Don't fence me in

At last, an Obama administration official has come out in favor of a fence. He promises it will bring security to people on both sides of the border.

Unfortunately, Philip Gordon, National Security Council coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa and the Gulf, was not speaking of a border fence between the United States and Mexico, but a fence between the West Bank and the 1967 Israeli border. That fence, he said, would be built after Israel relinquishes the territory in exchange for an empty promise of “peace” with the Palestinians.

Apparently Gordon hasn’t noticed that missiles fly over fences. If anyone needs more proof that the land-for-peace formula was stillborn when first proposed, Gaza is the latest example. Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 ensured Hamas would establish a terrorist base from which it now fires missiles indiscriminately at Israeli cities.

Perhaps the most laughable part of Gordon’s speech to the Ha’aretz Israel Conference for Peace was this line: “Israel should not take for granted the opportunity to negotiate that peace with (Palestinian President Mahmoud) Abbas, who has shown time and again that he is committed to nonviolence and coexistence with Israel.”

Not really. Among the region’s great fictions is that Abbas is more moderate than Hamas and other militants. He may occasionally talk that way for Western consumption, but his intentions and words to his own people prove otherwise.

Last week in a Facebook posting, as reported by Palestinian Media Watch, an Israeli research institute that studies Palestinian society, Ofir Gendelman the spokesman to the Arab media in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office, asked Abbas in Arabic if he saw reconciliation with Hamas as a means to fight Israel. Gendelman’s post included a cartoon of Hamas and Fatah fighters smiling, shaking hands and aiming rifles at an Israeli soldier. “To his question about uniting to fight Israel,” writes PMW, “Fatah posted its answer” ‘Yes, this is what we want.’” This is consistent with many other statements and also with what is being taught in Palestinian schools and carried by Palestinian media, which is controlled by Fatah, including the “joys” of martyrdom.

Palestinian leaders have no intention of agreeing to the Western “two-state” peace plan. A recent poll commissioned by The Washington Institute for Near East Policy found that 60 percent of Palestinian Arabs living in the West Bank and Gaza have a “five-year national goal” of “reclaiming all of historic Palestine from the (Jordan) river to the (Mediterranean) sea.”

Past talk of a “greater Israel” with biblical boundaries from the Nile Valley to the Euphrates River has been denounced as genocidal, not to mention fantastical. But when Palestinian Arabs make “historic” claims to expansive borders for a state of their own, replacing Israel, there is silence.

In his speech, Gordon claimed, Palestinians have “...a right to be a sovereign, free, and secure people in their own land.” Where does that “right” come from? Using such logic, perhaps the United States should cede Texas to Mexico, which it eventually annexed after Texas’ war of independence in 1836. The rest of America might be ceded to Britain, or to Native Americans.

Gordon repeated the oft-heard statement that the United States is “Israel’s greatest defender and closest friend,” but friends don’t ask friends to commit suicide, which is precisely what the false doctrine of moral equivalency would bring to the Jewish state.

Israel’s self-defense actions in Gaza are more than justified. Calls for an immediate cease-fire will only allow the terrorists to rearm with even more deadly and sophisticated weapons that could overcome Israel’s Iron Dome defense system.

While the world is pre-occupied with “civilian” deaths in Gaza (rockets are deliberately launched in areas inhabited by “civilians,” who are used as human shields), few seem concerned about Israeli casualties, now or in past terrorist attacks.

Polls show sympathies shifting in favor of Israel. Hamas may have made a tactical and political mistake in its latest assault on Israel, allowing those who can be persuaded to understand their true intentions.

 

 

Readers may email Cal Thomas at tcaeditors@tribune

More

What others say: Obama took right tack on Cuba

There’s no solution to the half-century old Cuba problem that will satisfy everyone, but we strongly believe President Obama made the right decision to end the troubled “wet foot, dry foot” policy.

Read more

What others say: Obama’s legacy a mixed one

President Barack Obama leaves office Friday after eight years as the most consequential Democrat to occupy the White House since Lyndon Johnson. And unlike that Texan, whose presidency was born in tragedy and ended in failure, Obama will not have the ghost of the Vietnam War haunting his days and eating his conscience as LBJ did all the remaining days of his life.

Read more

Op-ed: Trump won the news conference

Donald Trump should do press conferences more often. Not for the country’s sake, certainly not for the media’s sake, but for his. He really shouldn’t have waited 167-plus days to hold one, because the man gives great sound bite. Although I’ve participated in probably thousands of these staged encounters as a reporter, they’re not my favorite way of getting news — you almost never get any. The guy at the podium controls the proceeding. He can get his message out with little challenge from the assembled journalists who are limited to a question and a follow-up, maybe. Politicians can bob and weave through that without any of us landing a blow. And that’s our job: to penetrate the canned responses to their version of the controversy du jour and get at whatever truth they are hiding. Besides, Trump — who uses contempt for the media as a weapon, his preferred way to discredit reporting that displeases him —has a wonderful forum to do that. At the very least he should hold these confrontations as a supplement to his Twitter tirades. And frequently. It’s his opportunity to hold the media hostage as they cover live his rain of abuse on them.

Read more

Good luck in Juneau

The 30th Alaska Legislature gavels in on Tuesday, and we’d like to take a moment to wish our Kenai Peninsula legislators good luck over the coming months in Juneau.

Read more