Wednesday, April 29, 2009

PhotoBites: Israel's Memorial & Independence Days

Shifting moods: Israel has two back-to-back holidays
Top 2 photos: Israel memorializes her fallen soldiers Monday night
Bottom 2 photos: Israel celebrates her independence Tuesday night

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Guess who's coming to dinner: the Netanyahu & Obama meeting

Israel's Arab cheerleaders -Caroline Glick

It is a strange situation when Egypt and Jordan feel it necessary to defend Israel against American criticism. But this is the situation in which we find ourselves today.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the House of Representatives that Arab support for Israel's bid to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons is contingent on its agreeing to support the rapid establishment of a Palestinian state. In her words, "For Israel to get the kind of strong support it's looking for vis-a-vis Iran, it can't stay on the sidelines with respect to the Palestinians and the peace efforts."

But just around the time that Clinton was making this statement, Jordan's King Abdullah II was telling The Washington Post that he is satisfied with the Netanyahu government's position on the Palestinians.

[L]ast week's visit by Egypt's intelligence chief Omar Suleiman clearly demonstrated that Egypt wishes to work with [Israel]. Coming as it did on the heels of Egypt's revelation that Iranian-controlled Hizbullah agents were arrested for planning strategic attacks against it, Suleiman's visit was a clear sign that Egypt is as keen as Israel to neutralize Iranian power in the region by preventing it from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Egypt and Jordan are not alone in supporting Israel's commitment to preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear power. [L]eaders of the Gulf states from are praying for Israel to strike Iran's nuclear facilities and only complain that it has waited so long to attack them. [O]ne American who recently met with Persian Gulf leaders explained, "As far as the Gulf leaders are concerned, Israel cannot attack Iran fast enough. They understand what the stakes are."

Unfortunately, the nature of those stakes has clearly eluded the Obama administration. As the Arabs line up behind Israel, the Obama administration is operating under the delusion that the Iranians will be convinced to give up their nuclear program if Israel destroys its communities in Judea and Samaria.

If Iran acquires nuclear weapons, the Obama administration can throw its hopes for Middle East peace out the window. Today, even without nuclear weapons, Iran is the major force behind the continued Palestinian war against Israel. Iran exerts complete control over Hamas and Islamic Jihad and partial control over Fatah.

It is true that you can't help but get a funny feeling when you see the Arabs defending Israel from American criticism. But with the Obama administration's Middle East policy firmly grounded in La La Land, what choice do they have?

They understand that today, all that stands between them and the mullahs, is the Israel Air Force and Binyamin Netanyahu's courage.
[Jerusalem Post]
[Hat Tip: DovP]

Netanyahu Bids to Change "Diskette" -David Horovitz

Israel's new government will formally unveil its foreign policy when Prime Minister Netanyahu meets with President Obama at the White House on May 18.

Netanyahu will set out to achieve a changing of the international "diskette."

[T]here is no prospect of substantive progress with the Palestinians unless Iran's nuclear drive is halted. Iran threatens Israel directly, via Hizbullah to the north and via Hamas in the south. But if Iran is cowed, moderate Palestinians and more moderate forces throughout our region would be liberated.
(Jerusalem Post)

Monday, April 27, 2009

ABOUT FACE: Obama & Clinton want Hamas at the table

US may fund PA government with Hamas

The Obama administration has asked Congress for changes in US law that would allow the continued provision of funds to the Palestinian Authority even if Hamas officials become part of a Palestinian unity government.

[Currently,] US aid require[s] that the Palestinian Authority government recognize Israel, renounce violence and agree to abide by past Israeli-Palestinian agreements.

[Secretary of State Hillary] Clinton indicated that the US would not necessarily cut funding to the Palestinians even if Hamas joins the unity government and fails to meet the three above conditions, noting that the US continues to provide funds to Lebanon, whose government includes Hizbullah.

The newspaper said that congressional supporters of Israel were dismayed by the move, quoting Rep. Mark Steven Kirk as telling Clinton that it was akin to agreeing to support a government that "only has a few Nazis in it."
[Jerusalem Post]

Thursday, April 23, 2009

UN Conference "overshadowed" by Ahmadinejad & protests

UN kicks Jewish, Iranian groups out of racism conference
–Associated Press

The United Nations expelled three groups from a global racism conference for what it called unacceptable behavior connected with the appearance of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinajad [pictured above].

The groups whose passes are being withdrawn are the French Union of Jewish Students, Coexist, and the Neda Institute for Political and Scientific Research, said UN human rights spokesman Rupert Colville.

Colville told reporters that members of the first two groups had been involved in disrupting Ahmadinejad's speech. He did not elaborate, but a pair of rainbow-wigged protesters [pictured above] threw clown noses at Iran's president while others [also pictured above] shouted "You are a racist!" and "Shame! shame!" from the gallery. Later about 100 members of pro-Israel and Jewish groups tried to block Ahmadinejad's entrance to a news conference.

The Neda Institute from Iran distributed inflammatory material to meeting participants, Colville said.

The weeklong conference has been overshadowed by Ahmadinejad's accusation that the West used the Holocaust as a "pretext" to harm the Palestinians, and for protests against him.
[Jerusalem Post]

Palestinians: pretending to want a state

Palestinian in military training provided by the United States.
Will their guns turn on Israel again?

Do the Palestinians Really Want a State? -Robert D. Kaplan

[T]here is a deeper structural and philosophical reason why the Palestinians remain stateless, as explained by associate Johns Hopkins professor Jakub Grygiel in "The Power of Statelessness."

Statehood is no longer a goal, he writes. Many stateless groups "do not aspire to have a state," for they are more capable of achieving their objectives without one. Instead of actively seeking statehood to address their weakness, as Zionist Jews did in an earlier phase of history, groups like the Palestinians now embrace their statelessness as a source of power. A state entails responsibilities that limit a people's freedom of action. A group like Hizbullah in Lebanon could probably take over the Lebanese state today, but why would it want to?

Statelessness offers a level of "impunity" from retaliation. The most tempting aspect of statelessness is that it permits a people to savor the pleasures of religious zeal, extremist ideologies, and moral absolutes, without having to make the kinds of messy, mundane compromises that accompany the work of looking after a geographical space.
(Atlantic Monthly)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Washington Post rejects US talks with Iran

American journalist Roxana Saberi
is currently imprisioned in Iran

Invitation to Appease: Will Obama talk to Iran While It Persecutes Americans?

Last week, the Iranian regime convicted American journalist Roxana Saberi [pictured above] of espionage - a blatantly bogus charge. Thus has Iran answered President Obama's offer of dialogue.

What Iran is doing is inviting Mr. Obama to humiliate his new administration by launching talks with the regime even while it is conspicuously expanding its nuclear program, campaigning to delegitimize and destroy Israel and imprisoning innocent Americans.
(Washington Post)

Diplomats Rallied Around Israel

Israel Thanks Countries for Support -Roni Sofer

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent a letter of gratitude to the states that boycotted the UN anti-racism conference in Geneva this week. He also praised the countries whose representatives walked out during Iranian President Ahmadinejad's speech.

The states that boycotted the conference, in addition to Israel, are the United States, Germany, Italy, Holland, Poland, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia.

The states whose representatives walked out during Ahmadinejad's speech are Austria, Ireland, Estonia, Bulgaria, Belgium, Britain, Denmark, Hungary, Greece, Luxemburg, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Slovenia, Slovakia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Spain, Portugal, Finland, Czech Republic, France, Cyprus, Romania, and Sweden.
(Ynet News)

Ahmadinejad Dropped Holocaust Denial from Speech -Bradley S. Klapper

Iranian President Ahmadinejad dropped language describing the Holocaust as "ambiguous and dubious" from his speech after meeting UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon before his speech.

Some delegates, including those from the Vatican, stayed in the room because they said he stopped short of denying the Holocaust.

Ahmadinejad Welcomed Home UN Speech

Iran's President Ahmadinejad has returned home to what has officially been described as a sensational welcome, following his speech at a UN anti-racism conference.

One pro-government paper said the president had shot the last bullet into the brain of the West.
(BBC News)

Scholar pens poignant letter to Mitchell

Open Letter to Senator George Mitchell -Professor Elihu D Richter, MD, MPH

Dear Senator Mitchell:

Like many Israelis who supported the Oslo Accords, I have been mugged by reality. We have discovered that “land for peace” has morphed into “territory for terror”.

As much as I respect your commitment to mediating the conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, I believe your model of “conflict resolution” is no longer relevant to the region. This conflict is now being driven and overshadowed by the asymmetrically existential threats to Israel posed by Iran’s race to nuclear capacity.
[Hebrew University-Hadassah School of Public Health and Community Medicine]
[Hat Tip: Yoram Getzler]


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Netanyahu tries to focus attention on Palestinian obstinacy

Netanyahu: Recognize Israel as Jewish

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told [his] Cabinet:

"I would like to set one thing straight in advance simply because it has been in the media incorrectly today. We insist that the Palestinians - in any diplomatic settlement with us - will recognize the State of Israel as the national state of the Jewish people. The entire international community demands that we recognize the principle of two states for two peoples and we are discovering that this is two states but not for two peoples but two states for one people, or two states for a people-and-a-half."

"There is no doubt that we are being asked to recognize the Palestinian state as the national state for the Palestinian people, but...the Palestinians have no intention of recognizing the national state of the Jewish people."

"We have no intention of ruling over the Palestinians. We want for them to rule themselves, except for those powers that could threaten our security and our existence. But we insist that they recognize the State of Israel as the national state of the Jewish people. We have never conditioned the start and existence of talks on advance agreement about this, but neither can we see progress on a future settlement without their agreement to this condition."
(Prime Minister's Office)


The Two Nation-State Solution -Ari Shavit

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not about the occupation. If it were, it would have erupted in 1967 and not in 1920. The only way to peace is by means of true mutual recognition. Peace will not be achieved without Israeli recognition of the Palestinian people and the Palestinian nation-state, and without Palestinian recognition of the Jewish people and the Jewish nation-state. Israel has recognized the Palestinian people and agreed to the establishment of a Palestinian state. However, in no case - neither at Oslo, Camp David or Annapolis - did the Palestinians go a parallel distance. To this day they do not recognize the Jewish people, its rights or its nation-state.

It is out of the question for Israel to recognize the Palestinian people's right of self-determination in advance, while the Palestinians refuse to recognize the Jewish people's right of self-determination. That asymmetry will not lead to peace. In this specific case Netanyahu is right. On this issue of principle he is expressing the firm opinion of the Israeli majority.

Recognition of 'Jewish state' is crucial
Abbas delivered a speech rejecting Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's demand that the PA recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Last week senior Palestinian officials also rejected Netanyahu's demand.

"We don't accept the term 'Jewish state' and insist on achieving all our rights."
[Jerusalem Post]

Monday, April 20, 2009

VideoNewsFlash: Ahmadinejad's UN speech prompts walkout of diplomats & protests

Dramatic exit of UN Diplomats at
Durban II United Nations Conference

French student protestors shout down Ahmadinejad
& call him a racist

Iran leader sparks walkout at UN Conference in Geneva

Dozens of Western diplomats walked out of a U.N. conference and a pair of rainbow-wigged protesters threw clown noses at Iran's president Monday when the hard-line leader called Israel the "most cruel and repressive racist regime."

The United States decried the remarks by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as hateful — reinjecting tension into a relationship that had been warming after President Barack Obama sought to engage Iran in talks on its nuclear program and other issues.
[Associated Press]
[Hat Tip: LHwrites]


Has an Israeli inventor solved the electric car problem?

Batteries Not Included -Clive Thompson

Shai Agassi [pictured above] stood in a warehouse on the outskirts of Tel Aviv and watched his battery-swapping robot go to work. He was conducting a demonstration of the curious machine that is central to his two-year-old clean-energy company, Better Place.

Agassi’s grand plan is to kick-start the global adoption of electric cars by minimizing one of the biggest frustrations with the technology: the need for slow and frequent recharges. The robot is the key to his solution.

Unlike most electric-car technologies, which generally require you to plug your car into a power source and recharge an onboard battery for hours, the Better Place robot is designed to reach under the chassis of an electric car, pluck its battery out and replace it with a new one, much the same way you’d put new batteries in a child’s toy.

Electric cars have long been a fetish object for environmentalists. But now even the auto industry seems to be taking the idea of the alt-car seriously…[y]et [electric cars] suffer from a common problem: refueling.

The idea is a little odd, to say the least: a car with a replaceable battery. It is also extraordinarily bold, requiring carmakers to fundamentally rethink the way they build cars. The electric-car business, in fact, could function like the mobile-phone industry: you could pay, say, $10 for 1,000 miles, $20 for 3,000 miles, or perhaps a few hundred a month for unlimited driving.

The auto industry’s conceptual error, he says, is in regarding the battery as a built-in component of the car, like a gas tank. Instead, you could think of the battery as more analogous to gas itself — an entity that goes in and out of a car as needed, owned not by the driver but by the company that sells you the fuel. The solution to electric cars lay not in re-engineering the battery but in re-engineering the car.

[The] carmaker Renault announced plans to design cars to suit Agassi’s grid.
[New York Times]

Friday, April 17, 2009

Nuclear Jihad?

The Pakistani dilemma -Caroline Glick

[N]ational security strategists across the ideological spectrum [agree] that it would be a global calamity of the first order if al-Qaida gets its hands on nuclear weapons.

Unfortunately, due to the rapid demise of nuclear-armed Pakistan as a coherent political unit, this nightmare scenario is looking more possible than ever. [I]f events continue to move in their current direction, it is likely that the Taliban and al-Qaida will take possession of all or parts of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal.

[T]he Taliban now controls the lives of some 6.5 million Pakistanis. Since the Taliban took control of Swat in February, executions, public floggings and bombings of girls' schools, restaurants, video and music stores have become routine occurrences.

US Army General David Petreaus, who is responsible for the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan, has called the Taliban an "existential threat" to the Pakistani state. David Kilcullen, who advised Petreaus and now advises the White House, warned last week that Pakistan could fall within six months. The growing consensus in Washington is that Pakistan is a far greater danger than Afghanistan.

Against the wishes of the US, [Pakistan has] continued to surrender territory to the Taliban in the framework of "peace accords." [T]he Pakistani[s] oppose US military action on Pakistani territory, preferring to allow the Taliban to take over the country.
[Jerusalem Post]

There already are two states

Real Two-State Problem -Khaled Abu Toameh

The Palestinians already have two separate political entities or mini-states - one in the West Bank and the other in Gaza. These rival entities, controlled by Fatah and Hamas respectively, are acting and dealing with each other like two different countries.

The Obama administration is mistaken if it thinks the power struggle between these two groups is a fight between good guys and bad guys. This is a confrontation between bad guys and bad guys, since they are not fighting over promoting democracy or boosting the economy, but over money and power.
(Jerusalem Post)

Snuggling up to Iran; Coming Soon: Kermit employed to craft positive image of Ahmadinejad?

Cohen's Cuddly Mullahs -Max Boot

Roger Cohen of the New York Times is rapidly becoming Iran's foremost apologist in the U.S.

In his latest special pleading on behalf of the theocratic dictators in Tehran, Cohen trots out the Mother of All Dumb Analogies: "Imagine if Roosevelt in 1942 had said to Stalin, sorry, Joe, we don't like your Communist ideology so we're not going to accept your help in crushing the Nazis. I know you're powerful, but we don't deal with evil."

The reason that the U.S. allied with Russia in 1942 was that the two countries faced a common existential threat in Nazi Germany. As soon as that threat disappeared, the U.S. and USSR became mired in a decades-long Cold War. What common threat does Cohen imagine would bind the U.S. and Iran together? A Martian invasion?

Cohen spins a "normalization scenario" and writes: "Any such deal...can be derailed any time by an attack from Israel, which has made clear it won't accept virtual nuclear power status for Iran."

So you see the Iranians are ready to change their ways, to become a paragon of Western liberal virtue. If only the nasty Israelites would let the nice Iranians have a nuclear program, everyone could walk off into the sunset, arm in arm. It is rare to get such insights outside of official Iranian government organs.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Exclusive: New Military Thriller; Iran nukes in speculative fiction


Iranian submarines launch missiles at the United States.
But this can’t be possible. . . how could this happen?
Is the U.S. ready for a counter attack?

Find out in a new work of speculative fiction
"Behind The Lies."

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The fundamental justice of the Zionist movement

The Jewish People's Ties to the Land of Israel -Allen Z. Hertz

There is an enormous body of archeological and historical evidence demonstrating that the Jewish people - like the Greek people or the Han Chinese people - is among the oldest of the world's peoples. The Jewish people has more than 3,500 years of continuous history, with a national identity that, in each century, has kept a link to the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

Like other peoples, the Jewish people has a right to self-determination. Though the self-determination of the Arab people is expressed via 21 Arab countries, Israel is the sole expression of the self-determination of the Jewish people, which of all extant peoples, has the strongest claim to be considered aboriginal to the territory west of the Jordan River.

[T]he overwhelming majority of modern states are the homeland of a particular people, e.g., Japan, Italy or the 21 countries of the Arab League. The international decision to create Palestine "as a national home for the Jewish people" was made in recognition of the Jewish people's aboriginal title and continuing links to the land.

Moreover, the decision to create a Jewish national home in Palestine did not result in the displacement of any Arabs. To the contrary, from 1922 until 1948, the Arab population of Palestine almost tripled. The later problem of Arab refugees only emerged from May 1948, when local Arabs allied with several neighboring Arab states to launch a war to exterminate the Jews.
(Jerusalem Post)

Israel should not risk national suicide

Russian Roulette with Iranian Nukes -Michael J. Totten

There's a theory floating around that Iran doesn't want to use nuclear weapons against Israel. Rather, Iran wants nuclear weapons so it can transform itself into a true regional superpower.

President Obama said a nuclear Iran would be a "game changer." He's right.

The worst case scenario - the incineration of Tel Aviv - isn't likely. I don't expect it will ever actually happen. But I don't live in Israel. I'm safe and can afford to be wrong. The Israeli government won't make the same risk calculations I make. If I'm wrong, they're dead, and so is their country.

And let me ask this: How would you feel if your doctor diagnosed you with an illness and said there's a 10% chance it will kill you? Would you sleep peacefully and do nothing and hope for the best? Those odds, for me, are prohibitive.

Those odds are almost as bad as the odds in Russian Roulette, and you couldn't pay me enough to play that game even once.

[Note: Russian Roulette is a 'game' where a six shooter chamber is spun after being loaded with a single bullet and the gun is passed around the room until someone is dead. Probably invented by drunk Russian soldiers.]

[Note: I fundamentally disagree with Mr. Totten's assessment that Iran would not use nukes if they had them. However, his conclusions are compelling.]


Monday, April 13, 2009

Egypt spits fire at Hizbullah & Iran

Hizbullah Accused of Planning Attacks in Egypt -Zvi Bar'el

An unusual statement released in Cairo discusses Hizbullah's activities in Egypt, with plans by its operatives to attack tourist sites there and possibly shipping through the Suez Canal.

[T]his is one of Hizbullah's largest undercover terrorist operations outside Lebanon. "Exposing the ring perhaps reflects the willingness of those who run it to assist Hamas, but mostly to harm Egypt," an Egyptian political source told Ha'aretz.

"Whoever thinks Egypt will set aside its national interests and allow terrorist groups run by foreigners to operate from inside its territory is making a bitter mistake." Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah is held directly responsible for funding and organizing the terrorist ring inside Egypt.

Iran is depicted in the Egyptian press as the supreme enemy of Egypt and Arabs in general. The revelations about the ring confirm Egyptian suspicions and justify Cairo's diplomatic efforts against Iran.

Egypt Denounces Nasrallah and Hizbullah

Cairo said it had detained 49 Egyptian, Palestinian and Lebanese men linked to Hezbollah, accusing them of planning attacks in Egypt...

The state-owned Egyptian newspaper newspaper said: "We do not allow you, monkey sheikh [Hassan Nasrallah], to mock our judiciary, for you are a bandit and veteran criminal who killed your countrymen, but we will not allow you to threaten the security and safety of Egypt...and if you threaten its sovereignty, you will burn!"

"I say to you what every Egyptian knows, that you are an Iranian party," Ibrahim wrote. "Are there instructions from Iran to drag Egypt into a conflict?"

Egypt and Iran have not had full diplomatic relations since shortly after Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution.

Egypt: Nasrallah Wants to Turn Us into Lebanon -Ali Waked

Egyptian officials responded angrily to Hassan Nasrallah's speech, in which the Hizbullah secretary-general admitted that his organization has been smuggling weapons into Gaza.

"Nasrallah wants to turn Egypt into a playground like Lebanon," one of the officials told the London-based al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper.
(Ynet News)

Playing with Iran: Chess or Checkers

What Iran Really Thinks About Talks -Michael Rubin

Proponents of engagement with Tehran say dialogue provides the only way forward. Iran's progress over the past eight years, they say, is a testament to the failure of Bush administration strategy. President Barack Obama, for example, in his address to Iran, declared that diplomacy "will not be advanced by threats. We seek engagement that is honest and grounded in mutual respect."

Thus our president fulfills a pattern in which new administrations place blame for the failure of diplomacy on predecessors rather than on adversaries. The Islamic Republic is not a passive actor, however. Quite the opposite: While President Obama plays checkers, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei plays chess.

In his March 24 press conference, Mr. Obama said, "I'm a big believer in persistence." Making the same mistake repeatedly, however, is neither wise nor realism; it is arrogant, naïve and dangerous.

When Mr. Obama declared on April 5 that "All countries can access peaceful nuclear energy," the state-run [Iranian] daily newspaper responded with a front page headline, "The United States capitulates to the nuclear goals of Iran."

With Washington embracing dialogue without accountability and Tehran embracing diplomacy without sincerity, it appears the Iranian government is right.
[Wall Street Journal]


U.S. May Drop Key Condition for Talks with Iran - David E. Sanger

The Obama administration and its European allies are preparing proposals that would shift strategy toward Iran by dropping a longstanding American insistence that Tehran shut down nuclear facilities during the early phases of negotiations over its atomic program...
(New York Times)


Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Muslim assists Israel with Passover holiday

The Muslim Guardian of Israel's Daily Bread -Ben Lynfield

Jaaber Hussein [pictured at right] signed an agreement with Israel's Chief Rabbis making him the owner for one week of all bread, pasta and beer in Israel.

The contract, signed for the past 12 years by the Muslim hotel food manager, is part of the traditional celebrations ahead of the Jewish holiday of Passover. Jews are forbidden by biblical injunction to possess leavened bread during Passover. The agreement with Hussein offers a way of complying with religious edicts without having to wastefully destroy massive quantities of food.

Hussein, a resident of the Israeli Arab town of Abu Ghosh near Jerusalem, relishes the role the Jewish state has assigned him. "I see this as a way to help people with whom I work and live."

Biden's condescending marching orders to Israel

Biden: Israeli Strike on Iran "Ill-Advised" -Rebecca Sinderbrand

Vice President Joe Biden said he was not worried that Israel's new government, under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, would order an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities .

"I don't believe that Prime Minister Netanyahu would do that. I think he would be ill-advised to do that."

Israel Fears Pressure to Continue Annapolis Process -Roni Sofer & Ali Waked

Israel is preparing for the possibility of increased tensions with the U.S. administration ahead of special envoy George Mitchell's visit to the region next week and Prime Minister Netanyahu's scheduled trip to Washington in about a month.
(Ynet News)

Obama Team Readying for Clash with Netanyahu -Aluf Benn

In recent weeks, Obama administration officials have briefed senior Democratic congressmen and prepared the ground for the possibility of disagreements with Israel over the peace process.

The briefing is meant to foil the possibility that Netanyahu may try to bypass the administration by rallying support in Congress.

Israel sympathy: India tops list

Study: India Most Sympathetic toward Israel -Itamar Eichner

The country most sympathetic toward Israel is India, according to a study of the world's 13 most important countries.

58% of Indians reported sympathy to Israel, followed by 56% of Americans.

Other countries showing sympathy to Israel included Russia (52%), Mexico (52%), and China (50%), followed by Britain (34%), France (27%), and Spain (23%).
(Ynet News)

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

No outrage: has the world come to accept barbarity against Israelis?

Shlomo Nativ, a 13 year old murdered
by an axe-wielding terrorist

Where's the Outrage? -Gary Rosenblatt

What's particularly sad about the latest tragic terror attack in Israel is that there doesn't seem to be much outrage when an innocent Jewish teenager is axed to death by a Palestinian 50 yards from the boy's home.
(New York Jewish Week)

Monday, April 06, 2009

Will Obama cave on Iranian nukes?

U.S. May Cede to Iran's Nuclear Ambition -Daniel Dombey

U.S. officials are considering whether to accept Iran's pursuit of uranium enrichment, which has been outlawed by the UN and remains at the heart of fears that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons capability.

As part of a policy review commissioned by President Obama, diplomats are discussing whether the U.S. will eventually have to accept Iran's insistence on carrying out the process, which can produce both nuclear fuel and weapons-grade material.

Yesterday, Mr Obama summarised the US message to Iran as, "Don't develop a nuclear weapon" - a form of words that would not rule out a deal accepting Iranian enrichment. Mr Bush was much more specific in calling Iran to halt enrichment.
(Financial Times-UK)

Sunday, April 05, 2009

The Sunni-Shia Divide

Arab Summit, Iranian Agenda -Jonathan Spyer

The Palestinian cause - the great self-proclaimed moral flagship of Arab politics - is currently the subject of a hostile takeover bid by Iran and its clients. The Iranian-armed and sponsored Hamas enclave in Gaza has successfully suppressed its internal rivals and defended its existence against Israel.

There are now in effect two Palestinian national movements. One of them [Hamas] is ideologically strong and hungry, favors Israel's destruction, and is supported by Iran. The other [Fatah] is old and tired, propped up by vast amounts of Western funding. The former is in the process of trying to devour the latter, and may succeed.

One might conclude that Iran is developing into a vast, looming power, about to overshadow the region. But Iran's advances are testimony not to the great strength and vitality of the Tehran regime, but rather to the weakness of Arab states and political cultures.

Iran dreams of a bloc of Muslim states led by a nuclear Iran, challenging Israel's existence and American power. But Iran will always suffer from a "legitimacy gap" in the Arab world. It will always be perceived as a foreign, frightening power by many non-Shi'ite Arabs.
[Top: anti-Shia Sunni poster]
[Bottom: Percentage of Sunni & Shia in various countries]


Saturday, April 04, 2009

Why Barak joined Netanyahu

Israeli Unity Government Anchored to Iranian Nukes -Meyrav Wurmser

Israel's formation of a national unity government, a common strategy by parliamentary governments in times of war or national emergencies, is a move to gird the Jewish state for an impending crisis involving Iran's nuclear program.

Labor Party leader Ehud Barak has decided that Iran's nuclear ambitions confront Israel with a historic crisis so grave that even the peace process is of secondary importance. Netanyahu and Barak, [pictured above] two seasoned former prime ministers, are convinced Israel faces decisions of life or death.
(Washington Times)


Israeli technology on the cutting edge: Bionic Nose

"Bionic Nose" Detects Cancer, Bombs and Impure Water

Using molecular techniques in nanotechnology, Prof. Doron Shabat of Tel Aviv University has developed a device to detect microscopic signs of cancer, bombs and impure water that appear in trace amounts too small for conventional detection techniques.

The invention, like a bionic nose, can "sniff out" these trace molecules and amplify them tenfold, making them noticeable. The prototype is ready, and Shabat plans to use it to "amplify" problems around the world to improve healthcare, safety, and security.
(Science Daily)

VideoBite: Taliban sparks outrage in Pakistan

Taliban Flogging of Teenage Girl Rattles Pakistan -Salman Masood

[A] video shot on a cellphone and widely circulated, shows a a 17-year-old resident of Kabal held face down as a Taliban commander whips her repeatedly with a leather strap. “Leave me for the moment — you can beat me again later,” she screams, pleading for a reprieve and writhing in pain.

Paying no heed, the commander orders those holding her to tighten their grip and continues the public flogging. A large group of men quietly stands and watches in a circle around her.

The images, which have been broadcast repeatedly by private television news networks in Pakistan, have caused outrage here and set off bitter condemnation by rights activists and politicians. They have also raised questions about the government’s decision to enter into a deal that effectively ceded [the region] to the Taliban and allowed them to impose Islamic law.

[The video] demonstrates vividly how the Taliban have used public displays of punishment to terrify and control the local population.

It was not clear what the young woman was accused of. One account said she had stepped out of her house without being escorted by a male family member, according to Samar Minallah, a rights activist. Ms. Minallah said she distributed the video to local news outlets after it was sent to her by someone from Swat three days ago.

Another account said a local Taliban commander had falsely accused the teenager of violating Islamic law after she refused to accept his marriage proposal. A Taliban spokesman defended the punishment but said it should not have been done in public.
[New York Times]
[Hat Tip: NancyV]


Friday, April 03, 2009

Lieberman ruffles feathers

New Foreign Minister: Israel to Follow Roadmap, Not Annapolis
-Charles Levinson

On his first day as foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman said at a press conference, "There is one document that obligates us - and that's not the Annapolis conference, it has no validity." Lieberman said Israel would instead abide by the 2002 Roadmap for peace, which delays discussion of Palestinian statehood until after Palestinians clamp down on terror.

"Those who think that through concessions they will gain respect and peace are wrong," he added. "It's the other way around; it will lead to more wars."
(Wall Street Journal)

No Rejection of Two-State Solution -Eli Lake

Former Israeli Ambassador to Washington Daniel Ayalon, Israel's new deputy foreign minister, stressed that Lieberman and the new Israeli government support a two-state solution within the context of the Roadmap.
(Washington Times)

Avigdor Lieberman's Brilliant Debut -Daniel Pipes

Avigdor Lieberman became foreign minister of Israel yesterday. He celebrated his inauguration with a maiden speech that conclude[d] with a rousing call to fortitude:

"When was Israel at its strongest in terms of public opinion around the world? After the victory of the Six Day War, not after all the concessions in Oslo Accords."

I have had reservations about Lieberman and still do, but this speech has him off to a great start. Put as briefly as possible, he announced that 'Israel is back.'
[Front Page Magazine]


Who Killed Annapolis? -Editorial

Annapolis is dead - and everyone knows it. Annapolis has become just another footnote in the 100-year history of Palestinian rejectionism. It died when Mahmoud Abbas and Ahmed Qurei rejected Ehud Olmert's and Tzipi Livni's offer last year of virtually the entire West Bank (the Palestinians already have Gaza), plus tracts of the Negev to make up for strategic settlement blocs retained beyond the "green line." Had the Palestinians taken this astonishingly magnanimous deal, "Palestine" would have become the 22nd Muslim Arab state in the Middle East.

The Annapolis process was a stab at leapfrogging over the Roadmap because the Palestinians could not - or would not - fulfill their obligation to end the violence. And the international community preferred the illusion of momentum Annapolis provided. The alternative would have been to concede that even "moderate" Palestinians are not prepared to follow through on the hard work necessary to achieve a two-state solution.
(Jerusalem Post)

See this fascinating JPost interview with Mr. Lieberman:
The world according to Lieberman

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Netanyahu lays out his primary objective

[Israel's new] Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said [a] primary imperative for the United States and President Obama is to put an end to Iran's nuclear race. [He] add[ed] that if the US failed to do so, Israel would be forced to resort to a military strike on the Islamic Republic's nuclear installations.

The Iranian drive for a nuclear weapon was a "hinge of history," he said, emphasizing that all of "Western civilization" was responsible for preventing an Iranian bomb.

He voiced support for Obama's strategy of engaging Iran in dialogue, as long as the negotiations worked swiftly to convince Iran to relinquish its nuclear program. "How you achieve this goal, is less important than achieving it," he said.

"Since the dawn of the nuclear age, we have not had a fanatic regime that might put its zealotry above its self-interest. People say that they'll behave like any other nuclear power. Can you take the risk? Can you assume that?"

Netanyahu cited Teheran's tactics during its protracted war with Iraq in the 1980s as evidence of irrational behavior on the part of Iran. "[They] wasted over a million lives without batting an eyelash," he said. "It didn't sear a terrible wound into the Iranian consciousness. It wasn't Britain after World War I, lapsing into pacifism because of the great tragedy of a loss of a generation. You see nothing of the kind."
[Jerusalem Post]