« November 2015 | Main | January 2016 »

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

You're Doing It Wrong

For quite some time now the western world has been wondering out loud why Arab armies aren't in the field alongside western coalition forces fighting international terror; particularly in the fight against ISIS.

Well, as refreshing as it was to see the news this morning that Suadi Arabia is putting together a coalition with representatives from Arab militaries in order to fight terror, seeing 'Palestine' among the list of Arab militaries was a tad disquieting.

Memo to Riyadh:

a) 'Palestine' doesn't have a military. In fact it is illegal under international law (not to mention existing agreements with Israel) for them to have one.

b) Even if the Palestinian Authority did have a formal military, enlisting them in the war on terror would be as colossally bad an idea as Richard Nixon enlisting Elvis Presley in the war on drugs.

c) If you are using terrorists (and those who fund them) to fight terrorists, you're doing it wrong!


Posted by David Bogner on December 15, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (4)

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Canary in the Coal Mine

For years we Israelis have been warning the world that what is happening here will soon happen elsewhere. We are simply experiencing it first.  And if they equivocate, excuse and justify such attacks against Israelis, they too will soon begin to feel the terrible effects of Islamic violence.

Yet the wise leaders of the world's governments and diplomatic institutions have rejected the idea that Israel is just a canary in the world's coal mine*.  We must have provoked the violence directed against us, as well as the groundswell of anger emanating from the Muslim world.  

After all, no reasonable people would behave with such violence and callous disregard for human life, unprovoked.

No reasonable people, indeed.

Now after months of silence from the Europeans regarding the current wave of stabbings and shootings we have been enduring here in Israel, somewhat apropos of the canary in the coal mine analogy, a stabbing attack has just been reported in the tunnels of the London Underground.

Interestingly, the New York Times is already reporting the attack in London as 'terrorism', while they have largely ignored the attacks happening here, or dismissed them as the random acts of 'militants'.  I guess the difference between Chateaubriand and Flanken depends on where you cut it.

I'll be interested to see if such attacks against Europeans will be greeted with the same indifference and apathy as those carried out against Israelis... or if the creeping danger in the tunnels will finally be recognized for what it is, and addressed with clear-eyed resolve by the civilized world.


*An allusion to caged canaries (birds) that miners would carry down into the mine tunnels with them. If dangerous gases such as carbon monoxide collected in the mine, the gases would kill the canary before killing the miners, thus providing a warning to exit the tunnels immediately.

Posted by David Bogner on December 6, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (7)

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Probably just a coincidence, right?

In a rare unguarded moment on the campaign trail back in 2008, Obama made the following statement about small town, Christian Americans:

"... "They get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them..."

Although he was referring to a sizable portion of his own [Christian] countrymen when he made that remark, it is puzzling that he has thus far failed to apply a similar criticism to Muslims when they demonstrate exactly the traits he described.  

My heart goes out to the victims and families of yesterday's attack in California.  I can empathize with them because I have been seeing - up close and personal - far too much of what they experienced yesterday.  

But my mind can't help but wonder why U.S. President lost no time using the shooting as an excuse to issue a reflexive call for gun reform... yet remains circumspect about making any mention of the inconvenient (and probably irrelevant!), religion and worldview of the shooters.

I wouldn't hold my breath...

Posted by David Bogner on December 3, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (3)

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Consensus? What Consensus?

In light of the dozens of terror attacks that have taken place within walking distance of my home in Gush Etzion over the past few months, I decided to take a step back and take a look at how Gush Etzion fits into the 'consensus'  - a word that has assumed nearly religious stature among Israel's left - as to what Israel's borders will look like the day after a peace agreement is signed with the Palestinians.

The great thing about throwing around the word 'consensus', is that it sounds suspiciously canonical; as if the wise powers that be have met, discussed, and agreed upon the general principles of a contentious issue.  If a 'consensus' has been reached, it implies broad agreement, or at least an acceptable resolution; one that can be supported, even if not the "favorite" of each individual. [source]

When the Israeli left talks about 'consensus' in terms of what portion of the areas conquered in 1967 will remain part of Israel the day after an agreement, they usually mean all of Jerusalem (and its surrounding neighborhoods), the Jordan valley and the major settlement blocks (Ariel and Gush Etzion).

Yet most Israelis have no idea where this consensus came from or whose views that consensus represents.

It may surprise many to learn that it was none other than the sainted Yitzhak Rabin who laid out the basis for this broad consensus of Israel's ultimate borders in his last speech to the Israeli Knesset just one month before he was assassinated (you should read the whole thing, if you have the time).  If that doesn't lend broad credibility to the consensus, I don't know what does.

Let's have a look at Rabin's words (I have added emphasis in bold to words and phrases which some may find surprising):


We view the permanent solution in the framework of State of Israel which will include most of the area of the Land of Israel as it was under the rule of the British Mandate, and alongside it a Palestinian entity which will be a home to most of the Palestinian residents living in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

We would like this to be an entity which is less than a state, and which will independently run the lives of the Palestinians under its authority. The borders of the State of Israel, during the permanent solution, will be beyond the lines which existed before the Six Day War. We will not return to the 4 June 1967 lines.

And these are the main changes, not all of them, which we envision and want in the permanent solution:

A. First and foremost, united Jerusalem, which will include both Ma'ale Adumim and Givat Ze'ev -- as the capital of Israel, under Israeli sovereignty, while preserving the rights of the members of the other faiths, Christianity and Islam, to freedom of access and freedom of worship in their holy places, according to the customs of their faiths.

B. The security border of the State of Israel will be located in the Jordan Valley, in the broadest meaning of that term.

C. Changes which will include the addition of Gush Etzion, Efrat, Beitar and other communities, most of which are in the area east of what was the "Green Line," prior to the Six Day War.

D. The establishment of blocs of settlements in Judea and Samaria, like the one in Gush Katif.


So if a consensus already exists, why does the current wave of terrorism seem to be directed almost exclusively against targets within that consensus; within the green line (i.e. pre-1967 Israel), as well as within areas of the 'West Bank' that are, according to 'the consensus', slated to be included inside the borders of the State of Israel after any eventual agreement?

The inescapable conclusion is that despite the Oslo accords and all subsequent offers that have been made to the Palestinians by successive Israeli governments, and despite the strident claims of Israel's left to the contrary, the Palestinians do not feel party to, or bound by, any sort of consensus.

The only thing that can possibly explain the focus of this current wave of terror attacks in areas that are supposedly within 'the consensus' is that the Palestinians still envision establishing their state within those areas being attacked... meaning, in place of Israel, not alongside it.

Posted by David Bogner on December 1, 2015 | Permalink | Comments (2)