Sunday, September 30, 2007

Rice indicates shift in policy: Palestinian state before compliance

I had to put up this article by Dr Aaron Lerner from the IsraelInsider because it is too important to let get by.

By Dr. Aaron Lerner September 28, 2007

When U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice talks in a public forum she is extremely careful about what she says. And what she doesn't.

That's what makes her remarks at the 23 September press conference at United Nations Headquarters she held with Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and other Quartet Principals so disturbing

Here is what she first said:

"And if you look at the phase-one commitments, it is very hard to imagine the establishment of a Palestinian State in which the phase-one commitments have not been realized or have not been carried through. And so, absolutely, those phase-one commitments have to be met."

So far so good.

But then she said:

"... But it is absolutely the case that you're not going to be able to establish a Palestinian State if you don't have a commitment to end terror, if you don't have a commitment to end settlement activity, if you don't have a commitment to non-violence. All of those things have to be achieved. The Palestinians will have to have capacities. They will have to have security forces that can provide security against terrorism, but that can also provide security for the Palestinian people."

Fancy footwork.

First Rice says that "it is very hard to imagine the establishment of a Palestinian State" if the phase-one commitments haven't been carried out.

But Rice doesn't make it a red line. Instead the red line is "commitment" rather than action.

Put simply, the solid red line is that before there is a sovereign Palestinian state the PA has to issue are really well-written declaration -- a really strongly worded one. And they have to be armed to the teeth.

What about actually doing something on the ground? "Terror" has been given the same weight as "settlement activity". As far as Rice seems to be concerned, the people building a sukkah in Ramat Eshkol are just as much a problem as the terrorist trying to blow up a bomb in Tel Aviv. This gives tremendous "wiggle room" to argue that both parties are not behaving.

But again: while the Roadmap spoke of action, Rice's red line appears to be only declarative in nature.

But that's not what phase-one was all about. It requires both talk and action.

Here is the wording:

Talk: "Palestinian leadership issues unequivocal statement reiterating Israel's right to exist in peace and security and calling for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire to end armed activity and all acts of violence against Israelis anywhere."

Action: "All official Palestinian institutions end incitement against Israel."

Talk: "Palestinians declare an unequivocal end to violence and terrorism "

Action: "and undertake visible efforts on the ground to arrest, disrupt, and restrain individuals and groups conducting and planning violent attacks on Israelis anywhere."

And while Rice talks about apparently arming the Palestinians to the teeth (does "but that can also provide security for the Palestinian people" mean an ability to fight Israel?) she also ignores action:

"Rebuilt and refocused Palestinian Authority security apparatus begins sustained, targeted, and effective operations aimed at confronting all those engaged in terror and dismantlement of terrorist capabilities and infrastructure. This includes commencing confiscation of illegal weapons ..."

Instead of real action we have some photo ops.

This week the PA tried to make a splash in the press by handing over some pipes to Israeli authorities -- claiming that they were Qassam rockets.

Similar hollow photo ops can be expected in the future. This while "moderate peace partner" Mahmoud Abbas continues to take a strong position against Israel right to defend itself from terror attacks.

The last thing that Israeli officials can afford to do is ignore this policy shift.

The shift away from requiring Palestinian compliance before the forming of a Palestinian state isn't a matter of nuance. It is fundamental.

Wake up, Folks!!

Thursday, September 06, 2007

On Jewish Guilt and Jesus

I have found two books which have profoundly shaken my worldview up. The books themselves are quite different though on the same topic. Jewish 'guilt' or lack thereof, in the death of Jesus. I picked up the Cohn book (Cohn was an Israeli Supreme Court Judge, retired when he wrote this book) -- What a fantastic analysis! I have read the Gospels many times over but never even noticed the discrepancies in them, or thought about it. Cohn has a wide knowledge of Jewish Law and history and of course an enormous intellect to go with it. I think he has a point, but most Christians can't handle it.

I actually wrote a review of it in Amazon today (not up there yet) and have quite a few comments on the reviews.

The Trial and Death of Jesus by Haim Cohn:

One thing led to another and I am now in the middle of the following book and in correspondence with the author.

The Ghost in the Gospels: The True Story of How Jesus Died and How We All Missed It for 2,000 Years , by Leon Zitzer

I have always known and understood the Jewishness of Jesus in my heart, which I think is why I am moved by the Christians who have the sticker : "My Boss is a Jewish Carpenter".... though heaven knows I don't agree with them about everything!!

Zitzer goes even further with a wonderful thesis regarding Barabbas and Judas which makes magnificent sense. I have never been able to buy the Mel Gibson vision of the Passion. Most Jews don't. It may not be as these 2 people have laid it out, but if it is, time to make some changes in our thinking. Now is actually a very religious time, where millions and millions of people are acting out of religious convictions. Jihads are being fought, wars are being fought over religious conviction; mosques are popping up all over, Christians are being thrown persecuted in the middle east and elsewhere, and Jews are back to being "the sons of apes and pigs."

All of the book reviews (written by nonJews) give Judge Cohn credit for scholarship and such but cannot accept it. They have to have it that the Jews have at least some guilt over the death of Jesus! No one seems to be able argue his thesis away. Argument is based on sheer emotion, not to mention a couple of millennia of tradition as to how things were with Jesus and how things were supposed to have happened. That Jews should be completely innocent, Christians (and maybe even secularists) cannot accept! Maybe they would put a little guilt on the Romans, but Heaven knows most (if not all) of the guilt has to go to the Jews.

Zitzer tells me that he is getting a very hostile reception from everyone, including Messianic Jews, which I would have thought would have taken it well. Anyway, If this is an area of interest of any of you, I highly recommend both books above.