Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Donald Trump to hand Israel full control of holiest site

Long overdue -- JR

Donald Trump is set to propose full sovereignty for Israel over Jerusalem’s holiest site as part of the most favourable peace plan ever offered to it, raising fears of renewed conflict over the contested land.

Under the plan Israel is expected to take up to 30 per cent of the occupied West Bank, including the Jordan Valley and Jewish settlement blocs, as well as sovereignty over the Old City site known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif.

The plan is not expected to hold out any immediate prospect of a Palestinian state. It envisages the Palestinian Authority forgoing any right to military power and recognising Israel as a Jewish state. It is not expected to make any provisions for Palestinian refugees.

Mr Trump greeted Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, at the White House on Monday and said he would announce “a very big plan” on Tuesday. He added: “It will be a suggestion between Israel and the Palestinians, it’s the closest it’s ever come and we’ll see what happens.”

He held separate talks with Benny Gantz, Mr Netanyahu’s challenger in next month’s election.

The timing, six weeks before Israel’s third election in a year, is seen as a boost for Mr Netanyahu, detracting from the corruption charges he faces.

Michael Herzog, a former Israeli peace negotiator, called the plan a “very significant paradigm shift” abandoning almost all Palestinian claims in favour of Israeli demands. “There are two national liberation narratives,” he said. “Previous plans have allowed these two narratives to exist but this plan is taking a decision in favour of the Jewish or Israeli narrative.”

Khalil Shikaki, director of the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research, said the plan would be “dead on arrival”, adding: “It shows almost no regard to what Palestinians think.”

Dr Shikaki briefed the US team on his polling while they were formulating the plan, but said: “The way they read Palestinian opinion is detached from reality. They take 10 or 15 per cent support and make it 90 per cent.”

No Palestinian leaders have been invited to Washington for the announcement, having broken off contact with the Americans two years ago after Mr Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moved the US embassy there, boasting that he had “taken Jerusalem off the table” in negotiations.

Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, refused to take a call from Mr Trump on Monday. His spokesman said the Palestinian Authority was ready to withdraw from security co-operation with Israel under the Oslo accords and force Israel to “bear its full responsibility as an occupation government”.

He added: “We warn Israel and the US government against crossing the red line.”

Saeb Erekat, secretary-general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, said that the plan would prompt Palestinians to switch focus from a two-state solution to demanding their full civil rights within a single state of Arabs and Jews. That could force Israel to choose between giving up its Jewish character or its democracy by denying Arabs a vote.

“It is an attempt to destroy the two states,” he said. “But it will open the doors of one person, one vote from the river Jordan to the Mediterranean.”

The Palestinian leadership has made no effort to corral Arab states together to offer a counter-proposal, but individual Arab states are unlikely to be able to support it. King Abdullah of Jordan said he would “absolutely refuse” to accept the plan, adding: “The word ‘no’ is understood by everyone.”

Jordan’s Islamic wafq, or trust, administers the Temple Mount and the country borders the Jordan Valley, which Mr Netanyahu is expected to seek to formally annexe though a Knesset vote on his return from Washington.

Abu Hamza al-Quraishi, a spokesman for Islamic State, called on all Muslims to “be the warhead in fighting Jews and foil the so-called ‘deal of the century’.”



Wealth will weaken if we ever yield to populism

This week’s Davos meeting of virtue-signallers and plutocrats was preceded last week by a meeting at Stanford University of the Mont Pelerin Society. Long dominated by Milton Friedman, among the society’s luminaries today are two former US secretaries of state, George Shultz and Condoleezza Rice.

Founded in the aftermath of World War II, the Mont Pelerin Society set out arguments that free markets based on property rights and the rule of law were the keys to delivering prosperity and freedom. Its meetings provided an intellectual bulwark to the then prevailing attractions of communism or at least to socialism.

As the 20th century progressed, the sclerotic state of the socialist world was increasingly evident. By contrast, adopting the Mont Pelerin principles saw a revived Germany and Japan, followed in the 1970s by the creation of prosperity in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Korea. Similarly, we saw Chile breaking out of the pack of Latin American economies with lethargic growth. All these success stories had free or free-ish markets as their drivers.

And in the developed nations, unmistakeable benefits were seen from (economic) deregulation of prices, access to markets and breaking up of government monopolies. In the main, these favourable outcomes from free enterprise took place in democracies (not, of course, Chile or Hong Kong). Economic freedom, usually combined with political freedom, was bringing increased wealth, further legitimised by — perhaps even caused by — democracy. Democratic revolutions that embraced capitalism also transformed the failed socialist Eastern European economies. The later successes of China and India reinforced the importance of market systems as the growth progenitor.

All this has brought a massive increase in living standards, with the share of people living in poverty falling from 60 per cent 50 years ago to less than 10 per cent today.

No attendees of the Stanford meeting doubted market capitalism’s higher efficiency and ability to deliver growth, including for the benefit of poorer members of society. But recent developments that were debated at Stanford have undermined confidence that the model will continue to prevail.

These include the resumption of growth in the size of government and a weakening of property rights by, for example, the seizure of land usages rights. In Australia, government actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through planning laws and measures that restrain commercial activity include the increase in regulatory intrusions and permissions, like those that resulted in the Adani coalmine taking nine years to be approved. A worldwide consequence of such measures has been a general slowdown in growth rates.

There is also evidence that more people are not seeing the benefits of the growth that has taken place. Between 1970 and 2018 the top third of US income earners increased their aggregate share of total incomes from 29 per cent to 48 per cent, with the middle third falling from 62 per cent to 43 per cent and the poorest third seeing their share drop marginally to 9 per cent.

“This economy is not working for us” became a US left radical battle cry, especially among the young. Seeking more from the government now attracts 47 per cent support (up from 36 per cent in 2010). This has translated into surging support for a new form of socialism promoted by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. Similar developments were seen in the UK, where Jeremy Corbyn, though losing the November Brexit election, attracted 70 per cent of the youth vote. The politics of envy is becoming evident, ironically led by the more highly educated who would be beneficiaries of greater dispersion of income.

This new form of socialism sees redistribution, reserving areas from commercial activities and abolishing cheap fossil and nuclear fuel accorded a higher priority over increasing aggregate income levels.

Another daunting development has been an upsurge in civil dissent, including deliberate attempts to paralyse economies and prevent free speech by groups such as the Extinction Rebellion.

Last year, this became open revolt in Chile, the most successful economy in Latin America with among the least unequal income distributions. A five-cent increase in the metro fare triggered mass fare evasion, with 17 metro stations bombed in a single night, an event clearly co-ordinated by a group that remains unidentified. Suddenly, hundreds of thousands of people were on the streets with diverse demands ranging from lower taxes, higher pensions, better healthcare, and a variety of other free goods. The government has been forced to accede to many of these demands.

Democracy, which led to or at least coexisted with the diminished government controls driving higher income levels for more than 70 years, is now turning into populism and threatens to foment a new era of declining living standards. Donald Trump is now one of the few world statesmen with genuine public support and, trade policy aside, a smaller government agenda. But, although he is likely to be re-elected in November, even in the US economic prosperity is threatened by statism supplanting the proven superiority of free markets.



Democrats Want to Create 'The Irresponsible Society'

Last week, my colleague Megan Fox reported on remarks directed at Senator Elizabeth Warren by an angry father during an appearance in Iowa that went to the heart of what kind of country the Democrats want to create.

Warren has proposed canceling most student loan debt and offering a "free" college education to anyone who wants it. But where does that leave those who didn't take on hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt or paid their own way for college?

National Review:

“My daughter is getting out of school,”  he told Warren, while standing in her (what else!) selfie line. “I’ve saved all my money.”
“She doesn’t have any student loans,” he continued. “Am I going to get my money back?”

Warren immediately replied: “Of course not.”

The man, unsurprisingly, was not satisfied with her answer.

“So you’re going to pay for people who didn’t save any money and those of us who did the right thing get screwed?” he said.

“My buddy had fun, bought a car, and went on all the vacations, I saved my money,” he continued. “He makes more than I did. I worked a double shift.”

The man then accused Warren of “laughing” at him, repeating that his family would “get screwed” for having done “the right thing” — before Warren ultimately shut him down, saying: “I appreciate your time.”

Warren's dismissive attitude is significant largely because it reveals a larger truth about the modern left; reward the irresponsible; punish or ignore the responsible. Offering to wave a magic wand and make a trillion dollars in personal debt disappear or offering "free" college education -- which everyone but a brain-dead zombie knows isn't "free" at all -- is nothing less than attempt to turn America upside down.

And Warren can't adequately explain (who could?) why what she is proposing is "fair."

Washington Free Beacon:

"For Americans who are in that father's position, who felt they did the right thing and you're bailing out those who didn't, what's your response?" [CBS Anchor Tony] Dokoupil said.
"Look, we build a future going forward by making it better," Warren said. "By that same logic what would we have done? Not started Social Security because we didn't start it last week for you, or last month for you?"

"Are you saying ‘tough luck' to these people?" Dokoupil interjected.

"No," Warren responded. "Our kids have taken on a trillion and a half dollars in student loan debt. We have got to back that up and say we're doing better going forward."

The author of the NR piece, Katherine Timpf, believes what Warren is proposing doesn't go far enough. Even paying back those who did things the responsible way and saved, and scrimped, and sacrificed isn't "fair" enough. Timpf recounts her own monumental struggles to get an education to follow her dream of a journalism career, only to have her dreams of attending Columbia University dashed when she refused to take on a massive student loan debt.

Unless Elizabeth Warren can go back in time and put me in a Columbia classroom during the time I spent cleaning those Boston Market bathrooms, her plan wouldn’t be “fair.” Unless she can give me the hours of my life back that I spent sitting alone covered in scabies cream, her plan wouldn’t be “fair.” The angry Iowa father’s plan, although well-intentioned, wouldn’t be “fair” to me. Elizabeth Warren can’t “pay me back” for a loan that I decided against taking out — a decision that I’d made  precisely because I did not expect that anyone else would pay it back for me.
Many people have made sacrifices to continue their education, or to allow their children to continue theirs. Others have made sacrifices by taking a path that didn’t include continuing, because they could not afford to do so. None of these are things that could ever be replaced with cash.

In other words? No — I don’t think that I should have to pay for someone else making an irresponsible decision when they could have made a responsible one. What’s more, talking about this issue only in terms of money truly minimizes the fact that, really, it’s about so much more.

I guess it boils down to what kind of society do you want? It's not just student loan forgiveness, or "free" college tuition paid for by those who pay taxes. Government radically altering the nature of American society makes a powerful underlying statement: you're a chump if you play by the rules. You're a knucklehead if you live your life responsibly. You're a dolt if you're self-reliant.

It's not Lyndon Johnson's "The Great Society," it's "The Irresponsible Society."

That's not the kind of country I want to live in.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCHPOLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated), A Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on THE PSYCHOLOGIST.

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1 comment:

ScienceABC123 said...

I have never seen a Democrat politician take responsibility for anything bad. So it's no surprise that they want to create an irresponsible society.