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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Kosovo and 'Palestine': Implications for Israel

At Little Green Footballs, Charles did a post last night in which he reported without comment a story that reports that Serbian nationalists are blaming the United States for the situation in Kosovo.

Serbia’s hard-line leaders on Saturday called the U.S. “the main culprit” in the violence that has broken out since Kosovo declared independence.

Several thousand Serbs chanting “Kosovo is Serbia!” and “Russia, Vladimir Putin!” protested peacefully in the ethnically divided town of Kosovska Mitrovica, the sixth day of demonstrations against Kosovo’s break with Serbia. Russia backs Serbia’s fierce resistance to Kosovo’s secession.

On Thursday night, protesters in the Serbian capital Belgrade set fire to the U.S. embassy [Link includes video. CiJ], angered by Washington’s recognition of Kosovo. The U.S. and the European Union responded by demanding Serbia protect foreign embassies.

“The United States is the main culprit ... for all those violent acts,” Serbia’s Minister for Kosovo Slobodan Samardzic said in Belgrade.

Here's an interview on CNN with Samardzic:

While blaming the United States is admittedly over the top, it should be clear to everyone that a policy that permits a unilateral right of secession for any ethnic minority that wishes to do so cannot be tolerated. As Caroline Glick hinted this weekend, Russia and the West divide into countries that have ethnic minorities in similar situations - all of whom have refused to recognize Kosovo - and countries who do not have such ethnic minorities, who have recognized it:
Kosovo's US-backed declaration of independence is deeply troubling. By setting a precedent of legitimizing the secession of disaffected minorities, it weakens the long-term viability of multi-ethnic states. In so doing, it destabilizes the already stressed state-based international system.

States as diverse as Canada, Morocco, Spain, Georgia, Russia and China currently suffer problems with politicized minorities. They are deeply concerned by the Kosovo precedent. Even the US has latent sovereignty issues with its increasingly politicized Hispanic minority along its border with Mexico. It may one day experience a domestic backlash from its support for Kosovar independence from Serbia.
Additionally, much of the sympathy that Kosovo has garnered in the West is based upon the alleged suffering at the hands of the Serbs during the war that led to Yugoslavia's breakup in the early 90's. Back then, we weren't really familiar with terms like fauxtography and Pallywood. But they have long been part of the global jihad's tactics, and Kosovo is yet another manifestation of the jihad. In fact, Caroline Glick reports that al-Qaeda has been operating in Kosovo since 1992.
According to a 2002 Wall Street Journal report, al-Qaida began operating actively in Kosovo, and in the rest of the Balkans, in 1992. Osama bin Laden visited Albania in 1996 and 1997. He received a Bosnian passport from the Bosnian Embassy in Austria in 1993. Acting on bin Laden's orders, in 1994 his deputy, Ayman Zawahiri set up training bases throughout the Balkans including one in Mitrovica, Kosovo. The Taliban and al-Qaida set up drug trafficking operations in Kosovo to finance their operations in Afghanistan and beyond.

In 2006, John Gizzi reported in Human Events that the German intelligence service BND had confirmed that the 2005 terrorist bombings in Britain and the 2004 bombings in Spain were organized in Kosovo. Furthermore, "The man at the center of the provision of the explosives in both instances was an Albanian, operating mostly out of Kosovo... who is the second ranking leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army, Niam Behzloulzi."

Then, too, at its 1998 meeting in Pakistan, the Organization of the Islamic Conference declared that the Albanian separatists in Kosovo were fighting a jihad. The OIC called on the Muslim world to help "this fight for freedom on the occupied Muslim territories."
Recall all the pictures we saw of pregnant Muslim women who had allegedly been raped. How trustworthy are the accounts of the Bosnian civil war that make the Serbs look like monsters and the Muslims like angels? Watch this disturbing video:

Note that at the beginning of the video, they talk about the Kosovar Muslims using a hospital as a war theater in the apparent hope of drawing civilian casualties. Where have we heard that story before? While the Bosnian Serbs may not have been angels during the war in Kosovo, the extent to which the media has tipped sympathies in favor of the Kosovars may be out of line. Caroline Glick presents evidence that it is not the Muslims of Kosovo (some of whom were sheltered in Israel by the way) who were the real victims of the war in Bosnia:
Supporters of Kosovo claim that as victims of "genocide," Kosovar Muslims deserve independence. But if the Muslims in Kosovo have been targeted for annihilation by the Serbs, then how is it that they have increased from 48% of the population in 1948 to 92% today? Indeed, Muslims comprised only 78% of the population in 1991, the year before Yugoslavia broke apart.

In recent years particularly, it is Kosovo's Serbian Christians, not its Albanian Muslims, who are targeted for ethnic cleansing. Since 1999, two-thirds of Kosovo's Serbs - some 250,000 people - have fled the area.
Bottom line: I don't know enough about what went on during the war in Bosnia to say with certainty that one side or the other was right or wrong, but I do know that where one side is Muslim, we have to look at how the media treats that side with an abundance of caution, and the evidence cited above has to make one question whether the Serbs are being given a raw deal in this case.

All of which brings us to what Israel's response to Kosovo's declaration of independence ought to be. Here, there is little doubt that Israel ought to refuse to recognize Kosovo for two reasons I have discussed before, namely the implications that the Kosovo situation has for the 'Palestinians' and the implications it has for 'Israeli Arabs.' First, the 'Palestinians':
There is a small piece of disputed land, that is rich in history but poor in everything else. Its preponderant population of two million Muslims wants to turn it into a sovereign state. The United States, the European Union, and much of the 'international community,' are in favor of creating a sovereign state on that piece of disputed land, but doing so would open a Pandora’s Box of geopolitical, legal, moral and security issues, and create a black hole of lawlessness, endemic corruption and jihad-terrorism.

Sounds like Judea and Samaria or Judea, Samaria and Gaza, doesn't it? But it's not. It's Kosovo, the southernmost province of Serbia.
The 'Palestinians' were quick to understand the implications of a western recognition of Kosovo's independence. 'Palestinian' negotiator Yasser Abd Rabbo suggested last week that the 'Palestinians' should follow Kosovo's model and declare their state reichlet unilaterally. But 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen was smarter than that.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas quickly dismissed a top aide's call Wednesday for a unilateral declaration of statehood if negotiations with Israel fail.

The Palestinians are committed to reaching a negotiated peace agreement this year, Abbas said in a statement.

"If we are unable to do that... We will return to our Arab [brothers] to take the appropriate decision," he said.
Abu Mazen is waiting for one of two things to happen. He is waiting either for Israel to recognize Kosovo, which could happen at any time, and which would make it much more difficult for Israel to argue that the 'Palestinians' do not deserve their own state reichlet. Or he is waiting for negotiations to break down completely, which could force the Americans to recognize an independent 'Palestinian' state reichlet due to this statement on Friday by US State Department spokesman Sean McCormick:
Asked why Kosovo had to wait just nine years under UN administration to obtain its independence, while the Palestinians have been waiting since 1948, McCormack said the situations were different.

"The situation in Kosovo had run its course, in terms of trying to find a solution, a negotiated political solution," McCormack said.

"We believe that there still is the possibility of a negotiated settlement" in the Palestinian territories, he said, citing peace talks held in Annapolis, Maryland last year under the auspices of President George W. Bush.
For those who can't read between the lines, Daled Amos explains what this statement means:
So, if it becomes clear that a negotiated settlement is not feasible, would the US likewise contend that the situation "had run its course" and ultimately back the establishment of a Palestinian state?
I think the obvious answer to that question is "yes." And if Israel recognizes Kosovo, that makes it even easier for the US to do so. As to the 'Israeli Arab' side of the equation, consider this:
Allow me to present the following scenario: In contradiction to all the pessimistic predictions, Israel and the Palestinians are able to successfully conclude negotiations on a final-status agreement, among other things based to incentives provided by the European Union. In the final stages of negotiations, Israeli representatives cave in to international pressure and waive the demand to recognize Israel’s unique Jewish character.

A short while after the agreement is signed, an uprising breaks out in the Galilee, in the Triangle area, and in the southern Negev desert, with Arab Israelis demanding a cultural and political autonomy that would enable them to manage their own lives while disconnecting from the State of Israel’s “Jewish” institutions.

The bloody clashes between the sides prompt the United Nations to call on Israel to restrain itself and consider the deployment of multinational forces to serve as a buffer. The European Union threatens to renounce Israel’s special status if it fails to act immediately in order to meet the demands of the minority living within it. Israel’s dependence on the EU is so great that it is forced to capitulate and turn into a “greater Tel Aviv” shtetl.

Is this horrific scenario completely imaginary, or is it taking shape right before our eyes? The conduct displayed by the international community, and particularly by the EU, on the issue of Kosovo’s independence should worry Israel. Kosovo’s declaration of independence has indeed been postponed, yet with every further delay certainty grows that sooner or later Kosovo will become an independent state with the West’s sweeping support.

This will create a dangerous precedent whereby the international community backs the right of an ethnic minority to undermine the sovereignty of a recognized state. At the same time, it is interesting to follow the West’s hypocrisy on another burning issue: Europe and the United States continue to turn a blind eye while the Kurds are being oppressed, now in Iraqi territory as well, while rejecting the Kurdish right for self-determination in their own country.
Further discussion of that article here. In fact, Steven Plaut sounded a similar warning five years ago albeit without factoring Kosovo into the equation. But the danger that Kosovo poses to Israel both in terms of the 'Palestinian' question and in terms of the 'Israeli Arabs' should be obvious to all of us. And in the face of that danger, how has the Israeli government reacted? Unfortunately, with a mixture of confusion and impotence. Here's Caroline Glick again:
For Israel, Kosovo's US-backed declaration of independence should be a source of alarm great enough to require a rethinking of foreign policy. Unfortunately, rather than understand and implement the lessons of Kosovo, the Olmert-Livni-Barak government is working actively to ensure that they are reenacted in the international community's treatment of Israel and the Palestinians. Today, Israel is enabling the Palestinians to set the political and legal conditions for the establishment of an internationally recognized state of Palestine that will be at war with Israel.

By accepting the "Road Map Plan to a Two-State Solution" in 2004, Israel empowered the US, the EU, Russia and the UN, who comprise the international Quartet, to serve as judges of Palestinian and Israeli actions toward one another. In November 2007, at the Annapolis conference, the Olmert-Livni-Barak government explicitly empowered the US to "monitor and judge the fulfillment of the commitment of both sides of the road map."

That these moves have made Israel dependent on the kindness of strangers was made clear this week when Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni instructed Israel's ambassadors to launch a campaign to convince the international community that Israel and the Palestinians are making great strides in their negotiations toward the establishment of a Palestinian state. Livni's move was precipitated by growing European and US dissatisfaction with the pace of those negotiations and by reports from the meeting of Quartet members in Berlin on February 11. There all members voiced anger at the slow pace of negotiations and opposition to Israel's military actions in Gaza, which are aimed at protecting the western Negev from rocket and mortar attacks.

The US representative at the Quartet's meeting, Assistant Secretary of State David Welch, reportedly told his colleagues, "First, we must not allow the suicide bombing in Dimona and the shooting on Sderot to affect the negotiations."

Welch reportedly added, "It is also important to us that neither the Palestinians in Gaza nor the Israelis in Sderot are hurt. Also, we must continue to strengthen Mahmoud Abbas and Salaam Fayad."

Moreover, Ran Koriel, Israel's ambassador to the EU, reportedly warned Livni that the Russians are pushing for the re-establishment of a Fatah-Hamas government. Several EU states, including France, are reconsidering their refusal to recognize Hamas.

If Israel had not empowered the Quartet generally and the US specifically to determine whether the PA and Israel are behaving properly, a European or Russian decision to recognize Hamas would have little impact. But given their role as arbiters, Quartet members can take punitive action against Israel if it fails to comply with their wishes. The Quartet can replace international law in determining who can assert sovereignty over Gaza, Judea and Samaria and how Israel can exercise its own sovereignty. And so, Livni is reduced to begging them not to recognize Hamas.


Then, too, since the US, EU, UN and Russia all consider Gaza, Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem to be one territorial unit, it is not surprising that Israel's request for NATO forces in Gaza has been greeted by a US plan to deploy NATO forces in Judea and Samaria. If NATO forces in Gaza would do nothing to secure the border with Egypt or to fight terrorists and would scuttle Israeli operations in the area, NATO forces in Judea and Samaria would not simply prevent Israel from protecting its citizens who live there. They would also prevent Israel from taking action to prevent the Palestinians from attacking central Israel and asserting control over the border with Jordan. And yet, as The Jerusalem Post reported this week, Israel is conducting talks with the US regarding just such a NATO deployment.

What the Serbs made NATO fight its way in to achieve, Israel is offering NATO on a silver platter.
Unfortunately, so long as the Olmert-Barak-Livni junta is in power, Israel's policy toward Kosovo is likely to continue in the wrong direction. This is from an article by Dr. Arieh Eldad published by Pamela at Atlas Shrugs:
If Israel does recognize Kosovo, this will certainly be the result of a decision made by the prime minister and foreign minister. Such a decision will be indubitable proof of the foolishness and malignant shortsightedness from which they suffer. If their willingness to establish an Arab terrorist state in the heart of our own country can be explained by their having internalized the Peace Now ideology concerning what they call the “occupation” and the demographic problem - there can be no such explanation for Israel’s giving support to Islamic imperialism in Europe.


Expressing complete political blindness towards the nature of the conflict between Moslems and the rest of the world, Olmert and Tzippi Livni are convinced that establishing an Arab state in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza is in Israel’s political interests. Only someone who doesn’t understand that the conflict has nothing to do with a particular boundary can think that drawing such a boundary line along the 1967 borders will solve anything. Only someone who doesn’t understand what the Moslems in Europe want can think that the establishment of an independent Kosovo will resolve the conflict in the Balkans. If Israel joins in recognizing Kosovo, there will be no political, legal, or moral claim it can make to oppose establishing an Arab state in the Galilee and Northern Negev. For what is the difference? An ethnic minority with territorial contiguity to neighboring enemy states demands, following a bloody war, to tear pieces from a sovereign country, and proclaim its independence. This is or will be exactly the demand of the Arabs after the first stage in the “strategy of stages,” the establishment of an independent Palestinian state is, Heaven forbid, attained. And we cannot forget that Arabs and the haters of Israel in Europe portray Israel in colors no less cruel than those used to portray the Serbs, and accusations of genocide are thrown at us just as they were thrown at them. When the day comes when the Arabs in the Galilee declare independence, Israel will have no way to oppose it, assuming it today recognizes a country formed on exactly the same basis.

I have heard commentators explaining that neither we nor Europe should fear Kosovo because the Kosovians are “moderate Moslems.” It was from these moderate Moslems that Haj Amin el-Husseini gathered tens of thousands of volunteers [Link includes video. CiJ] for the 13th SS Division (“Handschar”) and 21st SS Division (“Skanderbeg”). On them he built his dream of marching with Hitler’s armies into Palestine and destroying the Jews of Eretz Israel. Today Israel, together with its European partners, must present a solid front to stop the spread of Islam in Europe, for as long as the Moslem strength there increases, the tendency of European countries to prefer the Arabs over Israel will also increase.
The clock of Israel's continued existence as a Jewish state is ticking. Will we wake up in time?


At 6:15 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 6:16 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

The point is a good one. Serbia's Albanian minority may be a majority in a given region of the country just as the Arabs are a majority in parts of the Land Of Israel but that doesn't give them the right to undermine the territorial integrity of the state of which they are a part. If the Kosovo principle is universally accepted, every country is in danger of disintegration from within. That's an even more potent threat to its survival than foreign invasion.

Actually, we don't even have to look to Kosovo to see how this might happen. 70 years ago, the West forced Czechoslovakia to cede strategic Sudeten territory filled mainly with Germans and without a shot being fired, Czech independence came abruptly to an end. It doesn't take too much to imagine the day after a Palestinian reichlet is created. Far from ending the conflict, it will merely usher in the next phase of territorial demands.

That's why Israel should not recognize Kosovo. And that's why a number of countries have refrained from doing so and just because Israel is a US ally does not mean the two country's interests are in tandem on every issue. On Kosovo, they could not be more different and Israel's first task is to secure her own national interests first, not to cater to the whims of the US or any other country

At 9:30 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Samardzic is correct in identifying the U.S. as a primary cause of the violence. Such reaction to violation of a nation's sovereignty (particularly in such a big way) is a no-brainer.


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