Thursday, August 28, 2014

Defining Wins & Losses in Mid East Conflicts - Assessing The Israel Gaza Summer Conflict

So weeks of conflict between Hamas's Gaza & Israel seem to be drawing to a close, at least for the short term, with a month long ceasefire in place and seemingly holding. So as we look back, people in Israel and worldwide are asking who won and who lost this war? 

Lets be totally clear - truthfully it is an obscene question because  nobody won. It is not a cliche to say that with modern urban warfare, especially in the Middle East, there are no winners. No longer do the good guys charge up the beach led by John Wayne, toward an inevitable victory, while the locals hide in their homes, emerging with big smiles on their faces to celebrate the American heroes arrival. These days innocent civilians are more often than not caught up in the fighting, and indeed in most Arab conflicts they are the target, not the regrettable "collateral" damage. So lets stop with the moronic talk about winners and losers. Instead lets see who gained the most, who met military goals, and who in the long run has been most hurt by this conflict:
Hamas held victory celebrations in Gaza after the ceasefire announcement a couple of nights ago, but is this just "Pallywood" spin? It seems that even within Hamas, they recognize they have suffered a humiliation - as their negotiator returned from Egypt today, his fellow Hamas officials greeted him by breaking his legs, so clearly they don't think Hamas won anything! Also today, when Ismail Haniyeh, Khaled Mashaal's top deputy in Gaza emerged from his bunker, he suffered an unfortunate medical emergency which we can specukate was an attack or assassination attempt by either disgruntled Hamas members or Gaza residents looking for revenge for the callous way Hamas treated the civilians they should be protecting. 

So do Hamas have anything to celebrate? Well they still exist, and are still running Gaza, at least for now - That in and of itself is a success for them  after they failed miserably to achieve any significant militarily goals: Their aim to cause huge damage to Israeli cities was derailed by the Iron Dome defense system; Their plan for an autumn terror campaign using their 'secret' tunnels from Gaza into Israeli kibbutzim and towns  to slaughter and kidnap Israeli citizens was also completely foiled by the IDF; their weapons stock was massively degraded and they lost both fighters and at the end key senior personnel. 

Hamas can legitimately say that at the end of all the weeks of Israel attempting to take out their ability to fire missiles, they did have some capability left, although how much is debatable. However, the ceasefire agreement that they made in Egypt was essentially the same one they had turned down weeks before - the sense that commentators have is that Hamas were not able to maintain their war much longer and that some people in Gaza were turning on Hamas, which is why Israel's intel seemed to improve so much over the past week. Hamas badly needed the ceasefire and that's why they agreed to terms that had been unthinkable for them not long before. In fact what Hamas agreed to was to stop and basically go back to how things were before the summer - so they achieved no military gains at a great cost to their own military and civil structure. Hamas maintain, as if it's a concession from Israel, that the Gaza border to Israel will now be open to aid, but then those borders were already open to allow aid in to Gaza even during the conflict. Nothing seems to have changed, except that the PA rather than Hamas will be in charge of the Gaza side of the border.

Politically, as the last remaining vestige of the Muslim Brotherhood with any power, Hamas have found themselves isolated from the vast majority of the Arab world - their only support coming from Qatar, and Iran & Turkey (not strictly Arab), while Egypt, Saudi Arabia and others clearly blamed them for the crisis. It is hard to tell if they are still in a power sharing PA government with Fatah, as news of an attempted coup was revealed by Israel a few days ago.

Where Hamas most certainly succeeded was in the PR war - they managed to force the international media embedded in Gaza to act as Hamas agents in their message of "Israel the child Killer", and the editors overseas ignored the obvious and broadcast verbatim these reports.  Sadly there was a ready audience ready to side with Jihadists over the Jewish democratic state, on even the flimsiest of propaganda evidence  and this was followed by an outbreak of antisemitism across Europe which was for Hamas a success. They managed to get the Muslim communities around the world to agree with their position even as the Arab world rejected them. They also found their position enhanced by an incredibly weak US president and a totally undermined UN who rather than supporting Israel in a war against Jihadists who were firing rockets at civilians, they pressured Israel to stop. While not handing them a victory, this enabled Hamas to put Israel under enough pressure to agree to  a ceasefire that leaves them in charge of Gaza. 

So can Israel and its Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu argue that they 'won' this war? Netanyahu can point to the fact that Hamas fired several thousand dangerous rockets to every part of Israel, and thanks to  a superb defense strategy, almost no damage and few deaths or injuries occurred in Israel. He could also say that the terror tunnels will now never be used against Israeli citizens, probably saving hundreds of lives. Hamas's military capability has been pushed back years by the IDF, and despite the loud anti Israel noise on Paris & London streets, Hamas has been exposed as being prepared -  happy even - to use Gazans as human shields, and to sacrifice their lives. Its use of schools and UN property to hide weapons has been demonstrated, and its manipulation of the media is now better understood. As the ISIS atrocities make the headlines worldwide, Israel has been succeeding in pointing out that fundamentally Hamas & ISIS are very much alike. This conflict has also exposed how deeply Hamas has infiltrated UNRWA and how it appears a UN agency was complicit in the Hamas policy of hiding weapons in schools and firing rockets from near these UNRWA shelters. 

All that is true, but still the Israeli public feel a disappointment with Netanyahu - they feel he had an opportunity to deal a fatal blow to Gaza and bring a level of peace that Southern Israel has not known since 2007. They point to the length of time this campaign took, the cost in lives, money and disrupted lives, and they feel he should have ignored the pressure and fought for a demilitarized Gaza. On the final day of fighting, Bibi said that he would not negotiate under fire, and then a couple of hours later announced a ceasefire while rockets fell on the South.  It is clear to all that Netanyahu and his government were surprised by Hamas's willingness to keep fighting, breaking 11 ceasefires, despite being unable to score any military successes of significance. Even after 70 years, Israel still underestimates the willingness of Arab states & organizations to allow their own people to die "for the cause" - Hamas was using civilian deaths as a weapons, and through them scored its only successes, so it carried on. 

The failure to remove Hamas, and to demilitarize Gaza, will mean that the Gazan Palestinians suffer more years of tyranny and hopelessness, and eventually the rockets will again fall on Southern Israel. In 1 or 2 years we'll be doing this again. That is indeed partly Mr. Netanyahu's failure to find a way to see this operation to it's conclusion, but it is also  a crime against humanity that the UN have encouraged and a reflection of the  incompetence of the current US president and his team. This will happen again, there is now no doubt  and there is plenty of blame to hand around. 

Friday, August 8, 2014

What Should Israel Do?

There's a huge moral difference between Hamas's four week rocket attacks on Israel + its planned terror tunnel  attacks, and Israel's response, and this difference should be blatantly obvious to anyone:
Hamas fired over 3000 rockets directly at civilian populations. Their aim was to slaughter families in their beds, children in their schools, and the sick in their hospitals. The fact that they did not succeed was entirely due to Israel's foresight in developing an effective anti missile defense - Iron Dome. There are several IDF bases near the Gaza strip, but they were not the targets of the rockets, nor the newly discovered tunnels, which all opened in purely civilian areas. Hamas wanted dead Israeli civilians - the more the better.

In contrast, Israel's response was aimed at Hamas - designed to take out fighters, leaders, weapons and infrastructure. Israel neither wanted nor was it helped by a single civilian death, in fact quite the reverse, the civilian deaths have been Hamas's only success in a campaign where they have utterly failed militarily. Hamas therefore places its weapons storage in schools, its HQ in a hospital, its rocket launchers next to UNRWA facilities and on top of apartment buildings - it wants Israel to fire back. Think about it ... it is OBVIOUS - its rockets are a failure, with 30% landing inside Gaza, the rest being taken out by Israeli technology, so why break yet another ceasefire and restart a futile war? Why waste ammunition and risk fighters? Again the answer is simple - they need Israel to fire back, they need death and destruction to manipulate world media, and through it international public opinion, into condemning Israel for the deaths of "innocent civilians".

So perhaps Israel should not fire back? This is not an option for Israel nor any sovereign nation. Thousands of rockets fired at your cities; 5,000,000  citizens in bomb shelters; 1,000,000 deeply traumatized kids, and of course eventually a rocket will land on a target full of people. If this were to happen, the government of Israel would not survive, so of course it has to fire back. It is the primary responsibility of a government, above all other things, to defend its citizens. That responsibility even outweighs the burden of trying to avoid civilian deaths in the enemy state. These are awful and sad , but the burden of protecting them lies with Hamas - a duty it has not only failed to fulfill, but has done the reverse by using them as human shields and leaving Israel no other choice but to fire back.

To those who say Israel's response is disproportionate - what does that mean? What should Israel do...nobody seems to say that? It honors ceasefires, pulls out its forces and comes under attack again - so please, we've heard the mantra of restraint for years - WHAT SHOULD ISRAEL DO ?

President Obama Adds Appeasing Terrorists to His List of Failures

A lot of American and British lives - not too mention Iraqis - were lost in the elimination of Saddam Hussein's regime & the establishment of a flimsy democratic system in that troubled, tribal country. Then the American's pulled out before Iraq had the means to protect itself, and this created a power vacuum which means that today Iraq basically no longer exists, as the ISIS Jihadists swarm out of the chaos of Syria into that vacuum. All those US & British lives given for the freedom of Iraq will count for nothing. Never mind  calling Bush & Blair criminals for the WMD's that were never found - President Obama's crime in walking away from Iraq is far, far worse. His betrayal, his failure, has let in ISIS who are committing horrors and abominations, only some of which we are hearing about - forced female genital mutilation of 100,000s of girls and the genocide of Iraq's ancient Christian community - one of the world's oldest.

So where is Sec. State Kerry? He was so very vocal over Gaza - a man who busied himself flying in to Egypt to save the day, only to irritate the Egyptians, fail with Gaza, and infuriate the Israelis, after which he left, expressing his personal hurt, never to be seen again. Kerry has not made any statements over the very real genocide in Iraq. Where is President Obama? Is he busy looking into ways the US military can assist the truly innocent civilians being obliterated by ISIS? Well they say he is considering either airstrikes or food drops..or perhaps nothing  - after all, red lines have been crossed by ISIS and we know how strongly President Obama feels about those! It was 12 months ago that he moved the US Navy into range of Syria, determined on a course to bring down Assad and end the slaughter there, but he was out maneuvered by Putin, backing down and becoming the greatest laughing stock of US weakness since Jimmy Carter's ill thought out helicopter raid to rescue the American hostages in Iran failed when the choppers crashed en route.

However when it comes to Gaza, despite the further damage already done to US standing by Kerry's incompetence, President Obama has an idea and it amounts to:
"Let appease those Hamas guys, that Nancy Pelosi & our Qatari allies say are Humanitarians"

This is the situation: currently there is a ceasefire, so desperately needed by Gazans, honored by Israel, brokered by Egypt & tacitly agreed to by Hamas. That ceasefire runs out tomorrow at 8am and Israel is quite content to continue the ceasefire while indirect talks take place in Egypt. Hamas on the other hand, are not willing to continue talking - they want to start firing again, and Obama is already beginning to prepare to blame Israel when they do. You see Hamas want the blockade of their borders & sea port to be lifted, something both Egypt and Israel are strongly against, because both sides know that this will only make the re-arming process easier and faster, which is all Hamas care about. Hamas don't give a damn about ordinary Gazans - in fact a dead Gazan is merely a weapon to attack Israel with. So Hamas won't continue the ceasefire unless Israel - and Egypt - capitulate on the blockade and President Obama is openly supporting Hamas on this demand. When they launch a rocket barrage tomorrow, it will be Israel's fault, he will say, heaping more pressure on Israel to appease the Jihadists. 

So we have a President of the United States who turned away from action of one genocidal war, ignores a new horrific genocide in Iraq, and is openly appeasing Jihadist terrorists in Gaza, against the clear & present danger they represent to the USA's only allies & ideological brethren in the MidEast, and over the objections of a rapidly stabilizing Egypt. If he gets his way it is patently obvious what will happen - The good intentions of the world community to help Gaza, will be perverted by Hamas. Instead of a building program and investment in the economy of the Strip, they'll re-arm, with some new planning twist in their blood lust for Jews. Thanks to Obama's help, they won't have to rely on smuggling tunnels from Egypt to achieve this, they'll be able to do it faster than last time using the open borders, and in 18 months, maybe sooner, this violence will happen again, and again Israel will be blamed. 

Israel imposed those border sanctions because it said Hamas was importing weapons - we've seen 3000+ rockets fired on Israel, so they has patently been vindicated. A few years ago Israel was told 
"cement is used for building, not weapons, so limiting the amount of cement that enters Gaza is collective punishment". 
Israel gave in to this pressure from the US, UN and EU and allowed cement to pass from Israel into Hamas's hands. We know now what they did with it - they built dozens of sophisticated tunnels into Israel, the plan was to slaughter Israelis on the Jewish New Year next month. Again, Israel has been shown that its concerns were 100% correct but Obama doesn't care:
"They are firing rockets because of the blockade - its about food and basic needs - collective punishment" he says. 
What he is doing is ensuring that there will be another round of this violence in the near future. Yet another abysmal decision by a President whose foreign policy failures have made the world more dangerous than at any time since the Cuba Missile Crisis ! Fortunately for the world, Obama's term ends on January 8th 2017 - unfortunately that's 900 days away and a lot of people alive today will not live to see the 45th President sworn in, entirely due to the 44th's  failure to act in the Middle East where needed, to support his allies when required and to see sense when it is obvious.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Gaza: The Media's Overwhelming Failure is Costing Lives.

The reporting of the conflict between Israel and Hamas has been so poor and so  manipulated by the jihadists  that it has prolonged the conflict, causing many further deaths and may directly lead to  a new round of violence in a  few years. let me explain:

When I was in grammar school, I was lucky to have a superb history teacher - Mr.King - and one of his principles of teaching history, which stayed with me to this day, was that although we studied wars, we never studied battles. Why? because he told us that what matters most is causes & resolutions of wars: The details of all those famous WW1 battles: The Somme, The Bulge, etc matter only to survivors and military historians, but for geopolitical history what is important is how the world got dragged into a 4 year world war over an assassination and how it ended based on President Woodrow Wilson's  plan, which was ignored at Versailles, sowing the seeds of bitterness and anger in Germany that would lead to Hitler's rise to power. Critical analysis - that's how lessons are learned in history and it is exactly the same for good journalism.
Yes - an exploding house in Gaza makes great footage, people's emotions are tugged by the site of a dead 
child, but what is the context? If the journalist doesn't explain and his editor doesn't push him to talk beyond the immediate moment, then nothing is learned. So we never learn the house was booby trapped, or that children were deliberately placed next to weapons as human shields. Worse, it allows forces in conflict to horribly manipulate world opinion and what we are seeing right now out of Gaza is the very worst example of poor "in the moment" journalism that I have witnessed, with the focus of context so narrow, and so controlled by Hamas, that world opinion has been manipulated to sympathize with a jihadi terror movement that makes mass use of human shields, has so infiltrated UNRWA that it is able to hide rockets in schools without fear of reprisal, which stole billions of dollars of aid money from Gazan citizens to build a huge weapon stockpile, killed hundreds of Gazan kids to dig its terror tunnels, and started not one, but three wars with Israel, firing exclusively on civilian populations, from civilian areas. How has Hamas managed to convince the world that it is  - as House leader Sen. Pelosi described -  it "a humanitarian organization"? By the epic failure of much of the media to do its job, ask the right questions, and join the dots! 

Let me give an example - Israel it seems, has managed to hit refugee centers on an alarming once a day
Tweet from an Italian journalist who's reporting changed drastically after he left Gaza.
schedule, with a clear civilian death toll. This is strange because it is highly unlikely that Israel is deliberately targeting these places, and it is generally aware where they are situated. There is nothing positive in these actions for Israel - the only success Hamas has had in all this violence is world opinion - so why are these places being hit? Well one answer is that some of these strikes have been Hamas rockets misfiring - although initial reporting and condemnation focused on Israel, a few days later the truth came out. In other cases there is little doubt that Israel hit the refugee centers - but whats missing is a context the journalists on the ground are totally aware of, but unable to report: Hamas fire on Israeli or Israeli forces from positions in or near these centers - this is deliberate use of human shields designed to cause civilian deaths, as weapons against Israel. Hamas has clearly failed militarily to cause significant damage to Israel or to slow the IDF in any way, but they have succeeded, as I say above, in hurting Israel through the media. Hamas is clearly, crudely and obviously drawing fire to places where civilians are located. It is Hamas's long standing, well documented, policy of using human shields and it is not being reported.

This tweet from Nick Casey - in Gaza - was quickly removed!
Here is where the media is culpable: it has allowed Hamas this success without which they would have very little reason to continue fighting. It is no secret that journalists within Gaza are unable to freely report what they are witnessing, due to threats from Hamas. This is why we see plenty of photos of dead or injured children and mourning mothers as well as general destruction, but absolutely no images of Hamas fighters, rocket fire, and no suggestion of where the fire is coming from. I don't blame the 'in-situ' journalists for this failure - they are scared, with good reason - but I do blame the editors & news directors back home, knowing the threat to their people, for not telling their readers and audiences that journalists are unable to
report what they are seeing, and for not reporting the truth from their studios outside Gaza. If this is because they fear for their team's safety, then why the hell are they there in the first place? What this stream of propaganda - which essentially is what a manipulated media source becomes - causes is prolonged fighting, and suffering in Gaza. It puts pressure on Israel to stop while Hamas still hold onto power - that will inevitably lead to Hamas again oppressing the people of Gaza re-arming, stealing resources from civilians for their next campaign, and in 1-2 years, we will witness the destruction of Gaza once more.

Make no mistake - those years of oppression and horror in Gaza and the next round of violence, will partly be the fault of the failed media reporting of this round. 

Monday, July 21, 2014

UN & World Leaders Willing to Prolong Misery of Gazan Palestinians & Southern Israel #Ceasefire

Last night the UN Security Council issued a tepid call for a ceasefire Gaza. It was a media statement, the weakest expression the UNSC makes, but never the less as Israel's victories in Gaza further threaten Hamas, their propaganda machine will churn out "genocidal" body counts in an effort to increase international pressure on Israel for a ceasefire which eventually it will accede to.

Hamas will salvage just enough from this to claim a great victory, then within a few days the first mortars and Kassam rockets will slam into Israel's southern cities to make the point that Israel failed to rid the region from Hamas. It will then spend the next couple of years diverting aid money into rearming, rebuilding the terror tunnels, importing loner range missiles from Iran and generally preparing for the next round - all at the expense of ordinary Gazan Palestinians. When the rearming is complete, and Hamas feels ready, it will start to increase fire rate into Israel, sparking targeted airstrikes. Eventually, as happened a few days ago, the quantity of attacks from Gaza will reach intolerable levels for Israel, and once again the IDF will enter Gaza, sparking more deaths, claims and counter claims, until the UN again calls a halt. This has happened 3 times already since 2005 and it appears the international community has failed to learn anything from the pattern. 
Worse however is the crime against humanity that the international community, in pushing these ceasefires, becomes a party to: Hamas is a jihadi terror organization, part of exactly the same family (and acting partnership with) Islamic Jihad and the ISIS currently rampaging through Syria and Iraq. Life under their iron rule is a living hell - Hamas cares nothing for the ordinary Palestinians of Gaza- they are just tools and slaves to its genocidal ambitions against the Zionists & western values. Hamas's supreme leader has amassed a fortune - billions of dollars in overseas accounts - all stolen from Gazans; any dissent is crushed ruthlessly; and children are seen as terrorists in training. Hamas has never wavered from its hatred of Israel - it has not one iota of interest in negotiations for a long term peace, nor in the future of the Palestinian people as long as a single Jew remains on "Palestinian soil". It will again place its rockets & weapon stores in civilian areas: next to homes, in schools and mosques, as they have done so many times in the past and once more Israel will have no choice but to engage Hamas in the killing field of Hamas's choosing.

Hamas see the people of Gaza as human shields - if Israel doesn't fire on a terror target, due to presence of civilians  - as so often happens - then that's a win for Hamas. If Israel does fire, and there are civilian casualties, this is a propaganda win for Hamas. If you are a more liberal minded western reader of this blog understand this: They really do think like that - they are TERRORISTS!

So this time, how about the world breaks the cycle that enables Hamas to repeatedly bring violence and destruction on Gaza? Back off, let Israel break Hamas's hold over the area. Then we can talk solutions for improving life there: perhaps the PA can take over, or maybe a foreign mandate can run Gaza temporarily. Instead of terror tunnels aid acan pour in and go where it is intended for! Genuine development can be created in Gaza, people can live there knowing that within a few months there won't be a rocket launcher next to their home, a fair justice system can replace Hamas's summary executions; borders to Egypt and Israel could open for trade creating the opportunities that Hamas destroyed in 2005.

None of this opportunity for long term improvement in Gaza can happen if Israel is yet again stopped from degrading Hamas to the point it cannot maintain its hold over Gaza. Yes there will be causalities in the coming days - although the vast majority of these 'civilians' will turn out on investigation to be Hamas fighters - but without those casualties now, there will be many more in the next round of violence and the one after that, and between those violent outbreaks, 1.8 MILLION Palestinians in Gaza have no hope, no future and no way out & millions of Israeli families will live in fear of rocket attacks.

It is time for the UN council & world leaders to focus on a solution in Gaza that actually helps the people there - forcing a ceasefire that leaves them under Hamas's domination is a crime against humanity, both in Gaza & Israel. Let this be the last round of warfare in Gaza - let it be the end of Hamas and the start of hope. Anything less is a true crime against humanity! 

Friday, July 4, 2014

The Real Palestinians Have Stood Up - Take a Good Look!

You should not judge a country, people, or community based on the actions of tiny minorities or individuals from that community, no matter how heinous, but rather on the reactions of that community to those actions or people.

Earlier this week, Israeli streets were almost empty as people stopped to watch the funeral of the 3 murdered Israeli teenagers - Gilad, Eyal and Naftali. 60,000 people attended the funerals, including the president, prime minister and chief rabbis of Israel, all of whom spoke. Nobody called for revenge, or blood - indeed the mothers of the boys called for calm and peace and remembrance of three young lives. There were incidents of protest by young Israelis in Jerusalem, quickly quashed by police, but on the whole, the event was about grief, sorrow and healing.

There is little doubt that the Palestinian terror group which governs Gaza - Hamas - is up to its necks in this horrific crime against three school boys as PM Netanyahu has said. There is plenty of evidence linking the three prime suspects to the crime, all of whom are associated with Hamas and Hamas has been making regular calls for kidnappings of Israelis since the Gilad Shalit release deal. So whether Hamas actually planned the attack or merely created the environment for it to occur, they are complicit. We must remember that the Palestinian Authority, led by Fatah's Mahmood Abbas, is now "in bed" with Hamas following the unity government deal, implemented just weeks ago, effectively killing any possibility of the peace process finding new life and hope in the near future.

In the wake of the kidnappings, the IDF conducted mass searches for the boys, which uncovered terror networks and infrastructure in the West Bank and involved the re-arrest of Hamas operatives released in the Shalit deal. Israel knew it was walking a tight line between inflaming the Palestinian street and finding the boys, but also knew if the kidnappers had succeeded there'd be three new Shalits. Israel also had to make the point to the Palestinians - being encouraged to commit this crime by Hamas - that such acts cannot be tolerated and would make their lives more difficult and to Hamas, that it would seriously impact their infrastructure and ability to operate in the West Bank.

Now this week we saw another crime - An Arab boy kidnapped and murdered. Unlike the Israeli boys, at the time of writing this blog, we do not  yet has a clear picture of what happened. It may well be a 'revenge killing' by some very evil Israelis, and the boy's family were quick to blame Israel, but there maybe other circumstances other than revenge as there have apparently been several attempted kidnappings by other Arab clans against this family in recent weeks. In any case,  if it turns out that it this poor boy was murdered as a revenge killing, Israel will demonstrate anguish & horror that one of our own could do such evil.

Never the less the Palestinian's have already reacted with violence and vandalism - unlike the Israeli and Jewish world, they haven't held prayer vigils, called for calm or done acts of kindness in the name of this boy. They have rioted. They have burned the Jerusalem light rail near Arab areas - built along that route to bring opportunity to Arab Jerusalem as well as Jewish - they have started fires in woodland and along roadsides, and they have thrown rocks at civilian vehicles and buses - as I write this, the funeral of the murdered boy is taking place and unlike the funerals of Eyal, GIlad and Naftali, there are no calls for peace and calm, but rather for blood, and revenge. The crowd is chanting "Martyr" and while this takes place Arabs are throwing rocks and vandalizing in their neighborhoods of this great city, even on "Temple Mount", home of the Dome of the Rock, their own 3rd holiest place, they are causing desecration.

Don't judge the Palestinians because the three Israelis were murdered, and don't judge Israel because this poor Arab boy was murdered - judge them on their reactions! When this Arab boy turned up dead, the vast majority of Israelis were horrified and saddened that it may have been one of theirs that did it. When the three Israelis were taken and murdered, Palestinian parents and teachers took 100s of photos of their small children holding up three fingers in delight at the act. The people who danced on 9/11 gloried in kidnap and murder. Judge them on that.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Who's To Blame For the New Iraq Crsis?

Yesterday former British Prime Minister Tony Blair sought to distance himself from Iraq's current decent into chaos by placing the blame not on himself & Pres. Bush's decision to invade Iraq & remove Saddam, but instead he placed the blame firmly at President Obama's feet, over his inaction in Syria and his removing US forces from Iraq before the Iraqi army was ready to shoulder the responsibility ( as they showed when at the first sign of trouble, they dropped their weapons and ran). Blair has subsequently received a lot of flack & derision for his comments, but does he have a point?

Where he is correct is that Syria's civil war is superficially where this violence has spread from and  Obama & UN)'s failure to act in Syria has led to what is occurring in Iraq, and could spread further (Lebanon even Jordan). Obama is seen by Arabs and indeed most of the world, with a great deal of justification, as incompetent  in foreign policy & indecisive when it comes to using the massive military force the US can wield. His "Red Line" in Syria was a blatant example of this, preferring to  be railroaded by Putin & Assad rather than take the action he had loudly threatened months before. As any parent knows - you don't issue threats if you don't or can't follow through.  Obama's  incompetence  has created a power vacuum around the world that Putin has certainly exploited in Crimea and so have extremist elements in Syria & that has most certainly spilled over into Iraq.

Tangentially Obama's response to Iraq's plea for help is to basically tell them deal with it themselves, when it is clear they are overwhelmed and cannot. One way that we will all pay for Obama's failure will be by rising oil and gas prices worldwide which will impact on economies only now emerging form recession, including in the US.

Tony Blair is also fundamentally wrong, because he ignores the role of Iran in all of this as does Obama (although Blair is far more astute than Obama) - Iran & Iraq were implacable enemies prior to Saddam's fall. 100,000s had died from the two states during their protracted civil war and they faced each other across their border warily, with a great deal of Iran's military resources focused on that front. Bush & Blair's actions in 2003 removed that threat to Iran - it was like taking the nose ring out of a raging bull. Since then, unfettered from fears of a powerful enemy, they have sough to take control of the Arab world - drastically increasing funding and support to groups such as Hamas & Hezbollah, and deliberately destabilizing
Lebanon, Syria & now Iraq in the process. The scapegoating of Israel is Iran's  rallying call to the Arab street (traditionally wary of the non Arab Persians). Iran are behind the ongoing civil war in Syria as much as Assad & they are quite blatantly manipulating the strife in Iraq. Bush & Blair's advisers should have foreseen this consequence.

However, Bush & Blair have not been world leaders for several years - only a few months ago Obama again displayed his weakness by letting Iran off the hook over its nuclear ambitions. When you consider that Iran is funding many of the Islamist terror groups slaughtering people around the world, then not taking decisive action over their desire for nuclear weapons borders on imbecilic - certainly blatant incompetence. The world placed Iran under heavy sanctions that eventually brought them to the negotiating table - the US & UN held all the cards. Iran was brought to their knees and basically crawled to those negotiations - so how is that a few weeks later that same Iran walked away ... no skipped joyously away, with at best flimsy restrictions which do little to protect Israel or the West? Yes - the West & US are threatened too - Iran has ICBM long range missiles, which it does not need to reach Israel or any other Mid East target - who are these weapons intended for?

At any point, Obama could utilize the power that comes with his office & slow or stop the destabilization & accompanying misery Iran is causing to millions of people. He could remove the threat this rogue nation of war represents. Iran is the fuel feeding the Mid East fires - remove that fuel & the fires will die down. However Obama's US continues to fail to bring its strength to bear on Iran, Putin or in Syria. His failures will cause many more deaths, over many more years,  than Bush's or Blair's ever did.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Palestinian Society has reached its lowest point

How pathetic has the Palestinian world become? How low has it sunk over the past couple of decades? Their  master plan for "resistance" is kidnapping Israeli teenagers! This is how they hope to bring Israel build a future for the Palestinian people... by extorting the release of terrorists on the back of unarmed school kids? They've tried blowing up buses and cafes, they've tried attacking targets around the worked from Entebe to the Olympics and now they are snatching schoolkids!

It may not be the major Palestinian players like Hamas or the PLO behind this particular cowardly and pathetic crime, but Hamas leaders were falling over themselves today to encourage more of these types of crimes. This is the same Hamas who run the government of the independent Palestinian area of Gaza and the same Hamas who last week rejoined the Palestinian Authority, and the same Hamas that the US government agreed to work with. So to be clear the Palestinian Authority, newly unified, includes a 'party'  (in reality an unreformed and unrepentant terror organization backed by Iran) who's officials advocate kidnapping Israelis as bargaining tools. Israel's PM Netanyahu today blamed this new unity government directly for the kidnapping - that is probably a stretch, but if Hamas is publicly cheering this crime then the PA is indeed culpable and the UN, US & EU should take clear note of who it is they are now doing business with, and question exactly to whose pockets their citizens tax money is being given as aid.

The terror crimes of the Palestinian groups has made life much more difficult for Palestinians - in reaction to Arafat's intifada, in reality a wave of suicide bombings of civilian targets, Israel built the hated security fence / wall (which stopped the bombings saving 100s if not 1000s of lives); when Hamas took over Gaza, turning it into a terror base and launching waves of missile attacks on Israel, both Israel & Egypt closed their borders and now if kidnapping Israeli kids & other civilians is the new tactic, one can only imagine the new difficulties the Palestinians will face as Israel defends itself against this threat. Liberals around the world and so called 'pro Palestinians' will within days be bleating on about "collective punishment" and "over reaction", but the job of the Israeli government is first and foremost to protect Israeli citizens not make Palestinian's lives comfortable. Lets be clear - Israel is reacting to a threat - remove the threat & you remove the reaction.

Israel will not and can not allow a new wave of kidnappings to break out,  which means more checkpoints, tighter grips on border crossings in and out of Jordan, Egypt and most especially Gaza - it may mean Israeli forces returning to Palestinian cities to enforce order & break up terror cells. If the Palestinian leaders don't want these consequences, then they must root out the criminals, punish severely the perpetrators and send the message clearly that these terror crimes are a piteous embarrassment to the Palestinian people and not in anyway a victory. 98% of Palestinians live under PA control - the word authority is in the PA's name and they need to exercise some! If they do not and these boys are not found or returned, and worse, if more attempts occur, then Israel must take tough unilateral action: There can be no working with a Palestinian Authority that includes Hamas, no collecting and handing over taxes to such an authority, no security arrangements, no providing power to Gaza, nothing! Indeed the world must say to the Palestinians, that if this is the path they are going to take, then there will be no aid or support - this appeasing of Palestinian leaders incapable of making peace, whilst endorsing violence and terror has to end - not just for Israel, but for the Palestinians, because world support that is propping up these pathetic people in leadership positions, and it is denying the Palestinians a future that real leaders who are prepared to negotiate and compromise could forge for them and it is of course placing Israeli lives at further risk.

There will be  weak fools out out there in the world reading this who will say that I am blaming all Palestinians for the actions of a few - but this is not so because within Palestinian society there is a cancer that hails child killers as heroes, names schools after suicide bombers, calls 9/11  a great victory and produces a curriculum in schools that teach children that Jews are pigs and monkeys. Inside Palestinian Gaza thousands of children are forced to attend Hamas terror schools, training them to be fighters of the future and in all parts of Palestinian society, children are encouraged to be on the front line, throwing rocks, and acting as human shields. The terrorists are in villages and towns, but are not being exposed or rejected, but instead are heroic 'resistance fighters' which in reality damns all of Palestinian society for collectively condoning these scum. Any steps Israel takes will not be 'collective punishment' but defense against a society so corrupt, so low, it believes kidnapping children is heroic.

There is no bright optimistic future for any people that have sunk so low - the future for the Palestinians is not in their grasp and cannot be until ordinary Palestinians turn round and so to their leaders that they don't want to be the people that kidnap kids or blow up buses. Only when the riots and demonstrations are about that will they find leaders who are prepared to enter into hard but genuine negotiations with Israel. Only when they stop seeing their children as rock throwing human shields and Israeli children as legitimate targets, can they sit down with Israel to build a future for their children.

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Questions Nobody Asks of Arab World or Human Rights Activists...

Here's a question nobody asks of those spewing BDS hate accusations of rhetoric of apartheid, genocide & occupation:

How is that in the evil genocidal Zionist regime of Israel, Israeli Arabs are full citizens of a democracy - the sole democracy in the Middle East? These Israeli Arab citizens grandparents chose not to heed the call of their Arab leaders in 1948 to leave the area' temporarily' - today their children and grandchildren are the 1.6 million Israeli Arab population which stand alone out of 330,000,000 Arabs across the Middle East with rights that the Arab Spring sadly failed to grant anyone else.

Meanwhile while Israeli Arabs flourish within Israel society (despite some obvious inequalities both geographic and cultural), their Palestinian cousins live in squalid refugee camps in every Arab state, absurdly & disgracefully denied citizenship of the countries their parents & grandparents were born in. In some places such as Lebanon they are denied higher education - in fact it is illegal for them to even hold or
be trained for 'professional posts'!

When you hear words like apartheid & genocide thrown at Israel, look how the Arab world treats Palestinians & look how Israel treats its Arab citizens. Ask yourself honestly where the racism and apartheid really is manifest in the Middle East. Then ask yourself how, when this is so damnably obvious, the international media doesn't report this ongoing crime against humanity! How are highly educated college professors ignorant and silent on the Arab world's treatment of Palestinians (while they feel able to accuse Israel of apartheid & genocide against all facts or logic)? How are those "human rights" activists who are prepared to sail to Gaza out of love for Palestinians, totally silent in the face of dozens of states abuse of the same people?

Israel shouldn't need to defend against absurd accusations of genocide and racism, especially coming from the very Arab states who have committed those very crimes against Palestinians for the past 70 years. Israel's actions toward its 20% minority population as compared to theirs against their own Palestinians, speaks louder than any words. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Palestinians deprive their own people of clean water for propaganda...and the world accepts it !

Last week's brouhaha in the Israeli parliament caused by European Parliament President Martin Schulz erroneous claim,  during a guest speech in The Knesset, that Palestinians living in the West Bank are allotted one-fourth of the amount of water that Israelis are allotted is a perfect example of all that is wrong in the world discussions and activism around the Palestinian  / Israeli conflict. I have always said that this is a complicated nuanced situation, which is not helped by the vast amount of misinformation and incitement pouring from the Palestinian side, accepted as truth by a world eager to believe the "under dog". Water is a perfect example:

Schulz was wrong - of that there is no question - and he has  accepted that believing a Palestinian youth he had met that day without checking the information was a mistake but I do not think the Palestinian youth believed he was lying and I would guess that most ordinary Palestinians believe exactly what Schulz's anonymous source had told him, but what is the truth? What are the facts? If we can't get to the reality to a situation, how are we going to be able to find real solutions?

First, lets be clear - Palestinians do not get as much water as Israelis, including those living in Judea / Samaria aka The West bank, but much of this is of their own causing as I will show below: On the positive side Israel has ensured that Palestinian water quality and quantity has improved dramatically since the area came under Israeli control in 1967, and  Palestinians have far better water supplies than the vast majority of people who live in most of the regions Arab nations. Israel is supplying the PA with more than 50 m.c.m. or 25% of its total needs – which, under the  Oslo Accords, is more than Israel is supposed to provide even a full-fledged Palestinian state under a final-status arrangement! 

Part of the problem with Palestinian water comes from the inefficiency and corruption of the Palestinian Authority and in part from the political desire to keep the issue as a weapon to beat at Israel, regardless of the suffering it causes the Palestinian people  - for example the PA has built just one sewage plant over the past 15 years, despite  a $500 million international donor fund available to them to build more. There are plans for building purification plants in several major Palestinian towns such as Hebron, Bethlehem and Nablus, paid for by donor countries, but the Palestinians have decided that they don’t want to build in the Oslo defined Areas A and B under their control, but only in Area C (which is under full Israeli military, and administrative control). Israel has stringent regulations for these and similar projects in other parts of Israel which the Palestinians have no interest in complying with ( and wouldn't have to in areas A & B) so they have built none of these plants. Where Israel has made an effort to help with West bank sewage treatment, such as the Wadi Kana trunk sewage pipe designed collect and recycle waste water from Palestinians and Jewish communities in parts of the disputed territories, the PA has refused to cooperate and hasn't connected the 11 Palestinian towns in the area to this new sewage line, preferring to dump raw sewage in the ground causing totally unnecessary environmental issues in their territory.

So are the Palestinians really short of water as they claim? Certainly they are correct that Israel has finally got enough water for its own purposes, after its world leading desalinization plants & water recycling technology has drastically reduced Israel's dependency on the Sea of Galilee  The Palestinians for their part have the large Eastern aquifer given entirely over for their use by Israel as part of the Oslo accords, which inexplicably they have barely begun to tap into and which should be producing at least another 60 m.c.m. per year. More than half the approved wells have not even been started by the PA, again despite international funding sitting waiting. 

In the meantime, the Palestinian Authority does give its tacit and unsubtle approval of the illegal tapping of pipes into Israel's primary water lines, stealing a massive amount of  water and connecting it directly into the PA water system. In 2012 the IDF discovered hundreds of these illegal connections to the main Mekorot pipeline. Cutting this supply line adds to the impression of Palestinians, reinforced culpably by the Palestinian Authority's propaganda machine (known derisively as Pallywood) that evil Israel is depriving ordinary Palestinians of their water, when in fact a  study by Professor Haim Gvirtzman in 2012 of Hebrew University’s Hydrology Studies Program, showed that 10 million cubic meters of Israel's water is being stolen each  year as a result of this Palestinian state-sanctioned theft ( which they also do not factor into their water statistics they send to international bodies and media.).

We must bear in mind that not only has Israel been meeting its international obligations under the 1995 Oslo accords, but consequently every Israeli pays far more for his or her water because Palestinians receive their water from Israel at a discount price and steal a huge amount more. On top of this  PA often reneges on its commitment to pay for the water it receives legally from Israel, partly to maintain the water filled political football and partly because funds donated (or raised from taxes)  to pay for water has inexplicably disappeared, presumably  into private bank accounts.  

The bottom line - Palestinian Authority has created a water crisis, and it sells this to the world as Israel starving the poor underdog Palestinians  of water - typical of apartheid Zionism. This fits into the Pallywood narrative but at what cost? What it needs is well intentioned leaders such as Martin Schulz to call Abbas on this deception - this would take at least one myth off the table. Again - we need to be talking about the REAL issues and not these Pallywood inventions. World leaders know what is happening even if the rabid boycott haters do not. It is for them to look at the facts, and tell the PA that it just won't wash. Do this with each myth and we'll be talking genuine solutions - finally.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Obama & Kerry's Meddling in Israeli / Palestinian Situation is The Diplomatic Equivalent of Medical Malpractice and here's why....

Imagine a doctor, confronted with a patient suffering from chronic sciatica, a gun shot wound, and a serious concussion, who decided to put all his effort into treating the sciatica. I'm assuming that he would eventually lose his license to practice medicine, after correct prioritizing is the essential basis of triage! 

Now consider President Obama and his Secretary of State John Kerry, surveying the Middle East with a quarter million dead in Syria; Iranian aspirations to rule Mid destabilizes the region, and threatening both Israel & The US; Lebanon teetering on the edge of civil war; Egypt crushing democracy; 330,000,000 Arabs across the Mid East denied basic democratic rights; and women in several countries treated to laws more severe than apartheid S.Africa ever imagined - what problem do they choose to devote their effort and resources? The Palestinian Israel conflict! Yes, like sciatica it is a painful and long term issue, which needs careful treatment and pain management, but in the face of potentially fatal wounds, to focus on Israel / Palestinian issue constitutes nothing short of  incompetence. 

In fact given that any Palestinian solution must involve the entire region for it to have any meaning or hope of success, Kerry's efforts are doomed to failure, where as intervention in Syria could save lives and in Egypt could steer the interim government to develop democratic institutes. A firm hand with Iran could have more positive effect on the region & Palestinians than any protracted fruitless peace talks - simply making it harder for Iran to fund and resupply Hamas and Hezbollah  would achieve that.

It appears that Obama and Kerry are simply trying to look like they are doing something important, to hide their impotence to deal with the wider Mid East issues, which lets be honest, Obama's mishandling from the day he arrived in office has been a major contributing factor. Their incompetent meddling - and lets remind ourselves that if they were doctors and the Region their patient, they'd be fired by their hospital by now - is very likely to lead to a resurgence in violence, even a third intifada. Nobody in Israel or Palestinian society benefits from that, yet Kerry is pushing. Abbas knows he can't make peace now, Hamas knows this too, as does the Israeli government, so what is this about? Its about President Obama and John Kerry's reputations, nothing more and that is - its malpractice! 

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Boycott SodaStream . Oxfam Debacle has backfired on the BDS Movement Exposing its Platform of Hypocrisy & Hatred That Hurts Palestinians Most Of All

Lets examine the facts: Sodastream is an alternative to Coke & Pepsi, and other carbonated bottled drinks, but for obvious reasons it is far more environmentally friendly - for one thing you reuse the bottles so far  less plastic manufacturing takes place! In fact the Carbon footprint of Sodastream is as much as 80% better than Coke or Pepsi.

What about social action? We've all heard that Sodastream is an" Israeli settler company", so you could easily assume that its good for Israelis and bad for least that's the knee jerk stupidity that Israel boycotts peddle - its what they hope the average person worldwide, not prejudiced but not well informed either, will think. What is disturbing is that organizations such as Oxfam don't seem able to see the difference between genuine campaigns for peace and dialogue in the MidEast and the Israel delegitimization BDS movement, based on a one sided hatred of Israel or worse, on antisemitism.  Sodastream may be based in a Jewish settlement in Judea aka The West Bank, but it employees hundreds of Palestinians who are paid above Israel's national average. These people work alongside Jewish Israelis in good conditions, have stable employment and have spoken out against the anti Sodastream publicity. BDS would have us believe that the mere presence of Jews in Judea is an obstacle to peace - they are advocating a population removal, an ethnic cleansing of Jews from their ancestral homeland, a place where Jews had lived uninterrupted for at least 2500 years until ethnically cleansed by Jordan  just 70 years ago. It is obscene to support the blatant racist policy of the Palestinian Authority "not one Jew" and yet the Boycott movement does exactly that, supported apparently by Oxfam and even the EU! 

If we are serious about talking peace between Israel & Palestinians, then living & working alongside each other is surely the best way to create mutual respect. Allowing Palestinians to have a share in the success of Israel, creating jobs, boosting the Palestinian economy and having arabs and Israelis interact and see each other colleagues rather than enemies, is surely something Oxfam and the entire "peace movement" should be applauding. If a Swedish firm were to attempt to establish an environmentally friendly company employing hundreds of arabs and Jews to work together in WB, I'm sure Oxfam would support it.

If the BDS movement had its way, the already awful unemployment in Palestinian world would be far worse, because any effort to create positive working bonds and financial interdependence between Israel & Palestinians would not be allowed. The result of their policy is poverty and anger, and that anger is inflamed by the constant incitement of the Palestinian Authority directing it at the evil Zionists. On a larger scale the Palestinian refugees have been kept trapped, stateless, without a future by the entire arab world for 70 years. By any normal moral situation these people would be citizens of the states they, and their parents have been born in, as with any other refugee population, but they are trapped in refugee camps, and in poverty, all the time being told the evil Zionists who stole their country are to blame. 

The world is complicit in this crime against humanity - humanitarian groups such as Oxfam supporting BDS are inf act supporting Palestinian poverty and incitement to violence, which is perpetuating their situation. On a regional scale the UN through the UNHRW has perpetuated Palestinian refugees farce for 3 generations. Simply look at its mission as compared to the UNHCR which has handled every single other refugee crisis since WW2 and you can see why the Palestinians are still refugees. This was obvious even in 1958 as the quote shows. The Palestinians are pawns of their Arab Brothers & the anti Israel movement, their future hope traded against Arab League policy & dominance of the UN, and the willingness & prejudice of "pro" Palestinians in the BDS movement to support the cause, even though while BDS irritates Israel, it destroys Palestinian lives.

Its time this farce - this crime against humanity -  ended and influential people and organizations give serious thought as to how to build Palestinian economic situation in West Bank through cooperation, and how to offer them citizenship and a future in the countries the refugees were born in. Perhaps they'll turn it down, out of Palestinian national pride, but I think the vast majority will grab it with both hands.

The Sodastream / Scarlett Johansson debacle, aside from no doubt giving Sodastream the best PR imaginable, to the chagrin of Coke & Pepsi, has finally shed a bright beam of light on the nasty side of the anti Israel movement - BDS. While that beam still shines lets tell the world that both Palestinians and Israelis deserve better than the hatred of the boycott / delegitimization movement. They deserve honest people, who care about peace not about making Israel suffer for being a Jewish state. 

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Obama / Kerry Peace Effort Will Bring Suffering to Israel & Palestinians & a Nobel Prize to Kerry.

In September 2000, when Ariel Sharon - then opposition leader - made a visit to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City, Arafat  used it as an excuse to start the 2nd Intifada, an orgy of terror attacks on civilians on buses, at restaurants and other public places. Israel suffered two years an almost daily version of the July 7th London
bombings until the much maligned security barrier and check points ended the suicide bombings. The context of the Second Intifada, which Arafat's widow has admitted was pre-planned  after the failure of the Camp David Summit, was used by Arafat to deflect the frustration of the Palestinian street from the reality that once again their own leader's intransigence had stolen a clear opportunity for them to build an independent future for themselves - it directed their anger and frustration at Israel. The truth is that pushing the Palestinian leaders toward a two state final agreement was a disaster waiting to happen - it never took into Arafat's inability to deliver an agreement to a Palestinian people, who had had decades of intense propaganda and incitement by those same leaders telling the Palestinians that they would accept all or nothing - eventually all of Israel would be Palestine - the end of Zionism - the end of Jews on Muslim soil. What Camp David offered was basically the partition plan that the Arab world had rejected in 1947. Worse, Arafat knew that the Palestinian refugees, living across the Arab World, could not be allowed to emigrate to this new Palestinian state, as it would be unable to cope with the massive influx.  These 'refugees' have been kept stateless for 70 years by the entire Arab world - with the UN complicit in this crime against humanity - as political pawns. He could never admit publicly that their mutli-generational refugee ordeal, unheard of in modern human history, would be for nothing, so he  pushed Israel over a "Law of Return" he himself knew he would never want enacted not would he honor. So Arafat sabotaged the talks, and started a terror war that set peace back until today, causing death and horror on the Israeli side & untold misery and even deeper anger (directed of course to the evil Zionists) on the Palestinian side.

Jump forward to 2013/14 and little has changed, in fact it is certainly far harder for today's Palestinian leadership to contemplate a final agreement with Israel than it was in Arafat / Clinton's time -   Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas is a far weaker figure than Arafat was; the Palestinians are split between two factions (Fatah in the WBank and  Hamas in Gaza) and the wider region is in turmoil, with regimes like Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon etc teetering on the brink while  Iran manipulates the Arab world through terrorists proxies like Hamas & Hezbollah. In 2014 the is no deeply respected King Abdulah of Jordan, or Hosni Mubarak at the height of his power in Egypt - there are few if any respected Arab leaders that can offer the support Abbas would need to make a Palestinian state and any agreement with Israel  work.

Despite this obvious fact, which all of us here in Israel, left & right, seem aware of, Sec. Kerry - obviously with Pres. Obama's full support - is pushing  the Palestinians very hard to come to an agreement that they simply cannot agree to at this time. For one thing Netanyahu is determined that if there is to be an agreement it will be the final one between Israel and the Palestinians, and is demanding Abbas recognize Israel as a Jewish state - which would once and for all would end Palestinian claims to the rest of Israel, while the Palestinians are being told by their leaders that any agreement is merely a tactic to get them closer to Tel Aviv being part of Palestine. The Arab League, who have used Palestinians as their pawns for 70 years, have told Abbas this is unacceptable.  Meanwhile despite the pressure, Abbas is now openly stating that there won't be an agreement, and the Pallywood machinery is firing up to  explain why failure will be Israel's fault. The truth is, Abbas cannot come to an agreement, the Palestinian people are not ready for an agreement - decades of incitement by the PA, being told they will one day own Tel Aviv which continues even as these talks go on, means the Palestinian street will see any agreement along "two states"  as a terrible failure, even a second Nakba. Abbas hasn't the authority to stand against that, not with Hamas waiting to exploit the anger to its own ends, in accordance with the needs of Hamas's Iranian backers. Kerry seems oblivious to this.

There is only one direction this can take the Palestinians - toward violence. Already we are seeing absurd news stories sweep the arab world, claiming thousands of Israelis have stormed the Dome of the Rock - if Ariel Sharon going there in 2002 could spark a Palestinian uprising, what could a story like this do ? The vilification of Israel will be stepped up, but behind it will be violence and more misery. This will be Obama & Kerry's legacy in  the region as much as the second intifada is Arafat's legacy. The sad truth is that the Arab propaganda machine,  combined with the Muslim states who have the UN emasculated, and the western Liberal's knee jerk "evil Israel" attitude  will find a way to ignore Obama & Kerry's foolishness at forcing this situation, and Abba's clear intransigence (for all the reasons above), and they will blame Israel yet again.  People will die because of this, lives will be wrecked on both sides and Kerry could well claim a Nobel prize for a peace effort that was doomed to fail from the start.