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Maxx
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« Reply #100 on: October 04, 2007, 12:15:25 PM »

That's what I was trying to clear up. I was trying to point out in brief forum speak that there were alot of factor's behind WW2  and it was not just  to enter the war to save jewish folk's. I did not mean in my original post that the whole reason (and if it sounded that way , sorry) was to get the boom of our nation to it's peak..



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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #101 on: October 04, 2007, 12:18:57 PM »

Sorry to be relentless, but my point is that "getting the economy going" was not ANY of the reasons we entered WW2.  That it had that effect is often asserted (I disagree) but that is a separate point.
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Maxx
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« Reply #102 on: October 04, 2007, 12:37:25 PM »

Here is a read on the subject at hand. Anyone can look at it from any type of view. Just like everything else in the World.

Why was it important for the US to enter World War 2? 

U.S. Entering WWII
There is no definitive answer to this question because it depends on ones philosophical position on war as an instrument of foreign policy along with the difficult question as to when and how a country acts in what it PERCEIVES to be it's best interests. Generally speaking, a country will go to war when it's VITAL interest is at stake. In can be argued that U.S. vital interests were far more threatened during the Cold War than prior to WWII. Throughout its history, U.S. foreign policy has largely been based on relatively free trade with countries who also provide open markets for capital investment. Prior to WWII, the U.S. traded with, and invested in what was to become the Axis Powers (Germany, Japan and Italy), and if the U.S. had decided not to enter the war, it is certain that trade and investment would have continued. During the Cold War however, as Revolutionary Socialist (aka Communist) governments began to take control of so many countries, U.S. vital interests were gravely threatened because such countries would not permit free market investment or free trade. Instead, they either nationalized industries or expropriated them altogether, while instituting harsh trade restrictions. It could also be argued that U.S. entry into the war was a political decision. Even until the war, the U.S. economy was still not fully recovered from the Great Depression. A war fought in far away places would be a boost for the economy, by providing full employment which in turn, would guarantee re-election. It must first be pointed out that only Congress can decide to go to war (both declared and un-declared) because they control its funding. A president can only appeal to the people who in return, influence their elected representatives. But in the case of WWII, public opinion was decidedly against entering the war, so some believe that Roosevelt needed to threaten Japan's vital interests by ordering an oil embargo which in itself could be interpreted as an act of war, leading to an attack on the U.S. There is compelling evidence that the Roosevelt Administration knew of an impending attack, but allowed it to occur without warning because they knew it would sway public opinion toward war. Whatever the motivation, once the Japanese attacked, the congress had no choice but to declare war. Because Germany and Italy were allies of Japan, the U.S. declared war on those countries as well. Finally, the Balance of Power concept must be considered as an explanation. Before WWII, the British were consistently the most influential and most often, the most powerful nation on earth. They certainly had the strongest navy. As an instrument of their Foreign Policy, they would ally with certain countries, to insure that no nation could achieve a state of supremacy. During the early years of the war (1940-41) it became obvious that the British would be considerably weakened by the war, and some feared for its very survival. Add to this the nationalist movements in its far flung colonies and many saw and even greater contraction, both in military might and economic influence. Someone had to fill the power vacuum that was certain to exist after the war, but to achieve the "balancer" role, the U.S. needed to project its power as soon as possible, so as to be in a strong post-war bargaining position. It must be noted that when Germany invaded Poland in 1939 to start WWII, although the U.S. had a strong navy, it had a standing army smaller than that of Finland. The rest, as they say, is history.

How did World War 2 affect the US economy? 
 
WWII and the US Economy

From what I understand in my history classes, the war was one of the reasons the Great Depression ended. World War Two gave jobs to thousands, if not millions, of people in the U.S. Soldiers were paid and some sent money home, men too old to be in the army replaced the men that were at war, and women worked in factories to build ailrplanes, ships, tanks, etc.

WWII created much needed jobs in factories involveing the production of war supplies. It jump started us out of the Great Depression and boosted the stock market.The second world war helped us become the strongest coutry we are today. By mobilizeing the unemployed, we aided our economy.

Although war is a time of hardships and usually poverty, World War 2 had many positive effects for America. One point of prosper was economy. Some said that the Second World War put an end to the Great Depression. Many of America's products went overseas and by 1943, half of the country's production went overseas. Americans were then forced to buy less of such products, but soon spent there money on things such as newspapers, movies, and promotion toward the war because of the shortage of supplies. From 1941-1944 newspapers sold daily increased four folds. Hollywood made over 2,500 motion pictures during the war also. In 1942, the War Advertising Council was formed. It conducted more than 100 campaigns to sell war bonds, secure blood donations, conserve food, and inspire enlistments. And with the change of spending money also came the change of earning money. Farmers made $20 billion in 1944 unlike the late 1930s, which had an average of only $8 billion. The war also caused a shortage of employees. This raised the annual earnings to $44 billion compared to 1939's $13 billion. With the men gone at war, women would soon fill in those empty jobs to support their families. Government propaganda encouraged women to do their patriotic duty by leaving their homes and entering the workplace. At the wartime peak in July 1944, 19 million women were employed. But women workers weren't the only group that enlarged during the war, but also child labor increased over two folds. Because of these factors, the average family income rose over 25% from 1941-1945. In the beginning of the war, 1941, the national income was around $95 billion dollars, but by 1944 it rose to $150 billion.

World War 2 greatly improved our economy. Women got the taste of working outside the home, the stock market was on the uprising again. People were starting to make money and become prosperous. The government used ads to help boost liberty bonds, blood donations,reserving supplies for the troops and the enterntainment industry. America proved to other nations that we are a strong country.

Germany was really on the back hand of the U.S.A 's stock market blunge. After the hyperinflation in germany the u.s.a gave out billions of marks worth of loans to help rebuild the economy. When the stock markets fell in the US the US demanded all there loans payed back ASAP. then germany was back to were it started.

It helped. Since people had saved up money, they could not spend it due to rationing, one sees the raise of exsesive buying. This incress in purchessing lead to more factory jobs, etc... Also now more and more women were joining the work force - again incressing production. Furthurmore the idea of the shopping mall spread from eight at the end of the WWII to 3,840 but 1960.

The U.S. was in large part lifted out of the great depression by selling strategic goods and materials like tools, machinery, petroleum, metals, and grain to both sides since we were neutral at first. Once we were sucked in by the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the economy shifted into overdrive and measures had to be taken to keep inflation from soaring out of control. After the war was over, the seeds of our modern "Consumer based" economy had been sown and grew like wildfire. Technology had taken great leaps forward. Before the war women rarely worked outside the home and only in limited professions. Afterwards the women who had worked to support the war and replace men in the Services liked the money and independence their own jobs gave them and they stayed in the workforce. Finally, we shifted in a massive way from mostly farming to mostly manufacturing jobs and services. Europe was devastated by the war but the U.S. emerged more militarily and economically powerful than ever.

Economists of the Keynesian school propagated this idea that World War 2 was good for the US economy. In particular, a government economist who did central planning and price fixing during the war named Paul Samuelson wrote economics textbooks that became widely used in schools. Most modern economists these days are not Keynesian. Destruction is never productive. War does not boost an economy. The benefits are short-lived and shallow. Many economists believed that FDR prolonged the depression for many years with his "New Deal" policies and therefore the depression lasted into World War 2. The war did not end the depression. The end of the war ended the depression.

« Last Edit: October 04, 2007, 12:55:21 PM by Maxx » Logged

Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #103 on: October 04, 2007, 01:11:34 PM »

Sorry to be a nag, but please include the source of your posts.  For example: WHO wrote this?  Where was it written/posted?  etc.

This piece still does not address the point that I was making-- that we did not enter the war to "get the economy going"-- which was your original assertion.

As for this point: "There is compelling evidence that the Roosevelt Administration knew of an impending attack, but allowed it to occur without warning because they knew it would sway public opinion toward war."  rolleyes This hoary piece of drivel has been around for a long time and has been debunked almost as long.  It belongs in the same category of the "911 truthers".
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Maxx
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« Reply #104 on: October 04, 2007, 01:31:01 PM »

I probably should have included that in the post. He does mention there is compelling evidence that they knew about the attack but he never mention's that there is overwhelming evidence that make's it true. Then he also mentions "Whatever the motivation" That get's me as a whatever you heard or think you heard , now let's get on with it and he does begin the letter with "There is no definitive answer to this question" and both letter's both mention War, Economy and Job's and this disagreement can go on and on why America entered WW2 just like how a disagreement on why JFK was killed can go on and on , it's a endless circle

There are just some point's you can't get across on a forum or just something's you forget to type and the disagreement can go on and on. I can provide you with my fact's and you can continue to shoot them down ( and that's totally ok. No disrespect intended, everyone has their point of view)

BUT I think we have dragged this topic a tad bit off track and did a post hijacking. So I suggest that maybe we can carry this on in Private and return the topic to hand or when I set up the Private with you we can discuss it after you finish stick beating me  grin (Speaking of that, I need to call you about that and set it up)  but I mean no disrespect to you or your home in any of my post and they are alway's directed to you in the highest respect.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2007, 01:34:30 PM by Maxx » Logged

Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #105 on: October 04, 2007, 05:08:01 PM »

My distinction is not registering with you.  Forward.  grin
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Maxx
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« Reply #106 on: October 04, 2007, 05:09:42 PM »

I don't understand  huh
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G M
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« Reply #107 on: October 04, 2007, 08:06:46 PM »

We (The US) are not hated by much of the muslim world because of Israel, Israel is hated because it's a part of us (western civilization). Israel is hated because they dare to be free of islamic domination. They are hated because of their success. They are hated because of their strength. I'm about as non-jewish as you can get, and I support Israel because they are part of our shared civilization.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #108 on: October 04, 2007, 09:20:29 PM »

"I don't understand."

My point exactly. cheesy  But it is OK.  grin

"We (The US) are not hated by much of the muslim world because of Israel, Israel is hated because it's a part of us (western civilization). Israel is hated because they dare to be free of islamic domination. They are hated because of their success. They are hated because of their strength. I'm about as non-jewish as you can get, and I support Israel because they are part of our shared civilization."

That is quite pithy GM.  I like it.
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Maxx
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« Reply #109 on: October 04, 2007, 10:59:48 PM »

I should clear up that it's not that I don't understand "distinction" LOL...I was refering to something else.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #110 on: October 06, 2007, 08:25:41 AM »

A quick historical review of some inconvenient facts:

http://www.terrorismawareness.org:80/what-really-happened/
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« Reply #111 on: October 08, 2007, 11:11:04 AM »

ISRAEL, PNA: The Israeli government will support a division of Jerusalem, which allegedly is a major component of an Israeli-Palestinian deal to be announced during a Middle East peace conference in November, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said. Even the hawkish factions of Olmert's coalition back this Israeli concession, Vice Premier Haim Ramon said.

stratfor
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rogt
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« Reply #112 on: October 09, 2007, 03:53:41 PM »

We (The US) are not hated by much of the muslim world because of Israel, Israel is hated because it's a part of us (western civilization). Israel is hated because they dare to be free of islamic domination. They are hated because of their success. They are hated because of their strength.

You don't think their treatment of the Palestinians has at least something to do with it?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #113 on: October 09, 2007, 04:39:37 PM »

Ulitmately, no.

IMO there is a profound disconnect in the Arab thinking about all this.  They put themselves in a frenzy to wipe out Israel, and then are surprised that this has consequences in how the Israelis treat them.  Either that or they are consciously manipulating the gaps in the mental maps of western Liberalism and its running dogs  wink in the media  evil

Marc
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rogt
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« Reply #114 on: October 09, 2007, 04:47:34 PM »

Ulitmately, no.

OK.

Quote
IMO there is a profound disconnect in the Arab thinking about all this.  They put themselves in a frenzy to wipe out Israel,

How exactly did they "put themselves" in such a frenzy as you see it?  It's all about them just hating Israel for no reason?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #115 on: October 09, 2007, 10:58:14 PM »

Roger:

We've been discussing these matters on the Assn forum and here for several years now.  I'm sorry, but I'm not really sure why I should think that breaking down my POV one more time would make any more likely to register with you than the other times.

Marc

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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #116 on: October 10, 2007, 08:34:38 AM »

Geopolitical Diary: A New Shield for Israel

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Tuesday that Israel will soon be able to intercept 90 percent of the missiles launched at it, from Iran's Shahab-3 missiles to Palestinian Qassam rockets.

The difference between intercepting a medium-range ballistic missile and a Qassam rocket is immense, and the technical challenges of defending against such a broad spectrum of threats will require not just one, but a series of systems.

Israel's geographic location inherently leaves it vulnerable to this entire spectrum of ballistic threats, and Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has worked to confront them for more than two decades. Israel cannot do this alone; it needs the financial and technical support of the United States. In 1986, joint U.S.-Israeli work began on the first generation of Arrow ballistic missile interceptors. (Now deployed, they remain operationally unproven.) Meanwhile, other work continued at a rapid pace.

Ultimately, Barak envisions a layered system comprised of the Israeli Iron Dome, the U.S. Patriot PAC-3 and two generations of the Arrow system. However, due to the challenges of fielding breaking technology, not to mention the financial costs, the minister's plan will present significant difficulties.

During the summer 2006 conflict between Israel and Hezbollah, the militants launched artillery rockets, designed to be fired by batteries in large salvos, against IDF forces either individually or in relatively small batches. While this tactic made Hezbollah fighters more difficult to pinpoint and strike, it also transformed what would normally have been a devastating military weapon (i.e., massed artillery rocket fire) into a comparatively ineffectual weapon of terror.

Palestinian Qassams are even more ineffectual. (As was the Grad artillery rocket used in the Oct. 7 incident near Netivot.) Qassams are notoriously hard to aim and wildly inaccurate; their construction is, by design, extremely crude. Though they also are weapons of terror, Qassams have even less effect, especially individually and in small numbers.

These are precisely the scenarios that any nascent system is best suited to defend against -- ones with limited and manageable targets. Of course, the standard counter to such defenses has always been to overwhelm the technology with numbers. And it is far cheaper and simpler to come up with an overwhelming number of artillery rockets than to defend against them.

This is especially true of the larger, more expensive ballistic missiles. As it stands, Iran probably has more missiles capable of reaching Israel than Israel has Arrow interceptors. Nevertheless, the Iranian ballistic missile program is a significant national investment that has produced only a modest number of missiles capable of reaching Israel. Similarly, neither Hezbollah nor Palestinian fighters are particularly well-equipped to manage the logistics and launch the barrage of rockets necessary to create overwhelming fire.

Israel will continue to build toward this defensive shield and, much like Japan, the Jewish state will become a proving ground for these technologies. While its ultimate success remains to be seen (and that success will never be absolute), Israel's new shield will -- at the very least -- alter the calculus for all future ballistic threats against the country.

stratfor
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #117 on: October 10, 2007, 08:48:03 AM »

second post of the morning:

NY Times so caveat lector
-=---------------

An Israeli Strike on Syria Kindles Debate in the U.S.
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By MARK MAZZETTI and HELENE COOPER
Published: October 10, 2007
WASHINGTON, Oct. 9 — A sharp debate is under way in the Bush administration about the significance of the Israeli intelligence that led to last month’s Israeli strike inside Syria, according to current and former American government officials.

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Kevin Lamarque/Reuters
A familiar administration divide: Vice President Dick Cheney says Israeli intelligence was credible, while Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice questions whether there was a real threat.
At issue is whether intelligence that Israel presented months ago to the White House — to support claims that Syria had begun early work on what could become a nuclear weapons program with help from North Korea — was conclusive enough to justify military action by Israel and a possible rethinking of American policy toward the two nations.

The debate has fractured along now-familiar fault lines, with Vice President Dick Cheney and conservative hawks in the administration portraying the Israeli intelligence as credible and arguing that it should cause the United States to reconsider its diplomatic overtures to Syria and North Korea.

By contrast, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her allies within the administration have said they do not believe that the intelligence presented so far merits any change in the American diplomatic approach.

“Some people think that it means that the sky is falling,” a senior administration official said. “Others say that they’re not convinced that the real intelligence poses a threat.”

Several current and former officials, as well as outside experts, spoke on the condition of anonymity because the intelligence surrounding the Israeli strike remains highly classified.

Besides Ms. Rice, officials said that Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates was cautious about fully endorsing Israeli warnings that Syria was on a path that could lead to a nuclear weapon. Others in the Bush administration remain unconvinced that a nascent Syrian nuclear program could pose an immediate threat.

It has long been known that North Korean scientists have aided Damascus in developing sophisticated ballistic missile technology, and there appears to be little debate that North Koreans frequently visited a site in the Syrian desert that Israeli jets attacked Sept. 6. Where officials disagree is whether the accumulated evidence points to a Syrian nuclear program that poses a significant threat to the Middle East.

Mr. Cheney and his allies have expressed unease at the decision last week by President Bush and Ms. Rice to proceed with an agreement to supply North Korea with economic aid in return for the North’s disabling its nuclear reactor. Those officials argued that the Israeli intelligence demonstrates that North Korea cannot be trusted. They also argue that the United States should be prepared to scuttle the agreement unless North Korea admits to its dealing with the Syrians.

During a breakfast meeting on Oct. 2 at the White House, Ms. Rice and her chief North Korea negotiator, Christopher R. Hill, made the case to President Bush that the United States faced a choice: to continue with the nuclear pact with North Korea as a way to bring the secretive country back into the diplomatic fold and give it the incentive to stop proliferating nuclear material; or to return to the administration’s previous strategy of isolation, which detractors say left North Korea to its own devices and led it to test a nuclear device last October.

Mr. Cheney and Stephen J. Hadley, the national security adviser, also attended the meeting, administration officials said.

The Israeli strike occurred at a particularly delicate time for American diplomatic efforts. In addition to the North Korean nuclear negotiations, the White House is also trying to engineer a regional Middle East peace conference that would work toward a comprehensive peace accord between Arabs and Israelis.

The current and former American officials said Israel presented the United States with intelligence over the summer about what it described as nuclear activity in Syria. Officials have said Israel told the White House shortly in advance of the September raid that it was prepared to carry it out, but it is not clear whether the White House took a position then about whether the attack was justified.

One former top Bush administration official said Israeli officials were so concerned about the threat posed by a potential Syrian nuclear program that they told the White House they could not wait past the end of the summer to strike the facility.

Last week, Turkish officials traveled to Damascus to present the Syrian government with the Israeli dossier on what was believed to be a Syrian nuclear program, according to a Middle East security analyst in Washington. The analyst said that Syrian officials vigorously denied the intelligence and said that what the Israelis hit was a storage depot for strategic missiles.

That denial followed a similar denial from North Korea. Mr. Hill, the State Department’s assistant secretary for East Asia and Pacific affairs, raised the Syria issue with his North Korean counterparts in talks in Beijing in late September. The North Koreans denied providing any nuclear material to Syria.

Publicly, Syrian officials have said Israeli jets hit an empty warehouse.

Bruce Riedel, a veteran of the C.I.A. and the National Security Council and now a Middle East expert at the Brookings Institution, said that American intelligence agencies remained cautious in drawing hard conclusions about the significance of the suspicious activity at the Syrian site.

Still, Mr. Riedel said Israel would not have launched the strike in Syria if it believed Damascus was merely developing more sophisticated ballistic missiles or chemical weapons.

“Those red lines were crossed 20 years ago,” he said. “You don’t risk general war in the Middle East over an extra 100 kilometers’ range on a missile system.”

Another former intelligence official said Syria was attempting to develop so-called airburst capability for its ballistic missiles. Such technology would allow Syria to detonate warheads in the air to disperse the warhead’s material more widely.

Since North Korea detonated its nuclear device, Ms. Rice has prodded Mr. Bush toward a more diplomatic approach with North Korea, through talks that also include Japan, Russia, South Korea and China. Those talks led to the initial agreement last February for North Korea to shut down its nuclear reactor in exchange for fuel and food aid.

That deal angered conservatives who believed that the Bush administration had made diplomacy toward North Korea too high a priority, at the expense of efforts to combat the spread of illicit weapons in the Middle East.

“Opposing the Israeli strike to protect the six-party talks would be a breathtaking repudiation of the administration’s own national security strategy,” said John R. Bolton, former United States ambassador to the United Nations.

But other current and former officials argue that the diplomatic approach is America’s best option for dealing with the question of North Korean proliferation.

“You can’t just make these decisions using the top of your spinal cord, you have to use the whole brain,” said Philip D. Zelikow, the former counselor at the State Department. “What other policy are we going to pursue that we think would be better?”
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #118 on: October 11, 2007, 06:04:36 AM »

Syria Tells Journalists Israeli Raid Did Not Occur             
NY Times
By HUGH NAYLOR
Published: October 11, 2007
DEIR EZ ZOR, Syria, Oct. 9 — Foreign journalists perused the rows of corn and the groves of date palms pregnant with low-hanging fruit here this week, while agents of Syria’s ever present security services stood in the background, watching closely, almost nervously.

An Israeli Strike on Syria Kindles Debate in the U.S. (October 10, 2007) “You see — around us are farmers, corn, produce, nothing else,” said Ahmed Mehdi, the Deir ez Zor director of the Arab Center for the Studies of Arid Zones and Dry Lands, a government agricultural research center, as he led two of the journalists around the facilities.

It was here at this research center in this sleepy Bedouin city in eastern Syria that an Israeli journalist reported that Israel had conducted an air raid in early September.

Ron Ben-Yishai, a writer for the Israeli daily Yediot Aharonot, grabbed headlines when he suggested that the government facility here was attacked during the raid, snapping photos of himself for his article in front of a sign for the agricultural center.

He said he was denied access to the research center, which sits on the outskirts of the city, and he did not show any photos of the aftermath of the raid, though he said he saw some pits that looked like part of a mine or quarry, implying that they could also be sites where bombs fell.

His claims have compelled the Syrian government, already anxious over the rising tensions with Israel and the United States, to try to vindicate itself after a recent flurry of news reports that it may have ambitions to acquire nuclear weapons.

President Bashar al-Assad, in a BBC interview, played down the Israeli raid, saying that Israeli jets took aim at empty military buildings, but he did not give a specific location. His statement differed from the initial Syrian claim that it had repulsed the air raid before an attack occurred.

Israel has been unusually quiet about the attack on Sept. 6 and has effectively imposed a news blackout about it. Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli opposition leader, on Sept. 19 became the first public figure in Israel to acknowledge that an attack had even taken place. Some Israeli officials have said, though not publicly, that the raid hit a nuclear-related facility that North Korea was helping to equip, but they have not specified where.

On Monday, journalists toured the agricultural center at the government’s invitation to prove, Mr. Mehdi said, that no nuclear weapons program or Israeli attacks occurred there. “The allegations are completely groundless, and I don’t really understand where all this W.M.D. talk came from,” Mr. Mehdi said, referring to weapons of mass destruction.

“There was no raid here — we heard nothing,“ he added.

An entourage of the center’s employees lined up with him to greet the journalists. In a seemingly choreographed display, they nodded in agreement and offered their guests recently picked dates as tokens of hospitality.

They showed off a drab-colored laboratory that they said was used to conduct experiments on drought-resistant crops and recently plowed fields where vegetables and fruits are grown.

Mr. Ben-Yishai’s news report rattled Syrians for another reason: he apparently was able to slip into Syria, which bars Israelis from entering, and travel throughout the country.

“I think he came in on a European passport,” said Ghazi Bilto, who said he was a graphic designer for the agricultural center.

Burhan Okko, who also said he was a graphic designer for the center, interrupted, saying, “It was definitely on a German passport.” The international news media have speculated that the Israeli attack was aimed at a Syrian effort to acquire nuclear weapons materials, possibly with the aid of North Korea. Syria rejects these claims.
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« Reply #119 on: October 16, 2007, 11:11:21 AM »

stratfor:

PNA, ISRAEL: Palestinian faction Hamas does not object in principle to negotiations with Israel or to a political solution to the Palestinian issue, Palestinian-owned Al-Quds al-Arabi daily reported, citing an exclusive interview with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh. Haniyeh added, however, that Hamas will only negotiate if it believes a political breakthrough is possible.

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« Reply #120 on: October 17, 2007, 10:59:44 AM »

See No Proliferation
Reality can't interfere with "diplomacy."

Wednesday, October 17, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

The silence from the Bush Administration over Israel's recent bombing of a site in Syria gets louder by the day. U.S. officials continue to look the other way, even as reports multiply that Israel and U.S. intelligence analysts believe the site was a partly constructed nuclear reactor modeled after a North Korean design.

The weekend was full of reports about these intelligence judgments, first in the U.S. media then picked up by the Israeli press. Israel's former chief of military intelligence, Major General Aharon Zeevi Farkash, called them "logical." That's the term of art people use to confirm things in Israel when they want to get around the military censors.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited Israel and offered her own non-confirmation confirmation. "We're very concerned about any evidence of, any indication of, proliferation," she said, according to the New York Times. "And we're handling those in appropriate diplomatic channels." Just what you need when your enemies are caught proliferating nuclear expertise--a little more diplomacy. The world is lucky Israel preferred to act against the threat, in what seems to have been a smaller version of its 1981 attack against Iraq's Osirak reactor.

Ms. Rice went on to say that "The issues of proliferation do not affect the Palestinian-Israeli peace efforts we are making," adding that "This is the time to be extremely careful." In other words, even if North Korea is spreading nuclear weapons, she doesn't want to say so in public because it might offend a country--Syria--that is refusing even to take part in the regional Palestinian-Israeli peace conference next month. That's certainly being "careful."





Or perhaps she fears offending North Korea, which the Bush Administration has agreed to trust for finally pledging to dismantle its nuclear weapons program and disavowing proliferation. In return for that promise, the U.S. is shipping fuel oil to Pyongyang and is taking steps to remove North Korea from its list of terror states. It would certainly be inconvenient, not to say politically embarrassing, if North Korea were found to be helping Syria get a bomb amid all of this diplomacy.
All the more so given that only last year, after North Korea exploded a nuclear device, President Bush explicitly warned North Korea against such proliferation. "America's position is clear," he said at the time. "The transfer of nuclear weapons or material will be considered a grave threat to the United States." More than once, Mr. Bush added that, "We will hold North Korea fully accountable for the consequences."

Even granting some leeway in defining the words "fully accountable," they cannot mean winking at the spread of nuclear know-how to a U.S. enemy in the most dangerous corner of the world. With its continuing silence about what happened in Syria, the Bush Administration is undermining its own security credibility. More important, the see-no-evil pose is showing North Korea that it can cheat even on an agreement whose ink is barely dry--and without "consequences."

WSJ
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SYRIA, IRAN: Iran has reportedly helped Syria domestically manufacture modified copies of the Chinese DF-11 and DF-15 short-range ballistic missiles, a source in the region said. Both are capable of striking almost all of Israel. Other transfers could include additional shorter-range Russian FROG-7s and the Misagh-1, an Iranian copy of the Chinese copy of the U.S. FIM-92 Stinger missile.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2007, 11:06:33 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
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« Reply #121 on: October 24, 2007, 08:51:18 AM »

1144 GMT -- SYRIA -- A U.S. research group that tracks nuclear weapons and stockpiles has satellite imagery of what the experts believe to be a Syrian nuclear site targeted in a Sept. 6 Israeli airstrike, The Washington Post reported Oct. 24. The Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) said the photographs taken before the strike show buildings under construction similar in design to a North Korean reactor. They also show what could have been a pumping station used to supply cooling water for a reactor, the Post reported, citing experts David Albright and Paul Brannan of ISIS.

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« Reply #122 on: October 26, 2007, 07:52:14 AM »

0056 GMT -- SYRIA -- Satellite photos taken Oct. 24 indicate that a Syrian site near the Euphrates River that is believed to have been the target of a September Israeli attack now shows no signs of what formerly appeared be a partially constructed nuclear reactor similar in design to a North Korean one, the International Herald Tribune reported Oct. 25. In August, satellite imagery of the site revealed a tall square building measuring about 150 feet on one side.

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« Reply #123 on: October 28, 2007, 09:23:39 PM »

October 27, 2007

Trying to Prevent World War III

By Caroline Glick

It goes without saying that if and when a decision is made in Jerusalem or Washington to carry out an attack against Iran's nuclear installations the public will only learn of the decision in retrospect. All the same, over the last few weeks, it has been impossible to miss the fact that the Iranian nuclear program has become the subject of intense and ever increasing international scrutiny. This naturally gives rise to the impression that something is afoot.

Take for example the head of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency Muhammad elBaradei's recent remarks on the subject. Speaking to ,i>Le Monde on Monday, elBaradei asserted that it will take Iran between three to eight years to acquire a nuclear arsenal. Consequently, he argued, there is no reason to consider conducting a military strike against Teheran's program. There is still plenty of time for diplomacy, or sanctions or even incentives for the ayatollahs, he said.

ElBaradei's statement is only interesting when it is compared to a statement he made in December 2005 to the Independent. Back then Baradei's view was that Iran was just "a few months" away from producing atomic bombs. But then too he saw no reason to attack. As he put it when he warned that Iran was on the precipice of nuclear weapons, using force would just "open Pandora's box." "There would be efforts to isolate Iran; Iran would retaliate, and at the end of the day, you have to go back to the negotiation table to find the solution," elBaradei warned.

Given that the IAEA's Egyptian chief has been unstinting in his view that no obstacle should be placed in Iran's path to nuclear bombs, what makes his statements from 2005 and today interesting is what they tell us about his changing perception of the West's intentions. At the end of 2005, he was fairly certain that the West - led by the US - lacked the will to attack Iran. By making the statement he made at the time, he sought to demoralize the West and so convince it that there was nothing to be done to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Now, when faced with a real possibility that the US or Israel or a combination of states are ready and willing to attack Iran's nuclear installations, elBaradei seeks to undermine them by questioning the salience of the threat.

ElBaradei's statement of course was not made in a vacuum. It came against the backdrop of an increasing unanimity of opinion among top Bush administration members that Iran must be prevented from acquiring nuclear weapons. Last Thursday, President George W. Bush said that a nuclear armed Iran would foment World War III.

The next day, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who until recently was known to oppose military action against Iran and to minimize the danger that a nuclear-armed Iran would constitute to the US, said at a press briefing that a nuclear-armed Iran would likely spark a nuclear arms race in the Middle East and was liable to foment a major war. Gates added that in light of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's stated desire to destroy Israel, "Washington couldn't trust that Iran would handle nuclear weapons responsibly." Standing next to Gates last Thursday was Admiral Michael Mullen, the new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Mullen rebuffed assertions that the US campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq have strained military resources to the point that the US today cannot mount an effective campaign against Iran. As he put it, "From a military standpoint, there is more than enough reserve" to mount an attack against Iran's nuclear installations.

While Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice continues to champion negotiations with the mullahs, in testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on Wednesday Rice acknowledged that "the policies of Iran constitute perhaps the single greatest challenge for American security interests in the Middle East and possibly around the world." And then there is Israel. It appears that both the IDF and the government are earnestly preparing for the possibility of war. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's sudden visits to Moscow, Paris and London, and Defense Minister Ehud Barak's trip to Washington this week were all devoted to the Iranian nuclear project.

One of the main things that we have learned from these reports about the September 6 Israeli strike against the North Korean nuclear installation in Syria is that Israeli intelligence on nuclear proliferation is more comprehensive, and at least in certain areas, superior to US intelligence. According to media reports of the strike, the US approved the Israeli operation after Israel brought the US incontrovertible evidence of the threat posed by the nuclear site.

In light of Israel's apparent intelligence prowess, it seems reasonable to assume that Olmert and Barak did not fly to those foreign capitals empty-handed. Indeed by some accounts they brought with them new and incriminating information regarding the current status of Iran's nuclear program.

Then there is Iran's neighbor Turkey to consider.

This week Turkish Prime Minister Recip Erdogan paid a sudden visit to London. There he met with Olmert, who was also in the city that day. The meeting took place less than two weeks after Turkey's Foreign Minister Ali Babacan visited Israel. In an analysis this week in The Asia Times, M.K. Bhadrakumar, India's former ambassador to Turkey tied Turkey's pro-Hamas government's sudden interest in speaking to Israel to the tension between Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan. Bhadrakumar noted that Israel has close relations with Kurdish President Massoud Barzani. He hypothesized that the intensification of high-level discussions likely signals that a deal is being crafted which involves Turkey's position on Iran, and Iraqi Kurdistan's position on Turkey and the PKK. His view is buttressed by the fact that Erdogan is scheduled to meet with Bush at the White House on November 5.

Finally it is important to note Barak's crash-program aimed at purchasing and deploying missile defense systems capable of covering all of Israel as quickly as possible, and last week's media reports that US, British and Australian commandos are fighting Iranian forces inside of Iran close to the Iran-Iraq border by Basra.

Assuming that all of these developments do in fact mean that the day is quickly approaching where Iran's nuclear installations come under attack, a discussion of some of the likely outcomes of such a strike seems in order. How would Iran respond? What would be the long-term effect of such a strike? Until Israel attacked the North Korean nuclear installation in Syria last month, according to the foreign reports, most analysts assumed that Iran will retaliate against such a strike with as much force as it is able to muster, and that a successful attack against Iran's nuclear sites will push back Iran's nuclear program for approximately five years.

As this scenario has it, Iran will direct a counter-strike against Israel that will include a ballistic missile attack carried out jointly by Iran, Syria and Hizbullah in Lebanon. Furthermore, Iran will direct Hizbullah terror cells throughout the world to carry out attacks against Jewish and American targets.

But again, as bad as it may be, there is no comparison between an Iranian missile and terror offensive and Armageddon. By pushing back Iran's acquisition of nuclear weapons by several years, a strike against Iran gives the world the opportunity to bring down the regime through non-military means by fomenting an internal revolution of Iranians.

This outcome remains the most likely scenario. And it is because it remains the likeliest consequence of an attack that Barak is keen to get a missile defense system up and running. And it is because this is the likeliest scenario that most analysts have suggested that Israel will have to attack Syrian and Hizbullah missile sites at the same time as Iran's nuclear sites are under attack, But the Israeli strike on Syria also points to other possible scenarios - for better and for worse. In an interview with the British Spectator, a senior British governmental said of the Israeli operation: "If people had known how close we came to World War III that day there'd have been mass panic." According to reports in the Washington Post and the Sunday Times, in the days before the attack IDF commandos collected soil samples which indicated the presence of fissile materials at the site. That together with intelligence regarding the transfer of nuclear materials, perhaps even a nuclear warhead from North Korea some three days before the attack, leads to the conclusion that far from being the start of a long-term undertaking, the site in Syria was advanced and nearly operational. Given the strategic nature of the installation that Israel attacked, perhaps the most astounding aspect of the operation is Syria's decision not to respond.

Syria's non-response may be telling something very optimistic about the consequences of an attack against Iran. It is possible that what we learn from Syria's decision not to respond is that under certain circumstances Iran too may opt not to react to a strike against its nuclear installations.

On the negative side, the Israeli strike on Syria brought a harsh reality into full view. The nature of the target and subsequent reports make clear that the nuclear collaboration between Syria, Iran, North Korea and perhaps other states is close, active, deep and strategic. In an article published in last Saturday's Wall Street Journal, the ranking Republican members of the House Intelligence and Foreign Relations committees, Peter Hokstra and Ileana Ros-Lehiten - who both received classified briefings on the Israeli strike - emphasized the threat arising from this close collaboration. Their article complemented a report in Jane's Defense Weekly from last month. According to that report, Syrian and Iranian engineers were killed when a North Korean Scud-C missile they were attaching a mustard gas warhead to exploded accidentally. The explosion took place at a Syrian military depot near Aleppo on July 26.

What this is liable to mean is that even if an attack against Iran's nuclear installations inside of Iran were completely successful, there is a possibility that Iran's nuclear capabilities will not be significantly downgraded. What the Syrian operation indicates is that Iran's program may be dispersed in Syria, North Korea, and in Pakistan which transferred nuclear technologies to Iran and North Korea, (as well as Libya and Egypt). In other words, there is now a distinct possibility that Iran is not the only country that will have to be attacked to prevent Iran and its allied rogue states from acquiring nuclear weapons.

And yet, when one looks at Iran, and sees the genocidal fanaticism not merely of Ahmadinejad but of the regime as a whole, one understands that whatever the cost, Israel and all who wish to prevent a massive worldwide conflagration cannot allow Iran to become a nuclear power. Everything must be done everywhere to prevent Teheran from acquiring the wherewithal to foment a new world war and destroy the State of Israel.
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« Reply #124 on: October 29, 2007, 12:01:49 AM »

Are the American people up to this and its aftermath?
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« Reply #125 on: October 30, 2007, 04:37:57 PM »

Hamas Shows Off Body Parts at Press Conference
(IsraelNN.com) According to the Bethlehem-based Maan news agency, Hamas terrorists held a press conference on Monday night claiming a victory over IDF soldiers in gunfights earlier in the day. Hamas leaders said terrorists had taught the soldiers “an unforgettable lesson.”
The terrorists displayed body parts during the press conference, claiming that the body parts belonged to Israeli soldiers who were wounded during the day. No IDF soldiers lost body parts in Gaza on Monday, and it is not clear who the body parts actually belonged to.
The press conference was held next to the Gaza home of Ahmed Abu Tahoun, one of the Hamas terrorists who was killed in Monday’s fighting. At least one other terrorist was killed, as was one IDF reservist.
======================
No URL came to me with this, but the person who sent it to me I regard to be quite reliable and well-informed.
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« Reply #126 on: November 12, 2007, 07:14:53 PM »

PNA: Hamas police shot six people dead in Gaza City at a mass gathering to commemorate the death of Yasser Arafat. Hundreds of thousands of people gathered in the largest Fatah party rally held since it was ousted by Hamas. Witnesses and medics said another 130 people were wounded when the police opened fire as crowds threw rocks at them and chanted "Shiite, Shiite," accusing Hamas of being a proxy for Iran and Syria.

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« Reply #127 on: November 23, 2007, 02:08:37 PM »

Last update - 20:26 22/11/2007     
 
 
 
 
By Yossi Melman, Haaretz Correspondent, and Haaretz Service 
 
 

The Israel Air Force hit a Syrian radar post near the country's northern border with Turkey on September 6, knocking out Syria's entire radar system as a prelude to striking a suspected nuclear reactor, Aviation Week & Space Technology is reporting in its November 26 edition.

The radar site was hit with a combination of electronic attack and precision bombs to allow the IAF to enter and exit Syrian airspace unobserved, the report said.

Subsequently all of Syria's air-defense radar system went off the air for a period of time that encompassed the raid, U.S. intelligence analysts told Aviation Week. According to the report, the United States provided Israel with information about Syrian air defenses as Israel carried out the strike.

The U.S. was monitoring the electronic emissions coming from Syria during the air strike, and while there was no active American engagement in the operation, there was advice provided, military and aerospace industry officials told the magazine.

However, there was "no U.S. active engagement other than consulting on potential target vulnerabilities," a U.S. electronic warfare specialist says.

Syria has confirmed the air strike, but has vehemently denied reports that it targeted and destroyed an apparent nuclear facility built with North Korean assistance. North Korea has also denied any nuclear cooperation with Syria.

For their part, Israeli officials have maintained silence and refused to comment on the air strike.

Israeli nuclear expert: Syria site was facility for assembling nukes

Tel Aviv University Professor Uzi Even, a former Meretz MK and a chemist who until 1968 worked at the Dimona nuclear reactor, told Haaretz in an interview published Thursday that he believes the evidence suggests that the Syrian site was not in fact a nuclear reactor - but rather a facility for assembling nuclear bombs.

Even, who has been keeping track of nuclear issues for years, bases his analysis in large part on satellite photos widely published recently in the media and on internet Web sites.

The images show that the facility lacked a chimney - which is necessary for the emission of the radioactive gases - despite the fact that evidence suggests that construction began on the facility at least four years ago. In contrast, a chimney is clearly visible in images of the reactor in Yongbyon, North Korea.

"We can assume that construction began even before 2003," says Even. "In all those years, five years or even more, a chimney had still not been built? Very strange."

In addition, Even contends, the facility did not have cooling towers. The pumping station seen in the photos, 5 kilometers from the site, cannot, according to him, be a substitute for such towers. "A structure without cooling towers cannot be a reactor," he says, pointing to the satellite photo from Yongbyon, in which one can clearly see the cooling tower, with steam rising from it.

Another structure essential for a reactor is missing from the Syrian photos: a plutonium separation facility, which processes enriched uranium in order to turn them into plutonium.

"In my estimation this was something very nasty and vicious, and even more dangerous than a reactor," says Even. "I have no information, only an assessment, but I suspect that it was a plant for processing plutonium, namely a factory for assembling the bomb."

Should his assessment be true, it would mean that Syria was in a far more advanced stage in its attempt to acquire nuclear weapons, in that it likely would already have the necessary plutonium, and was involved in building a bomb factory.

Even's assessment is reinforced by the fact that satellite photos taken after the bombing clearly show that the Syrians made an effort to bury the entire site under piles of earth. "They did so because of the lethal nature of the material that was in the structure, and that can be plutonium," he said. That may also be the reason they refused to allow IAEA inspectors to visit the site and take samples of the earth, which would expose the nature of the site.
 
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« Reply #128 on: November 26, 2007, 02:36:08 PM »

On the Jewish Question
By BERNARD LEWIS
November 26, 2007; Page A21

Herewith some thoughts about tomorrow's Annapolis peace conference, and the larger problem of how to approach the Israel-Palestine conflict. The first question (one might think it is obvious but apparently not) is, "What is the conflict about?" There are basically two possibilities: that it is about the size of Israel, or about its existence.

If the issue is about the size of Israel, then we have a straightforward border problem, like Alsace-Lorraine or Texas. That is to say, not easy, but possible to solve in the long run, and to live with in the meantime.

If, on the other hand, the issue is the existence of Israel, then clearly it is insoluble by negotiation. There is no compromise position between existing and not existing, and no conceivable government of Israel is going to negotiate on whether that country should or should not exist.

PLO and other Palestinian spokesmen have, from time to time, given formal indications of recognition of Israel in their diplomatic discourse in foreign languages. But that's not the message delivered at home in Arabic, in everything from primary school textbooks to political speeches and religious sermons. Here the terms used in Arabic denote, not the end of hostilities, but an armistice or truce, until such time that the war against Israel can be resumed with better prospects for success. Without genuine acceptance of Israel's right to exist as a Jewish State, as the more than 20 members of the Arab League exist as Arab States, or the much larger number of members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference exist as Islamic states, peace cannot be negotiated.

A good example of how this problem affects negotiation is the much-discussed refugee question. During the fighting in 1947-1948, about three-fourths of a million Arabs fled or were driven (both are true in different places) from Israel and found refuge in the neighboring Arab countries. In the same period and after, a slightly greater number of Jews fled or were driven from Arab countries, first from the Arab-controlled part of mandatory Palestine (where not a single Jew was permitted to remain), then from the Arab countries where they and their ancestors had lived for centuries, or in some places for millennia. Most Jewish refugees found their way to Israel.

What happened was thus, in effect, an exchange of populations not unlike that which took place in the Indian subcontinent in the previous year, when British India was split into India and Pakistan. Millions of refugees fled or were driven both ways -- Hindus and others from Pakistan to India, Muslims from India to Pakistan. Another example was Eastern Europe at the end of World War II, when the Soviets annexed a large piece of eastern Poland and compensated the Poles with a slice of eastern Germany. This too led to a massive refugee movement -- Poles fled or were driven from the Soviet Union into Poland, Germans fled or were driven from Poland into Germany.

The Poles and the Germans, the Hindus and the Muslims, the Jewish refugees from Arab lands, all were resettled in their new homes and accorded the normal rights of citizenship. More remarkably, this was done without international aid. The one exception was the Palestinian Arabs in neighboring Arab countries.

The government of Jordan granted Palestinian Arabs a form of citizenship, but kept them in refugee camps. In the other Arab countries, they were and remained stateless aliens without rights or opportunities, maintained by U.N. funding. Paradoxically, if a Palestinian fled to Britain or America, he was eligible for naturalization after five years, and his locally-born children were citizens by birth. If he went to Syria, Lebanon or Iraq, he and his descendants remained stateless, now entering the fourth or fifth generation.

The reason for this has been stated by various Arab spokesmen. It is the need to preserve the Palestinians as a separate entity until the time when they will return and reclaim the whole of Palestine; that is to say, all of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Israel. The demand for the "return" of the refugees, in other words, means the destruction of Israel. This is highly unlikely to be approved by any Israeli government.

There are signs of change in some Arab circles, of a willingness to accept Israel and even to see the possibility of a positive Israeli contribution to the public life of the region. But such opinions are only furtively expressed. Sometimes, those who dare to express them are jailed or worse. These opinions have as yet little or no impact on the leadership.

Which brings us back to the Annapolis summit. If the issue is not the size of Israel, but its existence, negotiations are foredoomed. And in light of the past record, it is clear that is and will remain the issue, until the Arab leadership either achieves or renounces its purpose -- to destroy Israel. Both seem equally unlikely for the time being.

Mr. Lewis, professor emeritus at Princeton, is the author, most recently, of "From Babel to Dragomans: Interpreting the Middle East" (Oxford University Press, 2004).
WSJ
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« Reply #129 on: November 27, 2007, 08:02:47 AM »

Condi's Road to Damascus
The price America will pay for her Syrian photo-op.
WSJ
BY BRET STEPHENS
Tuesday, November 27, 2007 12:01 a.m. EST

Remember Nancy Pelosi's spring break in Damascus? Condoleezza Rice apparently does not. When the House Speaker paid Syrian strongman Bashar Assad a call back in April, President Bush denounced her for sending "mixed signals" that "lead the Assad government to believe they are part of the mainstream of the international community, when in fact they are a state sponsor of terror." Today, said sponsor of terror will take its place at the table Ms. Rice has set for the Middle Eastern conference at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.

Only at Foggy Bottom would Syria's last-minute decision to go to Annapolis be considered a diplomatic triumph. The meeting is supposed to inaugurate the resumption of high-level negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, with a view toward finalizing a deal on Palestinian statehood before the administration leaves office. On a deeper plane of geopolitical subtlety, it is supposed to bring Israel and the Arab world together in tacit alliance against Iran.

This raises three significant questions. First, how does Syria's presence at Annapolis affect those goals? Next, how does Syria's presence affect U.S. policy toward Syria? And what effect, if any, will all this have on Syria's behavior in the region?





Much is being made of the fact that, in accepting the administration's invitation, Syria apparently reversed a previous decision, coordinated with Iran, to boycott the conference. This plays into the view that Syria can be persuaded to abandon its 25-year-old ties to Iran and return to the Arab fold, thereby severing the encircling chain that links Tehran to Damascus to southern Lebanon to the Gaza Strip. High-profile ridicule of the conference by Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (who called it "useless") and spokesmen for Hezbollah and Hamas add to the impression that Mr. Assad may be prepared to chart an independent course--all for the modest price of the U.S. agreeing (with Israel's consent) to put the issue of the Golan Heights on the conference's agenda.
It really would be something if the Syrian delegation could find their own road to Damascus on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay. But that would require something approximating good faith. The Syrians' decision to be represented at Annapolis by their deputy foreign minister--his bosses evidently having more important things to do--is one indication of the lack of it. So is the Assad regime's declaration (via an editorial in state newspaper Teshreen) that their goal at Annapolis is "to foil [Israeli Prime Minister Ehud] Olmert's plan to force Arab countries to recognize Israel as a Jewish state." And lest the point hadn't been driven home forcefully enough, the Syrian information minister told Al Jazeera that Syria's attendance would have no effect on its relations with Iran or its role as host to the leadership of Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups.

At best, then, Syria will attend Annapolis as a kind of non-malignant observer, lending a gloss of pan-Arab seriousness to the proceedings. At worst, it will be there as a spoiler and unofficial spokesman of Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran. If it's clever, it will adopt a policy of studied ambivalence, with just enough positive chemistry to induce the administration into believing it might yet be prepared for a real Volte face, provided the U.S. is also prepared to rewrite its Syria policy. Recent attestations by Gen. David Petraeus, that Damascus is finally policing its border with Iraq to slow the infiltration of jihadis, suggest that's just the game they mean to play.

What price will the U.S. be asked to pay? Contrary to popular belief, recovering the Golan is neither Syria's single nor primary goal; if anything, the regime derives much of its domestic legitimacy by keeping this grievance alive. What's urgently important to Damascus is that the U.N. tribunal investigating the 2005 murder of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri be derailed, before the extensive evidence implicating Mr. Assad and his cronies becomes a binding legal verdict. No less important to Mr. Assad is that his grip on Lebanese politics be maintained by the selection of a pliant president to replace his former puppet, Emile Lahoud. Syria would also like to resume normal diplomatic relations with the U.S. (which withdrew its ambassador from Damascus after Hariri's killing), not least by the lifting of economic sanctions imposed by the 2003 Syria Accountability Act.

No doubt the Syrians believe the U.S. can deliver on these items: Dictators rarely appreciate the constraints under which democratic governments operate. Yet there is no credible way the U.S. can deliver on the first demand, and only discreditable ways in which it could deliver on the second. The administration may be tempted to re-establish normal diplomatic relations and ease sanctions, which is about as much as it can do. Yet Damascus would view these concessions either as signs of niggardliness or desperation, and hold out for more.





Put simply, there is nothing the U.S. can offer Mr. Assad that would seriously tempt him to alter his behavior in ways that could meaningfully advance U.S. interests or the cause of Mideast peace. Yet the fact that Ms. Rice's Syria policy is now a facsimile of Speaker Pelosi's confirms Mr. Assad's long-held view that he has nothing serious to fear from this administration.
So look out for more aggressive Syrian misbehavior in Lebanon, including the continued arming of Hezbollah; the paralysis of its political process; the assassination of anti-Syrian parliamentarians and journalists; the insertion of Sunni terrorist cells in Palestinian refugee camps, and the outright seizure of Lebanon's eastern hinterlands. Look out, too, for continued cooperation with North Korea on WMD projects: Despite Israel's September attack on an apparent nuclear facility, the AP reports that North Korean technicians are back in Syria, teaching their Arab pupils how to load chemical warheads on ballistic missiles. And don't hold your breath expecting Syria's good behavior on its Iraqi frontier to last much longer.

In the meantime, we have the Annapolis conference, and the one-day photo-op it provides Ms. Rice. In the spirit of giving credit where it's due, the least the Secretary can do is invite the Speaker to the party.

Mr. Stephens is a member of The Wall Street Journal's editorial board. His column appears in the Journal Tuesdays.

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« Reply #130 on: November 27, 2007, 10:33:33 PM »



 Saudi Normalization with Israel Forgotten - David Horovitz
As Arab League foreign ministers and officials were convening for consultations ahead of the Annapolis summit at the Saudi Embassy in Washington on Monday, Israeli journalists were somewhat unceremoniously escorted off the premises. At a press briefing held at the embassy by Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal, the best I could do was to ask one of the American reporters to put a question on my behalf to Faisal: "What steps are you prepared to take right now toward normalizing ties with Israel?" His answer: "None." Faisal elaborated that the Arab peace plan makes plain that "normalization will come after peace is established." And peace, he went on, entailed full Israeli withdrawal. The Saudi foreign minister also said the Arab presence at Annapolis was not about producing a concerted front against Iran. "We have to worry about Israel first," he said.
    Diplomatic sources have said that the Saudis don't want any contact whatsoever with the Israeli delegation at Annapolis, and therefore the respective delegations will even use different doors to enter the meeting room. (Jerusalem Post)
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« Reply #131 on: November 28, 2007, 12:21:49 AM »

Commenting on the WSJ piece 'Condi's Road to Damascas': I was once a big fan of Condi.  Now I am undecided and it may take a long time to sort out her time as a lot of subtle things are attempted and handled behind the scenes.  I think the comparison to Pelosi is off-base.  After all, Pelosi was accused of pretending she was Secretary of State.  Condi is Sec of State and she summoned the Syrian leadership to come here along with the other leaders.

Bret Stephens contends that the U.S. has no carrots and presumably no sticks to offer Syria.  We don't know that.  Places like Syria, Iran and N.Korea must wonder what this administration has left to do with more than a year still remaining and the war in Iraq starting to go better.

There are many publicly unanswered questions that remain from the recent super-secret Israeli attack inside Syria.  Israel and perhaps the U.S. could have something in terms of evidence on Syria even if that attack missed its target.  Rumored was nuclear material from North Korea.  Also rumored was a portion of Saddam's missing goods.  If not the U.S., the Israelis perhaps are still ready willing and able to re-adjust and hit again.

I like to think that our leaders have more information than we do so these meetings are difficult to judge.  A chance for the Americans to pass a personal message to Assad might have value to us.  From Assad's point of view, even if the information the Americans possess lacks perfect accuracy, that didn't save Assad's executed Sunni Arab neighbor.
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« Reply #132 on: November 28, 2007, 07:25:11 AM »

Those are fair points Doug.

It may also be that the Israelis and Palestinians have gone back to pretending to negotiate, that we have gone back to pretending to be an "honest broker", and the Arab governments have agreed to pretend to believe the pretense-- so that the Arab governments can cover their ass with the Arab street as they do business with us.
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« Reply #133 on: December 22, 2007, 09:23:04 AM »


Dec 20, 2007 23:58 | Updated Dec 21, 2007 1:18
Why the US hasn't seen smuggling tapes
By HERB KEINON AND YAAKOV KATZ

Despite efforts by the country's top security echelon to share with Congress videotapes of Egypt assisting Hamas in arms smuggling, the footage has been shown only to some administration officials and never made it to Congress, to avoid infuriating the Egyptians, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

The videotapes included footage of Egyptian border policemen allegedly assisting a group of close to 80 Hamas terrorists crossing illegally into Gaza through a hole they had cut in the border fence.
Defense officials said there was also evidence that the Egyptians were assisting Hamas with smuggling weapons into the Gaza Strip under the Philadelphi Corridor.
The decision to send the tapes to the Israeli Embassy in Washington was made by Israel's top defense echelon to influence the appropriations process in Congress ahead of a decision to withhold part of the foreign aid granted to Egypt.
That the tape was not shown to Congress reflects a desire by Israel's political and diplomatic echelon not to escalate tension with Cairo by becoming directly involved in lobbying against Egypt in Congress.
For months there has been a debate inside the government over how directly Israel should get involved in the issue inside Washington.
The perception that won the day this time was that over-involvement would be seen by Cairo as an infringement of certain diplomatic "rules" between the two countries and could lead to a major crisis.
The Bush administration is also opposed to pushing too far on the issue at the present time.
The defense establishment believes that showing the tapes can be an effective way of pressuring Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak into clamping down on Hamas's smuggling activities.
"If key congressmen and senators see this, then it will provide a clear picture of the situation and ensure that the money is withheld," a senior official said. "When this happens, Mubarak will feel that he has no choice but to stop the smuggling."
Congress on Wednesday sent a foreign aid bill to US President George W. Bush that for the first time conditions some Egyptian military aid on its efforts to crack down on smuggling into Gaza and improving its human rights record.
According to the legislation, $100 million of the $1.3 billion in Egyptian military aid has been set aside until the secretary of state certifies that Egypt has met these obligations, though the secretary can waive the requirements if she feels holding back the $100m. would harm American national security interests.
An earlier version of the bill would have held back $200m. and not have given the secretary of state a waiver, but it was watered down throughout the process.
Still, critics of Egypt's activities feel that the move sends a strong message that Congress is watching the country and is willing to take some moves that might anger what the administration feels is a key US ally.
Also, according to Washington sources, part of the rationale of continuing with the military aid - begun as part of the Camp David Accords - is that some of it will be used to combat smuggling.
Bush is expected to sign the bill soon.

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1196847396429&pagename=JPost%2FJPArt icle%2FShowFull
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« Reply #134 on: February 13, 2008, 10:36:26 AM »

Summary
Multiple reliable Stratfor sources have confirmed that Israel’s Mossad was behind the Feb. 12 car bombing in Damascus, Syria, that killed Hezbollah’s operations chief Imad Mughniyah. Hezbollah has a number of ways to retaliate for Mughniyah’s death.

Analysis
Multiple reliable Stratfor sources confirmed Feb. 13 that Israel’s Mossad was responsible for the Feb. 12 car bombing in Damascus, Syria, that killed Hezbollah’s chief of operations Imad Mughniyah, also known as “The Wolf”. One source said Mughniyah was leaving a security meeting with Hamas personnel in a Syrian intelligence office when he was hit.

Mughniyah was a legendary Hezbollah leader and a highly valuable asset to the organization’s patrons in Iran and Syria. Iran, which has been steadily working to firm up its grip on Hezbollah over the past several months, had brought Mughniyah out of hiding to head up Hezbollah’s most daring operations, including training Shiite operatives from the Gulf Arab states to carry out retaliatory strikes against U.S. interests in the event of a U.S. attack on Iran.

The only reason Mughniyah has managed to dodge the CIA and Mossad for so long is his obsession with operational security. We are told that he primarily spent his time in recent months in Beirut’s southern suburbs — Hezbollah’s stronghold. However, he would on several occasions take trips to Syria to meet with members of Syrian and Iranian intelligence officers.

Hezbollah will retaliate for Mughniyah’s death, though the design of the group’s retaliatory campaign is still unclear. Hezbollah is unlikely to take any major overt action that could spin up another war with Israel, which could end up costing Hezbollah more in the end. However, Hezbollah, which has a long history of acting on motives of retribution and revenge, has a number of covert plans in the works that could be put into action. Ironically, Mughniyah was the Hezbollah strongman in charge of the group’s foreign operations.

Once Hezbollah dusts off its contingency plans for occasions such as this, it will take the group at least several days to update surveillance before the strike, putting the group’s operatives at higher risk of getting caught. Hezbollah’s foreign operations network is vast, with the United States, Western Europe and South America on the list of potential targets. African countries with strong ties to Israel, such as South Africa and Kenya, could be vulnerable to an attack.

Stratfor has also learned that Hezbollah has been preparing for kidnappings targeting Westerners in Beirut. The organization has already compiled a thorough dossier on U.S. citizens in Lebanon and has mapped U.S. targets in the country. Though such a high-profile move carries considerable risks for the Shiite militant movement, Mughniyah’s death could very well be the trigger to put this plan into action.

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« Reply #135 on: February 13, 2008, 03:47:10 PM »

Above is one of my main reasons for liking Israel.
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« Reply #136 on: March 10, 2008, 11:35:20 AM »


Rockets, missiles place all of Israel within firing zone



By Aaron Klein


WorldNetDaily

JERUSALEM – Syria is in the midst of "intensely" arming itself, placing into position rockets and missiles capable of striking the entire Jewish state, according to an assessment presented to the Knesset today by multiple Israeli security agencies.
 
The announcement follows a WND exclusive report last month quoting security officials stating Syria, aided by Russia and Iran, has been furiously acquiring rockets and missiles, including projectiles capable of hitting any point in Israel. The officials listed anti-tank, anti-aircraft and ballistic missiles as some of the arms procured by Syria.
 
Yesterday, Israel's Mossad and Israel Defense Forces Military Intelligence chiefs presented an annual security report to the Knesset warning of Syria's armament program.
 
The chiefs also warned of a possible flare-up at Israel's northern border with the Hezbollah terror group and said in their assessment Iran could cross the technological threshold enabling it to assemble a nuclear bomb by the end of next year.
 
The assessment came after Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced last week negotiations between the Jewish state and Syria should be seriously considered it if would bring an end to Syrian-sponsored terrorism and Damascus' "involvement in the axis of evil."
 
The negotiations would aim for some sort of Israeli evacuation from the Golan Heights strategic, mountainous territory looking down on Israeli and Syrian population centers twice used by Damascus to launch ground invasions into the Jewish state.

Syria openly provides refuge to Palestinian terror leaders, including the chiefs of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, and has been accused of shipping weapons to Hezbollah. Damascus is also accused of supporting the insurgency against U.S. troops in Iraq.

'Furious frenzy' to get Russian missiles

Olmert's announcement of Israel's willingness to negotiate followed a WND report in which Israeli and Jordanian security officials outlined Syria's recent armament.

A Jordanian security official said one of the main reasons Damascus did not retaliate after Israel carried out its Sept. 6 air strike inside Syria – which allegedly targeted a nascent nuclear facility – was because Syria's rocket infrastructure was not yet complete.

The official said that after the Israeli air strike, Syria picked up the pace of acquiring rockets and missiles, largely from Russia with Iranian backing, with the goal of completing its missile and rocket arsenal by the end of the year. The Jordanian official said Syria is aiming to possess the capacity to fire more than 100 rockets into Israel per hour for a sustained period of time.

"The Syrians have three main goals: to maximize their anti-tank, anti-aircraft and ballistic missile and rocket capabilities," explained the Jordanian official.

According to Israeli and Jordanian officials, Syria recently quietly struck a deal with Russia that allows Moscow to station submarines and war boats off Syrian ports. In exchange, Russia is supplying Syria with weaponry at lower costs, with some of the missiles and rockets being financed by Iran.

"The Iranians opened an extended credit line with Russia for Syria with the purpose of arming Syria," said one Jordanian security official.

"Russia's involvement and strategic positioning is almost like a return to its Cold War stance," the official said.

Both the Israeli and Jordanian officials told WND large quantities of Syrian rockets and missiles are being stockpiled at the major Syrian ports of Latakia and Tartus.

Syria's new acquisitions include Russia's S-300 surface-to-air missile defense shield, which is similar to the U.S.-funded, Israeli-engineered Arrow anti-missile system currently deployed in Israel. The S-300 system is being run not by Syria but by Russian naval technicians who work from Syria's ports, security officials said.

New ballistic missiles and rockets include Alexander rockets and a massive quantity of various Scud surface-to-surface missiles, including Scud B and Scud D missiles.

Israeli security officials noted Syria recently test-fired two Scud D surface-to-surface missiles, which have a range of about 250 miles, covering most Israeli territory. The officials said the Syrian missile test was coordinated with Iran and is believed to have been successful. It is not known what type of warhead the missiles had.

In addition to longer-range Scuds, Syria is in possession of shorter-range missiles such as 220 millimeter and 305 millimeter rockets, some of which have been passed on to the Lebanon-based terrorist group Hezbollah.

Israel has information Syria recently acquired and deployed Chinese-made C-802 missiles, which were successfully used against the Israeli navy during Israel's war against Hezbollah in 2006. The missiles were passed to Syria by Iran, Israeli security officials told WND.

Russia recently sold to Syria advanced anti-tank missiles similar to the projectiles that devastated Israeli tanks during the last Lebanon war, causing the highest number of Israeli troop casualties during the 34 days of military confrontations. Syria and Russia are negotiating the sale of advanced anti-aircraft missiles.
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« Reply #137 on: March 24, 2008, 06:56:23 PM »


By Joanna Chen | Newsweek Web Exclusive
Mar 21, 2008 | Updated: 6:11 p.m. ET Mar 21, 2008

In an audiotape released this week, Osama bin Laden urges Palestinians to shun negotiations with Israel in favor of armed resistance. In spite of such calls, however, pleas for talks are coming from unexpected players on both sides of the divide.

One of them, Shifa al-Qudsi, recently finished serving a six-year sentence in an Israeli prison for planning to carry out a suicide bombing. Back in 2002 the Palestinian had been fitted with an explosive belt by Fatah's Al Aqsa military brigade but was arrested shortly before carrying out her deadly mission. Since then al-Qudsi, now 30, has undergone a radical change of heart and today insists that a solution can be achieved only through dialogue.

NEWSWEEK's Joanna Chen met with al-Qudsi at her family home in the West Bank town of Tulkarem and heard why violence isn't an option and life is worth living after all. Excerpts:

NEWSWEEK: What made you want to blow yourself and other people up six years ago?

I was motivated by all the suffering that was going on around me, and at the time it seemed the right thing to do. Palestinians were getting killed inside their own homes, farmers were unable to work on their own lands, innocent children were being oppressed. All of this created an atmosphere of violence.

What did those years in prison do to you?

It was very difficult for me. I sat there for a long time and came to the conclusion there must be an alternative to this path of death and violence. We have to find a better way to reach our objective.

Was there a certain moment when you realized that blowing people up might not be the right way?

I had the chance to read a lot while I was in jail. I read about Mahatma Gandhi and how he obtained his objective of peace without raising a weapon or throwing a stone. I tried to think of a way to do the same in my own country. I think words can express better the suffering of Palestinian prisoners and the wish for peace between two peoples. I don't need to blast my body to bits and kill other people. Today I believe that words are more powerful than weapons.

Even between enemies?

The reality has already been imposed on us. We can't start talking about getting back historical Palestine, and I'm resigned to the fact that there are two nations who can live on this land. There should be peace and quiet not just for the Israelis but for the Palestinians.

What would you say to people who still think that attacks are the way to go?

Many people before me carried out suicide attacks and others will continue to do so if the situation doesn't improve. However, I tell them now: enough. We have created a lot of problems and a lot of destruction on both sides, and the time has come for us to engage in dialogue.

Would you say that to your brother, who's serving 18 years in an Israeli jail for an attempted suicide bombing?

My youngest brother is in jail because he was caught inside Israel wearing a suicide belt. He was only 15 and a half. I consider this blackmail and exploitation of my brother. He was too young to have been able to make this decision on his own, and so I consider what happened to him a crime from our own side. He should never have been exploited this way. When I decided to blow myself up I was convinced this was right and I was old enough to make my own decision, but not my brother.

Your daughter was just seven when you were sent to prison. How did you explain your willingness for her to grow up without a mother?

We've talked about it a lot. She blamed me for leaving her, although I tried to explain to her that I had bigger issues to deal with. I don't want to say that I regret my former mission, but at the same time I know I should have thought of my daughter more and should have made her [my] priority. What will make an impact is not a suicide belt that I strap to myself but education. A bomb only creates casualties and more violence. If I can equip my daughter with education, that will make a change.

What do you tell your daughter today about Israelis?

The most important message for my daughter is that Israelis are not all carriers of weapons and not all of them want to kill Palestinians. There is a big sector that wants peace.

What are your plans for the future?

The day after I came out of prison I went to register [at] university. I feel like there's no time to waste, and my objective is to study and to be able to give my daughter and other children a better future through education.
Do you think that's going to be possible?

I say it in three languages: yes, ken and aywa. I want to talk, to tell people that I did time in an Israeli jail and learned Hebrew and communicated with a lot of Israelis. I want to continue this communication and also to carry the voice of 11,000 Palestinian prisoners to the world.

Do you think your change of heart reflects a change in the Palestinian people?

I think my position reflects the desire of the Palestinian people for peace. People are tired. They want to live. And they really want peace but are struggling in order to make the world understand.

If you could speak to the Palestinian and Israeli leadership, what would you say?

My message to both is peace. We need to engage in real dialogue. Everybody needs to come down from the tree and to enter into a solid, realistic negotiation. This is the only way.

http://www.newsweek.com/id/124569?GT1=43002
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« Reply #138 on: April 02, 2008, 11:12:27 AM »

Iran has set up sophisticated listening stations in Syria to intercept Israeli military communications, The Associated Press reported April 2, citing Israeli security officials. As a result, Israel is taking new precautions, including not allowing top brass to bring mobile phones into rooms where classified information is being discussed.

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« Reply #139 on: April 07, 2008, 10:08:43 AM »

JENIN - "When you see Zakariya, maybe you'll be surprised, but he looks like just any other Palestinian man now. Without armed men, without a weapon, just an ordinary guy," related an acquaintance of Zakariya Zubeidi, until not long ago the commander of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades in Jenin.�
Though Zubeidi is no longer hiding from the Israel Defense Forces, for a number of hours the people at the theater where he works tried to find him. Zubeidi didn't answer his mobile phone even when the commander of the Palestinian security forces in Jenin, Suleiman Umran, called him. In the end, a woman who works at the theater explained that he usually sleeps late and maybe that's what he was doing.�
In the past, Zubeidi used to show up briefly at his house, in the Jenin refugee camp, together with his wanted colleagues, before disappearing for fear that Israelis would ambush him. The only reminder of those days are the framed pictures of the "martyrs" killed recently in the camp, and the huge poster of Saddam Hussein posted in one of the alleys leading to Zubeidi's home. The door is opened by his son Mohammed, who immediately summons his father. He comes down in sandals and a black T-shirt, and promises that in a few minutes he will come to the theater offices. Zubeidi arrives in his officer's "battle" jacket and mountaineering shoes, but without a weapon and without his erstwhile colleagues�
What are you doing these days?�
Zubeidi: "Nothing special. We've shut down the Al-Aqsa brigades and I haven't yet received a full pardon from Israel. I'm at home a bit, at the theater a bit."�
Why haven't you received a pardon?�
"They lied to us, Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The PA promised us that after we spent three months in PA facilities and if we didn't get involved in actions, we would receive a pardon. The three months ended and nothing happened. We still need to sleep at the headquarters of the security organizations. They promised us jobs and they haven't materialized either. Some of us are getting a salary of NIS 1,050 a month. What can you do with that? Buy Bamba for your children? They lied to everyone, they made a distinction between those who were really in the Al-Aqsa Brigades, whom they screwed, and groups that called themselves by that name, but in fact were working on behalf of the PA."�
So why have you stopped?�
"In part because of the conflict between Fatah and Hamas. Look, it's perfectly clear to me that we won't be able to defeat Israel. My aim was for us, by means of the 'resistance' [code for terror attacks], to get a message out to the world. Back in Abu Amar's day [the nom de guerre of Yasser Arafat], we had a plan, there was a strategy, and we would carry his orders."�
In effect, are you saying what Amos Gilad and intelligence always said, that Arafat planned everything?�
"Right. Everything that was done in the intifada was done according to Arafat's instructions, but he didn't need to tell us the things explicitly. We understood his message."�
And today there is no leadership?�
"Today I can say explicitly: We failed entirely in the intifada. We haven't seen any benefit or positive result from it. We achieved nothing. It's a crushing failure. We failed at the political level - we didn't succeed in translating the military actions into political achievements. The current leadership does not want armed actions, and since the death of Abu Amar, there's no one who is capable of using our actions to bring about such achievements. When Abu Amar died, the armed intifada died with him."�
What happened? Why did it die?�
"Why? Because our politicians are whores. Our leadership is garbage. Look at Ruhi Fatouh, who was president of the PA for 60 days, as Yasser Arafat's replacement. He smuggled mobile phones. Do you understand? We have been defeated. The political splits and schisms have destroyed us not only politically - they have destroyed our national identity. Today there is no Palestinian identity. Go up to anyone in the street and ask him, 'Who are you?' He'll answer you, 'I'm a Fatah activist,' 'I'm a Hamas activist,' or an activist of some other organization, but he won't say to you, 'I am a Palestinian.' Every organization flies its own flag, but no one is raising the flag of Palestine."�
Are you, who used to be a symbol of the intifada, saying, "We have been defeated, we have failed, the intifada is dead?"�
"Even Gamal Abdel Nasser admitted his defeat, so why not me? Come on, I'll tell you something. On Saturday there was a ceremony to mark the killing of one of our martyrs. They asked me to say a few words. What could I say? I can no longer promise that we will follow in the martyr's footsteps, as is customary, because I would be lying. So then one of the heads of Fatah came over to me and said, 'We are following in the footsteps of the martyrs, we are continuing the resistance.' And I told him that he is a liar.�
"I feel that they have abandoned us, the Al-Aqsa activists. They have left us behind and forgotten us. We are marching in the direction of nowhere, toward total ruin. The Palestinian people is finished. Done for. Hamas comes on the air on its television station and says 'Fatah is a traitor.' That is to say, 40 percent of the nation are traitors. And then Fatah does the same thing and you already have 80 percent traitors."�
Is that why you are at home?�
"I got tired. When you lose, what can you do? We, the activists, paid the heavy price. We've had family members killed, friends. They demolished our homes and we have no way of earning a living. And what is the result? Zero. Simply zero. And when that's the result, you don't want to be a part of it any more. Lots of other people, as a result of the frustration, and because Fatah doesn't have a military wing any more, have joined the Islamic Jihad. Those activists are still willing to pay the price.�
"And look at what the PA does to those who are keeping at it. If a PA person is killed in a battle with the Israelis, the stipend paid to his family will amount to NIS 250 a month, even though he had been earning about NIS 2,000. Why? So that he won't even think about carrying out terror attacks. This is the only plan that the PA has these days: Israeli security. The security of the occupation before the security of [Palestinian] citizens.�
"When an occupation jeep comes into a refugee camp, the PA doesn't do anything, and if someone shoots at the jeep, they'll go and arrest him immediately. Today the president of the Palestinian people is General Dayton [Keith Dayton, the U.S. security coordinator]. They're all working for him, he is the boss. A PA no longer exists."�
Forecast: war�
Zubeidi relates that for him, the theater is a refuge from the bleak political reality that the Palestinians are facing. "Here there's no politics, no religion. I still feel free here." From time to time he talks with Tali Fahima [the Israeli woman who spent time in prison for her contacts with Zubeidi], and Jewish friends come to visit him at the theater. As to the future of the region, Zubeidi's forecast is very grim.�
"Abu Mazen's mistake," he says, referring to PA President Mahmoud Abbas, "is that he is gambling everything on the negotiations. And what happens if the talks fail? What is his plan then? I'm telling you that if by the end of 2008 a Palestinian state isn't established, there is going to be a war here. Not against Israel, or between Hamas and Fatah, but against the PA. The citizens are going to throw the PA out of here. Today the PA is doing what Dayton and Israel are telling it to do, but at the end of the year, when Israel doesn't give the Palestinians a state, the PA is going to be thrown out. There's going to be an all-out war here, for control of the West Bank."�
Zubeidi is not the only one who's feeling pessimistic about the future of the PA. Similar remarks can be heard everywhere in the West Bank these days. Senior American and Israeli officials who have spoken recently with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad are saying that his despair is obvious. Some of Fayyad's bitterness derives from Israel's scornful attitude toward the PA. However, it appears that Fayyad is frustrated to the same extent by the endless conflict with Fatah people, who urge him to appoint cabinet ministers from their movement and at the same time are lying in wait for him to fail.�
Some of the criticism of Fayyad's government, which has no Fatah people, is justified. The Palestinian prime minister, his many successes notwithstanding, is by no means a miracle worker, nor can he by himself change the face of the reality. The group of cabinet ministers he has appointed are considered technocrats, for better or worse, and they are not succeeding in implementing a substantial change in the government sector.�
The heads of the Tanzim, the senior Fatah people who were supposed to have become the organization's leaders of the future, are also making little effort to conceal their despair. They watch as their movement marches toward annihilation: without real reforms, without substantive change, but with endless talk about elections in Fatah and a war on corruption. Even the heads of some of the security organizations are critical of the stuttering actions of the PA against Hamas and the Islamic Jihad in the West Bank. And while Hamas indirectly conducts indirect negotiations with Israel on a cease-fire, the PA, as Zubeidi says, has "zero achievements" to show: limping negotiations, Israeli unwillingness to help, corruption and the absence of reforms. In the view of some Tanzim people, the PA is on a sure path to disintegration. Not in a swift and sharp way, but rather in a prolonged process, at the end of which it will disappear from the West Bank and will be replaced by the Israeli occupation and Hamas. Nearly the only scenario that could change the face of things is, of course, a political agreement or a framework agreement between the PA and Israel. But who can trust the Israelis?


http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/971604.html
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« Reply #140 on: April 07, 2008, 11:42:22 AM »

Second post of the day
=================

Israel and its neighbors

Geopolitical Diary: An Israeli 'Turning Point'
April 7, 2008 | 0312 GMT
Israel launched a major, nationwide military exercise on Sunday. Scheduled to last five days, it is designed to simulate air and missile attacks against Israel, including “unconventional” weapons — which we would assume refers to chemical, biological and nuclear weapons. The exercise will test Israel’s ability to protect its population and maintain continuity of government and military decision-making in the event of such an attack.

The Israelis have emphasized that the simulation is not an attempt to raise tensions in the region, nor a cover for an attack against either Lebanon or Syria. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said on Sunday, “The goal of the exercise is to check the authorities’ ability to carry out their duty in times of emergency and for preparing the home front for various scenarios. There is nothing else hidden behind it.”

The code name of the exercise is Turning Point 2, a choice that bears some scrutiny because code names have become public relations tools. From Operation Peace for Galilee (Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 1982) to Urgent Fury (the U.S. invasion of Grenada in 1983) to Iraqi Freedom, the code names selected by Western countries have less to do with the desire for security than the desire for a clear message. (Turning Point 1 was a much smaller exercise that took place last year. However, given rumors flying around the region right now, anything called “Turning Point” will raise eyebrows, even if it was used before.)

Thought was given by the Israelis to the name “Turning Point.” That choice was intended to deliver a message, and deliver it to two audiences. One audience is the Israeli public. The other is Israel’s adversaries, ranging from Hamas and Hezbollah to Syria and Iran. That a message is being delivered along with the exercise is clear. The meaning of the message, however, is more opaque.

“Turning point,” as Winston Churchill used it in World War II, is that moment in which the trend of the war shifts away from one side and toward another. It is a decisive moment, a point of rectification. From the Israeli standpoint, there would appear to be three conflicts that need to be rectified. The first is the Israeli confrontation with Hamas in Gaza, where an extended stalemate appears to be in place. The second is Israel’s conflict with Hezbollah. The Israeli-Hezbollah encounter of 2006 defined a balance between Israeli and Hezbollah forces that is unsatisfactory to Israel. Many Israelis would argue the need for a turning point there — a reinitiation of conflict to change the outcome of 2006 — and Hezbollah has been claiming that this is Israel’s intent. The third of Israel’s conflicts has been in its relations with Iran. Israel has asserted that Iran is working on a nuclear weapon and delivery system that will threaten Israel. An elimination of that threat through offensive, defensive or combined efforts would certainly be a turning point.

The Israelis may have in mind one or more of these actions taking place simultaneously. A combined action in Gaza and the Bekaa Valley would represent an attempt to achieve a turning point in the Israeli strategic position. Either or both of those offensives might trigger missile attacks using chemical weapons. Therefore any operation that would be intended as a turning point in the regional conflict might well contain a defensive scenario against a large-scale chemical attack against Israel from weapons deployed in Lebanon or possibly Syria.

The Israelis could also be conducting a necessary exercise for implementing defensive warfighting scenarios under unknown circumstances. They might have chosen the code name simply to jangle nerves in the region. However, over the past weeks we have seen everything from U.S. Sixth Fleet naval vessels moving close to the Lebanese coast, to very convincing reports of Syrian troop movements along the Lebanese border. Jangling the nerves of the region seems superfluous.

The name might simply mean that from this moment forward, Israel is ready for unconventional air and missile attack. Or it could be intended as a signal that Israel is interested in a broader turning point. Either way, code names are not casually chosen and the code name for the largest anti-WMD defensive exercise that Israel has ever undertaken was not pulled out of a jar.

“Turning Point” is an interesting choice.
======

And this from a few days ago:

Israel, Syria: Military Posturing and Rumors of Troop Movements
Stratfor Today » April 4, 2008 | 2154 GMT

HAITHAM MUSSAWI/AFP/Getty Images
Syrian soldiers in Lebanon loading a tank in 2005Summary
Officials in both Syria and Israel continued to state that unusual Syrian troop movements have not been occurring. Indications suggest that Syria has in fact been engaging in military posturing, however, as both countries probe each other while regional tensions escalate over Israeli plans for a new conflict with Hezbollah.

Analysis
Israeli and Syrian military officials continue to deny that any unusual Syrian troop movements have been taking place since April 3. In a defense briefing, Israeli Military Intelligence officials added that Syria had not mobilized its reserve forces. Stratfor sources earlier said three Syrian divisions had been sent to the Lebanese border near the western Bekaa Valley.

Despite the denials, a number of indicators suggest Syria has indeed been engaged in some military posturing over the past couple days.

According to a Lebanese military source with ties to the Syrian regime, the Syrians sent three divisions (two armored and one mechanized) along the Lebanese-Syrian-Israeli border. Two of the divisions were redeployed from the Golan Heights, where Syria maintains three forward divisions by the cease-fire line, to positions near the western Bekaa Valley. Though the Syrian military is not in stellar shape, these units tend to be somewhat more proficient than the rest of the regular army. Syria reportedly redeployed another armored division from Dira (near the Jordanian border) to positions near the western Bekaa Valley.

The predominately offensive armored divisions are reportedly positioned behind the mechanized division. Our source indicates that Damascus is attempting to portray these tactics — in part through unit disposition — as a defensive posture. But the deployment of three divisions to the border is hardly defensive in nature — and it is unlikely Israel will read these as defensive moves.

Though the Israelis are making a strong effort to deny that any such action is taking place, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s cancellation of his trip to Germany (citing “scheduling problems”) the same day as the reports on the Syrian military buildup probably was not coincidental. Moreover, a Sudanese news agency cited Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem as saying April 4 that Syria is preparing for an Israeli attack and further contention with the United States, but has chosen peace as its strategic option. The same day, the daily Al Hayat reported that Syria and Israel were in back-channel discussions involving talk of a possible truce, as well as warnings from both sides against instigating a military confrontation.

As Stratfor has discussed, following the failure of the March 29-30 Arab League summit, Syria was expected to turn more aggressive. Damascus has closely eyed Israel’s preparations for a military offensive against Hezbollah, a military organization in Lebanon. Syria wants to undermine Israeli confidence that the Syrians would remain on the sidelines of an Israeli-Hezbollah rematch.

The Syrians are not delusional about their severe military disadvantage vis-a-vis the Israel Defense Forces and what would be an assured Syrian defeat if Damascus followed through with its threat to enter any Israeli-Hezbollah fight. Damascus also knows the Israelis would much rather have the Syrians stay out of the conflict and ensure the stability of the al Assad government. But by such military maneuvers, the Syrians hope to give Israel some pause in its planning, and open a back door for negotiations.

The flurry of apparent diplomatic and military activity in the past two days suggests the Israelis and Syrians are trying to probe each other as regional tensions continue to escalate about whether Israeli plans a new conflict with Hezbollah. While neither side can be certain of the other’s intentions, such military posturing is part and parcel of this diplomatic game.



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« Reply #141 on: April 25, 2008, 10:24:16 AM »

The Sad End of Jimmy Carter
By BERNARD-HENRI LÉVY
April 25, 2008; Page A15

The problem is not that he is, or is not, talking to the Syrians – everyone does it to some degree.

It isn't that he went to Damascus to meet with the exiled head of Hamas – everyone, including the Israelis, will one day have to do that too, in accordance with that old rule which says that in the end it is with your enemies not your friends that you have to come to an understanding and make peace.

No.

The problem is how Jimmy Carter went about it.

The problem is the spectacular and useless embrace he exchanged with the senior Hamas dignitary, Nasser Shaer, in Ramallah.

 
Getty Images 
Jimmy Carter at the tomb of Yasser Arafat.
The problem is the wreath he laid piously at the grave of Yasser Arafat, who, as Mr. Carter knows better than anyone else, was a real obstacle to peace.

It is that in Cairo, if we are to believe another Hamas leader, Mahmoud Zahar, whose statement has so far not been denied, Mr. Carter apparently described Hamas as a "national liberation movement" – this party which has made a cult of death, a mythology of blood and race, and an anti-Semitism along the lines of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion into the linchpin of its ideology.

The problem is also the formidable nose thumbing he got from Hamas's exiled leader, Khaled Mashaal, who, at the very moment he was receiving Mr. Carter, also triggered the first car bombing in several months in Keren Shalom on the Gaza strip – and that this event elicited from poor Mr. Carter, all tangled up in his small-time mediator calculations, not one disapproving or empathetic word.

The former president, it will be recalled, is an old hand at this sort of thing.

Going off track like this is not new for the man who 30 years ago was one of the architects of peace with Egypt, but who since then has not stopped vilifying Israel, comparing its political system to that of South Africa during apartheid, ignoring Israel's desire for peace, which is no less real than its errors, even denying its suffering.

A year ago, he told CBS that for years his beloved Hamas had not committed any terrorist attacks resulting in civilian casualties – this, a few months after the assassination of six people at the Karni Terminal, and the attack on Aug. 30, 2004, which killed 16 passengers in two buses in Beersheba.

And it is one thing to speak to CBS, and another to say these words, which are unofficial but have indisputable moral authority, to the belligerents.

It is one thing to say, in Dublin on June 19, 2007, that the true criminals are not those who proclaim, like Mashaal, that "before dying" Israel must be "humiliated and degraded," but those who would prefer that these charming characters be pushed out of the circles of power, sooner or later, with a distinct preference for "sooner." It is quite another to come over in person and put all one's weight behind the most radical elements, those who are the most hostile to peace, the most profoundly nihilistic in the Palestinian camp.

The truth is, if one wished to discredit the other side, to fully humiliate and ridicule the only Palestinian leader (Mahmoud Abbas) who at the risk of his life continues to believe in the solution of two states – if with a word one wanted to ruin the last dreams of men and women of goodwill who still believe in peace – one would be absolutely on the right track.

So what happened to this man, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate?

Is it the vanity of someone who is no longer so important, who wants a last 15 minutes in the spotlight before he has to leave the stage forever?

Is it the senility of a politician who has lost touch with reality and with his own party? Barack Obama, even more clearly than his rival, has just reminded us that it will not be possible to "sit down" with the leaders of Hamas unless they are prepared to "renounce terrorism, recognize Israel's right to exist, and respect past agreements."

Could he be suffering from a variant of self-hatred, or in this case a hatred of his own past as the Great Peacemaker?

All hypotheses are permitted. Whatever the reason, Mr. Carter has demonstrated an unusual capacity to transform a political error into a disastrous moral mistake.

Mr. Levy's new book, "Left in Dark Times: A Stand against the New Barbarism," will be published by Random House in September. This essay was translated from the French by Sara Sugihara.


The President of Iran was wondering whom to invade when his telephone
rang.

"This is Mendel in Tel Aviv. We're officially declaring war on you!"
"How big is your army?" the president asked.
"There's me, my cousin Moishe, and our pinochle team!"

"I have a million in my army," said the president.
"I'll call back!" said Mendel.

The next day he called.

"The war's still on! We have now a bulldozer, Goldblatt's tractor plus
the canasta team!"

"I have 16,000 tanks, and my army is now two million."
"Oy gevalt!", said Mendel. "I'll call back."

He phoned the next day.

"We're calling off the war"
"Why?"

"Well," said Mendel, "we had a little chat, and there's no way we can
feed two million prisoners."

« Last Edit: April 25, 2008, 12:51:18 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
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« Reply #142 on: May 07, 2008, 11:33:29 AM »

Israel Is Now America's Closest Ally
By MICHAEL B. OREN
May 7, 2008

President George W. Bush will soon make his second visit to Israel in less than six months, this time to celebrate the country's 60th anniversary. The candidates for the presidency, Republican and Democratic alike, have all traveled to Israel and affirmed their commitment to its security. So have hundreds of congressmen.

American engineers, meanwhile, are collaborating with their Israeli counterparts in developing advanced defense systems. American soldiers are learning antiterrorist techniques from the Israeli army.

 
Corbis 
John McCain visits the Western Wall in Jerusalem, March 2008.
Israel is the only Middle Eastern country where the American flag is rarely (if ever) burned in protest – indeed, some Israelis fly that flag on their own independence day. And avenues in major American cities are named for Yitzhak Rabin and Golda Meir. Arguably, there is no alliance in the world today more durable and multifaceted than that between the United States and Israel.

Yet the bonds between the two countries were not always so strong. For much of Israel's history, America was a distant and not always friendly power.

Consider the period before Israel's founding in 1948, during the British Mandate over Palestine. Though many Americans, Christians as well as Jews, were committed to building the Jewish national home, their government's policy was strictly hands-off. Palestine, in Washington's view, was exclusively Britain's concern, and the Arab-Jewish conflict was a British headache.

Accordingly, the Roosevelt administration raised no objection to Britain's 1939 decision to end Jewish immigration into Palestine, sealing off European Jewry's last escape route from Nazism. The U.S. indifference to Zionism deepened during World War II, when America feared alienating its British allies and angering the Arabs, whose oil had become vital to the war effort. Deferring to British and Arab demands, America confined hundreds of thousands of Holocaust survivors in displaced-persons camps in Europe rather than let them emigrate to Palestine.

America's ambivalence toward Zionism persisted after the war, as the battle against Nazism gave way to the anticommunist struggle. While a sizeable majority of Americans welcomed Israel's creation in May 1948, policy makers in Washington feared that such support would trigger an Arab oil boycott of the West and the Soviet take-over of Europe. Secretary of State George Marshall even warned the president, Harry Truman, that he would not back him for re-election if he recognized the newborn state. An ardent Baptist whose best friend was a Jew, Truman ignored these warnings and made the U.S. the first nation to accord de facto recognition to Israel. But buckling to State and Defense Department pressures, Truman also imposed an arms embargo on Israel during its desperate war of independence. Later, he arm-twisted Israeli leaders to relinquish land to the Arabs and to readmit Palestinian refugees.

Pressure for territorial concessions escalated under Truman's successor, Dwight D. Eisenhower, who also vetoed weapons sales to Israel. His secretary of state, John Foster Dulles, dismissed Israel as "the millstone around our necks," and threatened it with sanctions during the 1956 Suez Crisis. Israel is home to the Middle East's largest memorial to John F. Kennedy, but Kennedy similarly refused to sell tanks and planes to Israel, and warned that America's relationship with the Jewish state would be "seriously jeopardized" by Israel's nuclear program. Lyndon B. Johnson was the first president to invite an Israeli prime minister, Levi Eshkol, to Washington – 16 years after Israel's birth – but he then balked at Eshkol's request for American help against the Arab armies assembling for war in June 1967. "Israel will not be alone unless it decides to go it alone," Johnson replied, implying that the U.S. would not stand beside Israel militarily.

The Six-Day War nevertheless inaugurated a dramatic change in America's attitude toward Israel. Israel's astonishing victory in that conflict instantly transformed the "millstone" into an American asset, a hardy fellow democracy and Cold War ally. Nixon regarded Israel as "the best Soviet stopper in the Mideast," and furnished the weaponry Israel needed to prevail in the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter both ran on platforms highly favorable to Israel, and dedicated themselves to the search for Israel-Arab peace. By the end of the 1970s, an inchoate U.S.-Israeli alliance had emerged, sealed by the existence of a potent pro-Israel lobby in Washington and the extension to Israel of billions of dollars of American aid.

But the relationship was hardly friction-free. Israel's reluctance to forfeit territories captured in 1967, and its efforts to settle them, became a perennial source of tension. Presidents Ford and Carter threatened to withhold assistance from Israel unless it made territorial concessions. President George H.W. Bush denied Israel loan guarantees for resettling Russian immigrants in the West Bank. Israel's security policies also jolted the alliance – Ronald Reagan condemned Israel's bombardment of the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981 as well as its siege of Beirut the following year. Americans, in turn, irritated the Israelis with their transfer of sophisticated weapons to Saudi Arabia and their opposition to Israeli arms sales to China.

Such rifts have grown increasingly infrequent, however, and today there are few visible fissures in the U.S.-Israeli front. Yet America has never recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital – imagine if Israel refused to recognize Washington. Powerful interest groups lobby against Israel in Washington while much of American academia and influential segments of the media are staunchly opposed to any association with Israel.

How does the alliance surmount these challenges?

One reason, certainly, is values – the respect for civic rights and the rule of law that is shared by the world's most powerful republic and the Middle East's only stable democracy. There is also Israel's determination to fight terror, and its willingness to share its antiterror expertise. Most fundamentally, though, is the amity between the two countries' peoples. The admiration which the U.S. inspires among Israelis is overwhelmingly reciprocated by Americans, more than 70% of whom, according to recent polls, favor robust ties with the Jewish state.

No doubt further upheavals await the alliance in the future – as Iran approaches nuclear capability, for example. Israel may act more muscularly than some American leaders might warrant. The impending change of U.S. administration will also have an effect. But such vicissitudes are unlikely to cause a major schism in what has proven to be one of history's most resilient, ardent and atypical partnerships.

Mr. Oren, a senior fellow at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem, is the author of "Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East, 1776 to the Present," now available in paperback from Norton.
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« Reply #143 on: May 08, 2008, 12:37:33 PM »

An email from Human Events.

By the way it is my opinion that BO is no friend of Israel.  I suspect he and Michelle feel like many "Muslim" Blacks and have no love whatsever for Jews let alone Israel.  If he wins in November Israel is on their own IMO.


Israel at 60
by Nile Gardiner
Posted: 05/08/2008
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Few countries in modern times could claim the title “warrior nation”. The United States and Great Britain definitely can, and Israel certainly qualifies for this distinction too. Today is the 60th anniversary of Israel’s founding and a reminder of the heroism of the Israeli people. This tiny nation of just 7 million has fought seven wars and survived in the face of insurmountable odds, international hostility and massive intimidation, a tribute to the strength of the human spirit and the willingness of Israelis to fight to defend their freedom.

Six decades on from its establishment, Israel continues to fight for its very existence, and remains the most persecuted nation in the history of the United Nations. The UN has left no stone unturned in its hounding of Israel, a relentless display of hatred and prejudice that shames the world body. Despite being the freest, most democratic country in the Middle East, Israel is the whipping boy for the UN’s Human Rights Council, a discredited basket case of an organization that boasts some of the world’s worst human rights offenders as members, including China, Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Russia and Egypt. Roughly three quarters of the HRC’s resolutions in its first year were aimed at Israel, while brutal dictatorships such as Zimbabwe, North Korea, Burma and Sudan barely merited a mention.

Needless to say, the United Nations has remained silent in the face of Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s threats to wipe Israel “off the map”, much as the League of Nations dithered in the shadow of Nazi Germany just two generations ago. Iran’s dictator doesn’t mince his words when referring to Israel, calling it a “filthy entity” that “will sooner or later fall” in a speech this January, as well as “a dirty microbe” and “a savage animal” at a rally in February.
Continued
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There are distinct echoes of the heated discussions in Europe and the United States over the intentions of Adolf Hitler in the mid to late 1930s in today’s debate over Iran. Then as now, there was a constant barrage of calls from political elites on both sides of the Atlantic for direct talks with a totalitarian regime and illusory hopes of reaching out to “moderates” within the government, a general downplaying of the threat level, widespread inaction and hand-wringing, and staggering complacency over levels of defense spending.

The brutal lessons of 20th Century history taught that there can be no negotiation with this sort of brutal dictatorship, and it would be a huge strategic error for the West to do so. There will be endless debate in international policy circles over Tehran’s nuclear intentions, but the essential fact remains that the free world is faced with a fundamentally evil and barbaric regime with a track record of backing international terrorism, repressing its own people, issuing genocidal threats against its neighbors, and of enabling the killing of Allied forces in Iraq.

It is imperative that the United States and Great Britain, Tel Aviv’s two main allies, remain united in defending Israel in the face of Iranian aggression. Iran poses the most significant threat to Israel’s security since its founding, as well as the biggest state-based threat to the West of our generation. As Israeli President Shimon Peres warned earlier this year, “a nuclear armed Iran will be a nightmare for the world.”

As the world’s largest sponsor of international terror, and a dangerous rogue regime hell-bent on acquiring nuclear weapons capability, Iran must be stopped. The Jerusalem Post reported just yesterday that the latest Israeli intelligence assessment is that “the Islamic Republic will master centrifuge technology and be able to begin enriching uranium on a military scale this year. According to the new timeline, Iran could have a nuclear weapon by the middle of next year.” This is several years ahead of the flawed assessment of the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), and gives added urgency to the debate over the Iranian nuclear issue.

Every effort must be made to increase the pressure on Tehran through Security Council and European economic, military and political sanctions, including a ban on investment in Iranian liquefied natural gas operations. In particular, extensive pressure must be applied on Switzerland to halt a $30 billion contract between Zurich-based contractor EGL and the National Iranian Gas Export Company.

At the same time, Washington and London must make preparations for the possible use of force against Iran’s nuclear facilities if the sanctions route fails. In addition, the U.S. and UK must be prepared to retaliate against Iranian aggression in Iraq, with Tehran continuing to wage a proxy war against Coalition and Iraqi forces. As General Petraeus made clear in his recent testimony before Congress, Iran is actively supplying mortars, rockets and explosives to Shiite militia groups in Iraq. It has also been revealed by Coalition spokesmen in the last few days that the elite Quds force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard has been using Hizbollah guerillas to train Iraqi militias at a training camp at Jalil Azad near Tehran. 

As tensions with Iran escalate, and as the stakes are dramatically raised, Britain and the United States should support the admission of Israel into NATO, offering a collective security guarantee in the face of Tehran’s saber-rattling. Israel, which spends nearly 10 percent of its GDP on defense (in contrast to the NATO average of 2.1 percent), would be a major net asset to the Alliance, possessing a first rate army, air force and navy, as well as outstanding intelligence and special forces capability. There is likely to be strong initial opposition to the move by some European countries, including France and Belgium, but it is a debate that NATO should have sooner rather than later. 

The next few years will be a critical time for Israel, as it faces the prospect of the rise of a nuclear Iran that has pledged its destruction. If Israel is to survive another 60 years it is imperative that the West confronts the gathering storm and stands up to the biggest threat to international security since the end of the Cold War.

The United States, Great Britain and their allies must reject the illusory promise of “peace in our time” conjured by advocates of an appeasement approach towards the Mullahs of Iran, and ensure the world does not face a totalitarian Islamist regime armed with nuclear weapons. The freedom that Israel currently enjoys was secured through the sacrifice of her soldiers through several wars in the Middle East, as well as the earlier sacrifice of American and British troops in World War Two. It is the same liberty that we cherish today in the West, freedom that must be fought for and defended.


Nile Gardiner, Ph.D. is the Director of the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom, and a Margaret Thatcher Senior Research Fellow at The Heritage Foundation.
 
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Report Abusive PostTo whom is the support of Great Britain and the USA critical too? It seems that there is a consistent one-sided call for support from Israel with very little reciprocation. Modern Israel has played the "Christians must support 'God's Chosen People'" card to the hilt, meanwhile blocking the free-speech rights of Christians in that country. It seems to me that Israel is speaking out of both sides of their mouth on the "God front". They like the support of their "Christian brothers" so long as they don't behave as Christians in their country (and make disciples). I don't see why Christians should be supporting one Godless little Middle Eastern nation over another despite what Pastor Hagee says.
I Art Laughing, The Last Frontier
May 08, 2008 @ 03:24 AM
Report Abusive PostBTW does anyone know exactly when "this generation" has passed? Seems like all of the people from the Golda Meir generation have been dead for at least a decade.
I Art Laughing, The Last Frontier
May 08, 2008 @ 03:27 AM
Report Abusive Postwhy must we support israel? They spy on the U.S.; they blockade our arms shipment to the Palistinans; they ignore the U.N. (unless they want something). They should be classified as part of the axis of evil, as sonny george would say.We are a friend of israel, but they ain't our friend.
Wes, McLean VA
May 08, 2008 @ 04:06 AM
Report Abusive PostArms shipments to the Palestinians? What have you been smoking Wes?
I Art Laughing, The Last Frontier
May 08, 2008 @ 04:10 AM
Report Abusive PostWe should support Israel because the jews are the chosen people and it's a spiritual mandate from God. "He who watches over never lumbers nor sleeps" "he" is God. Do you really want to be on the wrong side of God? I know I'm gonna get heat from the religious haters, but Matthew 5:10. And as far as why we support them politically. It's because they are the only stable democracy in the Middle East. Happy b-day Israel!

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« Reply #144 on: May 10, 2008, 08:36:28 AM »

May 9, 2008
Indications continued to mount on Thursday that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert would be indicted on charges of bribery. Violence broke out in Lebanon between Hezbollah and Lebanese groups opposed to it. The Turks announced that they had suspended talks between Israel and Syria because of Syrian leaks concerning talks with Israel that the Turks had brokered. Things are in flux, to say the least.

It is important to note that Olmert was not indicted and that he said that he had not taken any bribes. However, the unsealing of the information that the prosecutors had about the bribe, which triggered Olmert’s denial, kicked off a political storm in Israel, with many political leaders either calling for his resignation immediately or predicting that he would be forced to resign eventually — given that Olmert had stated that he would resign if indicted.

Israeli politics are, therefore, in a meltdown. Olmert’s ability to govern under these circumstances is limited. Everyone is maneuvering in anticipation of his leaving office, and his leverage has evaporated. Should he again be given a clean bill of health, the situation will undoubtedly reverse. However, there is a broadly held sense in Israel that he will not survive. That throws the future of the coalition into question and likely makes elections necessary. If that happens, Israel will not be in a position to make any decisions on Palestinian or Syrian negotiations.

That makes the decision by the Turks to announce publicly that they would suspend negotiations over a leak that happened weeks ago particularly interesting. There was no reason to hold the announcement, and, having held it, there was no reason to announce it now. Moreover, the Turks did not say the talks were canceled, only that they were on hold. Given the state of Israeli politics, of course, that is quite accurate. We suspect that the Turks were quite irritated with the Syrians over the leak, but also decided that they needed a reason to put things on hold at this time. Still, the strategic reasons that led the Turks to want an Israeli-Syrian settlement are still in place, as are Israeli and Syrian interests — and this was a pause with a signal to the Syrians to behave.

And that is an important signal, given what happened in Lebanon today. Lebanese politicians decided to move against Hezbollah’s private communication system — the system that enables Hezbollah to be a self-contained army within Lebanon, outside the bounds of the Lebanese Army. Hezbollah understood that this was a direct threat to its power in Lebanon and reacted with violence, ranging from stone-throwing to mortar fire. Hezbollah made it clear that it did not intend to have its power reduced.

Taking on Hezbollah is dangerous for anyone, particularly the Lebanese. The move to shut down Hezbollah’s communications was obviously going to cause a violent response, and few in Lebanon are eager to risk Hezbollah’s wrath — unless they have an understanding with Syria. Syria is a supporter of Hezbollah, but its relationship with the group is complex. There are times when Syria has wanted Hezbollah to be as aggressive as possible and times when Syria was very active in restraining Hezbollah. The Syrians never wanted to dismantle the group, but there were times they wanted it to be benign. Given Syria’s talks with the Israelis –- for which the Syrians publicly celebrated, and the Turks rapped them on the knuckles — an unconditional demand on the part of Israel had to have been Syria reining in Hezbollah.

Whoever decided to shut down Hezbollah’s communication system had to have some confidence that they would not be facing Hezbollah alone. There are three possibilities. One, that they thought they could handle Hezbollah themselves. We find that hard to believe. Two, that they thought Israel might intervene, perhaps because Olmert would start a war to cover his indictment. If that’s so, we think it was a major miscalculation; Israel won’t go to war on that basis. Three, that anti-Hezbollah forces in Lebanon have gotten the signal from Syria that they can act against Hezbollah, as a gesture of good faith to Israel on the part of Damascus. Our suspicion is that this is what happened. Incurring the displeasure of both Hezbollah and Syria is not wise for any Lebanese.

The tangle caused by Olmert’s situation is now intense. Left out of this discussion are the Palestinian negotiations or any of the other complexities of the region. This is quite enough. But as frequently happens in the Middle East, what appeared to be a promising opening a couple of weeks ago has bogged down in the internal politics of one of the actors. Even Olmert’s departure will not solve the problem, as it will create a vacuum that could take months to fill.
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« Reply #145 on: May 10, 2008, 10:06:53 PM »





May 10, 2008, 8:30 a.m.

Be Careful What You Wish For
Israel’s doom would be bad news for Europe.

By Mark Steyn

Almost everywhere I went last week — TV, radio, speeches — I was asked about the 60th anniversary of the Israeli state. I don’t recall being asked about Israel quite so much on its 50th anniversary, which as a general rule is a much bigger deal than the 60th. But these days friends and enemies alike smell weakness at the heart of the Zionist Entity. Assuming President Ahmadinejad’s apocalyptic fancies don’t come to pass, Israel will surely make it to its 70th birthday. But a lot of folks don’t fancy its prospects for its 80th and beyond. See the Atlantic Monthly cover story: “Is Israel Finished?” Also the cover story in Canada’s leading news magazine, Maclean’s, which dispenses with the question mark: “Why Israel Can’t Survive.”

Why? By most measures, the Jewish state is a great success story. The modern Middle East is the misbegotten progeny of the British and French colonial map-makers of 1922. All the nation states in that neck of the woods date back a mere 60 or 70 years — Iraq to the Thirties, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, and Israel to the Forties. The only difference is that Israel has made a go of it. Would I rather there were more countries like Israel, or more like Syria? I don’t find that a hard question to answer. Israel is the only liberal democracy in the Middle East (Iraq may yet prove a second) and its Arab citizens enjoy more rights than they would living under any of the kleptocrat kings and psychotic dictators who otherwise infest the region. On a tiny strip of land narrower at its narrowest point than many American townships, Israel has built a modern economy with a GDP per capita just shy of $30,000 — and within striking distance of the European Union average. If you object that that’s because it’s uniquely blessed by Uncle Sam, well, for the past 30 years the second largest recipient of U.S. aid has been Egypt: Their GDP per capita is $5,000, and America has nothing to show for its investment other than one-time pilot Mohammed Atta coming at you through the office window.

Jewish success against the odds is nothing new. “Aaron Lazarus the Jew,” wrote Anthony Hope in his all but unknown prequel to The Prisoner Of Zenda, “had made a great business of it, and had spent his savings in buying up the better part of the street; but” — and for Jews there’s always a ‘but’
— “since Jews then might hold no property…”

Ah, right. Like the Jewish merchants in old Europe who were tolerated as leaseholders but could never be full property owners, the Israelis are regarded as operating a uniquely conditional sovereignty. Jimmy Carter, just returned from his squalid suck-up junket to Hamas, is merely the latest Western sophisticate to pronounce triumphantly that he has secured the usual (off-the-record, highly qualified, never to be translated into Arabic, and instantly denied) commitment from the Jews’ enemies acknowledging Israel’s “right to exist.” Well, whoop-de-doo. Would you enter negotiations on such a basis?

Since Israel marked its half-century, the “right to exist” is now routinely denied not just in Gaza and Ramallah and the region’s presidential palaces but on every European and Canadian college campus. During the Lebanese incursion of 2006, Matthew Parris wrote in the Times of London: “The past 40 years have been a catastrophe, gradual and incremental, for world Jewry. Seldom in history have the name and reputation of a human grouping lost so vast a store of support and sympathy so fast. My opinion - held not passionately but with little personal doubt — is that there is no point in arguing about whether the state of Israel should have been established where and when it was” — which lets you know how he would argue it if minded to. Richard Cohen in The Washington Post was more straightforward: “Israel itself is a mistake. It is an honest mistake, a well-intentioned mistake, a mistake for which no one is culpable, but the idea of creating a nation of European Jews in an area of Arab Muslims (and some Christians) has produced a century of warfare and terrorism of the sort we are seeing now. Israel fights Hezbollah in the north and Hamas in the south, but its most formidable enemy is history itself.” Cohen and Parris, two famously moderate voices in the leading newspapers of two of the least anti-Israeli capital cities in the West, have nevertheless internalized the same logic as Ahmadinejad: Israel should not be where it is. Whether it’s a “stain of shame” or just a “mistake” is the merest detail.

Aaron Lazarus and every other “European Jew” of his time would have had a mirthless chuckle over Cohen’s designation. The Jews lived in Europe for centuries, but without ever being accepted as “European”: To enjoy their belated acceptance as Europeans, they had to move to the Middle East. Reviled on the Continent as sinister rootless cosmopolitans with no conventional national allegiance, they built a conventional nation state, and now they’re reviled for that, too. The “oldest hatred” didn’t get that way without an ability to adapt.

The Western intellectuals who promote “Israeli Apartheid Week” at this time each year are laying the groundwork for the next stage of Zionist delegitimization. The talk of a “two-state solution” will fade. In the land between the Jordan and the Mediterranean, Jews are barely a majority. Gaza has one of the highest birth rates on the planet: The median age is 15.8 years. Its population is not just literally exploding, at Israeli checkpoints, but also doing so in the less incendiary but demographically decisive sense.

Arabs will soon be demanding one democratic state — Jews and Muslims — from Jordan to the sea. And even those who understand that this will mean the death of Israel will find themselves so confounded by the multicultural pieties of their own lands they’ll be unable to argue against it. Contemporary Europeans are not exactly known for their moral courage: The reports one hears of schools quietly dropping the Holocaust from their classrooms because it offends their growing numbers of Muslim students suggest that even the pretense of “evenhandedness” in the Israeli-Palestinian “peace process” will be long gone a decade hence.

The joke, of course, is that Israel, despite its demographic challenge, still enjoys a birth rate twice that of the European average. All the reasons for Israel’s doom apply to Europe with bells on. And, unlike much of the rest of the west, Israel has the advantage of living on the front line of the existential challenge. “I have a premonition that will not leave me,” wrote Eric Hoffer, America’s great longshoreman philosopher, after the ’67 war. “As it goes with Israel so will it go with all of us.”

Indeed. So happy 60th birthday. And here’s to many more.

© 2008 Mark Steyn

National Review Online - http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=MGM4M2M5YWRhYWY4YzgwYjdkYWI2NTViMmM5MTc2MTM=
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« Reply #146 on: May 16, 2008, 06:39:58 PM »

From Pat Buchanan,

"President Bush celebrates Israel's 60th birthday, and is celebrated in turn as Israel's best friend ever"

Does any Jew seriously think BO is a friend of the Jews?  And Clinton?  Clinton would sell out the Jews just as quickly as she sold out the Blacks if becomes in her self interest.  Not true for Bush.

His article is food for thought:

***As Israel enters its 61st year, Israelis may look back with pride. Yet, the realists among them must also look forward with foreboding.

Israel is a modern democracy with the highest standard of living in the Middle East. In the high-tech industries of the future, she is in the first rank. From a nation of fewer than a million in 1948, Israel's population has grown to 7 million. In seven wars -- the 1948 War of Independence, the Sinai invasion of 1956, the Six-Day War of 1967, the Yom Kippur War of 1973, and the Lebanon wars of 1982 and 2006 -- Israel has prevailed, though some of these wars were, as Wellington said of Waterloo, "a damn near-run thing."

Israel has revived Hebrew, created a new currency, immersed her children in the history, ancient and modern, of her people, and established a homeland for Jews from all over the world, millions of whom have migrated there to settle. Israel is now home to the largest concentration of Jews anywhere on earth.

Israel became home to the largest Jewish population on earth in part because American Jews in the 1990s fell in number from 5.5 million to 5.2 million, a loss of 300,000, or 6 percent of the U.S. Jewish population.

According to Charles Krauthammer, by 2050, the U.S. Jewish population will have shrunk another 50 percent to 2.5 million. American Jews are slowly vanishing. How and why is this happening?

It is the collective decision of American Jews themselves, who have led the battles for birth control and a woman's right to choose.

As Jews were roughly 2 percent of the U.S. population from Roe v. Wade to today, perhaps 2 percent of the 50 million legal abortions since Roe were likely performed on Jewish girls or women, resulting in 1 million lost members of the Jewish community in 35 years.

And if demography is destiny, Israel's future, too, appears grim.

As former Ambassador Zalman Shoval writes, Israel's population of 7 million is 80 percent Jewish. But the Palestinian population of Israel has risen to 20 percent and is growing much faster.

One Israel blogger, using Shoval's totals, writes that among the Israeli population between 1 and 4 years old, roughly 30 percent is Arab. The future of Israel is thus increasingly Arab and less Jewish.

According to the United Nations, by 2050, Israel will have 10 million people.

By then, the Arab population, at present birth rates, is likely to be close to 30 percent of the Israeli population. On the West Bank and Gaza, today's 4 million Arabs are to explode to 10 million, far outstripping the growth in Israel. Jordan's population of 5 million, 60 percent Palestinian, will also double to 10 million.

Thus, not even counting Palestinians in Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria and the Gulf states, Israel's 7 million to 8 million Jews in 2050 will be living with 13 million Palestinians in Israel, Jerusalem, Gaza and the West Bank. If Israel is to survive as a Jewish state, a separate and independent Palestinian state would seem an imperative.

Yet, as Israelis continue to build outposts and expand and add settlements, the possibility of a Palestinian state recedes. Indeed, many Israelis, seeing what an end to the occupation produced in Gaza, refuse to consider any pullout at all from the West Bank.

Such a policy of holding on and digging in is sometimes the best one -- but only if time is on one's side. Is time on Israel's side?

According to the world population statistics from the National Policy Institute, the worldwide Arabic population in 1950 was only 94 million, less than 4 percent of the world population. But by 2050, it will be 700 million, 7 percent of a world population of almost 10 billion.

According to U.N. population experts, Lebanon's population will grow to 5 million in 2050, but Syria's will almost double from today's 20 million to 34 million. The population of Saudi Arabia will rise from 24 million to 45 million. Egypt will grow by more than 50 million to 121 million Egyptians by 2050. The Islamic Republic of Iran, 71 million today, is expected to reach 100 million at mid-century.

And, demography aside, the Islamic faith of Israel's neighbors is becoming militant. Hamas now controls Gaza. Hezbollah now controls Southern Lebanon and is becoming the power in Beirut. While Egypt is headed by a pro-American autocrat, the principal rival for power is the widely popular Muslim Brotherhood.

Those who do not like the Saudi monarchy should consider what is likely to rise in its place, should the House of Saud fall. The same is true of the Jordanian and Moroccan monarchies, and the sheikdoms, emirates and sultanates of the Persian Gulf.

In any struggle of generations, the critical question is often: Whose side is time on? As President Bush celebrates Israel's 60th birthday, and is celebrated in turn as Israel's best friend ever, it is a fair question to ask.***

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ccp
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« Reply #147 on: May 16, 2008, 07:15:27 PM »

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/05/15/AR2008051503577.html
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rachelg
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« Reply #148 on: May 16, 2008, 09:23:53 PM »

 I don't think abortion has a lot of impact on Jewish survival/continuity. Jews have been called the ever-dying people for a long time and has survived much worse threats than the current situation. Demography has never been destiny for the Jewish people.

 Currently--Intermarriage and assimilation are generally thought to be the largest threats to Jewish continuity currently.http://www.ajc.org/site/c.ijITI2PHKoG/b.841657/k.5C30/Jewish_Continuity_and_Intermarriage.htm

Also abortion would not be the only factor in reducing  Jewish fertility. . Are you arguing against all forms of birth control, mandating that people get married younger and immediately start trying for children, etc….

 
 The Palestinian birthrate was probably over estimated and the Jewish birthrate in Israel is high.   Even Secular Israelis have on average 3 kids. I have a religious cousin in Israel in whose neighborhood the averagenumber of children  is 8 and the woman are still mostly of childbearing age. 

http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200504/primarysources
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #149 on: May 17, 2008, 12:52:09 AM »

Rachel:

Glad to have you join the conversation.

Why do you think the Palestinian birthrate is overestimated?  By how much/what do you think it is?

TIA,
Marc
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