Mandate for Palestine - July 24, 1922

Mandate for Palestine - July 24, 1922
Jordan is 77% of former Palestine - Israel, the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and Gaza comprise 23%.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Israel's 60th Wedding Anniversary - A Military Coup?

[Published September 2007]

Israel's enemies have become emboldened into believing that the moment is fast approaching when they can once again try to achieve their long held aim to eradicate Israel.

They have taken this view following Israel's unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 and what they perceive to be a victory over Israel in the 2006 Lebanon War.

Iran - Hezbollah's puppet master and chief arms supplier - has openly threatened to unleash its nuclear weapons on Israel's 7 million citizens - 20% of whom are Arabs.

Its leader Ahmadinejad freely enters America to speak at Columbia University and be interviewed by American media outlets and to address the United Nations which takes no steps to suspend Iran's membership and allows him to spew his racist and anti-semitic epithets without demur. The world moves slowly and with great reluctance to isolate this megalomaniac and his regime.

Hamas continues to fire rockets and mortars into Israeli civilian populations on a daily basis from Gaza with no apparent end in sight as Israel ponders on what steps to take to end this inhuman onslaught.

Attempted terror attacks emanating from Gaza and the West Bank by Hamas and Fatah cohorts are being continually foiled only by alert and resolute military action.

Israelis need to be confident that it has the best leaders - both political and military - to confront the existential and terrorist threats being made by Iran, Syria, Hamas, Hezbollah and Fatah, and to make decisions concerning the West Bank and Gaza that are in Israel's best national interest.

The following extract from an interim report issued on 30 April 2007 by the Winograd Commission charged with inquiring into Israel's conduct of the 2006 War, seriously questions the judgement of Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to do just that:

"a. The Prime Minister bears supreme and comprehensive responsibility for the decisions of 'his' government and the operations of the army. His responsibility for the failures in the initial decisions concerning the war stem from both his position and from his behavior, as he initiated and led the decisions which were taken.

b. The Prime Minister made up his mind hastily, despite the fact that no detailed military plan was submitted to him and without asking for one. Also, his decision was made without close study of the complex features of the Lebanon front or of the military, political and diplomatic options available to Israel. He made his decision without systematic consultation with others, especially outside the IDF, despite not having experience in external-political and military affairs. In addition, he did not adequately consider political and professional reservations presented to him before the fateful decisions of July 12th.

c. The Prime Minister is responsible for the fact that the goals of the campaign were not set out clearly and carefully, and that there was no serious discussion of the relationship between these goals and the authorized modes of military action. He made a personal contribution to the fact that the declared goals were over-ambitious and not feasible.

d. The Prime Minister did not adapt his plans once it became clear that the assumptions and expectations of Israel's actions were not realistic and were not materializing.

e. All of these add up to a serious failure in exercising judgment, responsibility and prudence."

The Commission's interim Report was equally critical of the Minister of Defence and the Chief of Staff both of whom took the honourable course and handed over their duties and functions to others hopefully ensuring that the military will again be the power that it has previously been in guaranteeing Israel's safety and security and ability to withstand the threats to end its existence. .

Mr Olmert however refused to resign or call fresh elections to seek the public's confirmation that he was still the best man to lead them - arrogantly ignoring massive public demonstrations calling on him to do just that.

Mr. Olmert currently enjoys only 3% public support and is being investigated for alleged criminal conduct. He is reportedly engaging in secret discussions with Palestinian Authority and PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas on the creation of an Arab State between Israel and Jordan that could necessitate the removal of up to 450000 Jews from their homes in the West Bank.

It was Mr Olmert who claimed credit for a similar policy that saw the removal of 8000Jews from their homes in Gaza in August 2005. Thousands still remain in temporary residences and uncompensated to this day - their lives shattered. Gaza has now been declared an "enemy entity" by Israel - surely an admission of failure of this policy aimed at creating a peaceful - not warring - neighbour.

The military played a significant part in carrying out that Government decision. The television images of soldiers crying with those they were forced to remove remain indelibly imprinted on the Israeli military psyche particularly on many in military command positions.

Will the military again allow itself to be used in the forced removal of tens of thousands of Jews from their homes against their will? Many in the Army have already refused to remove Jews from recently settled areas where Government permission to live had not been granted. How many more would join them in refusing to obey orders to remove Jews from legally authorised areas where they had lived for up to 40 years? Would they be prepared to again trust Mr Olmert's judgement after the Gaza debacle?

In no more than eight weeks time Mr Olmert's agreement with Mr Abbas will be exposed to the glare of critical analysis. Hopefully the final Winograd Report , originally expected in July, will be also available. Its condemnation of Mr Olmert will be no less scathing than the interim Report. The growing threat posed by Iran will have also escalated. Hamas and Hezbollah will be champing at the bit.

This confluence of events could test the resolve of Israel's armed forces, especially if Mr Olmert continues to refuse to call fresh elections or ignores the military's recommendations on any of these issues.

If that were to happen some in Israel's armed forces might be provoked into attempting what has previously been unthinkable - a coup that dismisses the Government and puts in place a process that calls for fresh elections within six months.

Hopefully Mr Olmert will resign and let the people - not the Army or the current Government - have their say on whether he should continue to be their Prime Minister or who should replace him.

A coup is the last gift Israel needs in its 60th birthday year

President Bush Must Resist Threatened Arab Boycott

[Published September 2007]

President Bush's planned meeting on the Middle East in November has been dealt a severe body blow as the Palestinians and Saudi Arabians threaten to boycott the meeting if their agenda demands are not met.

A senior advisor to Palestinian Authority and PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is reported in Israelinsider on 17 September as stating:

"We can live without the summit, but if it does take place and fail by producing nothing more than a joint statement, then it could prove to be a danger for the whole region. We must not attend such a summit. We're not demanding the resolution of the entire problem by then, but we are demanding a significant breakthrough from the meeting."

Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud Al Faisal has echoed these demands:

"If this conference will not discuss serious topics aimed to resolve the conflict, put Arab initiative as a key objective, set an agenda that details issues as required and oblige Israel to withdraw from the occupied territories, this conference will not have any objective and will turn into protracted negotiations."

These peremptory demands represent an attempt by the Arabs to try and set the agenda for the meeting that go way beyond what the President initially announced.

President Bush clearly enunciated the intended scope of the meeting on 16 July when he declared:

" The world can do more to build the conditions for peace. So I will call together an international meeting this fall of representatives from nations that support a two-state solution, reject violence, recognize Israel's right to exist and commit to all previous agreements between the parties. The key participants in this meeting will be the Israelis, the Palestinians, and their neighbours in the region. Secretary Rice will chair the meeting. She and her counterparts will review the progress that has been made towards building Palestinian institutions. They will look for innovative and effective ways to support further reform. And they will provide diplomatic support for the parties in their bilateral discussions and negotiations, so that we can move forward on a successful path to the Palestinian State."

On 17 July President Bush's spokesman Tony Snow was asked the following question:

" What significance can we read into the fact [that] you're now saying it's a meeting in the Mideast. Yesterday, when you first started teasing this out, you said its significant, a conference; but now it's a meeting. What's - why are we back peddling here?"

Mr Snow replied:

"Well, no, I think what has happened is it was being spun up as a major peace conference where people are going to be talking about final status issues and that is not the case. And the President made that pretty clear. You can call it what you want. Call it a confab. You guys have thesauruses and you also have extensive vocabularies [laughter] but the fact is that it will be a gathering where people really do try and get down to nuts and bolts issues of helping build that institutional capability so that the Palestinian government will be in a position to move on to the next phases."

President Bush needs to tell the Palestinians and Saudis where to get off.

He must make it absolutely clear to them in no uncertain terms that the agenda will deal precisely with the three issues he enumerated in his 16 July statement:

1. Reviewing the progress that has been made towards building Palestinian institutions.

2. Innovative and effective ways to support further reform.

3. To receive a report on bilateral discussions and negotiations and to provide diplomatic support for the parties in those discussions and negotiations.

If he fails to show leadership on this issue and nip the proposed Arab boycott of his meeting in the bud, he will demonstrate that he is not the master of his own affairs and is merely a lame duck in the hands of others.

The Arabs are testing the President. He needs to immediately reject their attempts to wriggle out of the upcoming meeting.

Set the above agenda and let those who are truly interested in exploring the President's ultimate vision of another State between Jordan and Israel attend the meeting so that it will proceed in accordance with the initiative he has proposed.

If the Arabs fail to show, perhaps the President will realise his vision is not being taken seriously by them.

"Show up or shut up" might well be the message President Bush sends to everyone he invites to the meeting.

At least he will then know who is genuinely prepared to travel down the road with him to try and resolve a conflict that has now lasted for 125 years and has proved an insurmountable stumbling block for many of the Presidents before him.

Perhaps he might then well conclude that he should turn his attention to other pressing world issues where his efforts to bring a just and lasting peace will be truly appreciated.

Palestine, Fantasy and Tales from the Arabian Nights

[Published August 2007]

President Bush's planned Middle East peace summit is rapidly being transformed into an event that will rival the Tales from the Arabian Nights .

It seems no one is listening to what the Arabs are saying - which is nothing new.

However you would think that after sixty years of drum beating by the likes of Arafat, Abbas , Haniyeh ,Assad Senior and Junior and the Arab League the message might have started getting through to opinion makers and influence peddlers in the West that the Arabs ( apart from Egypt and Jordan) are really not interested in a peace deal with Israel - that the demands they are making are the exact antithesis of a desire to peacefully end a conflict that has existed between the Arabs and the Jews for the last 125 years.

A flurry of meetings being presently undertaken by Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert with Palestinian Authority President and PLO Executive Chairman Mahmoud Abbas have led to much speculation in the media of a peace deal being done that will be announced to an expectant world at President Bush's summit in the fall.

Michael Williams the United Nations Special Co-Ordinator for the Middle East Peace Process ( as fancy a title you could ever be given) is apparently in raptures at what has been taking place at these talks in Jerusalem, Jericho, Ramallah and even in Mr Olmert's own home. He told the United Nations Security Council yesterday:

"There is a hope now which has been absent for almost seven years."

Seven years? What about the Quartet's Road Map announced in a blaze of pomp and circumstance in 2003? Is the United Nations spokesman telling us there was indeed never any hope of success when this plan was announced and to which the United Nations was a sponsoring signatory? If so why did the Quartet try to convince everyone it offered the only hope for peace?

It gets even worse for Mr Williams as he gushed:

"Both sides have reported substantive discussions and exchanges of ideas on permanent status issues , as well as confidence- building steps. There appears to be a welcome common desire to reach an agreement or understanding that could be presented to November's international meeting."

Not to be outdone, Riyad Mansour the Palestinian UN observer told the Security Council:

"There is at this time a significant opportunity before us to end the Israeli occupation and towards the attainment of the two state solution"

Mr Williams said:

"with 10-12 weeks to play for, and with the very strong basis that they have now, I'm convinced that they can make real movement in that regard"

So much for the fantasy. It is a pipe dream totally divorced from reality.

What has actually occurred at these "substantive discussions" can best be gleaned from the comments of Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian Authority negotiator who on the very same day said:

"Today's meeting was good and thorough, but until now we haven't discussed any details related to the fundamental issues"

More tellingly Mr Erekat had this to say:

"The Palestinian leadership wants peace, but not at any price. The peace we are seeking must be based on all the UN resolutions pertaining to the Israeli-Arab conflict, the Arab peace plan of 2002, the road map and the US President George W. Bush's vision for two states. Together, all these plans and resolutions will lead to an end of the Israeli occupation of all the territories that were occupied in 1967."

In other words Mr Erekat was repeating the identical formula that has been repeated ad nauseam since 1967 - the return of every square meter of territory captured by Israel in the Six Day War including the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem - a formula which has not and can never be accepted by Israel.

Despite Israel releasing hundreds of terrorists, granting amnesties from arrest to scores of other known terrorists, transferring tax revenue running into hundreds of millions of dollars and supplying additional weapons to the Palestinian Authority, Saeb Erekat continues to hum the same song that can only lead to President Bush's upcoming talkfest leading nowhere.

The amazing thing is that the Western leaders still rely on the optimistic assessments of people like Mr Williams, when they only have to read what Arab spokesman are actually saying to understand that the idea of creating a 23 rd Arab State in 5% of historic Palestine is a tale straight out of the Arabian Nights.