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Keeping Israel Safe Through Deterrence

Keeping Israel Safe Through Deterrence

By Ed Koch - December 1, 2009

Supporters of Israel, Jew and non-Jew alike, are angry that President Obama changed the longstanding U.S. policy on the legitimacy of Jewish settlements on the West Bank. That policy under Democrat and Republican presidents before him was that those settlements, while "impediments to peace," were legal. The State Department under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton now refers to such settlements as illegal. Why is it reasonable for Arabs to live in the State of Israel and not acceptable for Jews to live on the West Bank?

I believe in the two-state solution, and when that takes place, the Jews living in the area comprising the new Palestinian state will have to decide whether to relocate back to Israel or continue to live in their towns as citizens of the new Palestinian state or as resident aliens. Israel has been savaged at the United Nations year after year by the Arab countries and those that support them, because of the power of oil and fear of Islamic terror. Few nations have been willing to vote "no" on Arab resolutions denouncing Israel. The best many nations, who realize how unfair and hypocritical those resolutions are, will do is abstain from voting.

Had Israel succumbed to fear and desisted from protecting itself by erecting a security barrier that keeps terrorists at bay and by militarily striking those who allow terrorists to use their territory as bases for their terrorist activity against Israel, the State of Israel would have been overwhelmed long ago.

The New York Times in an article by Ethan Bronner on November 26, 2009, noted the positive effect of Israel's willingness to defend itself when many other nations deserted it. Bronner reported, "Through relentless commando operations and numerous checkpoints, the Israeli Army ended suicide bombings and other terrorist acts from the West Bank; since its 2006 war with the Lebanese militia Hezbollah, widely dismissed as a failure at the time, the group has not fired one rocket at Israel; and Gaza last December has greatly curtailed years of Hamas rocket fire, returning a semblance of normality to the Israeli south. Two years ago, Israeli fighter planes destroyed what Israel and the United States say was a budding Syrian nuclear reactor; and last year in Syria, Israeli agents assassinated Imad Mugniyah, the top military operative for Hezbollah and a crucial link to its Iranian sponsors, a severe blow to both Hezbollah and Iran. Diplomatic efforts, whether the Oslo peace talks of the 1990s or the Turkish-mediated negotiations with Syria last year have, by contrast, produced little. Every Israeli military operation of recent years - including the December invasion of Gaza that was condemned Friday by the United Nations Human Rights Council by a vote of 25 to 6 and referred to the Security Council following a report by a committee led by Richard Goldstone - has come under international censure. Today all are viewed here as having been judged prematurely and unfairly but having delivered the goods - keeping Israel safe through deterrence."

What if Israel in 1981 had not destroyed Saddam Hussein's nuclear facility and the Allied nations invading Iraq in 2003 had been met with nuclear bombs? What would our casualties have been then? What if two years ago Israel had not destroyed, as the Times reported, "what Israel and the United States say was a budding Syrian nuclear reactor?" Who would be in danger now?

Much of the world has been cowed by Islamic terrorism fearful of the suicide bombers who have struck in other countries, e.g., Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Indonesia, India, Britain and Russia. These terrorists seek to bring those countries to their knees. Israel knows that in order to survive, it must be willing to fight for its very life and freedom every single day. Its young men and women, while cherishing life and not wanting to die, are nevertheless willing to do so in defense of their country. For Israelis, there is no other choice.

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Remember Carlos the Jackal of Venezuela, whose real name is Ilich Ramirez Sanchez? According to The New York Times of November 21, 2009, President Hugo Chavez is "heaping praise" on him, describing him as a "revolutionary fighter." Carlos the Jackal was convicted of "the murders of two French police agents and a Lebanese informer in Paris' Latin Quarter in 1975," and is now serving his sentence in a French prison. Said Chavez before an "applauding gathering of leftist political parties from around the world...'I defend him. I don't care what they say tomorrow in Europe.'" The Times reported "Vea, a pro-Chavez newspaper accused of fostering anti-Semitism, closely follows Mr. Ramirez's life in prison and calls him a revolutionary compatriot demonized in international Judaism's media campaigns."

Why do I raise this now? Because there are Americans like Sean Penn, Kevin Spacey and Danny Glover, who politically embrace Hugo Chavez. Then there is former Congressman Joseph P. Kennedy II who until recently acted as a propaganda arm of Chavez by distributing Venezuelan home heating oil to the poor and publicly crediting Chavez for his largess. Incidentally, in 2007, Kennedy drew an annual salary of $545,000 for running the operation.

The Venezuelan company Citgo recently suspended the free heating oil program in the U.S. The program had begun in 2005 and covered 23 states and 200,000 people. Last year, Citgo provided $100 million in heating oil. According to the Associated Press, Kennedy, as a result of the suspension, "was seeking a face-to-face meeting with Chavez." The AP added that "Kennedy also called out U.S. oil companies for not taking part in his efforts to provide heating assistance to low income households." Shouldn't domestic oil companies making billions be delighted to take the place of Venezuela in providing charity to U.S. citizens in need? Shouldn't the U.S. government be providing greater assistance to those low income families? Keeping warm should be more than a goal.

Ed Koch is the former Mayor of New York City.
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