Sunday, October 16, 2005


From Israel by Arlene Kushner October 16, 2005

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October 16, 2005
Sukkkot, the last holiday -- and the most joyous -- of the season begins tomorrow night. Once again, there will be a hiatus in these messages, with this possibly the last for a week. (In an urgent situation messages are possible mid-week -- hol hamoed -- of the holiday.)
[] In an article in on October 11, Daniel Pipes wrote about the importance of President Bush's speech on October 6 to the National Endowment for Democracy. That article can be found in its entirety at:
Here I would like to mention his key point, which is of some significance.
From September 11, 2001, says Pipes, Bush had declared "War on Terrorism," which was a step in the right direction but still a euphemistic way of dealing with the problem being confronted. It focused on a tactic -- terrorism -- rather than those utilizing the tactic.
Now, finally, President Bush has labeled the enemy behind the tactic: Islamic radicals (not to be confused with all Muslims). Not only that, he has drawn significant parallels between radical Islam and communism (both being totalitarian, cold-blooded, etc.), and noted the radical Islamist goal -- "to enslave whole nations and intimidate the world." (Athough actually it is even worse than this, as Pipes points out -- the goal of radical Islam being a caliphate that controls the entire world under the umbrella of their version of Islam.)
Now that the president has finally named the enemy, it presumably will no longer politically incorrect in the U.S. to do so. Finally, declares Pipes, as Muslims are the exclusive source of Islamists, immigration authorities and law enforcement agencies will be able to do their job properly -- taking Islam into account when deciding who to let into the country and who to investigate for terrorism.
Pipes did not mention this, but there is a possibility of another benefit accruing from the president's increased clarity of vision: It just might dawn on a larger number of people than has been the case to date that the Islamists in this part of the world -- Hamas, Islamic Jihad, etc. -- are not acting in response to "occupation" by Israel; they are, rather, acting in the name of their larger goal. This means (as many of us have been shouting for years) there is nothing Israel might do short of totally disappearing that would appease them. The fight is not one about borders, it is existential. And the fight here is no different from the fight in a host of other places, although there are those who have persisted in claiming it is.
[] Al-Aksa Brigades, a terrorist offshoot of Fatah, has announced that efforts to "liberate the West Bank, Jerusalem the the Galilee would continue." According to Arutz Sheva this is in response to a statement made by IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz, in which he said that targeted strikes against al-Aksa would stop because it had halted attacks against Israel.
Most of this is old hat, but what I find significant (if the quote is accurate) is reference to the Galilee, which is not usually recounted as part of what the terrorists are eager to "liberate." One wonders if this is not in line with an expanded vision of what it is possible to attack, post "disengagement."
[] PA PM Mahmoud Abbas is scheduled to meet President Bush in Washington on October 16. According to PA Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat, as sited on an official PA website, the meeting will focus on "sensitive issues." What are these "sensitive issues"? Securing US pressure on Israel for: halting construction of the "Apartheid Wall," stopping settlement expansion, releasing all remaining prisioners. The standard shopping list of demands. Abbas's position is no surprise, what remains to be seen is what Bush's response will be.
Abbas, by the way, has met with officials in Jordan in preparation for this meeting.
He leaves behind an on-going cabinet crisis. In spite of demands for a new government, Abbas is now saying he has no time, with his international travels, to appoint such a government. Apparently a "transitional" government will take over from the time candidates begin to register on November 25 to run in Legislative Council elections next year -- presumably with a new government to follow after the elections, the date of which is currently in question.
[] Israeli security has found on Sycamore, the Negev ranch of PM Sharon, an unexploded Kassam rocket. This one was a dud but the capacity to shoot as far as the ranch has been demonstrated. It was believed to have been shot from Gaza by Hamas some three weeks ago.
[] Russia's president Putin,, under pressure from his defense industry, is apparently thinking of selling strategic weaponry to Syria that he had promised PM Sharon would not be sold. Apparently, Sharon went public with Putin's pledge when he was not supposed to. (This from Geostrategy-direct.) The rocket Syria is seeking would give Syria first-strike capability against Israel.
[] Today is the day when some families from Gush Katif are being asked to leave their hotel because of bookings for the Sukkot holiday. The key hotel involved is Shiryat Yam in Ashkelon and some 30 families are facing yet another transition; they will be asked to move to another hotel, before moving to (semi-permanent) temporary quarters before settling permanently.
[] Diplomatic sources in Afghanistan are reporting unofficially that this country has decided to serve as a trailblazer within the Muslim world and establish relations with Israel. Potentially very exciting. More will follow here...
In the meantime, Pakistan, which declared a thaw in relations with Israel some weeks ago, is accepting Israeli aid to earthquake victims only through third parties.

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