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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 10, 2009 / 18 Sivan 5769

What Obama and his advisors won't — or refuse to — grasp about Israel and the Muslim world

By Mort Zuckerman

Mort Zuckerman
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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | President Obama's trip to Saudi Arabia and his speech in Cairo illustrate that he is firmly committed to a major outreach to the Muslim and Arab worlds. He is uniquely qualified to initiate a dialogue with those communities. The high point of the speech was his presentation of the best of American values: democracy, freedom of the individual, tolerance, and compromise to resolve differences by nonviolent means. But as everybody knows in their personal lives, it is always dangerous to court new friends if you risk doing it at the expense of old friends, in this case the long-standing friendship between Israel and America.

The president did call on Palestinians to abandon violence and to recognize past agreements and Israel's right to exist. But the sharper points in the eloquent speech—and certainly the references that won the most applause in Cairo—were on the new bromide that progress can begin only when Israel has frozen the settlements and committed itself to the establishment of a Palestinian state. The emphasis represents a retreat from the long-recognized principle that for a viable two-state solution the onus must first be on the Palestinians to establish a democratic government that can be entrusted with statehood. The danger of the shift of the Obama focus to Israel is that it encourages the Palestinians to sit back and just watch in the expectation that the United States, prodded by the Europeans and the jaundiced media, will force Israel to make critical concessions. As the president is fond of saying, let's be clear about this and a few other things—and first recognize the clarity of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. In a remarkable recent interview in the Washington Post, he insists that his only role is to wait until Israel meets his demands. He does not acknowledge that progress can be made only if both parties make concessions.

The president's call on Palestinians to "abandon violence" is fine, but it does not go far enough. Tomorrow's violence is seeded by today's incitement. The Palestinians also need to be warned off the incessant spewing of hatred against Israel in schools, mosques, and the media, especially TV. This poisoning of the mind of the next generation—the generation that may dominate a Palestinian state—is not just the stock in trade of Hamas and Hezbollah but also of the schools and media controlled by Fatah and reporting directly to Abbas. (Here is a perfect illustration: The Palestinians named their latest computer center after Dalal Mughrabi, who led the 1978 bus hijacking that killed 37 civilians, including 12 children and American photographer Gail Rubin.) Furthermore, Abbas has to be told firmly and clearly that he must work harder to improve the lives of the Palestinians, starting with weeding out the corruption that has filched money away from the people. Fatah has so alienated the Palestinian population it has left a big open door for Hamas.

Let's be clear about Mahmoud Abbas himself, too. He is the Palestinian leader who rejected the most generous-ever outline for Palestinian statehood, put forward by former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. It was far more generous than the acclaimed Camp David settlement Yasser Arafat turned down nine years ago and for which Arafat was excoriated as an implacable enemy of peace.

Abbas's conviction that he need not make any compromises is manifest in his remark, "In the West Bank we have a good reality. We are having a good life." And it is manifest in the complacency with which he views the threat from Hamas. Abbas survives only because of massive economic aid from the West and massive support on security from Israel, which arrests many Hamas people every week. Abbas doesn't even have power in downtown Ramallah, where he lives and works, and his Fatah is so unpopular that, if elections were held today and the votes properly counted, it is probable that Hamas would win a majority.

If Hamas were to eject Fatah from the West Bank as it has done in Gaza, it would pose an insurmountable barrier to any diplomatic progress. An Israel that yielded land to trigger-happy Hamas would have no defensible border.

Israel faces a fundamental strategic threat from the proxies of Iran: Hamas and Hezbollah. While Hezbollah's coalition failed to get a majority of seats in Sunday's Lebanese election, Hamas may well emerge victorious in the West Bank in the election next January.


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There is much glib talk of "a two-state solution," and the president said it again as "the only resolution is for the aspirations of both sides." The implication is that a new state of Palestine, created from Gaza and the West Bank, would be a sovereign, self-governing unit. Who would govern it? Abbas and Fatah, who run the West Bank under Israeli supervision, are chronically weak; Hamas is strong, and it has not diminished its radical objective of liberating all of Palestine from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea, which means the obliteration of Israel.

So there is no "two-state solution" if one of the two sovereign states is intent on destroying the other. The only two-state solution at all worth talking about is a new Palestinian state that accepts a limited form of self-government, with borders still effectively controlled by Israel.

Let's be clear again. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu positively does not want Israel to rule over the Palestinians. He wants them to have the power necessary to rule themselves—but not enough power to undermine the security of Israel. The Israeli reluctance to use the word "state" is because of its meaning: A normal, self-governing, sovereign authority can raise an army, acquire all kinds of weapons, and control its own borders, airspace, and electromagnetic space. These represent major dangers to Israel's security and are thus nonstarters.

These are the reasons the Israelis are sincere in wanting to help the Palestinians get their house in order in terms of security and economic capacity. A secure, prosperous Palestine is very much in Israel's long-term interest (and the Palestinians' interest, too.) What is not in the interest of anyone concerned is an unstable, corrupt, economically dependent, semi-failed state that cannot control rogue elements eager for jihad.

This is not a fanciful prospect. Look what happened when Israel totally evacuated Gaza and dismantled all the settlements, involving almost 10,000 people. What did it get? 7,000 rockets fired at Israeli citizens. That is why the Israelis will not make the same error in the West Bank, which is geographically much closer to the heartland of Israel, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Ben-Gurion Airport, making them even more vulnerable to rocket and mortar attacks, given the compression of distance. That is why Israel must control the border so there won't be weapons smuggled in, as occurred in Gaza. Yes, there must be a two-state solution. But the issue is what kind of state the Palestinian state will be and when it will emerge.

If the conventional "two state" formula is a problem masquerading as a solution, what of the settlements pretty much everyone condemns? This is a bogus issue, just another way of needling Israel and helping the Palestinians duck responsibility. Look at pre-1967, before there was a single settlement. The Arabs rejected every plan to divide the land into adjacent states, one for the Arabs and one for the Jews. After the 1967 Six Day War, Israel offered to exchange the land it had won for permanent peace with its neighbors. The Arab response was the three No's. No peace with Israel; no negotiations with Israel; no recognition of Israel.

What was the situation before 1967, before there was a single settlement, or before 1948? Was it peace? No, it was friction, terrorism, and bloodshed. Remember: The Palestinian Liberation Organization was established in 1964, before 1967, before there was a single settlement, and when the Arabs controlled the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. But what was the PLO seeking to liberate in 1964? It was to remove pre-1967 Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people.

The rhetoric about settlements, echoed in the president's speech, is different from the reality. The reality is that this "problem" goes away when the borders of the two states are established. All the settlements on the wrong side of the line will then be dismantled, just as they were when Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza. To make modest levels of natural growth in these communities to deal with the 9,600 babies that were born last year is not the proper area of focus.

The background of the Palestinian-Israeli relationship is important here because it sets the parameters for mutual confidence. In the year 2000, Israel withdrew unilaterally from Lebanon; this was followed by Hezbollah attacks from the land it abandoned. Also that year, the Camp David offer of a Palestinian state by Ehud Barak to Arafat was followed by the launching of a terror war by the PLO—Intifada II—that killed over 1,000 Israelis. In 2002 and 2003, the Israelis unilaterally withdrew from Gaza and dismantled settlements there. This was followed by the launching of a rocket war which Israel finally had to answer. In 2008, Olmert's even more generous peace proposals to Abbas were dismissed without a real engagement in a dialogue. None of these actions produced even minor moves toward peace but instead led to greater hostility and Islamic radicalism.

That is why the Israelis look upon the past 15 years and see the futility of trying to hand over territory in the hope that a stable legitimate government will emerge from the hate and chaos. It hasn't and it won't. The result was a corrupt, militarized Palestinian Authority with competing security services, incapable of providing security on its own turf, incapable of credible negotiation with Israel, and incapable of providing necessary services to ordinary Palestinians. Indeed, without the presence of Israeli Defense Force in the West Bank to combat Hamas's terrorism there, the current administration would not survive.

Israel supports an alternative based on the achievement of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and U.S. Lt. Gen. Keith Dayton. They have succeeded at effective institution building in Jenin, Bethlehem, and Hebron, turning them into the most peaceful areas in the West Bank with a minimal Israeli presence. They accomplished it by training local police who now function effectively as police forces rather than armed militias; by supplying local authorities with funding, advice, and training; and by building a commercial middle class who want to keep the region peaceful. These bottom-up nuts-and-bolts projects are the building blocks necessary for effective Palestinian nation-building. It will take more time and patience, but it is the only approach that has worked.

Fatah is deeply divided between veterans and the young guard and on key issues such as the immediate establishment of the Palestinian state. But others, including leading businessmen, argue that first there should be a long period of Blair-Dayton institution-building to ensure that the state is not established on a foundation of corruption. In this way, instead of a cycle of violence, everybody would enjoy a cycle of hope.

To this day, the Hamas and Fatah charters still call for Israel's liquidation, and Fatah explicitly refuses to recognize Israel's right to exist. Mahmoud Abbas, the PLO president, stated in Arabic on Dubai's Al Arabia TV in 2006, "It is not required of Hamas or of Fatah or of the Popular Front to recognize Israel." And more recently he stated, "I say this clearly, I do not accept the Jewish State, call it what you will."

Why is this history relevant? Because it explains that the current deadlock is not because of Israeli intransigence, not because of occupation, not because of settlements, not because of settlers. It is because the Palestinians have convinced many Israelis that Arab Muslims will never accept the Jewish State, even if it means they will not have their own state. The history suggests that Arab rejectionism is primarily cultural, based on an implacable opposition to a Jewish national presence in what the Arabs think of as Arab land. Observe what the Palestinians teach their own people: that no Jewish kingdom ever existed in the land they call Palestine; that there was never a Jewish temple on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. This helps explain the Palestinian refusal to make peace, because so long as they think the Jews were never there before, they will see Jews as the foreign colonial implant, with no claim to the land.

The Obama administration's tilt to the Arabs may be because it seeks the support of the Arab world to isolate Iran. If so, it is a misreading. The Arab countries, such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan, share a supreme interest in blocking Iran and should not be compensated in Palestinian terms. In fact, to create the conditions for a peace between Israel and the Palestinians and Israel and Syria, it is Iran's nuclear ambitions and Iran itself that first must be blocked. These issues are not contingent one upon the other. Even the head of the Arab League, Amre Moussa, no fan of Israel, has publicly recognized that these are distinct efforts.

Besides, the Arab countries do not have time to wait for success on the Palestinian track, given the urgency of the emergent Iranian nuclear threat. They don't want an extension of Iranian proxies in the form of Hamas and Hezbollah, either. The Egyptians see Hamas as the descendents of the Muslim Brotherhood, which seeks the ouster of the Mubarak government. And a Palestinian state under Hamas could threaten the Jordanian monarchy. In fact, linkage would hand success to Iran on a silver platter, for it would make it possible for Iran to blame on Israel its own unwillingness to negotiate. At the same time, Israel must not get itself in a position where everybody might blame it for a failure to settle the Iranian challenge.

Israel cannot yield its essential security for inspiring rhetoric. But it must calmly and resolutely do what it can to have the United States remain its closest ally. By the same token, the United States must respond to the fundamental needs of Israel and its government.

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Mort Zuckerman is editor-in-chief and publisher of U.S. News and World Report.

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