I do not delude myself. The international scene is not as bad as it could possibly get. Please Heaven, may we never go there. But as I sit down to write I see that it is bloody awful, with escalating ugliness.
This summer we had a war of one sort. Now we are enduring a war of another sort. It is a dangerous business that calls on us all to be directed and strong – determined in what we stand for. The focus is Har Habayit (The Temple Mount) and Israeli control of the eastern part of Jerusalem.
If I have any prayer today, it is that by the time I post again I will be able to celebrate a fully Republican Congress. And then, which is the absolutely essential follow through, that the Republican members of Congress will also be directed and strong – determined to buck Obama to the maximum and return some sanity to US policies.
In a nutshell: Obama has come totally out of the closet as an enemy of Israel. While the signs were always there, he only had one foot and one shoulder out of the closet, as he continued to insist that he was Israel’s friend forever. That many – including many American Jews! – believed him is a source of considerable grief.
But now? Now it’s blatantly obvious. For it matters not what Abbas and his cohorts do or say, there is no word from the US. While there is always plenty of criticism for Israel emanating from the White House and State Department.
What have we done to merit criticism? The usual: We want to build some apartments in a neighborhood – Ramat Shlomo – that is bursting at the seams, and which would, in any event, even if there were an agreement with the Palestinian Arabs, remain in Jewish hands. The Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee yesterday approved 500 new housing units there.
Is this not shocking? Houses where Jews can live, being built over the 1949 armistice line – which much of the world considers the “1967 border. I am sooo tired of hearing about this, and the claim that everything beyond this line, which was only a temporary line, “belongs” to the Palestinian Arabs.
At any rate, we have this from a State Department spokesman:
“It is unfortunate that after the unequivocal and unanimous position last week of the international community opposing construction in Jerusalem at this sensitive time, authorities chose to move forward.
“We continue to engage at the highest levels with the Israeli government to make our position absolutely clear that we view settlement activity as illegitimate and unequivocally oppose unilateral steps that prejudge the future of Jerusalem.”
And how about Abbas? It’s hard to know where to begin…
He’s inciting at vile levels. Vile even for him. On Sunday it was revealed that he had sent a condolence letter to the family of the man who had attempted to kill Yehuda Glick (who was later shot by police when he resisted arrest):
“With anger, we have received the news of the vicious assassination crime committed by the terrorists of the Israeli occupation army against [your] son Mu’taz Ibrahim Khalil Hijazi, who will go to heaven as a martyr defending the rights of our people and its holy places.”
He spoke as well in the letter about Palestinian Arab rights to the land.
This came from Gal Berger of Israel radio, who said an Abbas aide had confirmed the authenticity of the letter and posted a picture of it.
The letter was sent on Saturday. Yesterday, he voiced further objections to Jewish presence on the Temple Mount. His spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, warned against the escalation of “break-ins by the settlers and Jewish extremists” to the Al-Aksa mosque.
You know what the problem is? Jewish presence on the Mount is a “violation of Muslim feelings.” Muslim feelings. That’s a new one.
Put simply, he thought he could get away with pushing the concept of the Mount as being for Muslims only, but Jews keep coming. He’s warning Jews to stay away.
Netanyahu was furious about the silence of the international community with regard to the fact that Abbas had written a letter praising the man who attempted to murder Rabbi Glick. Silence.
The Obama administration is not interested even in a pro forma statement regarding such behavior not being “constructive” for peace.
On the flip side, Yitz Glick, the brother of Yehuda Glick, who is a US citizen, has expressed the Glick family’s shock that there was no word of concern from the State Department, the US Ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, or any representative of the US government:
“my father is one of only 5 Americans residing in Israel to be appointed to the US National Academy of Science! No outrage, no wishes of speedy recovery not a single word from any US official…”
When Caroline Glick (no relation) wrote about this, Ambassador Shapiro responded that the US Consul General in Jerusalem had tried for several days to reach the Glick family, but wasn’t able to make contact until today.
Yea, right… And even if this were true, it does not address the issue of there having been no public statement on the shooting from US officials.
As I said, Obama is out of the closet.
Today, this information broke:
A call has gone out via posters to Jews to come to the Temple Mount in a state of ritual purity on Wednesday
“for the sake and the health of Rabbi Yehuda Glick…We will not succumb to terror, we will not let terror win.”
And so Fatah has put out a message to Palestinian Arabs to
“all Jerusalem residents [Arabs with Jerusalem residency cards] and “Arab Israelis”
to block Jews attempting to go up on the Mount tomorrow. It was identified as a “call to arms.”
The good news in all of this is that Jews are standing strong, refusing, as the poster said, to succumb to terror. The intention is not to directly confront Muslims. Not all all. Rather, it is to demonstrate our rights. The point is made repeatedly that everyone – Jewish, Christian, Muslim – has a right to be on the Mount.
Yesterday MK Shuli Moalem-Refaeli (Habayit Hayehudi) went up on the Mount, with police protection.
You can see her here, walking with quiet dignity in the face of screaming Arab women (one of whom was arrested for pushing her).
Today MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) went up.
Both MKs spoke of the obligation to go up as often as possible and to work to change the status quo, so that there will be Jewish prayer on the Mount.
There have been other responses from nationalist and right wing MKs, as well. Not all will be successful now, but we can be encouraged by a trend in certain directions.
One proposal would be to apply Israeli law to all Jews living in Judea and Samaria. This would not change the status of Judea and Samaria. It is not an annexation, but would rather be application of laws to people. Within 45 days after the Knesset passed a law, the IDF administration in Judea and Samaria would be required to put out an identical law for those Jews living in Judea and Samaria.
The legislation was proposed by Land of Israel Caucus chairs Yariv Levin (Likud) and Orit Struck (Habayit Hayehudi), and was cosponsored by coalition chairman Ze’ev Elkin (Likud), Bayit Yehudi faction chairwoman Ayelet Shaked, Shas faction chairman Avraham Michaeli, Knesset Law, Constitution and Justice Committee chairman David Rotem (Yisrael Beytenu) and UTJ faction chairman Menachem Eliezer Moses.
Another law, which has passed, gives judges the latitude in serious cases such as terrorist attacks to stipulate on sentencing that the murderer cannot be released as part of diplomatic negotiations. This applies to the future, and is not retroactive to those already in prison. It however, delivers an important message. As Naftali Bennett said:
it “brings back sanity and morality to Israeli policy about releasing terrorists, after years of losing the moral path.”
Legislation is in process – an amendment to criminal law, actually – that would give maximum sentences of 20 years to those who throw rocks at moving vehicles.
Because so many of the trouble-makers and rock-throwers who must be dealt with are underage, there is another proposal that has been advanced as well: If underage youngsters are convicted of “nationalistic” crimes, their parents will have child allowances cut. The goal here is to get the parents to pay attention to what their kids are doing and assume responsibility. Don’t know that this will pass, but it does indicate a new seriousness about addressing the problem.
There had been rumors that Kerry was about to unveil a “peace plan,” but Kerry now says this is not the case. Even he, with his inability to grasp realities here, must see that there is nothing he could propose that would have even a snowball’s chance in hell of succeeding. Count this as good news, as well. Were a “plan” to be unveiled, incredible pressure would follow.
What still looms before us is the diplomatic specter of various UN – and most notably Security Council – actions with regard to a “Palestinian state.” While this is seriously troublesome, it is not as ominous as it sounds. For the UN cannot “declare” a state, no matter what the PA claims. I will return to this in more detail when and as necessary.
The major question here is whether Obama is prepared to so totally throw Israel under the bus that he would not veto such an effort. No one knows the answer right now.
PLO official Saeb Erekat has asked Kerry to support “Palestine” in the UN. What he is seeking is “a state based on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.” But by definition a state must be in control of the territory that it is claiming, which makes this fairly nonsensical. It would require a process far more complicated than simply having the UNSC “recognize” a state within these parameters.
Speaking of the UN:
A plan for reconstruction of Gaza was announced some several weeks ago, with donor states subsequently pledging $5.4 billion. The plan was called the “Serry” plan, after UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry. Needless to say, the plan called for the UN to be a partner in the process.
Now Abu Marzouk, deputy head of the Hamas politburo, claims that Hamas was never shown the Serry plan. Hamas wants reconstruction to be handled exclusively the Palestinian Arabs. Guess Hamas figures it can get a bigger piece of that $5.4 billion this way.
However…Robert Turner, head of UNRWA operations in Gaza, says that the “Palestinian unity government” is not organized and effectively in control in Gaza. (No surprise there.) So-called “unity government” or not, Hamas and the PA are still at odds.
© 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. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org