Mumbai, the Middle East, and the U.S., where do we go from here?

Mumbai, the Middle East, and the U.S., where do we go from here?

The tragedy in Mumbai has left more than 170 dead and countless mourning. Rabbis around the world from Chabad, whose Nariman House was one of the sites attacked, are holding memorials for Rabbi and Mrs. Holtzberg, while the rest of the Jewish community shares in their grief. A list of memorials around the area can be found on our Website’s main page.

The Israeli government has slammed the ZAKA organization for speaking out of turn. The Jerusalem Post quoted a member of ZAKA yesterday saying that some of the hostages in Nariman House may have been killed by the Indian commandos, rather than the terrorists.

Meanwhile, the bodies of the Holtzbergs and other Israeli victims arrived in Israel for burial today.

The Jewish Standard will have updated coverage of the events in Friday’s issue.

In other news, the Saban Center and the Council on Foreign Relations have submitted a report to Barack Obama about challenges the president-elect will face in the Middle East. In a surprising move, the report recommends that the U.S. accept a nuclear Iran and turn its focus to diplomacy to keep the Islamic regime from developing nuclear weapons.
The report also recommends ending Hamas’ isolation in an attempt to convince it to become a legitimate part of the government. The authors – correctly – state that there can be no advances in the peace process while Gaza and the West Bank are divided politically. However, to drop the Quartet’s demands on Hamas that it give up violence and recognize Israel and past agreements will not lead to any positive political gains.

I fully support diplomacy but on the surface these recommendations sound more like appeasement. Hamas has done nothing to earn the trust of the U.S., Israel, or anybody else. It has taken no steps to demonstrate that it can be a legitimate political party, nor has it given any indication that it will give up violence. To allow Hamas to become a viable political party while it maintains its violent wing will only repeat the mistakes of Oslo when Fatah was granted political status but allowed to keep its armed wing – which is still active today. Political parties should not have their own militias. Hamas has to decide once and for all what it wants to be. And the Palestinian Authority needs to uniformly enforce its “One authority, one gun” slogan.

Accepting a nuclear Iran in any capacity will lead to destruction. The danger of a nuclear Iran is not that it will attach a nuclear warhead to one of its missiles and fire it at Israel. The resulting nuclear and political fallout, not to mention second-strike from Israel, would spell disaster for the regime. The danger is that once Iran has the technology and the know-how, it will pass that information on to its proxy, Hezbollah. Iran can then deny any involvement if Hezbollah creates a nuclear device and launches it at Israel. The collateral damage to Israel’s Arab population and the Palestinians is not an issue, as Hezbollah demonstrated with its behavior during the Second Lebanon War.

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