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An Israeli Reply to George Soros

Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak

Jerusalem:

This is the appalling reality of the Middle East that faces Israel today: next door in Syria, over five-hundred thousand people, mostly civilians, have already been killed in a six year blood-bath. Several times more have been wounded while millions of refugees flee to Western Europe. Marking time until he soon retires, US Secretary of State John Kerry will jaw-jaw some more with the Russian's Sergey Lavrov. Meanwhile the Russians are now flying air strikes from an Iranian air base to make it easier to hit their civilian, rebel and Da'esh targets. Human rights groups estimate that 17,000 people have been tortured to death in Assad prisons. At this moment, Da'esh sadists are carrying out their genocide of the Yazidi people. The rebel held town of Aleppo was just attacked with chlorine gas in barrel bombs. From the town, a group of doctors has sent out a frantic plea to US President Barack Obama, leader of the Free world:

      'We do not need tears or sympathy or even prayers. We desperately need a zone free from bombing .. and international action.'

Two destroyed Syrian tanks, in front of a mosque in Azaz

This and more is what Israelis see when they look around them. Just over the Lebanese border, Hezbullah with Iran's aid, has rebuilt its arsenal of over 100,000 rockets and missiles aimed again at Israeli towns and villages. This is done under the noses of the UN peace-keepers and their commander, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. As for Iran who is cashing in on a faulty, if not disastrous, nuclear deal as it tests ballistic missiles built to deliver nuclear warheads, what else? Down south, Hamas is also stocking up on rockets as it continues to dig terror tunnels into Israel.

All it takes for Israel to suffer the fate of the Yazidis is a major miscalculation and a loss of one war. It would not take six years or even six months. This is not to say that Israel is always right and never errs in its approach to the Palestinians. But when all is said and done, when has Israel ever refused a genuine offer from the Palestinians to make peace that would guarantee Israel a fair chance of survival. It’s up to the Palestinians to suddenly, one morning wake up and changed their minds. When Egypt's President Saddat and Jordan's King Hussien agreed to finally make peace, when they backed up their declarations of 'No more war!’, even hardliners Menachem Begin and Yitzak Rabin were ready to make massive concessions. This should be born in mind by Israel's critics, particularly Jewish ones like George Soros, when they rail against Israel.

Ehud Barak planting the seeds...

Ehud Barak has done it again. In a public speech, he hauled Netanyahu over the coals on several counts. The Prime Minister was not only responsible for a cut in billions of dollars in a new American aid package by defying Obama over the Iranian nuclear deal. (The terms have yet to be concluded). But Barak also dropped a minor bomb-shell by charging Netanyahu with exposing Israel to a 'central security challenge' so grave that he could not reveal it in public. Netanyahu was guilty of:

      ' ... a careless operational behavior. All these led to a most worrisome exposure of Israel to a central security challenge'.

This caught everyone's attention. What was Barak referring to? The Prime Minister's office brushed it aside saying it had no idea... Barak was just blowing hot air. But if a former PM charges that Bibi is a loose cannon on the deck this demands an explanation from Barak. If it is so top secret, it should be aired behind closed doors in the Knesset. The sub-committee on intelligence is a water-tight parliamentary body whose hearings are top-secret and it has a reputation of never leaking. However, its chairman Likud Knesset Member Avi Dichter has little inclination of inviting Barak to testify. Dichter, a former director of the Shabak Security Service has ridiculed Barak for being either 'depressed or obsessed'. But Dichter is obligated to check out just what Barak meant by his perplexing comments. And again it raises the question of whether Barak is raising some trial balloons and offering to lead a Centre-Left party to take on Netanyahu – Barak could be an Israeli 'General de Gaulle', who was recalled to duty in 1958 to end France's bitter war in Algeria. Although an Israeli early election is not in the offing, Barak has planted the seeds for a future comeback. Meanwhile in the fall, Barak will be off to lecture at Harvard University. In addition to his varied military and political career, the former kibbutznik holds a BSc in Math and Physics as well as an MSc from Stanford in Economic Engineering.


Lieberman's carrot and stick...

Fresh from his blooper over comparing Obama and the Iran deal with Chamberlain and Hitler at Munich, Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman has embarked on a less risky venture. He called a news conference with Israeli military reporters to announce what is basically a carrot and stick policy to Palestinian terrorism from the Israeli controlled West Bank. Those towns and villages, whose residents refrained from terrorism would benefit from Israeli economic aid. Lieberman had reached this approach on his own because he is convinced that current Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is not a genuine peace partner. Lieberman has been meeting separately with other Palestinian communal leaders and mayors offering them his plan. This was said to include the building of a new local hospital, roads and public buildings as well a football field.

The only problem is that his boss Bibi has been following a different approach on Abbas. Netanyahu does view the West Bank president as a viable partner and has repeatedly called on him to renew peace talks. True, Abbas has turned Bibi down - he prefers to sway the UN and other international bodies to pressure Israel into dangerous concessions. The bottom line is that Lieberman has just dumped his own prime minister's approach. Moreover such a pivot, from Abbas to local leaders, is a strategic shift that should have been discussed and approved by the cabinet. In any case, Bibi seems to have taken Lieberman's gambit in stride and has not reacted.

This was not the case when Likud Cabinet Minister Yisrael Katz, who views himself as Bibi's successor, called a meeting of the Likud secretariat to change some key rules that would limit the PM's control over the party machinery. Within twenty-four hours Bibi summoned Katz and read him the riot act. The chastised cabinet minister backed down and rescinded the party changes.

As for Lieberman's 'carrot and stick' approach, the fact is the IDF has already adopted a similar policy since the latest round of 'lone wolf' terrorism erupted last October. Palestinians from towns and villages free of terrorist attackers have been allowed to go to work in Israel without any problem. (Wages are much higer inside Israel than in the Palestinian areas of the West Bank and tens of thousands of Palestinians have jobs inside Israel). However after West Bank terrorists carried out attacks, their home towns were closed off for some time. The real change is that Lieberman is bypassing Palestinian President Abbas. However for some time, Abbas has ordered his security forces to crack down on terrorists who plan attacks inside Israel. This raises the question of whether Lieberman's policy of ignoring Abbas will pay off or backfire.

Jerusalem grapevine...

Not only the new US military aid hangs fire; is it possible that President Obama will announce his own peace plan after the presidential election in November? Obama spoke once of an Israeli withdrawal to the old line of 1967 - he added on border swaps after an angry Israeli response. But the speculation is that Obama would also propose the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state, something that Abbas would find tough to swallow. Even Abbas, the 'moderate', refuses to recognize that Israel is the homeland of the Jewish people. Like other Palestinians he contends that Jews have a religion but are not a people and therefore are not entitled to a state of their own.



 

David Essing

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