Lebanon’s government, involved in such events as the attack on the U.S. Marine barracks, killing 242 Americans, and a number of kidnappings including the horrible torture and murder of Colonel Rich Higgins?
Then there's the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. Its leader called for violent Jihad to destroy America in October 2010. Four months later, the president of the United States publicly accepted its inclusion in a future Egyptian government. Might this not be a good idea?
Finally, if the United States can do a targeted killing of a terrorist who had killed Americans, unintentionally knocking off an innocent bystander in the process, how can anyone complain about Israel doing the same thing?
Yes, there’s a great deal to learn from the bin Laden assassination.
Wednesday, May 04, 2011
A senior Iranian lawmaker says Osama bin Laden's death clearly shows that the al-Qaeda leader had an expiry date and the US was obliged to kill him.Bin Laden Israel's stooge against Islam
"Bin Laden, whom all Muslim nations despised, was simply a stooge in the hands of the Zionist regime [of Israel] to show a violent image of Islam following the 9/11 attacks," Deputy Head of Iran's Majlis Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy Esmail Kowsari told Mehr News Agency on Monday.
Palestinians celebrating the fall of the twin towers on 911
Tuesday, May 03, 2011
Jason Koutsoukis and Paola Totaro are the Melbourne Age's correspondents based in the Middle East and Europe respectively. Today they report on the reaction of world leaders to the American operation which killed Osama Bin Laden - World leaders praise the US
Koutsoukis quotes Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, its Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Palestinian Authority spokesman Ghassan Khatib. All of the above expressed support for the American action. Khatib is quoted saying, "Getting rid of bin Laden is good for the cause of peace worldwide, but what counts is to overcome the discourse and the methods, the violent methods, that were created and encouraged by bin Laden and others in the world." I'm not sure if Khatib was looking closely at himself in a mirror when he made that statement but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt for now.
Koutsoukis goes on to cite Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood which reportedly said that bin Laden's death "should be a catalyst for the withdrawal of all US troops from Iraq and Afghanistan."
So what's missing?
Curiously, Koutsoukis fails to mention the reaction of Hamas which condemned the killing of "holy warrior" bin Laden.
Consigning Hamas to the blank pages is not a new phenomenon in the Fairfax press but the failure to report on the reaction of Gaza's terror rulers is extraordinary in view of the recent announcement that Hamas and the PA has concluded "unity" talks.
Surely, this was the first test of whether the new pals were singing from the same hymn book of peace but here they are coming out with diametrically opposite views on the merits of the killing of the world's greatest terrorist menace.
There's a great story for a good journalist here but Koutsoukis either missed it, refuses or is not permitted to expose the fact that the new rapport between the competitors for Palestinian leadership as a complete sham.
Perhaps it's not newsworthy for readers of the Age who, in their inner suburban cafes, would be horrified to know that the Palestinians have never given up their jihad against the Jewish State and the West and that the absence of peace is a result of their conniving and not because of Israel's policies.
Fairfax issued another profit downgrade today. Its share price was down almost 10% this morning and sinking deep into the ocean.
What else is sinking in the oceans today?
It happens to be a nice day on earth today but 72 virgins are nervously twitching in hell.
And just in case you were wondering where the Palestinians stand on this, this is the position of one of the members of the so-called "unity" government - Hamas condemns killing of "holy warrior" bin Laden.
Sunday, May 01, 2011
But Gary Younge’s world is clearly shaped exclusively by what he can and cannot see; he is unable to step out of his particular cultural box and specific life experience long enough to understand that London or Brooklyn-based presumptions, expectations and interpretations are often not relevant in this part of the world. That kind of ideologically and politically inspired tunnel vision is what renders the writings of people such as Younge. and so many more of the Guardian faithful, nothing more than blatantly obvious propaganda.