Beyond the Cusp

September 22, 2014

Negotiations Palestinian Style

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According to all expectations, negotiations between Israel and the terrorist entities out of Gaza led by Hamas and Islamic Jihad, but reputed to also have elements from al-Qaeda, PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine), PLFP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine), Fatah, ISIS and others; are scheduled to resume later this week. These negotiations have been delayed so as to have them coincide with the Jewish High Holidays starting the day before Rosh HaShana which starts that evening. They are also scheduled to begin within two days of the termination of the month-long cessation of hostilities which some Hamas spokespeople have promised that rockets will resume raining down on Israeli cities, towns, homes, shopping malls, houses of worship, actually virtually anywhere as these rockets are launched with the expressed accuracy of a blindfolded darts shooter. All hopes within Israel are that those threats were simply more of the bluster often emanating from Palestinian spokespersons. Perhaps one way of laying out the difficulties these negotiations will present is to simply reference some of the bandying of demands and rejections which have been reported in various media sources.

Israel has repeatedly stressed their demand for the demilitarization of Gaza and the Hamas and others have simply stated that such is not even a subject to be breached at the negotiations as their weapons are necessary to their ability and actions to resist and destroy the occupation and the occupiers. Hamas spokesman and political leader Khaled Mashaal gave the media the following. “The subject of the resistance’s weapons isn’t open for negotiations. Those weapons are for fighting the occupying enemy. They are not for internal affairs.” Furthermore, there is the demand reported in the Arabic daily Al-Hayat that Doha warned it would deport Mashaal if he approved the agreement for the ceasefire framework as put forth by Egypt without insisting that Hamas’s demands construction of a seaport and airport in the Gaza Strip be incorporated as part of the agreement. Additionally, Osama Hamdan said Saturday that Israel must either accept its demands including lifting of the security blockade on Gaza and allow the construction of an airport and seaport or face “a war of attrition.” But these are the official demands and maximalist positions put forth by both sides, Israel demanding the demilitarization of Gaza to prevent the continued aggressions as constantly threatened as seen above, and on the other side, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the others insisting the end to the United Nations validated embargo which is designed to prevent, or at least minimize, the import of heavy weapon systems, more terrorist fighters and provisions for the construction of infiltration tunnels and other military bulwarks, and permit, if not assist, the construction both of an international airport and a fully equipped seaport allowing for unfettered importation of any and all goods as desired by Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the other terror entities.

All of this aside, what are the attitudes of the people, the Palestinian street, towards Israel and the ending of the near constant levels of violence which has become so commonplace that the media does not even bother to cover such violence unless it results in fatalities, often multiple Israeli fatalities or any Palestinian fatalities or even injuries. Perhaps relating a recent series of events might shed some light on this situation. Sixteen year old Mohammed Abu Sankara was participating in one of the regular afternoon rioting in Jerusalem and was reported to have joined with others hurling rocks, some shot from slings and the throwing of Molotov cocktails. The Israeli police responded shooting sponge anti-riot shot aimed for the low at the rioters’ legs. Mohammed Abu Sankara was struck in the leg and while running, retreating, he stumbled and fell striking his head on the road surface. His injuries were of a sufficient severity that the police had him transported to a hospital. Mohammed Abu Sankara was conscious at the point of transport but subsequently fell into a coma and died two days later. What is telling was the response from his mother when approached by the press at his funeral as well as the celebratory mass parade adjoining the passage of his casket to the cemetery.

Below is a report gathered from Palestinian Authority official television by PMW (Palestinian Media Watch) but first a few comments and quotes. The one thing one needs to know is that the Palestinian Authority still grants the families of those imprisoned or who die in terror related activities, which includes those participating in their scheduled rioting and other violence, a generous stipend for life. I am not sure that any entity could give me sufficient cash rewards what would have me celebrate any of my children sacrificing themselves as they are more precious than any monetary rewards. She exclaimed to the cameras, “This is the first time I see joy in my heart. This is the first time I see such joy. Thank Allah for giving him martyrdom.” I pray for the sake of this woman’s soul that her actions were simply a rehearsed part played out for the cameras in order to provide fuel for the cause and that she had to be forced to play the part and it took many, many takes before they got the desired enthusiasm. If this was her actual emotions and pride, I feel for her and am unable to understand the motivation which could bring a mother to celebrate the tragic death of her son. I further noted in the short clip the celebratory mood of those participating in the march presumably from the remembrance ceremony to the cemetery. The exuberance and joy was the same as in numerous similar situations where a martyr was being taken to their resting place. Thusly, I realize that the majority of those participating are not friends or family but rent-a-mob participants which are readily available to the Palestinian Authority as well as to Hamas, Islamic Jihad and on and on and are able to be gathered for the cameras with only mere moments preparation. They know their role and they play their parts to perfection, or close enough for government work, which it actually is, as often these are people on the Palestinian Authority government rolls receiving a salary simply to demonstrate when needed. The unfortunate reality is this mother’s action before the cameras are indicative of other mothers from previous such celebrations for the martyrs when they are ceremoniously given their splendid and well-choreographed funerals.

The question is how can one reach an agreement for a lasting peace with a society which really does treasure death and seek death by martyrdom as their highest aspiration when you treasure life, all life including those who martyr themselves amongst your people in their public places such as the actions by Ahlam Tamimi who planned the suicide bombing on 9 August 2001 at one of Jerusalem’s Sbarro Pizza Parlors. In an interview posted on the Hamas website Ahlam Tamimi was quoted saying, “It was a calculated act, performed with conviction and faith in Allah. Jihad warriors are always ready to die as martyrs, to be arrested or to succeed. I managed to overcome the barrier of prison and was released. Why should I repent?” Speaking about those terrorists who remain in prison after the releases as part of the Gilad Shalit deal of which she was one, Ahlam Tamimi said, “We left with our heads held high. All attempts to keep us in prison, and those who remain, will soon be forsaken.” For peace there needs be some common ground between the two parties on which to construct any peace agreement, after all, it is called an agreement for a reason.

That is where the problem arises seeking a permanent peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The mistake the world makes is believing that the conflict is over territory, that is a lie and will perpetuate endless time wasting negotiations attempting to reach a border which will be honored by both sides. The Palestinian idea for making peace possible is for every last Jew to be eradicated from what they demand is their lands which include all of Israel, or as they state, from the river to the sea Palestine must be free. As recently stated by the Palestinian Authority ambassador to Iran, Salah Al-Zawawi stated, “All those people who have gathered to occupy our land must return to their countries of origin, leaving behind only the Palestinian Jews, with whom we had lived in love, respect, and fraternity. I would like to reiterate my gratitude to the Islamic Republic of Iran for the training, financing, and weapons it has provided us, as well as for its political and diplomatic positions regarding Palestine. Iran has helped us to attain our great victory. I am not saying that Palestine will be liberated tomorrow, but we have made real strides on the path to liberation. A missile with a 200 kilogram warhead will carry a warhead of 100 tons in the future, because weapons change as men change. We just need to cross the scientific threshold to get to our goal.” That makes their position amply clear except there is a small problem with his assertions, the Jews in Israel are finally home in their original country, it is the Jews dispersed around the world who needs to be brought home to Israel. Further, even if his intentions were accurate, would the Arab nations be acceptable reaccepting the descendants of the eight-hundred-fifty-thousand Jews who were dispossessed between 1945 and 1955? I honestly have my doubts. Further, there is a reason that the Jews who live in the many and various locations in the nations of the world other than Israel are referred to as the Diaspora; that is that they have not returned home and are still residing in where their wanderings have led them as a result of their families’ original dispersion to the far corners of the world, or at least the far corners of the Roman Empire, depriving them of the right to live in their homelands, the land that all the Jews originally came out from. So, sure, bring all the Jews to the one and only land which has ever been their home, bring them back to Eretz Yisroel.

Beyond the Cusp

September 19, 2014

Hamas Sticking to Single ‘Must Have’ Demand or Else

 

More often than not when the time nears that any ceasefire approaches its end date, Hamas will emphasize a single ‘must have’ issue and wait until actual talks to try to pry additional concessions before reaching some agreement. Every agreement with Hamas is never actually a truce as we in the Western nations understand; it is always referred to by Hamas in its Islamic term, a Hudna. The difference between a truce, accord or peace agreement and a Hudna is easily defined but almost always ignored by those making such deals with Islamic elements. A Hudna is a temporary halt to the actual fighting while the hostilities continue as does the preparations to continue the violent struggle. Whenever the Muslims who entered into a Hudna agreement feel they are sufficiently stronger or prepared for continuing their war and feel they will be able to win outright or, if not attaining victory vanquishing their enemy, then they at least will make some gains even if it is just additional concessions. No Hudna may last longer than a decade as after ten years the Muslim forces are obliged to resume their struggle. The interesting item this time is Hamas is not calling for a sizeable prisoner release as is their usual demand. This time Hamas is demanding something which would be a permanent game changer and guarantee the next resumption of hostilities would be on a whole new level and demand a different result which would be far more severe no matter which side proved victorious, and that might be an item in question to be resolved by the resumed conflict.

 

The demand which Hamas is placing the entirety of their promise for a Hudna, a temporary, and in this case very temporary, cessation of hostilities, is the lifting of the blockade and their being permitted an international airport and sea ports. Their given reasoning is that the blockade does not permit them the ability to import building materials and to export their goods and farm produce. Their complaint that the farm produce is encountering difficulties accessing an international market has always bemused me when combined with their explanations as to why they must fire their rockets and munitions from within urban and built-up areas, often residential in nature or by schools and such because Gaza is border to border urban areas making it the most densely populated area on the planet. With such a problem with buildings border to border one must question from where the farm produce originates. This and other items were covered in an article titled, <a herf=http://wp.me/pIou8-1zI target-blank>Gaza, Hamas, Corrected Falsehoods, Frightening Realities</a>. Their claim that they have difficulty importing building materials and exporting their produce because of the Israeli arms and dual use items embargo along with the Egyptian total embargo on their Gaza Sinai border is an untruth. Israel permits relatively unfettered access for any export items including farm produce providing Hamas permits it to reach the designated crossing points into Israel. Once it crosses into Israel it is usually intended and is sent to the Palestinian areas in Judea and Samaria (West Bank) or to Jordan across the Allenby Bridge. If there were to be items intended for Europe or Asia there would likely be arrangements for it to be flown or shipped from Israel to its destination with the possible exception of those countries which do not permit direct import for items leaving from Israel. In such cases some other arrangements would need to be made and this might be best accomplished by having limited passage for export or import through Egypt which places such beyond Israeli control. The building provisions are limited because of the slight propensity for Hamas to confiscate hundreds of millions of Shekels worth of such provisions in order to construct extensive tunnels and underground bunkers and command centers sufficient to hold not only the Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terror groups’ numbers but potentially could hold almost the entire population of Gaza. Granted doing so would make easy access for the terrorist fighters to get from one rocket launching platform to another somewhat difficult, but the people would be safer than having Hamas and friends herd them into schools and other civilian structures around rocket launching position in order to produce maximum civilian casualties in Gaza for the reporters to photograph and release to the world claiming to show how heartless the Israelis are in their conducting of warfare.

 

So, if it is not for the reasons of import and export and unfettered access to building provisions such as concrete and aluminum, then why is Hamas so intent on gaining a sea port and airport? In order to place what the urgency is in gaining this access one needs to look beyond the shores of Gaza and even beyond the borders of Israel and Egypt. One need go further than Hezballah in Lebanon or Bashir al-Assad in Syria. One needs to go all the way to Qatar which already provides Hamas with funding. One need understand that Qatar does not have a significant military force and that the military they have has been rather well armed for their immediate needs and threats. Qatar could arm every citizen and they would still be unable to resist an invasion by Saudi Arabia, the closest potential threat to Qatar as the Qataris have developed close relations with Iran and this has not exactly pleased the Saudis. Still, the odds of a Saudi attack on Qatar are remote to nonexistent. This becomes more so when one realized that Qatar is also a major base for the United States and one of the home bases for the United States fleet when it is in the Persian Gulf, something that has been quite regular of late. So, since the Qatari military was already sufficiently armed one must question why Qatar would purchase eleven-billion dollars of top of the line equipment including MANPAD anti-aircraft weapons, Apache Longbow Attack Helicopters, Patriot Missile Batteries, Javelin Anti-Armor Systems, Air Refueling Tankers and associated weaponry. Qatar has also been seeking to purchase jet fighters and has been shopping with Airbus and Boeing. When one figures that Qatar has a population of 1.7 million; this produces figures that they just purchased almost six-and-a-half-billion dollars of weaponry per person. Add to this that Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani made the first official visit to Hamas-controlled Gaza by a head of state and during the visit promised four-hundred-million dollars in aid to Hamas and there comes the problem. Obviously these weapons were not purchased for Qatari defense purposes and were instead intended for Hamas to use against Israel. The only thing missing is a sea port or an airport to deliver the goods. This does not take a rocket scientist to figure out; yet, just wait and watch the world demand that Israel lift their arms embargo and threaten to embargo Israel should Israel not comply. Welcome to a world that seems to be more appropriate for items from Mad Magazine than from our news outlets which are reporting these items as real facts on the ground.    Unbelievable!

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

September 14, 2014

Egyptian President Sisi Takes the Lead as Obama Follows

President Obama made clear by his speech laying out his grand plan to address the threats from ISIS that he would once again be leading from behind, probably far behind and virtually out of site. Stepping up to take the lead was Egyptian President Sisi who schooled United States Secretary of State John Kerry during the Secretary’s visit to Egypt in his tour to gather backers to follow from the lead for President Obama to stand behind. Secretary Kerry has presumably secured the backing of ten Arab governments including Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and six Gulf States, amongst them Saudi Arabia and Qatar, despite their current disagreements. There has even been some tentative support for fighting ISIS from European governments. Britain has previously said it is sending arms to Kurdish fighters who are battling the group, and is supporting American airstrikes with surveillance and intelligence and the French have offered to also provide air support in Iraq but has expectedly stated total refusal to assist with operations in any form in Syria. It remains to be seen what effect the latest beheading of David Haines, a forty-four-year-old father of two from Scotland who was working for the French aid agency ACTED, will have on the European governments now that a European has followed the two American victims of ISIS and their loathsome Islamist extremist practices.

Egyptian President Sisi discussed with Secretary Kerry that any gathered coalition of nations which has been assembled to deal with the threats posed by ISIS and their spread across Syria and Iraq and now potentially threatening Lebanon that the mission should be expanded to include others of the numerous Islamist terror entities in the Middle East and across North Africa, in particular the Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis terrorists who have taken to the Sinai and have murdered a number of Egyptian forces as well as possibly having bombed the Egyptian pipeline which provided Jordan and Israel vital energy needs. Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis was unfortunately the only other group which Egyptian President Sisi named but it can be hoped that should the targeting be broadened, as he intimated was desirable, as long as Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis was one of the additional targets, would also include such Islamist terrorist groups as Boko Haram as well as, dare we dream, Hamas, Hezballah, Islamic Jihad and even the Muslim Brotherhood along with the remains of al-Qaeda in all its disparate splinter groups across the Middle East and North Africa, the Taliban, the terrorists in the Kashmir, tribal areas of Pakistan, those operating in Yemen, Somalia, and even the groups being formed in the Western world. That, of course, would be way too much to ask, especially of President Obama who appears incapable of addressing even one single threat from abroad, let alone the plethora of Islamic groups who have resorted to violence and the sword following the laws exactly as written in the Koran and the Hadiths. There exists at least a half dozen tribal warlords causing insecurity and perpetrating violent attacks while ignoring the completely impotent government in the former nation of Libya. These same warlords and terrorists fighting within Libya have also been known to attempt and too often succeed in transferring weapons and weapons systems to Hamas and Hezballah since the United States led NATO from behind in toppling Moammar Kaddafi.

I’ll not be holding my breath as I am fully aware that President Obama only spoke of a grand plan so as to remove ISIS and their beheading off the front pages so he could tee off without a care once again. Whenever President Obama will be queried over the progress being realized and what comes next in his grand plan he will respond that he had laid out a plan that was comprehensive and that he let it be known from the very outset that the wearing down and degrade of ISIS and their ability to take and hold areas and pose a threat to the areas of the Middle East and that the plan will take a good many years to reach fruition and the media and people need to show determination and patience as results will be made even if they are not initially apparent and seen by all. Obama will claim that everything is right on track as he had promised and that everything that can and needs to be done is being addressed and we just need to stay the course. “Stay the course”, why does that sound so familiar?

It is often bemusing to me how the politicians, especially those who have the fortune of sitting in the White House, if given sufficient time will begin to sound just like their predecessors as if there is a playbook of acceptable phrases to be used in certain situations. Maybe we should be at least thankful that the phrase “Peace in our time” has been so completely devastated by its most infamous use that it now is relegated to political cartoons and comedians. I still sometime lean forward fully expecting somebody to use that phrase just because it is so well known and politicians have been known for saying the ridiculous as well as reusing worn to death phrases when they end up speaking without an actual script on the teleprompter in front of them. Fortunately, I am among those who have no difficulty and great empathy for President Obama and his dependence on a script on a teleprompter in front of him. Having run for office I get to realize the necessity at times to have such a script before you, such as when taping a spot for release or making a short video for use in the coverage of the campaign when asked for a spot by the network. Still, I preferred the forum of debates, especially those where the audience, the voters, got to ask the questions as that put me on an even playing field against my opponents who spent almost five-million-dollars each on their campaigns against my pittance by comparison.

My most treasured memory of that traumatic experience was after a question about support for the death penalty where both my liberal leaning opponents made definitive, strong statements describing in detail their unwavering opposition. Then came my turn and I spoke of the very few cases where there is no possibility to rehabilitate people who were beyond any definition of anything but evil and that needed to be permanently removed from society as anything else left the possibility, which no matter how slight was still a possibility that they would be released. I gave a few names from famous cases, not all of which resulted in death penalty being applied. During rebuttal both my opponents modified their unwavering opposition to mostly unwavering opposition accepting that there might be rare incidents where such was possibly a consideration. I barely resisted laughing hysterically; I just jumped up and screamed really? Well, I did so in my mind while remaining reserved, austere and without anything more overt than a small smirk of satisfaction. In my rebuttal I thanked in name both of my opponents for validating my position and coming around and seeing the light. Now if only the politicians could come around and see the darkness that is spreading over our planet and realize that it must be cut down and eradicated now or the price will only get higher and higher, and it has been high enough already. We only need to start adding up the cost, Madrid, New York, London, Mumbai, Bali, Washington D.C., Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Belsan and on and on. Just one question followed by the answer. What was the first high profile newsworthy terrorist strike on United States soil and how many were killed and name of the most prominent victim?

Answer: The attack took place on June 5, 1968, in Los Angeles, California, in the Ambassador Hotel’s Embassy Room ballroom just after midnight. This was the scene of the Democrat candidate for President who had just won two more primaries. Senator and Presidential hopeful Robert Kennedy was gunned down by Sirhan Sirhan who in interrogations repeatedly confessed that he was a Palestinian and was defending the Palestinians from this supporter of Israel and he had murdered Senator Robert Kennedy for political reasons and for the cause of the Palestinians. This was not emphasized and virtually untold by the media. It remains such a secret that most people I tell of this immediately demand proof and claim they will need to look this up. At least some have had the rare ability to thank me for giving them the information once they validate the information.

Beyond the Cusp

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