Monday, July 28, 2014

Libya and the US Embassy

US closes embassy in Libya

Thanks for the sage advice John Kerry

American policy towards Libya has led to the closing of the US embassy in that tattered country.
The most recent article from The New York Times can be found here. 
Secretary of State as Liberty from Dry Bones

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Rockets from Gaza due to lack of salaries? I think not

Just when you think someone would properly hold Hamas accountable for its rocket fire into Israel along comes Nathan Thrall in The New York Times who blames the war on Israel because Hamas has not been able to pay salaries.

He writes,
AS Hamas fires rockets at Israeli cities and Israel follows up its extensive airstrikes with a ground operation in the Gaza Strip, the most immediate cause of this latest war has been ignored: Israel and much of the international community placed a prohibitive set of obstacles in the way of the Palestinian “national consensus” government that was formed in early June.
And what is one of those obstacles?
Israel immediately sought to undermine the reconciliation agreement by preventing Hamas leaders and Gaza residents from obtaining the two most essential benefits of the deal: the payment of salaries to 43,000 civil servants who worked for the Hamas government and continue to administer Gaza under the new one…

This, my friends, is just another instance of the West’s patronizing of Palestinian terrorists.  In other words, the Palestinians cannot help but be violent when a crisis (of their own doing) erupts.

I was able to have a letter in response to this column printed in The Times.

It reads
Re “How the West Chose War in Gaza” (Op-Ed, July 18): I disagree with Nathan Thrall that the absence of pay to civil servants is the reason for war in Gaza. War has broken out because Hamas does not recognize the right of Israel to exist. A look at the Hamas charter and listening to the spoken words of Hamas leadership would convince all but the most jaundiced of that.
Hamas made a choice when it took over Gaza. Instead of building an economy and housing for Gazans by using the many tons of concrete and other building materials that were allowed into Gaza, it used them to build tunnels to smuggle weaponry from Egypt and to cross under the border of Israel for future attacks against its citizens, as demonstrated this week.
It’s not the West’s failure that brought about war, but Hamas’s refusal to live peaceably side by side with Israel.

STEPHEN M. FLATOW

The above link will bring you to the full column.  My letter can be found on line here.   
 
Well, that’s what I think.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

With the Oslo dream shattered, Israel must do the creative thinking

Every now and then, the editors of Israel's Haaretz newspaper get it right.

An op-ed by Shlomo Avineri, whom many would call a member of Israel's left wing society, succinctly addresses the bottom line of the Palestinian's position regarding Israel.  He writes

Oslo’s sponsors saw the conflict as one between two national movements and believed – as did I – that direct negotiations between Israel and the PLO could find a solution to the territorial and strategic issues that were the cornerstones of the dispute. It wasn’t easy to convince Israelis, even those in the Labor Party, that the other side was a national movement – one that admittedly had terrorist facets but was fundamentally entitled, just like the Zionist movement, to exercise national self-determination.
We were wrong.
The Palestinians don’t think this is a conflict between two national movements. From their perspective, this is a conflict between a single national movement – the Palestinian one – and a colonialist, imperialist entity that is destined to vanish from the world. Therefore, the analogy that appears in Palestinian textbooks is Algeria: not the West Bank as Algeria, but all of Israel as Algeria. And the Israelis will disappear one way or another, just as the French settlers in Algeria did.

Well, that's all good, but his column then veers towards the bogeyman of Israel's politics--the settlements.  He has a proposal for his left wing colleagues, pay people to leave the West Bank, but he then fails to address his own realization that the Palestinians want all of Israel.

Nice try Mr. Aveneri

Read the full column here.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Flatow Family lawsuit leads to other cases

On Tuesday, July 2, 2014, The New York Times featured us in a front page story (below the fold). 

The story which can be read here, outlines how the family lawsuit, Flatow v. Islamic Republic of Iran, eventually led New York City prosecutors and, eventually, the United States Attorney in Manhattan, to track down the illegal flow of money through a French bank, BNP Paribas, in violation of American law.  The result, a whopping multi-billion fine paid by BNP to avoid further prosecution.

In the scheme of things, the fine is meaningless.  What has to happen in these cases is that the faceless mandarins who designed the scheme that led to the illegal transfers have to be personally held accountable.

Until that happens, BNP and others, will conduct business as usual and their profits will continue to soar.

That's what I think.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

From Frida Ghitis; Pope Francis’ journey for peace, reconciliation

Sometimes I think I'm the one who has lost sight of things.  Amid all the chest thumping arising from the Palestinians and the moaning from the Israelis following Pope Francis' visit to Israel and the disputed territories, I thought the gist of the pope's visit was lost.

To my way of thinking, the pope did the best job he could  of accommodating the needs of Israelis and Palestinians.

At the Terror Victims Memorial I noticed that the pope put his hand on a plaque just a few feet from the one that contains the name Alisa Flatow.

Frida Ghitis' thoughtful article should be read.  Here's the link.

Pope Francis’ journey for peace, reconciliation - Other Views - MiamiHerald.com

Well, that's what I think.

Stephen M. Flatow