Arlene in Israel: “In the Midst of the Holiday”

I am writing during Hol Hamoed – the semi-holiday, five days in duration, that falls between the two full holidays at either end of the Pesach week.  I want to touch a few bases here and will pick up again with postings next week.

Perhaps primary in my motivation for posting now is my desire to call your attention to San Remo Day, which fell on Monday, April 25th.  This day marks the passing of the San Remo Resolution at the San Remo Conference, attended by the allied victors of WWI. It set the stage for the Mandate for Palestine, subsequently passed by the League of Nations, which allocated to the Jewish people all of Palestine as a Jewish homeland. This provided the basis in international law for the establishment of the modern State of Israel.

Jews have forgotten this day, and we need to remember it, and our rights, once again.

Learn more:


Here you see a great cartoon strip by Shlomi Charka, commissioned by the Legal Grounds Campaign for this day.  Feel free to share it broadly.

You can also see it larger scale, here:


In my last posting, I wrote that the PA’s Abbas was about to go to the UN to promote a resolution demanding that Israel withdraw from Judea and Samaria.  But he backtracked on this because on Thursday France announced that a conference would be convened on May 30 to plan ways to push Israel and the PA back to the negotiating table.  This would be a preliminary conference – hosted by France and attended by 20 nations but including neither Israel nor the PA – to prepare for an international summit in the second half of 2016 that would include Israel and the PA.

Obtrusive fools, one and all – but beginning with France.  Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, who made the announcement, said (emphasis added):

There is no other solution to the conflict than establishing two states, one Israeli and the other Palestinian, living side by side in peace and safety with Jerusalem as a shared capital.

“We cannot do nothing.  We have to act before it is too late.

“In Israel, the government is more and more ambiguous on the issue of a two-state solution and the Palestinians are more and more divided. We have to explain to the Israelis that settlement activity is a dangerous process and that it puts their own security in danger.

“I am not naïve, I am perfectly sincere. There is no alternative – the other option is fatalism and I reject that.”


THEY have to explain to US what is in our best interest??  Were the French open to reason, and to an honest examination of our recent history, and not sucking up to the growing numbers of restive Muslims within their borders, I would suggest explaining to them that relinquishing Judea and Samaria is precisely what would be a “dangerous process.”

But, as it is…

The fact of the matter is that there are a good number of other solutions, none of which has been adequately examined because the world is so set on giving the Palestinian Arabs a state.

It is time for the international community to internalize the fact that we are not relinquishing half of Jerusalem either.  In any event, dividing the city – in which Jewish and Arab neighborhoods are intermeshed – absolutely would not work.

Dividing Jerusalem,” “two states living side by side in peace,” and all the rest of the facile phrases we hear repeated constantly are merely politically correct buzzwords that pass for diplomatic thought in a world that has abandoned reason.  Phooey.

I’ll come back to examining some of these issues in greater length.


Credit: Flash90

Abbas figured his best bet was to support the French endeavor and not work at cross purposes to it.  However, a reversal of his stated commitment to go to the Security Council brought him criticism in several Palestinian Arab quarters.  Many are reluctant to rely upon the French and eager to push ahead on their own.  What is more, Abbas’s turn-about,  accompanied by conflicting statements, was embarrassing to them.

See him here, bestowing upon French president Francois Hollande a look that seems akin to adoration:


Abbas was in Germany last week, and during an interview with Der Spiegel, proclaimed:

“Our security forces are working very efficiently to prevent terror…Our security cooperation with Israel is functioning well. Hamas is trying to sabotage things, but we have the situation under control.”  (Emphasis added),7340,L-4794690,00.html

What infuriates here is that the international community cuts him unending slack, and never calls him on his inconsistencies. No one points out that just days prior to this interview the PA was making statements about cutting all security cooperation with Israel, and denying Israel the right to even enter Area A for security purposes. Hey!  Whatever works for him, depending on the context, is just fine.  Right?

Needless to say, Hamas and other Palestinian Arab factions were less than pleased with this statement – which denies all PA association with the “resistance,” i.e., with the terrorism that has been unleashed on Israel (in good part by Abbas).


At any rate, the whole issue of Israel no longer going into Area A, with all security cooperation with the PA terminated, seems to have fizzled out.

Recently, I suggested that I might soon be banging my head against the wall because of a reported proposal from the Israeli side that all security operations in Area A be turned over exclusively to the PA.

What seems painfully clear to me at this point is that this proposal was advanced by certain left-leaning members of the military (an anomaly for me) and not by the government – not by our prime minister nor the Cabinet.

Last Wednesday, Netanyahu, following a Cabinet meeting, stated (emphasis added) that the IDF would maintain the right to operate in Area A according to “operational needs.”

There is no other deal with the Palestinians.”

I have enough information to believe this is on the level.  It is possible to envision a situation in which we might go in less than we have been doing, depending on a variety of conditions. But there is no way in which we will relinquish the right to go in and instead rely exclusively on PA security.


Just a day before the Pesach holiday was to begin last week, Prime Minister Netanyahu took a lightning trip to Moscow to confer once more with Putin.  (Picture below is from a recent meeting.)


While the prime minister clarified to Putin the fact that withdrawal from the Golan Heights is a red line for Israel (a statement to which Putin reportedly did not respond), the major focus of this brief meeting was enhanced coordination so that no incident inadvertently evolves from Israeli defensive actions.

Said Netanyahu, following the meeting:

“I finished a very important meeting with President Putin – very important for the security of Israel.

“Putin suggested that the [Israeli] Air Force commander [Gen. Amir Eshel] and my military [advisor, Brigadier General Eliezer Toledano] meet with his defense minister, and they went out there and discussed constructive cooperation between our armies on several issues that were raised.

“…our freedom of operation is unharmed. But if you’re in a situation of friction, time after time after another time, you can find yourself in a situation in which things happen that afterwards harm the freedom of operation. There is no problem now, but the friction demands coordination; I acted so that we can continue to act as we have acted.”


It was only after this meeting that news broke regarding a potential incident that had developed when a Russian jet was scrambled in response to the presence at the Syrian border of an Israeli jet.

It would seem that at this point top Israeli military brass and the prime minister recognized that refinement of Israeli-Russian military coordination was in order.


Following this came a report that Putin has expressed an interest in participating in the development of Israel’s Leviathan gas reservoir.  Issues are enormously complex:


Before Pesach I reported on the major terror attack that blew up two buses.  It took time to make the determination, because there was difficulty in identifying the suspected terrorist, as he was unconscious.  But ultimately the victim who had been most seriously injured because of his proximity to the bomb – Abd al-Hamid Abu Srour – was positively identified as the terrorist who had wounded 15 people with a bomb loaded with shrapnel.  He himself has since died.

Abu Srour, 19, was from the village of Al-Aida adjacent to Bethlehem in Judaea.  Hamas claimed him as one of theirs.


A few additional points about this situation are important to note here:

His family claimed innocence: they didn’t know a thing about his Hamas involvement. They persisted in declaring themselves innocent of what he planned to do, apparently with straight faces, even though his mother Um Ahmad – an Arabic teacher in a Bethlehem school – “released a picture of him wearing a Hamas scarf after the attack, saying he asked her to distribute the image after his death.”

(I try my best to report the news.  I do not claim to make sense of it.)

His father said Israelis were responsible for what his son did, because “this generation has no future, no work.”  But his father also let it be known that theirs was a family of wealth, and his son had his own car.

“You Jews need to understand something: Abd al-Hamid didn’t come from a poor family. He came from a wealthy family, in a good economic situation, he had a car of his own. [It’s a] family with properties and funds.”

According to journalist Avi Issacharoff, the hometown of the bus bomber..

.”was filled with posters and pictures of the terrorist praising him as a ‘martyr.’ In the posters, he was seen pictured in an expensive Armani shirt.

So it’s radical ideology, folks.  Not despair nor hopelessness. And it’s pervasive:  When Hamas claimed the terrorist as one of theirs,

“hundreds of youths in Al-Aida took to the streets in cries of joy and a demonstration of support for Hamas, even as elderly women threw candies at them.”

“Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh even called Abu Srour’s family from Gaza, and his words were broadcast live at the mourner’s tent.”

None of this can be taken lightly. There are multiple lessons to be learned here.


We are grateful that – so far – the Pesach holiday has been quiet.  This is because of the diligence of our security forces, which foiled at least one major planned terror attack.  We pray that this quiet continues.  Israelis are out during this Hol Hamoed period by the tens of thousands – in Jerusalem’s Old City and at the Kotel, in parks and zoos, along streams and in woodlands, at the beaches, along the Jordan River and Lake Kinneret – hiking, camping, swimming and enjoying nature in Israeli fashion.  Sometimes hiking means hiking in the water (see picture) – great fun.

Credit: Israel travel secrets


When next I write, I want to look at the volatile situation on the Temple Mount in some detail.  It’s increasingly worrisome.

And there are, of course, a dozen other topics, at least, to look at.


Here I want to leave off… turning my attention once again to my family, and the celebration of Pesach.  It’s a very beautiful time here in Israel, with flowers, many fragrant, in great abundance.  May you all continue to enjoy your holiday.


At the end of the seder, we sing “LeShana Haba’a BeYerushalayim” – Next Year in Jerusalem – which I humbly suggest should be taken seriously by all Jews today.

Here, sung by the late, great Shlomo Carlebach:


© 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.


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