"The State of Israel is a law-abiding democracy; I am committed to enforcing the law and am I committed to safeguarding the settlement enterprise," says Netanyahu after bill to legalize disputed Beit El homes is defeated.
FP: I agree with the principle of the rule of law and the need to constrain citizens from performing illegal actions. But I do have some quibbles with the application of this principle to the Ulpana and similar incidents.
I do not believe Netanyahu’s decision is driven by that principle, as he claims. I think he intends to make further concessions to the Arabs—for which purpose he formed the unity government—in order to appease the West and bring the Arabs back to the negotiating table for that purpose. As usual, he failed again to learn from past mistake and realize that all that this does is to signal weakness, achieving exactly the opposite of what is intended. The ridiculous moving of settler homes a hundred meters, just like the more drastic retreat from Gaza, convinces the Arabs that they don’t need to compromise on their strategic goal and, as the American reaction has already demonstrated, it does not sate the West.
Alex Traiman: A lose-lose situation
Destroying Jewish homes in our homeland will only encourage the international community to continue its push to undo what is perceives as the historical wrong created when the Jewish people exercised its rights to its ancestral land.
Ze'ev Jabotinsky: Our right to this land
My grandfather taught the Jews not to underestimate the power of concession.
If Israel continues to play the patsy to the Arabs’ Blackmailer Paradox game, it puts itself in existential danger (see next).
U.S. president tells Orthodox Union delegation: "I'm worried that the window of opportunity for reaching a peace agreement is closing" • PA president says two-state solution based on 1967 borders "may not stay on the table for a long time."
FP: The claim that Palestinian leadership is too weak to “deliver the goods” has been made repeatedly ever since I can remember, but those who make it fail to draw the proper conclusion from it. If it is true, what does this tell us? That the Palestinian public rejects peace and still desires to get the whole of Israel. For if it wanted peace, even a weak leadership could deliver it.
Those who make this claim without drawing the proper conclusion do this for the purposes of pressuring Israel for concessions, in order to “strengthen” the Palestinian leadership, which counters logic.
FP: Which means that almost half don’t.
KHALED ABU TOAMEH: Former Arafat advisor sentenced to 15 years in jail
PA court sentences Rashid for embezzlement, money laundering, making him most senior PA official sentenced for corruption.
In the past few weeks Rashid, who is presumed to be living in London, launched a scathing attack on Abbas and his two businessmen sons, holding them responsible for corruption and embezzlement.
Rashid claimed that Abbas's wealth was estimated at $100 million and called for a probe into the source of his and his sons' income. He also claimed that Abbas was the owner of five "palaces" worth more than $20 million.
FP: Send them more money.
UN envoy seeks to create ‘contact group’ of nations to produce plan everyone, including Russia and China, can agree on
FP: Why would anybody to listen to a former failed UN secretary general and a failing envoy to Syria? And why would a contact group within the UN succeed where the UNSC failed? This is turning into Kafka.
JoshuaPundit has it right:
First, and most important, what exactly are we trying to accomplish in Syria by intervening and promoting regime change? A sovereign Syrian nation under democratic rule that's an ally of the west?
There have been several occasions where the West has tried to facilitate that sort of thing in the Muslim world, in Egypt, in Iraq, in Libya, in Lebanon, in Afghanistan and in Iran. It's been an abject failure every time.
Even if we put the same effort into Syria, I doubt the results would be the same. What we would be more likely to achieve is a Sunni Muslim Brotherhood-dominated Islamist state that would in no way be friendly to the west.
Like it or not, we simply have no dog in this fight, and even if we did,the kind of results the sort of people who are shilling for us to get involved in Syria would be problematical at best, because of the element of Islam if nothing else.You can try painting a leopard to hide its spots, but the beast's innate nature remains.
We're far better off allowing the locals to settle their differences in their time honored fashion and concentrate on real problems, like Iran's rogue nuclear program or figuring out a way to deal with the emerging Islamist caliphate we've so thoughtlessly enabled and energized.
FP: Exactly right. In this sense, the election may prove to be a blessing.
Today I am registering what I think is an inconsistency by Bill Katz of URGENT AGENDA on this subject. On the one hand:
For those hoping for a change in our hopeless Syrian policy, be prepared to be disappointed. A major statement today by Hillary Clinton indicates that President Obama is in no mood to do anything significant to end the killing in Syria.
A conference! Incredible idea! Why didn't we think of that?
Sending an adviser to Moscow! Another brilliant move! Aren't you impressed by the imagination and swiftness of the Obama team?
This is no policy at all. Obama seems to feel that he must do nothing that will cause ripples before the election. He is exactly wrong. Americans are watching weak, conniving leadership based entirely on electoral considerations. The polls show Americans are not impressed.
On the other hand:
As we run an election campaign, we're averting our eyes from the results of the badly named "Arab spring." It's turning into an Arab winter.
Alan Johnson, writing in the journal World Affairs, where conservatives are actually represented, warns us about our illusions by reporting on his recent experience at the US-Islamic World Forum, held in Qatar.
I was troubled by a naive approach among some participants toward one of the most ideologically driven political formations in the Islamic world, yet also the wiliest, indeed the most duplicitous: the Ikhwani, or Muslim Brotherhood.
The trouble was the willingness to allow the forum’s debates to shuffle around the categories of “freedom,” “equality,” “democracy,” and “rights.” For as Paul Berman has pointed out, the Ikhwani prefer that kind of kumbaya debate, and for one simple reason: they don’t mean what we mean by such words, and they sense that we don’t realize that! They are masters at finding “words that elide and hide.” We think they are liberalizing Islam. They know they are trying to Islamize—to swallow whole—liberalism.
So it looks like Katz would prefer an intervention in Syria, whose outcome is more than likely to have the same consequence as the ones in Libya, Egypt, Iraq and Afghanistan, which he deplores!
I agree that the situation in Syria is frustrating and that Assad is an enemy of the West and his toppling, per se, would be beneficial. But at this stage of the game, which is practically one of civil sectarian war, foreign intervention will lead first to a huge massacre and, ultimately, to an Islamist regime just like the one in Egypt. Not only will an Islamist regime in Damascus be inherently anti-Western, but it will also remember that the West failed to intervene and stop Assad’s massacre when it really counted. Note also that while Libya and Egypt did not have powerful patrons, Syria has two.
America has, for all practical purposes, lost the ME due to its own domestic decline and lack of strategic thinking in its foreign policy (see next). In these circumstances, throwing good human and financial resources that it cannot afford after the already wasted ones only to expand the damage from the Arab “spring” would be stupid.
Which is why I concur with JoshuaPundit’s recommendation. The US is in a ME hole and should stop digging.
Hardly surprising, deeply upsetting, and geostrategically catastrophic, it’s official. Turkey has now passed over towards being an Islamist state. That turning point is marked by a tiny event of gigantic importance.
Fazil Say is an internationally acclaimed Turkish classical pianist. He has performed with prestigious symphony orchestras such as the New York Philharmonic, Berlin, Israel Philharmonic, France, and Tokyo, and is a European Union cultural ambassador. The Turkish state is now going to put him on trial, as an Istanbul court has accepted the prosecutor’s charge, which amounts to heresy. Specifically: he is accused of insulting Islam because of tweets he sent.
Say suggested that since the Koran says there are rivers of drinks in heaven, that makes it sound like a pub, while the beautiful women available there make it sound like a brothel. A number of his tweets are quoted here. That’s his crime — writing a couple of sentences to describe his thoughts.
We are not talking of someone criticizing Say or disagreeing with him. We are talking about the power of the Turkish state being used to charge a man with a crime and to send him to prison for exercising free speech. True, they are only asking for a sentence of eighteen months in prison, but once the precedent is set their ambitions will expand.
There are already hundreds of political prisoners in Turkey today who have been in prison for over three years without any trial. Now, if criticizing Islam in Turkey is a crime, Turkey is not a secular state. And with all of those innocent people already thrown in jail by the regime on trumped-up charges of treason and terrorism, Turkey is no longer a democratic state, either. (For a study of the conspiracy charges — actually a wave of repression and intimidation seeking to quell opposition to Turkey’s fundamental transformation — see this detailed article by Gareth Jenkins in MERIA Journal.)
This is the country that the Obama administration views as a role model for other Muslim-majority countries. In fact, though, Turkey is going down the same road of repression. In Saudi Arabia, a young man was recently indicted, extradited back from Malaysia, and put on trial for a similar offense. But we know where Saudi Arabia stands. Islamists in Egypt wanted to do the same to a leading Christian businessman for posting a picture of Mickey and Minnie Mouse in “Islamic” garb.
They acted too soon, while the military is still in power. Let them try it again in a few months.
FP: So when I claim that the ME is lost to and an enemy of the West, I know what I am talking about, right?
Stanley Kurtz: Obama’s Third-Party History