Israel: Obstacles To Peace


May 13, 2014: The Palestinians are finding that some of their victories have a downside. Case in point is the growing anti-Semitism and pro-Palestinian attitudes in Europe. That has caused a sharp increase in European Jews fleeing Europe. Many of them are heading for Israel. That is where most of  the Jewish population of Israel came from. Since 1948 over three million Jews moved to Israel , most of them from Europe . Some 90,000 of those were French Jews, but because there are now tem times as many Moslems as Jews in France, and a lot more violent anti-Semitic activity, over 5,000  (of 500,000) French Jews have moved to Israel in the last two years and that number is rapidly increasing. This sort of thing bothers the Palestinians. While the Arabs have never been able to defeat Israel militarily they have achieved more success spending billions to turn Western public opinion against Jews in general and Israel in particular. Recent opinion surveys indicate that about 200 million Europeans (and a lot of Americans) consider Israelis the new Nazis for refusing to give in to the demands of the Palestinians (who want Israel destroyed in Arabic media but are more moderate in other languages). This shift in attitude has led to a dramatic increase in European anti-Semitism, most violently practiced by the rapidly growing Moslem population there against a rapidly shrinking Jewish population.

Other unorthodox Palestinian tactics include not paying for goods and services bought from Israel. Currently a Palestinian firm that buys Israeli electricity for Palestinian customers in Jerusalem and the West Bank is being sued to recover over $200 million for electricity used but not paid for. Palestinians consider this sort of fraud as “legitimate resistance” against Israeli aggression.

Western efforts to obtain a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians keep failing because of Palestinian refusal to give up demands that Israel cannot accept and continue to exist. One of these is the result of a mistake made by the Arab world over sixty years ago. Thus Palestinians insist that any peace deal depends on Israel recognizing "right of return without discrimination." That means that the 600,000 Palestinians who fled the newly formed Israel in the late 1940s, and their millions of descendants, can return to Israel and get all their abandoned property back. Israel would also have to pay compensation. While many Palestinians would not return, enough could to change the demographic composition of Israel, turning it into a country with an Arab majority. This, for both the Palestinians and Israel, is the equivalent of  "destroying Israel." This is something all Palestinian factions want to accomplish, and Israelis want to avoid. Getting around this obstacle would be very difficult, as the Palestinian public has endured decades of Palestinian (and Arab) media messages insisting that the right of return is an essential part of any peace deal. Westerners believe that money (a bribe) might make this problem go away. That could backfire, because the real problem is the Arab decision in the late 1940s to not offer citizenship to any Palestinian refugees. The other Arab states insisted that Palestinian refugees must remain stateless, preferably living in refugee camps (and receiving food and other aid from largely Western donors). At the time, an equal number of Jews were expelled from Arab countries. All these Jewish refugees found new homes, most of them in Israel. Thus just giving the Palestinian refugees a few hundred billion dollars would not be sufficient. They need citizenship somewhere, either in the country where they are currently refugees, or in the West. Undoing this old Arab error, which the Arabs won't even admit was an error, is a formidable negotiating obstacle.

Another seemingly intractable problem blocking an serious negotiations is the refusal of many radical Palestinian organizations to even consider recognizing Israel’s right to exist. Fatah says that because of the recent peace deal with Hamas both groups had agreed to recognize Israel. But many Hamas leaders are not accepting that, nor do many smaller Palestinian organizations (especially Islamic terrorist ones).

In Syria the government has found Hezbollah military aid crucial because Hezbollah’s paramilitary force is one of the most effective in the region. Over the decades Hezbollah has developed effective tactics to fight Israeli troops and hostile militias and Islamic terrorist groups in Lebanon. Israel can still beat Hezbollah fighters, but with greater effort than against other Arab irregulars. In Syria this Hezbollah experience, training and professionalism has been a nasty shock to the rebels. Hezbollah fighters can operate as effectively (and often more so) than trained Syrian soldiers, but also fall back on many terrorist and commando techniques they have learned from the Iranians and decades of combat inside Lebanon and on the Israeli border. Inside Syria the Hezbollah fighters are feared by the rebels and respected by the Syrian soldiers. There are also units of Shia volunteers (mainly from Iraq) that are also trained and subsidized by Iran. Finally, the continuing civil war within the rebel movement has made the Assad government boast openly about how it believed final victory over the rebels was achievable. It’s gotten so bad that some rebel factions are calling for an alliance with Israel. After all, Israel has helped the rebels (medical care, some air strikes) while the Assad government and the Iraq based ISIL rebel factions have committed a growing list of atrocities against Syrians. This proposal is unlikely to go anywhere, but it shows you how chaotic and attitude-changing the war has been for Syrians.

In Egypt the government claims that it has regained control of the entire peninsula and that the Islamic terrorism is under control are apparently too optimistic. The increasing number of terrorist attacks by Sinai based terrorists  in 2014, at least a fifth of them outside of Sinai, indicates otherwise.

May 12, 2014:  For the third time this year an Israeli citizen has been arrested in Israel at the request of the United States and charged with illegally exporting military materials to Iran.

May 11, 2014: Israel closed several areas in the Golan Heights near the Syrian border. It was feared that increased fighting on the Syrian side might spill over into Israel, even if in the form of bullets and mortar shells landing in Israel.

In Egypt (Sinai) a clash with Islamic terrorists left one soldier dead and another wounded. The raid did capture large quantities of equipment used by the terrorists.

May 10, 2014: In Egypt 200 members of a Sinai based Islamic terrorist group are being prosecuted for participation in 51 terrorist attacks that left 55 dead. All 200 could be convicted and get the death penalty. Egyptian courts have already sentenced hundreds of Islamic terrorism suspects to death or life in prison.

May 8, 2014: In Gaza Hamas executed two Palestinians for “collaborating” with Israel. One man was shot and the other was hanged. There are three death penalty crimes in Gaza; murder, drug trafficking and collaborating with Israel. Most of the executions are for collaborating. A year ago Hamas announced a new campaign to find and arrest people providing information to Israel. Gazans who oppose Hamas (especially members of Fatah, which rules the West Bank) saw this as directed at them. Israel has always had a large network of informants in Gaza, who provide data on military, economic and political events, as well as targeting information for Israeli air attacks.

Hamas is again under pressure to drop children’s TV programs that encourage kids to attack and maim or kill Israelis. For decades both Hamas in Gaza and Fatah in the West Bank have promoted violence and terrorism against Israelis in their electronic media. Hamas is the worst offender, often putting out some pretty vile stuff. Both Hamas and Fatah ignore foreign criticism unless it involves a real threat to cut foreign aid. That rarely happens.

May 4, 2014: In southern India police arrested a Sri Lankan Moslem who, during interrogation, said he had been hired by the ISI (the Pakistani CIA) to work with a team of ISI agents to plan and carry out terror attacks on the American Consulate in Chennai and the Israeli Consulate in Bangalore.

May 2, 2014: On the Gaza security fence an Israeli patrol was fired on from the Gaza side and the Israeli troops fired back. That was the end of it. Islamic terrorists inside Gaza will often fire on Israeli troops in the hope that the Israelis will fire back and hit some nearby civilians. The Israelis know about that ploy and patrols are trained to fire back if there is no other option but otherwise to fire into the air and leave the area.

In Egypt (Cairo and Sinai) four terrorist bombs left five dead and dozens wounded. There were also several violent clashes with supporters of deposed president Morsi.

April 30, 2014:  The U.S. has allowed ten AH-64D helicopter gunships to be delivered to Egypt. The United States has held up such deliveries of military equipment because the Egyptian Army replaced the elected president of Egypt last July. Former president Morsi was sympathetic to Islamic radicals and after the coup the Islamic terrorists in Egypt went on a rampage. The 35 AH-64Ds Egypt already has proved very useful in dealing with the Islamic terrorists. So the U.S. is, out of mutual interest, letting the ten AH-64Ds Egypt had on order be delivered. Egypt had already upgraded its AH-64s to the “D” standard.

April 29, 2014: In Egypt (Sinai) soldiers raided an Islamic terrorist hideout, killing three terrorists and arresting three others. Weapons, ammo and documents were also seized.         

April 27, 2014: In Sinai soldiers found five tunnels leading from a mosque across the border to Gaza. The tunnels were destroyed and five men arrested for involvement with the tunnel construction and operation.

April 26, 2014: In Libya (Benghazi) a 15 year old Egyptian girl was kidnapped, apparently for ransom. The militias and criminal gangs are increasingly turning to kidnapping for ransom for raise cash and stay in business.



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