a different side of Israel

Tag: Peace

Why Egypt Is Not Interested In Peace

Remember this?

And this?

One article I found on the Internet – don’t know who it’s by – reads as follows:

“Hitler never had more than 37 percent of the popular vote in the honest elections that occurred before he became Chancellor. And the opposition among the 63 percent against him was generally quite strong. Hitler therefore would have never seen the light of day had the German Republic been truly democratic.”

The introduction to the thesis continues:

“Unfortunately, its otherwise sound constitution contained a few fatal flaws. The German leaders also had a weak devotion to democracy, and some were actively plotting to overthrow it. Hitler furthermore enjoyed an almost unbroken string of luck in coming to power. He benefited greatly from the Great Depression, the half-senility of the president, the incompetence of his opposition, and the appearance of an unnecessary backroom deal just as the Nazis were starting to lose popular appeal and votes.”

What will the new anti-Semitic, Koran guzzling psycho of Egypt hold in the cards for the future of the region? Will he be……Hitleresque?

Hear about this?

A bunch of “freedom seeking”, whip cracking, Pharoahites have taken the anti-Israel protests in Cairo once step further.

What began as vandalism of the Israeli embassy in Cairo last month when Hamas militants opened fire on an Egged bus close to the Sinai border with Eilat has quickly escalated. Anna Theresa Day of has a nice slideshow of last month’s situation. See it Associated Press reports:

“Outside the Nile-side Israeli embassy in Cairo’s neighborhood of Giza, thousands of protesters battled riot police and army troops into the early morning hours, hurling rocks at them. The police and army troops responded with tear and firing live ammunition into the air to try and disperse the crowd. Several cars, police vehicles and trees on the streets outside the embassy were set ablaze. The violence subsided by around 6 a.m.

The state MENA news agency said 837 people were injured in the overnight clashes, including at least 46 policemen, while 19 protesters were arrested.
Earlier on Friday, hundreds of protesters tore down the embassy’s security wall with sledgehammers and their bare hands. After nightfall about 30 protesters stormed into the embassy.
Just before midnight, the mob reached a room on one of the embassy’s lower floors at the top of the building and began dumping Hebrew-language documents from the windows, said an Egyptian security official.

In Jerusalem, an Israeli official said the protesters reached a waiting room on the lower floor. Israel’s ambassador, Yitzhak Levanon, his family and other embassy staff were rushed to Cairo airport and left on a military plane for Israel, said Egyptian airport officials.

All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release the information or speak to the media.
Since the February fall of Mubarak — who worked closely with the Israelis in his 29 years in power — ties have steadily worsened between the two countries.”

One Jerusalem bro, old Ethan Bronner and the New York Slimes’ Egypt bureau Chief, David Fitzpatreck reported:

Two Israeli military jets arrived around dawn to carry away the ambassador and about 85 other diplomats and family members. One Israeli diplomat, the deputy ambassador, stayed behind, taking refuge in the American embassy, diplomats familiar with the arrangements said.

For Israel, the embassy attack and evacuation represented the most ominous deterioration yet in its relationship with its neighbor in the seven months since the revolution that ousted former President Hosni Mubarak, a strongman who suppressed the Egyptian public’s hostility to Israel in order keep his country’s alliance with Israel and the United States the pole star of its foreign policy.

The Egyptian Prime Minister, Essam Sharaf, who serves under the council of military officers acting as a transitional government, called an emergency cabinet meeting on Saturday as the Egyptian interior ministry put police on alert to guard against more violence.

For Egypt’s interim military rulers, allowing the invasion of a foreign embassy is an extraordinary breach of Egypt’s international commitments that is raising security concerns at other embassies as well…

… The attack on the embassy marked a new turn toward violence in the previously peaceful protest movement that has flourished in Cairo’s Tahrir Square since the revolution. At a demonstration called Friday to reiterate a litany of liberal demands, thousands of hard-core football fans showed up looking for revenge on police who attacked some of them after a match earlier in the week, and they injected a new impulse toward mayhem into the day…

… As an angry mob stormed the embassy and tore down its flag for the second time in a month, Israel appealed to the United States for help. Coming a week after Turkey expelled Israel’s ambassador over its refusal to apologize for a deadly raid on a Turkish ship, the attack left Israel facing crises in relations with its two most important regional allies, and ambassadors in neither country…

…The violence also raised concerns about whether Egypt’s military-led transitional government would be able to maintain law and order and meet its international obligations, and to what extent popular rage unleashed by the Arab Spring would send a chill over the region…”

Bibi Postpones Likud Elections

At the request of Israeli Prime Minister and Likud party chairman, Binyamin Netanyahu, the Likud Central Committee postponed its own election date for another twenty months. This goes against the Likud constitution which mandates that the next committee elections be held on February 10th of this year.

It is clear what the thinking was behind the move. Netanyahu knows that if elections are held now, the committee will come out much farther to the right and perhaps angry about the settlement freeze.

Unfortunately for Bibi, the attempt to buy time has not gone unchallenged. Several central committee members have turned to the Tel Aviv district court to overrule the move. The matter will be brought up on January 25th.

Netanyahu held a meeting with Zvi Cohen, Chairman of the Likud’s Elections Committee, discussing various schemes to exclude the right wing, religious, Moshe Feiglin, who finished a strong third, with 12.5% of the vote, in the race for party leadership.

Feiglin was convicted of sedition in 1997 for his non-violent civil disobedience activities in the Zu Artzeinu (this is our land) movement. His position played a critical role in expressing popular opposition to the Oslo “peace process.” Feiglin and Shmuel Sackett, co-founder of the group, were sentenced to nine months imprisonment and one year on probation. They each served six months of their terms, respectively.

After his election as party chairman, Netanyahu promised to fight “criminal and negative” elements in the Likud, but it was unclear if he was referring to Feiglin, specifically.
Bibi was quoted as saying:

“There will not be room in our party for corruption and extremist lawbreaking,” Netanyahu told the Likud faction. “Our party will work to restore its image to the good old days of Menachem Begin…The path of integrity and clean hands must be returned.”

He went on to defend his opinion and define the Likud as a moderate party:

“We in the Likud made a peace agreement with Egypt, we supported the peace agreement with Jordan without reservation, and I as prime minister conducted successful negotiations with the Palestinians, signing a number of incremental agreements.”

Shana Tova 2010

To all our OJ readers, friends, haters and other vegetables – Happy New Year!!!
May the coming year bring peace and quiet and may your camel spit nothing but dates!

Jimbo Be Sorry

Former U.S. President, Jimmy Carter sent a seasonal message to the Jewish community, asking for forgiveness for any stigma he may have caused Israel. The conclusion of the letter read:

“We must recognize Israel’s achievements under difficult circumstances, even as we strive in a positive way to help Israel continue to improve its relations with its Arab populations, but we must not permit criticisms for improvement to stigmatize Israel. As I would have noted at Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, but which is appropriate at any time of the year, I offer an Al Het for any words or deeds of mine that may have done so.”

National director of the Anti-Defamation League, Abraham Foxman, was pleased by the statement, calling it a “beginning of reconciliation”:

“We welcome any statement from a significant individual such as a former president who asks for Al Het…to what extent it is an epiphany, time will tell. There certainly is hurt which needs to be repaired.”

Carter has angered many Jews in recent years with writings and statements which place the burden of peacemaking on the Jewish country, by likening Israel’s settlement policies to apartheid, and blaming the pro-Israel lobby for inhibiting a fair US foreign policy.

Born in Plains, GA on October 1st, 1924, Jimmy Carter was the thirty-ninth President of the United States of America, from 1977 to 1981.

His books “Palestine Peace Not Apartheid,” from 2006, and “We Can Have Peace in the Holy Land: A Plan That Will Work” from 2009, were both best-sellers which brewed much controversy and negative sentiments toward Israel.

Remembering Yitzhak Rabin

rabinThursday marked the 14 year anniversary of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. Today in the Jerusalem Post was a story about a group of famous Israeli politicians who were strongly opposed to Rabin’s left wing politics; such as, Ariel Sharon, Ehud Olmert, Tzahi Hanegbi and certainly Bibi Netanyahu.

The JPost article said:

Army Radio, meanwhile, revealed that several days before he was assassinated by Yigal Amir, Rabin said he was not worried about his personal safety and blamed the Likud for creating an unprecedented atmosphere of verbal violence.

Rabin was quoted as saying, shortly before his assassination, “The general atmosphere of verbal violence later leads to physical violence. These things shouldn’t lead to silence nor escape. No one will silence me.”

Rabin was born in Jerusalem in 1922. He studied at the Kadoorie Agricultural College and graduated with distinction. Rabin joined the “Palmach” in 1940, and commanded the HarEl Brigade during the War of Independence, 1948-1949. His military career was long and impressive, and he was also an IDF commander during the Six-Day War in 1967.

Rabin served as ambassador to the United States starting in 1968 and was responsible for strengthening ties between the two countries. He returned to Israel in 1973 and 1974 working in Golda Meir’s government; and in 1975 formed his own Israeli government, which was responsible for disengagements with Syria and Egypt in 1974 and 1975, respectively.

In July 1992, Rabin formed Israel’s 25th government and also became Her 11th Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, as well as acting Minister of Religious Affairs and Labour and Social Affairs. During his final term, Rabin played an important role in the signing of the Oslo Accords, which created the Palestinian National Authority and granted it partial control over parts of the Gaza Strip and West Bank. For this he was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize and a Ronald Reagan Freedom Award in 1994.

On November 4th 1995, the 12th of Heshvan, Rabin was assassinated in Tel Aviv by Yigal Amir, a religious Jewish fundamentalist.

President Shimon Peres is holding a ceremony to light the “Yitzhak Candle” at Beit Hanassi on Wednesday night. On Thursday afternoon there will be an official state memorial service, at the Mount Herzl cemetery. And on Saturday night a central memorial rally in Rabin Square in Tel Aviv.

Does Huckabee Represent the New Approach to Middle East Peace?

Mike HuckabeeThere’s a storm afoot. I can feel it. It’s just now starting to churn, and the waters of the peace process are getting a bit choppier. I refer not to any coming wars, of which there are sure to be plenty, but to a new trend. The world is getting tired of the ongoing Oslo Peace Process, as it was originally designed to solve everything in 3 months (so said Yitzhak Rabin), and now, 16 years later, we’re still at Square One. What I am referring to is a growing post-Oslo phenomenon, a political approach that, instead of trying to find a way to “jumpstart the peace process,” just isn’t interested in having a peace process in the first place. I’m talking about Republican Presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee.

Listed among the top contenders for the Republican throne in 2012, Huckabee’s approach to Israel would be fundamentally different than any president has taken since 1967. He came to Israel last week and said some sound bites that you wouldn’t believe. “The closest thing we [in America] ever had to that”– namely the demand that Jewish settlers leave their homes located on what most of the world believes is Palestinian land–“was the days of segregation, racially, where there were white neighborhoods and there were black neighborhoods.”
Also, “To say that Jews can’t live in Jerusalem is the equivalent of telling the Boston Red Sox they can’t play in Fenway Park. Obviously, that would never go over very well on Beacon Hill.”

The following is a paragraph from Shmuel Rosner’s article published in the New Republic analyzing Huckabee and his approach.

“Huckabee is becoming one of the loudest voices in a small (but growing) chorus of people who aren’t just tired of trying to make peace between Israelis and Palestinians, or pessimistic when it comes to the prospects of achieving such peace any time soon. These people–among them right-wing hacks and former generals, messianic radicals and cold-calculating strategists, populist politicians and idealistic dreamers–think that the whole paradigm of peace as we know it should be eliminated from the books. The reigning world vision of an Israeli-Palestinian peace is, they believe, so ’90s, and should boldly be replaced by new paradigms. Huckabee is the best hope that settlers and their supporters can entertain of turning this relatively marginal viewpoint into a legitimate position.”

Huckabee now has a hit show on Foxnews and is serious contender for the Republican nomination, so we’ll see how far he can get with his rhetoric.

The only problem is, what is Huckabee’s serious alternative? Meaning, there is a status quo here that can’t exactly be maintained for much longer, and peace process or not, it has to be changed. The good thing is, that’s not Huckabee’s business as to exactly how. All he can do is support whatever ideas we in Israel come up with. It’s up to Israel’s leaders to think it up and do it. The problem here is, there’s no one in power right now that is. Thinking it up on the sidelines, there are plenty. The question is, will they break into the mainstream?

The storm is brewing. Time will tell. And something tells me, it won’t really be that long before time does finally tell and the stalemate is broken. While time is busy ticking, here’s a nice video of Huckabee in the previous presidential campaign.

Compensation Instead of Right of Return? Or Extortion Instead of Demise?

Obama With Mubarak In Egypt
A new buzz is coming around the corner today. Word has it that US President Obama and Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak are meeting at the White House to discuss resolving the Middle East conflict by offering compensation to Arab refugees of the 1948 War of Independence instead of having millions of them and their descendents flood the Jewish State.

First, let’s state the obvious, and from there we’ll proceed to the less obvious, and finally to the hidden. As for the obvious, let’s say it like it is. If millions of Arabs flood Israel in return for some kind of peace agreement, then every Jew in Israel will either be slaughtered by the newly found Arab majority, or otherwise be expelled if they are brave enough to put up a fight, and the Jewish People will find themselves, once again, landless and wandering in yet another exile.

Here’s the less obvious. Which “Barak” is missing in the meeting between President Barack and Mubarak? That’s right, Ehud Barak. Not that he must personally participate, but when discussing Israel’s future, wouldn’t it be best if all Bara(c)ks are present and Israel were actually…represented, in the room I mean, discussing if it would like paying billions to Arabs who live in Abu Dhabi somewhere, probably working at an oil rig? What we have here are two countries with their own interests at heart discussing the future of another country without her consent. Doesn’t this seem a bit odd to you? It shouldn’t, because it’s well known that both Barack Obama and Mubarak are not fans of the current Israeli government, and especially Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. It’s to be expected, this kind of thing.

Here’s the hidden. We always hear about these holistic comprehensive grandiose Middle East Peace Plans, most recently a 57-state solution involving the withdrawal to the ’67 borders followed by pan-Arab recognition of Israel, with the help and applause of the European Union etc. etc. But is the Israeli compensation of Arab refugees of ’48 that holistic? Or is it actually one-sided?

Personally, I’d be perfectly happy compensating every single ’48 Arab refugee and all of their descendents if the Arabs compensated every single ’48 Jewish refugee from their countries, and we could even get the EU into the fray as they generally love to be on these issues by having England, France, and Spain compensate the descendants of the 13th, 14th, and 15th century Jewish expulsions from their respective countries as well (AKA, all of us). As a matter of fact, I’d be willing to completely forgive all debt and have everything cancel out, have all monetary transactions not take place in the first place and call it a deal. I think it would just be easier on all sides, and we could all save a LOT of money on bank fees.

Having just the Jews pay the Arabs, sounds like extortion to me. Agree? Disagree? Let us know!

OneJerusalem Exclusive: Vice Premier Bogey Ya’alon Meets with Moshe Feiglin & Followers

YaalonThe calm of the event and how normal it felt belied how unprecedented it actually was. The place was packed from front to back. There weren’t even enough chairs for everyone in attendance. Moshe “Bogey” Ya’alon, Minister of Strategic Affairs and Vice PM, took time out of his day to sit down with a fringe group of Feiglinites working inside the Likud, and speak with them about his vision. Bogey showed guts in sitting down with Feiglin and his supporters since his boss, PM Netanyahu, is known to loathe this man, and fears him like the plague. To be caught sitting with Feiglin – you’ll take quite a media beating if you get caught. This may be why Feiglin sent no official word to the media about the event. Bogey’s lambasting of the Israeli media during his 40 minute speech to the group could have been another factor.

He spoke about Zionist history, about days past where hope was prevalent, about what he perceived as the failure of the Oslo Process, about how Israel thought that by giving up land she could get peace, about how there is no one to talk to on the other side and therefore negotiations are impossible for the time being. Basically, the standard Likud talk, agree with it or not. Though, with all due respect to Bogey, a true patriot and hero of the State of Israel who fought in every war since Yom Kippur of ’73, there was something missing. The frustration in the room was palpable. It was a frustration that I understood immediately: Moshe Ya’alon does not really understand who Feiglin is, why his following is growing, what he really stands for, or what he is trying to do. Like so many others, he thinks Moshe Feiglin is just another right winger in Likud with a big support base – a base he wants to get in with and win over, so repeating the standard Likud refrains will make them happy.

Moshe FeiglinKeep in mind that Moshe Feiglin is probably the strangest politician in Israel. He is quiet, doesn’t talk much, he’s always smiling for some reason, an almost eerie ambience of calm constantly surrounds him as his rail-thin body slowly sways through a room, and he just won’t leave the Likud no matter how hard his enemies attack him. The man operates, and has always operated on the fringe. His house sits at the very end of his block, at the edge of a hill. When he walks into his Synagogue on Shabbat mornings, he sits at the end of the row. And aside from people constantly approaching him and starting conversations, asking questions and the like, he doesn’t hang around to schmooze up the crowd after services. Instead, he heads straight home, a quiet introvert, back to his house at the very end of the block, back to his wife and children.

At the meeting, Bogey spoke about how peace is impossible for now, since the other side has not recognized Israel as the national home of the Jewish people. What he seemed to miss, however, is that to Feiglin, this is completely irrelevant. Whether the other side is ready for peace, willing to make compromises or anything else, plays no role in Feiglin’s thought. “Peace is not my objective,” he replied to Bogey. He continued, “There is no country on the entire planet, except us, that has peace as its national objective. The minute that peace is your national objective, you lose it.” The Zionism of old doesn’t interest him either. “Zionism has reached the end of its road,” he says. “It is time for the next level – the one based on faith and the God of Israel. If we don’t build the second level, we will lose the whole thing.”

Then what is Feiglin trying to do? He wants nothing less than a total revolution at the core of Israel’s consciousness, to redefine the purpose of her existence, to change everything at the very core, and he wants to do this by winning the Likud leadership, and then the leadership of Israel. The objective of peace, according to him, demonstrates that Israel’s current leaders want her to be a nation among nations, to simply be left alone to her own development, to live without having to launch a defense war every 3 years. Feiglin’s idea is much more basic than an absence of conflict. It is to be a uniquely Jewish nation through a national Jewish revival. Not a religious revival, as he is against coercive religious legislation and is actually a proponent of civil marriage, for example. He even wants to see the end of religious parties entirely and the entire National Camp in the Likud.

Jewish revival, for him, begins with the most basic common denominator – Jewish identity. With the sectoral mentality prevalent among pretty much every Israeli today, this type of unity is impossible. This is why operating within the Likud is much more than just a simple tactic for him and his followers. It is, rather, a statement of taking responsibility for the leadership and future of the country and the Jewish people, rather than the leadership of a sectoral party and the funding of your sector’s economic welfare.

Whether Feiglin will succeed in taking over the Likud is anyone’s guess. He began with 3% of the Likud vote in 2002, 12% in 2005, and 24% in 2007. He is constantly recruiting new Likud members for this purpose, swelling his support base in the party. If he actually does it, then whether the country as a whole is ready for someone like him is a totally open question. But his fight and doggedness in not backing down despite any challenge, fair or unfair from Netanyahu and the Likud leadership, reminds me of a quote from the movie the Terminator.

“He doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And he absolutely will not stop, ever.”

This is something his political rivals should take to heart, and Bogey’s arrival at Feiglin headquarters just brought him one step closer to his objective. So if you want the status quo to keep stable, if you don’t want things to change too radically too quickly, then Feiglin is the man to fear. And what happened last night should be cause for alarm, because if history has proven anything, it has proven this. Revolutionary leadership – it always begins on the fringe.

Sixty Six Percent Support Jerusalem Building

This month’s War and Peace Index is out. Who wants to know what Israelis think now? Unfortunately, that’s almost impossible, since polls can only give indications of trends, and minds change so quickly that it may actually be a good thing that the government falls every two years. People need to keep reassessing their decisions and do some nice zigzagging.

War IndexAnyway, here’s what the War and Peace Index found. 66% of respondents believe that building should continue everywhere in Jerusalem, since Jewish sovereignty over the city is indisputable. Those who disapproved of this idea were primarily Labor and Meretz voters, who don’t make up much of the electorate any more these days.

This data could prove, as they say in the media every other day, to be a “stumbling block for the peace process,” as Mahmoud Abbas yesterday suddenly announced that he is no longer interested in East Jerusalem. He now, as reported by Israel Hayom newspaper, wants the whole thing. Oof. I don’t think giving up the Jewish quarter would be such a popular hit these days in Jewish circles. Maybe we should keep it after all.

In terms of Barack Obama, 46% see him as pro Arab, 31% as neutral, and a whopping 7% as pro Israel. Why don’t these things ever add up to 100%?

What about Operation Cast Lead? That’s a little more confusing, and I don’t really understand it. Apparently, 43% believe soldiers accounts of the war (that they didn’t intentionally shoot civilians and things like that), but 47% do not. However, 76% are of the opinion that no further investigation into the war is required.

Almost half thing that fishy stuff when on, but three quarters don’t want to investigate anymore? This sounds a bit strange. Perhaps there was a loaded or tilted question in there that people got confused about.

30 Years After Sadat Visit to Israel

30 Years After Sadat Visit to Israel
Who would have thought the Egyptian President Muhammad Anwar Sadat would be addressing a packed session of the Israeli Knesset on November 20, 1977. Those of us who saw this event, either in person or on TV, still marvel that this event took place, especially due to the circumstances at the time (only four years after the Yom Kippur War) and in light of what is the present reality today.

I had only been in Israel for three years when this event took place. The sight of Sadat emerging from the plane that had brought him and his entourage from Cairo to Ben Gurion Airport, was something that brought feelings of wonder and exhilaration to virtually everyone who witnessed it; especially those like myself who believed that this might be a new beginning for relations between the State of Israel and her hostile neighbors – especially with one of the countries that could have been instrumental in Israel’s destruction. Sadat himself had great apprehensions to come to Israel, fearing harm not only to himself and his family, but to his country as well by journeying to what most Arab countries still consider to be their worst enemy.

Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin was himself an ultra right winged politician, who until his election victory a mere six months before was always in the opposition to the previous labor led Israeli governments. Yet, here he was sitting beside the Egyptian president in Israel’s parliament, and saying to the world that there should be “no more war, no more bloodshed”. It was also touching when former Israeli P.M. Golda Meir, who was in power at the time of the Yom Kippur War, gave the Egyptian president a special gift for his new granddaughter “from a grandmother to a grandfather”.

A lot of things have happened in the 30 years since that historic visit – in both Israel and in the world at large. True, a peace agreement between Israel and Egypt was worked out several months later at Camp David Maryland. And Sadat and Begin, together with U.S. President Jimmy Carter sealed it with handshakes on the White House lawn. Sadat, unfortunately, paid for this treaty with his life, and Begin died a broken man following the double catastrophes of the death of his wife, Aliza, and the outbreak of the 1982 war in Lebanon. Though Jordan’s King Hussein eventually followed Egypt in making peace with Israel, the situation in Israel’s neighborhood is still far from ideal as the “Palestinian problem in all it’s aspects”, as noted in the treaty declaration, has yet to be solved. Syria is still an arch enemy of Israel, as well as Lebanon, which is partially under the dominance of the radical Shiite Muslim Hezbollah organization. The “peace” between Israel and Egypt is a cold one at best; and the future is very uncertain as Egypt’s present leader, Hosni Mubarak, is approaching age 80. Even the peace with Jordan is not like many would like it to be, as a new king, Hussein’s son Abdullah, now sits on the Hashimite throne.

And as for Israel’s present relations with the Palestinians, as many a Jewish grandmother would say: “don’t ask!”

Still, in spite of everything, those awe inspiring and enchanting two days of November 19 -21, 1977, will forever linger on many peoples’ minds. I know they do on mine.

© 2023

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑