A Peace Process?

It is an extraordinary fact that all three US representatives present at a meeting with PM Netanyahu this week are Jewish.  Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and personal representative, Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s peace negotiator, and David Friedman the US Ambassador to Israel.  If they can’t come up with a plan that is acceptable to Israel no-one can.

But, what is the current plan emanating from the Trump Administration in Washington. It is the same as the Obama plan, pressure Israel to stop construction on the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) in order to placate the Palestinians and get them to agree to negotiate with Israel.  In other words, Israel has to make pre-concessions just in order to get them to agree to negotiate.   Have they learned nothing?  If you have to get tough with Israel to start negotiations, what about getting tough with the Palestinians?

At the same time, the PA President Mahmud Abbas is stoking the flames of war by cutting the payments for electricity from Israel to the Gaza Strip controlled by Hamas.  Hamas receives m$20 pa from Iran, that is dedicated to the destruction of Israel thru war. However, they don’t use this and other funds from Qatar for paying for electricity from Israel, they want to get it free and they don’t care if the Gazans suffer without light and heat.  By refusing to pay for the electricity, Abbas is risking a reaction from Hamas, but it will be against Israel, as Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman warned this week.

The prospects for any kind of peace process are almost nil.  Abbas can offer nothing and can deliver nothing.  The Palestinians are irretrievably split between the secular Fatah/ PLO and the Islamist Hamas.  Apparently the meeting between the US representatives and Abbas became heated again and tense and the latest reports suggest that there may be a change in Trump’s position.  Could it be that at last there will a  US President who will tell the truth about the Palestinians, that they are intransigent, they support terrorism and they have no intention of ever recognizing Israel.

Shame on me!

We were just about to eat dinner and I decided to turn the air conditioning off.  I went to the remote control that is attached to the wall in the corridor and pressed the on/off button – and nothing happened!   I tried it again (dumb) and the same thing didn’t happen.  I looked at it and sure enough the damn remote was dead.  I thought, ha ha, change the batteries and went to find some AAA batteries, but did not have any.

Then Sahlee our carer reminded me that this had happened before, last year.  She said check and see if the remote is wet inside, and sure enough it was.  What had happened before, and evidently had happened again, was that the water pipe outlet of the a/c got blocked, the water builds up and then leaks on the floor of the compartment and then drips through the hole in the ceiling where the wire connects to the remote switch and then drips down onto the remote control, which I had placed immediately below it.  Yes, shame on me, how stupid can you get.  I had replaced the remote in exactly the same position it had been last year, when in fact I could have placed it anywhere.

Then I had to wait for the remote to dry out, I did this by placing it below a fan that blew air on it.  I went out and bought AAA batteries, then when I got home it was already dry and I replaced the batteries and – it worked.   I forgot to mention that since I could not turn the a/c off with the remote I turned it off at the main switch.  Also I got up into the a/c compartment and detached the water pipe outlet and blew through it hard and cleared it.  Then I poured about half a liter of water (containing some soap and some anti-algae copper solution) thru the pipe using a funnel and then I reconnected the pipe to the a/c and took out the bowl of water that had collected below it (without spilling too much of it).

Finally I turned the a/c back on at the mains and turned it off with the now working remote and then attached it to the wall – in a completely different location, far from the potential drip.  At least I learnt that lesson.  Then I checked, as long as water drips out of the end of the water outlet pipe (three stories below near the ground) I know its working.

 

Fixing the Electric Buggy

My sister Barbara and her husband Allan are visiting Netanya from the UK.  But, she has some trouble walking, so in previous years we have ordered an electric buggy for her to get around.  This time we waited until she was here and then went to rent a small one-seat buggy from this tiny shop in Netanya run by a little old man.  She chose a small one and then we had to get it into the trunk of my car.  To do this we had to disassemble it and take the seat off the chassis.  There was a fairly large metal pin that went through a hole in the seat assembly that we had to keep in order to reassemble it.

When we got back to the hotel where they are staying I wanted to put the pin back in the hole, but it wouldn’t go.  I realized the hole was not aligned so I managed to twist the tube sticking out from the chassis a bit by hand, until the pin went in. and then the seat could be reattached. Barbara got on the buggy and quietly rode away.

Sunday evening at 7 pm I received a call that they could not get the seat back on the buggy, again!  They had removed the seat and the electric battery pack in order to recharge it in the hotel luggage room, and now could not get it back together.  Of course, the problem was that the pin would not go in.  I raced down there with some tools, luckily I took a  wrench that I figured would be useful.

When I arrived I found three men, Allan and two custodians, around the disassembled buggy in the lobby of the hotel, one man on his knees and hitting the tube inside the chassis from the bottom with a large hammer.  I told him to stop.  Then I took the wrench and in a few turns found the hole and managed to pull it and twist it until it was aligned. Then I put the pin back in. But, then the battery pack would not fit in again.  I remembered that the battery had been below the pin in the morning, so I took the pin out, replaced the battery pack and then put the pin back in and then replaced the seat.  It was all reassembled and it worked.

Remember, next time you’re in trouble, you know who to call!

Mosque Attack in UK

In case anyone thinks otherwise, let me say clearly that I am totally and completely against any form of terrorism.  Just because I criticize Islam for its belief system that leads to terrorism, this makes no difference to me.  There is no justification for killing innocent people, none!  This is true for the terrorist incidents in Manchester, and at the London bridges, and the recent ramming attack against Finsbury Park Mosque.  I include all Palestinian terrorist incidents against Israelis as well as those against all European and US citizens. Terrorism is wrong, period.  This goes against the opinions of many westerners, who excuse Palestinian terrorism because they think it has some justification (“the way they are treated,” they are “desperate”).  Nonsense.  let me repeat – there is no justification for terrorism!

My daughter pointed out an important distinction.  Terrorism attacks random human targets, while a hate crime attacks people of only one kind.  So there is a difference between random and targeted terrorism.  The anti-Muslim driver who rammed the people outside the Mosque, killing one person, was motivated by hatred of Muslims.   The Palestinian who stabbed the policewoman to death in Jerusalem last week hated all Jews. But, the IS killers who sprayed Parisians with gunfire or bombed the concert in Manchester were driven by hatred of all infidels, and might even have killed many Muslims. Nevertheless,. all such terrorist killing, whatever the basis of the hatred, is wrong. There can be no civilized excuse for such killings!

This does not mean that targeted killings of active or potential terrorists is not justified as a counter-measure.  Nor that we should accept the kind of religious excuses given by Muslims for the murder of infidels because they don’t accept Islam.  If there is a national-religious ethic justifying the slaughter of people, that belief system must be stopped and changed (just like Nazism or Communism).  So the teaching in mosques and schools around the world that jihad is justified against infidels is wrong and only fuels terrorism. Similarly the teaching of hatred of Jews by the Palestinian Authority and the Hamas school system is wrong and must be stopped.  Such western-financed incitement must be curtailed!

Terrorism in Jerusalem

In a coordinated terrorist incident last Friday, three Palestinian Arab terrorists attacked Israeli policemen guarding the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem and shot and stabbed them. One policewoman was stabbed to death and two others were injured.  The three assailants were shot dead at the scene.  Although the Islamic State claimed credit for the attack, the Israeli police found no connection to them and Hamas in Gaza denied that IS was involved.  The policewoman, 23-year-old St.-Sgt. Hadas Malka, was buried the next day.

At first the BBC reported the incident as “Three Palestinians shot dead in Jerusalem after stabbing.”  After protests that went as high as PM Netanyahu they changed the headline to ‘Policewoman stabbed to death in terrorist incident in Jerusalem.”   This kind of deliberately misleading headline that emphasizes the deaths of the terrorists as if they were innocent Palestinians, compared to the actual attack by them on Israeli police, is characteristic of the BBC (and many other media).  There is no doubt that there is institutional bias at the BBC that includes both Islamic infiltration as well as left-wing journalists and editors sympathetic to the Palestinian cause who are automatically anti-Israel.  At least in this case they changed the headline to reflect the actual situation.

The following day the Israeli police rounded up some 350 Palestinian Arabs present illegally in the Old City and surroundings.  Often the police ignore these Palestinian workers without legal papers allowing them to be in Israel.  But, after such an incident the terrorists spoil the situation for all concerned.  It is mystifying why there is sympathy for the Palestinian terrorists who are shot dead here in Israel, but not for the Islamic terrorists who attack such sites as Borough Market in London and are shot dead there. There is no such thing as a “good” terrorist!

 

 

Letters in J. Post

Friday June 9 Magazine Section: “Law versus Reality

The left in Israel, represented by lawyers such as Michael Sfard, regard the “occupation” of the West Bank as an original sin of colonial Israel and like most of Israel’s enemies in Europe and elsewhere wish for Israel to withdraw and give it “back” to the native inhabitants, the Arabs.  This view argues that the Israeli settlements are illegal, consistent with the view of most other countries in the world and the UN.

The right, as represented by such international lawyers as Alan Baker, a former legal adviser to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, tend to take the view that Israel inherited sovereignty of the West Bank from the previous rulers Turkey and the British Mandate, and that Israel has unilaterally not “reabsorbed” the West Bank pending some kind of negotiated deal with the Palestinians.  This view argues that the sovereignty of the area has not been changed since the treaties that ended WWI, and that Israel has a perfectly legitimate claim to the whole area and therefore that Israeli settlements are legal.

Of the two opposing views I favor the latter. It seems to me that international law trumps national law, even rulings by the Supreme Court, that in any case deal with mostly details of specific cases (such as the ownership of private land) and are also biased by the overwhelmingly liberal-leftist make-up of the majority of Supreme Court Justices.  Incidentally, unlike the US or elsewhere, the Supreme Court Justices in Israel choose their own successors, which makes for a very unhealthy permanent bias.  Of course, I am not a lawyer, but this article “Law versus Reality,” can be dismissed as a collection of opinions and Supreme Court decisions that add up to very little.

Who gets sovereignty of Judea and Samaria will depend on historical events, such as future potential negotiations.  I hope that something happens that will help to determine this during the course of the current Trump Administration.

Jack S. Cohen, Netanya

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Sunday June 12, “Hear hear

Sir:  I strongly support the PM’s call to disband UNRWA (Netanyahu calls to disband UNRWA… June 12, 2017).  This organization perpetuates the Palestinian problem by giving the Palestinians a welfare state from cradle to grave, funded through the UN largely by US taxpayer money.

The fiction that the Palestinians are “refugees” is abetted by the definition used by UNRWA that is unique in the world that includes all descendants of refugees, that is contrary to accepted international law.  Also, a refugee is one who has left his country, while most of the Palestinians still live within the borders of Mandatory Palestine (including the PA and Jordan) and consequently are NOT refugees.

In addition, over time, UNRWA has become an almost wholly owned subsidiary of various Palestinian organizations, including Hamas in Gaza.  This was recently shown by the discovery of tunnels running from UNRWA-run schools, apart from the fact that UNRWA personnel include Hamas operatives.

There can be no “solution” to the current stalemate unless significant changes are made in the status quo, and one of these must be the disbanding of UNRWA, which is part of the institutional anti-Israel bias at the UN which has been criticized strongly by US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley.

Yours, Ya’akov ben Meir (aka Jack S. Cohen) Netanya

Endorsement of “Top-Down” Agreement First

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Monday publicly endorsed the concept of an Arab-Israel “top-down” deal first, before a possible peace agreement with the Palestinians. Although this is not official Israeli Government policy, it does give a kind of imprimatur to this approach.  It is contrary to Pres. Trump’s current emphasis on achieving an Israel-Palestine peace process through direct negotiations.  But, such an indirect deal with initial agreement and recognition of Israel by the Arab States, particularly Saudi Arabia, could pave the way for such a direct deal.  In fact, a Palestinian aide to Pres Abbas of the PA has leaked that this is the route currently being explored.

As I described in my posting “Black Swan Events” (June 12) these kind of unpredictable and unexpected events come along and change the whole political picture.  If all the major Arab Muslim countries involved (Egypt, Jordan, and then perhaps Saudi Arabia) make peace with Israel before the Palestine situation is resolved, the Palestinians then have no backing for further military action against Israel.  Israel is then legitimate in the eyes of the major Arab players.  Only Iran and its proxies (Hezbollah, Syria and possibly Hamas) can and will continue to oppose Israel militarily.

I have been supporting this kind of deal for a long time.  Given the defeats of all the major Arab States in their wars and military actions against Israel and the intransigence of the Palestinians and their adoption of terrorism as their only response to the existence of Israel there seems to be no alternative. These States know the true situation, it’s like the fall of Communism, the visit of Sadat to Jerusalem and the opening up to Communist China, eventually these things had to happen, and in this case it will too.