Tag Archives: Israel

Netanyahu–America-Stay Out Of Our Playground!

The Israeli government is now infuriated because the Obama administration has mad clear a ban on settlement construction also includes East Jerusalem. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told his cabinet that “Israel will not agree to edicts of this kind in East Jerusalem.” He made clear his government’s view that a “united Jerusalem is the capital of the Jewish people in the State of Israel, and our sovereignty over the city is not subject to appeal.” He then made a ridiculous comparison between forbidding Jews in New York or London from purchasing a home in certain parts of those cities. Obviously, the prime minister did not know until the 1960s, it was quite legal to forbid Jews from purchasing homes in many sections of American cities.

The issue is simple– will Israel abide by international law? According to international law an occupying army can not build homes for its citizens in occupied territory. Israel conquered Jordan in the 1967 war and seized control of east Jerusalem and the West Bank. Netanyahu can continue his ridiculous comparisons by he continually ignores that Israel does not own the land on which housing for its citizens is being constructed.

The prime minister and many Israelis who were dumb enough to vote for this man still do not realize that a majority of American Jews support the ideas of President Barack Obama and they are not “self-hating Jews.” Unlike, Israel Jews, they are intelligent and sophisticated Jews who seek peace and prosperity for the state of Israel and understand it can not come by use of guns.

Ahmadinejad Has More Troubles!

It is never difficult overestimating the incompetence of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but his latest escapade must rank among his most fascinating efforts to antagonize just about every political group in his nation. His choice for first vice president, Esfandiar Rahim Mashie, was forced to resign from the position after conservative members of parliament as well as clerics blasted the appointment of a man who made the outrageous statement that Iran is a “friend of the Israeli people.” Of course, he never said, “Israel government,” but the thought of someone in a leadership position within Iran who believes it is possible to be friends with Israelis was a bit too much for Iranian hardliners. In the space of a month Ahmadinejad has aroused the fury of moderate and hard line clerics, an accomplishment few could achieve in such a brief period of time.

The strong reaction suggests while many conservatives supported Ahmadinejad for the presidency over Mousavi, they still regard the president as incompetent and will exert pressure to force his acceptance of their economic agenda. Even worse for Ahmadinejad, his ally and boss, Ayatollah Khamenei, also blasted the appointment and urged the president to appoint someone else.

The ides of July do not reveal omens of peace and success for a president who is disliked by most of the population.

Olmert Blasts US Stance On West Bank Settlements

Former Israel prime minister Ehud Olmert sharply criticized the Obama administration for insisting on a complete halt to housing on the West Bank. Although he agrees the construction of this housing “commands the agenda between the United States and Israel,” he regards it as a mistake because it is “impossible to completely enforce” and will only embitter the situation within Israel and between his country and the United States. He believes Palestinian needs to create an effective government and provide security have no connection to the issue of West Bank housing. Olmert also blamed Palestinian leaders for rejecting his proposal a year ago which dealt with many of their concerns.

Olmert is absolutely correct that Palestinian leaders have lacked a sense of vision and been unable to take risks in order to achieve peace. However, no Palestinian leader today can enter negotiations with Israel if they must accept West Bank settlements as they currently exist. Barack Obama is correct housing must cease and the Israel government has to become realistic of their chance to retain only a small portion of the West Bank. What could have happened last year or ten years ago has no relevance to what must occur today.

Is It Time To Force Foreign Minister Lieberman Into Silence?

Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli foreign minister whose constant irrational statements and declarations of hate toward Arabs, is a millstone around the neck of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. American diplomats do not wish to get near the mouth which roars nonsense, and his presence, even at a meeting, antagonizes Muslim leaders. Fortunately, the Israel police might assist the current government to get rid of Lieberman. Police met with the attorney general to discuss the final stage of their criminal investigation of the foreign minister. They are expected to recommend an indictment of Lieberman as soon as next week. His departure at the hands of the police frees Netanyahu of blame for getting rid of Lieberman.

The departure of Lieberman might result in members of his 15 MP group to eventually switch to other parties and stabilize the Netanyahu government by providing greater flexibility in negotiation with Arab governments. Or, Netanyahu could reach out to Labor or other groups in an effort to create a coalition government that would be prepared to attain peace.

Israel-Egypt Cooperation-Message To Iran?

A common view is that Iran poses greater threats to Israel and western powers than to the remainder of the Middle East. However, actions by Egypt suggest many Arab nations fear Iran’s development of a nuclear program as much as do western societies. The passage of two Israeli warships through the Suez Canal sent an Egyptian message to Iran that it would work with Israel if Iran demonstrated an ability to employ nuclear weapons. Arab countries do not regard Iran as “Arab” and view the growing military power of that nation as a direct threat to the remainder of the Arab world. The vast majority of Muslims are Sunni, but Iran represents the most powerful Shiite society in the world. Hezbollah leaders were furious that Egypt cooperated with the Zionists instead of being its enemies.

George Bush lacked a sophisticated understanding of the Middle East, let alone of the Muslim world. Neither he nor fellow members of his Cabinet even grasped differences between Sunni and Shiites. America continues viewing the Middle East through an Israeli-Arab lens instead of gathering a more encompassing view of divergent threats and fears. It is no all Jew vs Muslim, it is also Muslim vs Muslim.

Gays Gaily Serve In Foreign Armies, But Not In US Army!

President Barack Obama promised if elected to change the law which forbids gays and lesbians to serve in their nation’s armed forces. Since the notorious, “don’t ask, don’t tell” law passed under the Clinton administration, over 12,000 gays and lesbians have been forced to resign from the armed forces including dozens of trained linguists in Arabic, a skill desperately needed in wars being fought in Iraq and Afghanistan. Israel lifted restrictions on gays and lesbians in 1992, and a recent cover of an Army magazine portrayed two gay soldiers kissing. Australia has lifted restrictions and the United Kingdom was compelled in 1999 by the European Court of Human Rights to allow gays and lesbians to serve in the armed forces.

Representative Patrick Murphy, the first Iraq war veteran to be elected to Congress expressed his anger at the current restrictions against gays and lesbians. “I take it as a personal affront to our warriors. To say that other countries’ soldiers are professional enough to handle this and Americans are not, is really a slap in the face.”

Of course, there is no evidence that those fighting in actual battle object to having gays and lesbians in their ranks.

Israel PM: Recognize Us-But, We Won’t Recognize You!

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has an interesting approach to negotiations which consists of compelling the other side to agree to his demands, PRIOR to negotiations! One again, he insisted the “key to peace lies in explicit and unequivocal recognition of Israel as the Jewish state… They must once and for all give up the demand to resettle inside of Israel the descendants of the refugees.” He claims “as soon as that is settled, a huge window to peace be opened.” Of course, there is no statement on his part that the West Bank is part of the state of Palestine nor does he agree that east Jerusalem is the capital of the independent nation of Palestine. If President Abbas made demands of such recognition, we can assume Netanyahu would respond he could not make any such commitment since they belong on the negotiating table.

The purpose of “negotiations” is for two parties to discuss issues and to reach compromises both can accept. The issue of Palestinians recognizing Israel as the “Jewish state” ignores that 20 percent of the people in Israel are Muslim Palestinians. It is not as simple as Netanyahu attempts to present with the issue being refugees. There is probably several compromises which could resolve the issue of return of refugees. Perhaps, if Netanyahu got to a negotiating table and discussed these options, the road to peace would no longer have barricades established by Israel.

Fatah And Hamas Once Again Into Discussions

Hamas and Fatah have agreed to enter the seventh round of discussions in hope of resolving issues between the two groups. The continued division between the two Palestinian groups makes it virtually impossible for the Palestinian people to achieve a peace agreement with Israel. The Egyptian government has put together a reconciliation package which has gained a tentative agreement from Israel. Under the Egyptian proposal a new body would govern the Gaza Strip including representatives from Fatah and Hamas. President Abbas would have power over allocation of money since the West has made clear it would not funnel funds through Hamas. An election for president would take place in January, 2010 and both sides have agreed to accept the verdict of the Palestinian people.

Under the Egyptian plan, Arab and Egyptian experts would supervise security forces that will run the Gaza Strip and all sides agree to prevent attacks on Israel from Gaza. The plan also calls for prisoner exchange which would send home the Israeli soldier who presently is a prisoner, and crossings would be open to allow Gaza to proceed with reconstruction. European Union observers will assist in monitoring the Gaza border.

Israel would be foolish to oppose the Egyptian initiative and it must accept the possibility that a Hamas leader might be elected president. However, the peace process outlined in the Egyptian initiative offers a genuine opportunity for peace.

US-Israel Compromise On West Bank Settlements

Reports from Jerusalem indicate the Obama administration has reached a compromise agreement with the Netanyahu led Israel government. Under the agreement, Israel will announced a six month moratorium on construction of new housing in the West Bank, and the United States will ignore the building of 2,500 housing units now on delay. Israel sources suggest Obama is not willing to give in regarding the need to end further construction of housing in the West Bank as well as requiring evacuation of many units in a final compromise agreement between Israel and Palestinians. He needs evidence that America can force Israel to compromise or he will lose any credibility he might currently possess with Arab leaders.

Israel is still arguing its government made housing agreements with the Bush administration and Obama must adhere to those commitments by George Bush. Of course, this idea makes no legal sense let alone foreign policy sense for any American government. Obama was elected to END Bush agreements.

Attacking Iran–Bad Option, Says Admiral Mullen

Admiral Mike Mullen, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made clear that American military leaders did not regard an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities as an effective way to deal with issues of peace in the Middle East or Asia.” I worry a great deal about the response of a country that gets struck. It is really a really important place to not go if we can not go there in any way, shape or form.” The issue of attacking Iran has recently become an issue due to ridiculous comments by Vice President Biden that America would not interfere with an Israel strike at Iran. President Obama quickly put to rest any suggestion he wants such an attack to occur.

The problem with Israel leaders is not their belief Iranian nuclear capabilities could be destroyed, but the total absence of any understanding as to what would occur AFTER the attack. Iran would send hundreds of missiles toward Israel and other targets. Riots would break out, and any hope for peace between Israel and the Palestinians would be over.