Sunday, December 30, 2012

Pink Floyd and Hamas

Too many psychedelic drugs may have clouded the judgment of Pink Floyd's Roger Waters
 

 
The above video highlights Roger Waters' flirtation with Hamas and Israel bashing
 
 
 
Roger Waters, composer, lyricist, singer and bassist for rock mega-group Pink Floyd, has also become a "hero to genocidal terrorists" in his later life, notes watchdog group Eye on the UN.

For millions of people worldwide who hold Pink Floyd's music dear to their hearts - the video may be a cause for some serious reflection on whether being a musical genius says anything about a person's morals, historical judgment and political acumen.
[Virtual Jerusalem]
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Friday, December 28, 2012

Children Are Our Future



How Israelis and Hamas Comfort Their Children -Samuel Heilman

In a radio report on the BBC, a Gaza teacher describes the "therapy" provided for young Palestinian children traumatized by the eight days of war. To allow them to express their feelings, the little children were taken to a public square and lined up. Some were dressed in the green uniform of Hamas fighters and were "armed" with toy machine guns that they were encouraged to shoot in the air at Israelis. Then an Israeli flag was placed on the ground in front of them and set ablaze while all the youngsters stamped on it and screamed epithets of hatred toward Israel and Israelis, with the encouragement of their teachers.
   

This stands in sharp contrast to the children in the Hof Ashkelon region [of Israel] who were "welcomed by a clown and a man dressed as a panda bear who hugged them and danced with them." In these episodes, we can see the future. For the children of Gaza it is one in which hatred of the Israeli supersedes all else. For the children of Israel, it is a need to be taught again to smile in the face of trauma.
    

As long as the dream of a Palestinian boy is to lob bombs and rockets at Israelis, or Palestinian youngsters heal themselves by pretending to shoot Israelis and express loathing for them, there is neither hope for peace nor likelihood of a decent future for the Palestinian people. Those who encourage the Palestinians to see the source of their victimization in Israel are only paving the road to this dead end. The true enemy of the Palestinians is the hatred of Israel that they and others nurture and encourage.
The writer is a distinguished professor of sociology at Queens College, CUNY.
(Jerusalem Post)
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Obama Silent on Syrian Chemical Weapon Use


 
In the video above, President Obama promises dire consequences should Syria's Assad use chemical weapons.  Obama has been silent since such weapon use was reported on Christmas Day. 
 

 
Free Syrian Army official Louai Muqdad told Asharq al-Awsat: "The opposition recorded 18 separate cases of chemical weapons attacks in the outskirts of Damascus, Idlib, Homs and Hama."
He said Assad was using a new type of toxic gas and estimated that the Syrian regime had only recently obtained the new weapons.
 
Asharq al-Awsat further reported the commander of Syria's military police, Maj.-Gen. Abdulaziz al-Shalal, has defected and joined rebel forces.
(Ynet News)
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UPDATE:

Western Intelligence Sources Confirm Syria's Use of Paralyzing Chemical Agents
-Ron Ben-Yishai 

Over the past few months Syrian rebels have been reporting on the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime. A few weeks ago Western intelligence sources learned that the rebels' reports were accurate.
    

A close examination of footage and other material by experts in the West proved that the regime's army has in fact been using paralyzing chemical agents for a few months now against the rebels and civilians who support them.
(Ynet News)
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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Palestinian Strategy: Burning Bridges



Palestinians Burning their Bridges -Jonathan S. Tobin

The Palestinians have spent the last 20 years converting a strong Israeli majority in favor of the peace process into one that regards the whole concept as a dangerous fantasy.  

But rather than attempt to restart peace talks or to convince Israelis that the Palestinian goal is to end the conflict rather than to merely continue it on more advantageous terms, the Palestinians are planning on doubling down on their negative image. The PA plans to use its enhanced status at the UN to pursue specious charges of war crimes against Israelis in the International Criminal Court and advocate for sanctions and boycotts against the Jewish state.
   

While heightening Israel's isolation may seem like a smart thing to do in Ramallah, it won't do a thing to give the Palestinians a better life or to get them closer to peace or independence. By choosing to avoid the obvious path to peace, the Palestinians are burning their last bridges to the Israeli people.
(Commentary)
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Monday, December 24, 2012

How Christians Are Fairing in the MidEast

The Jerusalem Municipality distributes free Christmas trees to local Christians


Christianity Close to Extinction in the Middle East -Edward Malnick

Christianity faces being wiped out of the "biblical heartlands" in the Middle East because of mounting persecution of worshippers, according to a new report, entitled Christianophobia, by the Civitas think tank.

The report quotes estimates that between half and two-thirds of Christians in the Middle East have left the region or been killed in the past century.
     

It says the most common threat to Christians abroad is militant Islam, claiming that oppression in Muslim countries is often ignored because of a fear that criticism will be seen as "racism." It warns that converts from Islam face being killed in Saudi Arabia, Mauritania and Iran and risk severe legal penalties in other countries across the Middle East. 
(Telegraph-UK)
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Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Sorry State of the Palestinian Movement



How the World Enabled 25 Years of Palestinian Decline
-Evelyn Gordon 

  • After 25 years of fighting Israel in every possible way, all the Palestinians have to show for it is 25 years of steady decline. Despite massive international aid, Gaza's per capita GDP has remained virtually flat, totaling $817 in 1987 and $876 in 2010.
  • To add insult to injury, neither terror nor diplomatic warfare succeeded in preventing Israel from flourishing over those years. The sadder part of the story is that none of this has managed to persuade the Palestinians that such tactics are self-defeating.
  • Yet the international community has played a crucial role in enabling the Palestinians' counterproductive tactics, cushioning them from the consequences of their bad decisions with more than four times as much per capita aid as any other nation receives. Gaza's situation may not be rosy, but it outranks more than 110 countries in terms of both life expectancy and infant mortality.
  • As long as international aid is keeping them relatively comfortable, Palestinians feel little incentive to change their tactics.
  • Far worse, however, is that by offering the Palestinians almost unstinting diplomatic support while relentlessly criticizing Israel, the world feeds Palestinian fantasies that these tactics will someday succeed - that eventually, the world will force Israel to its knees. So why would Palestinians conclude that they are the ones who need to change their behavior?
  • For all its vaunted concern for the Palestinians, it seems the international community would rather let them suffer another 25 years of steady decline than try to wean them from their failed strategies.
(Commentary)


Building Blocs -Editorial

While a strong majority of Israelis has consistently supported a two-state solution for well over a decade, Palestinians both in Gaza and the West Bank have remained unwavering in their irredentism and if anything have grown more extreme in their rejection of a Jewish state existing anywhere in "Palestine."

It is Palestinian intransigence, not Jewish building in consensus Jerusalem neighborhoods and settlement blocs, that is the real obstacle to a negotiated peace and a two-state solution. Most Israelis understand this.
(Jerusalem Post)


Salam Fayyad's Call for an "Economic Intifada"? -Khaled Abu Toameh

Salam Fayyad, the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, this week called for an economic intifada against Israel in response to Israel's decision to seize tax revenues belonging to the PA in order to cover Palestinian debts to the Israel Electric Company. Many Palestinians refuse to pay water, electricity and other bills because they believe the international community should be covering all their expenses. Others refuse to pay because they believe the money eventually falls into the hands of corrupt PA officials.

Fayyad is hoping that by calling for an economic intifada, he will succeed in diverting growing anger and frustration on the Palestinian street towards the Israelis. This has always been the PA's way of avoiding responsibility for anything that goes wrong.
(Gatestone Institute)


Nine UN Resolutions Against Israel, Silence about Syrian Attacks on Palestinians
-Elliott Abrams

On Dec. 18, the UN General Assembly adopted nine resolutions against Israel. [But] perhaps the most striking event in the Middle East this past week was the attack on a Palestinian refugee camp in Syria. At the Yarmouk camp, roughly 100,000 Palestinians are said to have fled after air strikes that killed dozens of people. On this, the General Assembly is silent, while it repeats its litany of complaints against Israel.

The logical conclusion is that the UNGA isn't interested in Palestinians except as a weapon with which to attack Israel. When someone else acts, and actually attacks Palestinians, that's too bad but isn't of widespread interest.
(Council on Foreign Relations)


Palestinians Aim to Isolate Israel -Mohammed Daraghmeh

Palestinian officials are plotting a series of tough steps against Israel. Emboldened by their newly upgraded status at the United Nations, the Palestinians are talking of filing war crimes charges against Israel, staging mass demonstrations in the West Bank, encouraging the international community to impose sanctions, and ending the security cooperation that has helped preserve quiet in recent years.

The Palestinians also talk of increasing the "popular struggle," a term they use for demonstrations against Israeli soldiers.
(AP)


Israel: Palestinians Seeking Confrontation -Itamar Eichner

"Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is seeking to incite a confrontation with Israel," the Israel Foreign Ministry said, following the Palestinian leader's announcement that the PA will actively try to isolate Israel in the international community.
     
"The Palestinians' tragedy is that instead of dedicating efforts to building themselves, they are focusing on trying to harm Israel. Instead of building their future, they are immersed in attempts to ruin ours."
(Ynet News)
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Christian Reflection on Israel





Saturday People, Sunday People -Jennifer Rubin

Saturday People, Sunday People is a new, mesmerizing book by Lela Gilbert, subtitled "Israel Through the Eyes of a Christian Sojourner." Gilbert is able to pierce a number of myths about the Jewish state and find the essence of a country that is not, contrary to the popular perception, consumed by war and death.
    

Israel's answer is to defy death by living joyously and intensely. She is transfixed by the celebratory spirit, the national love affair with music and the gritty determination to build, rebuild and thrive in spite of wars, terrorist attacks and, as she vividly describes, shelling by rockets.
    

Through personal experience, she demolishes the notion that Israel is an apartheid state. Indeed it is one of the few places in the Middle East in which Arabs and Jews intermingle in everything from politics to shopping.
(Washington Post)
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Crazies With Weapons

This cartoon speaks for itself


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Family "Reunification" Deadly

Muhammed Mafarja, sleazeball jihadist who used Israel's liberal "family reunification" policy to spread carnage



Israeli Court Indicts Palestinian Bus Bomber -Yaniv Kubovich

The Tel Aviv District Court indicted Mohammed Mafarja [pictured], a Palestinian residing in Israel as part of the family reunification plan, who planted a bomb on a Tel Aviv bus on Nov. 21, wounding 28 people. Other Palestinians arrested for participating in the bombing, who were linked to Hamas and Islamic Jihad, were from the West Bank village of Beit Lakiya.
(Ha'aretz)
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Monday, December 17, 2012

How the Arab-Israeli Conflict Will End

Daniel Pipes call this "The Oslo handshake to nowhere"
Sep. 13, 1993: (L-R) Yitzhak Rabin, Bill Clinton, Yasir Arafat

Israel at Peace -Daniel Pipes, PhD

I am optimistic [Israel] will survive. Several reasons lead me to this conclusion.

First, Israel is strong. The country is characterized by military prowess, high technology capabilities, a strong economy, a booming energy sector, robust population growth, and cultural creativity. Over time, it grows increasingly more powerful than its enemies.

Second, Israelis show a historically unprecedented willingness to compromise. The Israelis' having returned a captured Sinai Peninsula three times to Egypt (in 1949, 1957, and 1982) has no parallel in the history of war and diplomacy. Nearly all the territories Israeli troops conquered in 1967, with the exception of historic Jerusalem, has been open for discussion since just a week after their seizure. In the history of warfare and negotiations, no victor has shown such a willingness as Israel to make "painful concessions" to reach a deal...

Third, no state of hostilities goes on forever. Circumstances change, new enemies appear, old angers dissipate, willpower grinds down. Even the longest lasting conflicts eventually get solved. The English and French states, for example, fought each other for over seven centuries before they finally reached an "Entente cordiale" in 1904, allying in the face of an emerging German foe and since then remaining steadfast (if irascible) allies. The Arab-Israeli conflict, one century old, also will not continue unendingly.

One has to wonder for how long the Palestinians and their supporters can sustain their goal of eliminating Israel. As the generation of 1948 refugees dies off, will its children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and further progeny continue to dream of a future in Jaffa or Haifa, rather than where they actually live? How long can they mortgage their lives to an ever-more remote irredentism?

Fourth, Palestinians will realize that blind devotion to extremist and rigid ideologies leads to a dead-end. This process has already begun. For example, interviews with extremist Palestinian leaders of an earlier era – Nayef Hawatmeh, Ahmed Jibril, Leila Khaled, and Mohammed Oudeh – shows how the passage of time has changed their perspectives and led to the acknowledgment of basic mistakes. Hawatmeh, leader of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, notes that "After 60 years, we are struggling for what we could have had in 1947. We have missed many historic opportunities." Oudeh, planner of the Olympic games attack in 1972 that killed 11 Israeli athletes, says that "maybe, just maybe, we should have shown some flexibility. Back in our days, it was 'the whole of Palestine or nothing.' But we should have accepted a Palestinian state next to Israel."

Hawatmeh and the others forwarded a nationalist agenda which time has passed by and that now has little appeal. The same, no doubt, will happen to today's favored ideology; however strong they are today, the Islamist forces of Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and Hizbullah shall also lose their vitality one day, and their old men will express a similar remorse about opportunities missed.

So, yes, the conflict will come to an end.

Before an Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty was actually signed in 1979, it was assumed that this would lead to a general ending of the conflict because Egypt is the strongest enemy of Israel. That assessment turned out to be wrong because the signature of a military autocrat (Anwar el-Sadat) persuaded few others. For several years in the 1980s, I focused on the Syrian government, arguing that "The conflict will go on until Syria follows Israel's other three neighbors and resigns itself to Israel's existence; once this happens, the struggle will come to a rapid end." That also turned out to be wrong, for Damascus commands little loyalty among Islamists, professors of English, or members of the United Nations. Instead, the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza are key. When they tire of conflict, it will end.

The conflict will go on for about another generation and may be resolved in about the 2030s. This estimate is based on the assessment that the conflict was ripe for peace twenty years ago, in the aftermath of the Kuwait war and the Soviet collapse but was derailed by a combination of Israeli naiveté and Palestinian deceit. Only now, after a long and painful detour, have Israelis begun to figure out the mistakes of diplomacy they made in the Oslo Accords and succeeding efforts. Starting about now, it could take about twenty years for the correct path to lead to a breakthrough.

The Oslo process of 1993-2000 showed that compromise is not, in fact, a solution. As in most conflicts, the end of hostilities requires someone to lose and someone to win. The war terminates either when Arabs accept the sovereign Jewish state or when Israelis give up the Zionist project. It ultimately comes down to a raw question of which side will first crush the other's will. The alternatives are stark and dual; efforts at mitigation actually only postpone a resolution.

An Israeli victory destroys extremism and actually liberates the Palestinians from their present plight. Only when Palestinians give up on their anti-Zionist dream of destruction will they be able to invest their efforts to creating an attractive polity, economy, society, and culture. Only when Palestinians give up destroying can they build.

Each of us must do his part to make sure the conflict ends with a positive outcome.
[The Dorchester Review]
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UPDATE:

Israel's New Islamist Neighborhood -Reuel Marc Gerecht

Israel may one day be accepted by its Arab neighbors and by its most deadly foe, Iran - but only when Arab and Iranian Muslim identities allow for it. At best, that change is decades away.

Modern Islam's great internal tug of war, between the search for authenticity and the love of modernity, must quiet before the Israeli-Palestinian clash can end.
The writer, a former Middle East specialist at the CIA, is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
(Wall Street Journal)
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Palistinian's Future Leadership




After Abbas -Jonathan Schanzer

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas is 77, a heavy smoker, and an incessant traveler. In 2010 he was admitted six times to a Jordanian hospital for unspecified health reasons. This raises the inconvenient question: Who will follow in his footsteps? Right now, the answer is Hamas. According to Palestinian Basic Law, Article 37, if the presidency of the PA becomes vacant, "the Speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council shall temporarily assume the powers and duties of the Presidency." The current speaker is Hamas' Aziz Dweik.

Of course, succession does not always proceed according to law, and the PLO could still appoint someone from its own ranks. However, a power struggle is a recipe for another ugly clash between the PLO and Hamas. Abbas refuses to name a successor. He has no vice president and no heir apparent. 
The writer, a former terrorism finance analyst at the U.S. Treasury Department, is vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. 
(Foreign Policy)
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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Money for Morsi: Funding Egypt's Moslem Brotherhood



Major Lending Effort to Boost Egypt Faces Delays -Howard Schneider

The U.S. and a coalition of international lenders are pushing ahead with billions of dollars in loans for Egypt, despite the violent political turmoil, hoping to head off a destabilizing economic collapse.

The International Monetary Fund had hoped to move forward this month on a $4.8 billion loan for Egypt, but over the weekend, President Morsi reneged on imposing tax increases that the IMF had expected as a way to help bring down the country's budget deficit. On Tuesday, the IMF said that the Egyptian government asked to delay further work on the loan.
(Washington Post)
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Jerusalem: Division Impossible


 
This videobite is well done and informative
 
 

A Divided Jerusalem Will Not Stand - Nir Barkat (Wall Street Journal)
  • Here in Jerusalem, we stand saddened and appalled by the EU ministers who condemn construction projects that are well within the municipal borders of Jerusalem, while ignoring calls from the leader of Hamas for the destruction of the Jewish State of Israel.
  • Isn't it ironic that many in Europe who recently celebrated 25 years of the reunification of Berlin are at the same time calling for the division of another capital on another continent?
  • By 2030, the city's population will expand to one million residents from 800,000 today (33% Muslim, 2% Christian and 65% Jewish). Where does the world suggest we put these extra 200,000 residents?
  • The expansion of Jerusalem's residential areas is essential for the natural growth of all segments of our population. It enables Jewish and Arab families alike to grow and remain in the city. The capital of a sovereign nation cannot be expected to freeze growth rather than provide housing to families of all faiths eager to make their lives there.
  • As for "E-1," this land has always been considered the natural site for the expansion of contiguous neighborhoods of metropolitan Jerusalem. "E-1" strengthens Jerusalem. It does not impede peace in our region.
  • Jerusalem has been and forever will be the heart and soul of the Jewish people. It is also the united and undivided capital of the State of Israel.

    The writer is the mayor of Jerusalem.

Twitter Assists Terror



Facebook Shuts Down Taliban Recruiting Account -Caitlin Dewey
   

Over the weekend, Facebook shut down a recruiting page for the Pakistani Taliban.

At the same time, Hamas' Twitter account, @alqassambrigade, has nearly 43,000 followers.
(Washington Post)
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UPDATE:


Is Twitter Above the Law? -David Brog 

Twitter must certainly recognize that not everyone is entitled to the privilege of a Twitter account. If a Mexican drug cartel used the site to brag about its latest mass beheadings, I suspect that Twitter would shut them down.

So why is Twitter allowing a terrorist group with American blood on its hands to operate freely on its service? The military wing of Hamas - the Ezzedeen al-Qassam Brigades - uses a twitter account to threaten Israeli civilians and brag about the missiles they fire at Israeli population centers. We are not talking about law-abiding citizens who sympathize with Hamas. Such independent advocacy is clearly and completely protected by the First Amendment. What we are talking about here is a page run by the terrorists themselves.

The U.S. government has designated Hamas as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. It is illegal for any U.S. company to provide "material support" to such an organization.

(Roll Call)
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Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Clueless Tom

Clueless Tom Friedman of the New York Times


Do Israel's Defensive Measures Undermine Peace? -Dan Margalit

In his Dec. 7 column, New York Times writer Thomas Friedman made the strange claim that Israel's separation fence and its Iron Dome air defense system are hindrances to Israel, because they allow our leadership to feel like it doesn't have to make efforts to advance peace.
    

Friedman's claim is perplexing, as both the fence and Iron Dome are defensive in nature. They save lives.
    

By this logic, the prompt medical treatment of terror victims by Magen David Adom ambulances must undermine peace as well.   
(Israel Hayom)
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Monday, December 10, 2012

"The Deadly Israeli House"

Above, a dangerous, subversive activity.
Below, Daniel Greenfield displays a poignant pen, in this powerful indictment.




The Deadly Israeli House -Daniel Greenfield

There are few weapons as deadly as the Israeli house. When its bricks and mortar are combined together, the house, whether it is one of those modest one story hilltop affairs or a five floor apartment building complete with hot and cold running water, becomes far more dangerous than anything green and glowing that comes out of the Iranian centrifuges.

Forget the cluster bomb and the mine, the poison gas shell and even tailored viruses. Iran can keep its nuclear bombs. They don't impress anyone in Europe or in Washington DC. Genocide is equally not worthy of attention when in the presence of the fearsome weapon of terror that is an Israeli family of four moving into a new apartment downwind from Jerusalem.

Sudan may have built a small mountain of African corpses, but it can't expect to command the full and undivided attention of the world until it does something truly outrageous like building a house and filling it with Jews. Since the Sudanese Jews are as gone as the Jews of Egypt, Iraq, Syria and good old Afghanistan, the chances of Bashir the Butcher pulling off that trick are rather slim.

Due to the Muslim world's shortsightedness in driving out its Jews from Cairo, Aleppo and Baghdad to Jerusalem, the ultimate weapon in international affairs is entirely controlled by the Jewish State. The Jewish State's stockpile of Jews should worry the international community far more than its hypothetical stockpiles of nuclear weapons. No one besides Israel, and possibly Saudi Arabia, cares much about the Iranian bomb. But when Israel builds a house, then the international community tears its clothes, wails, threatens to recall its ambassadors and boycott Israeli peaches.

You can spit on the White House carpets and steal all the gold in Greece. You can blow up anything you like and threaten anyone you will, but you had better not lift a drill near Gilgal, where Joshua and a few million escaped Hebrew slaves pitched their camp.

Some may think that genocide or nuclear weapons are the ultimate weapons, but as we see, time and time again, the ultimate weapon is a hammer and a fistful of nails in a Jewish hand. How can even the most talented Iranian nuclear scientist hope to compete with the humble tools of a Jewish carpenter?

Obama has yet to respond to the Muslim Brotherhood coup in Egypt. The gangs of paid rapists assaulting women in Tahrir Square on behalf of the Sharia state are nothing for the White House to worry about. Tunisian protesters against Islamist rule are losing their eyes, but Tunisian eyes come and go, Jewish houses are forever.

Everyone has their standards and he and the international community have theirs. There are things that we all cannot abide. And for all the Miss America answers about ending war, hunger and people who wear plaid in public, the one thing that everyone will stand up against or sit down in opposition to is the Israeli house.

White House officials are already insisting that Netanyahu "humiliated" Obama by authorizing the building of houses. This is the worst Israeli crime since two years ago when the city of Jerusalem passed some houses through one stage of a multi-stage approval process while Biden was visiting the country.

Hillary called it an insult and spent two hours yelling at Netanyahu over the phone. Axelrod declared it an affront. Biden was so furious that he refused to come down for dinner until an hour later. For weeks the media howled that Netanyahu had humiliated Obama through the dastardly act of allowing one of the country's mayors to approve housing while the sacred presence of Joseph Robinette Biden Jr was intersecting with Israeli airspace.

While Russia may threaten war against the United States, China may mock the United States at a ceremonial banquet in the White House, Iran and North Korea may play Obama for a fool, but only Israel has managed to achieve official recognition for "insulting and humiliating" Obama, without even trying, proving once again that the Jewish race is so talented that it often achieves things that other people may only dream of, without even realizing that they are doing it.

Now that Netanyahu has gone to the mattresses, literally, by authorizing new housing, the media has begun braying that Israel has humiliated Obama all over again. They say that every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings. But every time an Israeli jackhammer roars, Obama stands, like that famous trash-mourning fake Indian, off Highway 1 between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, with a tear slowly making its way down one glistening cheek at the sight of another humiliating Israeli house.

According to the New York Times, which is never wrong, building more houses makes peace impossible. Peace, which is not in any way obstructed by rockets, suicide bombers, unilateral statehood bids and declarations of war, comes up against only one obstacle. The stout unyielding wall of the Israeli house. You can shell Israeli houses, bomb them and break inside to massacre the people living inside, but then after all that, Israel goes and builds more of those damn things.

Hamas shoots thousands of rockets and Israel builds thousands of houses. But Israeli houses generally stay where they're built, while Hamas rockets are as likely to kill Gazans as they are to put holes in the roofs of those dastardly houses. And in the arms race between houses and rockets, the Israelis appear to be winning. And that's not good for peace. If Israelis get the dangerous idea that they can just keep building houses and outlast all the talented rocketeers who spend their time with the Koran in front of one eye and the Anarchist's Cookbook in front of the other, then what hope is there for peace?

That is why no one cares much about Hamas rockets, which only kill Israelis, who most reasonable people in London, Paris and Brussels think have it coming anyway, but get into a foaming lather about an Israeli house. Killing Israelis has never been any obstacle to peace. Twenty years of killing Israelis has not dissuaded a single Israeli government from sitting down at the table to dicker with the terrorists. But an Israeli family living in a house is holding down territory that it will be harder to then cede to terrorists when the angels have blown their horns, the seas have all gone dry and peace is carried in on a golden platter by 72 virgins accompanied by their flying suicide bomber mates.

The problem is an old one. Pharaoh struggled with it. So did Hitler. And so does Hamas. What do you do when there are too many Jews living. The answer is usually obvious.

Click here for the full article
[The Sultan Knish]
[Hat Tip: Linda F]
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Friday, December 07, 2012

Assad's Chemical Weapons



Assad May Take Chemical Weapons with Him in a Retreat
-Mitch Ginsburg


Israeli experts noted that the movement of Syria's chemical weapons could well be defensive.

Assad might be seeking to keep the nerve agents out of the hands of rebels, who are said to be battling near one of his chemical weapons sites, and to ready them for transportation in the event that the president and his clan are forced to flee Damascus.
     

"I see the developments as a card he's holding against a slaughter at the hands of the Sunnis," said Ely Karmon, a senior researcher at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism at the IDC Herzliya.
(Times of Israel)


Why Assad Won't Use His Chemical Weapons -Charles P. Blair

It remains doubtful that Damascus is at the point where the use of chemical weapons against rebels makes tactical or strategic sense.
   

Designed for use in large-scale, state-to-state warfare, Syria's chemical weapons are particularly unsuited for the urban fights that have characterized the civil war.
    

Close-quarters combat renders chemical weapons not only ineffective but counterproductive; with sarin or VX, a simple wind shift could turn the deadly agent against the Syrian military.
   

The greater threat remains terrorist acquisition of chemical weapons if the military loses control over relevant sites and facilities.
   

The good news is that few terrorist groups would actually be able to use any materials they acquired. Nerve agents require precision and perennial care. Absent the scientific expertise to maintain and replenish various precursors, many of the agents' purity rates will degrade.
    

Depending on how the particular precursor or agent is stored, its shelf-life could diminish rapidly.
The writer is senior fellow on state and non-state threats at the Federation of American Scientists.

(Foreign Policy)
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Christians Who 'Get It' on Israel



Christian Support of Israel -Editorial

Just two months ago, Jewish leaders were shocked by a letter signed by 15 leaders of mainstream Christian churches calling on Congress to reconsider aid provided to Israel because of alleged human rights violations.

That is why it is so refreshing to read the "Jerusalem Declaration" released this week by representatives of mainline Protestant churches calling themselves the Protestant Consultation on Israel and the Middle East (PCIME).

Representatives of Methodist, Anglican and Lutheran churches, among others, rightly noted that "the forces that refuse to tolerate the existence of a Jewish state are fiercely intolerant of other religious and ethnic minorities in the Middle East." The document cited Coptic Christians in Egypt and Assyrian Christians in Iraq as examples of religious minorities that are regularly persecuted at the hands of "aggressive Islamist movements." In contrast, Christian citizens of Israel "enjoy equal rights of citizenship and a good standard of living despite occasional frictions."
(Jerusalem Post)
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Thursday, December 06, 2012

Chanuka Comes to Life

Moshe Feiglin [center] led a prayer group on the Temple Mount, the same place the Maccabees liberated from the Syrian-Greeks in the Chanuka story.  Few know that Jews have not been allowed to pray on the Temple Mount, bowing to Muslim sensibilities.


Feiglin Prays on Temple Mount -Yori Yanover

Moshe Feiglin, who made the number 14 spot on the Likud Knesset list, managed to surprise many yet again when he showed up on Temple Mount with a minyan and conducted a prayer service.

For years, Israeli governments, police and, naturally, the Arab Waqf, have been preventing Jews visiting Temple Mount, warning that such an attempt on the part of Jews...would surely start never-before-seen riots.

[D]espite those apocalyptic warnings, there are no actual laws on the books explicitly prohibiting prayer – because that would be a blatant violation of several Geneva conventions and UN human rights declarations. And so the prohibitions against Jews praying at the site hide behind ordinances against disorderly conduct, with the cops on the spot empowered to interpret the rules as they see fit.
[The Jewish Press]
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Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Egypt's President Flees Protestors

An Egyptian protestor at the Presidential Palace, from which Morsi fled

Egypt's President Returns to Cairo Palace after Mass Protest

An Egyptian official says President Mohammed Morsi has returned to his Cairo palace, a day after he left it through a back gate as tens of thousands of angry protesters besieged the complex demanding he rescind decrees giving him sweeping powers.

About 300 opposition supporters are camped out in front of the palace's main gate. The president's Nov. 22 decrees and the adoption by his allies of a controversial draft constitution have plunged Egypt into its worst political crisis since president Hosni Mubarak's overthrow.
(AP-Washington Post)
[Photo Hat Tip: Pamela G]
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Nir Barkat on Jerusalem Building



Jerusalem Mayor: "I Don't Know of Any City in the World Whose Regulator Is the U.S. President"
-Yori Yalon & Hezi Sternlicht

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat [pictured] expressed support for the government's plan to build 3,000 additional housing units in the E1 section between Jerusalem and Ma'ale Adumim. "We need to connect the E1 area to Jerusalem without any reservations at all, even with the world pressuring us not to do so....I don't know of any city in the world whose regulator is the U.S. president."

"When the world talks about a freeze in Jerusalem, I ask, a freeze on what? On the billions we invest in east Jerusalem? Should we stop construction for Arabs, Christians or Jews? Or does someone mean that when an entrepreneur approaches me, I should, heaven forbid, ask him what religion he subscribes to so he can receive a permit to build in Jerusalem? That would be horrendous and it negates even U.S. law."
(Israel Hayom)



Much Ado about Little: The E-1 Controversy -Elliott Abrams

The Netanyahu government has been criticized for planning to build housing in the area known as E-1 - the space between Jerusalem and the city of Ma'ale Adumim (pop. 40,000).

The Israeli security argument is simple: it is impossible to have Ma'ale Adumim connected to Jerusalem only by one road because that road can all too easily be blocked and communication between Jerusalem and Ma'ale Adumim (and beyond to the Jordan Valley and border) cut off. This argument has persuaded all Israeli prime ministers who have faced the question, starting with Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres.

Construction in the major blocs and in Jerusalem is hardly a surprise, and does not differ from the policy of Israel's previous government under Prime Minister Olmert. The deal reached between the Bush Administration and the government of Prime Minister Sharon in 2004 was to permit construction of additional housing units inside the major blocs. The current decision fits easily within those terms.
(Council on Foreign Relations)
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Hillary Strikes Out

Hillary Clinton at Saban

Driving in Neutral: Hillary Clinton Explains the Israel-Palestinian Conflict
-Barry Rubin, PhD

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s said some very interesting and revealing things in her appearance at the Saban Center’s gala dinner, November 30. They are, however, being quoted out of context. Let’s look at what she actually said in some detail for a sense of how the Obama Administration's highest-ranking foreign policy official and a future presidential candidate thinks about this issue.

[She stated:]
Now, would it have been a perfectly acceptable outcome for every Israeli and every Palestinian? No. No compromise ever is. But there were moments of opportunity. And I will also say this. When Prime Minister Netanyahu agreed to a 10-month settlement freeze I flew to Jerusalem. We’d been working on this. George Mitchell had been taking the lead on it. And when Prime Minister Netanyahu agreed to a 10-month settlement freeze, it wasn’t perfect. It didn’t cover East Jerusalem, but it covered much of the contested area in the West Bank.”

There’s something important in this passage that no one has noticed. For the first time ever, Clinton publicly and explicitly acknowledged that the freeze did not cover East Jerusalem. Why, then, did Vice-President Joe Biden throw a temper tantrum when an Israeli zoning board cleared some future construction there? At the time, the U.S. government repeatedly implied that Israel violated the agreement, which it didn’t. Now Clinton admits that.
 
Incidentally, the Obama Administration did nothing when the Palestinian Authority refused to negotiate seriously despite the freeze on construction.
 
[She continued:]
I’m not making excuses for the missed opportunities of the Israelis, or the lack of generosity, the lack of empathy that I think goes hand-in-hand with the suspicion. So, yes, there is more that the Israelis need to do to really demonstrate that they do understand the pain of an oppressed people in their minds, and they want to figure out, within the bounds of security and a Jewish democratic state, what can be accomplished.”
 
She [made] four points [in the above statement]:
 
1. Israelis have missed opportunities. Really, like what? If she’s aware of real ones Clinton can provide examples but while it is easy to list two dozen Palestinian missed opportunities—i.e., Israel was ready for real peace and they weren’t—the effort to provide some opposite example always turns out to be illusory.

2. Lack of generosity: This is shameful. First of all, since when is generosity an international diplomatic norm? Against what other country or people would she dare make such a statement?

But in fact Israel has been generous. It has freed large numbers of Palestinian prisoners to get back kidnapped Israelis; it let around 200,000 Palestinians come to the territories after 1993; it has used much less force than it might have; it has largely ignored continuous incitement against itself and not responded in kind. The list is a long one...
 
3. Lack of empathy: This is really low on Clinton’s part. In schools, Israeli kids learn about Palestinian grievances. Israel television showed a multi-part history documentary that showed the Palestinian viewpoint. In Israeli newspapers, and every other medium Palestinians are interviewed and an honest attempt is made to portray their standpoint.

Every Israeli leader, except those on the right-wing fringe, is perfectly aware of the Palestinian case and complaints. To cite only one example, Ehud Barak once said that if had been a Palestinians he would have been a fighter in Fatah. No country in modern history has shown more empathy to its enemies. Can anyone cite a single example—a speech, an article—on the Palestinian side that has shown any shred of empathy?
 
4. Finally, “oppressed people” and this is the most important point. If the Palestinians are an oppressed people who is oppressing them? Here we see how the Obama Administration has, at best, accepted the European version of the anti-Israel narrative. If the Palestinians keep turning down peace offers how is Israel responsible for their “oppression”?

If they are oppressed it is by their own leaders. And once you have “the pain of an oppressed people” it is a short step toward believing that terrorism and intransigence is just an expression of that pain, rather than the cause of it.
 
What is objectionable is not that she criticizes Israel—but the criticisms she makes. They all fall into the current dominant Western view that the world’s problems are caused by greedy, aggressive, unempathetic white people who oppress everyone else. Implied here is that the only solution is that such people take risks, make unilateral concessions, pay money, and continually apologize for their sins. And that’s a formula for disaster.
[Rubin Reports]
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Monday, December 03, 2012

Radical Islam's Achilles' Heel



Christian Persecution Is Islam's Achilles' Heel -Raymond Ibrahim

Which of the following three headlines is most difficult for the media—including the usual array of liberal pundits, apologists, academics, and politicians—to whitewash or rationalize away? Which most exposes Islam's inherent intolerance?

A) "Allahu Akbar" screaming Muslims fire rockets into Israel
B) "Allahu Akbar" screaming Muslims riot and commit acts of violence in Europe
C) "Allahu Akbar" screaming Muslims torch a Christian church in a Muslim country

The answer is C—Christian persecution.

Why?

Because in both scenarios A and B, Muslims will always be portrayed and seen as the "underdogs"—and hence always exonerated for their behavior. No matter how violent or ugly, no matter how many Islamic slogans are shrieked—thus placing their behavior in a purely Islamic context—Muslim violence against the West and Israel will always be dismissed as a product of the weak and outnumbered status of Muslims—their status as underdogs, which the West tends to romanticize. And so they will always get a free pass, without further ado.

[But] Christian persecution is one of, if not the clearest reflections of Islamic supremacism. Vastly outnumbered and politically marginalized Christians simply wish to worship in peace, and yet still are they hounded and attacked, their churches burned and destroyed, their women and children enslaved and raped (see monthly "Muslim Persecution of Christians" reports for an example).

These Christians are often identical to their Muslim co-citizens, in race, ethnicity, national identity, culture, and language; there is no political dispute, no land dispute. The only problem is that they are Christian—they are the other—and so must be subjugated, according to Sharia's position for all "others," for all infidels—including Israel and the West.

Such is the true nature of Muslim rage throughout the world: it is a byproduct of doctrinal intolerance if not downright hatred for the other, who must always be kept in a state of subjugation and humiliation, according to the letter of the Quran.
[Front Page Magazine]
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Stevie Wonder Caves to Israel Boycott



Pop star stands on the “wrong side” of history -Rabbi Shraga Simmons

R&B sensation Stevie Wonder backed out of his commitment to perform at this week’s gala in Los Angeles to benefit the Friends of the Israel Defense Forces.

Friends of the IDF is an independent, non-political, non-profit organization that provides assistance to wounded Israeli soldiers, scholarships for those from poor families, and summer camps for widows and orphans of those killed in the line of duty. Sounds like a wonderful humanitarian cause, right? Enter the BDS movement, whose sole purpose is to pressure entertainers and business people from having anything to do with the State of Israel.

In the case of Stevie Wonder, the pressure came in the form of an online petition that appealed on the basis of “humanitarian” grounds: Since Wonder opposed South African Apartheid, he must now oppose the IDF which, according to the petition, "promotes, enables, and protects Israel's Apartheid regime." It took only 3,600 signatures for Wonder to cancel his appearance, on the thin pretext that it somehow conflicted with his ceremonial role as a U.N. "Messenger of Peace.”

If Wonder was a true ambassador of peace, he would have stood firm in support of an organization dedicated to assisting injured personnel and bereaved families.

Though Friends of the IDF has no connection to military activities, the media once again got the story wrong, posting headlines such as “Stevie Wonder Cancels Gig for Israeli Military” (The Times of London) and the widely circulated Associated Press report declaring that Wonder called off a concert “for a group that raises money for the Israeli military.”
[Aish HaTorah]
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Smokescreen

Israeli settlements continue to act as a convenient smokescreen to hide Palestinian intransigence

After UN Vote, Israel Approves New Housing -Itamar Eichner

In response to the Palestinian move at the UN, Israel decided to approve the construction of an additional 3,000 housing units in Jerusalem and the West Bank. In addition, planning will be furthered for the E1 project connecting Ma'ale Adumim with Jerusalem.
(Ynet News)


Israel to Use Tax Funds to Pay PA's Electricity Bill -Omri Efraim

Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz stated that the tax payments collected on behalf of the Palestinian Authority this month would be used to offset the Palestinian debt to the Israel Electric Corporation.

Steinitz added that the decision to further construction on the E1 segment was made "because it's time to connect Ma'ale Adumim with Jerusalem. It should have happened a long time ago. We made it clear to the Americans that if the Palestinians go to the UN, this will be our response."
(Ynet News)


The Palestine Mirage: UN Gesture Violates Oslo Accords -Editorial

In effect, the General Assembly voted to violate the 1993 Oslo Accords, which are the legal basis for Abbas' Palestinian Authority and require negotiations with Israel to create a state. Somebody needs to send Abbas the message that there's a price to be paid for flouting his agreements with Israel and ignoring the pleas of the Administration.

The tragedy of Thursday's vote is that it will only encourage Palestinians to remain in their make-believe world.
(Wall Street Journal)


Government Okayed Planning, Not Building -Herb Keinon

The Israeli government gave a green light to zoning and planning in the E1 area between Jerusalem and Ma'ale Adumim, but not to actual construction there,
Prime Minister Netanyahu clarified Sunday.
    

Netanyahu seemed to signal to the Palestinians that if they go further with the type of unilateral actions they took at the UN, Israel would indeed build in E1.
    

Netanyahu also said the 3,000 housing units authorized would be built in communities in the large settlement blocs, as well as in post-1967 neighborhoods in the capital, Jerusalem.
(Jerusalem Post)


Ma'ale Adumim Mayor Hopeful -Tovah Lazaroff

Ma'ale Adumim Mayor Benny Kashriel was hopeful that after 18 years the Israeli government might be finally ready to authorize construction in an area of his West Bank city known as E1.
    

Former prime minister Yitzhak Rabin first promised Kashriel that he could build there in 1994, Kashriel said. E1 is located on state land and there are no Palestinian homes on it.

Kashriel added that it would become part of Israel in any final status agreement with the Palestinians.
(Jerusalem Post)


The Logic of E1 -Editorial
   
Despite claims to the contrary, building in E1 would not necessarily undermine the contiguity of a future Palestinian state. An access road could easily allow Palestinian traffic from the south and north to pass east of Ma'ale Adumim.
(Jerusalem Post)



Legal Implications of UN Resolution -Alan M. Dershowitz

The General Assembly vote declaring that Palestine, within the pre-1967 borders, is a "state" would have nasty legal implications if it were ever to be taken seriously by the international community. It would mean that Israel is illegally occupying the Western Wall (Judaism's holiest site), the Jewish Quarter of old Jerusalem (where Jews have lived for thousands of years), the access road to the Hebrew University and other areas necessary to the security of its citizens.
    

It would also mean that Security Council Resolution 242, whose purpose was to allow Israel to hold onto some of the territories captured during its defensive 1967 war, would be overruled by a General Assembly vote - something the UN Charter explicitly forbids. It would be the first time in history that a nation was required to return all land lawfully captured in a defensive war
(Gatestone Institute)
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UPDATES:

Israel Refuses to Rescind Settlement Decision -Herb Keinon

One government official slammed what he said was Europe's disproportionate response. The official asked where the EU's outrage was when PA President Mahmoud Abbas praised Hamas' launching of rockets on Israeli civilian targets, or when he accused Israel of tunneling under the Temple Mount to destroy the Aksa Mosque or when he denied any Jewish connection to Jerusalem. The source described Israel's move as a "proportionate and measured" response to Abbas' support of Hamas rockets on Israel, the UN move, and his hate-filled speech in the UN.
(Jerusalem Post)
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Sources: U.S. Behind European Protest Measures -Attila Somfalvi

The U.S. was behind the summoning of Israeli ambassadors by several European nations over settlement construction, Israeli sources said Monday. "The European move is essentially an American move," one official said. "The Brits asked the Americans how to act."
(Ynet News)
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Israeli Settlements' Legal Basis -Alan Baker

The oft-used term "occupied Palestinian territories" has no basis whatsoever in law or fact. The territories are neither occupied nor are they Palestinian. No legal determination has ever been made as to their sovereignty, and by agreement between Israel and the PLO, they are no more than "disputed" pending a negotiated solution, with both sides claiming rights to the territory. Israel has nevertheless committed itself to negotiate the fate of the area with the Palestinians.

As long as settlements do not violate local Palestinian private property rights, and as long as the issue of the fate of the areas remains a negotiating issue, there is no legal basis for preventing continued settlement, pending the outcome of the final status negotiations.
The writer, legal adviser to the Israeli Foreign Ministry from 1996 to 2004, participated in the negotiation and drafting of agreements and peace treaties with Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and the Palestinians.
(USA Today)
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