Beyond the Cusp

May 23, 2015

The Sad Truths About American Election 2016

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The one constant around the world is that everywhere one hears discussions about the upcoming 2016 American elections and the talk immediately turns to the potential Presidential results and how they will either improve or ruin the plans of our leaders, nations, areas, threats, trade or economies. The truth is that trying to divine the thoughts of the American public and how they will vote for in the Presidential elections is complete folly, especially if one is using the relations between in foreign affairs as their criteria. While across the globe the United States foreign policy or lack thereof is of vital importance and in many instances potentially critical and even deadly, the American public usually cannot see any further than their wallet. Yes, there are numerous Americans who understand and even use a fair degree of foreign policy knowledge and positions of Presidential candidates, I must sadly report that when we left the United States that number decreased and even with our presence in the voting booths the people voting their wallets probably outnumbered foreign policy wonks by a thousand to one if not a hundred-thousand to one. This is why the Presidential debates only have one which presumably is advertised as pertaining to foreign policy. The truth is that most of the questions end up actually being turned inside-out, upside-down and twisted all around until it actually sets the candidates attentions to foreign situations as it pertains to the effects it might have on the budget or social programs at home. Still, the choice of who will be the next President of the United States will have a determining effect on every part of the globe; it will just be whether it will be for better or worse. So, what should we seek as far as the most preferentially positive effect generally around the globe?

 

The usual rule of thumb is that a Republican President will be more involved in foreign policy than a Democrat President. This does not necessarily mean this is preferential as it also depends on whether the Republican President has advisors and other assets which drive a thoughtful and thoroughly researched foreign policy or if they have a more seat of the pants reactionary policy. An example of the former would be President Dwight David Eisenhower who though often derogatorily called a do nothing President actually was responsible for the reconstruction of Europe and the Far East policy after the fall of Japan and much of the American ascendance after World War II all while the United States enjoyed some of its best economic growth years in its history. Another President who also did well largely due to advisors was John Fitzgerald Kennedy whose advisors were very knowledgeable and who when tested by Russian President Khrushchev over the Cuban Missile Crisis set a strong and potentially dangerous posture of no nonsense strong response that eventually led to the Soviet Union to retreat from Cuba removing their missiles. Kennedy also answered the Soviet initial success and leads in the start of the space race to set the goal as the Moon and challenged the American space industries and NASA with, “We choose to go to the Moon! … We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.” On the other hand, the United States has had Presidents from both parties who were unmitigated disasters when it came to foreign policy though I will not shame any by naming them and instead allow each to choose their own examples. From the juncture where many currently observe the two Administrations under President Obama, these could easily be defined by numerous presumably traditional friends of the United States, who would, if choosing to be totally candid, would describe these as total disasters with potentially the worst yet to come. Then there are some of the worst mischief makers and oppressors or would be conquerors who likely would heap praise on President Obama’s choice to not challenge anything which might prove challenging or potentially difficult and demanding taking a principled stand.

 

So, first off, let me assure those who might be misled into believing that the Americans generally have begun to awaken and see what a disaster President Obama has been for the world as a whole, if it were somehow made possible for President Obama to run for a third term, the American public would likely reelect him and even the Jewish voters who might claim that Israel is one of their top concerns would still vote for President Obama by an easy majority likely near to sixty-five percent against thirty-five percent voting Republican. Actually, there would be a sizeable percentage of the Jewish voting public who would refuse to vote Republican and simply stay at home which is the same as voting for whichever candidate proves victorious. With this established, this fact does not bode well for the Republican Party if the American public, which is made predominantly of ‘low-information voters’ who vote pretty much as they are advised by such criteria as, my family have always voted Democrat/Republican/Whig (OK, most families who had voted for the Whig Party have moved on since then), what’s his name on Comedy Central/Saturday Night Live/the Late Show/Family Guy/South Park character, Media such as ABC/CBS/NBC/FOX/CNN/PBS/MSNBC, print media, favorite personality/close friend/boss at work/union boss or whatever ridiculous source even to include Tarot Card reader’s advice, are the mainstay of the voting public which as time has passed has become more the norm. This is partly why the politicians fight over voting rules such as removing people from voter rolls through validation techniques to remove those who have moved, died or not voted in decades or the need for picture identifications, motor voter laws, and even register to vote outside the polling place and then enter and vote or permitting prisoners to vote even from death row as there is no area not pursued as a voting base that the party who thinks something is to their advantage will not use to the utmost of their ability. So, we have established that the American voting public is not necessarily the pure cerebral and reasoned public which Thomas Jefferson, Sam Adams, or James Madison envisioned, though probably Benjamin Franklin may have had the right attitude and worldly experience to realize how far the electorate would eventually slip. So, now what?

 

The next is choosing who will most likely be the candidate for each of the two major parties. Let us start with the Republican Party and the myriad of candidates there seeking to be the candidate chosen to represent the party in the elections in November 2016. The one thing we are assured is that the Republican candidates will mostly be breaking what President Ronald Reagan called the Eleventh Commandment, do not speak ill of thy fellow Republicans. The Republican candidates will refuse to bow out until it becomes mathematically impossible for them to win the nominations and some even then will continue just in case they can make a surge from out of the blue once the delegates are freed to vote however they choose, usually around the fifth ballot or later. With all the candidates, and a fair number of top ties candidates, it is quite likely that the Republican Party may reach its convention without any one candidate with sufficient numbers of delegates to win on the first or second ballot and there may be five candidates who are all actually closely matched in candidate count with none even remotely close to a majority or even a resounding plurality. This might lead to a lengthy and harshly fought convention which will go into the fourth day or beyond without reaching some resolution or producing a candidate. There appears now that Jeb Bush will have a loyal set of establishment delegates and the ‘movers and shakers and moneyed establishment supporting him while the Tea Party and Christian Right will be divided amongst a core of select candidates including but not limited to Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Dr. Ben Carson and Scott Walker; with the likes of Marco Rubio, Rand Paul and Bobby Jindal will all have a base of support which may be sufficient to retain their hopes and finally there is Carly Fiorina who as the sole woman, might receive additional support as she is the only candidate against whom Hilary Clinton would not have the advantage of gender running to be the first American female President. The end result is whoever eventually survives the scathing attacks and fevered battle with the nomination may find themselves limping into the actual Presidential election race as damaged goods sorely injured by their own party. Oddly enough the one person who might mostly escape such infighting and scorn from their fellow Republicans might be Carly Fiorina simply because should she avoid falling prey to the gotcha media assaults most Republicans face, she could be the one without any damaged armor and slide between the barbs and arrows and prove the strongest candidate of them all and take the nomination with minimal damage and able to rally the Republican base and establishment as she belongs to neither but can make overtures to both.

 

That brings us to the Democrat Convention and the presumed coronation of Hillary Clinton as the ‘deserved one,’ the ‘chosen one.’ From the very beginning I have not believed that Hilary Clinton would survive to become the Democrat Party Presidential candidate in 2016 or ever as if she is cast aside this time it will be for good. Hillary Clinton’s most formidable and undefeatable opponent is Hillary Clinton of campaigns and offices past which will eventually make her untenable as a candidate. Her time as Secretary of State will tie her inexorably to President Obama’s disastrous foreign policy and much of the blame for President Obama’s failures will be heaped upon Hillary and she will be unable to escape this baggage. Additionally there will be the baggage from the entire Benghazi debacle, and even worse, her hearings before the Congress where the immortal words were uttered never to stop echoing in many ears where Hillary, referring to four dead Americans including two men whose heroic efforts became known making the inaction simply unacceptable and un-American and now forever tied to her stating, “With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided that they’d they go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make?” The absolute cynicism of her caustic remarks and the bald faced attempt to brush off any responsibility and to make any questions in this area as improper as that the reason for the hearings was not about those who gave their lives presumably in service of their country and for a mission which originated within the State Department, but to allow Hillary Clinton to be cleansed of any wrong-doing and to be vindicated and be lauded for striving to assure that such a situation never again presented such a deadly situation. The line of questions seeking to pinpoint blame was, in Hillary’s mind, completely out of bounds. Between Benghazi, the e-mail scandals, the missing records, scrubbed and sanitized memos and communications, Clinton Foundation contributions and influence peddling from her position as Secretary of State, foreign monies which likely were derived as payments for favors, the rise of Blumenthal communications concerning Libya where he had business interests while advising Hillary Clinton during her time as Secretary of State as well as numerous other scandals yet to surface, and Hillary Clinton is damaged even beyond the capability for the Democrat Party to attempt to repair her to make her presentable to the public. All the baggage which has been in the mainstream news about Hillary Clinton was originally being exposed now early in the process and before she announced her intentions to run for President such that it could be labelled old news already beaten to death if brought up during the campaign by the Republican side. The problem is that there seemingly is no end to the scandals as they just keep jumping out from everywhere. As the media and Democrat operatives keep attempting to put these scandals to rest and tie up all the loose ends they run into another problem and then a scandal which follows as night follows day and there is no putting this to bed as more and more loose ends keep appearing and the Hillary apologists are beginning to become somewhat short tempered as their patience dies. In the end Hillary Clinton and former President William Jefferson Clinton will be required to hang up their hopes of returning to the White House until Chelsey is old enough which will be fairly soon, so they should get her elected to some office, governor of the state of their choosing, Maryland sounds easy as does Massachusetts.

 

So, with no Hillary as their candidate, who can the Democrats turn to as their best bet? There are a number of people which have been mentioned as potential replacements should Hillary self-destruct. Former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley though his having also been Mayor of Baltimore might be a slight drawback, Vice President Biden who has a history of foot-in-mouth disease but actually would be solid in foreign policy as even if a threat he made in a speech by his going off-script the adversary would never know for sure whether or not Old Joe might actually follow through. Bernie Sanders has also declared his interest and though we agree on very little I admire his forthrightness and honesty which are very admirable qualities and he can be counted on to do what he says and say what he means. Then we have Andrew Cuomo and Howard Dean who both are known for mouths beyond their control, Al Franken also has given a definite maybe which is quite comical as well as noncommittal though he and Biden debating would make for great comedy, and finally Ms. Elizabeth Warren whose credentials, or lack thereof, are equal to those of President Obama when he took up the mantle of Democrat candidate for President with a few critical differences making her worthy of a deeper look.

 

Though Senator Elizabeth Warren has claimed she is not running, this may not be left as her choice as she has a sizable supportive following without ever overtly seeking such. She is a far superior believer in the true Progressive way of which President Obama campaigned upon in his initial 2008 campaign. She is well spoken and needs little prompting from any crutches such as a teleprompter. Senator Elizabeth Warren is quick on her feet, knows what she believes and is very comfortable in stating her views unequivocally and with great passion. She is a strong supporter for individual rights though she does appear to place too much emphasis and burden upon government for protecting individuals from failure by providing a broad and sweeping system of safety nets and she does not appear to be adverse to a guaranteed minimal wage for everybody whether they be employed or not. She favors Obamacare with some modifications making it more workable, not less dependent on government as her adjustments would bring Obamacare closer to a single payer health plan than as it currently sits. Senator Elizabeth Warren is a believer in Keynesian economics where the government is the principle engine behind the economy. She also is opposed to free trade much of the time claiming instead to stand for fair trade which she has not fully explained. She is a through and through socialist progressive and like Bernie Sanders says what she means and means what she says and always sticking to that exact path. At least she would not produce any big surprises as the Democrat candidate or a President if successfully elected. Her largest area which is unfortunately untested and unknown is foreign policy. Here she would be untested and undefined and until such could be filled in she should not be taken as a serious candidate. But as I explained, foreign policy is the last and least of things on the average American’s mind so it is quite likely that with her populist political talking points and her appeal to those dependent upon government Senator Elizabeth Warren would likely gain a large popular appeal and could breeze to the Democrat nomination once Hillary Clinton realizes she had already failed and failed miserably, but it remains to be seen if she will even be willing to be dragged thus appearing to have the nomination and run in the primaries thrust upon her rather than actively sought. Though I have little in common with Senator Elizabeth Warren’s viewpoints and fear her lack of foreign policy experience or even exposure, I find that she would have little problem being elected as the next United States President, her biggest obstacle would be attaining the Democrat nomination and that is something remaining to be seen. The final note is that the next President of the United States will be the one who emerges as the victor in the Democrat nomination and only give the Republican candidate a one in three chance at winning the general election. But there is still a race to be run and we have to have the race just to prove every prognosticator to be so wrong it is embarrassing.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

May 8, 2015

Trembling Before Societal Threats

 

What we witnessed in Garland, Texas was the intentional display of one American freedom and the necessary display of a second |American freedom. Though somewhat risky, the first freedom on display was a risky, outright, and in your face expression of free speech, the kind of free speech which Pamela Geller and Geert Wilders have both made their signatory claim to fame though I would be hard pressed to choose which has been more brazen. The third person mentioned in the coverage of the event also is no stranger to controversy though his method is through political writings where Robert Spencer has also challenged Islam and the Western World’s cowardly reaction, something extremely appropriate at this event as here too subjects and brutal truths were the theme of the day. The three are all well-known by the media and often interviewed leading up to and in the aftermath of their often edgy events or their provocative speaking engagements, but this time have been mostly left high and dry by media at both extremes of the political spectrum and many inbetween. What makes this particular series of events an interesting juxtaposition was how the First Amendment right to free speech was so appropriately protected by the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. This was proof in spades that the First Amendment would be worthless without the Second Amendment to protect it and why the Second Amendment needs to be forever protected by the First Amendment. The main spectacle displayed was the depiction on the inexorably changing media view of Draw Mohammad Cartoon events with near universal expressions and even outright support and praise across the political spectrum for the bravery of the original draw Mohammad cartoon contest when it first appeared in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten which published twelve initial editorial cartoons on September 30, 2005; which shrank to largely conservative and libertarian support for Charlie Hebdo Magazine and its slaughtered cartoonists and staff in the assault on their offices by two violent Islamist extremists in Paris, France; to the near universal condemnation from the self-proclaimed stalwarts of the conservative media as well as the liberal media, which has long held out long knives for Pamela Geller, for the event in Garland, Texas sponsored American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) of a Draw Mohammad Art Contest to honor the murdered Charlie Hebdo cartoonists. Equally craven has been the excusing of those condemning this event claiming that the main reason for the sudden timidity exhibited by much of the conservative media has to do with the proximity of the Texas event bringing the kind of threat to people attending one such event from happening in “distant” Europe and bringing it to America’s doorstep and in this they saw in this their own vulnerability to attack by similar forces over much of their former coverage of such events and this motivated the weak-kneed responses as they attempted to back away and distance themselves from such controversial and provocative events.

 

We would be remiss were we not to point out the true hero of the hour who stood single handed, out gunned and facing what must have appeared to be certain death and with the cool and steady hand one could only expect to see on a movie screen, an off-duty police officer who before his heroic stand had been assigned to traffic duty. The statement made by Garland police spokesman Joe Harn stated the obvious, “He did what he was trained to do and under the fire that he was put under, he did a very good job.” I might be tempted to go slightly beyond a “good job” in my description and be inclined to use words like heroic, herculean, courageous and the kind of actions beyond all expectations and more inclined to be witnessed performed by movie heroes than expected from one previously not apparently inclined to such heroics. The officer’s name is being withheld for his own safety and rightly so. Even so, there was a SWAT team also on location placed behind the building just in case they might prove needed, and they would have been except for the gargantuan bravado of a single man to whom many owe their lives. The two would-be jihadists were armed with, according to a law enforcement source close to the investigation, six guns, a mix of assault-style semiautomatic rifles and handguns exited their vehicle firing AK-47s, a high-powered assault style semi-automatic .30-calibre rifles against the lone armed officer with a .45-caliber Glock semi-automatic pistol. Making the standoff even more uneven was the fact the would-be jihadists were wearing full body armor leaving only limited target area vulnerable to the officer’s handgun while he at best was wearing standard police protective jacket which the rifle rounds would have torn through almost effortlessly. Still, when the smoke cleared and by the time the SWAT team arrived on scene from behind the building the lone officer who was accompanying the unarmed security person who had been responsible for checking the tickets of those entering the hall and who did receive injuries, had taken down both perpetrators and did so in under fifteen seconds. That is what is called excellent and efficient gun control, the good guy standing his ground despite being grossly overmatched in firepower and armored protection and yet calmly and coolly took down both threats presented before him. One could continue to lavish praise upon praise and still not match the acts of pure bravado and stouthearted selflessness by this sole brave individual and had preventing the two criminals from gaining entrance to the hall where events were still unfolding.

 

In the aftermath the coverage had mostly been vindictively assailing Pamela Geller claiming that she had endangered people needlessly by her provocative actions. CNN reporter Chris Cuomo accused Pamela Geller in his tweets of being guilty of hate speech is not protected by the Constitution and the First Amendment. Kudos goes to Fox News’s Megyn Kelly shooting down a guest and the host, Bill O’Reilly, on the O’Reilly Factor. According to the presumed intrepid Bill O’Reilly, “It’s always cause and effect, OK? And the cause, because they did it, the two jihadis are dead. Now I know a lot of people aren’t feeling sorry for them, and I’m certainly not either because they were trying to kill other people. However, all right, this is what happens when you light the fuse. You get violence.” This is from the ‘No Spin Zone?’ This sounds more like the ‘Centrifugal Spin Zone’ where the target of Mr. O’Reilly had shot straighter and with less spin than was evidenced on his show. Megyn Kelly’s retort ending the discussion may have appeared over the top but how else does one halt a charging O’Reilly on his own show, so she shot back, “You know what else the jihadis don’t like? They hate Jews. Should we get rid of all Jews? That’s the path we’re gonna go down if we start catering to the jihadis.” Still, she has a point even if the description was a bit coarse and over the top. Then there was one we must credit with getting it correct; Piers Morgan, somebody I likely feel about the same towards as he does Pamela Geller, but he got it right stating, “Pamela Geller is a revolting human being. I despise everything about her, and everything she stands for. Yet I also support her right to free speech.” Very well stated and framing the argument near perfectly. I believe it was attributed to Voltaire as a summation of his attitudes towards free speech where it was succinctly put, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

 

That should be the attitude of every American and every lover of freedom when it comes to free speech. Uncontroversial speech does not need protection. Popular speech needs no protection. Everyday banter at the water cooler needs little protection. Political speech, especially radical speech, that is what needs protection. Pamela Geller, Geert Wilders and Robert Spencer with their Mohammad Cartoon contest and tribute to Charlie Hebdo required protection of free speech and if the two men who came to shoot the purveyors of speech with which they disagreed had instead of baring guns and the intent to use them had instead broken out protest signs and protested replete with their speaking out against the insult they perceived, that too would have deserved protection. Where people may have been offended by somebody’s spoken word, no words spoken have ever killed somebody and if there has been speech which called for violence against others, especially if the intent was purposeful to have people thus act, that is not protected. That is true hate speech which many are attempting to equate Pamela Geller with making. Their argument falls apart under any scrutiny as the only people threatened to become victims of the speech being practiced within the convention hall in Garland, Texas, were the people inside the hall exercising free speech for which two men illegally were attempting of denying them their right to free speech. Had somebody held a counter rally outside the convention hall, they too would have been making protected free speech. But had either the people within the hall or those outside the hall called for their group to proceed to kill the others, that is not protected speech. What so many are getting confused over is the difference between ‘hate speech’ and ‘call to violence speech’. The former is protected while the latter is not protected speech. Where both are a form of hate speech, only the one calling for the commission of violence is illegal. Has everybody forgotten the fight in the courts over the Nazi Party’s plans to march through the largely Jewish community of Skokie, Illinois, outside Chicago where a Nazi concentration camp survivor brought suit to stop their march and the ACLU and some of their lawyers who happened to also be Jewish defending the Nazi right to march won the Nazis defense of their freedom of expression. The march itself never took place and their demonstrations drew less than fifty people total including the media, but they won their day in court against a Jewish man while having Jewish lawyers argue their case, a point they were quite pleased with, but they proved there can be no limit to speech provided there is not call to violence. If Jews can defend the rights for Nazis to march through Skokie, then why have so many former defenders of free speech turned out to have arguments of clay as soon as it becomes slightly dangerous to protect their freedoms? Has the desire to remain free wilted to such an extent that we now must fear the death of those freedoms? I pray not, for the United States should stand for the rights of the weak and the threatened against all threats of violence and do so steadfastly and with the bravery shown by one exemplary actions of a traffic cop who must remain nameless in Garland, Texas. Perhaps if he could depend on all Americans to stand as he did when the chips were falling, then perhaps he would not need to have his name withheld and we could celebrate this man as he deserves.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

January 5, 2015

Why Were United States Consulate Security Taking Part in a Planned Provocation?

 

The story revolving around Jewish village of Adei Ad in Samaria goes back over the years but perhaps the best starting point might be the Arab planned confrontation on Wednesday the 10th of December, 2014. During the confrontation with IDF (Israeli Defense Force) troops, an officer from the semiautonomous Arab government in Ramallah, Ziad Abu Ein, suffered a fatal heart attack. Earlier during the confrontation Ziad Abu Ein, who had previously held the post of Deputy Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs within the semiautonomous Arab government in Ramallah, had confronted several IDF soldiers though there was no corroboration of the Arab claims that the IDF troops beat him to death. The IDF forces had to resort to the use of tear gas which may have had some effects leading to his heart attack but it is fairly certain that no troops had beaten or struck Ziad Abu Ein, thus being a direct cause of his heart attack. Ziad Abu Ein was the leader of this confrontation where the IDF troops were assaulted hoping to goad them into assaulting any of the Arabs confronting the troops as there was an AFP (Agency France Press) witnessing the provocation in the hopes of capturing any Israeli use of force. Such forceful acts which the AFP camera person would have taken to display Israeli violence would have made a news report claiming that the IDF soldier’s actions were not a result of Arab provocations. This particular afternoon the IDF, as is normally the case as they have excellent training and self-discipline, did not respond to provocations thus there was no video recording an Israeli soldier using force of any kind, let alone striking Ziad Abu Ein or anybody else with their rifle butts as was claimed. There was one part of the story which was accurate and that was that IDF medical personnel responded when it was established that such was required as preserving life is their duty and responsibility in such situations when responding to provocations.

 

Moving forward in time there had been a number of other incidents where equipment or animals such as sheep and horses had been stolen by neighboring Arabs from the town. Whenever such thefts were reported the residents of Adei Ad were told the same excuse each time, namely that any criminal act from the Arab villages surrounding Adei Ad was beyond their jurisdiction and that such matters were the responsibility of the IDF. Meanwhile, the IDF would tell them this was a police matter and they should report these thefts to the police. On the other hand, every complaint filed by the Arabs after each theft claiming the Jewish settlers had attempted to steal the animals or equipment from the Arab villages were handled immediately. The most recent accusation which led to the incident which led to the standoff with the Arabs was their initial claim that the Jewish settlers from Adei Ad had uprooted five-thousand olive tree saplings. Such a claim is beyond belief yet this is what was reported Thursday night by the PA’s Bethlehem based Maan News service. Follow-up reports used a revised number of five-hundred, still a monumental feat in and of itself. Olive trees are especially difficult to uproot even with heavy farm equipment and a report of even just fifty would have been quite an accomplishment yet the claim of five-hundred has become the official Arab complaint. It is interesting that there has been no evidence of such an event, not even a photograph of a single up-rooted olive tree. This unverified incident is apparently what has been at the center of the events which culminated with the confrontation between the residents of Adei Ad and the Arabs of late.

 

That brings us to last Friday late in the afternoon just before the beginning of Shabbat. The residents witnessed a group of Arabs from one of the neighboring villages approaching their village of Adei Ad with two vehicles and some Westerners who the residents assumed were European activists as such was the most likely scenario considering that European anarchists and leftists often join in provocations with the Arab townspeople. The fact that they were approaching the town a mere two hours before sundown and the onset of Shabbat made the whole incident appear as an attempted provocation to be even more logical as often such provocations are perpetrated right before the Sabbath or during the Sabbath as such times the Israeli Jews are preparing for or observing the Sabbath and thus not as likely to be prepared to mount a response. Still, at the sign of the advancing Arabs with a contingent of others with a Western appearance and the two vehicles, some of the townspeople intercepted them to ascertain what their intentions were. The group of Arabs was determined to be several residents of the Arab village of Turmus Ayya and was approaching together with the two vehicles and some Westerners unannounced on an area within fifty meters of Adei Ad’s southwestern edge. There had been no coordination with the townspeople of Adei Ad nor with the police nor with the IDF making this appear even more so to be another confrontation potentially organized and instigated by the European appearing foreigners. This is where two contradictory story lines emerge. According to the residents of Adei Ad when the arguments became heated and voices elevated, one of the Westerners pulled his handgun and almost immediately after another Westerner stepped from one of the cars pointing an M-16 at the Jewish residents. The residents immediately called for their security personnel as this was rapidly spinning out of control. At this point the Westerners decided that a hasty retreat was in order and they all got into their vehicles and departed the scene. At this point the residents were still uncertain as to whom the armed Westerners were and it was not until investigators came to get their side of the story did they learn that their stand-off was with security personnel from the United States Consulate in Jerusalem.

 

After the Western appearing men leave the Arabs also beat a hasty retreat. Not long after the IDF arrive to investigate the reports they received from the United States Consulate security detail. It is at this point that the residents of Adei Ad learned that the Westerners were in fact Americans from the Jerusalem Consulate. When the residents report about the pulling of weapons by the American personnel they are informed that the Consulate personnel insisted that there were no weapons pulled and that the Jewish residents escalated the event. Everything has been on a heightened level since the heart attack and death of Ziad Abu Ein at a previous provocation with the IDF just south of Adei Ad, which made the standoff between the residents and the security personnel from the United States Consulate, which could have gone very wrong once the security personnel from Adei Ad arrived on the scene and witnessed the firearms at the ready which they felt very fortunately that the armed men retreated and the provocation did not result in a shootout between the two groups of armed personnel, one from Adei Ad and the other the Consulate who accompanied the Arabs from Turmus Ayya. As if things could not get any stranger, there was an interesting manner in which the meeting between the security from the American Consulate in Jerusalem had with the IDF after they reported the incident once they were clear of the area. The IDF personnel reported that the Consulate personnel appeared to act sheepish and, in an unprompted response where no question about weapons had been initiated, they immediately were insisting they hadn’t drawn their weapons during the confrontation at Adei Ad. It seemed quite strange that such a comment would be given when no mention or even reference had been approached, and have that be the first piece of evidence they had wished to establish.

 

Most of the rest of the information available were the comments made by the residents of Adei Ad to the media or to officials. There have been assurances that this investigation be continued and all evidence points to this being an ongoing investigation. Marc Prowisor, a resident of the nearby town of Shiloh as well as being Director of the One Israel Fund charity which helps secure local communities state that the latest confrontation posed some “difficult questions.” He asked, “Were members of the American Consulate knowingly taking part in a larger provocation: which is against the law?” We can only assume the answer to his question is that it is against the law and even if not, it is definitely something that on revue can only be determined to be against the better thought for presumably trained United States Consulate personnel who should be aware of sensitivities in these matters. A member of the Adei Ad security detail commented asking to remain anonymous pointed to the fact that he observed an American “with ginger hair” was seen pointing his pistol at the unarmed residents from inside of his car after rolling down the window. The other armed man then did the same with an M-16 rifle. This was when the situation threatened to get out of control. Fortunately for all involved the Americans retreated into their vehicles and left the scene after which the Arabs from the town of Turmus Ayya also chose to leave hastily. He also pointed out, “News spread that some people had approached the town with weapons, and they called us.” He followed up pointing out that luckily “at that point it seems like the Americans thought it would be a good time to leave… and after that there was a brief confrontation between the Arabs and residents (of Adei Ad) until the army arrived.” He also was confused and asked as to, “Why didn’t they call anyone while the confrontation was going on?” Yes, why did they not call during the event or even better yet, why did they not call and arrange for the entire episode be escorted by IDF personnel to guard against anything like what transpired. It begs the question as to were the people from the United States Consulate intending to cause a confrontation for some unfathomable reason or were the Arabs hoping to cause a shootout between the Jewish residents of Adei Ad and the security personnel from the American Consulate to cause an international incident in the hopes of causing Israel to have increased difficulties with the United States? This would be especially troubling seeing as the Israelis are in the midst of an election cycle and the Knesset has been dissolved until new elections are held March 17.

 

The residents of Adei Ad were quite willing to give a more complete picture of the recent events. The Consulate delegation had apparently been “invited” by Palestinian Arabs from Turmus Ayya to be witness to the uprooted olive tree saplings, as to whether the number of trees would be five-thousand, five-hundred, fifty or just five was undeterminable. It also appears that a number of the residents of the Arab town of Turmus Ayya have American citizenship which was presumably why the Consulate was so interested in making witness to the grievous complaint in the case made for the visitation to be able to verify the Arab claims of an “attack” by Adei Ad residents on their olive orchard. With the escalation causing the retreat of the Consulate personnel before they could be shown the damaged orchard and the trees strew on the ground, there has still been no independent verification of the evidence of the alleged damage. The residents of Adei Ad are livid claiming that the whole affair was clearly a planned provocation and have expressed their astonishment at the conduct of the Consulate personnel with their brandishing firearms in such a threatening manner. They are also quite concerned that armed personnel from anywhere would appear with Arabs approaching their areas where it is known that there are contested claims and accusations making the area a highly volatile situation into which foreign intervention being made without any notification to the IDF, police or the security or other personnel from Adei Ad arranging for their presence in the first place. The heightened situation has caused the Arabs to demand IDF protection when they tend to their fields claiming they fear assaults from the Jewish residents from Adei Ad while also lodging complaints against the residents of Adei Ad every time there has been a theft or damage to equipment by the Arabs against the property of the people of Adei Ad simply to force the police to weigh counter claims when the residents in Adei Ad file a complaint siting damaged equipment or worse, stolen animals and equipment. This tactic is practice of making a complaint immediately after stealing property or damaging crops or other items by the Arabs against Jewish farmers in Judea, Samaria and the Galilee. This practice is reinforced as the police simply use the Arab claim as a tool to claim both sides report similar harm and nothing resulted from investigations thus the matter is dropped.

 

One of the Jewish residents of Adei Ad explained the reasoning as to why they suspected this was a provocation and not an attempt to gain witness to the damaged olive trees explaining, “The Arabs know that if they want to come that close to Adei Ad to do agricultural work they need to let the army know first to escort them. So any time Arabs approach without army supervision (particularly in that place where two weeks ago there was a serious incident with the heart attack and resulting death of Ziad Abu Ein) that’s a sign that they are coming to cause trouble… to attack or damage property.” He further expressed a complaint shared by many of his fellow residents stating, “We receive no backing from the police. Every time there is an incident of robbery by the Arabs the military refuses to deal with it because they don’t look at it as life-threatening; and the police… they tell us that it’s out of their jurisdiction. On the other hand, every time the Arabs steal something or cause trouble they then go and report us to the police, that’s how they work, so it’s always a one-sided investigation, because the police claim they have no jurisdiction over the Arab villages, only over us! No one has ever been charged, no property has ever been returned.” He explained the attitude of he and his fellow residents both in Adei Ad and the other surrounding Jewish towns pointing out, “We have much better things to do with our lives; we have our children and families, and we have jobs. We don’t enjoy going out and having rock-throwing fights… no one seems to realize… but we feel we are under threat and that if we don’t do it the next step is a terrorist attack.”

 

That brings us back to the incident with the Arabs’ attempt to provoke an incident between the residents and the American security personnel which would have caused an ‘event of difficulty’ between the Israeli government and the United States government, particularly between Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama, a strained relationship which does not need help in causing difficulties, as well as causing strife between the Israeli officials and the residents of Adei Ad for embroiling them in a tense situation with the United States. That leaves us at the ensuing investigation which will pit the word of the residents of Adei Ad against the denials of the American Consulate in Jerusalem. Thus far the residents and security responders from Adei Ad all agree that the United States Consulate personnel drew weapons while the Consulate has denied any weapons were drawn during the standoff. The investigation is proceeding but our bet is that the result will be indeterminate and will draw no conclusions about weapons and whether they were drawn or had no part in this unfortunate turn of events, a similar statement will be made by the Americans and everybody can continue on and no hard feelings all around. I do love happy endings.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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