Friday, July 15, 2011

The plot thickens

The Quartet of countries involved in the Middle East, the US, EU, Russia and UN, met in NY this week and after 5 hours of deliberations were unable to come up with a unified statement. Quartet repesentative Tony Blair immediately flew to the region, and uttered the usual platitudes about this being the best time to try to restart negotiations. But actually its probably the worst time. The PA under Pres. Abbas has gone far out on a limb under Pres. Obama's influence and is refusing to restart talks without two preconditions, namely that Israel stop all construction in the West Bank and that Israel accept the pre-1967 lines as the basis for talks. However, these were never preconditions before Obama was elected. In response, PM Netanyahu introduced his precondition, that the Palestinians must recognize Israel as the State of the Jewish people concurrently with Israel recognizing a Palestinian State. This is something that the Pals won't do, since it then ends their claims to legitimacy in all of what they call Palestine, including Israel. So the sides are at an impasse due to Obama's meddling.

In order to circumvent all negotiations, the PA decided to unilaterally request recognition of the UN for its State, but this was contingent on a unity deal between Fatah in the PA on the West Bank and Hamas controlling Gaza. Although such a deal was reported, it has not been implemented until now, and even if the UN foolishly recognizes a Palestinian State, when in fact there are two distinct and separate claimants, then there is likely to be a Palestinian civil war for control. Meanwhile the Arab League today endorsed the Palestinian maneuver at the UN. All of this is not so bad for Israel. If there is indeed a Palestinian State declared by the UN, then Israel can unilaterally select its own borders, including those regions of the West Bank where there is dense Jewish settlement. Who knows, maybe in the final analysis that's the only way to get a realistic solution to the problem.

For those interested in knowing the truth about Gaza, go to this article by a Palestinian emigre on a visit to Gaza for the first time. He tells it like it is, and its a lot better than the mainstream media like to show. They only show damaged and destroyed buildings, but he sees lots of reconstruction. They only write articles about the suffering of the Gazans, but he sees shops filled with food and other goods. Why do editors and journalists have this narrow-minded bias, is it left-wing politics, Arab intimidation of journalists or plain anti-Israel (anti-Semitic) animus? Whatever the reasons, the facts totally contradict the propaganda of the pro-Gazans, all these "flotillas" and "fly-ins" and "peace for Palestine" are just so many stupid publicity-seeking jaunts. see for example Here is another example, a 5-star hotel opens in Gaza: The problem is, this doesn't fit in with the accepted view of Gaza as an "open prison" where the poor Palestinians are suffering under "occupation." Let everyone know that this propaganda is a lie!

As the fighting continues in Syria, as far as Israel is concerned, let them fight each other, similarly in Egypt. Only once the dust settles will we know where we stand. In the past few days there have been attacks on the French and US Embassies in Damascus by forces loyal to Pres. Assad. This is the regime flexing its muscles and showing its disdain for western influence. But, unlike Libya there is no western stomach for intervention there. With its principal supporter, Syria, in doubt, Hizbollah in Lebanon will also not likely move against Israel. Since the Second Lebanon War 5 years ago there has been effective peace on the northern border due to Israeli deterance.

The reason there is current dispute regarding the maritime border between Israel and Lebanon is that Israel has found huge quantitites of natural gas within its maritime border. This border was established with Cyprus after negotiations, but of course Lebanon refused to negotiate a maritime border with Israel. Now that Israel has found these gas fields, the Lebanese Government, which is dominated by Hizbollah, is now claiming the areas where these finds have been made and is asking the UN to recognize its version of the border. Of course, if Israel had not found these deposits Lebanon would not be asking for this re-evaluation. As far as I understand it, the UN does not delineate maritime borders, these are for bilateral negotiations between the affected countries. Since Lebanon will not negotiate with Israel - too bad!


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