Continued..... from here
Friday, November 20, 2009
Continued..... from here
Monday, November 2, 2009
A convicted rapist is on the run after escaping security guards at the Pakistan High Commission in London days before he was due to be deported.
Imtiaz Hussain, 44, had been transported from prison, where he was serving a nine-year sentence for rape, to the Pakistan High Commission to get a new passport in preparation for his deportation.
But the serial rapist gave immigration officials the slip, escaping through a window after claiming he needed the toilet.
He was last seen running along Sloane Square.
Police have now launched an nationwide manhunt for the sex attacker said to be 'very dangerous' and a 'serious threat to women'.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Transcript of Prime Minister's speech to the UN.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Nearly 62 years ago, the United Nations recognized the right of the Jews, an ancient people 3,500 years-old, to a state of their own in their ancestral homeland.
I stand here today as the Prime Minister of Israel, the Jewish state, and I speak to you on behalf of my country and my people.
The United Nations was founded after the carnage of World War II and the horrors of the Holocaust. It was charged with preventing the recurrence of such horrendous events. Nothing has undermined that central mission more than the systematic assault on the truth.
Yesterday the President of Iran stood at this very podium, spewing his latest anti-Semitic rants. Just a few days earlier, he again claimed that the Holocaust is a lie.
Last month, I went to a villa in a suburb of Berlin called Wannsee. There, on January 20, 1942, after a hearty meal, senior Nazi officials met and decided how to exterminate the Jewish people. The detailed minutes of that meeting have been preserved by successive German governments.
Here is a copy of those minutes, in which the Nazis issued precise instructions on how to carry out the extermination of the Jews. Is this a lie?
A day before I was in Wannsee, I was given in Berlin the original construction plans for the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. Those plans are signed by Hitler’s deputy, Heinrich Himmler himself. Here is a copy of the plans for Auschwitz-Birkenau, where one million Jews were murdered. Is this too a lie?
This June, President Obama visited the Buchenwald concentration camp. Did President Obama pay tribute to a lie? And what of the Auschwitz survivors whose arms still bear the tattooed numbers branded on them by the Nazis? Are those tattoos a lie?
One-third of all Jews perished in the conflagration. Nearly every Jewish family was affected, including my own. My wife's grandparents, her father’s two sisters and three brothers, and all the aunts, uncles and cousins were all murdered by the Nazis. Is that also a lie?
Yesterday, the man who calls the Holocaust a lie spoke from this podium. To those who refused to come here and to those who left this room in protest, I commend you. You stood up for moral clarity and you brought honor to your countries.
But to those who gave this Holocaust-denier a hearing, I say on behalf of my people, the Jewish people, and decent people everywhere: Have you no shame? Have you no decency?
A mere six decades after the Holocaust, you give legitimacy to a man who denies that the murder of six million Jews took place and pledges to wipe out the Jewish state. What a disgrace! What a mockery of the charter of the United Nations!
Perhaps some of you think that this man and his odious regime threaten only the Jews. You're wrong. History has shown us time and again that what starts with attacks on the Jews eventually ends up engulfing many others.
This Iranian regime is fueled by an extreme fundamentalism that burst onto the world scene three decades ago after lying dormant for centuries.
In the past thirty years, this fanaticism has swept the globe with a murderous violence and cold-blooded impartiality in its choice of victims. It has callously slaughtered Moslems and Christians, Jews and Hindus, and many others. Though it is comprised of different offshoots, the adherents of this unforgiving creed seek to return humanity to medieval times. Wherever they can, they impose a backward regimented society where women, minorities, gays or anyone not deemed to be a true believer is brutally subjugated.
The struggle against this fanaticism does not pit faith against faith nor civilization against civilization. It pits civilization against barbarism, the 21st century against the 9th century, those who sanctify life against those who glorify death. The primitivism of the 9th century ought to be no match for the progress of the 21st century. The allure of freedom, the power of technology, the reach of communications should surely win the day.
Ultimately, the past cannot triumph over the future. And the future offers all nations magnificent bounties of hope. The pace of progress is growing exponentially. It took us centuries to get from the printing press to the telephone, decades to get from the telephone to the personal computer, and only a few years to get from the personal computer to the internet.
What seemed impossible a few years ago is already outdated, and we can scarcely fathom the changes that are yet to come.
We will crack the genetic code. We will cure the incurable. We will lengthen our lives. We will find a cheap alternative to fossil fuels and clean up the planet.
I am proud that my country Israel is at the forefront of these advances – by leading innovations in science and technology, medicine and biology, agriculture and water, energy and the environment. These innovations the world over offer humanity a sunlit future of unimagined promise.
But if the most primitive fanaticism can acquire the most deadly weapons, the march of history could be reversed for a time. And like the belated victory over the Nazis, the forces of progress and freedom will prevail only after a horrific toll of blood and fortune has been exacted from mankind.
That is why the greatest threat facing the world today is the marriage between religious fanaticism and the weapons of mass destruction, and the most urgent challenge facing this body is to prevent the tyrants of Tehran from acquiring nuclear weapons.
Are the member states of the United Nations up to that challenge? Will the international community confront a despotism that terrorizes its own people as they bravely stand up for freedom?
Will it take action against the dictators who stole an election in broad daylight and gunned down Iranian protesters who died in the streets choking in their own blood?
Will the international community thwart the world's most pernicious sponsors and practitioners of terrorism?
Above all, will the international community stop the terrorist regime of Iran from developing atomic weapons, thereby endangering the peace of the entire world?
The people of Iran are courageously standing up to this regime. People of goodwill around the world stand with them, as do the thousands who have been protesting outside this hall. Will the United Nations stand by their side?
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The jury is still out on the United Nations, and recent signs are not encouraging.
Rather than condemning the terrorists and their Iranian patrons, some here have condemned their victims. That is exactly what a recent UN report on Gaza did, falsely equating the terrorists with those they targeted.
For eight long years, Hamas fired from Gaza thousands of missiles, mortars and rockets on nearby Israeli cities. Year after year, as these missiles were deliberately hurled at our civilians, not a single UN resolution was passed condemning those criminal attacks.
We heard nothing – absolutely nothing – from the UN Human Rights Council, a misnamed institution if there ever was one.
In 2005, hoping to advance peace, Israel unilaterally withdrew from every inch of Gaza. It dismantled 21 settlements and uprooted over 8,000 Israelis.
We didn't get peace. Instead we got an Iranian backed terror base fifty miles from Tel Aviv. Life in Israeli towns and cities next to Gaza became a nightmare.
You see, the Hamas rocket attacks not only continued, they increased tenfold. Again, the UN was silent.
Finally, after eight years of this unremitting assault, Israel was finally forced to respond. But how should we have responded?
Well, there is only one example in history of thousands of rockets being fired on a country's civilian population. It happened when the Nazis rocketed British cities during World War II.
During that war, the allies leveled German cities, causing hundreds of thousands of casualties. Israel chose to respond differently. Faced with an enemy committing a double war crime of firing on civilians while hiding behind civilians – Israel sought to conduct surgical strikes against the rocket launchers.
That was no easy task because the terrorists were firing missiles from homes and schools, using mosques as weapons depots and ferreting explosives in ambulances.
Israel, by contrast, tried to minimize casualties by urging Palestinian civilians to vacate the targeted areas. We dropped countless flyers over their homes, sent thousands of text messages and called thousands of cell phones asking people to leave.
Never has a country gone to such extraordinary lengths to remove the enemy's civilian population from harm's way. Yet faced with such a clear case of aggressor and victim, who did the UN Human Rights Council decide to condemn? Israel.
A democracy legitimately defending itself against terror is morally hanged, drawn and quartered, and given an unfair trial to boot.
By these twisted standards, the UN Human Rights Council would have dragged Roosevelt and Churchill to the dock as war criminals. What a perversion of truth! What a perversion of justice!
Delegates of the United Nations,
Will you accept this farce? Because if you do, the United Nations would revert to its darkest days, when the worst violators of human rights sat in judgment against the law-abiding democracies, when Zionism was equated with racism and when an automatic majority could declare that the earth is flat.
If this body does not reject this report, it would send a message to terrorists everywhere: Terror pays; if you launch your attacks from densely populated areas, you will win immunity.
And in condemning Israel, this body would also deal a mortal blow to peace. Here's why. When Israel left Gaza, many hoped that the missile attacks would stop. Others believed that at the very least, Israel would have international legitimacy to exercise its right of self-defense.
What legitimacy? What self-defense?
The same UN that cheered Israel as it left Gaza and promised to back our right of self-defense now accuses us –my people, my country - of war crimes? And for what? For acting responsibly in self-defense. What a travesty!
Israel justly defended itself against terror. This biased and unjust report is a clear-cut test for all governments. Will you stand with Israel or will you stand with the terrorists?
We must know the answer to that question now. Now and not later. Because if Israel is again asked to take more risks for peace, we must know today that you will stand with us tomorrow.
Only if we have the confidence that we can defend ourselves can we take further risks for peace.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
All of Israel wants peace. Any time an Arab leader genuinely wanted peace with us, we made peace. We made peace with Egypt led by Anwar Sadat. We made peace with Jordan led by King Hussein.
And if the Palestinians truly want peace, I and my government, and the people of Israel, will make peace. But we want a genuine peace, a defensible peace, a permanent peace.
In 1947, this body voted to establish two states for two peoples – a Jewish state and an Arab state. The Jews accepted that resolution. The Arabs rejected it. We ask the Palestinians to finally do what they have refused to do for 62 years: Say yes to a Jewish state.
Just as we are asked to recognize a nation-state for the Palestinian people, the Palestinians must be asked to recognize the nation state of the Jewish people. The Jewish people are not foreign conquerors in the Land of Israel. This is the land of our forefathers.
Inscribed on the walls outside this building is the great Biblical vision of peace: "Nation shall not lift up sword against nation. They shall learn war no more." These words were spoken by the Jewish prophet Isaiah 2,800 years ago as he walked in my country, in my city - in the hills of Judea and in the streets of Jerusalem. We are not strangers to this land. It is our homeland.
As deeply connected as we are to this land, we recognize that the Palestinians also live there and want a home of their own. We want to live side by side with them, two free peoples living in peace, prosperity and dignity.
But we must have security. The Palestinians should have all the powers to govern themselves except those handful of powers that could endanger Israel.
That is why a Palestinian state must be effectively demilitarized. We don't want another Gaza, another Iranian backed terror base abutting Jerusalem and perched on the hills a few kilometers from Tel Aviv.
We want peace.
I believe such a peace can be achieved. But only if we roll back the forces of terror, led by Iran, that seek to destroy peace, eliminate Israel and overthrow the world order.
The question facing the international community is whether it is prepared to confront those forces or accommodate them.
Over seventy years ago, Winston Churchill lamented what he called the "confirmed unteachability of mankind," the unfortunate habit of civilized societies to sleep until danger nearly overtakes them.
Churchill bemoaned what he called the "want of foresight, the unwillingness to act when action will be simple and effective, the lack of clear thinking, the confusion of counsel until emergency comes, until self-preservation strikes its jarring gong.”
I speak here today in the hope that Churchill's assessment of the "unteachability of mankind" is for once proven wrong.
I speak here today in the hope that we can learn from history -- that we can prevent danger in time.
In the spirit of the timeless words spoken to Joshua over 3,000 years ago, let us be strong and of good courage. Let us confront this peril, secure our future and, God willing, forge an enduring peace for generations to come.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
The Tundra Tabloids is on record supporting the average Iranian who wants to diminish the role Islam plays in Iran's society, and build a more modern state, one that's free from supporting international terrorism.
What's happening inside Iran however, is not a national movement being led by credible leaders, but by radical and highly corrupted Islamic clerics who are worried that their base of power and financial wealth is at risk, due to Mahmoud(goodie two shoes) Ahmadinejad's reforms.
"Moodie's reforms" however, are nothing more than an attempt to restore the late Ayattolah Khomenie's Islamic revolution.
Nothing worthwhile there to scream about, let alone to support. KGS
Police tear-gas Iran protesters during prayer
"TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - Tens of thousands of government opponents packed Iran's main Islamic prayer service Friday, chanting "freedom, freedom" and other slogans as their top clerical backer Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani delivered a sermon bluntly criticizing the country's leadership over the crackdown on election protests.
Outside, police and pro-government Basiji militiamen fired tear gas and charged thousands of protesters who chanted "death to the dictator" and called on President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to resign. Dozens were arrested, piled in trucks and taken away, witnesses said.
Plainclothes Basijis stood in front of a line of riot police and pumped canisters of tear gas, which young protesters with green bandanas over their faces kicked away across the pavement, away from the crowds. Some set a bonfire in the street and waved their hands in the air in victory signs.
The opposition aimed to turn the Friday prayers at Tehran University into a show of their continued strength despite heavy government suppression since the disputed June 12 presidential election.
Opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, who claims to have won the election, sat among the worshippers, attending for the first time since the turmoil began. Many of the tens of thousands at the prayers wore headbands or wristbands in his campaign color green, or had green prayer rugs, in a crowd that filled the former soccer field where prayers are held and spilling into nearby streets."
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Let’s stop talking about defamations. Lehto was also convicted of disturbing religious worship. According to the district court Lehto violated Muslims' religious worship by defaming the prophet Muhammad. Professor Jaakko Hämeen-Anttila has confirmed the interpretation according to which Muhammad is a revered figure in Islamic faith.
According to state prosecutor Mika Illman and Tampere district court insulting the prophet Muhammad is illegal, because Muhammad is revered by Muslims.
(On the other hand professor Hämeen-Anttila could certainly confirm that in Christianity Jesus and God are holy figures. Of course, this doesn’t prevent anybody to defame Jesus or God freely in the way he or she chooses.)
Next I intend to throw Mika a bait:
Prophet Muhammad was a pedophile and Islam reveres pedophilia as a religion. Islam is a religion of pedophilia. Pedophilia is Allah’s will.
Are these statements illegal? They certainly insult Muslim's religious feelings. Let’s approach the issue logically:
As a 50 year-old man Muhammad was engaged to six or seven year old Aisha. Their marriage was “consummated” when Aisha was nine years old. It is possible to think that they were living in another age and Muhammad’s deeds must not be judged according to today’s standards, but as we have learned during the last few years, schoolbooks from the 50’s were racist when they spoke about ”negroes” (even if ”negro” was not a racist term at the time by anybody’s standards), it’s equally justified to call a child rapist who lived 1400 years ago a child rapist .´
What has to be done so that the bolded statements were not true? You must insist that
a) ... Quran is not literally true (i.e Muhammad did not have sexual relations with a nine year old girl). This will not do, since according to Islamic doctrine and Muslims' opinion Quran is a literal word of Allah. Consummation and Aisha’s age cannot be denied without insulting Muslims.
b) ...Muhammad’s actions were not always acceptable. This will not do either, since according to Muslims (and Tampere district court) criticizing Muhammad is the same as criticizing Allah and therefore blasphemy. The penalty is death. Muslim’s believe that Muhammad’s actions were the will of Allah. Because Muhammad had sexual relations with a child, that was Allah’s will as well.
As we see, all the argumentative ways to disprove the bolded statements have been theologically exhausted. The fact that Muhammad was a pedophile and Allah supported pedophilia can only be denied either by denying the literal truthfulness of Quran or Muhammad’s status as a messenger of Allah whose actions are according to the will of Allah.
Therefore I repeat my claim:
Prophet Muhammad was a pedophile and Islam reveres pedophilia as a religion. Islam is a religion of pedophilia. Pedophilia is Allah’s will.
The next bait reads:
Robbing by passers and living at taxpayers’ expense as a parasite is a national, possibly genetic characteristic of Somalis.
Is this claim inappropriate? My fellow blogger Kekke filed a complaint to the Media Council for the editorial that appeared in newspaper Kaleva, in which killing people while intoxicated was described as a national, possibly genetic characteristic of Finns. Media Council dismissed the complaint. According to Council secretary Nina Porra:
”The writer probably refers to studies, in which heavy drinking has been observed to be a specific feature in Finnish drinking culture. It has also been observed that there is a correlation between intoxication and violence. The genetic background of the problem is not handled as a fact, but the writer gives his own opinion.”
Naturally, the decisions made by Media Council are not legally binding so inquisitor Illman doesn’t have to take notice. But on the other hand, “incitement against ethnic group” is a felony and because Illman (whom the matter belongs to) has not reacted to the Kaleva article, it can be concluded that negative ethnic and genetic stereotypes can be published as long as they are not handled as facts.
We can’t think that there are different rules for different people in Finland, can we?
Naturally, not all Somalis commit robberies or live at taxpayers’ expense, but not all Finns kill while intoxicated either.
Somalis who constitute 0.2 per cent of Finland’s total population commit 12 per cent of robberies reported to the Police. One in ten Somalis living in Finland has a job. Committing robberies and living at taxpayers’ expense are a lot more common among Somalis related to their share of the population than killing while intoxicated among the ethnic Finns. Therefore, I present my assumption (that I do not regard as fact):
Robbing by passers and living at taxpayers’ expense as a parasite is a national, possibly genetic characteristic of Somalis.
With this, I wish Mika a nice day.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Most Israelis believe that the Palestinians don't want to make a comprehensive peace with Israel in exchange for a Palestinian state. Hamas doesn’t want it; the Palestinian Authority (PA) is both unwilling and unable to do it. Israel faces a hostile Iran, Syria, Hamas, and Hizballah, and various Islamist movements which all want to destroy it. In addition, it cannot depend on strong Western or international support in defending itself.
Therefore, it is not a moment for Israel to make big concessions or take big risks. Peace is not at hand. The priority—even while continuing negotiations and trying to help the PA to survive—is defense.
That’s what the people who voted for Labor or Likud or Lieberman, Kadima or Shas or National Union or Jewish Home or United Torah Judaism believed. More than 85 percent of Israelis voted for parties that hold that basic conception, while that concept itself is the product of a very serious assessment of very real experience. And that—whatever differences they have—is beyond any definition of “left” or “right.”
In contrast, what is the main theme internationally in evaluating the elections? The right in Israel is against peace, Israelis moved to the right in this election hence Israelis are against peace.
To make such a leap, it is necessary to avoid talking about the herd of elephants in the room: Palestinian politics. If anyone looked beyond the most superficial level of English-language interviews by PA leaders trying to make propaganda points, the conclusion is unavoidable that there is no possibility of an Israel-Palestinian peace agreement for years to come. This is regardless of who is Israel’s leader or anything within reason, or even somewhat beyond reason, which could be offered.
Here are some tips toward proving that point:
--Analyze the Fatah Central Committee's membership and the viewpoints expressed by the group’s top leaders. The number who can be called moderates ready to accept and implement a two-state solution stands at about 10 percent of them.
--Mahmoud Abbas is weak. He has neither charisma nor organized base. While relatively moderate he will not give up the demand for all Palestinian refugees to be able to live in Israel, something that is acceptable to no potential governing party in Israel. He is sick and will probably not last in office much longer. He has made no attempt to transform Palestinian political thinking or to provide an alternative vision of peace for his people.
--There is no moderate alternative Palestinian leader in Fatah or elsewhere. Are there those who voice a moderate two-state solution position and who advocate coexistence? Yes, there are some but they have no organization or power whatsoever. Moreover, they say so almost exclusively in English to Westerners and not to their own people. To express anything equivalent to Labor or Kadima, even Likud, positions is to risk your life.
--Schools, mosques, media and other institutions controlled fully or partly by the PA daily preach that all Israel is Palestine, Israel is evil, and violence against it is good. Hardly the most minimal steps have been taken to prepare the Palestinian masses for peace. For example, no one dare suggest that a Palestinian nationalist movement might want to resettle Palestinian refugees in Palestine, not Israel; or that Israel and President Bill Clinton made a good offer in 2000 and it was a mistake to reject it. Or a dozen other points necessary as a basis for real peace.
--Palestinian public opinion polls consistently show overwhelming support for hardline positions and for terrorism against Israeli civilians.
--An unyielding historical narrative still predominates that the whole land between the Jordan River and the sea is and should be Arab Palestine.
--Of course, Hamas governs about 40 percent of West Bank/Gaza Palestinians and opposes Israel’s existence explicitly. The PA and Fatah do not vigorously combat the Hamas world view, except perhaps for its idea of an Islamist state.
--On the contrary, Fatah and the PA put a higher priority on conciliation with Hamas rather than peace with Israel.
--This conflict is not continuing because there is a dispute about the precise boundary line between Israel and a Palestinian state. It is going on because the Palestinian leaders—all of them—are either unwilling or unable to accept Israel’s permanent existence, the end of the conflict, the abandonment of terrorism, and the settlement of Palestinian refugees in a Palestinian state.
--What should have been happening recently is that the PA sent delegations around the world to announce it was the sole legitimate government of the Gaza Strip, that Hamas seized power in a coup and murdered Fatah people in cold blood, that Hamas is an extremist terrorist group, and that the PA demands the international community restore its own rule to the area. Instead, it sent delegations around the world to blame Israel for every problem and tried to negotiate a deal with Hamas without requiring any change in that organization’s policy or goals.
None of the above arguments can be refuted. Literally none of these points—except for the barrier posed by Hamas’s rule over Gaza—is really understood by most governments, academics, or journalists.
Nevertheless, if you add all these factors together it’s clear that whoever governs Israel the PA is incapable of making comprehensive peace. There is no peace process but rather a long-term peace recess.
There’s nothing left or right wing about the above analysis. Tsipi Livni and Ehud Barak know these things. Equally, this analysis doesn’t mean Israel cannot work with the PA on such matters as stability, economic well-being for Palestinians, blocking terrorism, or keeping Hamas out of power on the West Bank.
There is a Palestinian partner for the above four issues, but not for a comprehensive solution ending the conflict forever in exchange for a Palestinian state living in peace alongside Israel. As we learned in the 1990s with the peace process and more recently with disengagement, Israel’s actions—no matter how conciliatory and concessionary—cannot make peace when the other side is unwilling and unable to do so. It’s time for the rest of the world to learn this fact.
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), with Walter Laqueur (Viking-Penguin); the paperback edition of The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan); A Chronological History of Terrorism, with Judy Colp Rubin, (Sharpe); and The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley). To read and subscribe to MERIA and other GLORIA Center publications or to order books, write me at email@example.com.
Monday, February 9, 2009
Many people don’t understand what’s happening now in Israeli politics, so here’s a brief, and non-partisan, appreciation. Compared to the past, there’s far less difference between the three main parties. This is largely due to the objective situation, which is rather inflexible.
It is easy to characterize some as rabid right-wingers who throw away chances for peace and others as rabid left-wingers who are ready to make too many concessions. Neither argument is correct except for the fringes, which are not going to shape Israeli policy. I am tempted to add that abroad, the left thinks we’re evil, while the right thinks we’re stupid. All of this has little to do with reality.
The dominant theme in international media coverage is to say Israelis are moving toward the right. Yet this is both misleading and misinterpreted. On the first aspect, the real Israeli move has been toward the center, which is represented not only by Kadima and Likud but also by Labor. The great majority of Israelis are about to vote for parties close to centrist positions than at any time in history.
The left-wing mantra is peace, though how we can reach peace with Iran, Syria, Hamas, and Hizballah is rather hard to see. With the PA the situation is a more complex but, briefly, it doesn’t control Gaza, is still full of radical elements, and has weak leadership.
The PA is nowhere near being able to make peace on a realistic basis. Everyone in the PA and in Israel’s leadership knows this; few in the Western media and academia seems close to comprehending it. A lot of governments understand the situation privately but talk quite different in public.
The right-wing mantra is victory, though how Israel is going to replace the Iranian and Syrian governments, or destroy Hamas and Hizballah is equally hard to see. Israel has minimal to no international support for these goals and lacks great alternatives to what exists at present.
What have Israelis learned over the last decade that shapes their thinking?
We discovered that Palestinians and Syrians are unwilling and unable to make peace.
We saw that Fatah is still full of extremism and its leadership is too weak and too hardline itself to make a comprehensive peace agreement.
We viewed the rise of Hamas as a group dedicated to permanent war with Israel and its seizure of one-half of the Palestinian-ruled territories, using land from which Israel withdrew as a base for attacks.
We experienced the continuing hatred of the Arab world and Muslim world toward Israel, largely undiminished by Israeli concessions.
We observed Iran’s rise as a power, potentially nuclear armed, whose regime explicitly seeks Israel’s extinction.
We noted the world didn’t reward Israel for making concessions and taking risks. Indeed, the more Israel gave, the higher the degree of slander and hostility rose in many sectors.
As a result of this, there has arisen in Israel a national consensus around the following points:
--Israel wants peace and will make real concessions for true lasting, stable peace and a two-state solution
--Few think the Palestinian leadership—PA, Fatah—is willing or able to make such an agreement for decades. The same applies to Syria.
--As a result, any real changes on Jerusalem, the Golan Heights or West Bank settlements are far off.
--No deal can be made with Hamas. But Hamas isn’t going to disappear either. The same applies to Hizballah.
--The key point is to defend Israel and its citizens so they pursue their normal lives.
--Iran is a real danger and when it appears about to get nuclear weapons, a big decision will have to be made on attacking these facilities.
As a result of this national consensus—accepted by Labor, Likud, and Kadima, along with many others—the next government can be a national unity government. Whoever becomes prime minister would do well to bring in one or both of the other two main parties. What is Israel’s consensus policy for the next government?
--To stress that we want peace, are ready for a Palestinian state, aren’t responsible for the conflict and violence continuing.
--To maintain deterrence and defend ourselves.
--To preserve the best possible relations with the United States, Europe, and other countries as long as it does not involve risks to Israeli national interests and citizens.
--Security cooperation with the PA to prevent terrorist attacks on Israel in exchange for helping them economically and against Hamas to ensure that it doesn’t take over the West Bank. Without illusions regarding Fatah and the PA, this effort seems to be working.
--To decide when to strike back at Hamas—and potentially Hizballah—based on any attacks on us. Precise response depends on timing, opportunity, and their behavior.
--To work for the isolation of Iran, Hizballah and Hamas.
Where are the main differences among the leading parties? They are more atmospherics than real: offering small concessions; making small demands. If much of the election revolves around personalities that is because strategy and policy are not hugely different among them. Bibi isn’t going to embark on a settlement-building campaign; Tzipi isn’t going to give away east Jerusalem.
And that’s a good thing for whatever faults they have, this trio is basically making appropriate responses to the situation.
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), with Walter Laqueur (Viking-Penguin); the paperback edition of The Truth About Syria (Palgrave-Macmillan); A Chronological History of Terrorism, with Judy Colp Rubin, (Sharpe); and The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley). To subscribe to Gloria Center publications for free, write firstname.lastname@example.org.