Category Archives: Perspectives

Israel–an absolutely gorgeous land

Did I mention the landscape of Eretz Israel is absolutely gorgeous?

JezreelView

When I try to analyze what constitutes Israel’s magnificent physical beauty, I come up short–that is, I can’t say this hill is more beautiful by reason of X or that valley by reason of Y–except for one factor: the Beauty of the Lord is upon the Land of His Favor as it is upon no other. The Lord loves all of the good earth He made, but His eye is especially upon Israel.

I knew that before my visit, but now I have actually experienced it, and that makes all the difference.

Shalom, y’all!

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Israel: a Unity of Dichotomies

I returned yesterday from my first ever visit to Eretz Israel… impressions are beginning to coalesce in my mind… at the top, I will go out on a grammatical and semantic limb to say Israel is a unity of dichotomies. That’s not really logically possible, is it? Neither is Israel. It is truly a miracle, and is ultimately beyond intellectual comprehension.

On the tour bus the first day I noticed that this land which is so deep in historical and spiritual significance is also a normal, vibrant community… commuters on bicycles, hippies with backpacks….

As we ascended to Jerusalem from the east on the sixth day, our guide pointed out that the Holy City straddles two climate zones. He might as well have said it straddles two worlds, or two universes….

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The Hebrew word for desert or wilderness, is ‘midbar,’ and our guide pointed out that it’s based on the word ‘dbar,’ which is the Hebrew word for, well, word. It was in the midbar of Beersheva that Father Abraham most fully heard the word of the Lord. Most of the country we passed through from the north down along the western coastal plain and even into the Beersheva area itself was lush and green–absolutely gorgeous–but it became barren and forbidding further east of Beersheva, from Arad to the Dead Sea and Fortress Masada. The Word of the Lord sometimes comes to us in its most striking clarity in the most desolate places….

It appears that all of the most holy sites are under lock-down by deepest darkest religion — primarily Roman and Islamic. Why is that? Because they can. This present world is, apparently, given to the powers of darkness. Yet there is abundant, vibrant LIFE everywhere! Several of us in the group noticed that some of our chronic bodily ailments were put on hold the whole time we were there. Not a coincidence, methinks. It is written in the Book of the Prophet Zechariah, “Old men and old women will once again sit in the open places of Yerushalayim, each one with his cane in his hand, because of their great age. The city’s open places will also be full of boys and girls playing there” — and we were favored to see that with our own eyes, and it was marvelous!

Hopefully I’ll find time to post some more later, but I’ll admit my posting as been less than frequent these days.

Shalom, y’all!

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They say that life is what happens while you’re making other plans; I say that stuff is what happens while you’re just trying to live your life.

I might suppose that I owe my readers an apology for not having posted for over six months, but one thing about anonymous blogging is that you don’t really have a relationship with your readers, and apologies are for relationships.

But in case I’m wrong about that, I do apologize, and I’ll just say that a lot of stuff has come between me and blogging since last March. Nothing to write home about—just stuff.

But by the same token, it hasn’t seemed to me that there has been much new stuff going on with regard to Israel and its relations with the world, which is what I write about here. Not that there hasn’t been anything going on—just nothing strikingly new.

But maybe it’s all right to just keep reminding the world of what is going on.

The official IDF blog says that September was a busy month, with the usual rocket attacks and cross-border raids. But what nation should be expected to regard these kinds of things as normal?!

World media continue to do stupid little things like trying to deny Israel the right to designate its own Capital. And even the Democratic Party of the United States got in on the act last month, though I now read that they’ve reconsidered their inanity.

The big news this past week has been of course Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s UN speech, replete with a cartoon drawing of a bomb, as if to drive home the point that the world (or at least the UN) needs to be addressed at a level of less than adult intelligence in order to get the point across that Iran must be stopped. By way of contrast, the UN tirade by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas served mostly to call attention to his increasing irrelevance.

Also increasingly irrelevant are the Gaza “flotillas.” The latest one is reportedly somewhere in Italy and appears to be generating not much more than a collective yawn. Maybe I shouldn’t be too hard on myself for thinking there hasn’t been much to write about.

On the positive side, my co-laborers in promulgating the truth have continued to publish articles here and there laying out the facts of Mideast life, like this one from Front Page Magazine explaining in great detail why it is a lie to claim that Jewish settlers  are living on land stolen from Palestinian Arabs.

Or check out this video series from Zola Levitt Ministries on eight reasons why you need to support Israel. Yes — you.

 

TTYL.

lineman

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Israel exists because…

Akedah_Caravaggio_183X144 The Almighty decided it should be that way, and acted on His decision. An Arab “Palestinian” state does not exist for pretty much the same reason.

How do I know such things? Because the Almighty wrote a book about it.

Although, as I’ve said before, I usually try not to emphasize the “religious” aspects of the conflicts in the Middle East, sometimes I just feel that the eternal viewpoint is what needs to be expressed at the moment. I’ll still try in this post not to cite book, chapter and verse, so as to keep my tone a little more like what it has been; write to me if you want details.

I put “religious” in quotation marks because it really isn’t about religion; it’s about what God has done, is currently doing, and—as far as we can tell from the book He wrote—is going to do. And I do this also because (the way I read it), God is all about relationship, not religion. The animosity of the Arabs toward Israel is not really a religious issue (let alone a land issue, as some would have us think) but an issue of relationship.

The Jews as a nation (and Israel, like it or not, is a Jewish state) descend from Abraham son of Terah through his son Isaac and through his grandson Jacob. The Arabs in general, correctly or not, trace their descent from Abraham through Isaac’s older brother Ishmael. And therein lies the problem, at least through human eyes.

There’s a custom in many societies (European included) to reckon a rightful inheritance though a firstborn son, and then only secondarily, if at all, though younger siblings, particularly male siblings. And Ishmael, not Isaac, was Abraham’s firstborn son, so according to this custom he was the rightful heir of his father.

However, God (being God) chose to supersede this principle and pass the inheritance to the younger son. Houston, we have a problem. To make matters worse (again, from a human perspective), Abraham then tossed the firstborn son out of the house. So the firstborn son not only had his (perceived) rightful inheritance yanked from his grasp, but he became rejected, and fatherless. It’s not that Abraham didn’t love Ishmael–he truly did, and was grieved to let him go–it was just that God had other plans in mind, told Abraham about them, and… what’s poor Abe to do? When God (and He is God) tells you to do something, you’d better do it.

Now, can we expect Ishmael to understand all this, or any of it? Did anyone ask him how he felt about it? Not that we can tell from the aforementioned book.

I may be making this sound like God is being very unfair, but that’s not by intention. Actually, I don’t see anywhere in the book where God characterizes Himself as fair by our standards. He does characterize Himself as just, and whether you see the difference or not, you have to simply acknowledge that it’s His standard that counts in the end.

But from a natural perspective Ishmael has every reason to feel as resentful as all get-out.

Fatherlessness, as many sociologists will tell you, is one of the biggest problems we have today in Western societies, and I’m told by others that it’s seen in Middle Eastern societies as an even bigger issue than it is here. And I’m told that in Middle Eastern cultures (please correct me, anyone, if this isn’t so), that what happened to my father, or forefather, however many generations back, happened to me.

What all this boils down to is that if I’m an Arab, I may think I have every right and reason to be resentful, even homicidally so, against any and all Jews. From a human perspective, anyway. And for that matter, resentful against God Almighty, since it was all His doing in the first place.

Seeing it from this angle, it makes sense that every modern war fought by Israel has been in self defense against Arab aggression. And it goes a long way toward explaining why Israeli defense and security forces go far beyond customary standards in treating their enemies with what actually appears to be favor, or at least sympathy. Who else would do, or has done, such a thing?! And I think we all—even the Arabs–know that Israel has not “stolen” any Arab lands. Even the adopted title “Palestinian” tacitly acknowledges that the Jews were the occupants of the region thousands of years ago.

But it’s not about land, or even recent history. It’s about a relationship issue that has never been resolved by human standards, and cannot be resolved by military or political means. There is a solution which has been offered on a spiritual plane, but that’s a whole ‘nother subject.

abbas In a little over a month, the Arabs are expected to submit a plan to the assembled nations of the world asking them to acknowledge that yes they are entitled to a piece of land in the middle of the State of Israel from which to launch further and more effective aggression against the descendants of the man who they figure stole the birthright of their forefather. I don’t think the assembled nations of the world as a whole have a clue as to what’s really going on. And that goes also for the current administration of Israel’s one remaining ally having veto rights against such a decision. So I don’t know how it will go. Maybe Abu Mazen or whoever makes the presentation will get up there and just speak gibberish? Whatever he says, you can be sure it won’t have anything to do with the real problem.

But God—being God—will ultimately have His way. If we’re smart, we’ll read that book He wrote, with an open and sincere heart, and find out just what that way is, and get on board with it.

Can I hear a “God help us,” anyone?

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Love links to check out.

RS_Truth and Love Although this may not be what you think. (And I can only wonder what sort of hits this title will get on the search engines!)

In my stated purpose of blocking lies, I have several times reposted a fellow blogger’s lists of links to hate sites to take action against (and look for yet another list in my next post).

But the antithesis of hate is love, and that of lies is truth, and we are told in the Prophets to love the truth. I have a good many links in my sidebar to sites that are committed to a love of the truth and to propagating it, but it’s all too easy to just scan past blog roll links.

So here is a little more information on a few of them:

Act for Israel is (in its own words):

the leading digital platform for pro-Israel activism. We rely on the latest Internet-based technology to win the war on ideas. We believe that Israel has the right to live in peace and security, and that all people deserve the right to live in dignity. Our goal is to share this centrist position with a wide audience to correct misinformation, end demonization, stop delegitimization, and to give Israel a well-needed voice.

You can also follow their tweets here.

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Professor Barry Rubin on Pajamas Media

Prof. Rubin’s long expertise in Middle Eastern affairs mixes well with an engaging writing style. You should follows his comments regularly. See his tweets also here.

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Caroline Glick never disappoints. She drills down to the essence of things and doesn’t pull her punches. You may know her from the viral We Con the World video that parodied the phoniness of last year’s anti-Israel flotilla.

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The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America may not immediately seem as feisty as Glick, but they make up for it with breadth and with a multiplicity of resources for defending the truth on numerous fronts. See CAMERA on Twitter.

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Fresno? You’ve heard of Fresno, haven’t you? Not everybody has, but it’s a city on the West Coast that harbors an outspoken Zionist or two. Go take a look at FresnoZionism and check their tweets here.

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I’ll wrap things up for the time being by sending you to Challah Hu Akbar – “Fresh Baked Middle East Nonsense” (though anything but nonsensical). Tweet them here, and enjoy!

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Israel is the only [fill in the blank] Democracy in the Middle East.

OK, I’ll make this quick. Nobody has called me on it, but ever since I cross-posted the GIYUS interview with Minister Begin in which he asserted that Israel is not the only Middle East democracy (at least not technically), I’ve been noticing significant qualifications to that statement.

The latest comes from Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren. In his essay The Ultimate Ally published in Foreign Policy Magazine Ambassador Oren points out that (among other major qualifications),

Israel has remained the Middle East’s only functional democracy.

I think that narrows down the definition even further than what I’d related in last Friday’s post.

Is there a chance that any real democracies will emerge from the Arab revolts which are still taking place? Not much of one, in my more or less humble opinion. At least not anything that will hold a candle to Israel.

That’s it for now; I said I’d keep this short.

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“I’ll say something that everyone knows which is that is that no one knows.”

Ze'ev_Benyamin_Begin It has often been said—and I’ve said it also—that one of the reasons the US should support Israel is that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East.

Israeli MK and Minister Benny Begin asserts in a recent interview with Giyus.org that three other Mideast nations fit at least the functional definition of a democracy, and considering his remarks we get a different perspective of the current “Arab Spring” movements. Are the protests and revolts which have swept the region democratic in nature? Some of them, perhaps, but that may be of small comfort under the circumstances.

My thanks again to GIYUS for supplying these in depth reports from experts and leaders in the area. With their kind permission, here is the interview with Minister Begin:

Minister Begin to Giyus: Arab revolutions may lead to democracy but not peace

 

A few days ago I met Minister Benny Begin and interviewed him for Giyus.org. In light of the swift turn of events in the Middle East, Minister Begin was able to crystallize the main issues with cutting clarity.  From the history of Hamas’ road to power in Gaza, through a thought provoking analysis on the connection between democracy and peace in the Middle East, Minister Begin offered factual observations.   Our interview was held in English to avoid alterations during the translation. I’m sure you’ll find it as fascinating as I did.

Giyus.org: We are just coming out of another round of fighting with Hamas – where does this lead Israel? Are we heading for another large scale offensive with Hamas?

Minister Begin: I wouldn’t like to enter into details that have military or operational aspects, but I’d like to go into the roots of the issue. The root problem is that for the last 4 years we live next to a "Little Iran". How did this happen? To understand that we have to unfold the events backwards: Little Iran is there because Hamas is there, controlling Gaza. In June 2007, Hamas kicked out the PLO out of Gaza. When they did it, Hamas acted as the legitimate government within the Arab Palestinian camp, having won the elections in January 2006. So Mr. Haniyeh was at the time the legitimate prime minister. How come Hamas won the elections on January 2006? The reason is that Hamas participated in the elections. How come Hamas, a terrorist organization openly bent on the destruction of Israel, was allowed to participate in those elections? The simple reason, quite painful, is the following – the Israeli government at that time, at the first week of January 2006, agreed to allow Hamas to participate in those elections. How come the Israeli government agreed? The Israeli government agreed to the participation of Hamas in the elections, despite its basic will, to satisfy our friends in America. Under the banner of democratization, the Americans under the previous administration were pushing for the inclusion of Hamas in the so called democratic process within the Arab Palestinian camp in Gaza, Judea and Samaria. All that of course, has to do with another sad fact, which is that in 2005 Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza, dismantled villages and forcefully evicted about 10,000 Jews from Gaza. Israel did that under the assumption that these actions will bring about improved security for citizens of Israel. I asked a group of Europeans and Americans in the last few weeks, if they remembered how many Americans or European installations were hurt by rockets launched from Little Iran? Well the simple answer is zero, none. The lesson of the story is that it’s easier to give Israel an advice from the safety of Paris, London, Rome or Washington, and leave us in Israel to deal with the consequences. Israel is left alone to deal with the rockets coming from Little Iran, from that Hamastan. It’s our citizens sitting in bomb shelters and the Israeli government is responsible and obliged to the protection of its citizens.

Giyus.org: Hamas tries to create a separation between its military arm and political arm – how do you view Hamas as an organization? Is this a real distinction in your eyes?

Minister Begin: Hamas is a terrorist group. Every organization has certain departments that are responsible for activities at different times, but the activities cannot be separated one from the other. Hamas has an integral structure. Part of it is stationed constantly in Damascus, where Hamas and Islamic Jihad find safe haven. While Syria is considered a legitimate part of the international community it protects terrorist organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah. I don’t think there is any distinction between the military wing and political wing of Hamas. An attempt to make such a distinction is dangerous since it paves the way for international recognition of the organization through that separation – e.g. we’ll talk to the political wing and not the military wing. That applies to Hezbollah as there is no difference between the two organizations. Those who operate the mortars, who physically launch the rockets, cannot be separated from the political leadership. That’s the way it should be viewed and I do hope that European countries and of course the USA view it that way and keep up the restrictions on Hamas recognizing that Hamas is a terrorist organization openly bent on the destruction of Israel.  With the new developments in Egypt, Hamas feels its posture is bolstered by the legitimacy given to their sister movement, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Also noteworthy is the fact that a Hamas delegation was received by the new Foreign Minister in Egypt, before Abu Mazen was allowed to arrive in Cairo. It’s symbolic and important politically.

Giyus.org: The Iron Dome system successfully intercepted its first rockets last week? How will that impact Hamas’ strategy?

Minister Begin: The Iron Dome system is a great success and a great technological achievement which has first to do with the bold vision of the developers. It must not be considered total coincidence that no one tried it. People thought for many years that such an endeavor must fail because of the short time span between the launch of the rocket and its landing, we’re talking about seconds. But the engineers and the scientists in Rafael and the Defense Ministry were bold enough to stretch their imagination. You first have to resort to such imagination before getting to the drawing board. However, you must understand that the system has its limit and we cannot build our strategy on that umbrella that is not hermetic anyhow. How will that impact Hamas’ strategy? I would hesitate to guess. In the last round I didn’t see an immediate effect; maybe we’ll see it in the future. Iron Dome is very helpful but I would not totally count on it. One cannot win a conflict solely by defense. Even if Iron Dome would have been a device that allowed us hermetic closure, it will be fool hardy to sit with our hands on our hand and wait for the technologically system to intercept the rockets. The early warning alarm is still needed, Red Color alert is still needed, and people still need to run to shelters to its sound. There is a limit to the technological ability and a limit to our readiness to accept such situation, where women and children will have to rush to shelters under a barrage of Hamas Rockets even if they assume many of these rockets will be intercepted by Iron Dome. So this great achievement must also be viewed in perspective.

Giyus.org: 2011 has been a stormy year across the Middle East – How do these revolutions and changes impact Israel?

Minister Begin: I’ll say something that everyone knows which is that is that no one knows. No one knows where things are headed, people guess and estimate, research institutions guestimate, intelligence services have their own assessments, but no one really knows. The Egyptian leadership didn’t know a week before the revolution happened, and the same goes for the Tunisia leadership. It’s all in an embryonic stage and I, according to my scientific background, am trying to guess as little as I can. So what I usually do in situation like this is put some constraints on my imagination. The way I proposed to do that is through observation of 3 democracies in the Middle East, since Democracy is what we’re told these events lead to.

I start with Turkey, a long term democracy, even an improved version of democracy compared to Israel since they have a constitution.  So Turkey has a constitution, an independent judicial system, elections that take place on time and are to a large degree orderly and transparent, a parliament, coalition and opposition, coalition crises from time to time,.  So, it’s a fine democracy. Turkey is also a member of NATO. But now we have to take into account that in the year 2002, a new government was elected. The AKP party ascended to the throne and this Islamist government voluntarily elected to turn their ambitions east wards towards Iran under Ahmadinejad instead of Europe and the European democracies, despite the fact that Turkey is a NATO member. They have aligned themselves publicly with the new bloc comprising Iran, Syria, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza. They have been supportive of all these bodies. Let’s remember that AKP have their roots in the Muslim Brotherhood in Lebanon in the 20s of the last Century. These are the same roots; they are off shoots of the same plant. This will explain to you why the current Turkish government so readily supports Hamas. The Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, which could not hold their conventions openly in Egypt under Mubarak, held them freely in Turkey for years. Finally, Turkey’s alignment with Ahmadinejad, whose ambitions to eradicate Israel are well known, is repulsive. That’s Turkey, a democracy – how far does it contribute to peace and stability in the Middle East today?

The second democracy is Lebanon – a long term democracy, constitution, elections, parliament, and a coalition crisis for the last 2 months. For some Europeans it would seem natural to have a coalition crisis and they assume it’s the same as in a European Parliamentarian democracy such as Holland or Belgium. But we know better than that – we know that Lebanon is not an independent democracy. It’s a Syrian protectorate which deploys two armies – the official Lebanese army, supplied at least partly by western democracies and Hezbollah army which has 50,000 rockets supplied by Iran and Syria, aimed solely southwards towards Israel. It is well know that Hezbollah’s army is much stronger than the official Lebanese army – they will have the upper hand in any clash. What kind of a democracy is this? Of course the recent coalition crisis was engineered by Hezbollah, backed by Syria and Iran. Just a few days ago it became known that even if a government will be formed under Najib Mikati, the Sunite, it will comprise of 2/3 of the March 8 coalition which is the Shiite Hezbollah camp that lost the elections only 2 years ago. So now the same Hezbollah camp might form a new government. That shows us again that the question is very important – to what extent does this Lebanese democracy contribute to peace and stability in the Middle East.

The third democracy is Iraq – it’s a new democracy installed by western democracies. Several months ago they had a second round of elections on time. They enjoy a constitution, parties, free elections and have experienced a coalition crisis in the last few months. Former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki will continue to act as prime minister in Iraq’s almost national unity government. That government includes ministers that belonged to the Sadrist Shiite terrorist group whose leader, Muqtada al-Sadr, resides in Iran most of the time. This very extreme organization perpetrated terrorism in Iraq a few years ago. The Sadrist party now threatens that if American soldiers will still be present in Iraq after the end of 2011, they will create a new coalition crisis. How come that after months of negotiations Iraq was finally able to establish a government?  The secret is simple – Iran and Syria agreed tacitly on a split of power in Iraq between them two. To use an American expression, the Iraqi government "drives under the influence" of Iran and Syria.

Now we sum it up – look at the map, it’s a new Muslim crescent. Five countries – Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Turkey, comprise an Islamic radical block, with terrorism and instability emanating from two of them to the whole Middle East. That’s even before Iran has acquired nuclear weapons ability.

Middle east muslim cresent

The irony is that out of these 5 countries the majority are democracies. 3 out of 5 are democracies. Of course, the numbers are small so it’s not a great sample, but to me these observations, that are factual, there is no assessment there, afford constraints on the possible positive outcome of the revolutions in the Middle East.

Add to this the fact that in the last two months, all news that pertain to Israel having their source in Egypt, are negative ones. The New Egyptian Foreign Minister announced that Egypt would now seek friendship with Iran and Syria. Amr Moussa, the leading candidate for presidency in Egypt, made several negative statements in the last few days, alluding to the need to recheck and scrutinize the international commitment of Egypt, referring obliquely to the peace agreement with Israel. We understand that and Egyptians understand that. All that is combined with the Egyptian overture towards Hamas, and it doesn’t herald a new spring arriving from the Tahrir square in Cairo. If reality refutes the constraints I’ve put on my imagination I would be happy, but this is the reality as I see it today.

Giyus.org: The Palestinians are making moves towards recognition of a Palestinian state by international community as a way to force a Palestinian State on Israel. What’s the best course of action Israel should follow here?

Minister Begin: First let’s observe that this attempt and others like it, on part of the PLO leadership, are actually an expression of their policy of refraining from taking the only path that could lead to stability and peace between the two communities west of the Jordan River, the Arab and the Jewish communities. The only path is direct negotiations without pre-conditions set on the very beginning of the negotiations. Mr. Abbas has been piling pre-conditions that change with time but amount to the same – the PLO wouldn’t like to enter into these negotiations because they realize that if they really want to achieve peace west of the Jordan River, they would have to give in on something, which they haven’t done for decades.  Actually Abu-Mazen bragged about this a few months ago in one of the PLO meetings. In reaction to Al-Jazeera leaks he asserted that the PLO never changed an iota in their platform since the declaration of independence in Tunisia 30 years ago. Well he is correct; the PLO hasn’t changed an iota. So this unilateral track would not have any hope for a positive outcome. I do hope that the Europeans and Americans do impress it upon the PLO that such declaration by the UN’s General Assembly will be futile. You do not establish a new state by such declarations. I think that the PLO leadership knows it but they are still being encouraged by some countries and some political leaders. If they’ll resort to this it will be a very negative development which will lead nowhere. But I’m not sure it will happen anyhow. In the coming months the PLO may have a second thought which will be very healthy, even from their point of view. There is an important role in this respect for European, American leaders that should serve the purpose of bringing the PLO leaders down to earth, if I may use this expressions being a geologist.

Giyus.org: A recent survey claimed that 1/3 of the Palestinians support the massacre of the Fogel family in Itamar, do you think the Palestinians genuinely want peace?

Minister Begin: We should be careful with such polls. It is very difficult for me to attach such intentions to human beings, to our neighbors. I would assume that the greater majority of our Arab neighbours would like to see nothing but their children being well educated and seeking a better future. But I would separate between   ordinary people and their leadership. There should be no doubt in the mind of an objective person, taking into account the development of the last 10 years at least, that the PLO leadership is not interested in, unwilling to and maybe unable to come to terms with any Israeli government. For example, Mr. Olmert put on the table at the end of 2008 a concrete proposal that included very far reaching concessions. The proposal entailed the following – 98% of the total area of Samaria, Judea and Gaza would be handed over to the PLO; the balance of 2% would be swapped with territory inside the midget state of Israel proper; Jerusalem would be split into 2 capitals with a safe passage under PLO control that would connect Gaza to Judea and Samaria and Israel will relinquish its sovereignty over the Temple Mount and surrounding area  to be replaced by an administration of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, USA, PLO and Israel. In addition, in the momentous interview given by Abu Mazen to Jackson Diehl of the Washington Post on May 2009, he expressed his understanding that Mr. Olmert accepted in principle the right of return of Arab refugees into the state of Israel proper (Mr. Olmert denies) and accompanied that by a proposal that Israel would accept several thousands of them. In that interview Jackson Diehl asked Mr. Abbas, so why did you decline such an offer and the short, and I think correct, answer was:  "the gaps were wide".  Where is the gap? With Mr. Olmert’s proposal, how wide could it be? Of course it would always be a wide gap vis-à-vis or the ambitions. Since the ambition is to "eliminate the Zionist entity and liberate Palestine", extending from the Jordan to the sea, we cannot satisfy these ambitions. In case you are wondering why I say this, I’m quoting the Fatah’ platform, the moderate faction within the moderate PLO, the platform that was reaffirmed on August 2009 less than 10 KMs from this office, in Bethlehem. That platform would also explain how come the Palestinians so publicly and openly reject the notion that they would ever agree to accept Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people. According to their political philosophy, Judaism is not a nation but only a religion, and religions are not eligible to sovereignty anywhere. That’s their philosophy and it still directs them and ties it all together. This also affords an explanation to those who wonder how come with all the concessions put on the table by former Israeli governments in the year 2000 under PM Barak and in 2008 under PM Olmert, were of no avail and we didn’t reach an agreement. To sum it up,  no, this PLO  leadership is not really interested in peace with the nation state of the Jewish people which is the state of Israel.

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