Friday, March 30, 2012

Did the US Undermine Israel's Iran Attack Plan?

The Presidents of Israel [left] and Azerbaijan
The map says it all

Did U.S. Just Torpedo Israeli Deal for a Base in Azerbaijan? -Brad Knickerbocker

This week a widely cited report claimed that Israel is developing a "secret staging ground" in Iran's neighbor to the north - Azerbaijan - for a possible attack on Iran's nuclear facilities. Quoting unnamed senior U.S. diplomats and military intelligence officials, a lengthy article in Foreign Policy magazine asserts that "Israel has recently been granted access to airbases on Iran's northern border." "The Israelis have bought an airfield," a senior administration official is quoted as saying, "and the airfield is called Azerbaijan."

"I think this leak today is part of the administration's campaign against an Israeli attack," former US diplomat John Bolton said. "Clearly, this is an administration-orchestrated leak," Mr. Bolton said, adding, "It's just unprecedented to reveal this kind of information about one of your own allies.”

Bases in nearby Azerbaijan (including abandoned former Soviet airfields) could be used for landing and refueling after any strike, allowing Israeli jets to carry more ordnance. Such airfields also could be a staging point for search-and-rescue helicopters that might be necessary to recover downed Israeli pilots. They also could be used to launch drone aircraft for bomb damage assessment once any strike is concluded.
(Christian Science Monitor)

 
U.S. Leaking Information to Thwart Israeli Strike -Ron Ben-Yishai

The most important American objective is to eliminate potential operational options available to the IDF and the State of Israel. It is blatantly clear that reports in the past week alone have caused Israel substantive diplomatic damage, and possibly even military and operational damage.

The U.S. campaign also sharply contradicts President Obama's declaration at the AIPAC Conference, whereby he and the U.S. recognize Israel's sovereign right to defend itself by itself. One cannot utter these words and a moment later expose Israel's vulnerabilities and possible strike routes to its enemies.
(Ynet News)





 

Making a Federal Case Out of Jerusalem -Rick Richman

The State Department spokesperson was tortured with a series of questions Wednesday about whether Jerusalem is part of Israel. [see video above]

Obviously acting on instructions to say only that Jerusalem is an issue to be resolved by negotiations, she gave the same answer to the question, "What is the capital of Israel?"

The reporter might have referenced the State Department website, which identifies Israel's capital as Jerusalem (and says Israel's area is 20,330 square km., "including Jerusalem"); or the CIA website, which says the same thing; or the Department of Defense website, which is replete with references including a picture of Secretary Gates and Prime Minister Netanyahu "during a working lunch meeting in Jerusalem, Israel."

This all could have been avoided if the White House had ended the charade about the city that has been Israel's capital since 1950; and stopped fighting a nine-year-old boy's passport designation in the Supreme Court.
(Commentary)


The 'flexibility' doctrine -Charles Krauthammer

You don’t often hear an American president secretly (he thinks) assuring foreign leaders that concessions are coming their way, but they must wait because he’s seeking reelection and he dares not tell his own people.

Not at all, spun a White House aide in major gaffe-control mode. The president was merely explaining that arms control is too complicated to be dealt with in a year in which both Russia and the United States hold presidential elections.

Rubbish.

Can you imagine the kind of pressure a reelected Obama will put on Israel...?
[Jewish World Review]
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UPDATE:

White House Denies Leaking Info on Israeli Access to Airbases -Yitzhak Benhorin

A top White House official Saturday said the White House had "no interest" in leaks of this kind, adding that the administration would "gladly prosecute" the people behind it - if they knew who they were.
(Ynet News)
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Monday, March 26, 2012

Maxwell Smart Returns: USA has no operatives deep inside Iran


Is the US as clueless as Maxwell Smart?

How Washington Encourages Israel to Bomb Iran -Reuel Marc Gerecht 

It's an excellent bet that the Israelis now know that the CIA probably has no sources inside the upper reaches of the Iranian scientific establishment, Khamenei's inner circle, or the Revolutionary Guards' nuclear brigade.

The Israelis surely know that when the administration says it has "no evidence" that Khamenei has decided to build a nuclear weapon, this really means that Washington has no solid information. That is, Washington is guessing.
The writer, a former Iranian-targets officer in the CIA's clandestine service, is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies
(Wall Street Journal)
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Sunday, March 25, 2012

VideoBite: The History of Jerusalem




A quick video romp through Jerusalem's 4000 year history
[The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs]

Thursday, March 22, 2012

French Police Take Out Jihadi




French Gunman Dead After Police Raid

Mohammed Merah [pictured], suspected in seven murders in and around Toulouse, died Thursday morning after a police raid. French Interior Minister Claude Gueant said police entered the apartment Thursday, only to be ambushed by Merah who "came out of the bathroom shooting madly at everybody....At the end, Mohammed Merah jumped out of the window with a weapon in his hand, continuing to shoot. He was found dead on the ground."
(AP-CBS News)
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Shooter Affiliated with French Al-Qaeda Group

Mohammed Merah, the terrorist who opened fire on a Jewish school in Toulouse, France appears to be a member of the French al-Qaeda branch Fursan Al-'Izza.

A recent Fursan Al-'Izza video calls on "all Arab countries to boycott France and its products" until it repeals its laws banning the niqab and hijab headcovering. The video opens with the slogan "Restore the Caliphate," and ends with the slogan "Disavow the idol of democracy."
(MEMRI)


French Dis-connection -Michael Widlanski

French police's dramatic pursuit of Mohammed Merah, an Islamic radical, for Monday's terror murder of a rabbi and three Jewish schoolchildren should remind us that Islamic terror hasn't taken a holiday. One of the most damning elements of the French terror spree is that the terrorist was able to carry out his murderous attacks even though he was under some form of French government surveillance.

Merah had contacted jihadist groups in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and yet he was not apprehended, nor were his weapons confiscated.
(New York Post)




Videotape of Jihadi terrorist

Radio Host's $50,000 Jerusalem Challenge


Aaron Klein offers 50,000 dollar challenge to ‘anti-Israel’ activist

On his WABC Radio show, Aaron Klein offered $50,000 to an organizer of the upcoming Global March to Jerusalem if the activist could name one city in the Middle East outside of Israel that has more freedom than Jerusalem.

Following in the footsteps of recent flotilla events, the March 30 event aims to storm Israel’s borders to “demand freedom for Jerusalem and its people and to put an end to the Apartheid, ethnic cleansing and Judaisation policies affecting the people, land and sanctity of Jerusalem.”

Endorsers of the Global March include President Obama’s controversial former pastor, Jeremiah Wright; Cornel West, a longtime friend of Obama who served as an advisor to the president’s 2008 campaign; and Medea Benjamin, co-founder of Code Pink. According to reports, Iran is also heavily involved in organizing the march.

Following is a partial transcript of the exchange between Klein and march activist Frank Romano, who is organizing the portion of the march that seeks to infiltrate Israel from the Qalandia checkpoint, at the border that leads from Ramallah to Jerusalem.

ROMANO: “[The] march on Jerusalem is to open up Jerusalem to more people who want to go there.”


KLEIN: “It’s open. It’s already open. It’s the most open city in the entire Middle East…You know what, I will give you $100 on the spot if you can name me one city outside of Israel that’s more open than Jerusalem.


ROMANO: What do you mean more open, though?


KLEIN: I’ll define open. Democracy. Freedom of all religions to pray. You know what, $1,000 guaranteed. I will personally give you $1,000. Name one city that is more open in the Middle East where all religions can pray outside of Israel.”


ROMANO: “I don’t (inaudible)…You are off the topic here.”


KLEIN: “No, I am on the topic. I am literally responding to what you just said.”


ROMANO: “The majority of Palestinians, many Palestinians who live close to Ramallah…”


KLEIN: “You haven’t answered the question. You know what, $10,000…Name one city.”


ROMANO: “I’ll give you an example….Palestinians that can leave the country, that can get to New York, it is more easier for them to pray in a mosque in New York than it is to pray in a Al Aqsa in Jerusalem.”


KLEIN: “But you are protesting in the Middle East. You are protesting the lack of openness in the one city that is the most open, that is the most free, that is the most democratic in the Middle East. I will now give you $50,000 if you can name one. You still haven’t been able to do that”


ROMANO: “But that’s beside the point. I’m not going to name any city. That is not even relevant to what I am saying.”


KLEIN: “So it seems to me that with $50,000 you can’t even respond…You should be protesting Syria. You should be protesting Saudi Arabia. You should be protesting Shariah Islamic law,. You should be protesting actual apartheid. And shame on you for going against the one country that is actually democratic.”
Full Audio HERE
[Klein Online]
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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Attack in France was by Islamist, not Neo-Nazi


Eight year old Miriam Monsonego [pictured] was savagly murdered by an Islamist who chased the fleeing youth, grabbed her by her hair, shot once to her body and then twice in her head

Islamist Suspect in Toulouse Shooting -Edward Cody

Elite French police units exchanged gunfire with an Islamic militant barricaded in a Toulouse apartment Wednesday who is suspected of being the gunman who methodically killed three French soldiers, three Jewish school children and a rabbi over the last eight days, Interior Minister Claude Gueant announced. Gueant said the man had told police negotiators that he acted to "avenge Palestinian children" and protest France's role in the Afghanistan war.

Gueant described the suspect, identified in news reports as Mohammed Merah, as a French citizen, 24, who has spent time with Islamic groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan. News reports said he was of Algerian origin and had invoked the al-Qaeda terrorist network. Two policemen were wounded in an initial exchange of gunfire.
(Washington Post)
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The True Perpetrators of The Attacks in Toulouse -Barry Rubin

What a tragic, evil joke. A drive-by shooter in the beautiful, almost magical, city of Toulouse, France, murders three Jewish children and a teacher in front of their school. Various VIPs issue statements about how terrible is this deed, how unspeakable.

And yet ...[t]here is no real soul-searching, no true effort to do better, no serious examination about how the anti-Israel and anti-Jewish hysteria is paving the way to murder and potentially genocide.
[The Rubin Report]
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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Iran is Like an Alcoholic



The Bogus Iran Intelligence Debate -Bret Stephens

The New York Times reports that U.S. intelligence agencies are sure, or pretty sure, that Iran "still has not decided to pursue a weapon" ...

All this sounds like it matters a whole lot. It doesn't.

You may not be able to divine whether a drinker, holding a bottle of Johnnie Walker in one hand and a glass tinkling with ice in the other, actually intends to pour himself a drink. And perhaps he doesn't. But the important thing, at least when it comes to intervention, is not to present him with the opportunity in the first place.

The serious question policy makers must answer isn't whether Iran will go for a bomb once it is within a half-step of getting one. It's whether Iran should be allowed to get within that half-step. That is the essence of the debate the Obama administration is now having with Israel.
(Wall Street Journal)
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Monday, March 19, 2012

Military Advances Keeps The Peace




Investment in Iron Dome Is Investment in Peace -Michael Oren

Last week, Palestinian terrorists fired more than 250 rockets, missiles and mortar shells at civilian neighborhoods in Israel. Israel's Iron Dome anti-missile system succeeded in preventing almost all the terrorist rockets from hitting populated areas. It has become the first anti-ballistic system in history to succeed in real combat conditions.

Iron Dome relieved Israel of the need to send troops into Gaza. It not only saved lives, it prevented wars.

Israel is deeply grateful for the more than two decades of U.S.-Israel cooperation on missile defense. The pioneering and proven systems resulting from this cooperation - Iron Dome, David's Sling and the Arrow - can also help defend U.S. facilities and interests around the world.
The writer is Israel's ambassador to the U.S.
(Politico)
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UPDATES

The Rocket Threat from Gaza -Moshe Arens

Israel is the only country in the world that is threatened by terrorists who have established themselves within rocket range of its major population centers, threatening its civilian population. It is an untenable situation that cannot continue indefinitely.
The writer is a former Israeli defense and foreign minister.
(Ha'aretz)
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Sunday, March 18, 2012

MidEast Christian Crisis

Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity is caught in the crossfire between Christians & Muslims. After the Palestinian Authority was given control of Bethlehem, Palestinian gunmen occupied the Church , looting it and using it as a latrine.

Israel and the Plight of Mideast Christians -Michael Oren

Just as Jews were once expelled from Arab lands, Christians are now being forced from countries they have long inhabited.
 
The church in Bethlehem had survived more than 1,000 years, through wars and conquests, but its future now seemed in jeopardy. Spray-painted all over its ancient stone walls were the Arabic letters for Hamas. The year was 1994 and the city was about to pass from Israeli to Palestinian control. I was meeting with the church's clergy as an Israeli government adviser on inter-religious affairs. They were despondent but too frightened to file a complaint. The same Hamas thugs who had desecrated their sanctuary were liable to take their lives.

The trauma of those priests is now commonplace among Middle Eastern Christians. Their share of the region's population has plunged from 20% a century ago to less than 5% today and falling. In Egypt, 200,000 Coptic Christians fled their homes last year after beatings and massacres by Muslim extremist mobs. Since 2003, 70 Iraqi churches have been burned and nearly a thousand Christians killed in Baghdad alone, causing more than half of this million-member community to flee. Conversion to Christianity is a capital offense in Iran, where last month Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani was sentenced to death. Saudi Arabia outlaws private Christian prayer.

As 800,000 Jews were once expelled from Arab countries, so are Christians being forced from lands they've inhabited for centuries.

The only place in the Middle East where Christians aren't endangered but flourishing is Israel. Since Israel's founding in 1948, its Christian communities have expanded more than 1,000%.

[Israel] guarantees free access to all Christian holy places, which are under the exclusive aegis of Christian clergy. When Muslims tried to erect a mosque near the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth, the Israeli government interceded to preserve the sanctity of the shrine.

[I]n Gaza and the West Bank, [however], Christians suffer the same plight as their co-religionists throughout the region.

Since the Hamas takeover of Gaza in 2007, half the Christian community has fled. Christmas decorations and public displays of crucifixes are forbidden. In a December 2010 broadcast, Hamas officials exhorted Muslims to slaughter their Christian neighbors. Rami Ayad, owner of Gaza's only Christian bookstore, was murdered, his store reduced to ash. This is the same Hamas with which the Palestinian Authority of the West Bank recently signed a unity pact.

Little wonder, then, that the West Bank is also hemorrhaging Christians. Once 15% of the population, they now make up less than 2%.

Israel, in spite of its need to safeguard its borders from terrorists, allows holiday access to Jerusalem's churches to Christians from both the West Bank and Gaza. In Jerusalem, the number of Arabs—among them Christians—has tripled since the city's reunification by Israel in 1967.

There must be another reason, then, for the West Bank's Christian exodus. The answer lies in Bethlehem. Under Israeli auspices, the city's Christian population grew by 57%. But under the Palestinian Authority since 1995, those numbers have plummeted.

[U]nder the Palestinian Authority, Palestinian gunmen seized Christian homes and then occupied the Church of the Nativity, looting it and using it as a latrine. Today, Christians comprise a mere one-fifth of their holy city's population.

The extinction of the Middle East's Christian communities is an injustice of historic magnitude. Yet Israel provides an example of how this trend can not only be prevented but reversed. With the respect and appreciation that they receive in the Jewish state, the Christians of Muslim countries could not only survive but thrive.
Mr. Oren is Israel's ambassador to the United States.
[Wall Street Journal]
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Obama silent while Saudi grand mufti targets Christianity -Editorial

If the pope called for the destruction of all the mosques in Europe, the uproar would be cataclysmic. Pundits would lambaste the [C]hurch, the White House would rush out a statement of deep concern, and rioters in the Middle East would kill each other in their grief. But when the most influential leader in the Muslim world issues a fatwa to destroy Christian churches, the silence is deafening.

On March 12, Sheik Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia, declared that it is “necessary to destroy all the churches of the region.” The ruling came in response to a query from a Kuwaiti delegation over proposed legislation to prevent construction of churches in the emirate.

The mufti based his decision on a story that on his deathbed, Muhammad declared, “There are not to be two religions in the [Arabian] Peninsula.” This passage has long been used to justify intolerance in the kingdom. Churches have always been banned in Saudi Arabia, and until recently Jews were not even allowed in the country. Those wishing to worship in the manner of their choosing must do so hidden away in private, and even then the morality police have been known to show up unexpectedly and halt proceedings.

[I]t is a signal to others in the Muslim world that destroying churches is not only permitted but mandatory.

The Obama administration ignores these types of provocations at its peril. The White House has placed international outreach to Muslims at the center of its foreign policy in an effort to promote the image of the United States as an Islam-friendly nation. This cannot come at the expense of standing up for the human rights and religious liberties of minority groups in the Middle East. The region is a crucial crossroads. Islamist radicals are leading the rising political tide against the authoritarian, secularist old order. They are testing the waters in their relationship with the outside world, looking for signals of how far they can go in imposing their radical vision of a Shariah-based theocracy. Ignoring provocative statements like the mufti’s sends a signal to these groups that they can engage in the same sort of bigotry and anti-Christian violence with no consequences.

Mr. Obama’s outreach campaign to the Muslim world has failed to generate the good will that he expected. In part, this was because he felt it was better to pander to prejudice than to command respect. When members of the Islamic establishment call for the religious equivalent of ethnic cleansing, the leader of the free world must respond or risk legitimizing the oppression that follows.
[The Washington Times]
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Friday, March 16, 2012

What an Israeli Strike at Iran Would Look Like



Plotting against Iranian nuke sites -Rowan Scarborough

The first indication that Israel has resorted to military action against Iran’s nuclear program would be explosions across the Islamic republic.

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) — with its vaunted pilots and American-supplied warplanes — are so adept at surprise that Iraq and Syria never knew what hit them until their nuclear facilities lay smoldering.

[U]nlike Iraq in 1981 and Syria in 2007, Iran can be expected to launch a fierce counterattack that likely would draw the United States into a low-level war with Tehran.

If Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu persuades his Cabinet to approve strikes, long-range F-15Is and F-16Is would take off from the Hatzerim air base on a moonless night. Israel’s most advanced warplanes, the “I Team” would carry U.S.-made, 5,000-pound bunker-busting bombs that drill below ground before exploding. Israel’s older F-16s and F-15s would stay home to deal with anticipated reprisals.

The low-flying “I” jets could take one or more routes to penetrate Iranian airspace on flights as long as 1,000 miles or more. Saudi Arabia, which sees Iran as the biggest threat to Persian Gulf oil states, might allow Israeli jets to access its airspace to cross into Iran from the southwest. Israel also could opt to fly over Iraq, given that the U.S. and its warplanes have left and Baghdad has not rebuilt an air defense force.

Iran’s thick network of radars and anti-aircraft missiles would be attacked first, perhaps by cyberwarfare viruses or some type of electronic jamming that makes the bombers invisible.

Analysts presume that Israel has probed Iran’s computer networks and has a plan to disable them with viruses and worms that would break down communication lines and disrupt electric power.

Israel has tracked the whereabouts of Iran’s atomic scientists and also would target their homes.

No one has claimed ownership of the Stuxnet worm, which can attack industrial machinery and processes that are operated by computers. [T]he worm was designed to infiltrate and disable uranium-enrichment machinery in Iran, which discovered the sabotage in June 2010.

The question is, was Stuxnet an Israeli test? Will it send a barrage of malicious computer programs into Iran’s nuclear complexes at some point?

“They can do this without airplanes,” Mr. Maloof said. “Standoff warfare is the coming thing.”
[The Washington Times]
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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Understanding Gaza




Gaza Equals Iran

Speaking at a special session of the Knesset on the escalation in Gaza rocket fire, Prime Minister Netanyahu said:

"The dominant factor that motivates these events in Gaza is Iran. Gaza equals Iran. Where do the missiles come from? From Iran. Where does the money come from? From Iran. Who trains the terrorists? Iran. Who builds the infrastructure? Iran....Who gives the orders? Iran. Gaza is a forward operating base for Iran."

"Some people say that a third- or fourth-rate terrorist organization is acting against a million citizens in the State of Israel. That is not true. Iran is operating against us....The terrorist organizations in Gaza - Hamas and Jihad, as well as Hizbullah in Lebanon - are taking shelter under an Iranian umbrella. Now imagine what will happen if that umbrella becomes nuclear."

"Wherever we withdrew, Iran entered. We withdrew from Lebanon, Iran came in. We withdrew from Gaza, Iran came in. Some people suggest that we act in a similar manner in Judea and Samaria [the West Bank]. Iran will come in there too....If we come to an agreement with the Palestinians, we must ensure that our security foundations are sound and that Iran cannot enter the territory."

"Our enemies must know that, at the end of the day, Israel will not accept an Iranian base in Gaza. Sooner or later, Iran's terror base in Gaza will be uprooted."
(Prime Minister's Office)
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No "Disproportionate" Reaction to Gaza Flare-Up -Herb Keinon

This time the world, for the most part, showed little interest in the latest round of fighting between Israel and the Palestinian terrorist organizations in Gaza.

Even the targeted killing of PRC commander Zuhair al-Qaissi did not generate much condemnation since targeted assassinations have now been adopted by the U.S. There is more understanding of its legitimacy because if President Obama can authorize a targeted hit against a terrorist leader hell-bent on trying to kill Americans, why can't Prime Minister Netanyahu do the same against those trying to kill Israelis?
(Jerusalem Post)
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Iran's War in Gaza -Jonathan Schanzer

The latest round of violence began on March 9 after an Israeli airstrike killed Zuhair al-Qaissi, the head of the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), a group with deep ties to Iran-backed Hizbullah.

Iranian leaders are clearly irked that Hamas has refused to stand by Syria's Assad, a key strategic figure for Tehran in the region. Iran is using its smaller proxies, the Popular Resistance Committees  and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, to create unrest on Hamas's turf. The current crisis reveals that, for Iran, Hamas is expendable.
The writer, a former counterterrorism analyst at the U.S. Treasury Department, is vice president of research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
(Foreign Policy)
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Monday, March 12, 2012

Rocket Man...Deceased

This terrorist marauder, Zuhair-al-Qaissi, sported a lovely head covering

Israel Kills Leader of Palestinian Militants behind Shalit Kidnapping

An Israeli airstrike on Friday killed Zuhair al-Qaissi [pictured], the top commander of the armed wing of the Popular Resistance Committees, a militant group in Gaza aligned with Hamas that was behind the abduction of Gilad Shalit.
(AP-Guardian-UK)


Israel's Pre-emptive Policy -Ron Ben-Yishai

According to intelligence information, Zuhair al-Qaissi personally planned a complex offensive which was to include infiltration from Sinai into Israel at several sites, the planting of explosive devices, and a possible abduction. Sinai-based attacks grant terror groups an advantage - they estimate that the IDF would not enter Egyptian territory in order to thwart such offensives.
(Ynet News)

 
Renewing Deterrence in Gaza -Yoav Limor

Over the last three years there has been a disturbing trend of shorter and shorter intervals between clashes in Gaza, as each round becomes more and more violent.
(Israel Hayom)


Escalation in Gaza Was Just a Matter of Time -Eyal Zisser

A conflagration with Gaza was just a matter of time. So long as the Hamas government allows active terrorist groups such as the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) and Islamic Jihad to carry out attacks, it will be impossible to preserve silence along the Gaza border.
(Israel Hayom)


Gaza Rocket Target Beersheba, Ashdod -Yaakov Lappin

Palestinian terrorists in Gaza continued to target Israel on Monday morning with rocket salvos directed at Beersheba and Ashdod. Some 17 rockets were fired at Israel, at least seven of which were intercepted by the Iron Dome rocket defense system.
(Jerusalem Post)


Gaza Rockets Strike Residential Beersheba -Gili Cohen, Avi Issacharoff & Yanir Yagna

Two Grad rockets struck Beersheba on Sunday afternoon, one hitting a school that was empty at the time and the other striking a parked car in a residential neighborhood. 15 homes were damaged.
(Ha'aretz)
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UPDATES:

Targeted Killings of Terror Leaders Are Moral  -Donniel Hartman

•Should we engage in pre-emptive, targeted assassinations, knowing full well the "cycle of violence" that will ensue?

•An essential part of our national ethos is to be pro-actively engaged in shaping our future, to determine our own destiny to the best of our ability. As a citizen of Israel I embrace the need to act and to attempt to proactively give us the security that we deserve.

•While Jewish tradition elevates the sanctity of life as one of its highest values and sees all of humanity as equal in value, it does not merely allow but obligates acts of self-defense. One cannot be committed to the sanctity of life in general without being committed to valuing the sanctity of one's own life. Self-defense is a higher moral expression than self-sacrifice. Our tradition teaches us, "When someone arises to kill you, pre-empt them, and kill them first."

Targeted killings of known terrorist leaders, those with blood on their hands and the self-expressed desire and capacity to spill more blood, are not morally ambiguous, but rather acts of "tikkun olam," repairing the world.

•Evil exists, and it is our responsibility as Israelis and moral duty as Jews to see this evil, and do everything in our power to limit it and not allow its terrorist intent to rule our neighborhood.
(Ynet News)
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The Most Stressful Day of My Life -Keren Dahan

When the siren went off on Sunday afternoon, my mother, sisters and I ran to the bomb shelter. There was an explosion. But when we wanted to exit the shelter, an even louder explosion was heard. Even the window in the bomb shelter, which was sealed tight, blew open from the force of the blast.

After we calmed down a bit, we walked out the shelter door. The sign at the entrance of our building had been blown off, the front yard was filled with shrapnel and the glass door leading to our porch was shattered. It was terrifying.
The writer is an 11th grader in Beersheba.
(Israel Hayom)
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Report from an "Asymmetrical" War -P. David Hornik

The moral asymmetry between Israel and its enemies has been strikingly on display in the latest flare-up between Gaza terror groups and Israeli forces. By Monday afternoon the Israeli air force had reportedly killed 19 terrorists in pinpoint strikes on Gaza targets - mostly rocket-launching crews - and two Palestinian civilians as collateral damage.

By contrast, the over 200 rockets fired from Gaza at Israel since Friday have been aimed solely at civilian targets. Most have been lobbed at cities - Ashkelon, Ashdod, and (my own) Beersheba - in the hope of killing and maiming as many men, women, and children as possible.
(American Spectator)
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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Purim News Spoof


Shalit’s Parents Want Gratitude -Neta Meme

The parents of recently released Israeli solider Gilad Shalit say that, while they are pleased and relieved to have their son back home, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing.

“I would have thought that mounting an international publicity campaign for five years might be worth a little gratitude, a little more respect,” said Noam Shalit, his father. “But I guess I just don’t understand young people these days.”

Shalit was released after being held hostage by Hamas militants for five years. But since Gilad has returned home, there have been tensions in the Shalit household.

“I mean, just look at this,” said Aviva Shalit, his mother, gesturing to the clothes and dirty plates strewn around Gilad’s room. “Do you think he acted this way with the terrorists?”

Shalit, in turn, has plenty of complaints of his own. “You know, the terrorists that held me hostage were fundamentalist killers, but at least they weren’t on my case all the time about what I was wearing and what I was going to do with my life,” he told the Backward. “Aside from taking pictures of me to show that I was still alive, they left me alone.”

Shalit rejected his parents’ accusation that he is “ungrateful.”

“Hey, I never asked them to spend all that time getting me out,” said Shalit.

His mother, when told what Gilad had said, responded, “If I’d known he was going to act like this, I wouldn’t have bothered.”
[The Backward]
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Thursday, March 08, 2012

Obama's Flip Flop: "I have Israel's back"



A poignant video critical of President Obama's recent flip flop on Israel & Iran

UPDATES:

Why Obama fears Israel: Election-year politics dictate policy -Editorial

President Obama offered to give Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu military assistance for a strike on Iran. The catch is, Israel must delay action until after the November election. That’s according to several major news outlets which ran reports based on unnamed sources from Monday’s White House meeting. Whether or not this report is accurate, it underscores the power dynamics behind the nascent crisis with the Islamic Republic.

The alleged U.S. military assistance would include bunker-buster bombs and aerial-refueling aircraft, which Israel would need for a successful military action against Iran’s well-protected nuclear infrastructure. While Mr. Netanyahu can trade his freedom of action for a White House pledge, there is no guarantee it would be fulfilled. Mr. Obama is trying to avoid election-season wild cards that could derail his march to a second term. If he secures re-election in November, the pressure to support Israel would be off and the promised aid need not be delivered.

If Israel strikes Iran before the election, Mr. Obama will have a Hobson’s choice: Support the attack, or do nothing. If he does nothing, it would reinforce the perception that despite his tough talk, Mr. Obama is a weak leader when it comes to dealing with substantive crises. It would hand Republicans a winning issue, and...put Mr. Obama’s re-election in serious jeopardy.

A wounded Iran could lash out at the United States since Tehran would assume America was involved. U.S. interests abroad could be targeted, and there would be potential for a domestic terror attack. This would be the worst-case scenario for the Obama team because it could no longer claim Mr. Obama kept America safe by overseeing the takedown of Osama bin Laden.
 
Given these factors, Mr. Netanyahu’s best move is to demur at the purported U.S. offer of aid dependent on his pushing back the prospective timetable for action. The questions he should ask Mr. Obama are: Is this offer still valid if you lose in November? And can we get it in writing?
[The Washington Times]
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Lucy and the Football, Iran-Style? -Charles Krauthammer

After ostensibly tough talk about preventing Iran from going nuclear, the Obama administration acquiesced this week to yet another round of talks with the mullahs.
These negotiations don't just gain time for a nuclear program about whose military intent the International Atomic Energy Agency is issuing alarming warnings. They make it extremely difficult for Israel to do anything about it (while it still can), lest Israel be universally condemned for having aborted a diplomatic solution.

So what is Obama's real objective? "We're trying to make the decision to attack as hard as possible for Israel," an administration official told the Washington Post.

The world's greatest exporter of terror (according to the State Department), the systematic killer of Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan, the self-declared enemy that invented "Death to America Day" is approaching nuclear capability - and the focus of U.S. policy is to prevent a democratic ally threatened with annihilation from preempting the threat?
(Washington Post)
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Wednesday, March 07, 2012

"The Israeli Nightmare"



Are Obama and Netanyahu Now on the Same Page? -Howard LaFranchi

Perhaps the most significant difference concerns each country's timeline for potential military action. Israel, as the less militarily potent of the two allies, has a shorter timeline, David Makovsky, an expert in US-Israel relations notes.

"The Israeli nightmare goes something like, 'Too early, too early, oops! Too late,'" he says.
(Christian Science Monitor)
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Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Obama Pulls Back from his New Iran Policy



The video news clip above covers Monday's meeting between Netanyahu & Obama.  Note that the President appears to be pulling back from his AIPAC speech where he stated:

"No Israeli government can tolerate a nuclear weapon in the hands of a regime that denies the Holocaust, threatens to wipe Israel off the map, and sponsors terrorist groups committed to Israel's destruction. A nuclear-armed Iran is completely counter to Israel's security interests. But it is also counter to the national security interests of the United States. Iran's leaders should have no doubt about the resolve of the United States. Just as they should not doubt Israel's sovereign right to make its own decisions about what is required to meet its security needs."

President Obama's new hawkish stance did not last long!
[Bruce]
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UPDATES:

Obama: There'll be a price to pay for premature Iran strike -Hilary Leila Krieger

US President Barack Obama warned Tuesday that there would be consequences for the United States as well as Israel if a premature strike is launched on Iran.

“This is not just an issue of Israeli interests. This is an issue of American interests,” he said at a last-minute press conference. "It's also not just an issue of consequences for Israel if action is taken prematurely. There are consequences for the United States as well."

Obama’s comments come the day after he hosted Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for three hours of talks devoted largely to Iran.

Following their meeting, Netanyahu gave an impassioned address to AIPAC, in which he repeatedly stressed Israel’s right to take whatever actions are necessary to defend itself and recalled that the US chose not to devote resources to destroying Auschwitz during World War II...
[Jerusalem Post]


Netanyahu: Israel has acted against US advice before -Herb Keinon

Citing historical precedents in which the US and Israel did not see eye-to-eye and Israel acted according to its own perception of its interests, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told congressional leaders Tuesday that Israel viewed things differently than the US did at times, because it was not a global power and was more vulnerable.

Netanyahu, meeting congressional leaders before flying back to Israel Tuesday evening, noted that David Ben-Gurion declared independence against the advice of the US; Levi Eshkol launched a preemptive attack in 1967, against Washington’s counsel; and Menachem Begin decided to bomb the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981 despite US opposition.
[Jerusalem Post]
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Monday, March 05, 2012

Obama's AIPAC Speech And The New Iran Policy



President Obama with AIPAC President Lee Rosenberg
just prior to delivering his speech


The Divide Between Obama & Israel -Jonathan S. Tobin

Obama is at pains to try to assert he doesn’t “bluff” when it comes to threatening the use of force, but after three years of a feckless engagement policy followed by a largely ineffective effort to impose sanctions on Iran, it’s hard to find anyone who really believes he would actually launch a strike to prevent the ayatollahs from getting their hands on a nuclear weapon.

[H]is credibility is undermined by his disingenuous attempt to deny that until his re-election campaign began the keynote of his Middle East policy was to distance the United States from Israel. Equally false is his attempt to make it seem as if he doesn’t despise Israel’s prime minister.

Obama complains that it is unfair to characterize his administration as unfriendly to Israel. But in order to buy into his assumption, you have to ignore the entire tenor and much of the substance of the U.S.-Israel relationship since January 2009. Though, as I have often written, Barack Obama has not sought to obstruct the decades-old security alliance between the two countries, he has needlessly and repeatedly quarreled with Israel’s government in such a way as to create the justified impression there is a wide gap between America and the Jewish state on a host of issues including borders, security arrangements, Jerusalem and settlements.

More to the point, despite Obama’s statements about an Iranian nuke being as much a danger to the United States and the West as it is to Israel, talk is cheap, and that is all he has ever done on the issue. That has left Israel with the impression Obama will never take action on an issue that is an existential threat to the Jewish state.

For all of his lip service to the Iranian threat, Obama clearly is still more worried about Israel [striking Iran].

But the problem is Obama is bluffing when he talks about being willing to hit Iran. His halfhearted attempt to force Iran to its knees via sanctions is failing, and the idea that waiting until the end of the year (when, Obama hopes, he will be safely re-elected and thus free from needing to worry about Jewish voters or donors) to see if it works is just hot air. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, who will be in Washington to meet with Obama following his address to the AIPAC conference, knows this, and that will be focal point of their next confrontation.

The divide here is not between a Democrat and a member of the Likud but between an American who is ambivalent about Israel and an Israeli who is deeply sympathetic to the United States. Obama [trying] to portray himself as Israel’s best friend only reinforces the phony nature of the president’s Jewish charm offensive.
[Commentary]
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"I Do Not Have a Policy of Containment" for Iran -President Obama

"Iran's leaders should understand that I do not have a policy of containment; I have a policy to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. And as I have made clear time and again during the course of my presidency, I will not hesitate to use force when it is necessary to defend the United States and its interests."
[White House]
 
 
Obama Says U.S. Serious about Using Force -Christi Parsons & Paul Richter

President Obama said for the first time that he did not view "containment" as an option if Iran developed a nuclear weapon. A containment strategy would not work because of the danger of nuclear arms spreading throughout the region, he said. That would threaten not only the security of Israel, but also that of the U.S. and Europe.
(Los Angeles Times)


Gray Area Between the Red Lines -Dan Margalit

Both the U.S. and Israel have declared unequivocally that they will not allow Iran to gain nuclear capabilities. The dispute is only about where the red line is drawn. If Israel accepts the U.S.'s way of thinking, it is in fact leaving the attack on Iran's nuclear facilities entirely up to the Americans, relinquishing its ability to exercise independent judgment. And what if the White House changes its mind?
(Israel Hayom)

 
Obama's Hawkish Iran Turn -Editorial
 
As White House U-turns go, President Obama's hawkish rhetorical shift on Iran in the last week has been remarkable. The question now is whether Israel, and especially Iran, will believe that he means it after three years of trying to woo the mullahs to the bargaining table with diplomacy.

Mr. Obama opened the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Sunday with a keynote whose strong talk on Iran kept the audience coming to its feet.

The timing of all this is no accident as Benjamin Netanyahu meets Mr. Obama in the White House today amid intense speculation about an imminent Israeli strike on Iran. In an interview with Journal editors, Eyal Gabbai, the former director general of the Israeli Prime Minister's office, said Mr. Netanyahu's meeting with Mr. Obama "will be the last time they can speak face-to-face before a decision is taken."

[S]enior Administration officials have repeatedly sounded as if their top priority is deterring Israel, rather than stopping Iran from getting a bomb. As recently as November, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said a military strike would have "unintended consequences" and wouldn't necessarily result in "deterring Iran from what they want to do." In the last two weeks, Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey said an Israeli strike would be "destabilizing," while Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified that the Iranians haven't decided to build a bomb. Little wonder the Israelis are nervous about U.S. resolve.

The question Mr. Netanyahu and Israeli leaders have to ponder is whether Mr. Obama now means what he says. The President has built up an immense trust deficit with Israel that can't be easily dispensed in a week. All the more so when Israelis know that this is an election year when Mr. Obama needs to appear more pro-Israel than he would if he is re-elected.

It's welcome news if Mr. Obama is now trying to put those fears to rest, but he is also more outspoken than ever in trying to avert Israel from acting on its own. "Do we want a distraction in which Iran can portray itself as a victim, and deflect attention from what has to be the core issue, which is their pursuit of nuclear weapons?" Mr. Obama told Mr. Goldberg—the "distraction" here meaning an Israeli attack.

It's good to hear Mr. Obama finally sounding serious about stopping a nuclear Iran. But if he now finds himself pleading with Israel not to take matters in its own hands, he should know his Administration's vacillation and mixed signals have done much to force Jerusalem's hand. More fundamentally, a President who says he doesn't "bluff" had better be prepared to act if his bluff is called.
(Wall Street Journal)
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The Real Meaning of Obama's New Policy -Barry Rubin

Whether he realizes it or not, Obama changed history with his AIPAC speech. What he did is to make a war between Israel and Iran almost inevitable, let’s say more than 90 percent probable, most likely some time in late 2013, 2014, or 2015.

What a lot of people are going to miss is not that Israel now thinks Obama is reliable but that it knows he has now locked publicly into a major commitment. If Israel ever were to attack an Iran on the verge of getting nuclear weapons, how is Obama going to bash Israel for doing so? In effect, then, Israel has traded patience for freedom of action.

If and when Iran obtains a nuclear weapon then the U.S. government will support an attack by Israel on Iranian nuclear facilities. It might even join in with such an attack.

This is a commitment that cannot be retracted. It will apply whether Obama wins or loses the election. It will apply if he changes his mind. Some will see his action as heroic; others will see it as reckless. But it makes no sense to see it as false or to nitpick about his precise definition of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons.

The phrase often quoted from Obama’s speech—that U.S. policy will not take any instrument off the table—is not important. It is the standard U.S. line we have heard for years. Obama has now gone far beyond this. The new U.S. position is that if Iran builds a single atomic bomb that means force sufficient to destroy its nuclar capacity entirely is the only instrument on the table. What is important is that Obama’s speech provides a green light for an Israeli attack.

[Obama] has defined destroying Iran’s nuclear capability as a basic U.S. interest. He has left himself no way out. Some believe that Obama will back off this commitment. But what’s he going to do if Israel attacks in a year or two? Say that he wanted Israel to wait another week or month...?

We are now on the road to war. That’s what is important, not whether Obama gained votes or whether he is sincere or at precisely what second U.S. policymakers decide Iran has met the conditions for getting bombed.

This is huge and can be summarized as follows:
Iran gets nukes. Boom!
[PJ Media]
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UPDATE:

Obama’s very small stick -Editorial

Speaking to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference, Mr. Obama touted his Sept. 2011 pro-Israel U.N. speech. “No president,” he said, “has made such a clear statement about our support for Israel at the United Nations at such a difficult time.”

But no other president has had to keep reiterating such support, because in every other administration it was implicit and understood. As former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher said, if you have to keep insisting you are a lady, you aren’t.
[Washington Times]
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Saturday, March 03, 2012

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Obama & Netanyahu to meet on Monday



Obama Officials Talking Tougher about Iran as Netanyahu Visit Approaches
-John Walcott

Obama administration officials are escalating warnings that the U.S. could join Israel in attacking Iran if the Islamic republic doesn't dispel concerns that its nuclear program is aimed at producing weapons.

Israeli officials have told their U.S. counterparts they think the Iranians see what they consider a pattern of irresolute administration behavior that includes abandoning former Egyptian President Mubarak, taking only a supporting role in the overthrow of Libya's Gaddafi, indecision on how to deal with violence in Syria, a rush to withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan, failure to retaliate against Iran for plotting to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the U.S...
(Bloomberg)


Israel's Last Chance to Strike Iran -Amos Yadlin

On Monday, Mr. Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel are to meet in Washington. Of all their encounters, this could be the most critical.

Asking Israel's leaders to abide by America's timetable, and hence allowing Israel's window of opportunity to be closed, is to make Washington a de facto proxy for Israel's security - a tremendous leap of faith for Israelis faced with a looming Iranian bomb.

It doesn’t help when American officials warn Israel against acting without clarifying what America intends to do once its own red lines are crossed.

Mr. Obama will therefore have to shift the Israeli defense establishment’s thinking from a focus on the “zone of immunity” to a “zone of trust.” What is needed is an ironclad American assurance that if Israel refrains from acting in its own window of opportunity — and all other options have failed to halt Tehran’s nuclear quest — Washington will act to prevent a nuclear Iran while it is still within its power to do so.

I hope Mr. Obama will make this clear. If he does not, Israeli leaders may well choose to act while they still can.
(New York Times)
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President has backed every uprising except Iran’s -Jeffrey T. Kuhner

Mr. Obama has supported every major uprising in the Muslim world - except the only one that truly sought to establish a pro-American, secular democracy. In 2009, Iranians protested stolen elections. The Green Revolution wanted an end to the mullahs, their implacable hostility to the West and the desire for a nuclear-armed Iran. Millions poured onto the streets of Tehran and other cities.

Mr. Obama remained silent. He did not wish to offend the ayatollahs, hoping to appease Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. This act will go down in history as the most craven, reckless decision of the Obama presidency; the moment when America blinked in its confrontation with Iran, squandering a golden opportunity for its besieged people to overthrow the vile clerical fascist regime.

Mr. Obama turned his back on the Iranian opposition - unlike Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Libya and now, increasingly, Syria. He has betrayed our friends while rewarding our mortal enemies.

Future generations will ask: Who lost the Middle East? Historians will write: Mr. Obama did.
[The Washington Times]
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