Beyond the Cusp

February 2, 2014

Can Israel Afford to Risk Peace?

Filed under: 1949 Armistice Line,1967 Borders,Act of War,Administration,al-Qaeda in Gaza,Amalekites,Anti-Israel,Anti-Semitism,Anti-Zionist,Appease Islamic Interests,Appeasement,Arab Appeasement,Arab World,Arabs,Bombing,Casualties,Civilization,Condemning Israel,Conflict Avoidnce,Divided Jerusalem,Domestic NGOs,Economic Sanctions,European Pressure,Fatah,Forced Solution,Foreign Funding,Foreign NGOs,Gaza,Government,History,Holy Sites,IDF,International Politics,Iran,Israel,Israeli Capital City,Jerusalem,Jewish Heritage,Jewish Home,Jewish Leadership,Jewish State,Jews,John Kerry,Judaism,Judea,Judean Hills,Mahmoud Abbas,Mainstream Media,Meaning of Peace,Media,Media Bias,Media Censorship,Middle East,Mortar Attacks,Murder Israelis,Muslims,Old City,Palestinian,Palestinian Authority,Palestinian Pressures,Peace Process,Politics,Post-Zionist,Pre-Conditions,Prime Minister,Promised Land,Recognize Israel,Response to Terrorism,Right of Return,Rock Throwing,Rocket Attacks,Saeb Erekat,Samaria,Sanctions,Sanctions (BDS),Sderot,Security,Settlements,Statehood,Strong Sanctions,Suicide Bomber,Syria,Tel Aviv,Temple Mount,Terror,Terrorist Release,Third Intifada,Threat of War,United Nations Presures,United States,United States Pressure,West Bank,Western Wall,World Opinion,World Pressures,Zionism,Zionist — qwertster @ 3:37 AM
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United States Secretary of State Kerry once again yesterday stated plainly the threat he promises faces Israel if a peace agreement is not reached with the Palestinians by the end of the current negotiations. This threat does not matter whether it is Israel or the Palestinians who refuse to make peace, either way Israel will be the target of a world-wide boycott and political isolation. The threat was covered in an article in Arutz Sheva as follows, “US Secretary of State John Kerry on Saturday threatened Israel that a failure in the peace talks would lead to global boycotts and delegitimization of the Jewish state.” So, the consequences of not reaching a peace agreement have been spelled out in plain language such that everybody in the Knesset and Prime Minister’s Office have a succinct and accurate appraisal of the risks involved in the negotiations failing. The difficulty with this threat situation is that there has been no reciprocal threat of consequences placed on the Palestinian side of the negotiations. This places Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinians in a rather unique and enviable position regarding the negotiations. Now the Palestinians threat of a third intifada is not the only consequence of not reaching a peace and they obviously know they sit with a huge advantage in these negotiations. Now when Abbas, Erekat, Rabbo, Shtayyeh and whomever else may represent the Palestinians make demands that Israel must meet or claims of Israeli obligations as they perceive them, Israel will have to consider the consequence of refusing even the most radical of impositions as doing so could result in the Palestinians resigning and ending the negotiations resulting in Israel being condemned, embargoed, boycotted, isolated and removed from the community of nations for all intents and purposes. This consequence allows the Palestinians to make any demand with impunity as they need but simply threaten to cut off the negotiations to force Israel to consider the alternatives and the impossibility in denying meeting absolutely any Palestinian demand.

 

There are those who will claim that what could be so horrendous a concession that Israel might risk isolation rejecting making peace because the demand is beyond any sane consideration. Truthfully, there are a number of demands which have previously been made by the Palestinians both as actual points within negotiations and others in speeches, announcements, their media and to reporters from around the world which Israel would have to be suicidal to accept. A few examples would include the “Right of Return” for over five million Palestinian inundating Israel changing the demographics bringing Israel as the state for the Jewish People to an end, demanding sole proprietary rights to the Judean and Samarian water table claiming a major aquifer from which Israel receives water for drinking and irrigation, the ability to raise a military and hold training exercises with whomever they should desire resulting in massed armies bordering the heart of Israel, and the greatest demand that Israel surrender the entirety of what the Palestinians claim is their ancient homeland defined as stretching from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. As is plainly obvious, the Palestinians have a collection of demands they could press all of which would result in the complete and permanent destruction of Israel as it is known today yet refusing any one of these demands could result in Israel’s complete isolation makes refusal far more problematic.

 

But even if Secretary of State Kerry were to nullify any of such demands and protect Israel from Palestinian undue and overtly malicious demands which would knowingly result in denial of Israel being recognized as the homeland of the Jewish People, which could be done under the demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as such, there are still considerations of the ramifications of having to meet sufficient Palestinian demands in an effort to facilitate an Abbas signature on an actual agreement. It is obvious that Secretary of State Kerry willingly is allowing for a situation where the Palestinians are virtually guaranteed to succeed in imposing their maximalist demands with a fair intention of forcing Israeli capitulation on all but the obviously most egregious. There is one demand which Secretary Kerry has made obvious that Israel must meet and that is the surrender of East Jerusalem and it is expected that the Palestinians will demand that every Israeli living within those borders be removed making several thousand Jews into homeless refugees. Additionally, Secretary Kerry has implied that Israel will only be permitted to retain at best 80% of the communities from within Judea and Samaria which will produce anywhere from seventy-five-thousand to two-hundred-thousand homeless Israeli refugees in addition to those from East Jerusalem. This demand on Israel carries a further ramification which for many Israelis will be more damaging than the refugees, the loss of the ability to visit the Western Wall or the Temple Mount. Even if the “Holy Basin” is made an international zone, which nation will be willing to place their troops in East Jerusalem to protect the rights of Jews and Christians to have access to their holy sites within those holy grounds? Any foreign troops placed in the areas around the Temple Mount and other areas within East Jerusalem would be making their troops targets of opportunity for terrorists. This would result very rapidly to the negation of the status of international area allowing for Jews, Christians and other non-Muslims to visit their holy locations. These are but a few examples of the possible difficult choices which not only could result but are likely to result from Israel being forced to negotiate from a weakened and indefensible position being under direct threat no matter who the fault lies with should negotiations fail.

 

But let us assume that a near perfect peace is finalized which guarantees the right for access to every religion’s holy sites, Israeli retention of a majority of their disputed communities with land swaps acceptable to the Palestinians, a partial and readily absorbed representative “Right of Return” for Arab refugees, Israel recognized as the state for the Jewish People, a sworn end to the conflict and no unresolved issues. Then what follows? As has been pointed out endlessly, Israel will have a mere nine mile wide central area between the Palestinian State and the Mediterranean Sea leaving no strategic depth in which to react to an aggression before an invading army would enter and hold central Israel including Tel Aviv, Netanya, Herzliyya and Ben Gurion International Airport as well as the vast majority of Israeli industry, population, infrastructure and other vital instillations and bases. But even if there was not an invasion, the fact that the Judean highland ridges overlook this same area allowing for line of sight targeting for rockets, artillery, and other projectile weapons, central Israel could be turned into a live-fire zone with extreme accuracy made possible due to the terrorists staging from the high ground. Should one Qassam, Grad, Katyusha or larger rocket were to impact central Tel Aviv once a week it would bring the Israeli economy to a screeching halt. Even worse would be the loss of one passenger airliner being shot every month down using a MANPADs (Man-portable air-defense system) system, Israeli tourism and much more would be devastated. Exactly for how long would the world be demanding Israel show restraint in the face of what would assuredly be described as minor terror attacks which cause few casualties, almost negligible fatalities and insignificant damage. Unlike the smaller rockets which were the full range until recently fired from Gaza which were only capable of reaching Sderot, Netivot, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Kibbutzim and some smaller communities, these very same rockets will be capable of striking Tel Aviv, Netanya and the rest of the heart located in central Israel. Where launches originating in Gaza could mostly be aimed solely at wide open areas where the majority of the lands were uninhabited while should they be fired from the entire range of Judea and Samaria they would be striking heavily populated areas and thus causing significant damages and potentially fatalities and other casualties. Such aggressive attacks would soon force Israel to counter militarily to end what could only be described as a reign of terror in a similar manner as was used to bring an end to the deadly attacks of the second intifada.

 

This is the eventuality which is the most frightening, a military assault into Judea and Samaria (West Bank) to remove the terror threats and bring the firing of rockets on Tel Aviv and the surrounding heart of Israel to an end. Such an offensive in and of itself poses some very dangerous circumstances and necessitates a large mobilization of reserves preparing for the worst case scenario. With Mahmoud Abbas being invited to Tehran to meet with the Iranian leadership, we can assume that he will return with an agreement from Iran similar to the kinds of agreements Iran has with Hamas in Gaza, Hezballah in Lebanon and Bashir Assad in Syria. With a defensive pact from Iran which would promise complete support with whatever was necessary in any confrontation with Israel, Abbas and the terrorist entities in the West Bank, both allied with Fatah and others, would be emboldened thus permitting and producing more attacks be they from rockets, mortars, MANPADs, sniper fire, IEDs (improvised explosive devices), suicide bombings, car and truck bombs and other terrorist methods of attack. This would force an Israeli military response which would then quite possibly initiate a response from Iran using both their allies in the neighboring areas around Israel as well as reinforcements being sent to the West Bank to provide direct assistance. This would expand the conflict to beyond the West Bank and would include attacks from Gaza, the Sinai Peninsula, Lebanon and possibly Syria. What this would make possible would be the utilization, according to Israel’s Chief of Military Intelligence, Major General Aviv Kohav, “We call this period in time the “Era of Fire”, in light of the amount of missiles and rockets we face as a constant threat. There are about 170,000 rockets and missiles that threaten Israel. The fighting in Syria, as well as operation ‘Pillar of Defense’, has resulted in a slight decrease.  However, it will increase again. For the first time the enemy now has the ability to hit Israeli cities hard.” Major General Kohav continued adding, “We cannot continue to call Hezbollah a terror group. They have over 100,000 rockets and missiles, some of them advanced. The same can be said of Hamas. The line between a terror organization and a military organization continues to blur. Today, Israel is threatened with warheads that contain half a ton of explosives – but also warheads that contain 900 kilograms of explosives. Our enemies are working on procuring weapons systems in the air and on the sea to break through our Air Force and Navy. IAF pilots can no longer move freely toward their targets and have to dodge missiles that threaten them.” When one adds the growing confrontation in Syria drawing jihadist radical terrorists from throughout the Arab and Muslim worlds, this only adds to the threats sitting on Israeli borders.

 

By making sufficient concessions, conceding sufficient territories, uprooting near unbearable numbers of Israelis from their homes and communities, capitulating to surrender eastern Jerusalem and the Temple Mount and Western Wall along with numerous other holy sites thus placing them beyond our reach and disallowing any hope to again visit and pray at these places, and whatever else Secretary of State Kerry and the Palestinians determine is a necessity to consummate a peace accord, Israel will be setting herself in a position where her ability to defend herself will be compromised and the need to do so made horrifyingly imminent. Add to this the almost guaranteed escalation by Iran and her proxy armies in all of the surrounding lands and you have the makings of an escalating conflagration which nobody can predict with any degree of certainty how far it will eventually evolve into. The position being thrust upon Israel in the name of peace will not produce a lasting peace and has only the slightest of chances of producing even one year of relative quiet before the flames of war engulf the region. The words of warning given by Winston Churchill speaking about the declaration by Neville Chamberlain when defending the signing of the Munich Accords in 1938 pronouncing that it had produced “peace in our time,” to which Churchill replied, “(They) had to choose between war and dishonour. They chose dishonour. They will have war.” Today Secretary Kerry is playing British Prime Minister Chamberlain and Israel is still searching for her Winston Churchill, may that quest soon find fulfillment and give us all hope.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

January 30, 2014

Fears About Kerry Intimidation of Netanyahu Appear Valid

There are some among us who have expressed fears that Prime Minister Netanyahu might choose to follow the exact same route blazed by the late Ariel Sharon when he formed a new party in order to facilitate the Gaza disengagement. Now we are witnessing a purely manufactured controversy revolving into a confrontation between the Prime Minister and the nationalist hardliners in the coalition. The entire flare-up was started by a planned leak from the Prime Minister’s Office that Netanyahu was about to announce a new plan which would permit any of the Israelis living in the settlements which were going to be turned over to form the Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria could simply remain in their homes and be placed under Palestinian rule. This, unsurprisingly, evoked some rash outbursts and responses from many nationalist Knesset Ministers, all of them from within the ruling coalition and some from the Likud which is the Prime Minister’s own party. The Prime Minister’s Office chose to take umbrage with only one of the dissenting Ministers, Naftali Bennett, the leader of the Jewish Home Party and the Economy and Trade Minister. What makes the choice by Prime Minister Netanyahu of Naftali Bennett curious, as Deputy Transportation Minister Tzipi Hotovely, Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon, Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin, and Deputy Minister Ofir Akuni, all members of Prime Minister’s Likud Party, all made similar statements of outrage and disbelief about the leaked statement from the Prime Minister’s Office and none were called out for their opposition statements.

 

When one adds the leaked information that Secretary of State Kerry has a draft of a plan which will include demands for Israel to surrender half of Jerusalem in order for the Palestinians to use as their capital city and force the Palestinians to at least state that they recognize Israel as the State for the Jewish People, this entire confrontation takes on an ominous note. It is interesting that the Israelis are going to be required to surrender all of Judea and Samaria with only those land swaps agreed to by the Palestinians while all the Palestinians are going to be required to do is state they recognize Israel as the home for the Jews, a statement they can recant ten seconds later and return to their resistance and terrorist ways, something which should be expected by any thinking person familiar with the history of the entire Arab Israeli conflict which started back in the mid to late 1800s. Perhaps the claims that the leaked plan to allow Israelis living in the settlements to remain in their homes and live under the Palestinian state was exactly as the Prime Minister’s Office claimed, to rope the Palestinians into rejecting the idea outright and demand one more time, as if nobody had heard them the first half million times, that no Jews would be permitted to reside, visit or set foot in the Palestinian controlled lands. This was supposed to make the point to whom? John Kerry? President Obama? Who? Anybody who cared about the Palestinian refusal has heard it sufficient number of times to have memorized the many different ways it has been stated by Abbas, Erekat and numerous other Palestinian spokespersons. But even if we give the Prime Minister the benefit of the doubt and agree that this was a brilliant ploy to reveal the otherwise hidden Palestinian rejectionist attitude to a Jewish presence in their state, why would they target only the leader of one of the member parties of the coalition and basically ignore the others? This leads to only one reason, to make a case for removing the Jewish Home Party from the coalition to make room for another party. It is of some interest that the Labor Party did entertain the idea of joining the coalition should the Jewish Home Party leave the coalition in order to support the continuation of the peace process. The only remaining question is would there be sufficient sized revolt by nationalist Ministers from within Likud that the coalition would still fail.

 

That is where the formation of a new party that would be populated with those Likud Ministers who support accepting whatever the Prime Minister plans to do when Kerry attempts to force a solution sometime between now and middle April and other politicians and members from other parties just as Ariel Sharon had done in order to facilitate the Gaza disengagement. If the Gaza disengagement was nothing short of a disaster, what would a disengagement from Judea and Samaria pose? As Mark Langfan has displayed with cogent maps; Israel would be vulnerable to rockets raining down on Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Netanya, and the heart of Israeli population centers and vast majority of its economic resources as well as easy range to bring down any air traffic in or out of Ben Gurion International Airport. This situation would be inevitable and come to fruition as soon as the IDF was no longer allowed a presence in Judea and Samaria and losses their intelligence network which they currently possess and have in place. Additionally, the probability that Hamas along with Islamic Jihad, al-Qaeda in Gaza, Salafists and whatever other terror groups currently inhabit Gaza would replace Abbas and the Palestinian Authority. What makes this even more important is that any agreement made with the Palestinian Authority will not be honored by any Palestinian once the Palestinian Authority has been removed from power and trust that they will be removed from power within months if not weeks or days or hours after the IDF and Israelis have departed. What follows after the first rocket strikes a building in central Tel Aviv or a plane is downed while on approach to Ben Gurion Airport will be touted throughout the General Assembly as the horrific assault by the Israelis on innocent Palestinians? Whether or not the Europeans will join the rabble that is the majority of those in the General Assembly is a good question. What the reaction by United States President Obama, Secretary of State Kerry and Secretary of Defense Hagel have, or should we inquire how long before they demand Israel stand down and show restraint and understand that it will take time before the Palestinians accept the wonderful peace plan and stop launching rockets and attacking Israel. How many nations will claim that obviously the Israelis, or the Jews, started the violence without any real provocation’ after all, what’s a few small rockets every now and then. We have heard these exact screams from these exactly same places whenever Israel responds to the rockets fired out of Gaza at southern Israeli communities. Why should any Israeli expect any difference when the rockets hit Tel Aviv instead of Sderot? Pray that this situation is never ever allowed to come to pass as the end results are something that should be unthinkable to any sane person.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

December 30, 2013

Kerry Returning to Israel to Pressure Both Sides

United States Secretary of State Kerry is returning just after the New Year to force both sides to accept a peace plan that neither side desires. Some might claim that if both sides appear equally displeased then it must be a fair deal. But is that really the case? That depends on the reasons the two sides disapprove of the plan that Kerry is pushing. As the plan is rumored to sit currently it calls for Israel to return virtually all of Judea and Samaria, the West Bank, and the making of the Old City and Temple Mount and Western Wall areas into an international city with a yet to be disclosed formula for responsibilities in caring for these areas. The plan supposedly calls for Israel to temporarily retain control over the Jordan Valley with it being turned over to third party troops within the first three to five years and eventually being turned over to the Palestinian state after ten years. So, what are the reservations and disagreements by each side?

 

Israel fears a rehash of the Gaza disengagement where soon after the IDF and Israeli citizens were removed from their neighborhoods, bases, farms, greenhouses and lives, Hamas forcefully took control of Gaza after executing a violent and bloody coup kicking out the Palestinian Authority forces in less than a week of fighting. After that, the European moderators who were supposed to guard against import of weapons and other terror related items and people from the Sinai Peninsula into Gaza fled after being threatened by Hamas terrorist forces. All of this resulted in thousands upon thousands of rockets and mortar rounds being launched into southern Israel causing deaths and destruction of property. This has led to two major IDF incursions into Gaza to destroy as much of the terror infrastructure as possible before ending the offensives. Both of these incursions were roundly criticized by the European Union, United Nations General Assembly, the Arab League and many others. Of course none of these entities had bothered themselves with denouncing the firing of rockets and mortars into Israel which led to these incursions. The protests by the European Union were doubly detestable as they not only had refused to denounce the bombardments of Israeli communities, but had also pulled the inspectors they had promised would monitor the Gaza-Egypt border within the first few weeks after the agreement was reached ending the Israeli presence in Gaza and the removal of every Israeli and the entirety of the IDF forces which had patrolled Gaza and the Gaza-Egypt border. Should Israel now commit to another disengagement, this time from Judea and Samaria, and the West Bank is turned into a larger and more dangerous Gaza launching rockets and mortars into Israel, the entirety of Israeli industry and three quarters of Israeli population would fall within range of such attacks. Should the West Bank become a second Gaza then Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Ashdod, Netanya, Haifa and numerous others would become uninhabitable. Israel would have no other alternative other than to retake the entire region and suffer the protestations of the world as it is better to live under the world’s scorn than to die in order to receive kind eulogies.

 

Still, if one believes that Israel has problems with Secretary Kerry’s grand scheme, they are insignificant compared to the problem Mahmoud Abbas faces. Should the Palestinian Authority allow any peace plan to be implemented the leadership would be murdered within a matter of days if not hours or even minutes. Chairman Abbas is fully aware what his fate would be in the aftermath of any peace accord he signs with Israel. There would be a contest between Fatah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, al-Qaeda in Gaza and numerous other terrorist groups as to who could kill Abbas fastest. Any peace accord imposed on the Palestinians would seal the end of the Palestinian Authority as we know it with Hamas and Islamic Jihad as the two most powerful groups vied for control as they danced on the corpse of the Palestinian Authority. Any idea that imposing a peace accord between Israel and the Palestinian Authority would result in anything other than the beginning of a new Arab-Israeli war is foolishness. Within hours of the removal of the IDF from Judea and Samaria the leaders of the Palestinian Authority would very likely be facing the guns of their own security forces who would turn on them as their best possibility of staying alive once Hamas or Islamic Jihad executed their plans to take control of the West Bank. Abbas is well aware that the IDF presence in Judea and Samaria is very likely the only thing preventing his assassination, and even with the IDF Abbas probably dares not enter certain areas without a large security contingent made up of very trusted troops.

 

The question that needs to be put to Secretary of State Kerry is would he offer to remain in Ramallah and assist Mahmoud Abbas with the preparations for elections. Such a simple task should not take more than a couple of weeks. That should be just about enough time for Abbas to arrange for Secretary Kerry to escort him to the United States where he could enter the witness protection program as that would be the only chance he would have of seeing his next birthday. As much of a mental lightweight as Secretary of Kerry appears to be, it is doubtful he would be anywhere near the Middle East, especially the West Bank, to witness his grand plan be put in place. No, Secretary Kerry would be ensconced safely in his Washington DC office on Capitol Hill watching the ensuing carnage that his grand plan initiated. Hopefully, Netanyahu and Abbas will manage to scuttle the Kerry plan and the status-quo will continue. Anything else at this juncture would lead directly to a war in very short order. Still, Kerry returns next week and he is bringing his plan. Let the games begin.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

We would like to extend our thanks and recognize OyiaBrown, one of our dedicated followers, for her contributions to the research for this article.

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