|Israel Resource Review
||4th April, 2008
The sinister idea behind the evacuation compensation law
The idea behind the evacuation compensation law is far more sinister than simply to divide and conquer the settlers by offering them financial incentives to leave their homes.
An offer of compensation, it should be emphasized, before negotiations with the Palestinians are completed and the resulting agreement is approved by the Knesset and whatever other democratic procedures are established for confirming such a deal - should it ever be reached (for example, a national referendum).
But the idea of the evacuation compensation law goes far beyond just trying to preempt the democratic process.
Its aim is to delegitimize those who remain even more than encourage those who may leave and in turn justify abandoning them.
"The State is willing to pay them to leave, why should our sons risk heir lives protecting the crazy ideologues who insist on staying?" the mantra will go - repeated time and again by the broadcast and print media.
And security will, indeed, be slashed, with an eye towards making life so precarious that most residents ultimately flee for their lives.
Will this program succeed?
It is far from clear that an evacuation compensation law can pass the Knesset.
Promoting security deterioration is also hardly a certain formula for destroying the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria. At the start of Oslo, Shimon Peres explained that the settlers would only be a problem in the short run. The expectation that the settlers would run for their lives has not, however, panned out and in fact Jewish population growth rates in Judea and Samaria have consistently outstripped most areas within the Green Line.
Trying to pre-empt the democratic decision making process via the enactment of an evacuation compensation law may please Washington, and it certainly can be a vehicle for increasing animosity against communities targeted for abandonment.
But a simple word of caution to the proponents of the legislation is in order: For over a decade you failed miserably in predicting the consequences of the policies you have advocated. There is no reason to expect your analytical skills to be any better at predicting just how such a law, if indeed passed and implemented, would indeed play out.
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"April Fools" Piece in the NYTimes Mimimizes Fatah/PA Anti-semitism
Prof. Gil Troy
Gil Troy is a professor of history at McGill University in Montreal. He is the author of "Why I Am A Zionist" published by Gefen
I usually don't like playing bash-the-journalist. I try avoiding the ritualistic Tirade against the Times, which keeps pro-Israel New York Times readers' blood flowing. But an April 1, 2008 front-page article was so ridiculous it could have been an April Fools joke. "IN GAZA, HAMAS'S FIERY INSULTS TO JEWS COMPLICATE PEACE EFFORT," the headline ever so delicately proclaimed - as if there was much of a peace effort with Hamas to complicate, and as if the bombs raining down on Sderot or hundreds of cold-blooded murders over the years did not first "complicate" matters. Even the usually hostile International Herald Tribune reprinted the article under a more accurate headline "HAMAS RATCHETS UP ANTI-JEWISH RHETORIC."
Equally absurd, the one line the Times website highlighted pronounced: "While the Palestinian Authority under Fatah has made significant, if imperfect, efforts to end incitement against Jews, Hamas feels no such restraint." Moral obtuseness is one of the great crimes of our times and of the Times. The editors too easily forgive Fatah's "imperfections" in fighting anti-Semitism.
Steven Erlanger's article unintentionally illustrates how Hamas has helped sanitize Fatah and the Palestinian Authority in the eyes of gullible Westerners. The article admits, again in surprisingly delicate language, that "the Palestinian Authority of Fatah also causes some concern - its textbooks, for example, rarely recognize the state of Israel." Erlanger ignores the systematic anti-Semitism preached in Palestinian mosques, broadcast on PA TV, weaved into so many cartoons, and permeating the culture of what they call martyrdom, what we call terrorism. Fatah's Al-Aqsa Martyrs' brigade celebrated the recent Merkaz HaRav massacre as a "heroic operation."
The Times article implies that since the 1993 Oslo Accords, mainstream Palestinian leaders opposed anti-Semitic incitement. Tragically, the opposite is true. It represents one of the Oslo Peace Process's great betrayals. While many Israelis went beyond demonization to try incorporating the Palestinian narrative into their worldviews, while Israel's Ministry of Education introduced Palestinian national poets into Israel's curriculum, the PA under Fatah systematically tried to delegitimize Israel - and demonize Jews. Palestinian culture since the 1990s has marinated more than ever in this culture of hatred, with monstrous results for Israelis and Palestinians.
The rise of Hamas has helped many Palestinian Authority leaders wear the mask of moderation, legitimized by a perverted law of bogus averaging. The Hamas ideology of genocidal extremism and criticism of Mahmoud Abbas for being accommodating does not make Fatah moderate. Moderation is not just a relative term; you should be somewhat temperate to earn the label. It was Abbas, not Hamas, who recently accused Israel of committing "more than a holocaust," in Gaza, comparing 100 people killed during justified military moves with six million systematically slaughtered. It was Abbas the alleged moderate who has threatened further violence unless Israel meets his demands. And it is Abbas the supposed suppressor of incitement who, despite presiding over a political system that lacks free speech, nevertheless grants freed expression to rank anti-Semitism.
The Times article had other howlers, including the following sentence: "Intended to indoctrinate the young to its brand of radical Islam, which combines politics, social work and military resistance, including acts of terrorism, the programs of Al Aksa television and radio, including crucial Friday sermons, are an indication of how far from reconciliation Israelis and many Palestinians are" (emphasis added). Beyond the law of bogus averaging we see the tic of false equivalence. Ending a sentence about Hamas incitement with a phrase about reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians put the moral onus on both. This amoral unequal equivalence blames the victim along with the hater.
The article also views Hamas's anti-Semitism in a vacuum. Beyond one reference to Hizbullah and the mention of Hamas's "brand of radical Islam," Erlanger overlooked how typical such rhetoric has become throughout the Arab world. In fact, given that newspapers usually emphasize the exceptional, the innocent reader would finish the piece not realizing how many Arab newspapers regularly caricature Jews in the most despicable of ways, how many Muslim preachers every Friday preach against Jews in the harshest of ways, and how the Koranic characterization of Jews as "apes and pigs" has become routinized as discourse in the most disturbing of ways.
Unfortunately this foolish April article reflects a broader phenomenon. The recent State Department report charting Global anti-Semitism ignored PA incitement. Israel itself, both in its Foreign Ministry and in some university departments monitoring anti-Semitism, frequently overlooks PA and Fatah incitement. More broadly, many tend to minimize the ubiquity of the hatred, and how it is frequently linked with an appalling -- and equally genocidal -- anti-Americanism.
Too many Westerners are becoming like the iconic frog who, rather than being thrown into a pot of boiling water and jumping out, was burned to death as cold water, gradually heated, eventually turned deadly. Too many have become systematically desensitized by the steady discharge of genocidal anti-Semitism. Vitriolic Jew hatred has become so much a part of the background in the Arab world and much of the Muslim world that many have become gradually desensitized to it. And, as we saw during the terrorist wave against Israel that began in 2000, a constant onslaught slowly, gradually diffuses the outrage as people start accepting the unacceptable, tolerating the intolerable. When you add to this the journalistic compulsion to give two sides to every story, no matter how lopsided, and the broader political delusion that there is a broad Palestinian commitment to the anemic peace process, some of the ugliness now permeating Palestinian national culture ends up ignored or sanitized.
We cannot afford to be so lethargic in facing Hamas hatred or Fatah incitement. We have seen too many examples of words feeding violence; we have buried too many innocents whose killers became heroes. A culture of hate breeds more hatred, more violence. Ignoring it, minimizing it, or excusing it feeds the fires rather than dousing them as needed.
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Deplorable Diplomacy and Duplicitous Diplomats
Senior Research Analyst, Center for Near East Policy Research Ltd.
Well, it was unlikely that Rice, who was just here, would have readily walked away without further concessions from Israel for the sake of the "peace process." Some concessions, of some sort, from our craven, appeasing government. But what has taken place is above and beyond.
After Rice met with Defense Minister Barak and PA Prime Minister Fayyad here in Jerusalem, she actually said she was "amazed" by the gestures being advanced by Israel. I don't wonder at her amazement, as this sort of one-sided, tushy-kissing effort to be nice to an entity that in fact wishes us gone is quite breath-taking. But, rather than being "amazed," I'm just plain shocked. And outraged.
Rice announced that a number of concrete actions will be taken to improve the situation.
Take a deep breath before reading this list of Barak's major offers:
- The establishment of a Palestinian city (or series of neighorhoods) north of the town of al-Bireh, outside of Ramallah, to be paid for by a Jordanian businessman, to alleviate housing shortages in the Ramallah area. It would house tens of thousands of Palestinians.
This strikes me as most offensive of all. After the PA screams bloody murder about building a few hundred units in existing communities, and just one day after Abbas lied about this and said we were doing unprecedented building, we make this offer?
- Increasing the number of laborers allowed into Israel to 5,000.
- Taking down one checkpoint and 50 roadblocks, in order to ease the movement of Palestinians between the cities of Jenin, Tulkarm, Kalkilya and Ramallah.
As I remember, these roadblocks went up because easy movement between these cities allowed weapons to be transported.
- Easing of restrictions on Palestinian public figures.
But just about a week ago that a Palestinian official was caught smuggling large numbers of phones from Jordan.
- Easing security checks for Palestinian businessmen.
Of course, a businessman would never aid a terrorist.
Barak further suggested:
- Upgrading the infrastructure for aiding the Palestinians waiting at the crossings, the cost of which is estimated at NIS 8.3 million.
- Transferring 325 cars and logistic equipment from the IDF to the Palestinian security organizations, including generators, blankets and first aid kits.
I have on occasion commented that our leaders who take such actions are crazy. But I've been cautioned by some readers to avoid saying that, because truly crazy people are absolved of responsibility for their actions -- and the comment is on the mark.
What I will say, instead, is that this is very sick, but that Barak remains fully responsible for his decisions.
You may be wondering what the PA will be offering in all of this. After all, Fayyad and Barak met together to put forward suggests to improve the situation.
Well, it was agreed that the Palestinians security forces must assume "greater responsibility."
I did not note a precise delineation of responsibility for what.
They also agreed to step up efforts to "prevent terror."
Again, that vagueness. Nothing that could be quantified or measured -- the way Barak's promises on taking down 50 roadblocks or allowing 5,000 laborers into Israel can be measured.
I heard tonight, by the way, from a very reliable source that Rice said today that the US would be watching Israel closely to see that these commitments were honored.
But the Palestinians? Hey, they can say they made an effort to prevent terror, they gave it their best.
And Fayyad? This particular sob refused to make a public statement with Olmert and Rice. Take all that's offered, but not be seen to be too close to Israeli leader, who is an enemy of Palestine, after all. The photo-op would not have served him in the street, which admires Hamas.
And as if this is not bad enough, Barak and Olmert are making gestures to Syria regarding resuming peace negotiations.
From a military perspective this is a disaster. I saw heard Maj. Gen (res) Yaakov Amidror -- former Commander of the IDF's National Defense College and currently with the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs -- speak on a panel sponsored by Likud Anglo tonight.
As Syria's demand for peace is return of the Golan Heights, his assessment was that negotiating peace with Syria might mean we would ultimately find ourselves fighting Iranians in the Galil.
Another panel member, Dan Diker -- Director of the Institute for Contemporary Affairs and a Senior Foreign Policy Analyst at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs -- made this incisive observation: Timing is everything. We have just seen that heads of major Arab countries are snubbing Syria by not participating in the conference in Damascus. And now? Now is the time we pick to ndercut that message and confer legitimacy on Syria by reaching out to Assad?
A theme of this panel was the recognition that concessions don't work. Israel, in 1993, had the notion that the more we gave the more the world would respect us. But the reverse has happened, as the world has lost respect for us and has stopped understanding that we have legitimate rights in this land. As we fail to stand up for ourselves, it is the Palestinian narrative that is being internalized internationally.
One last comment before closing: I heard it tonight from an American with major contacts (as I've hard it before from an international lawyer here with Washington DC connections): Rice is running the show, and she's doing the work of Saudi Arabia. But Bush's attitude towards Israel is not the same as Rice's. He is being seriously misled by Rice, whom he trusts, and by the PA leaders, whose lovely words of peace he trusts, and by the Israeli leaders, who tell him how much we're willing to give up.
It may be futile. But it must be attempted at every juncture, calling on every possible political contact, sending every possible message: Bush needs to be provided with the realities.
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US TO RECOGNIZE JEWISH REFUGEES FROM ARAB COUNTRIES
[This ran in the April 4th, 2008 edition of the Phila. Bulletin at:
While President Bush and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice hope to reach some kind of peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians by the end of the year that will also include a solution to the problem of Palestinian refugees and their right of return, yesterday the US House of Representatives made an historic decision calling for a solution to the issue of Jewish refugees from Arab countries, as part of any future peace agreement.
850,000 Jews were expelled from their homes in the Arab world when the State of Israel declared its independence, and the property of many was confiscated by the authorities in the Arab countries, without any pretense of compensation. .
The US House resolution, recommends to the American mediators in the Middle East that they "guarantee that any decision about the matter of Palestinian refugees In the Middle East also include a similar reference to Jewish, Christian or other refugees from Arab countries."
The initiators of the decision, legislators from both parties led by New York Congressman Gerald Nadler, welcomed the resolution. Nadler said on Tuesday: Today the House of Representatives has helped shed light on the suffering of Jewish refugees in the Middle East. Their suffering is real and should be recognized. The enforced exile of Jews from Arab countries must be part of the public dialogue in the peace process."
A BLOW TO DECEPTIVE PROPAGANDA
The resolution by the American Congress, recognizing Jewish refugees from Arab countries in 1948 as absolutely equal to the Palestinian refugees from 1948, is an historic, precedent-setting and dramatic resolution.
From now on, in the diplomatic arena , there are not only "Palestinian refugees."
The Jewish refugees who came to Israel were housed in temporary refugee camps. They called them transit camps. They underwent difficulties, but no one wished to make them eternal refugees.
However, the Arab refugees who left Israel were also housed in United Nations UNRWA refugee camps. But they were memorialized as an open and bleeding wound and left there, deliberately and on purpose.
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