Benchmarks for a Bloodbath

By Arlene Kushner

I would like to focus today on a Post column by Evelyn Gordon, entitled, “Benchmarks for a bloodbath,” because I consider it so important. Gordon says:

“US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is not purposely trying to destroy all of Israel’s hard-won security gains of the last five years. But if she were, she could hardly have improved on her new benchmark proposal. The proposal comprises two parallel sets of “benchmarks”: steps (mainly Israeli) to increase Palestinian freedom of movement, and steps (mainly Palestinian) to combat Palestinian terror. However, it does not make either track conditional on the other.

Thus should Israel accept the proposal, it would be pledging to fulfill its own side of the bargain regardless of whether the Palestinians honored theirs. And since increased freedom of movement for Palestinians includes increased freedom of movement for terrorists, that essentially means an Israeli pledge to facilitate terrorist operations even if the Palestinian Authority makes no compensatory effort to thwart such operations.

“Indeed, the document explicitly requires Israel to dismantle many security precautions prior to the relevant PA security actions. For instance, it requires full deployment of a revamped PA security service in Gaza only by the end of 2007; yet Israel would have to start allowing regular convoys between Gaza and the West Bank on July 1. Thus six months before PA forces are even in position to combat Gazan terror, Israel would be required to facilitate the export of this terror to the West Bank.

“AND SOMETIMES there is no parallel demand of the PA at all. For instance, the document requires Israel to remove various West Bank checkpoints on June 1 and June 15. Yet it mandates no Palestinian counterterrorism efforts in the West Bank; such efforts are required only in Gaza. Israel would thus be facilitating terrorist movement in the West Bank without any recompense in the form of improved Palestinian counterterrorism.

“This lack of reciprocity would not matter if the benchmarks were all as innocuous as creating a Web site to provide information on the operating hours of border crossings (No. 6) or establishing express lanes for trucks carrying fresh produce at the Karni checkpoint (No. 11). However, several of them strike at the heart of the security mechanisms that have dramatically reduced Israeli casualties over the last five years.

“One of these is the removal of army checkpoints, including around terrorist hotbeds such as Nablus. This has already been tried countless times – and each time terrorists exploited their new freedom of movement to launch a successful attack from the area in question. Put bluntly, absent dramatic Palestinian action against terrorism, removing checkpoints is a proven recipe for producing dead Israelis.

“FAR WORSE, however, is the proposal for regular passenger and cargo convoys between Gaza and the West Bank. The document does not discuss security arrangements for these convoys, but every previous incarnation of this proposal has assumed that Israel would either not conduct security checks at all, or would at most conduct superficial checks that would cause minimal delays; the PA would bear primary responsibility for ensuring that no terrorists or weapons were smuggled from Gaza to the West Bank.

‘Indeed, this is essential both to the proposal’s practical goal (freedom of movement between Gaza and the West Bank, meaning without lengthy delays caused by exhaustive Israeli security checks) and its ideological goal: demonstrating that Gaza and the West Bank are a unified entity under Palestinian sovereignty.”

The stuff of nightmares, from our “friends.” Gordon suggests that Rice is willing to sacrifice Israeli lives to give the impression to “moderate” Arabs and Europeans — whose support is being sought re: Iraq — that progress is being made on this front.

May 11, 2007 | 5 Comments »

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5 Comments / 5 Comments

  1. “one can only pray that Israel will find the leadership it needs in these perilous times.” What China Confidential writes is so true. I pray this for Israel every day. We also should pray the same prayer for America as wee. “One can only pray that America finds the leadership that it needs in these perilous times.” We should pray the same for all of the nations for the free world. This includes all of the nations of Western Europe, Australia, Canada, Japan, and all other free nations. It would be unethical for Israel to be sacrificed so America or any other country can save face.

    The free wolrd needs leaders who will recognize that Israel is the primary buffer between the free world and its enemies. If this buffer is weakened, it only makes the free world harder to defend.

  2. A number of the American elite such as Baker and Brezinski may see Israel as a burden or liability as China Confidential notes. That attitude is not however consistent and at times Israel is seen as an opportunity to advance American interests in the Middle East.

    With respect to America’s desperate desire to extricate herself from Iraq, America is seeking to gain at least some small bit of co-operation from Iran and some support from the Saudis and other Muslim Middle Eastern nations that would allow America withdraw from Iraq without losing all face.

    These Muslim nations have always resisted American efforts to modernize, using the excuse that no change can come to the Muslim Middle East until the Israel – Palestinian conflict is settled and the Palestinians have their own independent state.

    There of course is a disconnect from reality for the Middle Eastern Muslim world to use the unresolved Israel – Palestinian conflict as an excuse to maintain the status quo. Nonetheless because the Muslim world appears united in using that excuse, that does become a reality that the West and America must deal with.

    With C. Rice’s most recent proposal for more Israeli concessions in return for more Palestinian lies and empty promises, it is very likely that what is happening is that the Muslim nations in return for their support to allow America to leave Iraq with some semblance of dignity are using the Israel – Palestinian conflict to leverage America into trying to force Israel to give more up to the Palestinians in return for nothing.

    Israel should say no to this American proposal for reasons well stated already. One should not forget however that in November, 2005, Condi Rice practically was gloating when she announced that American muscle had assured Israel’s co-operation in signing the very ill advised Rafah agreement.

    Whether Israel will or even can say no to C. Rice’s proposal this time, depends largely I expect on what leverage America has on Israel and just how hard America will use that leverage.

  3. Israel’s worst-ever government is presiding over its possible defeat.

    Tragically, the miraculously reborn Jewish State has allowed itelf to become dangerously dependent on its main ally and protector, the US. Successive Israeli governments have created a false sense of security and freedom by putting too much stock in their own assertions about Israel being America’s strategic asset.
    Unfortunately, Rice and her fellow dumbbell diplomats don’t see Israel as a strategic asset. The bipartisan Dump Israel crowd–for example, the old antisemistes Brzezinski and Baker–never did in the first place. Israel, in their eyes, is a burden or liability.

    Their views are ascendant. If not for America’s natural affinity with Israel–the US is still thankfully home to millions of decent, freedom-loving, secular and religious non-Jews for whom democratic Israel is an inspiring beacon of liberty in a sea of barabrism and repression–and the existence and tireless efforts of an organized Jewish commmunity, Washington would probably long ago have gone the way of Europe and adopted a more pro-Arab policy.

    Consider this: 40 years ago, when Israel, against all odds, beat the combined Arab armies in the Six-Day War–defeating the hate-filled legions who dared to rise up against the young Jewish State in the hope of continuing Hitler’s work–Iran was an American ally with ties to Israel. Palestinian Arab nationalism had barely taken hold. The Islamist movement was but a thorn in the side of Arab nationalism and pseudo-socialism; regimes across the Middle East surpressed the Muslim Brothers.

    Time has not worked in Israel’s favor, despite the peace pacts with Egypt and Jordan. Nobody, not Ben-Gurion, nor Begin, nor Dayan, could have imagined today’s situation: an Islamizing Arab/Muslim menace, led by oil-rich, non-Arab, anit-American, Islamist Iran, apparently actively preparing a final conflict—an all-out assault–aimed at Israel’s eradication.

    One can only pray that Israel will find the leadership it truly needs in these perilous times.

  4. I have an easy starting point for Israelis and their government. Simply say “no” to this proposal. You have many supporters in the US. If you will simply say “no” to proposals like this, it would go a long way toward giving your supporters in the US and elsewhere ammunition to use in your defense. When Israel agrees to things like this, it makes things much more difficult for her allies in the US and elsewhere. For example, I vehemently disagree with the “Road Map to Peace” but Israel has agreed to it. To oppose the Road Map now is to oppose the decisions of a soverign ally.

    Ultimately what ever Israel decides to do is for Israelis to decide, not for Americans or anyone else to decide. Do not allow the American leadership to pressure you!!

    I just hope and pray that Israelis and Americans wake up very soon to the threat we all face. If anyone thinks our enemies can be appeased by sacrificing Israeli land theya re wrong. We have been down that road once before. During WWII we tried to appease Germany by giving him the Sudatenland. Land for Peace did not work then and it will not work now. The optimal solution is for Israel to take more territory in Gaza and the West Bank. This will strengthen the buffer between the Western world and its enemies. Israel should simply say “no” to proposals like this.

  5. Also appearing in the May 10, 2007 Jerusalem Post Internet edition is an article by Caroline Glick that should be read along with Evelyn Gordon’s article.

    Glick’s article Column one: What is Israel’s problem? can be found at:

    Evelyn Gordon’s article should give Israelis and world Jewry grave suspicions of the Bush administrations underlying motives for this new initiative. It appears that C. Rice by this particular proposal is seeking to have Israel dig her own grave.

    As for C. Glick’s article it should give anyone concerned about Israel, heart palpitations as they repeatedly ask themselves where are Israelis’ heads at?

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