Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Understanding the framework

Rules of the Game, Palestinian-Style -Barry Rubin

The rules of Palestinian politics are fatal to the hope of getting a Palestinian state, of the Palestinian polity becoming more moderate, of ending terrorism, or stopping even officially sponsored PA incitement.

The rules are:

*Palestinians cannot stop other Palestinians from attacking Israel. To do so would be betraying the cause, becoming Israel's lackey.

*He who is most militant is always right. Extremism equals heroism.

*More violence is good and a "victory" if it inflicts casualties or damage on Israel.

*No Israeli government can do anything good. Olmert is no better than anyone else even as he offers to accept a Palestinian state.

*Since Palestinians are the perpetual victim they are entitled to everything they want and never need to give anything in exchange for Israeli concessions.

*Wiping Israel off the map is morally correct.

*It is more important to be steadfast and patient with a terrible status quo than to make big gains by ending the conflict forever.
(Jerusalem Post)

Suffocating jihad

U.S. Has Crimped Al-Qaeda Funds -Peter Grier

Tackling the financial front of the struggle against terrorism appears to be successful, say experts. [E]ven foreign banks generally do not want the taint of dealing with named terrorists. Thus, the world's formal financial system is now generally closed to al-Qaeda and other well-known terrorist groups.

[A] monograph on the subject issued by the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College concluded: "What is important is that the global effort against terrorist financing has made it more expensive and more difficult to raise and move funds."
(Christian Science Monitor)

Monday, October 29, 2007

What our money has been buying

PA Seeks to Cut 30,000 Policemen from West Bank Security Forces -Khaled Abu Toameh

The PA security forces have some 80,000 on their payroll. However, nearly half of them don't report to work and actually have no real jobs.

[P]revious attempts by the PA leadership to lay off thousands of policemen were called off for fear of a mutiny inside the Palestinian security services. According to the new PA plan, all policemen over the age of 45 would be forced into retirement. In addition, thousands whose names appear on the payroll of the security forces but don't do any work would be fired immediately.
(Jerusalem Post)

Killing [their own] children

Three Palestinian Girls Killed in Gaza "Work Accident" -Amos Harel & Avi Issacharoff

Two teenaged Palestinian girls and one 2-year-old died Saturday in an explosion in a house in southern Gaza. The blast is thought to have been the result of a "work accident" after a large bomb hidden in the house exploded. Six other Palestinians were injured.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

THE HAMAS ERA: PA increasingly irrelevant

Syria and Hamas to Hold Alternative Conference -Khaled Abu Toameh

A "Palestinian National Conference for Resisting Schemes Aimed at Liquidating the Palestinian Cause," due to take place next month at the invitation of Hamas and its political allies, has been called in response to the U.S.-sponsored peace conference due to be held in Annapolis.

PA officials expressed concern that the conference may attempt to create a new PLO.
(Jerusalem Post)

U.S. Doubts Ability of PA to Police West Bank -Avi Issacharoff & Amos Harel

Gen. Keith Dayton, the U.S. security coordinator in the PA, said recently that he does not believe Palestinian security forces in the West Bank are capable of enforcing security needs in cities there.

Gaza policy approved

Gaza City during a power outage

Barak to cut power in Gaza for every rocket fired -Yaakov Katz

Israel will cut electricity for increasing lengths of time each time a Palestinian rocket is fired into Israel. Palestinians continued to fire rockets into Israeli territory...

"We need to show the residents of Gaza that life does not carry on freely when Kassam rockets land in Israel," a senior defense official said.
[Jerusalem Post]

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Finally: straight talk from Livni

Livni: Palestinians Can't Deliver -Attila Somfalvi

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said: "[I]t is clear that we cannot just separate and throw the key to the other side and hope for the best."

"The Gaza experience is a living example of what the world cannot afford. Israel fully withdrew from the Gaza Strip. In return, we received increased terror, daily Kassam rocket attacks against cities in Israel and the establishment of a Hamas stronghold on our southern border."
(Ynet News)

It's over

Is the Peace Process Really Over? -Gwynne Dyer

The last nail was hammered into the coffin of the "peace process" with the takeover of Gaza by Hamas...

Hamas' seizure of power there last June has effectively split the Palestinian proto-state in two. How can Israel do a deal with Mahmoud Abbas when he only controls the West Bank and cannot deliver [Gaza]?

Israelis who genuinely want a deal are increasingly reluctant to hand over territory in return for peace...

It really is over: there will be no comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace deal in this decade.
(Arab News-Saudi Arabia)

Iran 101

Iran Accuses U.S., Israel of Manufacturing "Genetic" Weapon

Iranian Gen[eral] Bagherzadeh has accused the U.S. and Israel of "seeking to manufacture a [genetic] weapon which could kill specific peoples in a limited geographical area."

Iran's Desperation Makes It More Deadly -Reda Mansour

More than 20% of the nation is unemployed, the educated are leaving the country, and despite its massive oil reserves, Iran is heavily dependent on imported [processed] fuel. Ahmadinejad is selling the nuclear illusion to his citizens to distract them from his and Khomeini's monumental failure. Only a miracle could now save the failed Iranian Islamic Revolution.

We have no assurance that Ahmadinejad would not pass the bomb to one of his many proxy terrorist groups... In fact, I believe he would, for dictators never know when to stop, and in their desperation they don't hesitate to take others down with them.
(Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Israeli spy does his job

Israel Had Detailed Photos of Syrian Nuke -Martha Raddatz

Israeli officials believed that a target their forces bombed inside Syria last month was a nuclear facility because they had detailed photographs taken by a possible spy inside the complex, ABC News has learned.

The Israelis urged the U.S. government to destroy the complex, but the U.S. hesitated because it couldn't be absolutely proved that it was a nuclear site since there was not yet any fissionable material.
(ABC News)

Tears flow again for Ron Arad

Ron Arad's Wife Views Letter, Photo -Shimon Shiffer

Tami Arad, the wife of missing Israeli air force navigator Ron Arad, viewed a letter written by Ron Arad in 1986 and a photograph of him, handed over by Hizbullah as part of a prisoner exchange deal last week.

Arad's letter to his wife was lengthy and he wrote of his love for her, their daughter and his family. Tami Arad recognized her husband's handwriting and the pet names used in it and burst into tears as she saw the photo.

Hizbullah claims it doesn't know what became of Arad [who is reported held by Iran].
(Ynet News)

Straight talk from Lewis

Bernard Lewis: We Must Mobilize Muslims -Amanda Gordon

Princeton University professor Bernard Lewis [said], "It's misleading to say we are engaged in a war against terrorism. If Churchill had told us that we were engaged in a war against submarines and war craft, we'd be in a different world today. Terrorism is a tactic, it is not the enemy."

The enemy, he said, is Islamism, which he placed as the third in a sequence of ideological deformations that have taken place in his lifetime, the first two being Nazism and Bolshevism.
(New York Sun)

Thinking Jerusalem

Study: East Jerusalem Pullout Won't Bring Peace -Etgar Lefkovits

An Israeli pullout from Arab neighborhoods of eastern Jerusalem will not solve the dispute over Jerusalem, according to a working paper over a future division of Jerusalem released by the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies.

The academics and experts note that any Israeli pullout from Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem without an agreement is likely to lead to serious deterioration in the security situation in the country. [The move] will be viewed by Palestinians as weakening of Israel's sovereignty over Jerusalem, and local Arab residents could assist or join terror groups.
(Jerusalem Post)

Olmert learns: peace with PA can be deadly

Olmert's Would-Be Assassins Were Meant to Guard His Convoy

Some of the five Fatah operatives suspected of plotting to assassinate Prime Minister Olmert were members of the [US funded] PA security forces and were meant to guard the prime minister's convoy...
(IMRA/Jerusalem Post)


U.S. to Transfer $410 Million to PA - Yitzhak Benhorin

The American government is planning to transfer $410 million to the Palestinian Authority in an effort to strengthen it - the largest aid program ever given to the Palestinians by the U.S.
(Ynet News)

Friday, October 19, 2007

Olmert starts war diplomacy?

The Military Option Is Now on the Table -Herb Keinon

The urgent manner in which Olmert dropped everything and jetted off to Moscow for a three-hour meeting with Putin, indicates that Israel has changed phases. It has gone from treating the Iranian problem as an international one, that the world has to deal with, to taking steps indicating that it sees it increasingly as an Israeli problem, that might necessitate an Israeli solution.

Nobody is tiptoeing around the possibility of military action against Iran any more. French Foreign Minister Kouchner raised the possibility of war a few weeks ago. Even British Prime Minister Gordon Brown didn't rule anything out in comments he made, and President Bush said Wednesday a nuclear Iran could trigger World War III.
(Jerusalem Post)

From Israel, It Looks Different -Aluf Benn

The chances of an American attack appear small. Israel, it seems, is waiting for Bush's decision, which will be taken during the coming year, before it decides to attack Iran itself.

From Jerusalem, the Iranian threat looks much more palpable and scarier and the response much simpler and more focused.

Presumably, Iran, like Iraq and Syria in their turn, will find it hard to respond. Perhaps it will launch some missiles at Israel plus Hizbullah rockets from Lebanon, and perhaps it will initiate a terror attack on an Israeli target abroad. This would be painful but bearable and would be perceived as a justified price for getting rid of an existential threat.

In its refusal of sanctions and serious organization against Iran, the world is quietly pushing Israel toward a decision to attack.

Weizmann's voice echos thru time

Weizmann's Answer -Noah Pollak

[B]efore the Balfour Declaration, a member of the House of Lords asked Chaim Weizmann, "Why do you Jews insist on Palestine when there are so many undeveloped countries you could settle in more conveniently?"

Weizmann said: "That is like my asking you why you drove twenty miles to visit your mother last Sunday when there are so many old ladies living on your street."

Iran whips Christians for being Christians

Iranian Christians Deemed Apostates, Flogged

The Farsi Christian News Network reports that an Iranian Christian couple were flogged after being declared apostates.
(International Religious Freedom News)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Makovsky & Hagee

Israel and U.S. Agree: No Withdrawals Without Missile Defense -Eli Lake

David Makovsky, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, said he thinks there is an understanding between America and Israel that Israel will not relinquish military positions in the West Bank in the near term.

"I tend to believe there is a genuine understanding between the United States and Israel, given the unresolved situation in Gaza, that the IDF is going to be in charge of security in the West Bank for the foreseeable future. I do not see the United States trying to press Israel to become more vulnerable," he said.
(New York Sun)

Evangelicals Raise $8.5 Million for Israel
-Saul Elbein

Pastor John Hagee, found[er] of Christians United for Israel, hosted 6,000 people at his 26th annual "Night to Honor Israel" at the Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas.

Hagee told the gathering: "America must never pressure Israel to divide Jerusalem. Turning Jerusalem over to the Palestinians is tantamount to giving it to the Taliban."
(Jerusalem Post)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

An interesting part of the equation

Palestinians Prefer Life in Israel
-Mark MacKinnon

Nabil Gheit, the mayor of Ras Hamis, a Palestinian neighborhood on the eastern fringe of Jerusalem, says he can't think of a worse fate than being handed over to the Palestinian Authority.

"If there was a referendum here, no one would vote to join the Palestinian Authority," Gheit said, smoking a water pipe as he whiled away the afternoon...

Many Palestinians dislike the idea of their neighborhoods, which are generally more prosperous than other parts of the West Bank, being absorbed into the chaotic Palestinian territories.

"At least in Israel, there's law," he says.
(Globe and Mail-Canada)

Friday, October 12, 2007

Rubin hits the West

Let's Not Make a Deal -Barry Rubin

The West is desperate to get the Palestinians a state, while both Hamas and Fatah want only an independent country on their own terms, no matter how many dead bodies and material suffering that requires. Why is this?

Because they:

*think they are winning.
*fail to comprehend the concept of compromise
*embrace a culture of patience in which steadfastness wins
*use militancy as a demagogic substitute for peace or prosperity
*understand that he who says "no" gains bargaining leverage
*hold such extreme goals that they cannot be satisfied by any deal with Israel

The West assumes that the Palestinian leadership will be grateful if it is given a state, when it wants to be given all of Israel; that Iran merely need feel secure from U.S. power, when it wants to throw America out of the region; that the Iraqi insurgents want more of a voice for the Sunni minority, when they want to chop the head off the Shi'ite majority; or that Syria just wants the Golan Heights when it desires Lebanon enslaved and Israel destroyed.

There are very good reasons why Western efforts at engagement are never followed by marriage, and why endless confidence-building measures, peace plans, aid packages, and summit conferences keep failing.
(Jerusalem Post)
{The writer is director of the Global Research in International Affairs Center at IDC Herzliya and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs}

Pope speaks out...again!

Pope Attacks Iran -Ruth Gledhill

The Pope hit out at Iran as he pledged to help world Jewish leaders in their fight against anti-Semitism.

Pope Benedict XVI told leaders of the World Jewish Congress that Iran was "an issue of big concern" to him. At a meeting at the Vatican, the Pope spoke of his concern about rising anti-Semitism and described how he wanted to counter the hatred of the Iranian leadership towards the Jewish people and Israel.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Target: Spain

Liberate Spain from the Infidels -Jonathan Dahoah-Halevi

Large parts of the Iberian Peninsula were under Islamic rule from 711 until 1492, and the memory of Islamic rule in Spain has become increasingly part of the discourse in radical Islam.

Osama bin Laden has written: "We should raise again the flag of Allah on all stolen Islamic land, from Palestine to Andalus [Spain]."

Yusuf Qaradawi of the Muslim Brotherhood, has written that while Islam was twice evicted from Europe, it is now in the process of returning.

Israel, therefore, is a small link in the greater confrontation between radical Islam and the West. Indeed, for the West, Israel constitutes a dike against the great wave of radical Islam. The very same principle invoked for waging war against Israel - recovery of what was once Islamic territory - is being applied to Spain, the Balkans, Southern Russia, and India.

European pressure on Israel to make concessions that endanger its security will only bring closer the next stage of Islam's offensive, this time aimed at the heart of Europe.
(Institute for Contemporary Affairs/Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)


Islamists Damage Giant Ancient Buddha
-Ben Quinn

Islamist radicals in Pakistan have attempted to destroy an ancient carving of Buddha by drilling holes in the rock and filling them with dynamite.

The Buddha dates from the seventh century and was considered the largest in Asia, after the two Bamiyan Buddhas which were destroyed six years ago by the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Reflections on Annapolis conference

Annapolis Conference a Failure Foretold -Yossi Alpher

I have supported a negotiated two-state solution for the past 20 years. Why, then, do I remain skeptical - nay, fearful - regarding the outcome of the American-sponsored Israeli-Palestinian conference to be held in Annapolis? Everything points to a failure foretold.

The Palestinian leadership under Mahmoud Abbas has lost Gaza and only manages to control the West Bank thanks to Israeli military backing. It is in no position to make constructive concessions, let alone deliver on them. It is not significantly reforming its corrupt and inept institutions - the definitive step that must precede progress toward peace.

Better to postpone Annapolis and concentrate first on building Palestinian institutions. That's what the Quartet appointed Tony Blair to do.

Palestinian Posturing -Hillel Halkin

The Palestinians are telling Israel that they are not coming to the conference at all unless [prior] agreement has been reached on the core issues. And if Israel doesn't agree, concede, or accept? Then, say the Palestinians, we're not coming to the Annapolis party - and George and Condi aren't going to like that one bit.

The Palestinians also demand that Israel must agree in advance to set a six-month time limit on how long negotiations will take. And if negotiations take longer?

Presumably, we then can have the pleasure of another intifada.
(New York Sun)


Has a renewed peace process begun?
-Daniel Pipes

No significant peace process exists now, nor has it ever.
Preliminary skirmishes suggest that the usual pattern will hold in Annapolis:

The Israeli side makes 'painful concessions' the Arab interlocutor imperiously disdains these, as terrorism continue[s].

Jerusalem responds with several more rounds of ever-more painful concessions until finally the Arab side grudgingly accepts them, offering airy promises of 'peace' that promptly turn into just the opposite - greater levels of hostility and violence.

It's a game that next month will mark its 30th anniversary. The Israeli body politic still has not wised up...
[Jerusalem Post]

Abbas Unable to Control West Bank Cities -Amos Harel

According to a recent assessment by Military Intelligence, the Palestinians will fail to carry out their commitments regarding countering terrorist activities. Abbas and his aides are not showing any signs of initiative and boldness in security matters...

MI also expressed concerns about the pressure the PA is applying on the U.S. to push Israel for more goodwill gestures, warning against "a bottomless barrel" of Israeli gestures for which the PA will not respond in kind.

Rice's Road Map -Rick Richman

The PA has yet to dismantle a single terrorist organization, or arrest a terrorist leader, in the four years since the Palestinians accepted the Roadmap.

In the same period, Israel dismantled 25 settlements, withdrew from Gaza, and released hundreds of prisoners.
(New York Sun)

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Another useless conference

Rice's rabbit hole -Caroline Glick

Washington's primary diplomatic leverage over the Arabs stems from its ability to confer legitimacy on them. The US could have used this leverage if it had stated from the outset that it would only invite states to the Middle East conference that support the US's goals of isolating Hamas and accepting Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state.

But rather than condition their invitation, Rice and President Bush made it clear from the outset that they want Arab states to participate in the summit. In so doing, the US turned the turned the tables on itself. Now it is the Arabs who by accepting or rejecting the US offer will confer legitimacy on Washington.

Needless to say, in the interests of securing their participation, states like Saudi Arabia and Egypt will not be called to task for their sponsorship of Hamas or their hostility toward Israel. [T]he US has been weakened just by organizing the conference. [And] America will weaken liberal democratic voices in the Arab world.

Given that the Palestinians have yet to make one substantive concession to Israel, it is clear that the only way the upcoming conference can succeed in advancing peace is if the Palestinians make some dramatic concession to Israel. But there is absolutely no chance that the Palestinians will be forthcoming. Over the past week, Abbas announced his adherence to maximal Palestinian demands from Israel. The only reason that Abbas remains in power in Judea and Samaria is because the IDF is maintaining security there.

Rice is dragging Israel with her, in her madcap descent down the diplomatic rabbit hole...
[Jerusalem Post]

Muslims focus on Jerusalem

Child sporting real guns in a march marking
Al-Quds Day (Jerusalem Day), in Karachi, Pakistan.
Note the gold colored replica of The Dome of the Rock
behind the pistol packing youngster

Millions hold rallies to mark Jerusalem Day -AP

Iran's hardline president called the existence of Israel an "insult to human dignity" during annual rallies in support of Muslim claims to the holy city of Jerusalem.

Ahmadinejad's remarks came as millions of Iranians held rallies across Iran to protest Israel's continued hold on Jerusalem...

Thousands also marked "Al-Quds Day" with demonstrations in Syria and Bahrain.
[International Herald Tribune]

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

al-Dura product of "Pallywood"

Israel: Palestinians Staged Death of Mohammed al-Dura in 2000
-Barak Ravid

The September 2000 death of Palestinian child Mohammed al-Dura in Gaza was staged by a Gaza cameraman, Government Press Office Director Daniel Seaman said.

France 2 television had broadcast the original footage of al-Dura's death on September 30, 2000. "Israel was accused of murdering a small child after the event by the world press and his image has been [used] as a symbol of the brutality of the Zionist state," Seaman wrote in an official letter.

Yet "the events of that day were staged by the network's [Palestinian] cameraman in Gaza."

Palestinian Propaganda Coup -Natan Sharansky

The al-Dura incident is part of the insidious trend in which Western media outlets allow themselves to be manipulated by dishonest and politically motivated sources...recall the Jenin "massacre" that never was, or the doctored Reuters photos from Israel's war against Hizbullah in 2006.

Tragically, there is no way to repair the damage inflicted on Israel's international image by the France 2 report, much less restore the Israeli and Jewish victims whose lives were exacted as vengeance. It is possible, however, to deter slanderous news reporting - and the violence that often accompanies it - by setting a precedent for media accountability...
(Wall Street Journal)

How French TV Fudged the Death of Mohammed Al-Durah -Richard Landes

The raw footage features a long succession of obviously faked injuries. One fellow grabbed his leg in agony, then, upon seeing that no one would come to carry him away, walked away without a limp. It was stunning.
(New Republic)


French Court Screens Al-Durah Video Footage -Melanie Phillips
I attended the Court of Appeal special session in Paris called to witness hitherto unseen footage of the "killing" of Mohammed al-Durah which the court had required France 2 to produce.

It is clear to anyone looking at this in detail that the whole thing was staged, not least from the devastating evidence which shows the boy raising his arm and peeping through his fingers seconds after France 2 correspondent Charles Enderlin said he had been shot dead. From this footage, there is no evidence that anyone at all was killed or injured - including Mohammed al-Durah, who seemed to be still very much alive and unmarked by any wound whatsoever.