Beyond the Cusp

August 13, 2014

So Many Ceasefires and No Peace

The conflict initiated by Hamas when after their abduction of three teenage boys and their murders was followed by an ever increasing numbers of rockets launched from within Gaza onto numerous Israeli civilian areas from Sderot just across the Gaza border all the way to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Netanya, Haifa and beyond forcing an Israeli military response is currently in yet another tentative ceasefire. It has almost seemed as if there is a new ceasefire announced every few days and often even multiple times per day when the conflict is hot. This is even more evidenced on those all too frequent times when only the Israelis are attempting to observe an announced ceasefire and some combinations of the terrorist groups populating Gaza have refused to accept that ceasefire. Things can get confusing when there are several, possibly as many as a dozen, separate terrorist entities each with their own hierarchy with some having factions which may act independent from the rest of the main body. There have been a couple of times where Hamas has initially claimed they are honoring the ceasefire but cannot be held responsible for the actions of the other groups they claim are beyond their control. Each case eventually proved out that Hamas had also not been holding to the ceasefire but had simply attempted to muddy the waters in an effort to prevent Israel from any retaliatory strikes, a ploy that soon became mute as Israel carried through on their threat to hold Hamas as the governing power in Gaza responsible for any rockets or other transgressions of any ceasefire. Even so there were those brief pauses by Israel even when a ceasefire resulted initially to be held to unilaterally by Israel in the hope that those initial transgressions would be curtailed and a lull would actually take hold. This was often a hope which fell into the dustbin of false hopes as the rockets raining down only increased going forward. The world has demanded that Israel answer for why these ceasefires have not progressed, as the world believes they should, to a permanent agreement to restore the peace, or at least a level of violence the world can comfortably ignore as Israel was not forced to respond as it is only the Israeli actions of self-defense which animates the self-appointed paragons of moral relative truths to rise up and express their indignations.

That answer was provided early yesterday in a press release from the military leadership of Hamas known as the Al-Qassam Brigades stating about the Egyptian negotiations that, “The warriors in Gaza are waiting with Allah’s help to renew the fighting, or to return to planning the next campaign. There’s no escape. Either jihad or planning.” The Hamas leadership in Gaza has expressed their disappointment with the Egyptians, being the neutral party, being the intermediary entity in the negotiations. This was reinforced by Palestinian Authority spokesperson Mustafa Sawaf, considered to be one of the closest leaders aligned with Hamas, who instructed the negotiation team in Cairo, which is comprised of Hamas and Palestinian Authority members, to go home immediately refusing to continue in negotiations mediated by Egypt. Mr. Sawaf defined the Egyptian efforts to be, “the basic delaying source preventing an agreement.” He even went so far as to threaten Arab League Secretary-General Nabil El-Araby not to make a solidarity visit to Gaza intimating, “El-Araby will not be received warmly, and Gaza residents will hit him and his delegation.” Sawaf went so far as to claim that Arab residents of Gaza now view the Arab League as being a, “partners to the slaughter,” an accusation purporting that they support the Israeli counter-terror Operation Protective Edge.

Should the Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Palestinian Authority negotiators heed the pronouncements from Mustafa Sawaf we can expect this conflict not to wane until Hamas and the other terrorist groups have run out of rockets to launch into Israel and not one moment before. This is what much of the coverage of this conflict have reported completely backwards laying the blame on Israel for refusing to compromise and meet Hamas’s demands at least part way. This demand is asking for Israel to meet Hamas part way in granting what would be suicidal concessions by Israel. It matters little whether Israel ends their naval blockade allowing for inspection of all goods into Gaza for weapons or if they permit Hamas to reopen the international airport in Gaza permitting flights to fly into and out of Gaza freely without any restrictions on the goods they transport and a way to enforce such restrictions. Either way, Hamas and the other terrorist groups would gain access to whatever weapons systems they could afford or their allies wished to provide them. How long after Hamas gains an unimpeded and inspection free avenue to import goods before they receive all the modern weaponry their heart desire? The delay would depend almost exclusively on how long it would take for either aircraft or ships to be loaded and arrive in Gaza and not a second longer. Imagine Hamas armed with AT-4 Spigot or AT-5 Spandrel Anti-Tank Light Infantry Missiles, MANPADS Man Portable Air Defense Systems,  MI-28 Havoc Russian attack helicopter or the KA-52 Alligator Attack Helicopter or possibly the Chinese WZ-10 Attack Helicopter & WZ-19, and possibly with time fighter aircraft such as Russian Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-25, Mikoyan MiG-29, Sukhoi Su-30 or even the T-50 Sukhoi PAK FA as well as possibly the Chinese J-10 Chengdu or even the Chengdu J-20 and not only attacking Israel in the most costly war Israel would ever have to fight, but also sharing their newfound armaments with the Muslim Brotherhood in their assaults to retake control of Egypt and then beyond. Allowing Hamas to gain unrestricted importation of whatever their devious black hearts’ desire and what would follow would make ISIS sweeping and slaughtering their way across Iraq seem absolutely tame and inconsequential. What granting Hamas such access to weaponry would produce would be an alliance between Hamas and every other Sunni Islamist extremist terrorist groups including ISIS, al-Qaeda, Boko Haram and any others at the price of their funding the arming of what would really make for the new Caliphate. Sometimes the leadership of the world appears to be totally populated by morons who have absolutely no ability to foresee the results of their actions. Fortunately, in Israel the people will rise up and meet any need to instruct our leaders when they decide the time to try national suicide have arrived because their past mistakes failed to produce that result. Still, they often do not listen, thus the Gaza disengagement. Still, there are those throughout the world pressing Israel to meet Hamas half way and only commit suicide half way. Not sure if suicide can be performed merely half way without completing the act becoming self-fulfilling, so perhaps that would be a bad concession to make.

Beyond the Cusp

July 2, 2014

Tribute to Three Beloved Teens

The three abducted Israeli teenagers, Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Sha’ar and Naftali Frenkel, were found murdered late Monday afternoon. Their bodies had been disposed of in three shallow graves near the Hevron locations which had been under intense searches since their disappearance over two weeks before. A number of national leaders expressed their sympathies and gave condolences to the families with heartfelt words of kindness and compassion. Then there were those who expressed semi sympathetic words which lost most of their meaning as they were followed by other thoughts which stole from their words any kind content.


One official stated, “There can be no justification for the deliberate killing of civilians.” Then this person of leadership stated that they had “hopes Israeli and Palestinian authorities will work together to bring the perpetrators swiftly to justice, and extends his deepest sympathy to the families of the victims.” This would had been wonderful had their office not followed the quotes stating that this official “believes this heinous act by enemies of peace aims to further entrench division and distrust and to widen the conflict. It must not be allowed to succeed. He calls on all parties to abide by their obligations under international law and to refrain from any actions that could further escalate this highly tense situation.”


Another national leader gave words of sympathy expressing the sympathies of his country’s peoples adding, “…I extend my deepest and heartfelt condolences to the families of Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Sha’ar, and Naftali Frenkel…” This leader extended a personal touch showing his deepest understandings stating, “As a father, I cannot imagine the indescribable pain that the parents of these teenage boys are experiencing.” They added again the national thoughts adding that the nation “condemns in the strongest possible terms this senseless act of terror against innocent youth. From the outset, I have offered our full support to Israel and the Palestinian Authority to find the perpetrators of this crime and bring them to justice, and I encourage Israel and the Palestinian Authority to continue working together in that effort.” Then came the part which just spoiled the entire servings of sympathy and understanding of the grief and pain on a national level in Israel, and could have pained the parents during their time of deepest suffering when they added, “I also urge all parties to refrain from steps that could further destabilize the situation.”


Finally, there is one agency which made similar conditional statements, the United States Department of State. The State Department did refer to the murders as a “tragedy.” Then they went and demanded that “both sides to maintain patience and restraint,” and urged Israel and the Palestinian Authority to continue their security cooperation. There was not condemnation of Hamas or critique of the wisdom of Mahmoud Abbas having agreed to form a unity government with Hamas. There was no condemnation of the full forced attempts called for, encouraged, and held up as patriotic and exemplary the obstructions and impediments by the Palestinian population within Hevron working to prevent the success of the IDF units searching for the abducted teens. There was no mention of the probability that the Palestinian Authority as a unity government including Fatah and Hamas knew the location of the youths’ corpses and ignored any responsibility to inform the Israeli government of their location. There were absolutely no denunciations of the complete and total lack of cooperation throughout the entirety of the ordeal while exhorting their people to take all possible opportunities to obstruct the search efforts. Also there was no mention of the fact that since the abductions there had been over seventy rockets fired from Gaza into Israel by the Hamas section of the new Palestinian Authority unity government.


Within Israel there is a general numbness and shock despite the reasoning that with each day that passed the probability that things would have a horrific ending, hope was held to with a determination that by strength of hopes and prayer alone the youths could be sustained. Little did anybody know in the Israeli public that the three boys had been murdered almost immediately after being abducted and then discarded in shallow graves hastily dug and then the car used in the abduction was burned to destroy evidence. Now comes the period where emotions run wild and still decisions need to be made as to what the response Israel should pursue. There are those calling for a serious assault in an effort to completely devastate and destroy all of Hamas. Some claim that Israel needs to build more homes in the neighborhoods where the boys attended their Yeshivas and the neighborhoods where their families reside. Another option being bandied is to annexing lands unilaterally as a response to the grisly murderous result from the abductions. There have been reports that the meetings of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Security Cabinet have been divided with Naftali Bennett supporting the most hawkish positions calling for a military assault against Hamas eradicating their ability to threaten Israelis while both Tzipi Livni and Yair Lapid demanding that restraint be the watchword and any actions going forward be weighed carefully and warning against any unilateral actions which might risk damaging any future peace negotiations.


Where full scale military operations against Hamas might present some difficulties and before considering such an option there should be discussions with the IDF commanders and proposals placed before the Security Cabinet and fully discussed and if the IDF leadership determines that such an option should necessarily be scheduled for months in the future after training for such a mission had been conducted and troops readied for any and all of the exacting challenges and prepared for the inevitable difficulties and unexpected surprises, then their advice must be taken as necessary facts. Where building more housing in these neighborhoods would be a feel-good move, it would only serve to cause even more international condemnations and demands that such plans be nixed as they might cause even more difficulties in the peace process going forward. Then there is the ramification of any move which needs to be measured, but only in order to understand and prepare for the onslaught of world condemnations which will be launched no matter what steps Israel takes in her defense and in service of the future of the nation. Perhaps the question Israel should address first and foremost is exactly how much of the world’s scorn and defamation they are ready to suffer with each of the options available and decide which option offers the most gains for the least aggravation and suffering of the slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune.


Past experience has proven that the world explodes into immeasurable emotional outbursts that rise to thunderous crescendos with every claim of dastardly deeds by the Palestinian media and complaint professionals and their echoes throughout the mainstream media. These protestations continue to echo through the weeks and months after the end of military confrontations with occasional reinforced bursts stimulated by media reports often instigated by Palestinian circulated outrages of supposed Israel crimes. These claims are almost always proven fabrications but also go to prove that a lie gets halfway around the world before the truth can get its pants on. Any building projects necessarily because of legal licensing, proposal filings and other governmental requirements forces several stages where public announcements are required with the same expected feigned outrage which is inevitably picked up by the mainstream media fanning the flames of ignited outrage. That leaves taking the peace process into Israeli hands and unilaterally annexing some parts or possibly all of Judea and Samaria or retaking Gaza. Israel has absolutely no desire to retake Gaza, or so it would appear if polls taken over the past few years are at all accurate, which is probably a good reference as these polls have been sponsored from all fronts across the political field. This move would likely cause the initially most ferocious reaction, but one which would peak quickly and fall off rapidly. The problem with annexation is that it also requires acceptance and recognition by world bodies and other nations, and there lies the problem. Where the Palestinians have appeared to be capable of gaining support in the General Assembly of the United Nations which they definitively proved by gaining an upgraded status within the United Nations community, Israel might face some difficulties directly proportional to the Palestinian successes. One must remember one small factor; the Palestinians have the support of the twenty-two Arab nations, the additional Muslim nations and most of the members of the Non-Aligned Nations group. This combination provides the Palestinians with an unassailable block of support in that body but they lack the complete and unopposed support of all five permanent members of the Security Council thus leaving them short of the requirements for membership in the United Nations and thus recognized statehood. The supportive block of the Palestinians would largely oppose any Israeli moves to annex any of Judea and Samaria. But could annexation have some other means of becoming reality?


The surprising answer is yes. Israel actually has that often raised issue of International Law on their side. First, the Sykes-Picot Agreement, which was signed by the allied powers after World War I, once adopted the agreement formalized the Mandate System and define the divisions and borders for the new nations to be formed from the lands formerly belonging to the Ottoman Empire. This placed the French to manage the French Mandate which was to establish an Islamic state and a Christian state. This eventually led to the founding of Syria and Lebanon as the Islamic and Christian nations. The British also had a Mandate from which they were to facilitate the formation of a state for the Jewish People. The British Mandate included lands between Iraq and the Mediterranean Sea. The Sykes-Picot Agreement was signed into effect on May 9, 1916. Needless to say, the British could not bring themselves to allow for a state for the Jewish People covering such a large amount of land and they had a further problem that they also had promised the Hashemites a nation to reward them for their assistance during World War I and due to the loss of their former lands around and including Mecca and Medina which were taken by the Family Saud. They had also promised the Jews from the Balfour Declaration and furthermore in recognition for the bravery and actions during World War I of the Palestinian Division which was a unit totally consisting of Jews mostly from within the traditional ancient Jewish homelands as well as throughout the British Empire. This led to the Churchill White Paper (also known as The British White Paper of 1922) which would clarify the Balfour Declaration providing they were granted agreement by the Zionists who held the superior position for claims due to the former Sykes-Picot Agreement. The promise the British gave the Zionists to finalize and attain their agreement was in exchange for permitting the British to establish a state for the Palestinian Arabs east of the Jordan River in what measured out at seventy-eight percent of the original British Mandate lands and were originally named Transjordan and subsequently Jordan, the Zionists would be granted all of the lands west of the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea in perpetuity and guaranteed by the British Crown. These two agreements are recognized and accepted by the United Nations in Article 80 of the United Nation Charter. Article 80 recognized the Mandates, both the French and British Mandates and related agreements. With these agreements which have historical records and are accepted by modern agreements through the auspices of the United Nations which has become the declared enforcing agent in addition to the British, French, Japanese and the United States, Israel could annex legally all of Judea and Samaria and would not be required to accept the Palestinians residing in these areas as citizens unless they would meet requirements defined by Israel.


Such requirements could require these people to sign a citizenry allegiance deposition after fulfilling requirements such as learning Israel’s Basic Laws, mastering Hebrew, and sufficient knowledge of Jewish historical claims to these lands. These requirements are similar to those requirements of other nations for immigrants to master and pledges they must make in order to be granted citizenship. There could also be a monetary requirement as part of the requirements and those desiring not to undertake the requirements for citizenship, they could be offered two choices, either they could request to remain as permanent resident aliens or they could avail themselves of an offer which Israel would make available for a set period where those desiring to leave and set up a new life in another country they could be granted airfare and a monetary remittance with which to make their adjustment to their new life. Such an offer to assist with the relocation of those who desire such is actually above and beyond any requirements which have been applied with other relocations of persons across borders. Other such movements of populations in the past includes Pakistan and India; Greece and Bulgaria; Turkey and Greece; and Poland and Germany. There was one other involuntary population transfer which is the most ignored reality of the Arab-Israeli conflict beginning with the independence of Israel in May of 1948 through the mid to late 1950s when numerous Arab nations used differing methods which resulted in dispossessing their Jewish populations with some nations actually expelling them under pain of death to laws restricting Jewish ownership of properties or holding certain professional positions and other methods of making life sufficiently uncomfortable so as to force their Jewish populations to leave. The estimates of the totals of the Jewish refugees cover a range from eight-hundred-thousand to closer to one-million. The vast majority of these refugees ended up in Israel where they were greeted with varying levels of joy and were absorbed into society rather than left to languish in refugee camps as some other refugees which even were granted their own international refugee organization independent from the United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees. This refugee organization has a unique goal and mission statement where they are tasked to pass the refugee status to the ensuing generation perpetrating a permanent and constantly growing numbers of refugees into perpetuity. Could annexation of Judea and Samaria with the presentation of signed agreements which are presumably enforceable through the powers and auspices of the United Nations bring the entire Arab-Israeli problem to a close once and for all.


Beyond the Cusp


June 29, 2014

Of What Restraint Doth the UN Human Rights Office Call?


This past Friday Rupert Colville, spokesman for the United Nations Human Rights Office stated, “Clearly these boys need to be found, that’s totally understandable, but the scale of operations and the number of people they are affecting is deeply disturbing. We reiterate our call for strict adherence to international law by all relevant actors and join others in their call for restraint.” Referencing the mother of one of the abducted teens and her witness before the United Nations in Geneva Mr. Colville commented to reporters, “As a mother herself, she expressed her understanding of their deep anxiety about the fate of their sons. We are concerned that the three teenagers have still not been located, after being missing for 15 days. We hope for their immediate safe return. Our heartfelt sympathy also goes out to the mothers and loved ones of the six Palestinians, including two teenagers, who have been killed by Israeli forces, in addition to the many others who have been injured, during these past two weeks.” Returning again to his criticisms of the search tactics and expressing his alarm at the loss of life and reputed violence he continued commenting, “We call for prompt and thorough investigations, and prosecution of the perpetrators in cases where there has been excessive use of force. We are also concerned about reports of damage to property and theft during these operations, especially house-to-house searches, and their traumatic effect on children and families.” Mr. Colville’s contemptuous commentary was the third denunciation out of the United Nations calling out Israel for their actions operation in Judea and Samaria which begs a few questions.


Exactly how much effort and to what extents should one be limited to in searching for three abducted teen age boys taken as they were returning home from a long day of studies at their schools, their Yeshivas? What is the hope to find these youths alive from amongst a population whose government had deplored for them to obstruct the Israeli efforts in any possible manner? Should the finding of hidden storage areas filled with bombs and improvised explosive devices as well as arms and ammunitions in large quantities have any relevance in the search parameters? Does the United Nations have any words for the Palestinians who rioted in order to prevent searches from proceeding and who threw and slung stones and flung firebombs at the IDF troops with intent to cause as much harm and impede the searching for the kidnapped teens? Why is it that I doubt the United Nations has any real concern for the well-being and safety of these Jewish youths violently torn from their lives and families with malice aforethought? The only gladness I can feel is that the United Nations did not express the same warnings and attempt to pose any limitations on the efforts to rescue the young girls stolen from their families by Boko Haram in Nigeria. On the other side I have heard no denunciations of the subsequent and seemingly continuous abductions of youths in Nigeria. Obviously, the United Nations is slowly proving that it no longer has the moral authority of the nations as their mission but instead they have relented to echoing the seething hatreds reflecting their increase throughout our unfortunate planet. The United Nations has unfortunately chosen to showcase the ugly hatreds which are growing ever more prevalent throughout the seven continents (the current count appears to have grown from the old and traditional five to seven and probably with more to come as our world further fragments) with an ever growing swiftness shrugging off the lethargy the horrors of World War II had inflicted on the hatreds of old.


There is a little piece of news I would like to share with the United Nations and those who believe that Israel is the source of all evil and takes joy from their imposing inconvenience as they search with hope beyond hope that the three teens, Eyal Yifrah, Naftali Frenkel, and Gilad Sha’ar, remain alive and well without having suffered the deprivations and any possible tortures which have befallen previous youths so abducted; there is no joy and those in the IDF will show all the respect and more to any acceptance and cooperation they receive and try and minimize any discomforts despite that which they are most certainly having thrown upon them as they are professional and their leadership accepts nothing less. Do not take my words for this assessment, search and read the opinion of former British commander Colonel Richard Kemp who spoke commending the Israeli Defense Force as most professional in handling suicide attacks stating before the Goldstone committee, “During its operation in Gaza, the Israeli Defense Forces did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare.” This is the military the United Nations simply believes on face value any degradation and derogatory claim levied against them. The United Nations false recriminations are something which had become perfunctory for their many agencies with a special mention for the Human Rights Council which begins every session with a discussion of what denunciation they will pass against Israel as the bylaws make this a requirement. Then there is the series of anti-Israel hate-fests which are disguised as honorable debate on racism and xenophobia under the title of the Durban Conference. There is one thing which can be said for the United Nations, they are consistent if nothing else. One might wonder what would happen if the honorable representatives from the United Nations were to actually pursue peace and positive relations between nations without bias or preconceived and judged situations by how they could possibly assist to enforce justice and calm the chop and tidal waves of injustices and enforce the rule of law with blindness and a degree of equality without prejudice. Perhaps I ask too much of the single world body established as a place where nations could discuss and settle differences in an atmosphere of mutual respect and free of the animosities and prejudices which plague the society outside of its halls. Instead the United Nations has become an amplifier of the hatreds and animosities it was presumably formed to relegate to the ashbin of history. Perhaps expecting such from anything made by mankind and the nations they populate is beyond reasonable expectations. Still, ask yourself how much effort and how far would you go to gain the return of your own child unharmed should they, G0d forbid, be abducted. What would you leave unturned and what doors would remain locked? None, right?


Beyond the Cusp


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