Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Thank Israel that Syria's Assad Doesn't Have Nukes -Alan Elsner
The danger presented today by the presence of Syrian chemical and biological weapons is bad enough. Just think how much more dangerous the situation would have been if there were loose nukes lying around. The world should be thankful that the Assad regime never succeeded in developing nuclear weapons - which almost happened in 2007.
Syria was building a nuclear reactor similar to North Korea's Yongbyon reactor which was used to build nuclear bombs. The Mossad assessment was that the reactor would become "hot" within a few months and would produce enough plutonium for a nuclear bomb within a year. Once it went online, the reactor could not have been attacked without the danger of spreading deadly radiation throughout the region.
After U.S. President George W. Bush refused an Israeli request in June 2007 to bomb the facility, Israel did so in a two-minute air raid on Sept. 6, 2007. The International Atomic Energy Agency said in June 2011 that the destroyed building "was very likely" a nuclear reactor.
As the Syrian situation proves today, Israel did the entire world a huge favor.
The video above documents the mistakes Obama has made on Israel and the MidEast.
The article below highlights Obama's recent enhancement of the US - Israel relationship.
The article below highlights Obama's recent enhancement of the US - Israel relationship.
Obama Signs U.S.-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act
President Obama signed the bipartisan U.S.-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act. The legislation provides additional support for various defense systems as well as the extension of loan guarantees for Israel and encouragement of an expanded role for Israel within NATO. The president also announced an additional $70 million in spending for the Iron Dome anti-missile project.
Mitt Romney Captures Jerusalem -Barry Rubin
Speaking to an often-cheering group of about 400 people in Jerusalem, Governor Mitt Romney gave a speech less notable for what he said than for the fact that the audience believed he was sincere in saying it.
Romney's Remarkable Speech in Jerusalem -Daniel Pipes, PhD
Mitt Romney delivered a speech to the Jerusalem Foundation today, packing emotional support with frank policy statements. The contrast with Obama could hardly be more dramatic. Indeed, one could go through the speech and note the many refutations of Obama. For example, the opening comment that "To step foot into Israel is to step foot into a nation that began with an ancient promise made in this land" directly contrasts with Obama's crabbed statement in Cairo about "the aspiration for a Jewish homeland [being] rooted in a tragic history."
Also, in contrast to the nonsensical Obama administration stance on Jerusalem...Romney came out and plainly called Jerusalem "the capital of Israel."
But of the whole speech, it is the final words that most struck me: "May God bless America, and may He bless and protect the Nation of Israel." When last did a politician ask the Lord to protect another country and not his own?
[National Review Online]
Romney Backs Israeli Stance on Threat of Nuclear Iran -Jodi Rudoren & Ashley Parker
Mitt Romney adopted the language of Israel's leaders, who say Tehran must not even obtain the capability to build a nuclear weapon, a harder position than the United States has taken.
[New York Times]
Romney to Back Israel’s Right to Strike Iran -Ashley Parker
Mitt Romney plans to assert that he respects Israel’s right to take pre-emptive action to stop Iran from developing nuclear capabilities that could be used for a weapon.
Dan Senor, a senior Romney foreign policy adviser told reporters in a briefing before the speech that Mr. Romney would express — several times — that it was “unacceptable” for Iran to develop the capability to build nuclear weapons and his view that Israel does have the right to take action against Iran.
[New York Times]
Monday, July 30, 2012
Like it or Not, Jerusalem Is Israel's Capital -Michael J. Totten
White House press secretary Jim Carney refused to publicly name the capital of Israel Wednesday. This is all really quite silly. It's a fact - not an opinion - that Jerusalem is Israel's capital. Anyone who insists otherwise is in denial.
You may wish Tel Aviv was its capital. You may even wish a united Al Quds was the capital of the Arab state of Palestine. But those things can only be true in an alternate universe or in the future. In this universe, in 2012, Israel exists and Jerusalem is its capital. Only one of Israel's national government buildings - the ministry of defense - is in Tel Aviv. All the others are in Jerusalem.
Carney doesn't want Arab governments to have a conniption fit. The problem is that he is enabling delusional rejectionists. Letting self-destructive beliefs and behavior go unchecked always makes the problem worse in the long run.
(World Affairs Journal)
Egyptian President Meets Hamas' Gaza Leader -Tom Perry & Nidal al-Mughrabi
Gaza Islamist leader Ismail Haniyeh met Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi in an official visit that signaled a big shift in Cairo's stance toward Hamas after the election of a Muslim Brotherhood head of state in Egypt. Mubarak never recognized the Hamas administration which has governed Gaza since 2007.
Hamas Rising -Jonathan Schanzer
Hamas is riding high on the beneficence of two of the Middle East's emerging Sunni powerhouses. In February, Hamas announced a $250 million deal with Qatar for reconstruction projects. Doha is also providing funds for sports and housing projects. And Qatar appears to be the new global headquarters of the Hamas politburo after Damascus.
Turkey's Islamist government has also embraced Hamas, both economically and diplomatically. Hamas has also enjoyed a red-carpet welcome in Tunisia, where the Islamist al-Nahda party has taken the reins of power.
The victory of the Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi in Egypt's presidential elections has energized Hamas. Hamas, unlike the PA, has never needed Western handouts.
Arab Spring: A Blessing for Hamas -Khaled Abu Toameh
Thanks to the "Arab Spring," Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal [pictured] has, for the first time ever, entered the Presidential Palace in Cairo. Until recently, Mashaal and other Hamas leaders were considered personae non gratae in both Jordan and Egypt. The rising power of Hamas makes any talk about a peace process sound like a joke.
PA Thanks Olympic Committee for Refusing Munich Memorial -Khaled Abu Toameh
Jibril Rajoub, head of the Palestinian Football Federation, sent a letter to International Olympic Committee chairman Jacques Rogge thanking him for refusing to hold a minute of silence at Friday's opening ceremony in London to mark the 40th anniversary of the murder of 11 Israeli sportsmen at the 1972 Munich Games, the PA's official news agency, WAFA, reported.
Shameful: IOC Can't Spare a Minute -Bill Plaschke
Jacques Rogge, president of the International Olympic Committee, reportedly told Ankie Spitzer, wife of slain fencing coach Andrei Spitzer, that in this matter, his hands were tied. "Your hands are tied?" Spitzer replied. "My husband's hands were tied. So were his feet."
(Los Angeles Times)
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Syria threatens Israel with chemical weapons, Obama pressures Israel
Today it was reported that the Syrian regime is threatening Israel with chemical weapons. According to Reuters' report:
Foreign Ministry spokesman Jihad Makdissi said the army would not use chemical weapons to crush rebels but could use them against forces from outside the country. "Any chemical or bacterial weapons will never be used ... during the crisis in Syria regardless of the developments," Makdissi said. "These weapons are stored and secured by Syrian military forces and under its direct supervision and will never be used unless Syria faces external aggression."
Israel of course has not threatened to attack Syria. Rather Israel has made clear that it reserves the right to use force to prevent the embattled terror sponsor Bashar Assad from transferring his chemical and biological weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
And now Syria is responding by threatening to attack Israel with chemical weapons.
[J]ust as Iran has done with its nuclear weapons program, Syria has pointed its gun at Israel's head. We know where they want to take this. And if Israel is to survive this Islamist tsunami, things are likely to get very ugly, and very violent very quickly.
To confront these massive threats, Israel could really use American support, even if it is only rhetorical.
[But o]ver the weekend, the US response was that the US is concerned about Israel acting unilaterally.
The Syrian government is daily engaging in massacre. Its opponents, for their part are increasingly open about their jihadist ideology, spurring the Christians of Syria to flee from their homes, and the Alawite minority to fear for their lives. But what makes the Americans most fearful is that these competing groups of terror sponsors and mass murderers will find their arsenals of genocide destroyed by Israel, acting in self-defense.
If this sounds familiar, it is. This is, after all, Obama's primary concern about Iran and its nuclear weapons program.
Many have criticized Obama by arguing that he has no policy on Syria. But actually, he does. He sees Syria in the same light that he sees Iran. In both cases, his main concern is to prevent Israel from defending itself.
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
|Woman protesting in Tahir Square, prior to the departure of Mubarak. Such Egyptian liberals are, according to Dr. Pipes, "the country's only hope and the West's only allies"|
Egypt's Sixty Years of Misery -Daniel Pipes, PhD
This week marks 60 years since Egypt's self-proclaimed Free Officers overthrew the constitutional monarchy of King Farouq – and the first anniversary when one can imagine the demise of the military despotism that so long has wounded the country. Sadly, its most likely replacement will bring on an even worse rule.
The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces [SCAF] still runs the country, the Muslim Brotherhood wants to push it aside. Which of these unworthy, autocratic forces will win?
SCAF has, in my view, an 80 percent chance of holding power, meaning that Islamists will prevail only if they display enough talent.
SCAF cleverly sidelined the Muslim Brotherhood's most charismatic and capable leader, Khairat al-Shater on dubious technical grounds. That left the much less competent Mohamed Morsi as the brotherhood's standard-bearer and the country's new president. His first few weeks have shown him to be a mumbler and bumbler with no aptitude for waging political battle even against the incompetents who staff SCAF.
As Egyptians endure the 60th anniversary of the military's power grab, they have little to look forward to. [A]t least they are not suffering through the first anniversary of Islamist rule. Better domination by greedy soldiers than by Islamist ideologues.
But Egyptians and their supporters abroad can aspire to better. The liberals who rallied in Tahrir Square remain the country's only hope and the West's only allies; they deserve support.
However remote they are from the corridors of power, their rise uniquely offers an antidote to sixty years of tyranny and decline.
[National Review Online]
Monday, July 23, 2012
|Click for larger view|
Syrian Regime Loyalists Losing Confidence -Rami G. Khouri
Bashar Assad's regime is fatally injured. It is losing credibility and confidence with those who have supported and served it for decades, especially security agency personnel.
The fighting in Damascus and the bombing of the national security council meeting indicate that if the regime cannot protect its top military officers, whom can it protect? Such questioning by regime loyalists will determine the pace of the regime's collapse.
[T]he center of gravity of this political struggle shifted to military developments. (Daily Star-Lebanon)
WMD transfer to Hezbollah would justify war -Herb Keinon
The transfer of chemical weapons from Syria to Hezbollah is a clear casus belli, and Israel will act "decisively and without hesitation or restraint," Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said.
Speaking at a press conference at the EU-Israel Association Council meeting in Brussels, Liberman said this would be "a completely different ballgame, and we hope for the understanding and cooperation of the international community."
Sunday, July 22, 2012
Jewish Blood Is Cheap -Deborah E. Lipstadt
For the past few months there has been a concerted effort to get the International Olympic Committee to set aside one minute of silence at the opening ceremony at this year's games to commemorate the Israeli athletes who were murdered at the Munich games in 1972.
IOC President Juan Samaranch said the Olympic movement avoided political issues, though at the 1996 opening ceremony he spoke about the Bosnian war. The 2002 games opened with a minute of silence for the victims of 9/11. At the 2010 winter games, there was a moment of silence to commemorate an athlete who died in a training accident.
The IOC's explanation is nothing more than a pathetic excuse. The athletes who were murdered were from Israel and were Jews - that is why they aren't being remembered. I have long inveighed against the tendency of some to see anti-Semitism behind every action that is critical of Israel or of Jews. Here the charge is absolutely accurate.
This was the greatest tragedy to ever occur during the Olympic Games. Imagine for a moment that these athletes had been from the U.S., Canada, Australia, or even Germany.
The writer is Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory University.
|Experts fear an Iranian terror attack on the London Olympics|
Jerusalem Post video highlighting the terror attack in Bulgaria
|Screenshot of terror sleazeball dressed as an American tourist|
|The bus being carted away|
Why Iran Is Targeting Israelis Abroad -Michael Widlanski
Hizbullah and Iran have been concentrating on generally "soft" targets away from Israel for two reasons: They're easier to hit than targets in Israel, and they make it harder for Israel to justify a direct reprisal on Iran or Hizbullah.
Israeli strategists also believe that Iran and Hizbullah are using the attacks to force Israel to lose its focus on Iran, undermining Israel's drive to stop Iran's nuclear program.
Israeli intelligence believes there are more Iranian-directed terror squads trying to attack Israelis.
(New York Post)
Time for More Surgery -Hirsh Goodman
In the early 1970s, a spate of attacks hit Israeli targets around the world, with the 1972 attack on the Israeli delegation to the Munich Olympics being only one of many examples. Prime minister Golda Meir entrusted Aaron Yariv, a former head of Military Intelligence, to deal with the issue. Her orders to Yariv, as he later recounted, were simple: Cut off the head of the snake, she said, and the body will die soon after, and with that gave him a mandate to go after the terrorist leadership wherever they may be.
With systematic efficiency and in silence, Yariv's team surgically removed dozens of key international terror operatives, often on the soil of countries friendly to Israel. Boats sank, cars exploded, rifles fired backwards, grenades went off unexpectedly early, supposed businessmen died getting into their limousines on the streets of Paris and others fell onto the rails of oncoming subways.
Now we have yet another cycle of international terror being directed against Israelis. So it's time for more surgery. Terror, unfortunately, is something we know a lot about. Let the professionals deal with the problem and the surgeons do their work.
The writer is a senior research associate at the Institute for National Security Studies at Tel Aviv University.
Holding Iran Accountable for Terrorist Attacks -Editorial
The Bulgaria bombing, in which five Israelis were killed, was the ninth plot pinned on Iran this year and the third this month. The string of attacks offers a stark answer to the question of whether the regime of Ayatollah Khamenei is prepared to compromise with the West.
The international response to Iran's terrorism should be far more vigorous than it has been so far. If Iran suffers no consequences from its acts of terrorism, they will continue.
Behind the International Terrorism Campaign of Hizbullah and Iran
The deadly terrorist attack in Bulgaria is part of a combined, planned, and ongoing terror campaign waged by Iran and Hizbullah over the last year against Israeli and Jewish targets. The immediate background is the desire for revenge and the drive to create a balance of terror against Israel in light of what Iran and Hizbullah see as Israel's campaign against them.
It may be that Iran is determined to draw Israel into a harsh reaction against Hizbullah in Lebanon in response to terrorist attacks abroad. This would divert Israel from Iran, and perhaps even Syria. If an attack against an Israeli airplane results in the deaths of hundreds of Israelis, Israel would be forced to respond very harshly against Hizbullah in Lebanon and perhaps also against Iran.
Precisely for this reason it is best for Israel to respond at a time of its own choosing, in a targeted and covert fashion, against the perpetrators and those who dispatch them, rather than be drawn into a violent war.
(Institute for National Security Studies-Tel Aviv University)
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
|Abba Eban famously oberved: "The Arabs never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity"|
Israel Is in Good Shape -Barry Rubin
On the surface, the surge of revolutionary Islamism certainly looks bad for Israel, but [i]nternal battles will disrupt Arab armies and economies, reducing their ability to fight against Israel.
As for Iran, it has lost virtually all of its non-Shia Muslim assets, notably Hamas. In general, Arab Sunni Islamists don't like either Iran or Shia Muslims and are certainly not going to follow Tehran's lead. The big Middle East conflict of the future is not the Arab-Israeli but the Sunni-Shia one.
The Palestinians threw away the greatest opportunity they've ever had. The Obama administration was ready to become the most pro-Palestinian government in American history. Instead, the Palestinians refused to cooperate with Obama, rejecting his initiatives and refusing even to negotiate with Israel. Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, the PA repeatedly showed the U.S. government that it was the intransigent party.
|Christians demonstrated outside Mrs Clinton's hotel over U.S. support for the Islamist government|
|Clinton & Islamist President Morsi|
|Clinton and General Tantawi, the real leader in Egypt and currently the only thing restraining Islamist President Morsi from implementing Muslim Brotherhood policy|
Hillary's motorcade pelted with tomatoes and shoes
Hillary Clinton was targeted by protesters who threw tomatoes and their own shoes at her motorcade during a visit to Egypt. Demonstrators also mockingly chanted 'Monica, Monica' in reference to Bill Clinton's extra-marital affair.
The Secretary of State was on her first trip to Egypt since the election of the country's new Islamist President, Mohammed Morsi.
During the protests in Alexandria, a tomato struck an Egyptian official in the face, and shoes and a water bottle landed near the armoured cars carrying Mrs Clinton's aides.
A senior State Department official said that neither Mrs Clinton nor her vehicle, which were around the corner from the incident, were struck by any of the projectiles.
She also met the country's top general, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, on Sunday to discuss Egypt's turbulent democratic transition as the military wrestles for influence with the new president. The meeting came a day after she met Mr Morsi, whose powers were clipped by the military days before he took office. Speaking after the meeting, Mr Tantawi said the army respected the presidency but would not be deterred from its role of 'protecting' Egypt.
Exclusion of Israel at Counter-Terror Conference Raises Concern -Michael Widlanski
Top U.S. administration officials have said they think Egypt's Brotherhood is moderate. In response, IDF Maj.-Gen. Amos Gilad observed, "[Egyptian President] Morsi says 'I want an Islamic caliphate (empire) whose capital is Jerusalem,' and what do they [the Americans] say: 'Don't believe him. He doesn't really mean it.' Well, he does mean it."
Sunday, July 15, 2012
Israel Improves Human Trafficking Record -Nathan Guttman
From nailing pimps to cracking down on forced labor, Israel is doing a much better job of preventing so-called human trafficking, according to a new report by the U.S. Department of State.
Trumpeting successes like the convictions of a pimp who sold Eastern European women into sex slavery for $5,000, Israeli officials say they are proud to have made the top tier of an annual report on the issue, put out by the United States.
“We didn’t do this to satisfy the State Department,” said Rachel Gershuni, national anti-trafficking coordinator at Israel’s Ministry of Justice. “We did it because Israel thought it was the right thing to do.”
The upgrade means that, for the first time, the United States regards Israel among the countries actively fighting trafficking of people for prostitution and slavery and taking care of trafficking victims.
Friday, July 13, 2012
|60 Years of Friendship between Israel and France - Joint Issue |
These stamps commemorate the 60th anniversary of the first flight from Israel to France and of the State of Israel's independence. That flight symbolizes the beginning of the ties and cooperation that exist between the two countries.
The Islamist ascendancy: What the Arab Spring has wrought
Post-revolutionary Libya appears to have elected a relatively moderate pro-Western government. Good news, but tentative because Libya is less a country than an oil well with a long beach and myriad tribes. Popular allegiance to a central national authority is weak. Yet even if the government of Mahmoud Jibril is able to rein in the militias and establish a functioning democracy, it will be the Arab Spring exception.
Tunisia and Morocco, the most Westernized of all Arab countries, elected Islamist governments. Moderate, to be sure, but Islamist still. Egypt, the largest and most influential, has experienced an Islamist sweep. The Muslim Brotherhood didn’t just win the presidency. It won nearly half the seats in parliament, while more openly radical Islamists won 25 percent. Combined, they command more than 70 percent of parliament — enough to control the writing of a constitution (which is why the generals hastily dissolved parliament).
As for Syria, if and when Bashar al-Assad falls, the Brotherhood will almost certainly inherit power. Jordan could well be next. And the Brotherhood’s Palestinian wing (Hamas) already controls Gaza.
What does this mean? That the Arab Spring is a misnomer. This is an Islamist ascendancy, likely to dominate Arab politics for a generation.
Genuinely democratic rule may yet come to Arab lands. Radical Islam is the answer to nothing, as demonstrated by the repression, social backwardness and civil strife of Taliban Afghanistan, Islamist Sudan and clerical Iran.
The only thing we can be sure of today, however, is that Arab nationalism is dead and Islamism is its successor. This is what the Arab Spring has wrought. The beginning of wisdom is facing that difficult reality.
[Jewish World Review]
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
The Israel Defense Forces: First for Women -Nick Hopkins
The Israeli military is the most progressive in the world in terms of gender equality. Almost one-third of the force and 50% of its officers are female. Some 92% of roles are now open to women.
In the UK, only 13% of the armed forces are women, while there are only slightly more in the U.S. army (13.4%).
|This ancient statue was destroyed by the Taliban in March 2001, complaining that the Buddhas represented polytheistic idols|
The Islamist pyramid scheme -Editorial
Radical Muslims want to tear down Egypt’s pyramids and take over the world. The least the rest of us can do is take them seriously.
Islamist political victories in Egypt have invigorated the debate in certain circles over what to do with the country’s historical sites, or as the extremists call them, the symbols of pagan idolatry. The most pious Muslim theologians do not see the ancient statues, carvings and pyramids as important tourist destinations so much as affronts to their beliefs. Bahraini Sunni leader Abdal-Latif al-Mahmoud called on the Egyptians to “destroy the Pyramids..."
Others [in Egypt] plan to bring this same degree of common sense and tolerance to the rest of the world. This week a group called the United Muslim Nations International released a 23-page pamphlet entitled “The Global Islamic Civilization: The Power of a Nation Revived” which outlines a plan for Islamic world domination.
The group’s leader, Sheik Farook al-Mohammedi, writes in the plan that “Christianity should be destroyed and wiped from the face of the earth,” along with all faiths other than Islam. He maintains that “submission to Allah” will be the future of the “Islamic State of America” and “Eurabia” and other parts of the world not currently under the sway of Shariah.
Lest anyone dismiss the notion that any government would be so foolish as to destroy the only surviving ancient wonder of the world, the threat is real. The Taliban set the modern standard when they ruled Afghanistan. In 2001, they dynamited the monumental, 1,500-year-old Buddha statues carved into a mountain face at Bamiyan.
[The Washington Times]
The U.S.-Egyptian Relationship -Aaron David Miller
•Beneath the "isn't democracy wonderful (and messy)" platitudes emanating from the State Department, three fundamental contradictions are likely to keep America's ties with Egypt in the doldrums for some time to come.
•First, the democracy problem. The good news is that Egypt has competitive politics; the bad news is that the two forces that are competing - the military and the Muslim Brotherhood - are inherently undemocratic, perhaps even anti-democratic, both in structure and philosophy.
•Secretary of State Clinton can give rousing speeches in defense of democracy, but the Obama administration lacks real leverage, or at least leverage it's prepared to use. The $1.5 billion in U.S. military aid will continue to flow (for now) because without it we'll have no influence; and after providing so much aid to authoritarian Hosni Mubarak, how can we now cut assistance as Egypt tries to democratize?
•Second, the Israel problem. The intimacy of the U.S.-Egyptian relationship began as a direct result of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty. If the Egypt-Israel relationship goes south (and it will), how do we expect to keep the U.S.-Egypt relationship on the rails?
•The military will abide by the letter of the treaty, but the spirit - comatose for some time now - may go into complete arrest as Egyptian public opinion plays a greater role in setting the tone on Israel. The bet is that as the anti-Israel rhetoric gets hotter, so will U.S. congressional reaction.
•Third, the Egyptians-hate-our-policy problem. In the latest Pew polls, 76% of Egyptians had an unfavorable view of the Obama administration; Shibley Telhami found that 85% had an unfavorable view of the U.S. in general. Support among our politicians and the public for aiding countries that criticize America is going to contract.
The writer is a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center.
(Los Angeles Times)
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Settling Truths -Editorial
•Three legal experts on a government-appointed advisory body have concluded that the 45-year-old settlement project, which has reunited the Jewish people to land resonating with Jewish history dating back thousands of years, cannot in any way be construed as an international crime.
•Backed up by their intimate knowledge of international law, they argue that the British Mandate, which was ratified by the League of Nations, called for the creation of "a national home for the Jewish people" in the territory west of the Jordan River, including Judea and Samaria.
•The 1947 UN Partition Plan for Palestine never replaced the British Mandate since it was rejected by both the Palestinian Arab Higher Committee and by the states of the Arab League. While in the wake of Israel's War of Independence, Jordan seized control of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and parts of Jerusalem, Jordan's sovereignty was never recognized by the international community.
•Thus, the territory enjoys a unique status in international law as land that has never been unequivocally set aside for a specific people by the international community.
•While these conclusions might not succeed in convincing Israel's detractors that settlements are legal, at least the plain truth has now been reiterated - for the record.
Settlements' Legality Won't Prevent Peace -Jonathan S. Tobin
The release of a report on the legality of Israel's presence in the West Bank commissioned by Prime Minister Netanyahu is being widely dismissed by critics of his government as well as those of the Jewish state. Opposition to the settlements is so deeply entrenched that there is no argument, no matter how grounded in logic or justice, that would persuade those committed to the myth settlements are the only obstacle to peace, that they are not illegal.
But those horrified by the fact that Israel is willing to assert that it has rights in the West Bank that are as worthy of respect as those of the Arabs, are not just wrong about the legal arguments. Their assumption that a belief in the settlements' legality makes a peace deal impossible is equally mistaken. The assertion of Jewish rights merely means Israel has a leg to stand on when negotiating the permanent status of the West Bank and Jerusalem.
The Palestinians are unwilling to recognize Israel's legitimacy as a Jewish state no matter where its borders are drawn. It is that reluctance to give up their opposition to Jewish sovereignty even inside the Green Line that prevents peace. So long as the Palestinians are encouraged to believe they can uproot all of the Jews, including those living in the Jewish settlement known as Tel Aviv, it won't matter what the legal scholars say.
Monday, July 09, 2012
|This poster is a spoof. The story below is, unfortunately, true.|
Abbas to Attend Tehran Summit -Avi Issacharoff
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will visit Tehran in late August to attend a summit of the Non-Aligned Movement, after he was invited by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Palestinian officials said.
Abbas Decision to Attend Iran Parley Irks Israel -Herb Keinon
Israeli officials slammed PA President Mahmoud Abbas for accepting an Iranian invitation to attend a conference in Tehran. "Abbas has to get off the fence and decide whom he is with," one official said. "He cannot on the one hand say he believes in peace and reconciliation, and on the other hand embrace Hamas and the Iranian leadership." The official said Abbas could not tell Israel he was a partner for peace "if he is a partner with these extreme elements."
One diplomatic official in Jerusalem said the question should not be as much why Abbas is attending, but rather why the Non-Aligned Movement is holding a meeting in Iran in the first place.
Friday, July 06, 2012
Presbyterian Christians Almost Pass Anti-Israel Resolution, While Their Fellow Christians Suffer Under Islam
|A monastery in Mishtaya, Syria. The Presbyterian's did not discuss the plight of their co-religionists in Syria.|
U.S. Presbyterians Reject Israel Divestment
The Presbyterian General Assembly voted 333-331, with two abstentions, to reject a proposal Thursday to divest from three companies that do business with Israel. Major Jewish groups from across the political spectrum had lobbied furiously against the measure. The American Jewish Committee said the proposal demonized Israel and threatened Christian-Jewish relations.
Syria's Threatened Christians -Daniel Brode, Roger Farhat & Daniel Nisman
Last month, Christian residents of the Syrian city of Qusayr received an ominous warning: Either join the Sunni-led opposition against Bashar al-Assad or leave. Soon after, thousands of Christians fled the town.
Throughout the years, Christians, like many other minorities in the region, have lent their support to those regimes that have guaranteed their security and religious freedom. Watching their once-shielding dictators fall like dominos across the region, Christians have suddenly found themselves on the wrong side of history. Faced by a rising tide of radical Sunni Islam, Christians in Iraq and Egypt have fled by the thousands.
In March, Islamist militants went door to door in neighborhoods of Homs, expelling local Christians. Of the more than 80,000 Christians who lived in Homs prior to the uprising, approximately 400 remain today. As rebel forces continue to chip away at Assad's control over the country, Syria's Christians continue to be expelled or held at the mercy of an increasingly extremist Sunni opposition.
(New York Times)
Yes, It's Personal -Editorial
The one continuous message many Presbyterian leaders have sent in the run-up to the vote in Pittsburgh, is that it's nothing personal. They say they really have a deep respect for the Jewish community and that they hope these measures will promote a lasting peace. Sorry, but we don't buy that...
To lay the blame for the failed peace effort squarely at Israel's feet is to ignore way too many facts on the ground, not to mention facts of history. And to banter the word "apartheid" around, is nothing more than incitement by the Presbyterian Church USA.
This is personal to the Jewish world, and the PC (USA) needs to know that.
U.S. Presbyterians Boycott Israeli Cosmetics Company Ahava -Ran Dagoni
The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church USA voted 457 to 180 to boycott Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories Ltd. and Hadiklaim Israel Date Growers Co-operative Ltd.
One delegate said he opposed the boycott because his dermatologist highly recommended Ahava products.
|Suha Arafat, who refuses to release her husband's French medical records, nonetheless is calling for an exhumation of his body, in a bizarre attempt to pin Arafat's death on Israel. Arafat is thought by some to have died from AIDS contracted from homosexual affairs. Until Mrs. Arafat releases the medical records, speculation on his diagnosis will continue...and Palestinians will continue to spread bizarre rumors to demonize Israel.|
"Polonium Found on Arafat's Clothing Was Planted" -Yaakov Lappin
The high levels of the radioactive poison polonium reportedly found on the belongings of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat indicate that the toxin was planted on them long after his death, Dr. Ely Karmon of the Institute for Counterterrorism at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya said.
Polonium has a half-life of 138 days, "meaning that half of the substance decays roughly every four-and-a-half months." Yet, eight years after Arafat's death, Swiss scientists reported finding polonium at high levels. "If it had been used for poisoning, minimal levels should be seen now. Yet much higher levels were found. Someone planted the polonium much later."
Karmon also asked: "If Suha Arafat safeguarded these contaminated materials, why, after seven years, was she not poisoned too?"
The Real Arafat Mystery… Where’s the Money?
[Y]ou [s]hould see story after story about Suha Arafat living the jet set lifestyle, shuttling between homes in France and Malta, all funded by the ill-gotten gains of Palestinian corruption. But you don't.
You don't hear how, after Arafat's death, Palestinian Authority leaders reportedly agreed to pay Suha $22 million a year out of secret accounts.
You don't hear how at one time Suha had stayed in the luxury Bristol Paris Hotel and had rented an entire floor for herself and her assistants at a cost of $16,000 a night.
You don't hear about the money-laundering investigation conducted by French authorities into Suha's finances.
You don't even hear about the warrant issued by Tunisian authorities seeking to question Suha in connection with the theft of money intended to fund a school.
And, despite her current protestations that she wants the truth to prevail and seeks to learn the cause of Arafat's death, at the time of his illness, Suha would not even allow medical testing to be done. In fact, Palestinian leaders tried to bribe her into allowing them access to Arafat, at one point offering her $2 million which she rejected.
In the meantime, Finance Minister Nabil Kassis recently announced that the Palestinian Authority could not pay their employees and said the PA financial crisis is "the worst" in three years. This is true despite the fact that international donors, including the United States, have given the PA billions of dollars over the years.
Therefore, one has to ask what happened to the PA money? Where does Suha Arafat get the money to live her lavish lifestyle? And... Where's the coverage?
Israel: We Never Physically Harmed Arafat -Daniel Estrin
A former Israeli official denied that Israel poisoned Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, as France prepared to begin an investigation into his possible murder. Dov Weisglass, chief of staff to then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon at the time of Arafat's death in 2004, said Israel had no reason to physically harm the Palestinian leader, who was confined to his headquarters in Ramallah for the last two years of his life.
"We did not physically hurt him when Arafat was in his prime...so all the more so we had no interest in this kind of activity when he was politically sidelined," Weisglass told Israel's Army Radio.
When Palestinian doctors said Arafat was very ill and needed to be evacuated for treatment in France, Sharon immediately agreed, so Israel could not be accused of exacerbating his illness.
Arafat Probe Is Fuel for Anti-Israel Conspiracy Theorists -Jonathan Kay
It's tempting to think that the French investigation finally will put to rest conspiracy theories about Israel's involvement in Arafat's death. But history counsels otherwise. Conspiracy theories are never extinguished by official investigations. Furthermore, conspiracy theorists have a special fondness for Jews, and Zionist Jews in particular.
Thursday, July 05, 2012
|Yitzhak Shamir, of blessed memory, whose legacy includes the airlifting of 14,000 Ethiopian Jews|
•About a year ago, I was standing with Yitzhak Shamir's son, Yair, at a reception in Tel Aviv. At the end of our conversation, Yair said to me: "People ask, 'Must the sword devour forever?' And the answer is 'Yes, it will.'" I was dumbstruck. In the American, suburban home in which I was raised, we were taught that war was an aberration. Conflict is solvable.
•Yair's startling comment, one his father surely would have made, was a reminder of what has undoubtedly been the single most difficult dimension of making aliyah - learning to accept, however grudgingly, that the moral assumptions of my old life are wholly inapplicable to the place my family now calls home. The Middle East is not a Hebrew-speaking version of the comfortable, safe, suburban Baltimore in which I'd been raised. I had moved, Yair unintentionally reminded me, from the land of Jeffersonian optimism to the land of hard-edged biblical realism.
•Ours is not the world that Shamir and his generation inherited. Ours is a world in which the Jews are secure, and largely safe, in no small measure as a result of what those men and women did. Are we foolish enough to imagine that the British relinquished their hold on the colonies because early colonial Americans signed petitions? American Revolutionary heroes knew exactly what Shamir and others knew: The British would leave when the costs became too high.
•Yitzhak Shamir knew what he had seen, both in Europe and then in the Arab world, and he knew what it meant. He was no less ambivalent about the Arabs than he was about the Poles and refused to vote for Begin's peace treaty with Egypt. He thought Israel was paying far too high a price. Today, with the Muslim Brotherhood's rise to power in Cairo and with Israel now missing the Sinai as a buffer, is it possible that he was right?
The writer is Senior Vice President at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem.
Monday, July 02, 2012
Experts: Israel Didn't Kill Hamas Man in Damascus -Yaakov Lappin
Israel was not behind the assassination of Hamas operative Kamal Ranaja in Damascus, Israeli security experts told the Jerusalem Post.
Former senior Mossad member Rami Igra said, "Practically, it's not reasonable that Israel or a Western country would settle accounts with a man like this, at this stage, in Syria....He's not important enough....With certainty I can say, it was not Israel."
Damascus Hit "Too Cruel for Mossad" -Smadar Peri
Arab media reported that Kamal Ranaja suffered a particularly brutal death. Assassins broke into his apartment, interrogated him under torture and murdered him. They then cut off his head, placed the severed body parts in a closet and set the apartment on fire.
"The Mossad would have killed him differently, this was not its MO," said Mohamed Hifawi, a member of the Local Coordination Committees in Syria on behalf of Hamas. "Israeli assassins would have done it quicker and cleaner and would not have wasted time needlessly abusing the body."
"The way the body was mutilated and the attempt to burn the house are all methods that point to the involvement of the (Syrian) security forces," he told AFP.
|Perpetrator of the first World Trade Center bombing. The new President of Egypt seeks his release, probably in exchange for keeping the peace treaty with Israel.|
Egypt's New Leader Wants U.S. to Release Convicted Sheik -David D. Kirkpatrick
In a televised speech to tens of thousands of supporters in Tahrir Square, President-elect Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood promised to work for the release of Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, the Egyptian-born militant Islamist convicted after the 1993 World Trade Center attack of plotting to bomb several New York City landmarks.
(New York Times)
Obama's spectacular failure -Caroline Glick
By calling for Rahman's release, Morsi has aligned himself and his government with the US's worst enemies. By calling for Rahman's release during his unofficial inauguration ceremony, Morsi signaled that he cares more about winning the acclaim of the most violent, America-hating jihadists in the world than with cultivating good relations with America.
And in response to Morsi's supreme act of unfriendliness, US President Barack Obama invited Morsi to visit him at the White House.
[Jewish World Review]