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Column One: Bibi’s bad week

In the hopes of appeasing the unappeasable Obama administration, the
government has adopted Obama’s anti-Semitic policies against Jewish
communities in Judea and Samaria. To win points with the imbecilic,
unaccountable and irresponsible local media, Netanyahu has jeopardized the
lives of untold numbers of Israelis by expressing his willingness to free
hundreds of terrorist murderers from prison. And to placate the
pro-Hizbullah UN, Israel has decided it is willing to further strengthen
Hizbullah.

Column One: Bibi’s bad week
Caroline Glick , THE JERUSALEM POST Nov. 27, 2009
www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1259243021505&pagename=JPArticle%2FShowFull

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu weakened Israel this week. And he did so
for no good reason.
Thursday’s headlines told the tale. The day after Netanyahu bowed to US
pressure and announced a total freeze on Jewish construction in Judea and
Samaria for ten months, Yediot Aharonot reported that the Obama
administration now wants Israel to release a thousand Fatah terrorists from
prison.

The Americans also want Israel to allow US-trained, terror-supporting Fatah
paramilitary forces to deploy in areas that are currently under Israeli
military control. Moreover, the Americans are demanding that Israel
surrender land in the strategically crucial Jordan Valley to Fatah.

And these are just American preconditions for starting negotiations with the
Palestinians. According to Yediot, if those talks ever begin, the White
House will demand that Israel accept a Palestinian state in Jerusalem,
Judea, Samaria and Gaza and agree to ethnically cleanse all the areas of
Jews.

So far from winning American support or at least causing the White House to
ease its bullying, US President Barack Obama sees Netanyahu’s decision to
implement a militarily irrational, bigoted policy of prohibiting Jews from
building in Israel’s heartland as a drop in the bucket.

THE TRUTH is that Israel should not be in the business of negotiating the
right of Israeli cities and villages to exist and prosper. The notion that
it is acceptable to demand that Jews not be permitted to live in Judea and
Samaria – or anywhere else in the world – is not a notion that Israel should
countenance.

That being said, putting the so-called “settlements” genie back in the
bottle is a tall order. After all, Israel agreed to place it on the table in
the 1993 Oslo agreements and made its willingness to dry out Jewish
communities explicit with its acceptance of the so-called road map in 2004.
To take Israeli communities off the agenda it would be necessary to
repudiate these deals.

Given what it will take to remove Jewish communities from the negotiations
chopping block, it makes sense that Netanyahu has not moved in that
direction since taking office. But willingness to discuss these communities
is not the same as giving them away for nothing. In discussing the
dispositions of these towns and villages, at a minimum Netanyahu should have
taken advantage of the fact that the Americans, the Europeans and the Arabs
all consider the so-called “settlements” to be the most important obstacle
to peace.

Netanyahu should have capitalized on US Congressman and Obama ally Robert
Wexler’s statement from last July that in exchange for freezing Jewish
construction, Israel would gain normalized relations with all Arab League
member states. Were Israel to see 20 Arab embassies opening in exchange for
a temporary freeze in Jewish construction, one could say that Netanyahu’s
massive concession was justified.

But Netanyahu decided to give away this high card – Israel’s ace of spades
as it were – for free. Actually, he paid for it.

The Arabs rejected Wexler’s offer in July. And five seconds after Netanyahu
announced the freeze the Palestinians proclaimed his unprecedented
prohibition on Jewish building worthless. But then unlike Netanyahu, the
Palestinians are playing their cards wisely. Why should they accept his move
as sufficient when they know the Americans will demand still more
concessions from him?

And sure enough, moments after Netanyahu’s speech, former senator George
Mitchell stood before the cameras in Washington and said that his move is
too little to impress the likes of Mitchell and Obama.

MANY COMMENTATORS claim that Netanyahu’s announcement Wednesday night was
his way of balancing his desire to release 450 Hamas murderers from prison
in exchange for hostage Gilad Schalit with an equal concession to Fatah.
That is, the freeze was required, it is argued, because without a move of
this magnitude, the terrorists-for-hostage deal would destroy Fatah
completely.

This view is the quintessence of the notion that two wrongs make a right.

In an interview with Channel 2 Wednesday night, Defense Minister Ehud Barak
admitted that in negotiating Schalit’s release, Netanyahu has gone well
beyond former prime minister Ehud Olmert’s offers to Hamas. With Netanyahu
and Likud in the opposition loudly proclaiming the truth that any deal with
Hamas will imperil untold numbers of Israelis, Olmert didn’t dare accept
Hamas’s demand that Israel release its most brutal mass murderers from its
prisons. But now that Netanyahu and Likud are in the driver’s seat, they are
only too happy to accept what was previously unacceptable.

By Thursday, it appeared that the Iranians and the Syrians had placed the
proposed swap on the back burner. But even if the deal presently being
discussed doesn’t go through, Netanyahu’s moves on the issue to date have
already weakened the country considerably.

Simply by agreeing to negotiate with Hamas, Netanyahu conferred legitimacy
not only on the terror group, but on the act of taking hostages. After all,
until Hamas had Schalit, no government in Israel was willing to cut a deal
with it. But today, in the interest of making a deal, Israel has allowed
Hamas commanders – including Schalit’s captor Ahmad Jabari – safe passage to
Egypt where they are feted by senior Egyptian officials and meet with other
senior terrorists. In so doing Israel has effectively accepted them as
legitimate leaders.

Netanyahu’s willingness to release murderers from prison also signs the
death warrants of countless Israelis. The Schalit-obsessed local media
insists that politicians who claim they oppose the deal must be willing to
look Schalit’s parents in the eyes and tell them that they will not “do what
it takes” to bring Gilad home. But Schalit’s parents and the
450-terrorists-for-one-hostage-swap champions in the media and in the
Knesset need to be asked whether they will be willing to look the families
of the next IDF hostages in the eye after they are abducted due to Israel’s
decision to spring murderers from prison in exchange for Schalit. So too,
they should ask themselves what they will say to the families of the
Israelis who will be murdered because of this deal.

Unfortunately, our foolish media elites and their lackeys in the government
are incapable of recognizing that the deal with Hamas doesn’t pit the
Schalit family against the families of the Israelis that these prisoners
already murdered. It places Noam and Aviva Schalit against the families of
the still unidentified Israelis who will be murdered by these imprisoned
terrorists in the future if they are allowed to see the light of day.

Even if the current negotiations end in failure, Netanyahu this week made
clear that he is willing to conduct a massive release of terrorists in
exchange for Israeli hostages. The message has been received by our enemies
and they will make us pay for it with interest.

FINALLY, NETANYAHU’S willingness to spring terrorists from prison in
exchange for Schalit weakens Israel’s deterrent posture. This week The
Jerusalem Post reported that the IDF has commissioned a study to figure out
how to tell who has won in an inconclusive war against terrorists.

It seems a shame that there is apparently such a dearth of common sense in
the General Staff that the IDF needs someone from the outside to explain the
facts of life to its generals.

Those facts, for instance, indicate that when you fight a war against a
terrorist group that serves as a proxy for enemy regimes, and in the
aftermath of the war the terror group takes over the government of its own
country and its state sponsors build nuclear arsenals unhindered by your
government and the international community as a whole, while your own
generals and soldiers are threatened with indictments by UN war crimes
tribunals, the terrorists have won and you have lost.

By the same token, apparently it is unclear to IDF Chief of General Staff
Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi – who said this week that he cannot wait to greet
Gilad at home – that by offering to release hundreds of terrorists for a
hostage soldier, he is telling all the thousands of IDF troops who risk
their lives every day to arrest terrorists and fight them that they are
risking their lives for nothing.

Why bother staging a middle-of-the-night raid in Nablus where your men are
liable to be killed in order to arrest a terrorist if he’s just going to be
released from prison within a year or two in exchange for another soldier?
In fact, why have an army at all? Perhaps we’d all be better off if we just
paid our enemies protection money until they are ready to deliver the coup
de grace.

BUT THEN, perhaps that’s what Israel is doing today. On Tuesday Barak noted
that whereas on the eve of the 2006 war Hizbullah had an arsenal of 14,000
rockets, today it has an arsenal of 50,000 rockets. His remarks might have
been perceived as a warning that Israel is gearing up to take preemptive
action against Hizbullah. But that perception would be wrong, unless what
one had in mind was preemptive capitulation.

On Thursday it was reported that Israel is ready to transfer control over
the northern half of Ghajar – the border town that is officially half in
Israel and half in Lebanon – to UNIFIL forces. These would be the same UN
forces that have done nothing to prevent Hizbullah from rearming and taking
over the Lebanese government. These would be the same Italian-commanded UN
forces that former Italian president Francesco Cossiga claims cut a deal
with Hizbullah according to which UNIFIL turns a blind eye to Hizbullah’s
activities and in exchange, Hizbullah doesn’t kill UNIFIL forces.

Since the 2006 war, the UN and the US have been bullying Israel to give up
the northern half of Ghajar. Their pressure has come despite their sure
knowledge that the moment IDF forces withdraw from the northern half of the
town, it will again become a smuggling capital for drugs, terrorists,
Hizbullah spies and ordnance. Barak and Netanyahu apparently are of the
opinion that despite – or worse, perhaps due to – the growing dangers
emanating from Hizbullah-controlled Lebanon, it is better for Israel to seek
to curry favor with the UN and the US than to take the steps necessary to
defend the country from Hizbullah.

This is the depressing message that Netanyahu and his merry band of
ministers have communicated to the world this week. In the hopes of
appeasing the unappeasable Obama administration, the government has adopted
Obama’s anti-Semitic policies against Jewish communities in Judea and
Samaria. To win points with the imbecilic, unaccountable and irresponsible
local media, Netanyahu has jeopardized the lives of untold numbers of
Israelis by expressing his willingness to free hundreds of terrorist
murderers from prison. And to placate the pro-Hizbullah UN, Israel has
decided it is willing to further strengthen Hizbullah.

The mind reels at the thought of what next week may bring.

caroline@carolineglick.com

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