How Donald Trump is bringing hope to the 'peace process'
After eight years in which most Israelis felt that they weren't getting a fair hearing at the White House, and in which Israel's Prime Minister looked more uncomfortable with each trip to the United States, times have changed. In a White House meeting earlier this week, President Trump allowed Netanyahu to say what nearly all Israelis believe and what former President Hussein Obama would never allow to be heard.
Despite his international protestations, Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority (like Yasir Arafat before him), has consistently denied
that the Jews have a historic connection to the Temple Mount. Far more
than arcane arguments over historical minutiae, the Arafat-Abbas
tradition of denying a longstanding Jewish link to Jerusalem is the
Palestinian’s inimitable way of saying that the Jews are simply the latest wave of Crusaders,
that Israel is nothing but a colonialist presence in the Middle East.
Just as the crusaders and colonialists of the past ultimately departed,
the argument goes, so too will the Jews.
belief that President Abbas sees the two-state solution as a
steppingstone to a one – Arab – state solution leaves many Israelis
cynical about the peace process and tiring of the rhetoric about two
states. Mr. Trump may have shifted that momentum.
President Trump afforded Prime Minister Netanyahu an opportunity to assert – despite American denials – that Palestinian schools’ textbooks teach Palestinian children to hate Jews. Israelis wholeheartedly believe that accusation to be true. They know of the Fatah Party’s incendiary boast on Facebook that it had killed 11,000 Israelis and that the Palestinian Authority recently named its fourth
school for Salah Khalaf, mastermind of the 1972 Munich Olympic massacre
of Israeli athletes. While President Barack Obama obliquely acknowledged
in his eulogy for Shimon Peres, the former Israeli president and prime
minister, that “Arab youth are taught to hate Israel from an early age,”
Mr. Trump gave Mr. Netanyahu a stage from which to make the accusation
Obama's eulogy for Shimon Peres - perhaps his first acknowledgment of mainstream 'Palestinian' hate for Israelis and Jews - came on September 30, 2016, nearly at the end of Obama's term, and at a point where it was likely designed to help Hillary Clinton's election prospects and not a sincere empathy with Israel's plight.
Daniel Gordis believes that Trump's openness to hear the Israeli point of view can only help the 'peace process.'
appearances of confidence notwithstanding, Palestinian leaders
undoubtedly understand that the jig is up – gone (for now) are the days
in which they can tell the world one story and their people another.
That actually gives Israelis hope that – if the Palestinians want
political sovereignty – the Palestinian Authority will have to lay the
groundwork by forging an entirely different narrative about Israel and
is still no reason to assume that President Trump and Prime Minister
Netanyahu can forge a deal. Mr. Trump’s White House is in disarray, Mr.
Netanyahu is under investigation for corruption and politically
weakened, Mr. Kushner has not a day of diplomatic experience, the other
Arab countries that Mr. Trump and Mr. Netanyahu hope will be part of an
agreement may or may not cooperate and Palestinian hatred of Jews may be
too deeply entrenched.
there is at least cause for a glimmer of hope. On Wednesday, whatever
ambivalences about Mr. Trump many Israelis have, they heard from a
United States president sympathetic to their story, sensitive to their
fears of Iran and committed to their safety. That may matter a great
deal. For Israelis who feel safe and protected are infinitely more
likely to make accommodations for peace.
Gordis is right that it's highly unlikely (to say the least) that Trump and Netanyahu can forge a deal. Not now and not in the next eight years. But that has nothing to do with investigations, disarray or weak political positions. Rather, it's because the 'Palestinians' have yet to give any indication that they are ready to accept a Jewish state of any size, shape or form, and that creating a 'Palestinian' state (God Forbid) will not be the end of the conflict, but rather moving on to a new stage against a much weakened Israel.
Don't expect it to happen in your lifetime or mine.
According to a report in Al Hayat, published in London, an Arab
official warned Hezbollah that Israel would forcefully strike back
against any military attack the organization carries out and severely
According to the report, the official said that Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu's ability to recruit "regional assistance" against
Hezbollah is high due to the era of US President Donald Trump. The
official further urged Hezbollah to behave cautiously and prudently.
Let's go to the videotape.
I wonder which Arab official warned Nasrallah not to attack....
Must see: Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fl) comments at David Friedman confirmation hearing
Several people have sent me this video and it really is a must see. This is Republican Senator Marco Rubio (Fl) speaking at the confirmation hearings for David Friedman as US Ambassador to Israel. He's awesome. This will be the best five minutes you will spend today.
It's been a while since I posted a music video (in fact, I haven't been posting much of anything lately, but it's too close to the Sabbath to start telling you why), but last night my 17-year old son came home from yeshiva and said 'Abba, this video is great - you have to post it on the blog,' and showed me this video, not knowing that Benny Friedman has been one of my Twitter followers for a while.
Anyway, it's really a great video, and when I looked last night, it had garnered over 155,000 hits in about ten days. That's quite an impressive number, and if I can increase that I'm happy. Really worth watching.
As the Senate holds a confirmation hearing Thursday on the nomination
of David Friedman, he could face grilling about his ties to Beit El, a
community north of Jerusalem located in the heart of the occupied
territory Palestinians demand for an independent state.
A bankruptcy attorney from the Five Towns area of Long Island,
Friedman is a major donor to Beit El and serves as the president of the
American Friends of Beit El Yeshiva, the U.S. fundraising arm of the
settlement’s Jewish seminary and affiliated institutions, including high
schools, an Israeli military prep academy, a newspaper for the
religious Jewish settler community and the right-wing news site Arutz
They make the entire town sound like shnorrers (beggars). In fact, the 'American Friends' setup is entirely legal - nearly every school in Israel that raises money in the US has one in order for donors to qualify for 501(c)(3) deductions. Each of the other institutions likely has its own 'American Friends' with the likely exception of Arutz Sheva, which the last time I checked was a commercial venture.
But even by Trump’s new standards, Friedman appears to be extreme.
Friedman is a fervent supporter of the settlements and an outspoken
opponent of Palestinian statehood.
“I have expressed my skepticism about two-state state solutions
because of what I perceive as the Palestinians inability to denounce
terrorism and recognize Israel as a legitimate state,” Friedman said.
If that's 'extreme,' I don't many Orthodox Jews in the United States or Israel who aren't extremists.
In Beit El, the Friedman Faculty House, which bears his and his wife’s
names on the facade, is built on private Palestinian land without
permission from its Palestinian landowners, according to the
anti-settlement watchdog Kerem Navot.
And now CBS is accepting claims by Israel's Hebrew 'Palestinian' daily as 'facts.' Prove it.
Israel's Leftist youth do something good, but would they do it for 'settlers'?
The Jerusalem Post reports that a conglomeration of 'Zionist' youth groups has been collecting winter clothes and blankets for Syrian refugees.
The items have been taken to a collection point, a representative
confirmed to JTA. From there, a partner aid organization is facilitating
the delivery of the goods to the refugees, who won’t know their country
of origin. The representative said the delivery date and method could
not be revealed due to the sensitive nature of the situation.
Because if the Syrians found out they were coming from the 'Zionist entity,' they'd probably burn them, even if they didn't really want to turn them away, because... 'Palestine uber alles.'
“I thought people would be reluctant to support an effort they would not
get credit for,” Gilad Perry, Dror Israel’s international
collaborations director, said in a statement. “I was amazed to see how
wrong I was. The generosity of people just caring for those who suffer
from the cold winter on the other side of the border, in an ‘enemy
country,’ overwhelmed me.”
Amazing. Leftist Israelis willing to do something for which they won't get any credit except in an article in the JPost.... Oh wait, how do you know they're Leftist? Well, if you're an Israeli, you recognize two of the three names of the groups involved, and there's a hint at the end of the article.
HaNoar HaOved VeHaLomed (Youth Who Work and Learn) is a sister movement
of Habonim Dror, long affiliated with the Labor Zionist movement.
So please forgive my cynicism. I'm all in favor of helping out Syrian refugees with clothes and blankets (but not with letting them unvetted into Israel, the US or any other western country). And there ought to be a lesson from the fact that Israelis are helping these poor people while they get nothing from any of the oil-rich Gulf countries.
But I have to ask another question. Suppose - just suppose - that there were Jewish revenants (known in the international media as 'settlers') who were expelled from their homes in Judea and Samaria and Gaza, who were out in the cold and the rain today who had no warm clothing and no blankets. Would the Leftist Zionist movements be willing to take up collections for them too? They'd even say thank you. You wouldn't have to cut out all the Israeli labels for them. And you could even get credit for helping them. So would the Labor Zionist movements help them?
Sadly, I think we already know the answer to that question. This is from a post I did in May 2012, citing statistics from the summer of 2011 - six years after the Jews of Gush Katif in Gaza were expelled from their homes. Hint: There were no Labor Zionists lining up to help the Jews of Gush Katif, with or without credit.
Perhaps this is the time to look at some statistics regarding the Jewish
refugees from Gaza, who were expelled from their homes seven years ago
this summer. This is from a United Nations report(!) from June 2011.
About 230 of the 1,450 families from Gush Katif (16 percent) have moved into permanent homes, according to a December 2010 report released by the Gush Katif “committee”.
Unemployment among former Gush Katif residents is running at about 18
percent, while under-employment is 20 percent, said the “committee”.
Before the withdrawal, unemployment was 5 percent, with 85 percent
working in Gush Katif, according to JobKatif, an NGO created to help former residents rebuild their livelihoods.
unemployment is much worse in Gaza, the unemployment rate among the
evacuees is about double the rate of the general Israeli population.
Children have faced adjustment issues and the divorce rate increased,
along with financial problems, say former residents. Government
compensation that was received, was lower than the value of the land and
did not allow farmers to re-establish their farms, according to the
Shilat Kahalani, spokesperson for the Mateh
Binyamin Regional Council which covers 42 Israeli settlements in the
West Bank (known as Judea and Samaria to Israelis), told IRIN that many
former Gush Katif residents wanted to rebuild their homes and lives in
the West Bank, but were prevented from doing so by a building
moratorium which was only lifted in September 2010, having been in
force for 10 months.
380 farms existed in Gushi Katif (of which 240 were operational), but
only 28 percent of the owners of agricultural land have resumed
farming. Most business owners, too, have not returned to their trade
and were not appropriately compensated, according to the “committee”.
“Disengaging a community is not something that can be rebuilt easily,
and many families never received promised full financial support,”
A June 2010 report
on the findings of the Israeli “State Commission of Inquiry into the
Handling of the Evacuees from Gush Katif and Northern Samaria by the
Authorized Authorities”, placed blame on the state of Israel.
“The State of Israel failed in its handling of the evacuees,” it said.
“Five years after, most of the evacuees are still living in temporary
caravan sites; the construction of most of the permanent housing has
not yet commenced; and the decisive majority of the public structures
in the evacuees’ new settlements have not yet been built.”
was a mission of the government to settle people in Gaza,” said former
Gush Katif resident Debbie Rosen, and “there must be a solution for
every settler”. She received half the value of her home in Gush Katif,
and she and her six children are still waiting for their new house to
be built, she added.
And for those who think that the
Ulpana neighborhood is going to be 'evacuated' quietly with the soldiers
called in to do the job embracing the residents in tears, consider
“People in my community are unwilling to be evacuated
because on a personal level they witnessed the awful outcomes of such a
disengagement on the lives of the Gush Katif evacuees,” Binyamin council
spokesperson Kahalani said.
That might have something to do with the violence in Amona during my last trip to the US a couple of weeks ago (violence that I did not have time to cover).
If only the Labor Zionists cared as much for their own as they do for the other....
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that
62% of Likely U.S. Voters believe most Christians living in the Islamic
world are treated unfairly because of their religion. Just 17% disagree,
while 21% more are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
By comparison, 39% feel most Muslims living in the United States are treated unfairly because of their religion. That’s up from 31% last year and is the highest finding in surveys to date.
A plurality (46%) still believes Muslims are not treated unfairly because of their faith, while 15% more are not sure.
Fifty-six percent (56%) of Democrats, however, believe most Muslims in
this country are mistreated, a view shared by only 22% of Republicans
and 39% of voters not affiliated with either major party. Fewer
Democrats (47%) think most Christians are mistreated in the Islamic
world, compared to 76% of GOP voters and 64% of unaffiliateds.
And for those who think women are smarter... they're not - at least when they're Democrats.
Women are more likely than men to think most American Muslims are
mistreated here but less likely to believe Christians are mistreated in
the Islamic world.
By the way, note that no one talks about mistreatment of Jews despite study after study that shows that attacks on Jews due to their religion far exceed attacks on persons of any other religion.
I am an Orthodox Jew - some would even call me 'ultra-Orthodox.' Born in Boston, I was a corporate and securities attorney in New York City for seven years before making aliya to Israel in 1991 (I don't look it but I really am that old :-). I have been happily married to the same woman for thirty-five years, and we have eight children (bli ayin hara) ranging in age from 12 to 33 years and eight grandchildren. Three of our children are married! Before I started blogging I was a heavy contributor on a number of email lists and ran an email list called the Matzav from 2000-2004. You can contact me at: IsraelMatzav at gmail dot com