Obama and Israel

July 24th, 2009

All my life I have dreamed of peace and harmony with the Palestinians and Arabs, for the benefit of both people. I also have been a democrat all my adult life. I believe we should help the underprivileged in our country and the world. I have dedicated many years to world peace and I believe that a more cooperative and peaceful world are critically important, but I am not an idealist. Idealists, by definition, are not realistic. They often believe so much in the optimum that they neglect essential realities and the lessons in front of them. I have been especially concerned for a long time about president Obama plans for Israel, and unfortunately my concerns seem to be founded.

There is considerable arrogance in an administration, or any person, who comes to a top position and considers every prior leader incapable and/or mistaken. I know how to solve the problem, the previous presidents were either too friendly to Israel or were incapable of seeing the facts.

Louis Hale, the American foreign-policy thinker from the 1950, explained that if you were clinging to a flawed image of the world, no amount of dexterous policy execution could save you from disaster. [The age of Unthinkable]. That is the reason why one US administration after another, for sixty years, has tried to promote peace in the Middle East and failed. Actually the US often tried to impose peace on Israel as if Israel is the cause of the Arab-Israeli conflicts. Since Israel is somewhat under the thumb of the US, it can dictate to the Israeli government whatever it wants, when Congress is not objecting. [That is why AIPAC’s education of Congress is so critical]

Here is the basic scenario: Israel is a country governed by a central government elected by its people, the ONLY democracy in the region. The Israeli government have the ability to force its laws (generally, but not on the Israeli Arab population). So when the US dictates demands to the Israeli government, the Israeli population has to abide by it.
Often, to encourage peace between two nations you influence both leaderships by the carrot and stick technique to find some compromise. Some times it works if you have real carrots and sticks, and the partners ARE WILLING.
But in the Arab-Israeli situation the US can put pressure only on Israel. The Palestinians do what they want, they are not governed by a central government. The Palestinians are loose arrangements of local tribes, powerful families, and endless numbers of small self-governed groups.

Since one US administration after another can not control the Arab streets and people, the only option the US really see is to pressure the Israelis. There is no central control by Fatah and when there is any control it is oriented to the destruction of Israel. All the media in the Palestinian areas is influenced by the desire to eradicate Israel. The education system is geared to the destruction of Israel in particular and Jews and the US in general. So, now, the new, inexperienced Obama administration comes with a new idea, we will show the Arab world we are their friends by pressuring Israel further then before.

Will this lead to any improvement in the prospect for a peaceful coexistence with the Palestinians? Why should it? They will demand more concessions and more billions of dollars. The carrot work for them very well. The Palestinians receives the highest per person monetary support in the world, by a great measure more than people with so much larger needs, but are not oriented to kill us.
Why is the US is the main financial supporter of the Palestinians? Ponder that sometime.

There is no clear benefit to the younger Palestinian generation, over 60% of the population, to seek peace. For 60 years they were raised on Western subsidies, and on a deep hatred towards the Jews and Israel. Killing Israelis is the core honor among many Palestinians. Any one with initiative, desire for a better life, left a long time ago. The majority that remain do not want peace, but eradicating Israel. Listen to their own media, not to the idealist Western media who sanitizes all information that disturbs the Western mind. The ruthless murders of Palestinians by Palestinians are frequent examples. I showed a documentary of Palestinian hatred in their own media to a friend of mine, an idealist Jew, and he was so angry at me for exposing him to the facts on the Arab streets. The reality disturbed his idealism.

So, once again, the US puts pressure on Israel so that the Palestinians will change their attitude and agree to live-and-let-live coexistence with Israel. A nice dream, but devoid of reality. As long as we assume that the Palestinians think and feel the way we feel, we are destined to fail. The Israeli political left has nearly disappeared in the last five years. Most Israelis finally learned that they have no one to talk with. It was a hard lesson. The Obama administration is still clueless and will experiment at the price of Israel.

That is not the way the Arab mind works for centuries. Each Arab country is for its self; the Palestinian cause is not their central concern. Most Arab governments and their citizens despise the Palestinians. No Arab country allowed Palestinians to be normal citizens. Each state, each tribal unit, each family is for itself. Honor is preferred to life.

When the Western world accepts these realities in the Arab world, we may be able to encourage changes in attitudes, and education, as a basis for all future peaceful coexistence.

What is needed is slow process of change in the Palestinian mind, but if it possible in the repressive Arab Middle East, it will take decades. Some security improvements, however, were developed by Israel’s drive to create a local Palestinian police force. That is a beginning that allowed Israel to reduce its forces in the West Bank, and help the Palestinians to govern themselves.
This change and further, more encompassing ones, could not be forced by famous, high titled outsiders, in a media atmosphere, bringing in one political envoy after another. It has to be done quietly, by dedicated, non-famous experts who work continuously and closely with the limited number of moderates Palestinians to encourage the right internal changes in that undemocratic society.


Entertaining video about modern Judaism

May 3rd, 2009

You may want to watch this well done entertainng video about the Jewish "Tribe" today.


Beautiful 3D short movie of Jerusalem

April 23rd, 2009

A lovely short movie in 3 D of Jerusalem. Add to it some good Israeli or Jewish music from your computer CD player.
Please open full screen (on bottom right) and let it go on to different scenes.



Why I do not write

March 13th, 2009

A number of friends asked me why I have not written for awhile. Certainly the Israeli situation has been as complex and uncertain as before and there is a lot to comment about. However, for the last five years I have devoted more and more of my time to an issue that as environmental scientist I could not ignore – Global Warming. That takes now first priority for me.

It is not a new subject for me. Many years ago I talked about GW as I gave lectures across California on alternative energies development under my direction. I was the Manager of the pioneering Wind Energy program of the California Energy Commission and Manager of the Solar Energy Office for the State of California. At that time, like most environmental scientists, I viewed GW as a futuristic event that we would not have to face for a century or longer. I was wrong as most scientists were at the time. It was so much easier to reject the potential severity of GW than face the reality that humanity is on a collision course with nature. I sent my first email on GW to my friends on 7/8/2001. Early public warnings were made then, but our tragic 9/11 captured our full attention from that time on and sadly we forgot for several years the time-criticality of GW.

I could not forget GW as I was immersed in the Israeli struggle. However, for the last five years scientific evidence of the immediacy and increasing severity of GW has accumulated at such an increasing rate that scientists, including myself, can not ignore it. Much of the public is now aware of GW and some are taking a few steps to reduce their own negative footprint on our world. Too many still try to close their eyes. But the impacts of GW are progressing.

The scientific evidence from detailed studies across the globe is now clear that our burning of vast amount of fossil fuels (that started over two hundred years ago) is increasing global temperatures at an accelerated rate. This temperature increase has already caused serious damage across the globe. And that damage will be more severe if we continue to burn coal, oil and natural gas at the rates we have been doing for the last few decades. We must reduce our use of these fuels across the globe as rapidly as humanity is able.
Some wonder how is it possible that people can impact our vast world so significantly. However, the reality is that six and a half billion people spew some thirty billions tons of warming gases into our sky every year. An astronomical amount most of us can’t fathom.

The issue of GW is one of the most critical one facing humanity. The US and Israel are not immune to its pending devastating impacts. Israel supply’s of fresh water, as an example, is at dangerously low levels due to GW. In the US our water sources are diminishing and more erratic, and forest fires more intense.

May I suggest that you start studying GW so you can learn what you can do to minimize its impact. Just read your newspapers, magazines and search the web.
We can individually do our part to reduce GW. And I am not talking about the obvious things we can do such as driving less or turning lights off, all which are desirable actions, but insufficient to make a dent. As a minimum, I suggest that you write MONTHLY brief notes of your concerns to your three Congresspersons. They are the ones who will determine US actions to curtail our overdependence on fossil fuels, the main cause of GW. In order to move Congresspersons they need to sense that people do care deeply about GW. Our Congresspersons are not leaders, they are follower. BE A LEADER!

I will be putting some of my GW material on my blog below, especially if it is a long analysis: I hope you will look into it: (If you forget just Google my full name.)


Moral Clarity in Gaza, by Krauthammer

January 2nd, 2009

This article represents well the situation in Israel just now that I could not have said it better, so read these facts. As sad as it is, and I wish there were not any civilians casualties on both sides, we must realize that some people are unable and unwilling to live in peace. It is against their very core of beliefs. Hamas would not stop its attacks on Israel as long as it retains even minimal power.

Moral Clarity in Gaza
By Charles Krauthammer
Friday, January 2, 2009; A15
Late Saturday, thousands of Gazans received Arabic-language cell-phone messages from the Israeli military, urging them to leave homes where militants might have stashed weapons.
-- Associated Press, Dec. 27
Some geopolitical conflicts are morally complicated. The Israel-Gaza war is not. It possesses a moral clarity not only rare but excruciating.
Israel is so scrupulous about civilian life that, risking the element of surprise, it contacts enemy noncombatants in advance to warn them of approaching danger. Hamas, which started this conflict with unrelenting rocket and mortar attacks on unarmed Israelis -- 6,464 launched from Gaza in the past three years -- deliberately places its weapons in and near the homes of its own people.
This has two purposes. First, counting on the moral scrupulousness of Israel, Hamas figures civilian proximity might help protect at least part of its arsenal. Second, knowing that Israelis have new precision weapons that may allow them to attack nonetheless, Hamas hopes that inevitable collateral damage -- or, if it is really fortunate, an errant Israeli bomb -- will kill large numbers of its own people for which, of course, the world will blame Israel.
For Hamas, the only thing more prized than dead Jews are dead Palestinians. The religion of Jew-murder and self-martyrdom is ubiquitous. And deeply perverse, such as the Hamas TV children's program in which an adorable live-action Palestinian Mickey Mouse is beaten to death by an Israeli (then replaced by his more militant cousin, Nahoul the Bee, who vows to continue on Mickey's path to martyrdom).
At war today in Gaza, one combatant is committed to causing the most civilian pain and suffering on both sides. The other combatant is committed to saving as many lives as possible -- also on both sides. It's a recurring theme. Israel gave similar warnings to Southern Lebanese villagers before attacking Hezbollah in the Lebanon war of 2006. The Israelis did this knowing it would lose for them the element of surprise and cost the lives of their own soldiers.
That is the asymmetry of means between Hamas and Israel. But there is equal clarity regarding the asymmetry of ends. Israel has but a single objective in Gaza -- peace: the calm, open, normal relations it offered Gaza when it withdrew in 2005. Doing something never done by the Turkish, British, Egyptian and Jordanian rulers of Palestine, the Israelis gave the Palestinians their first sovereign territory ever in Gaza.
What ensued? This is not ancient history. Did the Palestinians begin building the state that is supposedly their great national aim? No. No roads, no industry, no courts, no civil society at all. The flourishing greenhouses that Israel left behind for the Palestinians were destroyed and abandoned. Instead, Gaza's Iranian-sponsored rulers have devoted all their resources to turning it into a terror base -- importing weapons, training terrorists, building tunnels with which to kidnap Israelis on the other side. And of course firing rockets unceasingly.
The grievance? It cannot be occupation, military control or settlers. They were all removed in September 2005. There's only one grievance and Hamas is open about it. Israel's very existence.
Nor does Hamas conceal its strategy. Provoke conflict. Wait for the inevitable civilian casualties. Bring down the world's opprobrium on Israel. Force it into an untenable cease-fire -- exactly as happened in Lebanon. Then, as in Lebanon, rearm, rebuild and mobilize for the next round. Perpetual war. Since its raison d'etre is the eradication of Israel, there are only two possible outcomes: the defeat of Hamas or the extinction of Israel.
Israel's only response is to try to do what it failed to do after the Gaza withdrawal. The unpardonable strategic error of its architect, Ariel Sharon, was not the withdrawal itself but the failure to immediately establish a deterrence regime under which no violence would be tolerated after the removal of any and all Israeli presence -- the ostensible justification for previous Palestinian attacks. Instead, Israel allowed unceasing rocket fire, implicitly acquiescing to a state of active war and indiscriminate terror.
Hamas's rejection of an extension of its often-violated six-month cease-fire (during which the rockets never stopped, just were less frequent) gave Israel a rare opportunity to establish the norm it should have insisted upon three years ago: no rockets, no mortar fire, no kidnapping, no acts of war. As the U.S. government has officially stated: a sustainable and enduring cease-fire. If this fighting ends with anything less than that, Israel will have lost yet another war. The question is whether Israel still retains the nerve -- and the moral self-assurance -- to win.