I have to give credit where credit is due:
Yesterday 14 of the 15 members of the Security Council moved to pass a resolution condemning Israel for "settlement" construction. The US vetoed it. Whatever Obama's reason -- and it likely has to do with a fear that such a resolution would stiffen the backs of the Israeli government and make "negotiations for peace" even more difficult, he did it.
Individual members of the Council then moved to issue condemnations. France, Britain, Germany and Portugal issued a joint statement saying that building in E1 would jeopardize "the possibility of a continuous, sovereign, independent and viable Palestinian state, and of Jerusalem as a future capital of both Israel and Jerusalem.
"...the viability of a two-state solution is threatened by systematic expansion of settlements...all settlement activity including in east Jerusalem, must cease immediately."
They don't get it, and they are not going to get it, because they don't want to.
In the same statement, they praised Mahmoud Abbas for his public criticism of "the recent inflammatory statement by Hamas leaders that deny Israel's right to exist."
I mention this merely to demonstrate how duplicitous this whole scenario is. Yes, Abbas did criticize Hamas -- for Western consumption. This is the same Abbas who heads a PLO whose charter calls for Israel's destruction. The same Abbas who is working on uniting with Hamas even though it denies Israel's right to exist. The same Abbas who will not recognize Israel as the Jewish state.
But the Brits and the Germans, the French and the Portuguese conveniently overlook all of this, because only Israel merits condemnation. Such is the way it is.
Israeli Ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor, in his statement following this condemnation, observed that he had difficulty understanding why the international community drew the conclusion that "the Palestinian state can't exist if there is contiguity between Jerusalem and Ma'aleh Adumim" [that would allegedly prevent contiguity of a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria] while it accepts the idea of contiguity [for a Palestinian state] between Gaza and the West Bank, which would cut Israel in two.
Difficulty understanding? This is purely rhetorical. He knows the answer quite well: There is one standard for the Palestinian Arabs and another for Israel.
Prosor also pointed out that the SC focus on Israeli building in the "Jewish people's ancient capital of Jerusalem" took place when Assad was firing Scuds on his own people.
See an article on this issue -- "Jews in the Judean Desert?" -- by Clifford May, president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, here:
Meanwhile, there is news that plans have been advanced to build a Jewish city in the area of Judea southeast of Jerusalem known as Gush Etzion. The city is to be called Gevaot, and the Defense Ministry is moving ahead on plans to build 523 homes on a plot of land designated for this city. (Although 523 homes does not exactly make a city.)
The plans have been in the works for a long time, but final signatures are still needed before construction can begin. These 523 homes have nothing to do with the recent announcement of 3,000 homes to be constructed in Judea and Samaria.
Gush Etzion is decidedly and firmly Jewish in all respects. It was the site of Jewish communities well before the establishment of Israel -- with Jews who lived in the area repeatedly driven away and killed.
You can learn more here: http://www.gush-etzion.org.il/
The list of communities that comprise the Gush is here:http://www.gush-etzion.org.il/communities.asp
At the same time, the Jerusalem Local Planning and Construction Committee has now given final approval for the first stage of building in Givat Hamatos. The first new neighborhood to be planned in Jerusalem since Har Homa was begun in 1997, it will be located between Talpiot and Beit Safafa, and will be comprised at this stage of 2,610 apartments.
Let's keep it going!
Lest there be an erroneous impression, based on his veto in the Security Council, that Obama has moderated, I share this report from the Investigative Project on Terrorism headed by Steve Emerson -- an exceedingly reliable source.
This article, "State Department's Continued Outreach to Radicals," written by Abha Shankar, addresses:
"The Obama administration's efforts to conquer hearts and minds in the Muslim world...
"This international outreach to authoritarian Islamist regimes bestows undue legitimacy on Islamists and renders democratic and secular opposition and dissident groups voiceless. The same flawed outreach is being pursued domestically." (Emphasis added)
Serious reading for anyone who truly wants to know what's going on.
And lest you think all is just fine with regard to our claiming our rights here, I share an article by David Wilder, a spokesman for Hevron on the issue of Jewish rights to Beit Ezra that are being denied:
This provides excellent background.
The issue of "proportionality" in warfare is regularly misunderstood, and that misunderstanding is used against us. It does not mean "tit-for-tat," so that if only three Israelis were killed in rocket attacks we can only kill three Gazan Arabs in our attempt to stop those attacks. Not at all. It means we can do whatever is necessary -- but not more than is necessary, which would be disproportionate -- to stop the Arabs from launching more rockets.
Allen Z. Hertz, who is a Canadian who has served in an advisory capacity to the prime minister, has written a superb article -- "Proportionality and self-defense" -- explaining this issue:
"International law certainly does not require the Israeli government to sit back and accept the firing of rockets at Israeli civilians and soldiers, just because measures to prevent that firing would likely result in some collateral civilian injury and death in Gaza."
I recommend that you read it, save it, and use it when unfair accusations against Israel are made.
Israel Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel issued a reassuring statement yesterday, in which he said:
"We are called upon to prepare for any possible scenario or threat, even in dealing with non-conventional weapons...we provide the relevant capabilities so that if it is decided to use them, we are prepared."
As to Syria, "We need to prepare a response, and the IAF has a central role in this. Chemical weapons is one area in which we are planning a response."
The picture, with regard to what will happen if and when Assad falls, is not a pretty one. See the assessment by Lt. Col. (ret.) Yonatan Halevi for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (emphasis added):
The moment of truth is approaching in Syria. Bashar Assad's regime is fighting a rearguard battle and has already lost control over large parts of the country. Syria's vice president, Farouq al-Shara, admitted in an interview in the Lebanese newspaper al-Akhbar on December 17 that he did not believe that the Syrian army could win the present confrontation.
It is unlikely that Assad's regime believes the use of chemical weapons can restore the previous situation in Syria. It appears probable that the regime will instead seek to transfer most of the surviving loyal forces and strategic (including chemical) weaponry to the Alawite enclave in the west of the country to serve as a deterrent to acts of revenge and a political card for ensuring the Alawite community's status in a future Syrian order.
While the U.S. and other Western countries have recognized the Syrian National Coalition as the sole and exclusive representative of the Syrian people, the rebel forces regard the new leadership as having been imposed on them, and are prepared at most to accept it as a temporary actor that can mobilize the international support needed to complete the endeavor of toppling the regime.
In actuality, the dominant forces in Syria are the military frameworks that have waged the campaign against the regime since March 2011. The overwhelming majority, if not all, espouse an Islamist, jihadist, Salafist outlook.
The full backing of the fighting forces for Jahbat al-Nusra, a branch of al-Qaeda, against the U.S. and the West likely indicates the future direction of the Syrian revolution, which appears ready to adopt Islamism as the main basis of the government that will replace the Assad regime.
After overthrowing the Assad regime, a potential military-terrorist threat to Israel will likely emerge in the transition period, which will be marked by governmental instability and a lack of central control over at least some of the fighting forces.
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.