Monday, May 23, 2011

Fayyad suffers heart attack in US

May 12, 2011: Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad declares Palestinians have created all conditions for establishing a Palestinian state.
“The mission has been accomplished."
"We presented our plan in August 2009 to enable setting up a state in September 2011. But already on April 13, at the donor states’ meeting in Brussels, the UN, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund stated that we crossed the statehood line. Our vision had become a reality."
“I imagine myself celebrating our Independence Day in Jerusalem, in the east of the city, in the heart of the Old City."
Palestinian independence day, in the heart of the Old City?

Ten days later...

May 22, 2011 (Lag Ba'Omer): Palestinian PM suffers heart attack
Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad suffered a heart attack while visiting the U.S. and is recovering at a Texas hospital, a spokesman said Monday.

...Fayyad has developed close ties with Western leaders, who would like him to stay on as prime minister. The Palestinians receive hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign aid every year, and Fayyad has won praise for his efforts to build a Palestinian state from the ground up.
A Palestinian state side-by-side Israel is a mirage in the desert. Israel was not under control of the territory in question in 1967, and yet it was nonetheless drawn into a war. A Palestinian state - and all the more so a unilaterally declared one -- is an existential threat to Israel. David Frum from CNN writes today:
It's not just the geography. It's the topography.

When you look at maps of the Middle East, you see at once that pre-1967 Israel was very narrow -- just nine miles across. The Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport stretches wider than that.
But what you do not so easily see is that pre-1967 Israel was low as well as narrow. Israel emerged from the 1948-49 Arab invasions holding the coastal plain along the Mediterranean. The invaders grabbed and held the highlands between the plain and the Jordan River Valley.

Those highlands rise almost 3,000 feet above the coastal plain. Whoever controls them can shower missiles and rockets upon Israel's cities and factories -- with much greater accuracy and lethality and much less vulnerability to retaliation from ground forces than a rocket fired from level ground.

Israel experienced such a barrage in the three years leading up to the 2008 Gaza war. Thousands of rockets were fired from Gaza into southwestern Israel. Southwestern Israel is relatively lightly settled, so most of the rockets exploded without killing anyone. Even so, Israel suffered 16 killed and dozens wounded by rocket fire between 2005 and 2008. Had those rockets been fired into central Tel Aviv -- or against the runways of Ben Gurion Airport -- they would have inflicted horrific human and economic damage.

Holding the highlands matters for external as well as internal security. The West Bank boundary with Jordan extends for almost 100 kilometers (more than 60 miles). Yet in all that length, Israeli military experts assess that there only three routes across which an armed force can travel. Whoever holds those controls land access to Israel from the east.

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