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Saturday, May 21, 2011

Did Obama Throw Israel Under The Bus?

Did Obama Throw Israel Under The Bus?"Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle." — George Washington from his Farewell Address, 1796

The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic in Western Asia, located on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. It borders Lebanon in the north, Syria in the northeast, Jordan and the West Bank in the east, Egypt and the Gaza Strip on the southwest, and contains geographically diverse features within its relatively small area. Israel is the world's only Jewish-majority state, and is defined as a Jewish and democratic state in its Basic Laws.

Israel declared independence on 14 May 1948 and neighboring Arab states invaded the next day. Since then, Israel has fought a series of wars with neighboring Arab states, and has occupied territories, including the West Bank, Sinai Peninsula, Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights, beyond those delineated in the 1949 Armistice Agreements. The border between Israel and the neighboring West Bank is not formally defined by the Israeli government, as a result of a complex and unresolved political situation. Israel has signed peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, but efforts by elements on both sides to solve the problem diplomatically have so far met with only limited success.[Source: Wikipedia]

Following World War II, the British withdrew from their mandate of Palestine, and the UN partitioned the area into Arab and Jewish states, an arrangement rejected by the Arabs. Subsequently, the Israelis defeated the Arabs in a series of wars without ending the deep tensions between the two sides. TheIs-wb-gs-gh_v3 territories Israel occupied since the 1967 war are not included in the Israel country profile, unless otherwise noted. On 25 April 1982, Israel withdrew from the Sinai pursuant to the 1979 Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty. In keeping with the framework established at the Madrid Conference in October 1991, bilateral negotiations were conducted between Israel and Palestinian representatives and Syria to achieve a permanent settlement. Israel and Palestinian officials signed on 13 September 1993 a Declaration of Principles (also known as the "Oslo Accords") guiding an interim period of Palestinian self-rule. Outstanding territorial and other disputes with Jordan were resolved in the 26 October 1994 Israel-Jordan Treaty of Peace. In addition, on 25 May 2000, Israel withdrew unilaterally from southern Lebanon, which it had occupied since 1982. In April 2003, US President Bushon, working in conjunction with the EU, UN, and Russia — the "Quartet" — took the lead in laying out a roadmap to a final settlement of the conflict by 2005, based on reciprocal steps by the two parties leading to two states, Israel and a democratic Palestine. However, progress toward a permanent status agreement was undermined by Israeli-Palestinian violence between September 2003 and February 2005. In the summer of 2005, Israel unilaterally disengaged from the Gaza Strip, evacuating settlers and its military while retaining control over most points of entry into the Gaza Strip. The election of HAMAS to head the Palestinian Legislative Council froze relations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA). Ehud Olmert became prime minister in March 2006 and presided over a 34-day conflict with Hezbollah in Lebanon in June-August 2006 and a 23-day conflict with HAMAS in the Gaza Strip during December 2008 and January 2009. Olmert, who in June 2007 resumed talks with PA President Mahmoud Abbas, resigned in September 2008. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu formed a coalition in March 2009 following a February 2009 general election. Direct talks launched in September 2010 collapsed following the expiration of Israel's 10-month partial settlement construction moratorium in the West Bank. Diplomatic initiatives to revive the negotiations through proximity talks began at the end of 2010. [Source: CIA Fact Book]

I was just 12 years old when the state of Israel was created some 63 years ago. On May 14, 1948, the day before the expiration of the British Mandate, the Jewish Agency proclaimed independence, naming the country Israel. The following day, the armies of four Arab countries—Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Iraq—attacked Israel, launching the 1948 Arab–Israeli War; Saudi Arabia sent a military contingent to operate under Egyptian command; Yemen declared war but did not take military action. After a year of fighting, a ceasefire was declared and temporary borders, known as the Green Line, were established. Jordan annexed what became known as the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and Egypt took control of the Gaza Strip. About 700,000 Palestinian refugees were expelled or fled the country during the conflict. Israel was accepted as a member of the United Nations by majority vote on May 11, 1949.

Since that day in 1948 Israel has been engaged in three wars, wars that threated the very existence of the nation. Arab nationalists led by Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser refused to recognize Israel, calling for its destruction. By 1966, Israeli-Arab relations had deteriorated to the point of actual battles taking place between official Israeli and Arab forces. In 1967, Egypt expelled UN peacekeepers, stationed in the Sinai Peninsula since 1957, and announced a partial blockade of Israel's access to the Red Sea. Israel saw these actions as a casus belli for a pre-emptive strike that launched a Six-Day War, in which Israel was able to occupy the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Sinai Peninsula and Golan Heights. Jerusalem's boundaries were enlarged, incorporating East Jerusalem, and the 1949 Green Line became the administrative boundary between Israel and the occupied territories.

As the Arab states lost in the 1967 war against Israel, Arab non-state actors came to have a more central role in the conflict. Most important among them is the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), established in 1964, which initially committed itself to "armed struggle as the only way to liberate the homeland". In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Palestinian groups launched a wave of attacks against Israeli targets around the world, including a massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich.

On October 6, 1973, as Jews were observing Yom Kippur, the Egyptian and Syrian armies launched a surprise attack against Israel. The war ended on October 26 with Israel successfully repelling Egyptian and Syrian forces but suffering massive losses. An internal inquiry exonerated the government of responsibility for failures before and during the war, but public anger forced Prime Minister Golda Meir to resign. Israel was on the verge of losing this war. They had lost part of their vaunted air force to Egypt’s Soviet supplied antiaircraft missiles and the IDF had lost numerous tanks in he battles with the Syrians on the Golan Heights. Without the resupply efforts from President Nikon Israel, especially of M-60 battle tanks, Israel might not have prevailed in this war. Since the 1973 War the Israelis have maintained their occupation of the Golan and will not give it up.

In 1982, Israel intervened in the Lebanese Civil War to destroy the bases from which the PLO launched attacks and missiles at northern Israel; that move developed into the First Lebanon War. Israel withdrew from most of Lebanon in 1986, but maintained a borderland buffer zone until 2000. The First Intifada, a Palestinian uprising against Israeli rule, broke out in 1987 with waves of violence occurring in the occupied territories. Over the following six years, more than a thousand people were killed in the ensuing violence, much of which was internal Palestinian violence. During the 1991 Gulf War, the PLO and many Palestinians supported Saddam Hussein and Iraqi missile attacks against Israel, though Israel did not participate in that war. When I was in Israel the hotel I stayed at in Tel Aviv was about a half mile from the spot where a SCUD missile landed near the headquarters of the Israeli Air Force.

In 1992, Yitzhak Rabin became Prime Minister following an election in which his party promoted compromise with Israel's neighbors. The following year, Shimon Peres and Mahmoud Abbas, on behalf of Israel and the PLO, signed the Oslo Accords, which gave the Palestinian National Authority the right to self-govern parts of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The PLO also recognized Israel's right to exist and pledged an end to terrorism. In 1994, the Israel-Jordan Treaty of Peace was signed, making Jordan the second Arab country to normalize relations with Israel. Arab public support for the Accords was damaged by the continuation of Israeli settlements and checkpoints, and the deterioration of economic conditions. Israeli public support for the Accords waned as Israel was struck by Palestinian suicide attacks

At the end of the 1990s, Israel, under the leadership of Benjamin Netanyahu, withdrew from Hebron, and signed the Wye River Memorandum, giving greater control to the Palestinian National Authority. Ehud Barak, elected Prime Minister in 1999, began the new millennium by withdrawing forces from Southern Lebanon and conducting negotiations with Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat and U.S. President Bill Clinton at the 2000 Camp David Summit. During the summit, Barak offered a plan for the establishment of a Palestinian state, but Yasser Arafat rejected it. After the collapse of the talks and a controversial visit by Likud leader Ariel Sharon to the Temple Mount, the Second Intifada began. Sharon became prime minister in a 2001 special election. During his tenure, Sharon carried out his plan to unilaterally withdraw from the Gaza Strip and also spearheaded the construction of the Israeli West Bank barrier.

In July 2006, a Hezbollah artillery assault on Israel's northern border communities and a cross-border abduction of two Israeli soldiers sparked the month-long Second Lebanon War. Two years later, in May 2008, Israel confirmed it had been discussing a peace treaty with Syria for a year, with Turkey as a go-between. However, at the end of the year, Israel entered another conflict as a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel collapsed. The Gaza War lasted three weeks and ended after Israel announced a unilateral ceasefire. Hamas announced its own ceasefire, with its own conditions of complete withdrawal and opening of border crossings. Despite neither the rocket launchings nor Israeli retaliatory strikes having completely stopped, the fragile ceasefire remained in order.

Since 1948 I have been a supporter of the State of Israel. In fact at one point in my life I wanted to go to Israel and join in the fight against the Arab States. This feeling was enhanced when I read the book Exodus and saw the 1960 film of the same name.

For 63 years Israel, a nation 7.5 million inhabitants, has been defending itself against many more millions of Arabs who want to destroy her. The Arab nations surrounding Israel have vowed not to rest until Israel is wiped off the face of the earth.

After the 1967 war Israel gained the territory known as the West Bank, an area of approximately 32 miles wide, stretching to the banks of the Jordan River. The West Bank also includes the city of Jerusalem. They also gained the strategic ground of the Golan Heights that overlooks the Sea of Galilee — a heights that would give Syria a tactical advantage over Israel fro artillery and rocket launches. The third piece of land Israel gained was a small strip of land abutting the shores of the Mediterranean Sea known as the Gaza Strip. This gives Israel a total land mass of just over 8,000 square miles.

Two days ago President Obama gave a speech where he stated he wanted Israel to back to the pre 1967 borders, something Israel will never do He proposed a two state solution with the Palestinians having their own sovereign nation. In essence he wanted Israel to return to borders they could not defend. This will never happen.

Next Tuesday, four days after he meets with President Obama, Prime Minister Netanyahu will address Congress. With Israel now confronting a triple-security threat that leaves the country more vulnerable than at any time since the outbreak of the Yom Kippur War in 1973, it is imperative for the Israeli leader to stand firm.

Netanyahu's planned "peace initiative" has been undermined by recent events. With its peace treaty with Egypt fraying since Mubarak's forced departure, Gaza will surely become a Hamas arsenal. Reconciliation between Hamas, sworn to Israel's destruction, and the Palestinian Authority, too weak to resist, will trap Israel between Palestinian pincers in Gaza and the West Bank. Looming in September is United Nations recognition of Palestinian statehood, another step in that organization's persistent delegitimization of Israel.

Pressure continues to mount, from the international community and from the Obama administration, for Israel to relinquish the West Bank for a Palestinian state — and, presumably, "peace." That is a delusion.

It is time for Netanyahu, in his address to Congress, to decisively reject the seductive but menacing mantra of "land for peace." His recent declaration that the Palestinian Authority can have peace with Israel or with Hamas, but not both, was reassuring. His conditions for peace, recently outlined to the Knesset, sounded firm: Palestinian recognition of Israel; its refugee problem to be solved outside Israel's borders; settlement blocs to remain part of Israel, with Jerusalem as its united capital. But they are insufficient.

The West Bank mountain ridge forms the major land barrier against an attack from the east that could decimate the coastal plain (including Tel Aviv), where 70 percent of Israelis live. The widely despised Jewish settlements located there are not the primary obstacle to peace; enduring Arab hostility to a Jewish state is. Between 1948 and 1967, there were no settlements — and still no peace.

The prime minister might use his opportunity to remind the world that the West Bank, biblical Judea and Samaria, is the biblical homeland of the Jewish people. Two thousand years of ancient Jewish history unfolded there. If there is Jewish land anywhere in the world, it is there.

Until after the 1967 Six-Day War, however, this land was Judenrein (cleansed of Jews). Only then, following yet another failed Arab attempt to annihilate the Jewish state, could Jews return to live in their historical homeland. More than 300,000 Israelis have done so. Surrounding settlements with a Palestinian state will destroy them and undermine Israeli security. The alternative — Israeli expulsion of tens of thousands of Jews who live outside the settlement blocs — is no better. To me this sounds more like Poland in 1940 than a move towards peace in 2011. Where is Obama’s knowledge of History, or is just so anti-Semitic that he just doesn’t care.

Finally, given relentless international efforts to delegitimize Israel, Prime Minister Netanyahu might remind critics that Jewish settlement, protected by international guarantees ever since 1922, is fully consistent with international law.

The League of Nations Mandate then cited "the historical connection of the328px-UN_Partition_Plan_For_Palestine_1947.svg Jewish people with Palestine and the legitimacy of grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country." After Great Britain lopped off three-quarters of Palestine for Trans-Jordan (the first Palestinian state), Jews were assured the right of "close settlement" in the remaining land west of the Jordan River. That right has never been rescinded.

Article 80 of the United Nations Charter explicitly protected the rights of "any peoples or the terms of existing international instruments to which members of the United Nations may respectively be parties." Drafted in 1945 by Jewish legal representatives (including Ben-Zion Netanyahu, the Prime Minister's father), it preserved the rights of the Jewish people to settle in all the land west of the Jordan River.

Settlement critics often cite Article 49 of the Geneva Convention, adopted in 1949 in the shadow of the Holocaust, as a restriction on settlement. They are mistaken. Drafted to prevent a repetition of the forced Nazi and Soviet deportations of civilian populations, it declared that an "Occupying Power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies."

The international lawyer Prof. Eugene V. Rostow, a former dean of Yale Law School and Undersecretary of State, stated in 1990:

“The Convention prohibits many of the inhumane practices of the Nazis and the Soviet Union during and before the Second World War — the mass transfer of people into and out of occupied territories for purposes of extermination, slave labor or colonization, for example....The Jewish settlers in the West Bank are most emphatically volunteers. They have not been "deported" or "transferred" to the area by the Government of Israel, and their movement involves none of the atrocious purposes or harmful effects on the existing population it is the goal of the Geneva Convention to prevent.“

Ambassador Morris Abram, a member of the U.S. staff at the Nuremburg Tribunal and later involved in the drafting of the Fourth Geneva Convention is on record as stating that the convention:

“Was not designed to cover situations like Israeli settlements in the occupied territories, but rather the forcible transfer, deportation or resettlement of large numbers of people.”

Similarly, international lawyer Prof. Julius Stone, in referring to the absurdity of considering Israeli settlements as a violation of Article 49, stated:

“Irony pushed to the absurdity of claiming that Article 49, designed to prevent repetition of Nazi-type genocidal policies of rendering Nazi metropolitan territories judenrein, has now come to mean that. the West Bank. must be made judenrein and must be so maintained, if necessary by the use of force by the government of Israel against its own inhabitants. Common sense as well as correct historical and functional context excludes so tyrannical a reading of Article 49.”

This provision has no applicability to Jewish settlements. Neither during nor since the Six-Day War did Israel "deport" Palestinians from the West Bank or "transfer" Israelis there. Settlers acted on their own volition to restore a Jewish presence in the Jewish homeland — precisely as Zionist kibbutzniks had earlier done in the Galilee and Negev.

After the Six-Day War, Security Council Resolution 242 permitted Israel to administer the West Bank until "a just and lasting peace in the Middle East" is achieved. (In case anyone has noticed, that has not yet happened.) Even then, Israel would be required only to withdraw its armed forces "from territories" — not from "the territories" or "all the territories."

The absence of "the," the missing definite article, was not accidental. The result of prolonged negotiation, it meant that Israel would not be required to withdraw from all the territory that it had acquired during the Six-Day War; indeed, precisely such proposals were defeated in both the Security Council and the General Assembly.

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech should be framed with reminders of these international guarantees, the historic Jewish attachment to the Land of Israel, and the menacing security situation that Israel will confront should its ancient homeland be abandoned. The consequences for Israel of surrendering its legitimate security and its historic and internationally guaranteed land claims would be dire, if not fatal.

But if his past is prologue, then Netanyahu is likely to revert, once again, to what Harvard Yiddish scholar Ruth Wisse has aptly called "the Diaspora strategy of accommodation." This is precisely what Jewish statehood was intended to terminate.

Netanyahu's willingness to sacrifice Jewish land, first demonstrated when he capitulated to Clinton administration demands under the Oslo II Accords, is a disturbing harbinger. Last year he acceded to President Obama's insistence on a ten-month freeze on settlement construction — in return for nothing. Even after the freeze expired, with no discernible Palestinian willingness to resume peace negotiations, Netanyahu tacitly acquiesced to its continuation.

The other day I heard a liberal caller on a radio talk show argue that Netanyahu should talk with the PLO, Hamas and Hezbollah in the pursuit of peace. When asked if the British should have talked with Hitler prior to the NAZI invasion of Czechoslovakia he responded yeas and that because the British did not talk with and try to understand Hitler the Second World War could have been prevented. This caller sounded like an educated person, but where did he get his education? He knew nothing of the Munich Conference or Chamberlin’s “peace in our time” statement after Hitler had bamboozled him. This is an example of the state and depth of knowledge the American people have of both the roots and caused of WWII and the history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Appeasement paved the way for one horrific Jewish tragedy. It is imperative for Israel's Prime Minister to state, clearly and unequivocally, that the Jewish state will not become another Czechoslovakia, sacrificed by "friends" to please its enemies. Clinging to the fantasy of land for peace can only deepen Israel's alarming vulnerability.

When Obama made his speech on Israel last week he demonstrated a definite pro-Palestinian position, something he should not have done if he expected ant sort of productive peace negotiations to develop. He has taken a position that will embolden the PLO, PLA Hamas and Hezbollah to push Israel for more and more appeasement. He has shown his himself to be definitely on the side against Israel. You can view a video interview with Democrat Congressman on CNN by clicking here. You will also know the absolute ignorance demonstrated by the CNN interviewer regarding the history of Israel. This is the state of knowledge the American people are getting from the media today.

Tea Party Rep. Allen West has just issued a response to Obama‘s announcement that he backs the Palestinians’ demand that Israel redraw its borders to where they were in 1967. Not only did he call the move the “most egregious foreign policy decision” the administration has made, but he also feared this “could be the beginning of the end as we know it for the Jewish state.”

“The pre-1967 borders endorsed by President Obama would deny millions of the world’s Jews access to their holiest site and force Israel to return the strategically important Golan Heights to Syria, a known state-sponsor of terrorism,” West said in an e-mail.

“Resorting to the pre-1967 borders would mean a full withdrawal by the Israelis from the West Bank and the Jewish neighborhoods of East Jerusalem. Make no mistake, there has always been a Nation of Israel and Jerusalem has been and must always be recognized as its rightful capital.”

He concluded with some harsh criticisms: “President Obama has not stood for Israel or the Jewish people and has made it clear where the United States will stand when Palestine attempts to gain recognition of statehood by the United Nations. The President should focus on the real obstacle to security- the Palestinian leadership and its ultimate goal to eliminate Israel and the Jewish people.”

West has been an outspoken supporter of Israel in the past. Back in December he delivered a speech at the Americans Against Hate Pro-Israel Conference in Fort Lauderdale, FL:

Obama needs to learn that there are two thing you do not do in public —make love and make peace. Obama has shown himself over and over again to be an incompetent amateur when it comes to foreign affairs. Libya and Israel are just the latest examples.

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