UPDATES 10 pm Israel time, Tuesday, September 30 2014:
**There have been more attempts to breach the Gaza border fence this morning. This follows the successful infiltration two days ago near Nahal Oz and the thwarted ones yesterday in the Khan Younis area.
If you recall, this is precisely what the situation was during the months leading up to the beginning of the war in July. Hamas would send five or ten terrorists out to test Israeli security at the fence everyday.
**It has been a “house-rattling” 24 hours here in Ashdod. Starting with a series of sonic booms yesterday afternoon, there have been continuous booms since then (and two just took place at this very moment). Apparently, the IAF is making passes over the Beit Lahiya section of northern Gaza.
**It was publicized this morning that the IDF has a new combat brigade. What makes this one interesting, in fact very interesting, is that it is made up of orthodox young women. Here is a picture of one of these fighters:
Below is a picture of the same girl “a few” years ago at age 5:
It is amazing that extremely religious girls are signing up to fight in the IDF.
Regular readers of israelstreet realize that your humble servant is no fan of Benjamin Netanyahu particularly because of the way that his government regularly throws southern Israel under the bus.
But having said that, Netanyahu certainly knows how to give a speech, and yesterday at the United Nations he gave a good one. The fundamental question this morning is whether the speech was a “watershed moment” or not.
What Netanyahu indicated was that the bilateral peace process with the Palestinians has come to an end, and in its place has arrived a multilateral, regional approach in which some kind of coalition against IS/DAAS and Iran formed by Israel, Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia is more likely to produce a compromise with the Palestinians.
While this new “peace process” envisioned by Netanyahu is certainly an interesting one, it certainly faces a bumpy road for a wide variety of reasons. This morning, your humble servant offers three obvious ones:
1. Despite Mahmoud Abbas’ “Israel is guilty of genocide” speech three days ago which was roundly condemned by the United States, we can nevertheless expect that Barack Obama and John Kerry will now put on a full court press to get Abbas and Netanyahu back to some form of “negotiations.”
Kerry has simply invested too much of his time in the Israel-Palestinian issue to give up on his Nobel Peace Prize without a fight. He will tenaciously insist that each side amend their U.N. statements about each other.
2. It is not just that Barack Obama and John Kerry have invested their time in the Israel-Palestinian bilateral “peace” talks, it is that Obama and Kerry have now openly cast their lots with Qatar and Turkey.
In Obama’s attempt to embrace the Muslim world, he has actually come to see it (perhaps he always did) as in American interests to oppose any efforts by Israel to form a coalition with Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia. Overtly and covertly, Obama and Kerry will try to undermine any attempts to piece together an Israeli-Arab regional alliance. That process has already begun from the U.S. State Department rostrum this morning (see below).
3. It is almost inconceivable that Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia will commit to any public actions with Israel.
As recently as last week, Israel’s new “friend” Gen. Sisi made a speech in Egypt in which he championed the Palestinian cause even while attacking Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. Egyptian internal politics will not permit Sisi to fully embrace Israel.
The same can be said of Jordan. If anyone thinks that King Abdullah is ready to risk his neck by joining a coalition with Israel, that person should think again. The Jordanian government is already teetering on the edge, and while Abdullah would certainly welcome Israel’s covert help in countering the IS/DAAS threat on his borders, he cannot risk alienating the Palestinians in his own country–which now constitute more than half of the population.
As for Saudi Arabia, let’s not forget that the King and company are still clinging to the old Saudi “peace plan”, the one that called for the return of the Golan to Syria and the return of so-called Palestinian “refugees” to Israel. The Saudis are not about to engage in any activity openly with Israel, particularly after Netanyahu said a couple of days ago that the Saudi Plan is no longer feasible (as if it ever was).
So where does this all leave us this morning?
For Abbas, the road is clear. Having donned his terrorist clothes for the world to see, he and the PLO are intent on waging a political war against Israel which will begin to take fuller form in two weeks when he releases his plan for getting the international community to force Israel to accept the PLO terms for “peace”.
For Obama and Kerry, it must be disconcerting in the extreme to be on the outside looking in and scrambling to find a footing that gives them leverage to do something. In this regard, the statements this morning from the State Department contradicting Netanyahu on numerous points and especially about how Hamas and IS/DAAS are from the same “poisonous tree” seem particularly ill-conceived and a knee-jerk reaction to a train that may have already left the station.
To return to the original question of whether Netanyahu’s speech was a watershed moment: it is always difficult to tell with Netanyahu, but your humble servant would say that it was.
For Bibi, there seems to be no turning back. He has finally sounded the death knell for Oslo and for any sort of peace process with the PLO. Netanyahu’s focus in the coming weeks and months will be forming the regional alliance he envisions, fighting against the PLO political war, and trying to refocus the world’s attention on Iran.
It will be an extremely hard row to hoe.
Addendum: in your humble servant’s opinion, this was the highlight of Netanyahu’s speech:
The Human Rights… (that’s an oxymoron, the UN Human Rights Council, but I’ll use it just the same), the Council’s biased treatment of Israel is only one manifestation of the return of the world’s oldest prejudices. We hear mobs today in Europe call for the gassing of Jews. We hear some national leaders compare Israel to the Nazis. This is not a function of Israel’s policies. It’s a function of diseased minds. And that disease has a name. It’s called anti-Semitism.
It is now spreading in polite society, where it masquerades as legitimate criticism of Israel. For centuries the Jewish people have been demonized with blood libels and charges of deicide. Today, the Jewish state is demonized with the apartheid libel and charges of genocide. Genocide? In what moral universe does genocide include warning the enemy’s civilian population to get out of harm’s way? Or ensuring that they receive tons, tons of humanitarian aid each day, even as thousands of rockets are being fired at us? Or setting up a field hospital to aid for their wounded? Well, I suppose it’s the same moral universe where a man who wrote a dissertation of lies about the Holocaust, and who insists on a Palestine free of Jews, Judenrein, can stand at this podium and shamelessly accuse Israel of genocide and ethnic cleansing.