Wednesday, November 16, 2005

 

From Israel: Perfidy, Arlene Kushner, November 15, 2005

From: Arlene Kushner

Sent: Tuesday, November 15, 2005
Subject: From Israel: Perfidy
November 15, 2005

There are several items on the agenda, but they can wait. I wish to devote today's posting primarily to the issue of the "deal" on the Rafah crossing. It is of the utmost importance. I wish everyone reading this to understand clearly the feeling that I and those I work with have: That we are being sold out, that Israel is on the line. So important is this message that I am sending not only to my regular list but to others I know. And I ask that you please share this as broadly as possible and act on it as energetically as possible.

Condoleezza Rice came, and she made it clear that she wouldn't leave until she got the deal she wanted, which she declared, she was demanding in the name of President Bush. She sat up a whole night, pushing her agenda. She spoke about Israeli demands for security as no more than "technical issues."

I don't know what Israeli administration could have withstood that sort of direct and intense pressure. The fact is that Israel held out longer than I expected. But finally Israel caved.

I blame Sharon not for caving now, but for putting us in this position so we would end up being expected to cave. The withdrawal from Gaza didn't make it better for us, but set us up for a "they did that, what can we get them to do next" mentality. And I hold Sharon responsible for his lies. He touted the impression that in return for withdrawal from Gaza we had the support of the American president. The notion was promoted that Bush was concerned with our security. It is all a monstrous lie. No administration that cared about Israel's security could have sent its secretary of state to squeeze us the way Condoleezza just did.

But, this said and done, at the moment it is primarily Bush -- and Condoleezza even more so! -- that I am enraged at. They have no right to meddle in our business and push us into postions that are not in our best interest. This is not the end of the story, it is the beginning, and it terrifies me. They are whittling at our well-being.

The deal that was struck. I will do my utmost to report here as accurately as possible, and explain the concerns. There may well be follow-up.

1) The Rafah crossing.
The crossing is scheduled to open by November 25. Video images will be tranferred to a control center at another Gaza crossing, manned by Israeli, PA, and European personnel.

What Israel surrendered is veto power over who crosses. This means even if a terrorist is spotted on video, all that Israel has the power to do is demand that he (or she) be held for six hours, during which time theoretically a security check can be done. But it is not Israel that will make the final decision on whether this person will be allowed to pass through. I have already read a Palestinian boast that any Palestinian who wishes to cross will be able to do so.

This is not an academic exercise or a power struggle for its own sake. Israel is certain that there will be a significant movement of terrorists and weaponry through this crossing. The concern is not just what moves into Gaza, but also what moves out, into the Sinai. There have already been instances of terrorists who moved out of Gaza into the Sinai, and then across the Negev into Judea and Samaria.

Along with this part of the agreement were other elements, at least as damaging if not more so:

2. Checkpoints.
Israel promises to come up with a plan for removing more checkpoints by the end of the year.

We hear a great deal about the Palestinian need for freedom of movement and how this affects their economy. I am sure this is so.

However, we have a different need -- to not be killed. Giving "Palestinians" more freedom of movement means giving terrorists and their weaponry more freedom of movement as well. Every time we remove checkpoints, disaster ensues. Just recently, we removed a checkpoint on route 60, as a "good faith" gesture. A Palestinian car that would not have gotten through before that gesture was able to, and three beautiful young Jewish people were taken out in a drive by shooting.

According to Arutz Sheva, the Quartet (US, Russia, the EU and the UN) had hoped to see 125 checkpoints taken out in this agreement. 125 checkpoints? At the cost of how many lives?

3. Karni Crossing between Gaza and Israel.
Israel promises to allow through 150 export trucks a day by the end of the year, and 400 a day by the end of 2006. All of Gaza's agricultural produce will be allowed through.

The benefit to Palestinians is obvious. What security risk Israel has incurred here I am not able to comment on, although clearly there is one.

What was it Sharon said about DISENGAGEMENT from the Palestinians in Gaza??

4. Passage between Gaza and Judea/Samaria.
Starting Dec. 15, bus convoys carrying Palestinians will move between the two territories, traveling through Israel. Starting Jan. 15, truck convoys will also be allowed to move between the West Bank and Gaza.

This strikes me as a security horror. Buses of Palestinians from Gaza and truck convoys from Gaza traveling across Israeli territory? What is the potential for a disaster? I have as yet no information on what the safeguards will be.

5. Gaza Seaport.
The Palestinians can start building it.

The concern here is bringing in of weaponry via the sea (remember the Karine A?), and the need to monitor this tightly -- or as tightly as possible. More information required here, as well.

At a Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee meeting today, Chair Yuval Steinitz said, "Israel was pressured into opening up the crossings before we were ready; we gave in to pressure from the Americans."
At that meeting, Binyamin Natanyahu declared the agreement a danger to Israel: "The result is easy to see. There will be plenty of weapons finding their way to Gaza. Kassam rockets and mortars will be transported through Judea and Samaria to be launched at Israel."
______
The rationale, from the other side, I am aware, is the "need" to "strengthen" Abbas before the elections, the thought being that this helps defeat Hamas. But this, too, enrages me. For the difference between Abbas and Hamas is barely discernable. (The PA has incorporated terrorists into its security forces!) Precisely what is it that is being "strengthened"? And why is it perceived acceptable to do this "strengthening" at a cost to Israeli rights, Israeli integrity, Israeli security, and Israeli lives? Who cares about these Israeli lives? Who cares about Israeli survival?

Why is it, finally, that the Palestinians are given a free pass, again and again and again?? Why is it that they are never held responsible for their actions?

Bush has been speaking for some time about a need for a "two state solution." But, according to the Roadmap, there were some basic requirements of the Palestinians that were supposed to be fulfilled before anything resembling a Palestinian state came into being, in particular, dismantling of terrorist infrastucture and cessation of incitement. Abbas has not moved a finger on either issue. And yet, the above concessions that have now been coerced from Israel are clearly designed to move the PA a few steps closer to statehood.

Precisely what is going on here?

I pray that everyone reading this will be aroused to action on behalf of Israel, before it is too late. Particularly in the US, the gov't must be informed of distress with current policy. Demand that professed friendship with Israel be expressed via genuine support for her security; insist that Abbas be held accountable for his actions or failures to act; protest coercion of Israel. Wherever possible write hard copy letters rather than sending e-mails. Here in Israel people must be informed and aroused as well.

As to the nature of the PA, I ask finally that you open the attachment that accompanies this: It is a piece I have just written that takes a hard look at the PA in the year since Arafat died. It's an eye-opener. Read it and ask yourself if it makes an iota of sense to help "the PA" achieve the status of a state?

Arlene

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