Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Column: June 3, 2005

The meeting between President Bush and Mahmoud Abbas in Washington and the silence of Natan Sharansky in regard to his opposition to the expulsion plan at the AIPAC conference may mark the completion of the squandering of perhaps the friendliest administration in Washington that Israel has known.

So what’s next?

It looks downhill from here. The words of Bush and Abbas, the silence of Sharansky and the endorsement of Sharon’s “disengagement plan” by the Jewish establishment have brought us back to a “peace process” where Israeli concessions, expulsions and withdrawals will be followed by greater demands from Abbas while he gives greater and greater lip service to democracy and ending terror but actually does nothing on the ground.

Abbas is looking forward to the opportunities that have presented themselves through the lame capitulations of Jewish “leadership” both here and in America.

He said:

“We have assured the President that the Palestinian Authority is ready to coordinate with the Israeli side in order to ensure the success of its withdrawal from Gaza and the West Bank upon the Israeli evacuation. We see this evacuation as a part of ending the occupation, and it should not be at the expense of the West Bank. We must then immediately move to permanent status negotiations to deal with the issues of Al-Quds, East Jerusalem as a capital of the future state of Palestine, the issues of refugees, settlements, borders, security, and water, on the basis of President Bush's vision, and on the basis of U.N. resolutions, and the basis of the Arab Initiative.”

Make note: President Bush’s first words following the speech of Abbas of which the above quote it only part said: “Good job, good job. Two questions a side ….”

For those that are unfamiliar, Al Quds is the Arabic name for Jerusalem and the issue of “refugees” refers to the overrunning of pre 1967 Israel with “refugees” which would likely mean the end of the State of Israel as a Jewish state.

Of course, those matters are down the road but Abbas is encouraged by what he sees as the inevitability of the upcoming “disengagement” from Gaza and the Northern Shomron and is telling the world and his people about what he wants next.

Others encouraged of late by the direction of these latest developments include Hizbullah terror chief Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, who commanding more than 12,000 missiles along Israel’s northern border said at a rally last week that:

"The entire north of occupied Palestine [sic], its settlements, airports, seaports, fields, factories and farms is under the feet and hands of the Islamic resistance."

The message is clear to those who chose not to blind themselves to the hard truth that the “disengagement” will be accompanied or followed by an escalation of violence that will include not only the barraging of Israel from newly evacuated Gaza and Northern Shomron, but the strong likelihood that northern Israel -- from where I write -- will come under a major missile attack.

About this threat, Brig.-Gen. (res.) Yaakov Ayash told the Israeli daily Yediot Acharonot that the IDF is also preparing for the possibility that not only Hizbullah, but other terror groups operating in Lebanon, might attack during this summer's planned uprooting of Jewish towns.

The relative quiet that Israel has known on the northern border will explode and I am not at all sure how Israel will respond. Will we in the north be expected to take to the bomb shelters or will the air force act forcibly in preemptive action? If preemptive action is too much to hope for, will the air force act in response? I don’t know. There are shelters. What’s the problem? I have heard more than one native Israeli express a bizarre acceptance of the possibility of living a prolonged existence going in and out of bomb shelters. I am revolted.

Meanwhile, I am preparing for another trip with AFSI and ZOA to Gush Katif and the Northern Shomron. While the purpose of the trip is to give strength to the Jewish communities there, the effect is often that the group receives at least as much if not more strength from the communities.

Maybe I’ll come back strengthened from the trip. It wouldn’t surprise me. However, it won’t surprise me if the opposite is true -- it just looks like things are going south in a big way to any and all of us who remember and know the meaning of a land for terror “peace process.”


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