Friday, December 23, 2005


From Israel: Arlene Kushner, December 22, 2005

From Israel
Arlene Kushner

December 22, 2005
[] According to a piece in today's Jerusalem Post, Yuval Steinitz, Chair of the Kesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, has accused Minister of Defense Mofaz of misleading the committee when he gave a statement that a final agreement had been reached with the Palestinians over the Rafah Crossing issue. Steinitz now maintains that no agreement has been reached. He said Mofaz outlined the agreement before the committee on Nov. 15, but then declined to provide a signed draft when requested to do so. Following this the committee launched its own investigation and came to the conclusion that there was no agreement and that Mofaz, eager to placate Sec. Rice, had acted as if there was. Very significant stuff if this is so. It would be very good news, in spite of the deeply distressing implications of a Minister of Defense who would misrepresent this way, because the agreement as presented was a security disaster. The Defense Ministry, says the Post, has had no response.
I find this particularly fascinating because I was following the process of finalizing the agreement closely. At one point after the agreement was announced, I heard that it had not been signed and this signaled to me a window of opportunity for stopping it before it was. But when I called the Ministry of Defense and asked them when there would be a signing, I was told there would not be. Several people told me that such agreements often go ahead without signing. Now let's see if something comes of this... Of course not officially signing what had been agreed to is different from not having even reached an agreement.
[] Speaking of the defense minister, Mofaz now says that a terror wave is imminent. Is this earthbreaking news, or what? There are currently six alerts of planned suicide bombings. Israeli Intelligence further indicates that there will be a spike in terrorism after the PA elections.
Minister Mofaz, in a meeting here yesterday with Egyptian Intelligence Chief Omar Suleiman, asked Suleiman to get the PA to curb attacks on Israel. Suleiman will be meeting with Abbas and pushing the issue.
There is a important difference of opinion among various political analysts here about Abbas's capacity to reign in Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and curtail terrorist attacks on us. Some see Abbas sitting on his hands, refusing to give orders to his 60,000 security personnel, and are convinced that he could do so if he wished to, but prefers to keep Hamas strong for his purposes. This is certainly the way Arafat played it.
Others see the growning strength and influence of Hamas and question whether Abbas any longer has the power to reign in the situation without totally tearing the society apart, if at all. They see Abbas as having passed the point of no return here, with the influx of additional Hamas leaders via the Rafah crossing and the growing popularity of Hamas in the street.
I tend to fall in the latter catagory. Citing 60,000 security persons is impressive. But I am mindful of the fact that some of those "security" persons were co-opted from terrorist groups, and I remember interviews in which security persons have declared openly that they are no sure which side they are on and would not take on their Islamist brothers even if ordered to do so. I tend to see the PA -- which certainly could have taken on Hamas at one point and opted not to -- as close to non-existent in these spheres today, and the Palestinian society as on the verge of anarchy.
The implications of the two positions are at great variance: Those who see Abbas as capable of taking on Hamas but unwilling, will want to be tougher with him. Regrettably, some of those who see Abbas as not capable of handling it (I am not NOT among these), believe the answer lies with strengthening Abbas. This is what the EU and the US keep doing: pump more money in, give the security forces more professional guidance. Keep doing it even though it hasn't made a particle of difference until now.
At the moment, anyway, the government is taking a tough line, saying it will make no concessions when Abbas is not doing his part.
[] Israel finds itself in a bit of quandry with regard to the upcoming PA elections. Because of Hamas participation, Israel said it would not permit voting to take place in Jerusalem. The PA, which desperately wants to delay these elections and needs a hook for doing so, has now found it, saying that it wouldn't be democratic if the Arabs in Jerusalem cannot vote and so they may have to postpone the election. Israel, not wishing to allow the PA this out, is rethinking the matter. No final decision has yet been made.
[] The question I pose is what earthly difference it would make if Hamas won those PA elections. It seems we're dealing with terrorists in any event. I had reported here about a split within Fatah, with the Young Turks, headed by Marwan Barghouti, challenging the Old Guard. Well, the split, which would have weakened Fatah at the polls, has been averted. There will be only one Fatah list after all, and guess who is heading it? Marwan Barghouti, the terrorist currently serving five life sentences in Israeli prison. He, next to Yasser Arafat, is most responsible for the second Intifada, the terrorist war waged on us since 2000, which has taken some 1,000 Israeli lives. I predict once again that if he should win we will be accussed of keeping a democratically elected official of the PA in prison and there will be a huge outcry and demand for his release.
[] Bless him, Nobel Laureate Professor Yisrael Aumann addressed the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee yesterday on the matter of current government approaches to dealing with the Palestinians. Calling the "disengagement" a disaster, he insisted that patience is required. Drawing on his work in game theory, he explained the application of its principles to achieving gains in the political arena.
Continued withdrawals, he said, would lead to bloodshed, as they would indicate to the Palestinians that we don't know what to do and are merely acting for the sake of "doing something."
"The current drive for peace now, not tomorrow," he said, "is more likely to bring about the opposite." The Palestinians must understand that we are prepared to wait it out.
[] The material below from a report by Palestinian Media Watch ( indicates just how low Palestinian society has sunk:
"Transforming Palestinian society into one that unabashedly embraces terror has necessitated terror promotion at all levels of its social, educational and political infrastructure. One of the most important components has been the indoctrination of mothers to see the deaths of their sons as positive - even beneficial - for their sons and their family status.
The Palestinian Authority has accordingly made it a principle to honor not only suicide terrorists but also the mothers who actively send their sons on suicide terror missions, as well as the mothers who express joy after their sons' Shahada - Death for Allah.
A striking example of this glorification of mothers of terrorists is the case of Um Nidal, who has recently been chosen to be a candidate on the Hamas list in the upcoming Palestinian Authority parliamentary elections.
Um Nidal...participated in a farewell ceremony in which she sent her 17-year-old son to die through terror, "ordering him not to return except as a shahid [martyr for Allah]." In an interview recorded after her son murdered five Israeli teenagers in a suicide mission, she explained that it was a mother's love for her son that motivated her to be joyous over his Shahada death. Um Nidal's parting ceremony and interview were filmed, and turned Um Nidal into a heroine and role model in Palestinian society.
Um Nidal didn't stop at one son. She has proudly sent three of her sons to their death as terrorist shahids. Palestinian society has responded by dubbing her the "Al-Khansah of Palestine." Al-Khansa is a a heroic figure from Islamic history who is glorified and revered solely for celebrating the deaths of her four shahid sons. The PA has underscored the importance of joyfully sacrificing sons for Allah in many different ways, including by naming five girls' schools - in Bethlehem, Jenin, Nablus, Khan Yunis and Rafah - after Al-Khansah, sending a clear message to young and impressionable girls about their future role as the mothers of shahids. Al-Khansah was also honored in the Palestinian Authority's recognition of International Women's Day.
Because of her status as a role model, Um Nidal...has been chosen to be a candidate on the Hamas list in the upcoming Palestinian Authority parliamentary elections. It is striking...that a woman could be chosen to be a legislator solely by virtue of her celebration of her son's terrorism and death.
[] Not at the top of the list in terms of priorities, but I wanted to mention this since it reflects on a whole worldview: The news coming out about Steven Spielberg's "Munich" is distressing, as he does moral equivalency. This is the story (fictionalized) of the Mosad agents who went after the terrorists who arranged the killing of Israeli athletes at the Olympics in Munich. So, we have terrorists killing Jews, and then, in this film, Jews killing terrorists, with everyone suffering equally and Mosad people anguished about having to be involved. The fact of the matter is that taking out those who were responsible for this heinous crime was essential. Please, be forewarned, should you be planning to see it.
For a clear perspective on the matter, you want want to see this site:

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