Monday, October 11, 2010

In the news: The Middle East

There are several interesting stories coming from the Middle East today:

Once again, the drumbeat of the "international community" imposing Israeli borders and a Palestinian state, without agreement by Israel comes up AGAIN:

France May Recognize Unilateral PA Country

Maybe this is a new, politically correct way to phrase this potential decision as imposed on Israel: A "unilateral" decision. How interesting.

France has threatened to recognize a unilateral declaration of statehood by the Palestinian Authority if final status talks with Israel are “delayed.”

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner was quoted Sunday in an interview with the Arabic-language newspaper al-Ayyam as saying his government would not rule out the possibility of recognizing the unilateral establishment of a new PA country.

A United Nations-brokered resolution to the years-long deadlock, however, remained an option, he said.

“The international community cannot be satisfied with a prolonged deadlock,” he said. “I therefore believe that one cannot rule out in principle the Security Council option,” he added, according to the AFP news agency.

Earlier this year, PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad warned he would move to unilaterally declare statehood in 2011 if no agreement had been reached by that time.

Israel is fighting back:

Lieberman: "We will not be victims of appeasement"

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, fresh off what was widely viewed as his “undiplomatic” address to the UN General Assembly last month, told his visiting Spanish and French counterparts on Sunday that before coming to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, they should concentrate on the problems in their own backyard.

Ouch. Nothing like stating the obvious. He makes a good point - one would think that the EU should focus on their vast array of problems before imposing their determinations upon Israel.

“I don’t expect you to solve the problems of the world, but I certainly expect that before you come here to teach us how to solve conflicts, you will deal with the problems in Europe and solve those conflicts,” Lieberman told French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Moratinos, who arrived on Sunday for a day of talks in Israel, followed by a day of talks in the Palestinian Authorit

“In 1938, the European community decided to appease Hitler instead of supporting Czechoslovakia and sacrificed them [sic] without gaining anything,” Lieberman said.

“We will not be Czechoslovakia of 2010. We will ensure the security of Israel.”

Lieberman said it seemed as if the international community was trying to make up for all its failures in solving conflicts around the world by forging an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians in one year.

“What about the struggle in Somalia, North Korea, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan and Sudan?” he asked. “Instead of talking now with the Arab League about the future of a referendum in Sudan, or discussing the explosive situation in Iraq in 2012, the international community is applying great pressure on Israel.”

How refreshing to hear a politician speak the truth in this manner. Such truths are a rare commodity these days. There is much more to this article and its definitely worth reading.

Now take a look at this latest Israeli referendum, soon to become law:

Ministerial C'tee passes J'lem-Golan land referendum bill

A bill requiring a national referendum before relinquishing land in Jerusalem and the Golan Heights passed during a special meeting of the Ministerial Committee on Legislation on Monday, laying the groundwork for it to become law within weeks.

The legislation would require a national referendum in any instance in which Israel agreed in diplomatic talks to hand over areas that have been annexed (i.e., Jerusalem beyond the Green Line) or to which Israeli law has been extended (i.e., the Golan Heights).

According to the bill, any such deal must be approved by the Knesset and then put to a national referendum within 180 days. The bill tasks the Central Elections Committee with running any referendum, and would declare any referendum day to be equivalent to an election day.

The format of the referendum question will be phrased, simply: “Are you in favor of or opposed to the agreement approved by the Knesset?” Another bill will be submitted this week by MK Ophir Akunis (Likud) that would require a referendum on any deal with the Palestinian Authority; Akunis will ask the House Committee to expedite the legislation.

This would represent an enormous change in how such decisions are made within Israel. It will be fascinating to watch this process and whether or not this becomes law. This article states that we will know "within weeks". However, if the "international community" ends up "imposing" Israeli borders and a PA State, without agreement from Israel, this will be completely moot.

In this last article we see Iran once again influencing events in the region:

Abbas Blames Iran in Fatah-Hamas Fight

Of course, this isn't the least bit surprising, as most of us have known for years that Iran controls Hamas and Hezbollah.

Iran is dictating Hamas' agenda, and has decided against reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, he charged. Abbas is the head of Fatah, a terror organization which is currently the ruling party in the Ramallah-based PA. The Gaza-based breakaway PA is run by Hamas.

Iran provides much of Hamas' funding and training. The terrorist group also receives assistance from Syria, and several of its senior leaders have found refuge in Damascus.

Just another day in the Middle East.


kR said...

could this referendum lead to a peace pact they should NEVER sign??
I'm not sure that this won't backfire on Israelis. There are many diferent factions among Jews in Israel .

Scott said...

Are you referencing the Israeli attempt to get a national vote on any agreements to give away land?

I'm not sure -- We know the AC will somehow get this done - before that, I don't see any peace agreement getting "confirmed". So in some ways all of this is moot.

It is however, interesting to speculate as to whether or not the AC would have to go through an Israeli referendum...Maybe getting an allowance for the Temple to be rebuilt is how he gets it done? That might be exactly what it takes to get the Israeli's on board, and after Gog-MaGog it would be a lot easier IMO.

kR said...

It IS interesting from that angle Scott. The ac wouldn't just be making a pact with a representative Govt head but with the people!

Scott said...

I agree - very interesting. Now I am starting to see the scenario in which the Temple gets rebuilt. I can't imagine any other scenario in which the majority of voters would agree to something like this - but that would be one heck of a carrot - an agreement which allows for the Temple rebuilding.