Beyond the Cusp

September 22, 2014

Negotiations Palestinian Style

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beyond the Cusp

November 23, 2012

After Israel Gaza Ceasefire Now What?

Well, there is an “understanding” towards a ceasefire between Israel and Gaza presumably negotiated by Egyptian President Morsi with an assist from the United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, so the question is now what? Before we get to what to expect, it might be a good idea to mention one of the most vital items rumored to have helped influence the accepting of the ceasefire by Israel and mention a feeling we have had here at BTC as to why Hamas et al accepting the ceasefire. The rumor was that President Morsi threatened that should Israel continue and implement any form of ground invasion that both Egypt and Jordan were prepared to declare war upon Israel in order to assist Hamas and the Gaza Palestinians. Our suspicion is that Egypt has made certain assurances which will allow continued supplies from the Sinai Peninsula into Gaza even if initially such imports will be solely through the expansive tunnel networks under the border to be enhanced when feasible by simply allowing items to be trucked across the border and likely some implication of an Egyptian Hamas alliance on mutual defense being possible. So, Israel was likely coerced, actually threatened, while Hamas and friends were likely made some offer that was sufficient or too good to refuse to accept a ceasefire.

What we can expect is in many ways exactly what has been the usual series of events that have led to the collapse of every earlier ceasefire, accord, peace treaty, or any other acceptance of terms under other names, namely a quick series of rockets fired across the border from Gaza into Israel which then slow over the next week and then a possible lull for a few weeks before the slow escalation ending in a final ramp-up which will trigger the next crisis. Unfortunately, as we saw earlier in Tel Aviv and also Jerusalem, the real next challenge is going to be a return to bombings and attacks on cars, busses and all forms of transit within Israel’s Green Line and within Judea and Samaria. This will be a challenge for the Israeli intelligence and security personnel which have shown apparent increased success and wider coverage and other abilities in the past few years. The Israelis may take comfort in this but must also remember that the very first line of defense against terrorism and the largest number of eyes belong to the people themselves and as has been proven over and over in the past, it is the Israelis themselves who make the difference.

The biggest question is what will happen once the rockets begin to rain down on the south of Israel once again? With the rumor that Egypt and Jordan having threatened to ally with Hamas and the plethora of terror organizations in Gaza may make the decision to apply a large defensive push more difficult, especially deciding to put troops into Gaza. This threat will only become worse should the monarchy in Jordan be overthrown and replaced by a Muslim Brotherhood backed government such as exists in Egypt. This is especially true as currently the loyalties of Hamas and the other terror groups are all being contested between Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood, the traditional Islamic contest between Sunni vs. Shiite. Unfortunately, this situation might just lead a contest between the different sides as to which one is able to supply the most weaponry into Gaza. The only sure thing is that within a few months the rockets will start being launched over the border and the clock will start ticking towards the next Israel Gaza crisis. The one slight glimmer of hope was the fact that for the first time Israel received what could almost be seen as backing from Europe and definitely was backed by the United States for as far as they had taken it. The Europeans had already spoken and were to condemn any ground attack by Israel while the United States had avoided making any definitive statement regarding a ground offensive.

As a final thought, we wish to offer a prayer that the hatreds and violence find a path to resolutions, peace and eventual cooperation. May harsh words, deeds, acts and plans give way to cooperation and assistance between the whole of the families of Abraham. We pray for agreement and accord to replace acrimony and discordance. And in our defense, without hope and expectations the human race will not last much longer into the future as the instruments we have designed through which our animosities can be transmitted have reached a level of destructions from which society may not recover.

Beyond the Cusp

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