Will Team Obama finally confront Palestinians?....
Because, as the late Fouad Ajami knew so well, the pleasures of dreaming are better than the labors of building, just as the rhetoric of justice, patrimony and right is so much more stirring than the fine print and petty indignities of compromise. Mr. Abbas consistently refuses a Palestinian state because such a state is infinitely more trivial than a Palestinian struggle. Becoming is better than being. So long as “Palestine” is in the process of becoming, it matters. Once it exists, it all but doesn’t. How many times will some future president of an established Palestinian state get to visit the White House?
This explains why a Palestinian state—a reasonably peaceful and prosperous one, at any rate—is deeply in Israel’s interest. And why no Palestinian leader will ever accept such a state on any terms. After the endless stream of Palestinian rejections—from the 1947 U.N. partition plan to the “Three No’s” of the 1967 Khartoum Resolution to Arafat’s refusal to make a deal at Camp David in 2000, one begins to sense a pattern. Palestine can never hope to compete with Israel except in the sense that the fantasy of Palestine will always have an edge on the reality of Israel.
Stephens speculates that if the West devalued the Palestinian problem to the minor geostrategic weight it represents--dwarfed by other problems in the Mideast & elsewhere--it just might cause the Palestinians to wake up and change their wicked ways.
In an interview (sub.) with Stephens, Israeli politician Naftali Bennett explains the dangers arising out of denial as to the Palestinians & radical Islam:
Anyone who thinks—and I’m talking especially about Europe—that if you sell Israel you buy peace and quiet in Madrid and Paris, they’ve got it all wrong. Israel is the bastion against radical Islam hitting Paris, Madrid and London. . . .
The biggest danger for any organism is to not identify that it’s being threatened. I want to hope that people realize that the source of danger and risk in the Middle East is not the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but the deep radical Islamic vision of forming a global caliphate.
Israeli PM Netanyahu calls the pseudo-peace process impossible after Palestinian moves to do an end run around Oslo Accords, using international forums. Ex-UN ambassador John Bolton explains how the Palestinian Authority's push for recognition in international fora can backfire on them by forcing the US to act decisively. In 2011 when the PA was admitted to UNESCO with fictive "observer status" the US withheld its 22 percent contribution to UNESCO. Last Friday the PA signed on to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty & the Law of the Sea Treaty; the latter gives control out to 12 miles from shore. Ex-Bush 43 A-G Judge Michael Mukasey notes that in its application to the ICC the PA asked that it be retroactive to June 13, 2014--the day AFTER 3 Israeli teens were murdered by Palestinian terrorists.
If the PA joins the International Criminal Court, now scheduled for April 1 (fittingly, our April Fool's Day) US law requires withholding America's $400 million annual aid given the PA. US law also requires withholding aid to any UN agency that admits the PA. While the US could lose its General Assembly vote for such nonpayment, its permanent membership and associated veto power are written into the UN Charter, and thus cannot be revoked.
Rabbi Daniel Gordis explains that the Palestinians actually wanted their UN ploy to fail:
This reshaped conflict is precisely what Abbas wanted. Not only did he know he could not win the vote, but he apparently wanted it to fail. The version of the resolution France, Germany and the U.K. proposed stipulated that Palestine would be a nonmilitarized state; but the Palestinians put forward a draft that omitted that proviso, thus ignoring the issue of Israel’s security and ensuring an American veto.
Further indication that Abbas wanted the measure to fail was his timing. The Palestinians could have fared much better had they waited just a few days to bring the resolution to a vote.
Eight countries (Argentina, Chad, Chile, China, France, Jordan, Luxembourg and Russia) supported the resolution, while Australia and the U.S. voted against. Five countries (Lithuania, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Korea and the U.K.) abstained. Given that nine votes were needed for passage, the U.S. did not have to use its veto. But after the new year, when Angola, Malaysia and Venezuela replace Rwanda, South Korea and Argentina, respectively, the Palestinians would probably have had the nine votes. The U.S. would have been in the more uncomfortable position of vetoing, and the Palestinians would have been able to point to more compelling international support for their gambit. Had they waited and submitted a version palatable to the U.S., they might actually have succeeded.
The reason? Because, writes DG, Hamas & the "Arab street" & their Islamist allies reject seeking UN approbation in any form in which Israel could still exist.
In a separate post Tobin (sub.) also warns that the Palestinians may rue the day if they file suit in the ICC. Israel may well use the same forum to prosecute Palestinians for war crimes. An Israeli group called Shurat HaDin (Israeli Law Center) has done so successfully in the past. In Nov. 2014 the group petitioned the ICC to investigate Hamas's conduct during the 2014 Gaza War. This could be prelude to a formal petition seeking prosecution.
Further evidence of Palestinian hyper-militancy: a 2013 Pew global survey showed that the only majority in Muslim lands which favored suicide bombings was among the Palestinians:
Surveys indicate that the broad majority of Muslims around the world are not in the violent, jihadist camp. A Pew poll in 2013, for example, found that across 11 Muslim countries, 67 percent of those surveyed said they are somewhat or very concerned about Islamic extremism and 57 percent said they had an unfavorable view of al-Qaeda while 51 percent had an unfavorable view of the Taliban. Moreover, “about three-quarters or more in Pakistan (89%), Indonesia (81%), Nigeria (78%) and Tunisia (77%), say suicide bombings or other acts of violence that target civilians are never justified.” Indeed the only place where a majority of Muslims justified suicide bombings was in the Palestinian territories.
This Holy Land history video (7:01) shows how utterly false--conveniently, expediently contrived--the Palestinian historical narrative is. Worse, HarperCollins, a major US publisher, recently published a Mideast atlas with a map having no Israel. A company flack admitted it had been deliberately done, to propitiate Gulf Arab clients.
An Israeli military court just sentenced a Palestinian logistics chief to three life terms for his role in arranging the kidnap-murder of three Israeli teens last June. A special plus: growing cooperation between Israel & Egypt to prevent terrorists in the Sinai infiltrating into Gaza; Egypt plans to double the size of its existing buffer zone, to one kilometer (5/8ths of a mile). Another bright note: a new survey (sub.) shows growing support for Israel among Israeli Arabs; 65 percent are "proud" to be Israeli citizens and 51 percent trust the police to be fair (60 percent trust the Supreme Court).
Bottom Line. It is unlikely that Obama will abandon his quixotic goals. Thus we are stuck with a brain-dead administration at least until midday on Jan. 20, 2017. Then, a new president, one hopes not brain-dead, will take the oath of office.
Letter from the Capitol. LFTC, National Security, Foreign Policy, Conservative Politics