Sunday, December 04, 2005


From Israel: Arlene Kushner, December 3, 2005

From Israel

Arlene Kushner

Motzei Shabbat (night) December 3, 2005

[] Last Wednesday, President Bush gave a major talk at Annapolis. In the course of it he said:

"The terrorists in Iraq share the same ideology as the terrorists who struck the United States on September the 11th. Those terrorists share the same ideology with those who blew up commuters in London and Madrid, murdered tourists in Bali, workers in Riyadh, and guests at a wedding in Amman, Jordan..." ( , November 30).

It cannot be an accident that, in this tally of places where Islamic terrorists blow people up, he failed to mention Israel -- the one place in the world whose citizens have been most consistently attacked by terrorists.

Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) president Mort Klein has come out with a statement protesting this ommission. Among the points he makes:

"It's...remarkable that President Bush mentioned three Arab countries affected in the Middle East yet not the one Jewish country in the Middle East most affected. He even mentioned Saudi Arabia, despite the fact that the Saudi regime is the world's biggest supporter of Islamist terrorism, raising funds for suicide bombers and promoting hatred and murder of Americans and Jews in its Wahhabi mosques around the world.

"...We urge President Bush to clarify this omission of Israel immediately. It is not in the interest of the U.S. war on terrorism to appease the Arab and Islamic countries by not mentioning Jews of Israel as the major victims of this terrorist onslaught. Omitting Israel from this victims list can only make the Western world and the Arab/Islamic world feel that the U.S. does not really care about the plight of the Jews of Israel, which can only increase the danger to Israel and its people."

[] Meanwhile, in a Op-Ed piece in The New York Times on Friday, Martin Indyk wrote (with thanks to Winkie Medad for calling my attention to this):

"Life seems good in Israel, too. Terrorist incidents are down to one every three months..."

(Indyk is currently a Senior Fellow with the Brookings Institution; and is a former US Ambassador to Israel.)

What is with these people, so eager to downplay and simply ignore our suffering? And, I might add, in ignoring our suffering, obscuring the crimes and the intent of the terrorists.

I have not been recording here every single attack that occurs. Perhaps I should. But this information will suffice here as rebutal to Indyk:

On Wednesday, IDF Gaza Brigade Commander Brigadier-General Aviv Kochavi stated that the volume of attacks and security incidents along the Gaza border is alarming. Since the Israeli withdrawal the Gaza Strip, there have been 19 bombs detected. Arab terrorists in Northern Gaza have launched 130 Kassam rockets and mortar shells at Jews living in the western Negev area. Today two rockets were fired on Ashkelon.

[] In the face of the most recent attacks, Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz released a "stern warning" to the Palestinian Authority that a continuation of the rocket attacks would result in a stepped-up IDF response.

How many rocket attacks is too many? What does it take to trigger a genuinely stepped-up response? Aaron Lerner of IMRA has pointed out time and again that Israel, when it claims to shoot at "launching sites," is bombing empty fields. Word is that Israel is being discouraged from any major move against the PA areas before the January elections.

[] All of this, as heavy as it is, pales against the news coming out regarding the possibility that Iran will become a nuclear power. MKM Yuval Steinitz, Chair of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee says Iran will be nuclear in one to two years. IDF Intelligence Chief Aharon Ze'evi-Farkash says March 2006 is the point of no return.

In a statement on Thursday PM Sharon said: "Israel and other countries cannot accept a situation where Iran has nuclear arms. The issue is clear to us, and we are making all the necessary preparations to handle a situation of this kind." Are all the necessary preparations being made? Carolyn Glick, in Friday's Jerusalem Post, says no.

Clearly, Israel is hoping that the world will take this seriously and that it will not be just a unilateral Israeli response that would have to be forthcoming. But we can depend ultimately on no one. Saul Singer in the Post writes about signs that the western world is beginning to accept the "inevitability" of a nuclear Iran.

I know that missile defense systems are operational, presumably that could take out missiles with nuclear tips. But Russia (which is doing damage on a number of fronts) has now sold Iran new sophisticated equipment that can operate against missiles. We also are developing "second strike" capability, which means if we get hit once we take them out. This presumably serves as a deterent. But as to planned direct military action by Israel to take out their systems before they are operational, I have no inside information -- while I certainly hope and pray that such plans are being set in place. In case. There is a considered opinion from persons in the know that such an operation would be difficult but possible.

There is still talk about international pressure, sanctions, taking the issue to the Security Council. Gerald Steinberg, who is Director of a Program on Conflict Management and Negotiation at Bar Ilan University has written an analysis of the situation for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He is not optimistic.

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