Donald Trump has been basing his presidential campaign on stirring up provocative ideas, keeping his name and face at the top of the news, day in and day out. His latest sound bite, banning Muslims from entering the US, has landed him massive condemnations, not only from Democrats, but also from many in his own party, from independents, from international leaders, and from many non-politicians.
His supporters and those who either fear Islamic Terror, or suspect every Muslim to be a potential radical, have found his latest position agreeable and justifiable. Some politicians, those who portray the majority of Muslims as decent folks when there is a microphone next to them, refrain from condemning Trump, but express disagreement on that specific issue. Most of them prefer political correctness while harboring a secret appreciation for Trump’s thinking. They believe that as long as Muslims are a small minority, they pose little threat, but once they reach a critical mass they try to transform the culture of their habitat into an Islamic one, rather than assimilating into western culture.
This latest group of folks includes, without exception, all of the Republican presidential candidates, notwithstanding their vocal condemnation of Trump’s latest stance. Every one of the GOP presidential candidates has been vocal about their refusal to admit Muslim Syrian refugees to the US. Bush and Cruz were in favor of admitting Christian refugees, (Ted Cruz: “Muslims should be resettled in Muslim countries”), while all others—Carson, Christie, Fiorina, Graham, Huckabee, Jindal, Kasich, Pataki, Paul, Rubio, Santorum and of course, Trump—express a complete ban on admitting (Muslim) Syrian refugees. Carson calls the idea of accepting Syrian refugees “a suspension of intellect”, Christie, Rubio and Fiorina worry about an inadequate vetting process, Graham and Paul point to the Paris attack as their reason, Huckabee portrays them as terrorists, Jindal wanted to pause and figure it out first, Kasich does not want to take the risk, Santorum refers to them as Jihadists, and Trump will send them back as soon as he becomes president.
But we know that Syrian refugees are not what we need to worry about. We know that most, if not all, Islamic terrorists are either home-grown, or immigrants who settled in their terror-target countries and were living there for some time. The risk to the US does not emanate as much from those Syrian refugees, as it does from European Islamists who may enter the US any time they wish. Not only these European Islamists are not vetted, but they need no visa upon their arrival.
Accordingly, These GOP presidential candidates who called for denying entry to Syrian refugees have done so only because it served as a politically correct cover for their true intent, an intent expressed by Donald Trump, because the actual risk of letting Islamic terrorists import their sickening and dangerous ideology to the American continent rests not with the refugees; it clearly lies with those who gain trouble-free entry to the US.
Trump has tried to answer the question of how you stop Islamic terrorists from entering the US when vetting is not part of the process, when visas are not required, and when fake passports are as easy to get a hold of as marijuana in Colorado. He may have been a bit too expansive. But this is Trump. This is a man who looks for non-stop attention. He strives to be the talk of the town and he succeeds.
Still, Trump’s position could have been much more acceptable had he framed his opinion by denying entry to people from specific (Muslim) countries like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Morocco, Algeria, Somali, etc. And imposing visa and vetting requirements on people travelling from the European Union, rather than using faith as his publicized criterion.
Apparently, exploiting religion as a benchmark when judging people’s character is an unacceptable course of action, but denying entry to people from particular countries or changing visa requirements for other countries is tolerable.
The GOP presidential candidates have shown us that this approach is popular. They have all taken it and applied it when they addressed the Syrian refugees’ issue.
Published at: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articles/Article.aspx/15291#.U7v657ER9as
It is a vicious cycle.
Hamas or one of its sister-terrorist organizations initiates a terror attack, launches barrages of rockets. Israel retaliates, most often by bombing empty structures; the terrorists respond with rockets aimed at the Israeli civilian population; Israel retaliates, then threatens critical punishment.
Hamas declares a ceasefire and Israel concurs. And then, following a brief pause—a replay of the same episode.
Something is awfully wrong with this picture. Hamas is the one calling the shots. They initiate, then terminate cycles of violence when the heat rises in their kitchen, making them sweat. And the Israeli government’s policies of retaliations constituting measured responses appear impotently reactive in the face of the Gaza terror machine.
In fact, Israeli passive policies of measured responses, supplemented by empty threats concerning the endgame, provide a strong incentive for another round whenever these blood-thirsty terrorists feel dehydrated.
What’s more, ceasefires declared by Hamas are not genuine ceasefires. They are more like a seemingly-dormant volcano bound to erupt in a massive fireworks show at any given moment, while it keeps on emitting small bursts of ash and lava on a daily basis.
If you reside next to that kind of predictable terror spurts and outbursts you are likely to develop a permanent anxiety disorder. It’s a dismal condition; an intolerable circumstance. No one should be subject to that kind of living, certainly not children.
Israel should end its policy of retaliation. Retaliation is an emotionally satisfying act that under nearly all circumstances serves as grounds for a counter act that fuels a vicious revenge cycle. It is analogous to inflicting a minor injury, a superficial gash, on an adversary, without causing a permanent disabling devastation that would put the bad guys out of business for good.
When wars do not end with the absolute defeat and surrender of the enemy, the peace, or the cease-fire that follows is unstable at best. The Arab Israeli wars are a preeminent example of that point.
As long as the enemy is able to stand up back on their feet and rebound, retaliation only fires up their emotions, energizes them, enhances their popularity among their peers, and transforms their criminal acts into heroic martyrdom.
A ceasefire brings comfort in the short run, but when Hamas is the one controlling its activation and its culmination, it only energizes and emboldens the terrorists. A Hamas-style ceasefire constitutes a wrong exit out of the recent violent flare-up and resulting Operation Protective Edge.
It’s time to think longer term; it’s time to take the initiative out of Hamas’s hands and refuse to concur with their unstable mood.Time has come for abolishing Retaliation and trading it for Eradication.
Israel must put a stop, once and for all, to the constant challenge that the Palestinian terror organizations put it through
History has shown that a lasting peace following a bitter war has a better chance of success when the enemy is forced into an unconditional surrender. World War II, is the most recent example of this point. When wars do not end with the absolute defeat and surrender of the enemy, the peace, or the cease-fire that follows is unstable at best. The Arab Israeli wars are a preeminent example of that point.
Settling on Eradication may yield a transitory resentment by those around the world who label themselves as ‘civilized’. They may complain that such actions are too harsh, that innocent lives get caught in the cross-fire, and that this is not a measured response. But the outcome and its associated benefits would be more permanent, and would last long after the memory of the global fury has been faded away.
The Israeli government should not wait for a disaster before ceasing the Retaliation policy and substituting it for a policy that affects Eradication. It must be a difficult decision for those who believe in measured responses. But the safety and security of Israeli citizens precedes the safety and security of its enemies - who initiated the violence - then the way for taking the vicious revenge cycle to an end is by opting for a policy that would make it happen.
The Israeli journalist Ari Shavit’s latest American bestselling book “My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel,” offers a disheartening outlook, a definite but skewed reality, and a detrimental PR for Israel.
The book is very well written (Ari Shavit must have had a brilliant editor); it’s an attention-grabbing page-turner, but at the same time, it reinforces the Arab agenda of delegitimizing the state of Israel. Lacking proper background knowledge or understanding of the particular history before reading the book, may serve to convince the ignorant reader that the Palestinians’ claims to Tel Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem, the Galilee, Lydda, etc. is absolutely justified. And the Jews, the Zionists, and the Israelis are the latest Crusaders whose time in the holy land is fleeting, as it will soon run out. The book lets the naïve reader be persuaded that the state of Israel will implode as the population time bomb continues its steady march toward doomsday, while the extreme right continues to tear down any chance for peace by colonizing the West Bank (a.k.a. Judea and Samaria), whereas the new materialistic and fun-seeking generation of young Israelis are completely disconnected from the ideals and the spirit of their forefathers—the Zionists founders of the Jewish state.
Ari Shavit believes that he is a Zionist. He makes sure that the reader knows that he is in love with Israel; that he admires the Israeli resourcefulness and innovative spirit, and that he approves of the original Zionists’ goal of establishing a Jewish homeland in Palestine, a goal, which according to Shavit, was accomplished via ethnic cleansing and a Palestinian Nakba. The goal justified the means, in Shavit’s opinion, because there was no other choice. But, although Ari Shavit rationalizes the 1948 Jewish cruelty toward the Palestinian Arabs, he has missed a couple of important points. The 1948 war was a war of survival for the Jews in Palestine. Eastern Jerusalem and the Etzion Bloc Jews suffered similar, if not worse fate at the hands of the Arabs. These two areas were cleansed of its surviving Jews—those who had not been killed or massacred during the Arab onslaught. And had the Jews lost the war—a scenario that seemed quite plausible during the earlier days—a new holocaust would have dawned on the Jewish community in Palestine. Ari Shavit failed to emphasize that the war was launched by the Arabs—not by the Jews. The Arabs’ intent was loud and clear—killing the Zionists and throwing them into the sea. But Ari Shavit makes it sound differently. He lets the reader perceive the Jews as the aggressors, the ethnic cleansers, the killers of innocents. He lets the reader perceive the Arabs as the innocent victims. And although he approves of the ugly measures taken by the Zionists in pursuing the founding of their state, he does not tell the whole truth; he does not convey the fact that it was those same Arabs who started the ugliness, the killings, the massacres; he does not make the reader understand that the Jews fought a defensive, desperate war of survival.
The second missed point is the fact that readers have selective memory. After reading the book, many will only hark back to the killing in Deir Yassin and the ethnic cleansing of Lydda and the Galilee; they won’t understand the reasons for it, nor will they know that these beastly actions were an integral component of a zero-sum-game that had taken place during the 1948 war of Jewish independence. Had these events not come to pass, Jewish Jerusalem would not have survived, the Jewish State would not have been viable, and Ari Shavit would not have had the good life he revels in today.
But the most disheartening aspect of the book is its implicit conclusions.
Ari Shavit makes sure that the reader understands and legitimizes the feelings harbored by Arabs toward the Jewish State. He makes it clear that what the Arabs refer to as “the Nakba”—the Arabs’ catastrophe, stemmed from the creation of the Jewish State—will always be the core of the Middle East conflict. In fact, Ari Shavit’s leftist ideology that strives for a peaceful co-existence with the Palestinian Arabs is also the one pointing to the only conclusion — that peace between Arabs and Jews is impossible as long as Israel exists. Shavit makes it clear that what the Arabs refer to as the occupied territory is not limited to the west bank; it includes the territory occupied in the 1948 war; it includes pre-1967 Israel.
And although Ari Shavit is adamantly opposed to the west bank settlements; although he sees those as the main obstacle to peaceful co-existence, he, at the same time, makes the case that there is no difference between colonizing the west bank and the colonization of pre-1948 Palestine. This contradiction is threading throughout the book, and it becomes one of its major takeaways.
I could not help but thinking of the damage done by Ari Shavit’s book to the Israeli struggle against Arabs’ attempts to delegitimize its existence. Ari Shavit told us the truth; he did not tell the whole truth, and he painted his version of the partial truth with colors he had viewed through his own left-minded kaleidoscope. I could not help but thinking that the Israeli Shavit is much like Edward Snowden, the American who exposed the NSA secret files, methods and extent of surveillance programs. Both believed that they acted out of patriotism; both brought to light part of the hidden truth they believed had to be exposed. Both failed to dilute the ugly part of the truth with the reason for its being or by countering it with the far greater beneficial part. Both impressed upon their audience that their part of the truth is the whole deal and that it is plain evil. Both failed to understand the damage they had done by aiding the enemies of their state, and by distancing its friends. And both became American celebrities through their actions.
Although I found the book interesting, captivating and extremely well written, I could not recommend it to others or rate it highly because I was distracted by its one-sidedness and unfair depiction of my own promised land—the land of Israel.
The reasons ADL survey underestimated European and American anti-Semitism By AVI PERRY
02/06/2014 Jerusalem Post
Israel-bashing and boycotting has not yet been established as an acknowledged form of anti-Semitism. On May 13, 2014 the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) published results of its world-wide survey on the extent of global anti-Semitism. The survey found that in the majority of English-speaking countries, the percentage of those embracing anti-Semitic attitudes was 13 percent, far lower than the overall average, whereas, Western and Eastern Europe as a whole exhibited 24% and 34% respectively. At the same time, the survey exposed a ubiquitous spread of anti-Semitism in the Arab countries of the Middle East and North Africa where 90% of the population (93% in the West Bank and Gaza) harbors profound prejudicial frame of mind pertaining to Jews in general, not limited to Israel or Israelis in particular.
The survey comprised 11 questions. Respondents acted on these by either agreeing or disagreeing to the following list of statements alluding to typical, old-school anti-Semitic myths:
1 Jews are more loyal to Israel than to [this country/the countries they live in]
2 Jews have too much power in international financial markets
3 Jews have too much control over global affairs
4 Jews think they are better than other people
5 Jews have too much control over the global media
6 Jews are responsible for most of the world's wars
7 Jews have too much power in the business world
8 Jews don't care what happens to anyone but their own kind
9 People hate Jews because of the way Jews behave
10 Jews have too much control over the United States government
11 Jews still talk too much about what happened to them in the Holocaust
Responding affirmatively to six or more out of the 11 statements was “qualified” as an indication of anti-Semitic attitude. Responding affirmatively to 2-5 or 0-1 statements was interpreted as either impartial to or free of anti-Semitic mindset respectively.
Interestingly, the survey missed on one recent, however momentous, unconventional form of anti-Semitic attitude, one that is prevalent in Western Europe and in the English speaking countries where the survey found a relatively low percentage of what it defined as anti-Semites.
That specific form of anti-Semitism, the one exhibited by the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, cultural boycotts of Israeli artists, academic boycott of Israeli scientists is, just as well, founded on myths and untruths dispersed by Arab propaganda, while it spills over and taints Jews everywhere since they “represent” the “ugly Zionists”.
The first myth accusing Israel of apartheid and ethnic cleansing is so outrageous that it actually distorts the meaning of apartheid. Israeli Arabs enjoy more freedom of speech, of movement, of participation in the Israeli economy, of legal justice then any of their brethren in the surrounding vast ocean of Arab and Muslim countries. Arabs serve as doctors in Israeli hospitals, as managers in Israeli corporations, having Jewish employees report to them. One of Israel’s Supreme Court judges is a Palestinian Arab. Arabs who declare their hostility to the Jewish State serve as members of Parliament (MKs), spilling their venom from its pulpit fearlessly and in front of all other MKs and national TV. Could anyone find that level of liberty and economic freedom in the apartheid state of South Africa where blacks are a majority rather than a hostile minority? Of course, Israeli Arabs are treated with a certain level of suspicion, because, after all, many of them view the State of Israel as being occupied unjustly by Jews who do not belong there, and in 1947-48 these Arabs fought the Jews in the hope of throwing them into the sea. But labeling treatment of Israeli Arabs as apartheid amounts to either downplaying the true meaning of apartheid or a contemptible and deceptive way of describing the present conditions of Israeli Arabs.
Charges of ethnic cleansing including false reports of Israeli soldiers intentionally killing Arab children, outrageous stories about harvesting the organs of dead Arabs (the Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet in 2009), spreading rumors concerning Mossad-trained sharks attacking Egyptians in the Red Sea, and communicating exaggerated, false stories about the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, are all serving as “moral” justification for treating Israel as a pariah state. The latest Newsweek depiction of Israeli spying in the US and its traditional anti-Semitic claim about Jewish control and influence that impede and compress any counter-measures designed to eliminate and prosecute that behavior, is one more scam intended to conceal anti-Semitic tendencies under the guise of Israel-bashing.
It is evident that the BDS movement is about dismantling Israel, not the result of the 1967 Occupation. And denying the Jews’ right to self-determination is distinctly anti-Semitic.
Unfortunately, the Israel-bashing and boycotting aspect concerning 50% of the world Jewish population, which lives in Israel, was not present in the ADL survey. It has not been tested because it is relatively new and has not yet been established as an acknowledged form of anti-Semitism. In fact, being critical of the Jewish state in Israel is a legitimate act when it is justified. It is not anti-Semitic as long as this criticism is founded on facts, verifiable evidence, historical truths and legal grounds. But, when Israel-bashing is based upon falsehoods, distortion of facts, edited and staged video recordings, blood libels, or comparisons to the Nazi or to the apartheid regimes, then it is motivated by anti-Semitic intentions. There is no other way about it.
Unfortunately, the ADL survey failed to take this aspect into account in their questionnaire. Had they included this category in their survey, they might have found out that anti-Semitism in Western Europe and in the US was much more widespread than what was unearthed through the 11 questions the ADL drew upon.
Dr. Avi Perry, a talk show host at Paltalk News Network (PNN), is the author of "Fundamentals of Voice Quality Engineering in Wireless Networks," and more recently, "72 Virgins," a thriller about the covert war on Islamic terror. He was Vice President at NMS Communications, a Bell Laboratories - distinguished staff member and manager, as well as a delegate of the US and Lucent Technologies to the ITU—the UN International Standards body in Geneva, a professor at Northwestern University and an Intelligence expert for the Israeli Government. He may be reached through his web site www.aviperry.org
Israel signs a peace agreement with PA’s president, Mahmud Abbas, then a month later Hamas and Fatah form a unity government, where the new PA prime minister, a Hamas-affiliated leader, proclaims his desire to see Israel overrun by his people while letting the remaining Jews (those who survive the onslaught and the massacres) retrace their steps back to their “homes” in Europe (overlooking the fact that about 50% of Jews in Israel originated as refugees from Arab and Muslim countries).
Isn’t it better to have this Palestinian unity agreement now, before “peace” becomes a dated piece of paper, rather than later, when Israel must violate a “peace” agreement with an eye to defend itself?
As long as the US and the EU chose to ignore Hamas as a key Palestinian segment that must be taken into account in any peace agreement considerations, they advocated a distorted view, blaming Israel for laying landmines on the way to peace. Once the militant Palestinian terrorist segment, Hamas, cannot be disregarded, a middle-eastern reality will emerge, and a new realization will take effect—the Palestinians (a title that includes Hamas) will be the ones deemed responsible for the failure of the peace process. The unjustified pressure applied on the Jewish state by the US and the EU will fade away as soon as Hamas becomes an integral part of an official Palestinian entity.
Consequently, Israel should not abandon the peace negotiations but rather let Hamas do the obvious; let Hamas break the peace process; let Hamas represent the true face of the Palestinian authority; let the world hear them, notice them, understand what the Jewish state is facing on a daily basis.
History has made evident that peace and relaxation of tensions between adversaries has a stronger chance of bonding when leaders on the opposite sides are branded by their hawkish rhetoric rather than their dovish character. Nixon and China, Begin and Sadat are examples of tough-minded, combative leaders making tough calls in the name of peace. Their leftist opposition would be supportive of their daring peace-making move; their political allies at home would be, by and large, supportive of their leader, and the residual extreme right minority would be left stunned and unable to register any significant resistance in an effort to undermine the adhering peace process.
Consequently, if Israel is to make peace with the Palestinians, Hamas will have to add its signature to the agreement to make it long-lasting. This must be a condition that Israel must strive for should peace become more than just a thin piece of paper. If this is too much to ask, then let’s not pretend that Palestinian Arabs are capable of drawing up a peace agreement with the Jewish state in Israel.
We finally have an exposed reality check. Isn’t it better to deal with an adversary who admits to his true intentions rather than one who pretends to love peace, but harbors genocidal ambitions? Isn’t it better to have an Iranian president like Ahmadinejad who provokes world’s contempt rather than a smiling face named Rouhani, who harbors identical aspirations but pretends to vouch for peaceful nuclear energy? Isn’t it better to play poker when you know what cards your opponent holds rather than an opponent who hangs on to a full house but makes you believe he has nothing?
Isn’t it better to deal with a Palestinian entity that tells the ugly truth about its true intentions rather than one pretending to seek peace?
Let’s face it. Hamas is a real significant segment of the Palestinian Arabs. If Israel is to make peace with the Palestinians, Hamas must be involved in the negotiations. Otherwise, any peace agreement between Israel and the PA is bound to become unstable; it will never last beyond the next Palestinian popular or democratically elected government.
It will be extremely problematic to protect the Jewish State against rockets launched out of another country with which there is a peace agreement. It will be considerably more justified to fight and defend against a documented enemy.
Let’s not fuss about the PA and Hamas joining in on a unified government; let’s get used to reality before stepping into a world of make-believe; Let’s hope that the Palestinians’ camouflaged face is about to become unmasked.
Let’s be patient and await world leaders’ reaction once they witness the teeth of that Palestinian jaw trap. It’s about to happen, and it’s about to become a turning point, reversing Israel’s deteriorating image in the world. Just wait and see.
Does Israel have an expiration date?
I know. I may be scorned by some, merely for asking, but there are those who keep reminding Jews and Israelis that “it all depends…” whereas the Palestinians, the Iranians and almost all Muslims are strong believers in the expiration date prophecy, as they continue to populate the “Definitively YES!” column of the above question.
And that is the main reason for the impending failure of the peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs.
If the Arabs believe that Israel is due to expire in some foreseeable future date, then any peace accord will only yield a protraction of that final solution. A peace agreement will lead to relaxation of international pressure on Israel; it will weaken and possibly end the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movements, and it will bring about a reversal of the creeping isolation of the Jewish State. Peace between Israel and the Palestinians would run counter to that expiration date hallucination, and hence, the Palestinians want to see it sidestepped.
How do the Arabs come about this insight into their version of the future?
Although a nuclear Iran is the most prominent and explosive threat casting its dark shadow on Israel’s future, it is not the one the Arabs are counting on. They base their doomsday premonition on two potential developments, destined to stimulate a disintegration of the Jewish State.
The first Jewish State’s killer is the ticking population time bomb. In the absence of peace between the Palestinian Arabs and the Jewish State, the combined Arab population in Israel and the West Bank, even without counting in Gaza, will become the most significant population segment under Israeli government’s jurisdiction, assuming the present birth rates continue unabated for the next decade. In fact, in December 2012, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics predicted that the combined number of Arabs in Israel and in the Palestinian Territories will be equal to the number of Jews by 2016 and exceed it by 2020.
The Palestinian Authority is aware of these extrapolations. They know that In the absence of a peaceful two-state solution Israel has a choice between either being a democracy or preserving its Jewish character, but not both. In other words, the above logic states that if Israel rules over a Palestinian majority in the West Bank, then either these Palestinians become Israeli citizens with full voting rights, a fact which would undermine the Jewish character of the state, or they become second class citizens, a fact which would undermine the democratic moral fiber of the state.
When adding the number of Jewish, anti-Zionist, ultra-religious Haredim segment, whose current birth rate is as high as or even higher than that of the Palestinian Arabs population, (it is not uncommon among Haredim to have ten children per family), Israel may be heading towards a violent implosion. This is so, because the Haredi segment prefers Torah study to work; they shun military service or any other national service, while at the same time, taking advantage of the Jewish State’s welfare policies designed to support the poor and the multi-children families.
If current trends continue, then, twenty years from now a democratically elected Knesset (parliament) and the government will be controlled by anti-Zionist moochers (Haredim and Arabs), and a democratic Jewish state may not be able to sustain itself. It will implode.
A second existential threat is a world-wide Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) imposed on the Jewish State once it becomes clear that the Jewish occupation of the west bank is permanent with no hope for change. If the US elects a president whose views are consistent with the world’s immoderate political Left, viewing Israel’s claim on Judea and Samaria as an illegal occupation—this is not an impossible nightmare. We have seen and we still witness presidential candidates like Rand and Ron Paul, Ralph Nader, Pat Buchanan, Jessy Jackson—then the BDS movement may gather considerable strength and may even be led by a hostile American Administration.
The only way Israel may be able to convince the Palestinians that a peace agreement between them and the Jewish State is worth pursuing, is convincing them that Israel will never expire, that the population time bomb is about to be defused by employing aggressive government programs to change its course, and by telling the west Bank Arab residents that under no circumstances they will be part of an Israeli state. Their choices are either to be part of a Palestinian state or continue to be occupied by Israel. And that this choice is for them to make. In addition, Israel needs to make clear that BDS has no chance of ever gaining momentum by launching an all-out war intended to devastate this movement.
In addition, Israeli positions and actions must deliver an unmitigated reading that time is not on the Palestinian side. The more time passes before a final peace agreement is signed the more established facts on the ground would make it harder for Palestinians to meet their aspirations. They need to hurry before their own expiration date becomes an inevitable conclusion.
Can it be done?
It must be done. Otherwise, peace will never take root, and Israel will continue to face threats to its existence—not only from Iran, but even more so—from within its own borders.
If you believe what Palestinian leaders are saying in public and in private, you ought to be convinced that the American-sponsored peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) are being manipulated by the Palestinians with the aim of pulling off short-term political gains for the present Palestinian leadership, rather than engendering a long-lasting peace between them and Israel.Abbas and the rest of the Arab countries have recently reaffirmed their outright objections to several key issues, fundamental to a lasting peace, as part of a two-state solution. These issues include the recognition of Israel as a Jewish State rather than a Muslim land with some Jews living in it, and giving up demands for the right of return of refugees’ descendants to Israel.
The Palestinian Arabs know that the Israeli government will not sign on a peace accord for a Two-State solution as long as these issues stay open, because peace will never take root, and conflict between the two states will intensify as long as the Arabs soldier on claiming rights and entitlements to the Jewish state.
As Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) has stated in its April 1, 2014 bulletin, Fatah spokesman, Ahmad Assaf, announced that the Palestinians have blackmailed Israel to release prisoners (a.k.a terrorists with blood on their hands) by threatening to take Israel to the international court of the UN unless Israel released 104 prisoners.
Senior PA leader, Nabil Shaath has claimed that “due to the prisoners we have not stopped negotiations.”
Others have also made clear that the PA conditioned peace negotiations with Israel on terrorists’ release from Israeli jails. That was their sole purpose in coming to the table.
Had the Palestinian Authority been interested in peace with a Jewish state next door, they would have embraced peace talks without any pre-conditions simply because once there is genuine peace between Palestinian Arabs and Jews, both would have their own state (where and how would have been worked out) and incitements against Jews would stop; terrorists would no longer be regarded as heroes; many of them would be released anyway since violence would lose its glamor, and the Palestinian Arab population would reject terror from within.
Dream on. Nice try, but no cigar.
The absurdity of the peace negotiations situation, where Palestinian Arabs are able to benefit not by reaching out for peace, but merely by showing up, can be highlighted by comparing it to a hypothetical situation where the Taliban tell the US that if the Americans set free the al Qaeda terrorists in Guantanamo, including the ones responsible for planning the 9-11 attack, they will sit down and negotiate peace in Afghanistan.
We all know that showing up for the negotiations is meaningless unless it’s driven by a true desire for a just peace. We all know that once the Americans leave Afghanistan the Taliban—just like the North Vietnamese in the 60s—will try to take the whole country over by force, regardless of any piece of paper they sign or don't sign.
It’s time to call the PA’s bluff. Peace between Israel and the Palestinian Arabs cannot come into existence as long as the PA gets rewarded merely for showing up. The only reward the Palestinian Arabs should be reaping out of the peace process is peace itself.
And if that outcome proves to be an insufficient incentive for them to join in, then it is proof that they are not sincere about reaching a peaceful end to the Arab-Israeli conflict. It proves that the whole peace process is exploited by the PA purely as a manipulative tool designed to gain short term benefits. It is not a peace process; it is a con game, successfully played by the PA.
The present crisis in relations between Russia and the US is an unnecessary development borne out of erroneous moves by both sides to the latest conflict. The Crimean annexation by Russia should have been regarded as a win-win-win-win by all (Crimea, Ukraine, Russia, and US respectively) had the leaders of all countries-involved been thinking out of the box. But they have not. They have been bathing in cold-war hostility, and have seemed to enjoy the feeling and the euphoric enthusiasm that accusations, filled with hate-speech and hostile actions, are capable of generating.
Let us review the true objectives of all players involved in the Ukrainian crisis.
Crimea’s objective: Secede from Ukraine and join Russia.
Ukraine’s objective: Have a corruption-free (not easy if not impossible in Ukraine), western style democracy representing the will of the people while respecting human rights.
Russia’s objective: having Ukraine stay under its wings by having a pro-Russian government in Kiev, and Securing the viability of the Black Sea base in Sevastopol where the Russian navy maintains its sole warm water port.
US’ objective: having Ukraine leave the Russian orbit and maintain close relations with the EU with the possibility that it would join NATO at a future date.
The case of Crimea:
Ukraine’s ousting of Yanukovitch and the overthrow of his pro-Russian government, a revolt which started the avalanche, was seen in the US and in the EU as a positive development, while the Russians viewed it as precarious.
The fact that the (unconstitutional) Ukrainian coup was not deemed “unconstitutional” by the West is only because the US interests were in step with a pro-western provisional government in Kiev. At the same time, the corrupt Yanukovitch and his violations of human rights, including the massacre he ordered on anti-government protestors, served to rationalize his ouster in the name of democracy, will of the people, and justice. He was corrupt. He was a bad guy. He stirred the country of Ukraine against the will of its people. Or more correctly, he stirred Ukraine against the will of the people in west Ukraine, not against the people in the eastern part of the country or in Crimea.
But wait a minute. Yanukovitch was elected by a majority of Ukrainians. His overthrow may have been just, but it was also unconstitutional. In other words, under the circumstances, the US and the EU viewed justice, democracy and will of the people above the Ukrainian constitution. The US and the EU implied that a country’s constitution is meaningless if it violates basic human rights; if it does not represent the will of the majority; if it’s drafted by dictators with disregard to the welfare of their people. Kim Jong Un’s, Hitler’s, Stalin’s, and even Khrushchev’s actions (specifically, his 1954 gifting of Crimea to Ukraine) should have been deemed illegitimate even though they were regarded legal by dint of their own constitutions.
Consequently, the argument calling Crimea’s secession – “an unconstitutional act” – is weightless as long as secession is justified by way of democratic reasoning like:
· Does secession represent the will of the people involved?
· Does secession advance the push for basic human rights?
· Does secession boost the well-being of the people involved?
The answer to all of these questions is YES.
· Crimeans voted overwhelmingly in favor of secession.
· The latest revolution in Kiev brought to power politicians whose chief common attribute has been their hostility toward Russia. The re-energized Ukrainian authorities have just repealed a law giving regional rights to minority languages. This was one of their most prominent initiatives since assuming power. They have also signed a new bill banning Russian media in Ukraine. These moves must have been popular in the western part of the country, but in Crimea and in some Eastern regions it must have been seen as an indication of further repression (of the Russian and Russian-speaking Ukrainian citizens) to come. In other words, the latest actions by the provisional government in Kiev contributed to a reversal of human rights in regions where the majority of the population are ethnic Russians and/or Russian-speaking.
· And finally, the inherent corruption embedded in the Ukrainian system of government has brought about devastating economic consequences to the country, including Crimea. There is little doubt that Crimea will be better off economically under Russia.
In conclusion: secession of Crimea serves well the Crimean population. They have freed themselves from an unwelcome Ukrainian occupation.
The US, the EU and western Ukraine are also better off following the secession of Crimea. Here is why.
Ex-president, Russia enthusiast, Victor Yanukovitch was elected legally by a majority comprising half a million votes. Crimea contributed a million votes margin to the corrupt leader’s victory. In other words, Crimea was the reason Yanukovitch won the elections. Had Crimea been out of the picture the pro-western politicians would have won by half a million votes, and former prime minister, Yulia Timoshenko would not have found herself spending time in jail.
Had the Crimean citizens been in a position to contribute their opinion and vote for the next Ukrainian president, the next (truly) democratic elections in Ukraine could have yielded similar outcome. Those who want to see a democratic west-leaning Ukraine should be more assured of their goal following Crimea’s secession. The Russian dominated peninsula will be out of the picture during the upcoming elections. Fair elections in Ukraine, including Crimea, could have toppled the existing pro-western Ukrainian government, and Putin could have won back the whole country rather than just the relatively small peninsula.
Russia may or may not be better off following its annexation of Crimea.
Russia is better off because it secured the viability of its Black Sea fleet and removed the threat of it being surrounded by a hostile regime. At the same time, had Crimea stayed Ukrainian, chances are that another Yanukovitch-impersonator could have captured the presidency in Kiev, and the whole of Ukraine (rather than just Crimea) would have stayed on inside the Russian orbit following the next democratic elections. With Crimea out of the picture, it becomes certain that the next Ukrainian government will be pro-western.
In conclusion: By annexing Crimea, Russia has guaranteed the viability of its Black Sea fleet, but forfeited any chance for having a pro-Russian government in Kiev. Putin preferred a bird in the hand to two birds in the bush.
The latest developments in Crimea, its secession from Ukraine and its annexation by Russia, were a positive development. Everyone involved has won. The hostile moves by the west and the counter moves by the Russians are contrary to the happy outcome. These moves have not contributed to world peace; they could derail the potential positive outcomes in the negotiations with Iran, as well as the disarming of chemical weapons by the Assad’s regime, and they greatly obstruct the world economy.
The US, the EU and the Ukrainian government should put emotions and macho talk aside; they should let logical reasoning and fairness rule the roost from now on.
Let me start by stating that I am quite critical of President Obama’s and his western allies’ position concerning the Crimean crisis. I do believe that separating Crimea from Ukraine will actually serve the Ukrainian people better than having it remain as part of their democratic country.
Sounds wide of the mark? Not really. Let me convince you.
Ex-president, Russia enthusiast, Victor Yanukovitch was elected legally by a majority comprising half a million votes. Crimea contributed a million votes margin to the corrupt leader’s victory. In other words, Crimea was the reason Yanukovitch won the elections. Had Crimea been out of the picture the pro-western politicians would have won by half a million votes, and former prime minister, Yulia Timoshenko would not have found herself spending time in jail.
The next (truly) democratic elections in Ukraine may yield similar outcome should the Crimean citizens be in a position to contribute their opinion and vote for the next Ukrainian president. Those who want to see a democratic west-leaning Ukraine will be more assured of their goal should Crimea be out of the picture during the upcoming elections.
President Obama should not be over-confident in believing that the new leaders in Kiev represent the will of all Ukrainians. It is obvious that most Crimean population favor allying themselves with Russia rather than the EU, and Eastern Ukraine would, most likely, cast equivalent voting results. Fair elections, including Crimea, might topple the existing pro-western Ukrainian government, and Putin could win back the whole country rather than just the relatively small peninsula. It’s clear that confidence is the feeling one has before he understands the situation, and it does not look like the president or his western allies do.
Those who criticize Obama’s handling of the Ukrainian crisis do so for the wrong reasons; they claim that President Putin dared invading Ukraine because he perceived a weak and an indecisive US president.
Did Putin perceive President Bush—the one US president who had not hesitated invading two countries, Iraq and Afghanistan, during his first term in office—as weak, when he invaded and occupied parts Georgia? Was that the reason Putin had committed his troops?
Would “presidents” John McCain, Lindsey Graham, or any GOP presidential hopeful resort to using force against Russia over Putin’s occupation of Crimea? If not, then what’s the purpose of the macho talk other than a fresh, ridiculous excuse for bashing Obama?
Would any GOP leader impose harsher sanctions on Russia as punishment for Putin’s misbehavior? Do they even think of the consequences? Do they realize that a subsequent retaliation by Russia could harm the EU and the US where public opinion of those who might get hurt economically matter much more than it does in Putin’s Russia?
But let’s stop the insanity when it comes to Crimea. Let’s ask president Obama and Secretary of State, John Kerry, to apply to Crimea the same logic they apply to their argument for a two-state solution in the Middle-East.
“In the absence of a peaceful two-state solution,” they claim, “Israel has a choice between either being a democracy or preserve its Jewish character, but not both”. In other words, the American logic states that if Israel rules over a Palestinian majority in the West Bank, then either these Palestinians become Israeli citizens with full voting rights, a fact which would undermine the Jewish character of the state, or they become second class citizens, a fact which would undermine the democratic moral fiber of the state.
Applying equivalent logic to Ukraine, President Obama should claim that with keeping Crimea as part of Ukraine, Ukraine has a choice between either being a true democracy, but closely allied with Russia, or preserve its freshly-formed pro-western character by dismissing Crimea’s majority and suppressing the will of its people by repealing a law giving regional rights to minority languages, and by signing a new bill banning the use of Russian media, as the recent re-energized Ukrainian leadership has already done.
A proper US policy concerning Russia and Ukraine should comprise the toning down of the hostile rhetoric and the macho talk, accept the latest facts on the ground, and only pretend to be upset.
This way, the majority of the Crimean population will be happy; Ukraine will be assured of a democratic, pro-western government; relations between Russia and the west will return to calm as tensions will fade away, and the global economy will continue to grow uninterrupted.
Yeah. Keep on dreaming…
Biography Dr. Avi Perry, a talk show host at Paltalk News Network, is the author of Fundamentals of Voice Quality Engineering in Wireless Networks and more recently, 72 Virgins, a thriller about the covert war on Islamic terror. He was vice president at NMS Communications, a Bell Laboratories company – distinguished staff member and manager, as well as a delegate of the U.S. and Lucent Technologies to the ITU—the UN International Standards body in Geneva, a professor at Northwestern University and an intelligence expert for the Israeli Government. He may be reached through his web site www.aviperry.org