Sunday, April 15, 2012

Talking peace, waging war

Talking peace, waging war

Ruthie Blum

Ben-Gurion airport will be particularly busy on Sunday, and not only due to end-of-Pesach traffic. In anticipation of the pro-Palestinian “flightilla” scheduled to bring hundreds of activists to Israel’s shores – this time via the sky rather than the sea – the police and other security forces might just end up outnumbering the rest of the throng.

As in the case of the famous “flotilla” to Gaza, the “flightilla” to the West Bank purports to have no other purpose than to provide “humanitarian aid” to “poor Palestinians under a big bad Israeli blockade.” (That there is no blockade on the West Bank does not matter to these well-wishers any more than the fact that Israel never stopped the flow of necessary goods and services into Gaza. But then, the real aim of such campaigns is to make Israel look evil.)

To avoid the kind of bloodbath that ensued from the flotilla, with “peace activists” bashing, stabbing and throwing Israeli soldiers armed with paintball guns overboard, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch took the pre-emptive measure of providing a blacklist to foreign airlines, warning them that if troublemakers did land in Tel Aviv, they would be detained and deported.

The government has also prepared an official letter, to be given to any activists who do arrive. What it says is: “We appreciate your choosing to make Israel the object of your humanitarian concerns. We know there were many other worthy choices. You could have chosen to protest the Syrian regime's daily savagery against its own people."

It’s an appropriate dig. For all their worries about the suffering of innocents, they never seem to care a bit about that caused by Muslim-Arab rulers, including in the Palestinian Authority and in Gaza.
Nor do these “peaceniks” ever take note of the repeated refusal of the Palestinian regime to make any deals with Israel that involve peace. Even the settlement freeze that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu instated made no dent in the Palestinians’ willingness to meet with the Israelis or in their apologists’ position that Israel remains the obstacle.

Other than real extremists, such as Gideon Levy of Haaretz and American linguist Noam Chomsky (both of whose renown rests on their radical left-wing laurels), most observers are having trouble these days ignoring the mounds of evidence suggesting that Israel’s very existence is the obstacle. There has been an abundance of Arab-Muslim strife on display – currently connected to the so-called “Arab Spring” – which has zero to do with the Jewish state, other than its affiliation with the West and lack thereof with Islam. Ridding the world of Israel, then, would not bring peace any more than curbing Jewish housing in Judea and Samaria.

In the absence of peace, Westerners who consider it a goal – rather than an outcome – push for negotiations. So, while a bunch of insignificant European activists were packing their bags to stir up trouble in Israel this weekend, a group of major players was gathering in Istanbul for a summit.
Indeed, on Saturday, representatives of the U.S., Russia, China, Germany, France and Britain met with senior Iranian officials. It was the first time in over a year since they had done so. This was not for lack of trying on the part of the Obama administration, however. No, it was because the Iranians were too busy. They’ve had centrifuges to perfect and uranium to enrich. They’ve also had to deal with the Stuxnet virus that screwed up their nukes’ computers, and the assassination of a number of their key mad scientists. To top it all off, there’s discord between Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, as well as an upcoming U.S. election. They know they’ve got to get a move on, in the event that Obama – the best American president they could have hoped for under these circumstances – doesn’t get re-elected.

But they realize that economic pressure is going to put a damper on their plans. So they sent Saeed Jalili to Turkey to sit down with the world powers to “talk.”

E.U. Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton couldn’t have been happier. ''What we are here to do is to find ways in which we can build confidence between us and ways in which we can demonstrate that Iran is moving away from a nuclear weapons program,'' she said.

By the end of the day, she felt vindicated. The discussions, she said, had been “constructive.”
Not only that. A date for a new set of “talks” was scheduled. On May 23, the parties will parlay in Baghdad. That’s one confidence-building measure to which the Iranians can certainly relate.
They, like all enemies of the West, have no interest in peace whatsoever. They have one objective – victory. If pointless “peace negotiations” buy them time to achieve this aim, so much the better. Ashton and her ilk either don’t know this, or they prefer not to, because acknowledging it means having to do something about it other than “talk.”

It is for this reason that Israel will have to take the initiative – not at negotiating with a Palestinian entity that has no more intention of striking a deal than Iran. Rather, it has to act against a nuclearized Middle East before the only thing left to discuss is how to survive the next world war.

Ruthie Blum, a former senior editor at The Jerusalem Post, is the author of a book on the radicalization of the Middle East, soon to be released by RVP Press.