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Posts: 41787

« Reply #550 on: March 28, 2009, 07:32:44 AM »

JERUSALEM — Israel is pushing back against accusations of civilian abuse in its Gaza war, asserting that an overwhelming majority of its soldiers acted honorably and that the account of a killing of a woman and her two children appears to be an urban myth spread by troops who did not witness it.

Officers are stepping forward, some at the urging of the top command, others on their own, offering numerous accounts of having held their fire out of concern for civilians, helping Palestinians in need and punishing improper soldier behavior.

“I’m not saying that nothing bad happened,” Bentzi Gruber, a colonel in the reserves and deputy commander of the armored division, said in an interview. “I heard about cases where people shot where they shouldn’t have shot and destroyed houses where they shouldn’t have destroyed houses. But the proportion and effort and directions we gave to our soldiers were entirely in the opposite direction.”

The accusations caused a furor here and abroad because they came on top of others that the civilian death toll was high and that soldiers took an unusually aggressive approach in Gaza.

The accounts that have received the most attention came from a taped conversation of Gaza veterans at a pre-military course. The soldiers there told of a sniper killing a woman and her two children walking in a no-go zone and of another case in which an elderly woman was shot dead for approaching a commandeered house.

The army’s advocate general has opened an investigation and has not yet issued a report. But officers familiar with the investigation say that those who spoke of the killing of the mother and her children did not witness it and that it almost certainly did not occur. Warning shots were fired near the family but not at it, the officers said, and a rumor spread among the troops of an improper shooting.

The second killing may also not have occurred, they said, although a similar event was recounted by Col. Herzl Halevy in January in the newspaper Yediot Aharonot.

“We saw a woman coming toward us,” he said then. “We shouted at her. We warned her a number of times not to get closer. We made hand motions. She did not stop. We shot her. When we examined her body, we did not find a bomb belt.”

Israeli commanders defend such actions because they say they confronted armed women in Gaza and Hamas gunmen dressed as women and in other guises, like doctors.

“We had a woman run at us with a grenade in one hand and the Koran in the other,” Brig. Gen. Eli Shermeister, head of the military’s education corps, said in an interview in which he showed ethics kits distributed to commanders. “What we know till now is that there was no systematic moral failure. There were not more than a few — a very few — events still being investigated.”

Col. Roi Elkabets, commander of an armored brigade, told of occasions when fire was held. His troops saw “a woman, about 60 years old, walking with a white flag and six to eight children behind her, and behind them was a Hamas fighter with his gun.

“We did not shoot him.”

Almost everything about the Gaza operation has caused controversy: how many Palestinians were killed and what percentage were civilians, whether the rise in the number of religious Israeli soldiers has led to zealotry, and whether the use of enormous military force was a legitimate response to years of Hamas rocket fire on Israeli civilians.

The dispute is a proxy for a debate — both here and abroad — over whether Israel should shift its policy toward the Palestinians and whether Hamas should be seen more as a resistance movement or as a tool of Iranian ambition and terror.

Those who wish to press for an end to the occupation and settlement of the West Bank and to the boycott of Gaza so as to create a Palestinian state — either out of sympathy with Israel or contempt for it — have focused on the accounts of abuses. Those who think such moves would endanger Israel have dismissed them as a blood libel.

The debate began within hours of Israel’s attack in late December and continues daily. This week, Human Rights Watch issued a report citing six cases of improper use of white phosphorus by Israel and calling them evidence of war crimes. Israel has not completed its own study.

On Thursday, the military issued its first casualty count, saying 1,166 people were killed. Of those, it said 295 were noncombatants, 709 were what it called Hamas terror operatives and 162 were men whose affiliations remained unidentified.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights in Gaza says that the number of dead is 1,417, of whom 926 were civilians and 236 combatants.

Both the military and the center have lists of names. The Israelis include some 250 policemen under “Hamas terror operatives.” The Palestinian center considers them noncombatants. The Israeli military argues that about 400 people die from natural causes in Gaza every month, a possible cause for the gap in the two counts.

Some soldiers have complained about the role of military rabbis and religious soldiers, saying that they have taken to their roles with the fervor of holy warriors, leading to more violence.

Stuart Cohen, a political scientist at Bar Ilan University who is religiously observant, says that the army has indeed grown more violent toward civilians in the past 25 years, partly because the Palestinians have. But he says it has nothing to do with the increase of religious soldiers.

For 12 years he has been studying the correspondence between religious soldiers and rabbis on combat morality, and overwhelmingly the rabbis have urged restraint. While he cannot measure how that advice has been put into practice, he suspects it has had a real effect. And other religious soldiers said their behavior in Gaza was especially respectful.

“When we entered houses, we actually cleaned up the place,” said Yishai Goldflam, 32, a religiously observant film student in Jerusalem whose open letter to the Palestinian owners of the house he occupied for some days was published in the newspaper Maariv. “There are always idiots who do immoral things. But they don’t represent the majority. I remember once when a soldier wanted to take a Coke from a store, and he was stopped by his fellow soldiers because it was the wrong thing to do.”

Yaron Ezrahi, a political theorist who lectures military commanders, said they rejected the notion of willful abuse by their troops. But the commanders say more civilians died than should have and attribute it to two factors: faulty intelligence that led to attacking the wrong houses, and a failure, after warning Palestinians to leave, to provide safe escape routes.

Israel lost only a handful of men and almost no equipment, which many attribute to its overwhelming use of force.

But the top commanders say their consciences are clean.

“The question is, did we do all we could do to avoid hitting civilians?” said General Shermeister, the chief education officer. “My answer is yes.”
« Reply #551 on: March 28, 2009, 07:57:58 AM »

This is very similar to the NYT  article Marc  just posted but  provides some more information.

Editor's Notes: Defamed and deaf to it
Mar. 26, 2009

In a few days' time, Prime Minister Gordon Brown is scheduled to convene a meeting dedicated to the issue of exports to Britain from the West Bank.

Specifically, it is understood, British supermarkets are being pressed by critics of Israeli settlement policy to initiate a new labelling practice, whereby goods from Palestinian and Israeli producers are respectively marked as such, so that British consumers will know whether they are buying Israeli or Palestinian products.

Pro-Israel activists in the UK believe they stand a good chance of heading off this initiative. As of this writing, it does not appear likely that a representative from or supporting Israel will be present at the meeting, but lines of communication are open, and a strong argument has been formulated that such a practice as regards exports from disputed territories would be uniquely unfair and discriminatory.

If, however, the argument fails to prevail, this seemingly marginal initiative could yield far wider, indeed critical, repercussions.

For a start, pro-Israel activists in the UK and Europe believe that supermarket chains, with their attention firmly focused on profit margins, would likely be disinclined to enter the complex and costly minefield of separating "Palestinian" exports from "settler" exports, and might well decide just to purchase their goods somewhere else altogether.

Furthermore, the activists worry, the assiduous Israel-bashers who relentlessly press for academic and journalistic boycotts, who recently sought (and failed) to prevent seven Israeli university lecturers from giving talks to high school students at two British science museums, and who are now targeting settlement exports, will not stop at the Green Line. They will, rather, move on to seek a South African-style ban on all Israeli exports.

What begins in the UK, the activists with whom I spoke this week further noted, could quickly spread to Europe - where, incidentally, there have already been some extremist-organized consumer protests against the sale of Israeli products, and where Sweden will soon be succeeding the notably more sympathetic-to-Israel Czech Republic as president of the European Union.

The notion that the tried and true methods of anti-apartheid trade protest could be widely adopted against Israel in Britain and then Europe may seem unthinkable to some. But it is not unthinkable to those who are internalizing the degree to which Israel is being demonized and delegitimized post-Operation Cast Lead, and the extent to which this process makes defending Israel uncomfortable even for those on that continent who do have the rare capacity to distinguish between legitimate criticism and distortion, manipulation and outright falsehood.

Put simply, Israel has rarely looked this bad in European eyes.

CLAIMS FROM august-sounding UN bodies that Israel was guilty of war crimes in Gaza have been reported with immense resonance overseas. New allegations that Israel deliberately killed civilians (as detailed by Israel itself, in the shape of the head of a pre-army military academy), that it targeted medical personnel and that it illegally used children as human shields are making the front pages of many influential newspapers and feature high on TV news lists too.

Reports that Israeli soldiers designed "humorous" T-shirts, featuring slogans such as "The smaller they are, the harder it is" (accompanying a drawing of a Palestinian child in IDF gun sights) and "1 shot, 2 kills" (under a similarly framed sketch of a pregnant Palestinian woman), have been widely circulated, and set tellingly against Chief of General Staff Gabi Ashkenazi's insistence that ours is "a moral and ideological army."

And all such claims are detailed in the wider context of the massive civilian death toll in Gaza - "an estimated 1,400 Palestinians dead, most of them believed to be civilians," as the relatively pro-Israel London Times put it in its atrocities and T-shirts story this week, basing itself on Gaza's Hamas government figures.

Good faith consumers of news take such reports at face value. Why wouldn't they?

They don't know that Israel fiercely disputes the Hamas-fuelled assertion that most of the Gaza dead were civilians, with the IDF formally stating on Thursday that the "vast majority" of Palestinians killed in Operation Cast Lead had been found to be "terror operatives" - a total of 1,166 dead, of whom 709 had firm terrorist identifications, 295 were noncombatants and 162 men who had yet to be classified.

They don't know that Israel credibly argues that several key UN bodies and personnel highlighting Israeli atrocity allegations have a dismal track record of anti-Israel bias.

They don't know that even the patchy information released by the IDF makes plain that many of those "medical personnel" mourned as victims by the Gaza authorities and the disseminators of their narrative were actually Hamas gunmen.

They don't know that the reprehensible "humorous" T-shirts are not a widespread phenomenon.

They don't know that the head of the pre-IDF academy who compiled the targeting-the-innocent allegations went to jail for refusing to serve in the West Bank, that key soldiers involved now say they were discussing "rumors" and have no direct evidence of any such crimes, and that the central terrible charges of "cold-blooded" killing have been refuted after investigation by the relevant unit's brigade commander.

(As The Jerusalem Post was told by the IDF on Thursday, "In the [central] incident of the alleged shooting of the mother and her children, what really happened was that a marksman fired a warning shot to let them know that they were entering a no-entry zone. The shot was not even fired in their general direction... The marksman's commander ran up the stairs of a Palestinian home, got up on the roof, and asked the marksman why he shot at the civilians. The marksman said he did not fire on the civilians. But the soldiers on the first floor of that house heard the commander's question being shouted. And from that point, the rumor began to spread. We can say with absolute certainty that the marksman did not fire on the woman and her children... We know with certainty that this incident never took place.")

Many Diaspora Jews don't know much of this either. I was approached on several occasions in recent days by friends and acquaintances, anxiety etched into their features, asking me to help them distinguish between legitimate concerns that merit serious investigation and outrageous misrepresentations about what had happened in Gaza. "Why were so many Gaza civilians killed?" I've been asked a few times. "And what about those reports of deliberate attacks on civilians? It's Israelis themselves who are saying it."

I'm only glad that these people asked me.

Others, I'm sure, have peeled off in one of four directions: to join the chorus of under-informed or ill-motivated criticism, to silent noninvolvement, to a perceptive if uncertain sense that Israel is being defamed, or to a misguided I-don't-want-to-know because Israel-can-do-no-wrong mindset that precludes necessary discussion.

IN THE current toxic climate, there is little likelihood of Israeli generals being enabled to travel to parts of Europe in the near future safe from the risk of arrest and indictment for war crimes. There is every prospect of new and intensified boycott efforts.

And as our new, Right-led government takes office, the campaign of demonization will only gather force.

The confused results of the Israeli election showed a nation that, on the one hand, has long since internalized the need for an accommodation with the Palestinians but, on the other, saw scant possibility of achieving it on terms that don't threaten our ability to live here in elementary safety.

Outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's acknowledgement, with the cameras running, at the March 15 cabinet meeting that the failure to reach an agreement was "first and foremost the result of the Palestinian leaders' weakness, lack of will and lack of courage," merely confirmed what a consensus of his countryfolk had already sadly concluded.

But the fact that the most flexible Israeli government to date, insistently dedicated to seeking an accommodation, failed to prod its Palestinian interlocutors into accepting viable terms for coexistence has not resonated with remotely comparable impact to the various atrocity allegations. The argument that Israel tried, again, under Olmert, to build a sustainable two-state partnership, and that it failed, again, because even the relatively moderate Mahmoud Abbas would not meet him halfway, is all but inaudible outside resolutely pro-Israel frameworks.

Thus the electoral swing to the right is incomprehensible to some, and for others is ostensible proof of Israel's implacable, despicable refusal to liberate the Palestinians - proof, that is, of our obdurate opposition to peace.

The daily drip-feed of war crime claims reinforces this train of thought. The demolition of Palestinian homes and the disinclination to respect Supreme Court demands for the demolition of Jewish homes on private Palestinian land in parts of the West Bank adds further fuel to the fire. So, too, film of the far-Right marching in Umm el-Fahm. Loyalty oathman Avigdor Lieberman, getting ready to succeed gentle Tzipi Livni at the Foreign Ministry, is emblematic of our ostensible irredeemability.

Staunching the tide of delegitimization is a strategic imperative - an arduous battle that, first and foremost, requires the internalization here at home of what is happening to our standing abroad. Abysmally, while our political leadership is preoccupied with coalition-building (or more accurately with reconciling the conflicting narrow interests of egotistical would-be ministers) and a sensationalist, sometimes politically motivated media often exacerbates the problem, there is no sign at all that any such realization has dawned.

LABOR'S DISPUTED, Ehud Barak-led decision to bring stability and political width to the Netanyahu coalition will easily be dismissed by some of Israel's continental critics as meaningless. Labor, it will be claimed - indeed, as the party's own defeated minority does claim - is nothing but a fig-leaf, its leaders clinging desperately to power, betraying their voters, empowering the political enemy.

Netanyahu's genuine and desperate pursuit of some kind of "unity" partnership belies this. So, too, does the deliberately more dovish tone that the Likud leader set both during the election campaign and after its cloudy conclusion.

Where the Netanyahu-Barak partnership can emphatically stage a rhetorical defense against the swelling depiction of apartheid Israel, however, is in a reiteration of the vision of Israel contained in our Declaration of Independence and fundamental to our very establishment here as a Jewish state.

The international community brought Israel back to life 62 years ago as one of the two entities into which it was partitioning the former British mandate territory of Palestine. Israel's nascent leadership, though deeply unhappy with the contours of that proposed division, chose to accept it. Those who spoke for the Palestinians did not, and set about what they fondly and incorrectly imagined would be the rapid destruction of the new Israel.

"We extend out our hand to all neighboring states and their peoples in an offer of peace," we declared in our founding statement. Our new government should make this plain again today. Netanyahu has said he seeks peace with the Palestinians. He has said he has no desire to rule over a single Palestinian. He has also said that Israel cannot countenance statehood for the Palestinians so long as there is every danger that their leadership would abuse the freedoms of their sovereignty to bring an end to ours.

But there is no contradiction between those positions and a ringing reendorsement of the principle of a two-state solution. Israel needs to separate from the Palestinians if we are to remain at once a majority Jewish state and a democratic one. That goal should be advanced by any and every government, and restated at any and every opportunity.

It will not persuade those who are resolutely deaf to the fundamentals of our reality. It will constitute nothing revolutionary for those who truly know and understand us. But it will have an impact on those many good-faith consumers of information from our region who currently don't know who or what to believe and who are being encouraged, day after day, by those whose real interest is not to "end the occupation" but to end Israel, to believe the very worst.
This article can also be read at /servlet/Satellite?cid=1237727553147&pagename=JPArticle%2FShowFull
[ Back to the Article ]
« Reply #552 on: March 29, 2009, 10:48:56 AM »

(This video  has a really excellent explanation of the cause of the Middle East Conflict by a 28 year old Binyamin Netanyahu  before he became a politician.)

Who is Ben Nitay, and why does he look so much like Binyamin Netanyahu?
Mar. 29, 2009
mel bezalel , THE JERUSALEM POST

A familiar figure features in a YouTube video currently circulating the Web. It's a 28-year-old economic consultant whose appearance, expression and political opinions match Likud chief Binyamin Netanyahu's in every way. The only difference is the name: Benjamin Nitay.

The 10-minute clip, filmed in 1978 as part of a local Boston TV debate show called The Advocate, presents the future PM as a "witness" as to whether the United States should support the creation of a Palestinian state.


Netanyahu applied to have his name changed to "Ben Nitay" in the 1970s while living in America. His historian father, Benzion, occasionally wrote using the alias "Nitay," and Binyamin Netanyahu adopted the name because Americans found it easier to pronounce.

During a heated leadership debate with Shimon Peres in the run-up to the 1996 election, Netanyahu was asked whether his application to change his name meant he had wished to stay in America.

"Not for a single moment," Netanyahu replied. "I come from a Jewish, Zionist family, with roots here for 100 years."

Netanyahu studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, both in the Boston area, and worked at the Boston Consulting Group, an international business consulting firm, during the show's filming.

In the show, he is called as a "first witness" in the mock court case scenario that the TV program employed. He is introduced as "a graduate of MIT, an Israeli and a man who has written widely on the question [of a Palestinian state]."

Asked whether the issue of self-determination is at the heart of the Middle East conflict, Netanyahu replied, "No, I don't believe it is. The real core of the conflict is the unfortunate Arab refusal to accept the State of Israel... For 20 years the Arabs had both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, and if self-determination, as they now say, is the core of the conflict, they could have easily established a Palestinian state, but they didn't... What we're talking about here is not the attempt to build the state but to destroy one.

"Nobody wants peace more than Israel," he said.

"But the stumbling block to the road for peace is this demand for a PLO state which will mean more war... more violence in the Middle East, and I sincerely believe that if this demand is abandoned, we can have real and genuine peace."

After being quizzed by members of the studio audience, Netanyahu concluded: "I think the US should oppose the creation of a Palestinian state for several reasons, the first being that it is unjust to demand the creation of a 22nd Arab state and a second Palestinian state at the expense of the only Jewish state... I believe we should fight for our survival. If I have to, I will fight again, but I hope not to."

The responses on YouTube to the video are mixed.

A forum member who identifies himself as "Scarletwool" said, "Wow! The next prime minister of Israel at age 28. And you know he still feels the same way about every topic that was mentioned at this forum. Very good video! Thanks!"

"Authenticinsight" commented, "Back before Netanyahu became a politician, he was an honest man. Hopefully Bibi remains honest in this new government."

A Netanyahu staff member said they were forwarded the clip dozens of times and that Netanyahu himself saw it.

"I felt kind of embarrassed to see how young I looked," Netanyahu said.

Gil Hoffman contributed to this report.
This article can also be read at /servlet/Satellite?cid=1237727563489&pagename=JPArticle%2FShowFull
Power User
Posts: 41787

« Reply #553 on: April 01, 2009, 06:16:35 AM »

Posted: Monday, March 30, 2009 11:05 AM
Filed Under: Tel Aviv, Israel
By Martin Fletcher, NBC News Correspondent

TEL AVIV – Wafaa Younis is a woman whose heart is in the right place;
she is an Israeli Arab who has made a real effort to help Palestinian
children in the Jenin refugee camp in the northern West Bank.
She started with the boys; she wanted them to put down their stones and
learn the violin, in the hope that they would not grow up and pick up a
gun. I first met her three years ago when she finally persuaded the
Israelis to allow the Palestinian children to leave the West Bank and go
to her home in the Israeli town of Ara for violin lessons.

Tara Todras-Whitehall / AP file
Palestinian children from the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank play a
concert for Holocaust survivors in Holon, Israel on March 25.

She even took them on trips to the coast; even though they grew up 30
miles from the Mediterranean, they had never seen the sea. Her first
attempts to teach a few boys the violin grew into a small orchestra of
boys and girls. She even rented an apartment in Jenin so that she could
teach them there, because it was easier for her to cross into the West
Bank than it was for them to leave.

Then Younis had an idea; as part of Israel’s annual Good Deeds Week, she
would arrange a little concert in Holon, near Tel Aviv. Her young
musicians from the "Strings of Freedom" orchestra would entertain
Holocaust survivors. They would play their favorite classics, and also
some songs of peace; a way to bridge the divide between Palestinians and

Too volatile an issue
At the concert last Wednesday, the group of 13 young musicians from
Jenin played for about 30 Holocaust survivors and they even dedicated
one song to Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier who has been held prisoner
by Hamas in Gaza for three years.

Younis is not the first person to make such an effort – there are
literally hundreds of peace groups that have the same aim – bringing
together Arabs and Jews with similar interests and hopes.

Tara Todras-whitehall / AP file
Holocaust survivors listen as Palestinian children from the Jenin
refugee camp in the West Bank play music in Holon, Israel on March 25.

But playing for the Holocaust survivors turned out to be bridge too far.
Adnan Hindi, a Palestinian political leader in Jenin, was outraged by
the concert. He called the Holocaust a political issue and said that the
Palestinian children had been tricked.

He complained that Younis had not told the children they would be
playing before such a politically sensitive audience. She answered that
she tried to explain to them, but that they made too much noise on the
bus and didn't hear her. Other Palestinians said that was a bit late to
tell them.

Younis said she didn't realize anybody could possibly object to playing
a concert for those "poor old people" – and anyway, most of the
Palestinian children had never heard of the Holocaust.

The Holocaust is a particularly sensitive subject for Palestinians.
There is widespread ignorance of the details of the atrocities committed
by the Nazis against Jews during World War II and there is a sense among
many Palestinians that why should they care about Jewish suffering more
than 60 years ago when Israelis don’t seem to care about the suffering
they are causing Palestinians today.

No good deed goes unpunished
Younis is an Israeli Arab who tried to do a bit of good. For her pains,
her apartment in Jenin has been boarded up and she is not allowed into
the town anymore. Her orchestra has been disbanded. She said the
Palestinian officials just want to take the money that she had raised
for the children's orchestra.

I know Younis. After I met her several years ago she called me for
months, asking for donations, for a contribution for a new violin, or
even an old one, just so that she could teach music to her Palestinian

She wanted to introduce a bit of light into their lives and direct them
toward the violin bow, and away from the gun. She had many ideas to help
people, and she possessed in abundance that peculiar combination of
strength and naiveté that mark people who, against great odds, achieve
great things.

Today she didn't answer her phone.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2009, 06:19:51 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
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Posts: 41787

« Reply #554 on: April 01, 2009, 06:20:52 AM »

second post

New Israeli Arab Parliamentarian Calls For Nuclear Iran

By David Bedein & Samuel Sokol, Middle East Correspondents
Monday, March 30, 2009
Jerusalem — Hanin Zoabi is the first woman to be elected to the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, as a representative of an Arab party. Ms. Zoabi, former director of the I’lam: Media Center for Arab Palestinians in Israel, is a feminist and strong secularist.   She is now one of three representatives of the Balad (National Democratic Assembly) Party.

On one of her first days in the Knesset, the new parliamentarian asked for her thoughts regarding increased Iranian influence in Gaza. Ms. Zoabi replied that she welcomed it.

She said, “If this influence is supporting me, so I will not mind this influence. Even, I would ask for this influence ... The question is not whether there is an influence or not, the question whether this influence is supporting you, can support your demands or can go against your demands.”

Queried regarding Iran’s quest to manufacture nuclear weapons, she stated was that “It would [sic] be more supporting me to have a counter-power to Israel” and “I need something to balance its [Israel’s] power.”

She also spoke of Egypt and Jordan as being a threat to the Arabs of the Gaza Strip, intimating that they are scared of a free and democratic Palestinian state.

Ms. Zoabi was then asked if she felt worried due to the fact that Iran is getting close to acquiring a nuclear weapon and because she lives in close proximity to Jews. She replied, “No, I am not, I’m afraid from the nuclear Iran, I am more afraid from the Israeli nuclear [weapons].”

Israel does not officially admit to being a nuclear power, yet it is generally accepted that it has been a nuclear power since the 1960s.

When asked if she thought that Iran would use nuclear weapons, she deliberately misunderstood and replied, “The Israelis? I think yes. And I am afraid from real risk rather than from potential risk.” She said that everyone is asking about potential risk while “Every day the Israeli uses its violence, army violence.”

“The Iranian is a potential … but the real risk is the Israeli army.”

Ms. Zoabi said that Israel was an aggressor state, and that only a situation similar to that which existed between the Soviet Union and United States in the form of the doctrine of “Mutually Ensured Destruction” would restrain Israel.

“It’s the balance of power. This is the only idea. Our only idea that it is more dangerous to the world, more dangerous to everyone, more dangerous to the Palestinians, to Israelis to have Israel as the only powerful state. I need something to balance its power because this balance of power will restrict the Israeli using of power. The Israeli violence of the army is an outcome of the Israel’s convenient feeling that no one will restrict her, that no Arab country will really declare a war against [Israel].”

She continued by saying “and another thing … I need a power which can make contrast to the Israeli power and it’s not for myself. It is not supporting me the fact that Israel would be the only state with a nuclear weapon. It’s more supporting me to have counter power to Israel.”

“I believe that [Israel] would respect its use of power if she’s afraid from others. The fact that she is not afraid from Arab countries, the fact that she is not afraid from a potential  declaration of our Arab world to declare war against Israel, makes Israel more violent. You understand me. Sometimes I need power not in order to implement this power but in order to respect the other’s power. “

She was then asked if an Iranian bomb would lead to a nervous America and thus more U.S. pressure on Israel and if that would be good for her she replied “Exactly.”

Asked about Israel as a Jewish state, Ms. Zoabi declared that the very concept of a Jewish state is “inherently racist,” saying that Israel must be turned into a “state of all its citizens,” which would eliminate its Jewish or Zionist nature.

The Knesset Central Elections Committee disqualified the Balad party from running in the recent elections due to its members’ refusal to recognize Israel as a Jewish state and reported calls for violence against it.  The party was allowed to run when the Supreme Court overturned the decision of the Elections Committee.

Party chairman Dr. Jamal Zahalka responded to MK Zoabi’s comments by saying “I think Ms. Zoabi tried to explain some analysis that’s what’s better if you have, but this is not a position it’s an analysis [of] what would be safer for the region, if there is a balance… this is not supporting a nuclear weapon in Iran.”

David Bedein can be reached at
« Reply #555 on: April 03, 2009, 05:13:55 PM »

Friday, April 03, 2009

The Coming Israeli Attack on Iran   [Michael Ledeen]
Richard Beeston, of the London Times, is old enough to remember what happened back in 1981, when Israel bombed the Iraqi nuclear reactor. First, an Israeli went around to all the allied countries, warning that somebody had better do something soon. Nobody did. So the Israelis did it by themselves.

Beeston retells that story in the process of warning us that the Israelis have been doing the same thing of late, this time with regard to the Iranian nuclear project. He thinks that the new Israeli government has at least three men who are experienced in dangerous operations. He notes that Israel just attacked an Iranian convoy in Sudan that was headed for Gaza, and the Israeli planes had to fly farther than is required to attack the nuclear facility in Natanz. He concludes by saying that Israel won't attack without at least "tacit American approval," but warns that time is running out.

I can add another piece to his jigsaw puzzle. At the time of the attack on the Iraqi facility, I was Special Adviser to the Secretary of State (the same title that Dennis Ross holds today), and it was quite clear that nobody in the U.S. Government knew that attack was coming. Menachem Begin didn't ask for permission, and while there were some top Americans who were irked that they hadn't received advance warning, I didn't hear anybody say that the Israelis needed our approval, tacit or explicit.

If the Israelis think that Iran is likely to nuke them, I can't imagine why they would feel constrained by American wishes. Good relations aren't a suicide pact, after all. I doubt that the Israelis will ask any such question, in keeping with the old adage, don't ask the question if you don't want to hear the answer.

It's clear that the "Western world" has no intention of doing anything serious about Iran. I rather suspect that many European countries would be pleased if Israel managed to do effective damage to Iran's nuclear program, and I'm quite sure that many Arab countries would privately cheer the event. I really don't know what the president and his various czars would think, although they would undoubtedly join in the chorus of denunciation.

But none of that really matters if you're Israel, and you are convinced that Iran is very close to removing you from the map.
Tom Stillman
Power User
Posts: 270

« Reply #556 on: April 03, 2009, 08:11:34 PM »

I have been reluctant in the past, to post this propaganda film. If you can stomach the atrocities contained in this 90 minute film, you may get an idea of how some of these different cultures, like the PLO,  bread violence and hate into the young impressionable minds of their Innocent children. I feel it is important for people to see the real horrors that exists in our world. After seeing this film last year, I have a different view of the world and the potential evils that threaten each and every one  of us.

WARNING: This footage is extremely shocking!

Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll be able to enjoy it a second time.  dalai lama
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« Reply #557 on: April 08, 2009, 02:43:57 PM »

So, does AIPAC get it's money back?
« Reply #558 on: April 15, 2009, 02:12:36 PM »

Egypt Crosses Critical Line in the Arab Sands, Labels Hezbollah ‘Terrorist’

Posted by Stanley Kober

The designation of Hezbollah as a terrorist group by Egypt highlights a fault line developing in the Middle East over relations with Israel and the United States.

On the one hand, there are those who favor negotiations to resolve the dispute between Israel and the Palestinians. These countries include, most prominently, Egypt and Jordan, which both have signed treaties with Israel. Saudi Arabia also has promoted a negotiated solution.

Iran and Hezbollah, on the other hand, have emphasized what they call “resistance,” which means the use of arms to wrest territory from Israel ’s control. The admission by Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, that one of the people Egypt arrested was supplying arms to Hamas on Hezbollah’s behalf indicates that Hezbollah’s “resistance” is not limited to Lebanese sovereign territory.

Although Egypt’s action is directed against Hezbollah (and, by extension, Iran), it also carries a warning for the United States and Israel. The “resistance” argument is gaining ground in the Middle East. If it is to be successfully countered, negotiations need to deliver something tangible for the Palestinians—and soon. Otherwise, the regional governments who favor negotiation will find their arguments undercut, which could not only jeopardize hopes for Middle East peace, but might also threaten their own stability.

Stanley Kober • April 15, 2009 @ 2:35 pm
Filed under: Foreign Policy and National Security
Tags: egypt, hamas, hassan nasrallah, hezbollah, Iran, Israel, middle east, negotiation, negotiations, palestinians, resistance, saudi arabia, terrorist group, treaties, war
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« Reply #559 on: April 18, 2009, 10:33:05 AM »

I am not sure if this ruse is really the beginning of demands for concessions from Israel or the stumbling block.  I don't know enough to have an opnion as to whether Israle should or should not give up the settlements.  I believe it is a contested issue even in Israel.
However, the tone of BO who I believe truly is an antisemite (I don't care how many party loyal career liberal Jews he has wrking for him) certainly has the appearance of arrogance to Israel and conciliatory and sympathetic to Palestians.
Remember hsi middle name is Hussain not Joshua.

****The Age - Business
Obama's stance worries Israelis
Jason Koutsoukis
April 18, 2009
Page 1 of 2 | Single Page View
CAN Israel still call the United States its best international friend? Apparently not, if you believe the tone of the local media.

Watching the drama unfold inside Israel, the increasingly tense dialogue between US President Barack Obama and new Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is taking on all the trappings of a duel.

Almost every day brings news of another sore point between the two countries, a source of yet further inflammation of their once warm relations.

One could be forgiven for thinking that the more immediate threat to Israel's national security lay across the Atlantic rather than from closer to home.

It is bad enough that President Obama uses almost every opportunity he can to set the parameters of a final peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. Now US officials are openly using Israeli anxiety over Iran's fledging nuclear program as a bargaining chip to force Israel's hand on giving up control of the West Bank Palestinian territory.

No less a figure than White House chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel — whose father fought with the militant Zionist group the Irgun, and whose appointment had provided such reassurance to Israeli officials — was quoted this week laying down the law to Israel.

If Israel wants US help to defuse the Iranian threat, Mr Emanuel was reported to have told Jewish leaders in Washington, then get ready to start evacuating settlements in the West Bank.

Talkback radio blazed with fury across the country the same day, as Israelis protested that no US official had the right to tell them where to live.

Then on Thursday came the news that Mr Netanyahu's planned first meeting with President Obama in Washington next month had been called off.

Mr Netanyahu had hoped to capitalise on his attendance at the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference in Washington to visit the White House.

But Administration officials informed Mr Netanyahu's office that the President would not be "in town". Continued...

« Reply #560 on: April 18, 2009, 05:54:40 PM »

 I am very disturbed by the recent actions of President Obama's administration and it seems like every time I look at the news it is worse.   Clearly I expected things to much be much much different.   "Brilliant" timing by Biden making the comment over the long Passover weekend when most Jewish Orgs were closed.  I am not worried about Israel. Israel will take care of itself. I am worried about the USA.

That being said
Here is a guy whose middle name could very well be Hussein who seems to gave good understanding of the region.

Analysis: Real 2-state problem is the Hamas-Fatah feud
Apr. 17, 2009
Khaled Abu Toameh , THE JERUSALEM POST

The Obama administration, through its special Middle East envoy George Mitchell, has launched what seems to be an aggressive campaign aimed at pressuring the new Israeli government into accepting the two-state solution.

But even if Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman do finally succumb to the American pressure, they, along with Mitchell, will find that the Palestinians themselves are still far from achieving their goal of building a viable and independent state.

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

Fatah representatives who participated in the last round of "reconciliation" talks with Hamas in Cairo said upon their return to the West Bank that they felt as if they were conducting negotiations with representatives of another country and not with Palestinians from the Gaza Strip.

Repeated attempts by Egypt and Saudi Arabia over the past few months to persuade the two parties to end their differences and form a Palestinian unity government have failed, prompting Cairo and Riyadh to come up with the idea of establishing a confederation between the two "mini-states."

However, both Hamas and Fatah have categorically rejected the confederation idea out of fear that it would perpetuate and consolidate the split between the West Bank and Gaza.

Palestinian Authority officials said that PA President Mahmoud Abbas would ask Mitchell during their upcoming meeting in Ramallah to put pressure on the Netanyahu government to accept the two-state solution as the basis for a "just, comprehensive and everlasting peace" in the Middle East.

Abbas, the officials said, would also make it clear during his meeting with the US envoy that there was no point in resuming the peace talks with Israel as long as the Israeli government remained opposed to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital, continued settlement activity in the West Bank and demolished illegally built houses in Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem.

Abbas, they added, would also brief Mitchell on the failed attempts to persuade Hamas to form a unity government with Fatah.

Spokesmen from both Palestinian parties have said over the past few days that only a miracle could lead to an agreement between the two sides. The gap between them remained as wide as ever, they noted, adding that the Egyptians were now considering canceling plans to host another round of reconciliation talks scheduled to take place in Cairo at the end of April.

For now, it appears that the Palestinians (and the rest of the world) will have to live with the fact that the split between the West Bank and Gaza Strip is not a temporary or passing phenomenon.

If the Obama administration is serious about promoting the two-state solution, it must focus its efforts first and foremost on helping the Palestinians solve the dispute between the Fatah-run state in the West Bank and the Hamas-controlled entity in the Gaza Strip.

The divisions among the Palestinians, as well as failure to establish proper and credible institutions, are the main obstacle to the realization of the two-state solution.

Less than half of the West Bank is controlled by the corruption-riddled Fatah faction, which seems to have lost much of its credibility among the Palestinians, largely because of its failure to reform itself in the aftermath of its defeat to Hamas in the January 2006 parliamentary election.

The Gaza Strip, on the other hand, is entirely controlled by the radical Islamic movement that has, through its extremist ideology, wreaked havoc on the majority of the Palestinians living there.

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

Netanyahu and Lieberman need not worry about accepting the two-state solution, because Fatah and Hamas don't seem to be marching toward achieving the national aspirations of their people.
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Here is another article he wrote in 2004

Telling the Truth about the Palestinians

A briefing by Khaled Abu Toameh
April 27, 2004

    Khaled Abu Toameh, an Israeli Arab, is the West Bank and Gaza correspondent for the Jerusalem Post and U.S. News and World Report. He previously served as a senior writer for the Jerusalem Report, and a correspondent for Al-Fajr. He has produced several documentaries on the Palestinians for the BBC and many other networks, including ones that exposed the connection between Arafat and payments to the armed wing of Fatah and the financial corruption within the Palestinian Authority. Mr. Abu Toameh received his BA in English Literature from the Hebrew University and currently lives in Jerusalem with his wife and three children. He addressed the Middle East Forum in Philadelphia on April 27, 2004.

As an Arab journalist working among Palestinians, I am often asked if I feel threatened while I work. I am indeed frequently placed in life-threatening situations, yet the threats I experience do not come from the Israeli occupation, but from Yasir Arafat's Palestinian Authority (PA). At least 12 Palestinian journalists have been attacked by masked men in the past four months in what appears to be an organized campaign to intimidate the media. Only days ago, a photographer working for Agence France-Presse had his arms broken by a masked man in Ramallah. Agence France-Presse did not do anything about this attack, but a great outcry is raised when Israeli soldiers allegedly harass journalists in the territories.
The Lack of Independence in the Palestinian Media

Twenty years ago, while studying at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, I worked for the PLO's newspaper Al Fajr (The Dawn). Al Fajr was more than a paper; it was a PLO institution. At the paper we basically received and carried out orders from Arafat's office in Tunisia. Although I eventually became an editor there, I did not mention my position at Al Fajr on my resume for years because I did not consider the work that went on there to be real journalism. Now, after being censured for my outspokenly critical views of the Palestinian media, I consider my time at Al Fajr testament to my knowledge of the lack of journalistic freedom at the PLO newspaper.

I continue to witness what is happening to the Palestinian media under Arafat. Many of my Palestinian colleagues actually envy me for writing for an Israeli paper. Working for the PLO, I was not able to write a word of my own free will. Yet in two years at the Jerusalem Post my editors have never told me what to write. I can function as a journalist at the Jerusalem Post in a way that many Palestinians have tried to function under Arafat, but have failed.
Arafat's Attack on Free Speech

When Arafat returned to the West Bank and Gaza from his exile, his security forces ignored pursuing terrorists and instead arrested independent journalists not loyal enough to the PLO. Over 38 journalists were forced out of their jobs or the country. This was not given much attention by the foreign media because at the time Arafat was allowed to do whatever he wanted in the name of Oslo. Although they did not cover the story heavily, I was not alone in pointing out to foreign journalists that the first thing Arafat did when PLO returned to the territories was to restrict freedom of speech.

Arafat has complete control over the Palestinian media to this day. Almost all Palestinian newspapers are financed by the PLO, and serve as a mouthpiece for the organization, which is basically Arafat's office. Some days the headlines for the three major Palestinians papers are identical. The lack of freedom at these papers is a big disappointment for Palestinian journalists; they were freer to write what they wanted under Israeli occupation before the PLO returned from exile.

Arafat's suppression of free speech is another example of an Arab leader not allowing the people to speak out. In this way Arafat is no different from other Arab dictators, who see the role of the media as subservient to – and a mouthpiece for – their regimes. In the Arab world, if you are an independent journalist or you criticize the regime, then you are branded a traitor – and that kind of suppression of dissent is how dictatorial Arab regimes survive.
Palestinian Media and their Impact on Foreign Media

The lack of free speech in the territories should not be dismissed as an internal Palestinian problem. When Palestinian journalists are intimidated, it affects foreign journalists, who depend on Palestinians to be their guides and translators in the territories. When foreign journalists interview Palestinians, many translators often mistranslate or even reprimand Palestinian interviewees critical of the Palestinian Authority, and foreign journalists' ability to accurately gather facts is thus hampered.

Another problem with the Palestinian media is the sad fact that some Palestinian journalists see themselves as foot soldiers serving the revolution. These so-called journalists are often politically affiliated with one group or another. Under the PA, you basically cannot be a journalist if you are not a member of Fatah or the security forces. All the credible independent journalists have been fired by the three major Palestinian newspapers, and there are many professional Palestinian journalists, but they have been forced to seek work with the Arab and foreign media.

There are some in the foreign media who knowingly hire consultants or journalists who are really political activists, and rely heavily on them for their reporting. These "consultants" include former security prisoners and political activists who are hired by major media organizations, including American ones, who are often aware of these so-called journalists' problematic backgrounds. Despite the bias of their consultants, which inevitably affects their reporting, the media organizations keep quiet about the consultants' backgrounds. It is hard to say if this acquiescence by foreign media organizations is due to intimidation or to the need to maintain a good relationship with the PA, but it seriously affects the ability of journalists in the region to report the facts on the ground to the world.

People in the rest of the world therefore do not get an accurate picture of what happens in the region, and there are two parties to blame for this journalistic failure. Partly to blame are foreign journalists who allow themselves to be misled by some of their Palestinian consultants. The bulk of the blame, however, rests with the PA, whose tyrannical approach and control of the media creates an atmosphere of intimidation and fear among Palestinian journalists.

Edited--  to make my thoughts more complete.

    Summary account by Robert Blum, research assistant at the Middle East Forum
« Last Edit: April 18, 2009, 05:58:45 PM by Rachel » Logged
« Reply #561 on: April 19, 2009, 09:03:08 AM »

 A really good article on the current situation in the region with some historically context/ 
Editor's Notes: The Gaza precedent?
Apr. 16, 2009

Israel did not destroy Hamas in Operation Cast Lead, but it placed the Islamists on the defensive, and delayed their plans to take control of the West Bank. Is there a model here for the face-off against Iran?

In an interview late last month on Al-Jazeera, Saeb Erekat, the long-time chief Palestinian negotiator, recalled that Yasser Arafat had rejected the Clinton administration-brokered peace accord at Camp David in 2000 because he would not concede any Jewish claims to the Old City of Jerusalem and specifically the Temple Mount area.

Arafat, according to Erekat, "adhered to Jerusalem... Arafat said to Clinton defiantly: 'I will not be a traitor. Someone will come to liberate it after 10, 50 or 100 years. Jerusalem will be nothing but the capital of the Palestinian state, and there is nothing underneath or above the Haram Al-Sharif except for Allah.'"

Arafat's successor, Mahmoud Abbas, took the same position late last year, Erekat went on, when presented with yet more generous terms by the outgoing Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert. Olmert, Erekat acknowledged in the interview (as translated by MEMRI), "offered the 1967 borders, but said... 'There is a problem with the Haram and with what they called the Holy Basin.' Abu Mazen too answered with defiance, saying: 'I am not in a marketplace or a bazaar. I came to demarcate the borders of Palestine - the June 4, 1967 borders - without detracting a single inch, and without detracting a single stone from Jerusalem, or from the holy Christian and Muslim places.' This is why the Palestinian negotiators did not sign..."

Pressed by the interviewer as to whether, in the past, he himself had signaled at least some readiness for a permanent accord that might include an Israeli role at the holiest places in Judaism, Erekat was adamant: "They will never have this."

Arafat's derision for the very notion that a Jewish Temple stood in Jerusalem, and by extension for the Jewish historical claim to sovereignty here, is all too familiar. It has also become all too clear over the years since Arafat's death that Abbas is unwilling to publicly contest that stance - to face his own Palestinian public, that is, and tell them that the Jews do have sovereign claims to Palestine.

Where Erekat's comments break further dismal ground is in confirming that, in private too, in the critical forum of the negotiation room, Abbas is similarly unprepared to acknowledge Jewish historic rights in this land - and thus to accept viable principles and terms for its division into the two peaceful entities that the international community always envisaged, that Israel's founding leaders endorsed and that those who spoke for the Palestinians never accepted.

This insistent blindness to Jewish history, as displayed and acted upon by the ostensibly moderate Abbas, only underlines the gaping distance any Palestinian leadership has yet to travel to meet Israel halfway along the road to genuine reconciliation.

It also places Abbas and his regime on the path to oblivion - too impossibly obdurate for even the most dovish of Israeli governments, yet too old, corrupt and manifestly unsuccessful for the Palestinian public.

Since the fundamental message of both main leadership hierarchies is that Israel has no legitimacy, why would the Palestinians stick with the fading Fatah as the vehicle for securing their independence, when Hamas offers so vibrant and violent an alternative?

The Palestinian public has made this preference increasingly clear in recent years - awarding Hamas victory after victory in a series of local elections. It gave Hamas the majority of seats in the Palestinian parliament. And polls repeatedly indicate it would choose Ismail Haniyeh to replace Abbas if only afforded the opportunity.

It is hardly surprising that Gazans have reversed cause and effect, and overwhelmingly blame Israel (responding to relentless rocket fire at its civilians), rather than Hamas (which fired the rockets), for Operation Cast Lead.

It is more depressing, and telling, that so many Palestinians accepted with equanimity Hamas seizure of full control in Gaza in June 2007, despite the ruthlessness the Islamists employed against their own people.

For Hamas, such support has merely fed ambition. Emboldened by its successes at the ballot box and with the gun, and strategically encouraged by Iran, Hamas had intended 2009 to be the year in which it replicated its Gaza achievements in the West Bank.

Therefore, when assessing the results of winter's Operation Cast Lead, and calculating the balance of pros and cons, an additional factor should be taken into account.

Weighing the negative impact on Israel's international image, and the growing evidence of a failure to stop the flow of arms into the Strip, against the success in largely halting the rocket fire for now, Israelis should be aware of a further, highly significant benefit: The confrontation pushed Hamas firmly onto the defensive, and delayed its West Bank agenda. Israel's resort to force slowed the Islamists' march to power throughout the Palestinian territories.

Is there a precedent here as regards the face-off with Iran?

Israeli officials whose job it is to ensure that Hamas not take greater control in the West Bank have no doubt that this ambition has merely been delayed, rather than abandoned.

Israel's challenge now, the new Israeli government's challenge, is to ensure that this goal is quashed, and that circumstances can gradually be created in which moderates are encouraged and empowered - Palestinian leaders who, evidently unlike Abbas and his Fatah colleagues, are prepared to reconcile to the fact of Israel's existence.

The heart of that challenge, and thus the root of the solution, lies in Iran.

AS WITH Gaza and the West Bank, so too with Lebanon.

On Israel's northern border, the Olmert government's previous war, against Hizbullah, merely set back, rather than forced the abandonment of, an Iranian proxy's hegemonic ambition. Three years on, Hizbullah is now a markedly more robust military threat, and it may be only weeks away from establishing itself as Lebanon's dominant political entity.

More than a decade after it showed its international terrorist capabilities with two devastating attacks in Buenos Aires, at the Israeli Embassy and the main Jewish community offices, furthermore, Hizbullah is now demonstrating its open opposition to the mainstream Arab political establishment by operating terror networks in Egypt, directly challenging Hosni Mubarak's regime.

As its Islamist offshoots bolster their domination of the Palestinian territories and Lebanon, and spread terrorist tentacles ever wider, their Iranian state-sponsor is now widely acknowledged to have cleared all the technical obstacles to the manufacture of nuclear weaponry.

And rhetoric aside, there is no indication of remotely sufficient international will to prevent the project's completion. North Korea stands as a case study in obfuscation, manipulation and defiance en route to membership in the nuclear club.

IN AN extensive, radical article on last week, David Samuels, a veteran New Yorker, Harper's and The Atlantic feature writer, outlined Iran's rapacious regional ambitions, assessed the threat they pose to Israel, and concluded that Israel might well bomb Iran, quite possibly within the next year.

(Samuels, memorably, wrote a devastating profile of Arafat for The Atlantic in 2005, "In a Ruined Country: How Yasir Arafat Destroyed Palestine," which featured this unforgettable assessment of the late Palestinian leader from Defense Ministry heavyweight Amos Gilad: Arafat "loved smoke and blood and ruins. This is where he felt most comfortable. He believed that Israel was a temporary entity. To talk about him as a pragmatic person is utter nonsense. His goal was to destroy us, and he almost succeeded. He wanted to ride on his horse up to heaven.")

An Israeli attack on Iran, Samuels argued, "lines up quite well with Israel's rational interests as a superpower client." Israel, he recalled, "earned its role as an American client with a series of daring military victories won by a tiny embattled country with a shoestring budget and its back against the sea: the capture of the Suez Canal from Nasser in 1956, the audacious victory in 1967, and the development of a nuclear bomb." But an Israel that had "lost the capacity to project destabilizing power throughout the region would quickly become worthless as a client."

An attack on Iran would "do wonders for restoring Israel's capacity for game-changing military action," Samuels claimed, and he played down the notion that Iran could effectively retaliate - significantly understating, to my mind, the complexity and consequences of any strike against facilities that have been painstakingly constructed by Iran with Israel's 1981 Osirak attack uppermost in mind.

"Any Israeli air raid on Iran is likely to succeed in destroying masses of delicate equipment that the Iranians have spent a decade building at enormous cost in time and treasure," he wrote, albeit having invoked certain caveats. "It is hard to believe that Iran could quickly or easily replace what it lost. Whether it resulted in delaying Iran's march toward a nuclear bomb by two years, five years, or somewhere in between, the most important result of an Israeli bombing raid would be to puncture the myth of inevitability that has come to surround the Iranian nuclear project and that has fueled Iran's rise as a regional hegemon."

Samuels also minimized the likelihood of a "mass public outcry" in the Muslim world against Israel, relying, erroneously, on the purported precedent of the "public backing of the Gulf states and Egypt for Israel's wars against Hizbullah and Hamas." In truth, this was less "public backing" than the tacit support of those at the helm of the regimes themselves.

More convincingly, he noted that, "As the only army in the region able to take on Iran and its clients, Israel has effectively become the hired army of the Sunni Arab states tasked by Washington with the job of protecting America's favorite Middle Eastern tipple - oil."

In short, he asserted, "Bombing Iran's nuclear facilities is the surest way for Israel to restore the image of strength and unpredictability that made it valuable to the United States after 1967 while also eliminating Iran as a viable partner for America's favor... Shorn of its nuclear program and unable to retaliate against Israel through conventional military means, Iran would be shown to be a paper tiger."

Concluding his piece with a flourish, Samuels stressed that an Israeli strike on Iran would simultaneously weaken Iranian "local clients like Syria and Hamas" and suggested that it could even enable Israel, acting from a position of newly demonstrated strength, to offset American and European criticism, and advance its own interests, by moving post-attack to impose viable conditions on a cowed Palestinian leadership for the establishment of a Palestinian state.

After all, wondered Samuels, who could argue "with the idea of trading the Iranian nuclear bomb for a Palestinian state? Saudi Arabia would be happy. Egypt would be happy. Bahrain, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates would be happy. Jordan would be happy. Iraq would be happy. Two-thirds of the Lebanese would be happy. The Palestinians would go about building their state, and Israel would buy itself another 40 years as the only nuclear-armed country in the Middle East. Iran would not be happy."

SO SPECULATIVE a notion also assumes that Abbas, or a successor, would be ready, even under these changed circumstances, to shift away from the uncompromising attitudes of the Palestinian leadership to date, as so recently restated in that Erekat interview, and finally, honestly, come to terms with the legitimacy and the fact of a Jewish state.

But what is particularly striking about Samuels's piece is the degree to which it accords with some notably outspoken recent remarks from Israel's most experienced diplomatic operator, President Shimon Peres.

Speaking in the context of Iran's nuclear progress and Hizbullah's exposed terrorist operations in Egypt, Peres in the last few days has declared that, "Sooner or later, the world will realize that Iran wishes to take over the Middle East, and that it has colonial ambitions."

He has highlighted the commonality of interests between Israel and relative Arab moderates in thwarting those ambitions, noting: "[Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad recruits forces against us, but there are also forces against him. What happened [with Hizbullah] in Egypt created a fierce opposition and we must unify all his opponents - the Sunnis and the Europeans, as well as those afraid of nuclear weapons and terror."

And in the bluntest comments of all, Peres has warned that while he hoped US President Barack Obama's efforts at dialogue with Ahmadinejad to halt the Iranian nuclear drive would prove productive, if they did not soften the Iranian president's approach, "we'll strike him."

By contrast, Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told The New York Times this week that "Israel would be utterly crazy to attack Iran. I worry about it. If you bomb, you will turn the region into a ball of fire and put Iran on a crash course for nuclear weapons with the support of the whole Muslim world."

And after US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates warned that an Israeli attack would unify Iran, "cement their determination to have a nuclear program and also build into the whole country an undying hatred of whoever hits them," the ever-malleable Peres on Thursday recalibrated his own earlier comments by dismissing talk of Israeli military intervention as "nonsense."

FOR THE record, even as they continue their re-evaluation of Israeli foreign policy, officials of the new Binyamin Netanyahu-led government remain committed to the notion that Iran can yet be stopped, and its proxies Hamas and Hizbullah consequently weakened, through a combination of intensified diplomatic and economic pressure on Teheran. They are not opposing Obama's efforts at dialogue, though they stress that time is in very short supply.

Away from the microphones, however, there most definitely are key Israeli officials who believe that the window of non-military pressure has already closed, and that the international diplomatic community, quite simply, is not going to stop Iran.

All that is left now, these officials believe, if Iran's nuclear program is to be thwarted, and with it the relentless drive to dominate this region at Israel's emphatic expense, are more radical options.
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« Reply #562 on: April 19, 2009, 09:08:35 AM »

U.S.: Palestinians need not recognize Israel as Jewish state before talks
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people as a condition for renewing peace talks is unacceptable to the United States, the State Department said during special envoy George Mitchell's visits over the weekend to Ramallah and Cairo.

The State Department released statements saying that the United States would continue to promote a two-state solution. In Ramallah, Mitchell met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

Mitchell's talks also seem to indicate that the United States does not accept Netanyahu's position that the renewal of negotiations should be postponed until the Iranian nuclear threat is removed.
While Defense Minister and Labor Party leader Ehud Barak has not spoken publicly on the issue, his associates said Saturday he is obligated to the party platform, which supports the establishment of a Palestinian state. The platform does not mention Palestinian recognition of Israel as the state of the Jewish people as a precondition for establishing a Palestinian state.

Barak also reportedly opposes linking the renewal of the peace process with the Iranian threat and supports a regional peace agreement that includes dealing with that threat.

The demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people was raised for the first time about 18 months ago in talks between Israel and the United States ahead of the Annapolis Conference. Then-foreign minister Tzipi Livni demanded that the conference's closing statement mention a nation-state solution, a formulation meant to neutralize a Palestinian demand for refugees' right of return.

However, the Bush administration accepted the Palestinian objection that the issue should be subject to negotiation. The PLO leadership also told the United States that it supported unequivocally the Saudi peace initiative that includes a clause in favor of a just and agreed-on solution to the refugee problem in keeping with U.N. Resolution 194.

That resolution calls for the right of refugees to return at the earliest practicable date and compensation for those who choose not to return. The Arab League meeting last month appended a comment to its closing statement that its initiative does not include the right of return for refugees.

A few weeks before Yasser Arafat died in 2004, he told Haaretz that he understood that Israel is a Jewish state. However, he said on a number of occasions that official recognition by the PLO of this fact would hurt the status and feelings of the Palestinian minority in Israel. He said it was not the Palestinians' business to define the identity of another country.
« Reply #563 on: April 20, 2009, 09:15:11 PM »
What's all the fuss?
Interesting artilce about the future of oil and the middle east. I am not a huge fan of his central analogy for  a variety of reasons but anyway---
from treppenwitz by David Bogner

Everyone seems to be in a lather today about the imminent opening of the Durban II anti-racism conference in Switzerland.  What the hell, people?!  Isn't there a ballgame on cable somewhere... or maybe a rerun of 'Friends'?

Seriously, a bunch of banana republics and costumed despots want to get together and air out their anti-semitism (dressed up as anti-Zionism) in the lush presence of a bunch of spineless appeasers... and you think this is worth getting your collective panties in a bunch?

These are not our friends, folks.  Never were and never will be.  They hate us... but they buy our battle-tested weapons.  They despise us...but they want us to show them how we are able to make our planes and missiles fly circles around theirs.  They loathe us... but they fly their children to our hospitals and beg us to make them better.

Yeah, yeah, it sucks that they will trade with us for technology and/or goods that they simply can't live without... while supporting quite literally, anyone with whom we have a quarrel.  But this isn't new.  So why all the fuss?

It's all good.  Really.

You see, even if our medical and technological exports don't keep them lining up (and trust me, they will), there is a new reason the haters can't leave us alone.  You see, Israel is like the last decent looking girl at the bar near closing time.  They all want - correction, make that need - something from us.  But they don't want to look like desperate pansies in front of their buddies.  So they call us names... and hope for an opening to get us alone.

And what do they need?  Energy.  The era of oil is nearly over folks, and it is pretty much a slam dunk that Israel is the only country making any serious investment in technologies for providing the world with alternative sources of energy.  Yes, the energy of the future will almost certainly come from this little racist slut everyone is badmouthing... but secretly wanting to bed.

Oh we'll put out when the time comes, don't you worry.  But there will be a steep price to be paid... even if stretching the previous sexual analogy to money changing hands makes us appear even more unsavory.  Supply and demand, people.  Weren't you paying attention in economics class?

And while our technological breakthroughs will make fossil fuel about as sought after as whale oil, it will also relegate these many noisome sheikdoms back to their natural state of decay and incestuous tribal infighting,

And best of all, Europe and much of Asia will be stuck dealing with a glut of the middle-east's second most volatile export; Islam (and it's invading mobs of restive practitioners).

When that happens, it will be interesting to see how well the virtuous and 'even-handed' opponents of racism and discrimination participating in Durban II are able to live up to the impossible standards of democratic rectitude with which they saddle Israel.

It'll be a whole 'nother ballgame trying to appear enlightened when faced with a choice between enacting Israeli-style security measures or suffering Dhimmi status in their own countries.

Good luck with that, guys.

Oh, and pass the remote control... I'm bored.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2009, 09:19:39 PM by Rachel » Logged
« Reply #564 on: April 28, 2009, 10:05:03 PM »

There's a certain look to a widow who's in her mid-twenties, whose husband was killed in Gaza in January.  Eyes swollen with tears, yet with steely determination at the same time.  A certain vulnerability on her still very young face, and a face that seems too old for her age, all at the same time.  An image of pain and of unspeakable sadness, but not asking for pity.  Was it just me, or was it clear that even in the midst of her unbearable burden, she knew full well that she - like the young husband who was taken from her far too early - is part of something much larger than she is?  Is that why, looking at her, I had a sense of - more than anything else - strength?
I would have liked many more people to see her.  President Obama, for example, as he prepares for another stab at Middle East peace-making.  Hillary Clinton, who's now telling us to make peace lest we lose American support in the looming confrontation with Iran.  All those Jews out there, beating their breasts, despondent that the Jewish state is so "un-Jewish" in its seeming unwillingness to make peace.
We hear all those people - of course we do.  And as we do, we can't help but wonder if the world has begun to tire of us, to regret the decision that it made on November 29, 1947.  (We know without doubt, for example, that were the UN to vote today, Israel would not be created.)  Calls for Israel to negotiate with Hamas despite the latter's commitment to Israel's destruction, the poisonous environment of Durban II and the Obama administration's willingness to engage with Iran even as it continues to enrich uranium, all contribute to this sense.
So to all those who are wringing their hands about Israeli intransigence and inflexibility, on this eve of Israeli Independence Day, a brief word about nations, and states, and purpose.  For without understanding purpose, there's no understanding Israel.
Israelis elected Ehud Barak in 1999 because he promised peace with the Palestinians.  When Barak put the majority of the West Bank and even parts of Jerusalem on the table, most Israelis went along.  The deal fell apart because Palestinians unleashed the Second Intifada.  The majority of Israelis supported Ariel Sharon's decision to disengage from Gaza and to uproot all the Jewish communities there.  They even elected Ehud Olmert in 2006, after he ran on a platform of further withdrawal from the West Bank.  How did a country that has continually favored painful concessions for peace end up with Benjamin Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman as Prime Minister and Foreign Minister respectively?  It is that which Obama, Clinton and all the hand wringers must understand if they have any hope of being heard here.
To appreciate today's Israeli sentiment, all those people would do well to keep in mind two iconic photographs on which virtually every Israeli is raised.   These images have come to represent two radically different eras - Jewish powerlessness under the Nazis, and Jews at the height of their power, when they captured the Old City of Jerusalem from the Jordanians.
The former period is represented in the minds of many Israelis by a black and white photograph of a Jewish boy, probably no older than nine or ten, dressed in his finest coat and hat, his black dress socks pulled up almost to his knees.  He is the model of innocence, of European-Jewish financial and social success, and yet, he is pitiful - the very picture of vulnerability.  His parents are not at his side, and no onlookers have come to comfort him.  His hands raised high in surrender as a Nazi points a gun in his direction, the boy's fate depends entirely on the whim and will of his enemies.  He might as well already be dead.
A very different image was taken at the Western Wall in the aftermath of the paratroopers' conquering of the Old City during the June 1967 Six Day War.   This photo, by David Rubinger, is equally iconic.  It, too, portrays Jews and soldiers - three, in fact.  But now, the Jews and the soldiers are one and the same.  No longer is the Jew the frightened boy looking away from the Nazi's gun somewhere in Europe.  He is home, in Jerusalem, responsible for his own destiny.
Nothing in this image celebrates war.  The soldiers' weapons are nowhere to be seen.  Their helmets have been removed.  The figure in the center ­is young, almost boyish.  What captured the Jewish imagination was not the Jew as soldier, but image of a Jew whose existential condition had been entirely altered in the period between those two photos, all because of the creation of the Jewish state.  The Jewish state, Zionism promised, would radically alter the condition of the Jew in the world.  No longer would Jews live and die at the whim of others.  No longer would our children's safety be dependent on what our enemies decided.
Today, Israelis are concerned that that has begun to change, that we are sliding inexorably back to the reality represented by the first image.  For eight years, Palestinian rockets and mortars turned Israeli childhoods in Sderot and other cities into years of incessant fear.  Thousands of Israeli children studied and slept - and some died - at the whim of Palestinian Kassam-launchers.  And when Israel finally did respond, the world's outrage was instantaneous.   
Now, Israelis wonder if the Americans have quietly resigned themselves to a nuclear Iran.  If Israelis become convinced that that is the case, it will be not Netanyahu or Lieberman, but American policy, which will have caused Israeli intransigence.  For an Iranian nuclear weapon, even were it never used, would reverse the change in the existential condition of the Jew that Israel made possible.   Once Iran has nuclear capacity, every Israeli parent will put their children to bed at night knowing that once again, our survival and that of our children will depend not on what we do, but on what others decide our fate should be.  An Iranian nuclear weapon would represent not only a failure of American deterrence, but the failure of the promise of Zionism, to create and sustain a Jewish state that could keep its citizens safe.
An international community committed to significant progress in the Israel-Arab conflict must first convince Israelis that we are not being abandoned, that the world is committed to the purpose for which Israel was created.  Very few of us relish sending our sons and daughters off to war, to bear for life the scars of battle, or worse.  We, too, would like nothing more than an end to this horrific conflict.  Our voting record proves it.
But as we prepare to celebrate independence once again, one fact must remain clear: we will not end the conflict at all costs.  That is what the international community must demonstrate it understands.  For on this Erev Yom Ha-Atzma'ut, as on all the others, we, at least, know well what is at stake.  Given the choice between sending our children off to fight yet again, or of returning to the world of that first photograph in which someone else will decide if we live and for how long, almost all of us will choose the former.   

.  Go to the end of the column and post your comments.]
« Reply #565 on: April 28, 2009, 10:07:47 PM »

Inspired by last year's 60 Things I Love About Israel (also on JPost), without further ado, here are 61 more things I love about Israel.
1. I love that even though I may not have spoken with someone since the Ben-Gurion Administration, he will call me to check that I have somewhere to go for Passover Seder.
2. I love how you can bring your dog into any café to walk around and no one bats an eyelash.
3. I love that the social norm that allows us to double-dip in peace without neurotic fear of contracting the West Nile virus. Take your Purel bottle and stick it somewhere.
4. I love that you could take a homeless person with no marketable skills, put them behind the counter of Aroma, and they'd immediately be qualified to make a little foam heart in your cafe hafuch [cappuccino].
5. Mirpeseot. They're cool.
6. I love that I visited Dracula's castle in Transylvania, ran into an Israeli, and within 2 minutes realized we know someone in common. That could only be cooler if she were in fact a vampire and her name was Count Shawarmula.
7. I love tsofim, the Israeli scouts. I swear, these little MacGyvers can take wheat, some duct tape, and a falafel ball and make a nuclear reactor.
8. I love the magical phrase "yiyeh b'seder," the Economica [bleach] of the Hebrew language. What can't it handle? Flat tire? Failed test? Take two "yiyeh b'seder's and call me in the morning.
9. I love the peacefulness of Shabbat in Jerusalem. So quiet and relaxing. I can sit on my tuchus all day and not feel guilty.
10. I love how the smallest, least professional-looking chumusiot [hummus restaurants] serve the best tasting stuff. Within 7.2 seconds of your placing an order, they've scooped, spread, sprinkled and created what I like to call "beautiful goodness."

PHOTO: Does it get better than this? Don't worry, I already know the answer.

11. I love the impossible-to-predict playlist of Galgalatz. "Ok, Galgalatz, I dare you to play 'Yerushalayim shel Zahav' followed by 'Smells Like Teen Spirit'...............what do you mean you just played it?
12. I love how when it rains, people celebrate like we just won the gold medal in basketball.
13. I love that when we win a gold medal, we celebrate like a people who take pride in every individual award won by our tiny country.
14. I love the effectiveness of El Al security. All together now: if El Al doesn't do it, NO ONE SHOULD DO IT. Sorry, Delta, I'm not taking my pants off.
15. I love that while in America, Esti Ginzburg would be an 80-year-old grandmother in South Florida, here she's a hottie patottie Sports Illustrated model who also lights the Chanukkah candles.
16. I love the chassid who protested the sale of chametz by wearing only a strategically placed sock. Apparently the Red Hot Chili Peppers are huge in Mea Shearim. (And, no, you're not getting a picture.)
17. I love the number of people who hit the social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook to defend Israel when it's being blasted in the international media.
18. I love that the popular kids game Simon Says is not in fact called Shimon Omer as Americans think but rather Herzl Amar (Herzl Said).
19. I love Friday in Tel Aviv and the incredible energy on the streets, in coffee shops, and oh the beach.
20. I love hanging out at Chof Bograshov in Tel Aviv and then seeing the same beach hours later in "You Don't Mess with the Zohan."
21. I love not so much that my friends visit from the States and get so excited to be in Israel that practically lose control of their bowels, but that I can secretly smile and and think to myself, "Yeah, I live here."
22. I love Rosh Hashana dinner with my friends and their family when they feed me enough to nourish a small army.
23. I love when this unathletic North American Jew meets massive wood-chopping Israeli gevers [man's man]. This dude's arms were so big, they required arnona payments.

24. I love that drinking tea with only nana in it. Teabag? Who needs it?
25. I love that Israeli tour guides know everything about every square inch of this country. If Moshe Rabeinu went #2 on this rock, you can be sure that your guide learned it.
26. I love the uniqueness of the Israeli job search. Even if you don't get the position you've applied for, there is roughly a 57% chance that you’ll be offered a date with the CEO's daughter.
27. I love that there's free wireless internet everywhere, especially in Ben-Gurion Airport. Eat your heart out, Starbucks.
28. I love that we put Shimon Peres on a wedding dress.

PHOTO: I don't even have a joke here.

29. I love that my friend overheard his bus driver telling Talmudic stories with morals and relating them to current events. Only in Israel.
30. I love how lifeguards on the beach turn into Jewish/Polish mothers when they freak out and yell in Hebrew "please please please, I urge you to come closer to the beach!"
31. I love that my cab driver offered me a peach and that I accepted it. That will happen in America when falafel balls fly.
32. I love the Israelis who take such pride in their country that they ask tourists, "You like Israel? Why you not live here???" When you've got Zionism, who needs linking verbs?
33. I love that this country is roughly the size of a parking spot yet is one of the most innovative producers of technology on the planet. Boycott us if you'd like, world. Just please return your cell phones, thanks. (And I'd like an iPhone while you’re at it.)
34. I love that the cable companies are named for English words, causing the inevitable awkward statement, "I'm waiting at home for the HOT guy to come."
35. I love sachlab in the winter.
36. I love that the vendors at the shuk sell their product as if their lives depend on it and like they just downed four cups of coffee. "AGVANIOOOOOOOOT! SHTAY SHEKEL!!!!!!!!" Do they know they're selling tomatoes? You bet they do.
37. I love that a two year old can wet the bed but still sing "Avadim hayinu" for Pessach. Goooooo, Jewish education!

38. I love the brave 18 year olds who serve to defend this country. Do I even need to tell you what I was doing at that age? Let’s just say it rhymes with "Meroxing body parts." Apologies to the administrative staff at Texas Hillel.
39. I love how the fruit shakes here contain the most obscure fruits in the history of the world. "Watch this....hey, can I get a shake with Abraham's desert star citrus fruit, but the one without the seeds that only grows in the Western Negev? (pause) YOU HAVE IT?Huh
40. I love how the street names aren't Main, Elm, and MLK, but Hillel, Shamai, and Herzl. (Do you think Theodore had any idea that 100 years after his death, Tel Avivim would be selling furniture on his street? Hey, Ben-Yehudah, thanks for reviving our language. To show our gratitude, we've decided to give you a pedestrian mall where teenagers frolic and buy their name on a grain of rice.)
41. I love how Hebrew makes so much sense. A store with everything you need? Kol-bo. Delicious treat with cream in it? Crem-bo. We need more words like this. Bat Yam? The ars-bo! (Just kidding, Bat Yam, you know I love you.)
42. I love how Israelis will drink coffee even when it's 80,000 degrees outside. "We ahr five meen-utes from deh sun? B'sedeeeer! Hafuch gadol!"
43. I love words like "teetchadesh" that neither exist nor make sense in the English language. "Wow, cool shirt! Enjoy using your new thing!" Nice try.
44. I love the distant cousin of the shuk vendor, the guy outside the Arlozorov train station selling "baigeles." Apparently he gets paid to say baigele 568 times per minute without taking a breath. "BAIGELE BAIGELE BAIGELE!!!"
45. I love laughing when an Israeli turns to his friend and asks the question "mah ata dafuk?" (are you crazy?) The answer to that question is absolutely, positively, always yes. Whatever the guy just did, it was definitely dafuk.
46. I love that Agadir Burger Bar not only allows you to order a burger with just about anything on it but also publishes a calendar showcasing their waitresses.

PHOTO: All right, so maybe it's a little weird...

47. I love that I just saw someone tell their pet "shev" [sit] which he of course did. He's a dog and he knows Hebrew. Between this and the two-year old singing Passover songs, does it get any better?
48. I love that you can pay for everything in tashlumim, monthly installments. One of these days, I'm going to try this with an Egged bus driver just to watch his head spin.
49. I love that I went to a Guns N' Roses tribute concert in Jerusalem and not only did the singer speak to the crowd in Hebrew, when he sang he actually sounded just like Axl Rose. "Oh oh oh oooooooh, sweet child of miiiine! Bruchim habaim [welcome]!"
50. I love that Israel got its first Apple store this past year. Yeah, baby.
51. I love how people have no qualms about giving you a ride to the airport even if it's three in the morning and their wife is in labor.
52. I love the support that experienced olim (immigrants) give to prospective olim, answering questions and emails even if they've never met before.
53. I love flying into Israel and going through the "Israeli passport" line. (On a related note, I also derive some guilty pleasure watching the tourists lining up in the very lengthy "Foreign Passport" line as I quickly waltz on through. Does that make me a bad person?)
54. I love how on Rosh Hashana, the car radio display wished me a "shana tovah." I don't care what planet you're from, that's awesome.
55. I love the beautiful hills of Haifa which nevertheless caused me extreme confusion upon entering an elevator from ground level. "What do you mean we're on the 9th floor?"
56. I love watching the Super Bowl until 5 AM with the guys. When you work that hard for it, you enjoy it that much more.
57. I love the superhuman Israeli hearing which allows them to pick up the "beep beep beep" of the news even while someone is using a jackhammer three feet away.
58. I love how Google redirects you to the Israeli version of the site. The first time it happened, I looked behind me and thought, "WHOA!!! How do they know???"
59. I love the powerful emotion I feel during the Yom Hazikaron [Remembrance Day] siren which you can only experience in Israel. Was anyone else caught off guard the first time they heard the siren? Seriously, I thought aliens were coming to eat my brain.
60. I love Yom Ha'atzmaut which is apparently Hebrew for "go to the park and eat a cow."
61. I love that I've had this once-in-a-lifetime experience and that it's not over yet.
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« Reply #566 on: April 29, 2009, 08:27:02 AM »

CAVEAT: While sources not completely thin, not completely gelled either. Haaretz is reporting, as well as Egyptian & Sudanese media (with their different perspective as you might imagine).

Last update - 07:53 27/04/2009
'Iran arms ship bound for Gaza downed near Sudan'

By Haaretz Service

An Iranian vessel laden with weapons bound for the Gaza Strip was torpedoed off the coast of Sudan last week, allegedly by Israeli or American forces operating in the area, the Egyptian newspaper El-Aosboa reported on Sunday.

Anonymous sources in Khartoum told the newspaper that an unidentified warship bombed the Iranian vessel as it prepared to dock on Sudan before transferring its load for shipment to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.

These sources said they suspects U.S. or Israeli involvement in the attack, but neither Washington nor Jerusalem have released a statement yet on the matter.

The Israel Air Force, meanwhile, is suspected of attacking a convoy of Iranian arms that passed through Sudan en route to Gaza in January, according to reports released in March.

American officials confirmed the IAF involvement in that attack, The New York Times later reported, abd said they had received intelligence reports that an Iranian Revolutionary Guards operative had gone to Sudan to help organize the weapons convoy said the report.

Israel has neither denied nor confirmed involvement in that incident.

In February, Cypriot authorities detained an Iranian arms ship en route Iranian arms ship en route to Syria, apparently upon request of the U.S. and Israel.

A search of the ship, which was sailing from Iran to the Syrian port of Latakia, found ammunition for T-72 tanks, used by the Syrian army, as well as various types of mortar shells, said a senior Israeli official.

The United States has claimed that the ship was carrying weapons from Iran to Hamas or the Lebanon-based militant group Hezbollah.
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« Reply #567 on: May 01, 2009, 11:23:21 PM »
« Reply #568 on: May 06, 2009, 08:17:30 PM »

I find the title of this piece obnoxious.

Washington's elders of anti-Zion
May. 5, 2009

AIPAC's annual conference opened this week to the auspicious news that the US Justice Department will drop its case against two former AIPAC employees on espionage-related charges based on a 90-year-old statute. But the original charges brought against Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman left some friends of Israel uneasy over the calumny of American Jews' "dual loyalty." In recent weeks, the case escalated with accusations that Congresswoman Jane Harman, a strong congressional friend of Israel, attempted to influence the case.

In March the queasiness was widespread in the pro-Israel community after Charles "Chas" Freeman claimed that the Israel lobby torpedoed his appointment to head the US National Intelligence Council. "The aim of this lobby," Freeman told reporters, "is control of the policy process through the exercise of a veto over the appointment of people who dispute the wisdom of its views." One result, he continued, is "the inability of the American public to discuss, or the government to consider, any option for US policies in the Middle East opposed by the ruling faction in Israeli politics."

Freeman's complaints echo the widely-criticized 2007 book, The Israel Lobby by John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt, in which the authors claim that the Israel lobby's core consists of "American Jews who make a significant effort in their daily lives to bend US foreign policy so that it advances Israel's interests."

And all this came after former president Jimmy Carter published his anti-Israel screed, Palestine Peace Not Apartheid in 2006.

BY NO MEANS should anyone ignore or minimize the Washington leaks and attacks against AIPAC, the American Jewish community or Israel. But it should be understood that these actions are part of a historic, decades-long, beneath-the-surface low-intensity war in Washington to weaken US-Israel relations. Not much has changed since an Arab propagandist in the US, Muhammad Mehdi, proclaimed some 40 years ago, "The road to the liberation of Palestine leads through Washington."

In more than 35 years of my involvement in US-Israeli relations, I have seen the ebbs and surges of various anti-Israel campaigns. Once the anti-Israel crusade was led or conducted by senator J. William Fulbright and congressman Paul Findley, assisted by Jewish anti-Zionists like Elmer Berger and the apostate Alfred Lilienthal, and supported by Arab propagandists and oil interests. In the 1960s and '70s the legislators charged that American policy in the Middle East was too pro-Israel and that Congress was corrupted.

In 1962 Fulbright launched an investigation of foreign lobbyists in Washington, attempting to force AIPAC to register as an agent of Israel rather than a domestic American lobby. His chief investigator was a journalist named Walter Pincus. (Today, Pincus, The Washington Post's veteran national security reporter, helps cover the Jane Harman story and the Rosen-Weissman trial.)

"Israel controls the United States Senate," Fulbright told Face the Nation in 1973. "Around 80 percent are completely in support of Israel; anything Israel wants it gets. Jewish influence in the House of Representatives is even greater." (Years later, after retiring from the Senate, Fulbright registered as a foreign agent for Saudi Arabia.)

Freeman, Walt, and Mearsheimer are but parrots of Fulbright and under secretary of state George Ball who wrote a 1977 Foreign Affairs article, "How to Save Israel in Spite of Itself." Ball declared more than 30 years ago, "How far should we go in continuing to subsidize a policy shaped to accommodate understandable Israeli compulsions which do not accord with the best interests - as we see it - either of Israel or the United States, but are a threat to world peace?... Because many articulate Americans are passionately committed to Israel, the slightest challenge to any aspect of current Israeli policy is likely to provoke a shrill ad hominem response. To suggest that America should take a stronger and more assertive line in the search for Middle East peace is to risk being attacked as a servant either of Arab interests or of the oil companies, or being denounced as anti-Israel, or, by a careless confusion of language, even condemned as anti-Semitic."

In the mid-1970s, secretary of state Henry Kissinger, frustrated by Israel's tough negotiating position and encouraged by Ball, pushed president Gerald Ford to conduct a "reassessment" of relations with Israel. After AIPAC rallied strong congressional opposition to the administration's proposed policy change, AIPAC was investigated by the Justice Department to see if it should register as a foreign agent of Israel. The investigators concluded, "There is not one shred of evidence that AIPAC should be registered as a foreign agent."

AS RONALD REAGAN's vice president, George H. Bush reportedly led the efforts to embargo F-16 aircraft shipments to Israel after the bombing of the Iraqi reactor in 1981. In 1991 as president, Bush went toe-to-toe with the American Jewish community when he sought to tie loan guarantees, which Israel needed to provide housing for the massive aliya of Soviet Jews, to restrictions on the building of settlements in the West Bank and Gaza. When Jewish organizations went up to Capitol Hill to lobby for the aid, Bush went on national TV, pounded his fists and declared that he was "up against some powerful political forces... I heard today, there were something like a thousand lobbyists on the Hill working the other side of the question. We've got one lonely little guy [the president] down here doing it."

Bush went on to chip away at public support for Israel by claiming that American soldiers had "risked their lives to defend Israelis" in the Gulf War and that "despite our own economic problems the United States provided Israel with more than $4 billion in economic and military aid, nearly $1,000 for every Israeli man, woman and child."

Bush's speech unleashed a flurry of anti-Semitic comments in the US to an extent that the White House felt it had to react. "I am concerned that some of my comments at the Thursday press conference caused apprehension within the Jewish community," Bush wrote to American Jewish leaders. "My references to lobbyists and powerful political forces were never meant to be pejorative in any sense."

The animosity toward Israel and the American Jewish community expressed by the president was probably shaped in part by his national security adviser Brent Scowcroft and shared by other senior staff. Scowcroft continues today to play an "elders" role in Washington, encouraging a change in policy toward Israel.

In 1991, Bush's chief of staff, John Sununu, was under fire for using military and corporate aircraft for personal trips. According to press reports at the time, Sununu, a Lebanese-American, believed that the attacks against him were generated by pro-Israel groups motivated by his ethnic background and because his positions were "not fully supportive of Israel's demands on the United States." Sununu later sought out Jewish leaders to mollify them and deny that he made the charge.

Bush's secretary of state James Baker was infamous for his enmity toward Israel. His purported remark, "F*** the Jews! They don't vote for us anyway," probably marks a low point in contemporary American Jewish history.

ADMINISTRATIONS' POLICY differences with Israel and legislative challenges on Capitol Hill championed by AIPAC were often met in Washington by anti-Israel leaks to the press or by actions by counterintelligence officials. During the period 1977-1982 AIPAC led challenges on Capitol Hill against major US aircraft sales to Jordan, Egypt and particularly Saudi Arabia. On three occasions in those years I was approached at AIPAC by individuals offering classified information they claimed was important for Israel's security. Once, a man offered to provide blueprints of an air base being built in an Arab state. On another occasion, two men, claiming that their pastor encouraged them to help Israel, wanted to provide information on American military supplies to the Middle East. In the third case, information on US-Saudi ties was going to be provided.

In all cases, I assumed that the men were part of counterintelligence "sting" operations, and I sent the suspected agents provocateurs packing. The third individual, by the way, was named Jonathan Pollard. I was wrong about his intentions, but AIPAC was spared.

Ultimately, such a sting operation - without the transfer of any documents - was used to entrap the two AIPAC employees in 2005.

Counterintelligence agencies in the US - and there are several - have long suspected that Jonathan Pollard had an accomplice, Agent X, and that American Jews may be guilty of dual loyalties. In 1997, phone taps of Israeli Embassy lines purportedly picked up a conversation about obtaining a document from an American mole code-named "Mega." No such spy existed, Israel insisted. One overzealous official who worked at both the CIA and FBI, David Szady, was involved in the AIPAC arrests as well as the hounding of an entry-level Jewish attorney at the CIA who had visited Israel as a teenager. Another case of clear anti-Semitic persecution involved a Jewish engineer at a tank facility in Michigan. In all cases, the investigations were finally dropped.

Press leaks about Israeli spying, illegal weapons sales and the theft of military technology spout almost like clockwork during periods of tension between the two countries. The charges include claims that the Israeli Python air-to-air missile was based on Sidewinder technology, that the Lavie jet and Harpy drone technologies were transferred to China, and that Patriot anti-aircraft missile technology was compromised. No one should have been surprised, therefore by the most recent leak about Congresswoman Harman on the eve of the AIPAC Policy Conference and as the case against Rosen and Weissman crumbled. (Will there ever be an investigation launched to see who leaked details of a secret US government operation in which Harman was taped? Probably not.)

Today's anti-Israel cabal of Walt, Mearsheimer, Freeman, and columnists Roger Cohen and Nicholas Kristof have the luxury of several Jewish commentators and organizations that support them. Incredibly, the Jewish spokesmen claim to be pro-Israel, but their actions betray their claim. The spokesmen have recently defended Chas Freeman, praised the Walt-Mearsheimer book, lobbied Congress against supporting Israel's actions against Hamas in Gaza and called for the recognition of Hamas.

Some of the spokesmen for this appeasement lobby appear to be the disciples and descendants of Rabbi Elmer Berger of the now defunct American Council for Judaism who raised funds at a Beirut dinner after the 1967 war where he likened Israel's nationalism to South Africa's apartheid. (Note that the apartheid falsehood heard so often at the Durban conferences goes back more than 40 years.) The appeasement lobby's hero, Stephen Walt, by the way, just published an eight-point "user's guide" on how the United States can "put pressure on Israel."

AS THE 6,500 AIPAC conference attendees leave Capitol Hill and head back to their homes this week, they should be proud of their efforts.

I still recall the words of former vice president and senator Hubert Humphrey, responding to the detractors of the pro-Israel lobby at the time of the Ford "reassessment" in 1976, telling some 450 AIPAC conference attendees that "columnists, editorial writers have warned us about ethnic lobbies. We've heard careless, and I think, reckless things being said about the powerful Jewish lobby. As if somehow or another, it was against the law in this country to speak up for what you believe in.

"It is good for the basic democratic process," Humphrey continued, "that people who have convictions about what American public policy should be take time to get their fellow Americans and their public officials to understand what they believe and to urge their support. That's what we mean by free speech in this country. I say it will be a sad day for this country when its citizens stop using the precious guarantees in the first amendment to petition their government.

"So I say, there is nothing new about lobbying on behalf of causes in foreign places. It's as American as a hot dog or apple pie, spaghetti, gefilte fish or Polish sausage."

That sounds like a delicious menu.

The writer served in AIPAC offices in Washington and Jerusalem for 25 years. Later he served as a senior Israeli diplomat in Washington. He blogs at
This article can also be read at /servlet/Satellite?cid=1239710872891&pagename=JPArticle%2FShowFull

Video: The best of AIPAC
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« Reply #569 on: May 06, 2009, 09:15:22 PM »

Obama to force Israel to give up nukes?

The Washington Times reports that Barack Obama may counter demands from Israel to confront Iran over their nuclear program by confronting Israel over theirs.  Eli Lake has the exclusive on the Obama administration’s strategy to force Israel under the umbrella of the non-proliferation treaty, apparently as a condition to getting Iran to surrender their nukes.  The effort will include India and Pakistan, and comes from a 2006 Saudi peace plan that would leave Israel at the mercy of the armies surrounding the state:

President Obama’s efforts to curb the spread of nuclear weapons threaten to expose and derail a 40-year-old secret U.S. agreement to shield Israel’s nuclear weapons from international scrutiny, former and current U.S. and Israeli officials and nuclear specialists say.

The issue will likely come to a head when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Mr. Obama on May 18 in Washington. Mr. Netanyahu is expected to seek assurances from Mr. Obama that he will uphold the U.S. commitment and will not trade Israeli nuclear concessions for Iranian ones.

Assistant Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller, speaking Tuesday at a U.N. meeting on the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), said Israel should join the treaty, which would require Israel to declare and relinquish its nuclear arsenal.

Gottemoeller has a track record of demanding Israeli disarmament:

However, Ms. Gottemoeller endorsed the concept of a nuclear-free Middle East in a 2005 paper that she co-authored, “Universal Compliance: A Strategy for Nuclear Security.”

“Instead of defensively trying to ignore Israels nuclear status, the United States and Israel should proactively call for regional dialogue to specify the conditions necessary to achieve a zone free of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons,” she wrote.

The paper recommends that Israel take steps to disarm in exchange for its neighbors getting rid of chemical and biological weapons programs as well as Iran forgoing uranium enrichment.

The Obama administration appointed Gottemoeller, fully cognizant of her thinking on this issue. One has to assume that her appointment to the senior position at State constitutes an endorsement of those positions.  It wouldn’t be the most radical thinking about Israel from this administration; Samantha Powers, who works between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and UN Ambassador Susan Rice, once called for a Western occupation of Israel and forced disarmament of their entire army.

Gottemoeller’s speech had to have been cleared by the Obama administration, and so appears to represent their foreign-policy position.  The Bush administration and its predecessors handled the situation more tactfully, supporting a “nuclear-free Middle East” without naming names.  Why?  The position of Israel in the Middle East is unique.  They are not just simply another nation among many.  They had been the one successful continuous democracy in that region, save Turkey, and quite obviously surrounded by nations explicitly threatening to annihilate them.  Israel had to develop a deterrent that would keep a nation of 5 million people alive among 100 million enemies.

Over the years, some of those neighbors have moderated their stance somewhat towards Israel; Egypt and Jordan have diplomatic relations with Israel, but in Egypt’s case only because Washington pays them to do it.  None of the rest of the nations in that region even recognize Israel’s existence, and two of them — Syria and Iran — have a long-running proxy war of terror running against Israel.  Under those conditions, Israel can be forgiven for thinking that a deterrent is still a damned good idea.

Besides, the Iranian nuclear program threatens the US as well.  We want to stop Iran from building nukes to keep them out of the hands of terrorists, and not just those aimed at Israel.  They don’t call us the Great Satan out of respect, after all, and Iranian leadership has been just as annihilationist towards America as it has been towards Israel.  Instead of disarming our allies, maybe we should just concentrate on disarming our enemies.
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« Reply #570 on: May 06, 2009, 11:44:43 PM »

 shocked angry shocked angry shocked angry

This is our CiC?  We are so fcuked , , ,
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« Reply #571 on: May 07, 2009, 10:19:57 AM »

Speaking of nuclear weapons in the middle east, the Iraq Study Group concluded that although we did not find stockpiles of WMD, that Saddam in 2002 retained the ability and determination to restart his programs and would likely have nuclear weapons capabilities within 5-7 years.  FWIW, 5-7 years has gone by.  Obama and Israel are lucky to have this one threat removed as they attempt to isolate Iran.

I favor Israel dropping its nuclear weapons program also ... dropping in on Iran's nuclear facilities.  wink
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« Reply #572 on: May 16, 2009, 12:18:50 AM »

Geopolitical Diary: A Familiar U.S.-Israeli Course On Iran
May 15, 2009
A report published Thursday by Israel’s Haaretz newspaper claimed that U.S. President Barack Obama had sent an American envoy to tell Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu not to lose patience and surprise Washington with an attack against Iran. The report claimed that, rather than waiting for Netanyahu’s arrival in Washington on May 18, Obama decided to send a senior American official to Israel (who was not named) to meet with Netanyahu and senior Israeli leaders. The message reportedly revealed the Obama administration’s concern that Washington would be “caught off-guard and find themselves facing facts on the ground at the last minute” in the event of an Israeli attack on Iran.

This report, like several preceding it in the Israeli press, appears to be a deliberate leak. On May 10, another report from Haaretz — this one citing “confidential reports sent to Jerusalem” — claimed that the United States had set October as the deadline for completing its first round of talks with Tehran over its nuclear program. If the Iranians remained intransigent, the United States was expected to harden its stance against Tehran, according to the article.

Whether these leaks are coming from the Israelis or the Americans doesn’t matter much. What matters is the motive driving them — and in this realm, we see a familiar “good cop-bad cop” routine between the United States and Israel emerging.

The Israelis have made no secret about their lack of enthusiasm over Obama’s attempts to engage Iran diplomatically. They believe little will come out of these negotiations, and that Tehran feels little compulsion to make meaningful concessions over its nuclear program. All the same, Israel’s options toward Iran are limited. Talking about a unilateral strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities is one thing, but carrying out an operation on the scale necessary to destroy Iran’s nuclear capability would be extraordinarily difficult, even with U.S. participation, and nearly impossible without it. The Israelis understand the need to preserve their strategic relationship with the United States, but also harbor real fears about the Iranian nuclear program.

The United States, meanwhile, is juggling a dozen foreign policy issues at once. Given the growing military focus on Afghanistan and Pakistan, the last thing Washington needs is an Israeli attack against Iran and the Middle East flare-up that would follow. Right now, the goal for Washington is to seal things up in Iraq, hand off a good deal of responsibility for the region to Turkey, an ascending power, and turn its attention to other issues.

The Haaretz reports send a very clear message: The United States wants talks with Iran, does not want an Israeli attack against Iran, but is assuring Israel that firm deadlines are being established for negotiations. The Israelis are not pleased about the prospect of talks, and the U.S.-Israeli relationship is under strain. Therefore, Israel just might be rash enough to attack Iran on its own and surprise the United States.

This is a useful message for both Israel and the United States to be disseminating. Netanyahu can reaffirm perceptions at home that he is being tough on the Iranian nuclear issue and drawing a line with the Americans. Obama, meanwhile, can apply more pressure on the Iranians by giving the impression that Washington can only do so much to hold the Israelis back from attacking Iran. The likely next step in the cycle is for Iran to start reaching out to Russia and exaggerating perceptions of Moscow’s support for Iran. This can be accomplished through rhetoric over things like potential sales of Russian strategic air defense systems to Iran and Moscow finally giving Iran what it needs to complete the Bushehr nuclear facility.

So far, this is all very much expected. Israel’s options are limited; the United States’ options are limited; even Iran’s options are limited. The most practical move just now would seem to be a return to the rhetoric with which all three are so familiar.
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« Reply #573 on: May 16, 2009, 08:46:49 AM »

hahahhaha, it doesnt matter. Israel will never give them up and the way obama is spending, the U.S will be irrelevant internationally in a matter of years. China is already doing half their transactions in their own currency.  Israel needs to be focussed on getting cozy with China now.  With their new off shore gas fields it might be possible.

Obama to force Israel to give up nukes?

The Washington Times reports that Barack Obama may counter demands from Israel to confront Iran over their nuclear program by confronting Israel over theirs.  Eli Lake has the exclusive on the Obama administration’s strategy to force Israel under the umbrella of the non-proliferation treaty, apparently as a condition to getting Iran to surrender their nukes.  The effort will include India and Pakistan, and comes from a 2006 Saudi peace plan that would leave Israel at the mercy of the armies surrounding the state:

President Obama’s efforts to curb the spread of nuclear weapons threaten to expose and derail a 40-year-old secret U.S. agreement to shield Israel’s nuclear weapons from international scrutiny, former and current U.S. and Israeli officials and nuclear specialists say.

The issue will likely come to a head when Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Mr. Obama on May 18 in Washington. Mr. Netanyahu is expected to seek assurances from Mr. Obama that he will uphold the U.S. commitment and will not trade Israeli nuclear concessions for Iranian ones.

Assistant Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller, speaking Tuesday at a U.N. meeting on the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), said Israel should join the treaty, which would require Israel to declare and relinquish its nuclear arsenal.

Gottemoeller has a track record of demanding Israeli disarmament:

However, Ms. Gottemoeller endorsed the concept of a nuclear-free Middle East in a 2005 paper that she co-authored, “Universal Compliance: A Strategy for Nuclear Security.”

“Instead of defensively trying to ignore Israels nuclear status, the United States and Israel should proactively call for regional dialogue to specify the conditions necessary to achieve a zone free of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons,” she wrote.

The paper recommends that Israel take steps to disarm in exchange for its neighbors getting rid of chemical and biological weapons programs as well as Iran forgoing uranium enrichment.

The Obama administration appointed Gottemoeller, fully cognizant of her thinking on this issue. One has to assume that her appointment to the senior position at State constitutes an endorsement of those positions.  It wouldn’t be the most radical thinking about Israel from this administration; Samantha Powers, who works between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and UN Ambassador Susan Rice, once called for a Western occupation of Israel and forced disarmament of their entire army.

Gottemoeller’s speech had to have been cleared by the Obama administration, and so appears to represent their foreign-policy position.  The Bush administration and its predecessors handled the situation more tactfully, supporting a “nuclear-free Middle East” without naming names.  Why?  The position of Israel in the Middle East is unique.  They are not just simply another nation among many.  They had been the one successful continuous democracy in that region, save Turkey, and quite obviously surrounded by nations explicitly threatening to annihilate them.  Israel had to develop a deterrent that would keep a nation of 5 million people alive among 100 million enemies.

Over the years, some of those neighbors have moderated their stance somewhat towards Israel; Egypt and Jordan have diplomatic relations with Israel, but in Egypt’s case only because Washington pays them to do it.  None of the rest of the nations in that region even recognize Israel’s existence, and two of them — Syria and Iran — have a long-running proxy war of terror running against Israel.  Under those conditions, Israel can be forgiven for thinking that a deterrent is still a damned good idea.

Besides, the Iranian nuclear program threatens the US as well.  We want to stop Iran from building nukes to keep them out of the hands of terrorists, and not just those aimed at Israel.  They don’t call us the Great Satan out of respect, after all, and Iranian leadership has been just as annihilationist towards America as it has been towards Israel.  Instead of disarming our allies, maybe we should just concentrate on disarming our enemies.
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« Reply #574 on: May 16, 2009, 09:44:06 AM »

Those who leaf through the secret files of any intelligence service know what grave mistakes bad intelligence can lead to. But they also know that sometimes even excellent intelligence doesn't change a thing.

The Israeli intelligence community is now learning this lesson the hard way. It has penetrated enemies like Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Hezbollah and Hamas. Yet despite former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's willingness to authorize highly dangerous operations based on this intelligence, and despite the unquestionable success of the operations themselves, the overall security picture remains as grim as ever.

In 2002, then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon appointed his friend and former subordinate, Gen. Meir Dagan, director of the Mossad. Gen. Dagan found the organization lacking in imagination and shying away from operational risks. Mr. Sharon, who knew Gen. Dagan from his days as head of a secret assassinations unit that acted against Fatah in the Gaza Strip during the 1970s, told the general that he wanted "a Mossad with a knife between its teeth."

Gen. Dagan transformed the Mossad from top to bottom and made the organization's sole focus Iran's nuclear project and its ties to jihadist organizations. He put tremendous pressure on his subordinates to execute as many operations as possible. Moreover, he built up ties with espionage services in Europe and the Middle East on top of Israel's long-standing relationship with the CIA.

In tandem with Gen. Dagan's Mossad revolution, other Israeli military intelligence has also made outstanding breakthroughs. The Shin-Bet (Israel's internal intelligence service), in cooperation with the military, has made huge strides in its understanding of Palestinian guerilla organizations.

The results have been tremendous. During the last four years, the uranium enrichment project in Iran was delayed by a series of apparent accidents: the disappearance of an Iranian nuclear scientist, the crash of two planes carrying cargo relating to the project, and two labs that burst into flames. In addition, an Iranian opposition group in exile published highly credible information about the details of the project, which caused Iran much embarrassment and led to International Atomic Energy Agency inspections.

On July 12, 2006, thanks to precise intelligence, the Israeli Air Force destroyed almost the entire stock of Hezbollah's long-range rockets stored in underground warehouses. Hezbollah was shocked.

In July 2007, another mysterious accident occurred in a missile factory jointly operated by Iran and Syria at a Syrian site called Al-Safir. The production line -- which armed Scud missiles with warheads -- was shut down and many were killed.

In September 2007, Israel destroyed a nuclear reactor built by Syria and aided by North Korea in Dir A-Zur -- despite Syria's significant efforts to keep it a secret. With indirect authorization from a very high ranking Israeli official, the CIA published incriminating pictures obtained by Israel of the site before it was bombed. These photos convinced the world that the Syrians were indeed attempting to manufacture a nuclear bomb.

In February 2008, Hezbollah's military leader, Imad Mughniyah, was killed in Damascus. In August of that year, Gen. Mohammed Suliman, a liaison to Hamas and Hezbollah who participated in the Syrian nuclear project, was assassinated by a sniper.

In December 2008, Israel initiated operation Cast Lead, which dealt Hamas a massive blow. Most of its weapons were destroyed within days by Israeli air strikes. (Israel also knew where the Hamas leadership was hiding, but since it was in a hospital Mr. Olmert refused to authorize the strike.) In January 2009, Israeli Hermes 450 drones attacked three convoys in Sudan that were smuggling weapons from Iran to the Gaza Strip.

These are all excellent achievements, but did they change reality? Mostly not.

The destruction of the Syrian nuclear reactor seems to have put a temporary end to President Bashar Assad's ambitions of acquiring a nuclear weapon. However, the public humiliation caused by the site's bombing did not sway him from supporting Hamas and Hezbollah and hosting terrorist organizations.

Even worse, the heads of Israeli intelligence are now losing sleep over recent information showing that attempts to delay the Iranian nuclear project have failed. Despite some technical difficulties, the Iranians are storming ahead and may possess a nuclear bomb as early as 2010. Hezbollah, although weakened by the 2006 war and Mughniyah's assassination, has become the leading political force in Lebanon.

On the southern front, despite the convoy bombings in Sudan, the trafficking of weapons and ammunition into the Gaza Strip continues. Hamas's standing among Palestinians has strengthened. And if a cease-fire is negotiated between Hamas and Israel it would be perceived as a victory for Hamas.

The bottom line is that excellent intelligence is very important, but it can only take you so far. In the end, it's the tough diplomatic and military decisions made by Israeli leaders that ensure the security of the state.

Mr. Bergman, a correspondent for the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth, is the author of the "The Secret War With Iran" (Free Press, 2008).

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« Reply #575 on: May 18, 2009, 10:49:11 PM »

Obama's latest calculated move against the Jewish State

By Anne Bayefsky | In advance of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit to the United States today, President Obama unveiled a new strategy for throwing Israel to the wolves. It takes the form of enthusiasm for the United Nations and international interlopers of all kinds. Instead of ensuring strong American control over the course of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations or the Arab-Israeli peace process, the Obama administration is busy inserting an international mob between the U.S. and Israel. The thinking goes: If Israel doesn't fall into an American line, Obama will step out of the way, claim his hands are tied, and let the U.N. and other international gangsters have at their prey.

It began this past Monday with the adoption of a so-called presidential statement by the U.N. Security Council. Such statements are not law, but they must be adopted unanimously — meaning that U.S. approval was essential and at any time Obama could have stopped its adoption. Instead, he agreed to this: "The Security Council supports the proposal of the Russian Federation to convene, in consultation with the Quartet and the parties, an international conference on the Middle East peace process in Moscow in 2009."

This move is several steps beyond what the Bush administration did in approving Security Council resolutions in December and January — which said only that "The Security Council welcomes the Quartet's consideration, in consultation with the parties, of an international meeting in Moscow in 2009." Apparently Obama prefers a playing field with 57 members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, 22 members of the Arab League — most of whom don't recognize the right of Israel to exist — and one Jewish state. A great idea — if the purpose is to ensure Israel comes begging for American protection.

The U.N. presidential statement also makes laudatory references to another third-party venture, the 2002 Arab "Peace" Initiative. That's a Saudi plan to force Israel to retreat to indefensible borders in advance of what most Arab states still believe will be a final putsch down the road. America's U.N. ambassador, Susan Rice, announced to the Security Council that "we intend to integrate the Arab Peace Initiative into our own approach."

Make no mistake: This U.N. move, made with U.S. approval, sets America on a well-calculated collision course with Israel. U.S. collusion on this presidential statement was directly at odds with Israel's wishes and well-founded concerns about the U.N.'s bona fides on anything related to Israel. Israeli U.N. ambassador Gabriella Shalev issued a statement of Israel's position: "Israel does not believe that the involvement of the Security Council contributes to the political process in the Middle East. This process should be bilateral and left to the parties themselves. Furthermore, the timing of this Security Council meeting is inappropriate as the Israeli government is in the midst of conducting a policy review, prior to next week's visit by Prime Minister Netanyahu to the United States…Israel shared its position with members of the Security Council."

By contrast, Rice told reporters: "We had a very useful and constructive meeting thus far of the Council. We welcome Foreign Minister Lavrov's initiative to convene the Council, and we're very pleased with the constructive and comprehensive statement that will be issued by the president of the Council on the Council's behalf. This was a product of really collaborative, good-faith efforts by all members of the Council, and we're pleased with the outcome."

The Obama administration's total disregard of Israel's obvious interest in keeping the U.N. on the sidelines was striking. Instead of reiterating the obvious — that peace will not come if bigots and autocrats are permitted to ram an international "solution" down the throat of the only democracy at the table — Rice told the Council: "The United States cannot be left to do all the heavy lifting by itself, and other countries …must do all that they can to shore up our common efforts." In a break with decades of U.S. policy, the Obama strategy is to energize a U.N. bad cop so that the U.S. might assume the role of good cop — for a price.

On Tuesday the Obama administration did it again: It ran for a seat on the U.N. Human Rights Council. As expected, the administration won election to represent the Council's Western European and Others Group — it was a three-state contest for three spaces.

The Council is most famous, not for protecting human rights, but for its obsession with Israel. In its three-year history it has:

adopted more resolutions and decisions condemning Israel than condemning the 191 other U.N. members combined;
entrenched an agenda with only ten items, one permanently reserved for condemning Israel and another for condemning any other U.N. state that might "require the Council's attention";
held ten regular sessions on human rights, and five special sessions to condemn only Israel;
insisted on an investigator with an open-ended mandate to condemn Israel, while all other investigators must be regularly renewed;
spawned constant investigations on Israel, and abolished human-rights investigations (launched by its predecessor, the Commission on Human Rights) into Belarus, Cuba, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

Moreover, every morning before the Human Rights Council starts, all states — and even observers like the Palestinians — get together in their regional blocs for an hour to negotiate, share information, and determine positions. All, that is, except Israel. The Western European and Others Group refuses to give Israel full membership. Now the U.S. will be complicit in this injustice.

Joining the Council has one immediate effect on U.S.-Israel relations: It gives the Obama administration a new stick to use against Israel. Having legitimized the forum through its membership and participation, the U.S. can now attempt to extract concessions from Israel in return for American objections to the Council's constant anti-Israel barrage.

Obama administration officials may believe they can put the lid back on Pandora's box after having invited the U.N., Russia, the Arab League, and the Organization of the Islamic Conference to jump into the process of manufacturing a Palestinian state while Israel is literally under fire. They have badly miscalculated. By making his bed with countries that have no serious interest in democratic values, the president has made our world a much more dangerous place.

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Comment by clicking here.

Anne Bayefsky is a senior fellow of the Hudson Institute, director of the Touro Institute on Human Rights and the Holocaust and editor of
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« Reply #576 on: May 19, 2009, 07:23:00 AM »

 Instead, he agreed to this: "The Security Council supports the proposal of the Russian Federation to convene, in consultation with the Quartet and the parties, an international conference on the Middle East peace process in Moscow in 2009."

nice.  But its ok for Russia in invade the Republic of Georgia under the guise of protecting its citizens after its citizens provoked the conflict.  It was even nicer that the Russians allowed chechnians to come along on their "tour de murder".  Something the media left out in reporting on the invasion, the Georgians were killing Russians at a rate of 10 to 1.  The Georgians were fighting with out armor (as it had been pulled back into Tbilisi), and no air support.  Out of all the people i have ever done business with, i love the Georgians the most. 

I hope the Israelis save a couple nukes for Moscow when they finally start tossing them around.
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« Reply #577 on: May 20, 2009, 03:09:26 PM »

I’m horrified by reports this morning that in his June 4th speech in Cairo, President Obama will say it is time to divide Jerusalem and make the holy city the capital of a Palestinian state.

No, Mr. President, it is not.

Jerusalem is and should be the eternal, undivided capital of the Jewish people and the Jewish state. Dividing Jerusalem will not make peace. Rather, it would send a message to every Radical Islamic jihadist around the world that Israel is weak, that the Jews won’t even defend the sovereignty of their own capital, that there is “blood in the water,” and that it is time to strike Israel and wipe her off the map. Dividing Jerusalem would trigger an apocalyptic war in the Middle East the likes of which the region has never seen. Already, the Radicals believe Israel is doomed to destruction. Hearing that the American President is now ready to apply intense pressure against the Israelis to divide their capital will only embolden the Radicals and convince them further that Allah is on their side, the wind is at their back, and they will soon triumph over the Jews and Christians.

While I am not surprised by where the President is headed, I am horrified nonetheless. Right at the moment when the U.S. and Israel need to be working with Arab states in unity against the Iranian nuclear threat, this White House is systematically turning against Israel. Despite all the smiles and boilerplate rhetoric from senior administration officials over the last few days that Prime Minister Netanyahu has been in town — promising to stand with Israel and maintain her security — what the administration is actually advancing in terms of policy is dangerous and destabilizing. They are playing with fire, and they must be publicly and peaceably challenged and resisted.

I am committed to doing everything I possibly can to educate people — and particularly U.S. and Canadian evangelical Christians — to the threats facing Israel and the West due to Radical Islam, and to the biblical responsibility we have to show unconditional love and unwavering support to Israel and the Jewish people. We’ll use radio, TV, the internet, emails and other media to get the word out. But we can’t do it alone. We want and need your help.

One idea: let’s build an alliance of one million true friends of Israel — people who love Israel, are committed to blessing her in real and practical ways, are absolutely opposed to dividing Jerusalem, and will pray faithfully for the peace of Jerusalem and the protection of all the people of the epicenter. Currently, we have 100,000 subscribers to our Flash Traffic email updates who are committed to this cause. If each of us recruited just 10 new friends to sign up for Flash Traffic and be part of this alliance, we would be able to communicate new information, new projects, and new prayer requests to them instantly. We would be able to mobilize people for pro-Israel events. We would be able to mobilize people to write to President Obama and their Congressional leaders to stand with Israel, not against her. We would be able to work together to stockpile food, clothing, medical supplies and other aid in Israel ahead of the next war. We would be able to encourage one another with the knowledge that we are not alone in this important fight. And we can work with other like-minded organizations — including One Jerusalem, founded by my friend, Natan Sharansky — to defend the holy city and bless the people of Israel.

Let me be clear: I love the Israeli people. I also love the Palestinians. I want the Israelis to be able — by God’s grace — to live in safety, security and peace. At the same time, I want the Palestinians to be able to govern themselves and to live in autonomy and peace. But I strongly oppose dividing Jerusalem. I strongly oppose the creation of a sovereign Palestinian state that would endanger the very existence of Israel. I am not convinced that Mahmoud Abbas is a partner for peace. I know for certain that Hamas will never make peace; they are committed only to terror, bloodshed and the annihilation of Israel. What’s more, I submit that the last three “land for peace” offers that Israel has made to her neighbors — at Camp David in 2000 when Israel offered half of Jerusalem, 93% of the West Bank, and all of Gaza; in 2000 when Israel unilaterally withdrew from southern Lebanon; and in 2005 when Israel unilaterally withdrew from Gaza — have been absolute disasters for the Jewish State. All three initiatives triggered more war, not peace. They triggered waves of suicide bombers and tens of thousands of rockets, missiles and mortars against Israel. Why in the world would we think continuing down the same road with the same strategies will produce different and better results?

The Bible says in Zechariah 1:14-18, “So the angel who was speaking with me said to me, Proclaim, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, “I am exceedingly jealous for Jerusalem and Zion. But I am very angry with the nations who are at ease; for while I was only a little angry, they furthered the disaster.” Therefore thus says the LORD, ‘I will return to Jerusalem with compassion; My house will be built in it,” declares the LORD of hosts, “and a measuring line will be stretched over Jerusalem.”‘ Again, proclaim, saying, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, “My cities will again overflow with prosperity, and the LORD will again comfort Zion and again choose Jerusalem.”‘”

This is good news. The God of Israel will neither sleep nor slumber. He is jealous for Jerusalem. He will defend His country, His city, and His people. But He expects us to do our part. And He promises in Genesis 12:1-3 that if we bless Israel, He will bless us
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« Reply #578 on: May 20, 2009, 03:11:48 PM »

We're in trouble

Obama seeks reconciliation with Muslim world, and Israel will pay the price

Eitan Haber Published:  05.20.09, 19:57 / Israel Opinion 

Now that Benjamin Netanyahu has visited Washington and the White House and is back home, we can sum up the current situation, through the rumor mill for the time being: We are in trouble.


As opposed to almost all American presidents in recent generations, Barack Obama views himself as one who is guiding his country and the free world towards a new history, far beyond what we can see. Obama wishes to shape new universal discourse, which seeks to replace the confrontation with the radical Muslim world emerging before our eyes in recent times. Obama leads a line of reconciliation vis-à-vis this hostile world, and the price – whether we'd like it or not – will be paid by the State of Israel.


Israel has already started paying. Very soon, Obama will arrive in Cairo, and there, in a speech to more than one billion Muslims worldwide, he will take the first step out of a million steps of reconciliation. Obama still believes, apparently, that the Pakistani nuclear bomb and the Iranian nuclear bomb and other bombs expected from this terrible and hostile world can be neutralized by appeasement and accommodation.


Obama wishes to separate what have become Siamese twins for generations now: The US and Israel. He doesn't like the photographs we have seen in the last dozens of years from places as far as Jakarta and Tripoli, where Israeli and American flags are burned together. Always together. Just like speeches in Tehran and in Karachi always refer to American-Zionist imperialism.


No more. To their credit, Netanyahu and Obama did not even try to hide the deep disagreements between Washington and Jerusalem. They placed everything on the table, and according to all the talk and indications, two days ago we saw in the US capital the prologue to the play: At this time, the orchestra is playing the opening tune. Soon we will see the appearance of the gun in the first act; the one that will fire in the last act.


Wishing to change history 
We must make no mistake about it, and who knows this better than Netanyahu: The words of praise and politeness are part of the well-known American hypocrisy, the one that explains to you in nice language what America wants. And America, at this stage, is distancing from Israel, and is not even trying to accommodate its positions to the ones presented by Jerusalem this week.


So that's it. The window of opportunity regarding the special longtime ties between Washington and Israel is starting to close down. It won't happen quickly or tomorrow, but we are witnessing the beginning of the process.


You want another indication? It is still hard to believe that an American president will soon visit Cairo without arriving in Israel. Only a relatively short while ago, White House officials would ask Israel whether it's possible, "if you don't mind," to hold a quick visit in Cairo in addition to the major visit in Jerusalem (and when the Israelis hinted this was undesirable, it didn't happen.) Such superpower will not be asking   
us any longer. It won't inform us in advance either.


Thus far, Obama looks and sounds like a president who wishes to change history and enter the annals of history. He may certainly consider a forced agreement (and there are rather broad camps in Israel that would welcome such deal.) He may envision the 57 leaders of Islamic countries on a special stage in the White House, and in the middle, amidst all the robes and suits, Barack Obama himself along with Bibi Netanyahu, and everyone will be smiling from ear to ear (with the possible exception of Netanyahu, but perhaps him too?)
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« Reply #579 on: May 20, 2009, 03:15:19 PM »

**No, he never meant to in the first place.**

Has Obama given up on halting Iran?
May. 20, 2009
There are growing indications that the US has come to terms with a nuclear-armed Teheran, two analysts told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.

"The Americans are in a state of mind according to which Iran has already gone nuclear," said Dr. Mordechai Kedar of Bar-Ilan's Begin Sadat Center for Strategic Studies.

Kedar, who served in Military Intelligence for 25 years, said US President Barack Obama was "at peace" with the idea of a nuclear Iran.

"You can tell from how the Americans talk. Look at how [US special envoy] George Mitchell talks, or how Obama talks. I don't see them being pressured by this threat. They have shown no urgent desire to change this reality," he added.

"Obama has given up," Kedar said.

The result is that the US and Israel have only "small things to talk about," mainly the Palestinian track.

"Netanyahu doesn't want to talk about the Palestinians. He wants to talk about Iran. But Obama does not see the bigger problem," Kedar said.

The June 7 legislative vote in Lebanon could serve as a "wake-up call" for Obama, he added, since "after these elections, the Hizbullah coalition could be the largest in the country. Very quickly, Hizbullah could change the constitution to turn Lebanon into a Hizbullah state" - a development Kedar said might cause Lebanon to split off into smaller polities as other sects opt out of the country.

This would be an unmistakable sign of Iran's growing influence in the region.

"If this happens, the Americans could wake up," he said.

Emily Landau, director of the Arms Control and Regional Security Program at Tel Aviv University's Institute for National Security Studies, also believes there are a growing number of "hints" suggesting that Washington has come to terms with a nuclear Iran.

"There are implicit indications that it might be going in that direction," she said. "Even at the official level, [US Secretary of State Hillary] Clinton is on record as saying that the chances of success for negotiations with Iran are very small. If you're going into negotiations which you say ahead of time will likely fail, you're giving the sense that you might not be doing everything possible [to stop the Iranian nuclear program]," Landau said.

"The US administration is projecting some kind of sense that they're not taking these negotiations seriously enough. If they just go through the motions, but they don't believe talks will succeed, that is worrisome," she said.

Landau said she was disturbed that Obama appeared to view negotiations and sanctions as alternative policies, when in fact they needed to go together.

"In order to get Iran to be serious, you have to pressure it, and it must feel that the status quo is not more valuable than a negotiated settlement," she said. "I don't see that understanding in the Obama administration."

A source close to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu took a more optimistic view, citing a recent interview with Obama in Newsweek that quoted him as saying he was not taking any options off the table on Iran, as a hopeful sign.

"Before Sunday's meeting between Obama and Netanyahu, Obama would not put a time limit on talks with the Iranians. But what he said in effect on Sunday was that he was giving the talks six months. That's not so terrible," the source said.

However, he acknowledged that Obama's deadline was double that of Israel's requested deadline of three months.

Asked if America had come to terms with a nuclear Iran, the source said, "I don't think that appraisal is right."

He added that those who "held too high an expectation for Sunday's meeting were disappointed. Those who thought Obama would change all his stances and give a two-month time limit were disappointed. But there was a change in Obama's stance - he has given the talks a deadline, until the end of the year."

This article can also be read at /servlet/Satellite?cid=1242212418402&pagename=JPArticle%2FShowFull
« Reply #580 on: May 21, 2009, 10:16:44 PM »

A Yom Yerushalayim tradition

    [This is the third year I'm posting this.  Sorry, but I can't improve on the original.  Go ahead and try not to cry... I dare you!]

It's Yom Yerushalayim today... the anniversary of Jerusalem being reunified during the Six Day War.

Every year on this day, no matter where I am, I find a way to listen to the recording of the radio broadcast of the recapture of the old city by Col. 'Motta' Gur's Paratroop forces.

Yossi Ronen was the news broadcaster reporting the event.  Rav Shlomo Goren, who was the Chief Rabbi of the IDF at the time (and also held the rank of General, having served as a soldier in the Haganah - Israel's pre-state army), joined the Paratroopers at the Kotel HaMa'aravi (Western Wall) and led them in prayer.  Colonel 'Motta' Gur was the Military commander of the forces that recaptured the old city.

This a pretty fair translation that was done by IsraCast*.(   I strongly recommend that those who understand Hebrew go to their site and click the yellow link (about a third of the way down the page in the middle) and listen to the recording.  It might help to read along with the translation as the sound quality is sketchy.

To properly appreciate this you need to imagine being somewhere in Israel at the time, listening to this broadcast over your radio at home (perhaps in a bomb shelter)... or wherever your reserve unit was stationed at that moment.  Go get the tissues before you start listening!

    Colonel Motta Gur [on loudspeaker]: All company commanders, we’re sitting right now on the ridge and we’re seeing the Old City. Shortly we’re going to go in to the Old City of Jerusalem, that all generations have dreamed about. We will be the first to enter the Old City. Eitan’s tanks will advance on the left and will enter the Lion’s Gate. The final rendezvous will be on the open square above.
    [The open square of the Temple Mount.]

    [Sound of applause by the soldiers.]

    Yossi Ronen: We are now walking on one of the main streets of Jerusalem towards the Old City. The head of the force is about to enter the Old City.


    Yossi Ronen: There is still shooting from all directions; we’re advancing towards the entrance of the Old City.

    [Sound of gunfire and soldiers’ footsteps.]

    [Yelling of commands to soldiers.]

    [More soldiers’ footsteps.]

    The soldiers are keeping a distance of approximately 5 meters between them. It’s still dangerous to walk around here; there is still sniper shooting here and there.


    We’re all told to stop; we’re advancing towards the mountainside; on our left is the Mount of Olives; we’re now in the Old City opposite the Russian church. I’m right now lowering my head; we’re running next to the mountainside. We can see the stone walls. They’re still shooting at us. The Israeli tanks are at the entrance to the Old City, and ahead we go, through the Lion’s Gate. I’m with the first unit to break through into the Old City. There is a Jordanian bus next to me, totally burnt; it is very hot here. We’re about to enter the Old City itself. We’re standing below the Lion’s Gate, the Gate is about to come crashing down, probably because of the previous shelling. Soldiers are taking cover next to the palm trees; I’m also staying close to one of the trees. We’re getting further and further into the City.


    Colonel Motta Gur announces on the army wireless: The Temple Mount is in our hands! I repeat, the Temple Mount is in our hands!

    All forces, stop firing! This is the David Operations Room. All forces, stop firing! I repeat, all forces, stop firing! Over.

    Commander eight-nine here, is this Motta (Gur) talking? Over.

    [Inaudible response on the army wireless by Motta Gur.]

    Uzi Narkiss: Motta, there isn’t anybody like you. You’re next to the Mosque of Omar.

    Yossi Ronen: I’m driving fast through the Lion’s Gate all the way inside the Old City.

    Command on the army wireless: Search the area, destroy all pockets of resistance [but don't touch anything in the houses], especially the holy places.

    [Lt.- Col. Uzi Eilam blows the Shofar.  Soldiers are singing ‘Jerusalem of Gold’.]

    Uzi Narkiss: Tell me, where is the Western Wall? How do we get there?

    Yossi Ronen: I’m walking right now down the steps towards the Western Wall. I’m not a religious man, I never have been, but this is the Western Wall and I’m touching the stones of the Western Wall.

    Soldiers: [reciting the ‘Shehechianu’ blessing]: Baruch ata Hashem, elokeinu melech haolam, she-hechianu ve-kiemanu ve-hegianu la-zman ha-zeh. [translation: Blessed art Thou L-rd G-d King of the Universe who has sustained us and kept us and has brought us to this day]

    Rabbi Shlomo Goren: Baruch ata Hashem, menachem tsion u-voneh Yerushalayim. [translation: Blessed are thou, who comforts Zion and bulids Jerusalem]

    Soldiers: Amen!

    [Soldiers sing ‘Hatikva’ next to the Western Wall.]

    Rabbi Goren: We’re now going to recite the prayer for the fallen soldiers of this war against all of the enemies of Israel:

    [Soldiers weeping]

    El male rahamim, shohen ba-meromim. Hamtse menuha nahona al kanfei hashina, be-maalot kedoshim, giborim ve-tehorim, kezohar harakiya meirim u-mazhirim. Ve-nishmot halalei tsava hagana le-yisrael, she-naflu be-maaraha zot, neged oievei yisrael, ve-shnaflu al kedushat Hashem ha-am ve-ha’arets, ve-shichrur Beit Hamikdash, Har Habayit, Hakotel ha-ma’aravi veyerushalayim ir ha-elokim. Be-gan eden tehe menuhatam. Lahen ba’al ha-rahamim, yastirem beseter knafav le-olamim. Ve-yitsror be-tsror ha-hayim et nishmatam adoshem hu nahlatam, ve-yanuhu be-shalom al mishkavam [soldiers weeping loud]ve-ya’amdu le-goralam le-kets ha-yamim ve-nomar amen!

    [translation: Merciful G-d in heaven, may the heroes and the pure, be under thy Divine wings, among the holy and the pure who shine bright as the sky, and the souls of soldiers of the Israeli army who fell in this war against the enemies of Israel, who fell for their loyalty to G-d and the land of Israel, who fell for the liberation of the Temple, the Temple Mount, the Western Wall and Jerusalem the city of the Lord. May their place of rest be in paradise. Merciful One, O keep their souls forever alive under Thy protective wings. The Lord being their heritage, may they rest in peace, for they shalt rest and stand up for their allotted portion at the end of the days, and let us say, Amen.]

    [Soldiers are weeping. Rabbi Goren sounds the shofar.  Sound of gunfire in the background.]

    Rabbi Goren: Le-shana HA-ZOT be-Yerushalayim ha-b’nuya, be-yerushalayim ha-atika! [translation: This year in a rebuilt Jerusalem! In the Jerusalem of old!] *

We should never forget or take for granted the sacrifices that were made so that we could have our city back under Jewish Control after 2000 years!  It makes me sad to think about how many people would re-divide Jerusalem again in a second on the off chance that it might buy us a few weeks of a shaky 'truce'.

How soon they forget.

BTW, if you feel like taking a virtual tour of Jerusalem via full screen 360-degree panoramic photos from the comfort of wherever you're sitting... go here and click on some of the incredible views. (thanks Michelle).

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« Reply #581 on: May 22, 2009, 08:30:52 AM »

From the Los Angeles Times
Pain and hope

May 22, 2009

Palestinian doctor Izzeldin Abuelaish Izzeldin Abuelaish came to the world's attention during the recent offensive in the Gaza Strip, when the respected obstetrician, holed up with his family in their home, gave daily interviews from the battle zone on Israeli television and radio.

Then, on Jan. 16, the last day of the offensive, Israeli fire killed three of his daughters. "My God, my girls," Abuelaish wailed that night on Israeli television, decrying the loss of Bessan, 20, Mayar, 15, and Aya, 14, as well as his niece, Nur Abuelaish, 17. Now he is trying to use his fluent Hebrew and English -- and his pain -- to appeal for peace between Israelis and Palestinians. What follows is an edited transcript of an interview he did with The Times' Marjorie Miller.

I had returned home on Dec. 25 from Tel Hashomer, the hospital where I work in Israel. That day, they had opened the border for humanitarian aid for the first time in more than a month, which made me realize something bad would happen. At 10 a.m. on the 26th, the airstrikes started.

I gave radio and television interviews throughout the operation. We all slept in the salon in the middle of the house, but the night before the shelling began, we couldn't sleep. We were up at 1 a.m. and at 2:30 a.m. I gave a speech by phone to the Jewish community in Pittsburgh. Our neighbors had left, but we stayed in our home. Tell me a secure place in Gaza where I could have fled to protect my children. There was no place. And why flee? Am I militant? Are my children fighters? I would have left my home if there had been a place that was protected. But schools, public places, mosques -- there was no secure place.

During the war, we ate whatever food was available. On the last day, my brother, who had ducks, said we could have them. He and Bessan cleaned them. They cooked duck with rice, and we all ate together. They were happy. Afterward, I sat with the girls in their room and we talked. I had two job offers to discuss with them, one from Toronto University and one from Haifa University. "What would you like?" I asked. Aya said, "I want to fly." I said, "OK, you want Toronto."

It was January and very cold, so I left the girls' room and my sons, Abdullah and Mohammed, and I began to prepare the charcoal so we could have some fire. The girls were sitting in their room, Mayar and Aya in their seats. And the first shell came. I ran back to find Mayar and Nur; their bodies were disconnected from their heads. Their brains and the blood stained the ceiling; they were drowning in pools of blood. I saw my daughter Shadah, her eye coming out and fingers torn. Then the second shell, and I saw Aya lying on the ground, Bessan lying on the ground.

This was at the end of the ground operation on Jan. 16. On the 17th of January, there was a cease-fire. It was supposed to have been a day earlier. My daughters were killed in the dead time of playing at a cease-fire. It was a game, to play with human life. The leaders were playing with that. In war, we don't know who will defeat the other, but we know they will defeat the civilians on both sides.

There were no rockets launched from the area surrounding my house. There was no firing. It was an open area, and anyone who tried firing from there would have been seen immediately by the Israelis. So why was my house targeted?

They tried to make excuses. First, they said there had been a sniper. Then that there had been militants firing from the surrounding area. They took shrapnel from my niece and claimed it was from Palestinian rockets. After a month, the truth came out. They admitted responsibility for shelling the house with two shells from tanks. But this will never bring back my daughters. They are gone.

Now we have to learn to prevent this sort of thing from happening again. Both sides should focus on saving lives. If we make mistakes, we should learn from our mistakes and not repeat them, not continue all our lives, Israelis and Palestinians, making mistakes. It's not mistakes, it's craziness.

I have never hated anyone in my life. I hate some acts. I hate and blame the circumstances that brought both sides to this situation. This is the target we have to focus on, rather than simply blaming. I am not a victim. I can say my daughters paid the price of the craziness that brought Palestinians and Israelis to that point.

Saving human lives is the main purpose of my work. There is a Palestinian nation and an Israeli nation, and I care about both sides. Words are stronger than thousands of bullets. I want others here to feel the Palestinian suffering and to open their eyes to the Palestinian suffering. I fully believe our humanity brings Jews and Arabs together.

I will never lose hope. Those players who oppose peace are not permanent players. The situation can be changed at any time for good. When the U.S. campaign started two years ago, did anyone think [Barack] Obama would be the president? But he was determined and confident. So nothing is impossible. It is not written in the Koran or in the Torah that they will control us forever.

This tragedy opened the eyes of both sides. For Israelis, it entered their rooms, their kitchens, their minds, and it made a difference. The next day, there was a cease-fire. And many other good things will come from this tragedy, I am sure. We need to shake hands and to look at each other in the eye. We have to face each other.
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« Reply #582 on: May 22, 2009, 08:52:38 AM »

As usual, JDN is happy to propagandize for anything anti-American or Anti-Israeli.

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« Reply #583 on: May 22, 2009, 09:14:12 AM »

"Saving human lives is the main purpose of my work. There is a Palestinian nation and an Israeli nation, and I care about both sides. Words are stronger than thousands of bullets. I want others here to feel the Palestinian suffering and to open their eyes to the Palestinian suffering. I fully believe our humanity brings Jews and Arabs together."

"Now we have to learn to prevent this sort of thing from happening again. Both sides should focus on saving lives. If we make mistakes, we should learn from our mistakes and not repeat them, not continue all our lives, Israelis and Palestinians, making mistakes. It's not mistakes, it's craziness."

Hardly anti-American or anti-Israeli....

Given what happened I think the good doctor is rather magnanimous.  I am not sure I would be so forgiving given the circumstances.
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« Reply #584 on: May 22, 2009, 09:39:50 AM »

"There is a Palestinian nation and an Israeli nation, and I care about both sides"

Unfortunately I doubt this is a majority opinion of most Palestinians.  It probably is from the Israeli point of view though I can't say for sure.

If it was we wouldn't be having Jews fighting for their lives.
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« Reply #585 on: May 22, 2009, 04:15:16 PM »

"Saving human lives is the main purpose of my work. There is a Palestinian nation and an Israeli nation, and I care about both sides. Words are stronger than thousands of bullets. I want others here to feel the Palestinian suffering and to open their eyes to the Palestinian suffering. I fully believe our humanity brings Jews and Arabs together."

"Now we have to learn to prevent this sort of thing from happening again. Both sides should focus on saving lives. If we make mistakes, we should learn from our mistakes and not repeat them, not continue all our lives, Israelis and Palestinians, making mistakes. It's not mistakes, it's craziness."

Hardly anti-American or anti-Israeli....

Given what happened I think the good doctor is rather magnanimous.  I am not sure I would be so forgiving given the circumstances.

Done any due dilligence to see if there is any truth to this story? It sounds like a pallywood psy-op to me. If the "palestinians" don't like getting hit by the Israelis, they should stop starting wars.
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« Reply #586 on: May 22, 2009, 04:48:12 PM »

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« Reply #587 on: May 22, 2009, 07:12:30 PM »

The Israelmatzav blog.  Now there is an impartial influential report.  I believe I've read,
"Israel right wing under pressure".  Maybe a meteor hit the house?

Versus a very long list (BBC et al) of reputable neutral reporting?  Maybe I should check out what the
Hamas Daily Gazette had to say?

It was Israeli tank fire.  The guy was a hero.  Even the public in Israel is upset.

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« Reply #588 on: May 22, 2009, 07:16:52 PM »

The BBC is a neutral reporting party? Bwahahahahahahahahaha!
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« Reply #589 on: May 22, 2009, 07:27:30 PM »

Report on BBC's anti-Israel bias will stay secret


Last updated at 17:55 27 April 2007

BBC chairman Sir Michael Lyons
The BBC has won its legal battle to block the publication of a report into alleged bias in its reporting of Middle East affairs.

A ruling obtained under freedom of information legislation had obliged the corporation to make the internal audit public.

But that decision was overturned by the High Court.

The BBC's decision to spend an estimated £200,000 of licence feepayers' money to keep the Balen Report secret has been widely condemned.

The corporation was accused of hypocrisy because it has regularly used freedom of information legislation to break news stories.

The attempt to force the BBC to publish the report - compiled in 2004 by its editorial adviser Malcolm Balen - was led by lawyer Steven Sugar, who represented himself in court.

The ruling will disappoint the Jewish community which would have wanted to know whether the 20,000-word document had found any evidence of anti-Israeli bias in news programming.

Mr Justice Davis, sitting at the High Court in London, said last August's decision by the Information Tribunal for the report to be published was flawed.

He said: "I conclude that the BBC's submissions are well founded. The tribunal had no jurisdiction to entertain any appeal."

The judge said the document was exempt from inspection under freedom of information laws because it was held by the BBC "for the purposes of journalism, art or literature".

After the verdict, Mr Sugar said: "It is a technical win by the BBC which has the result desired by the BBC of weighting the Freedom of Information Act in its favour.

"Perhaps the BBC Trust under its new chairman, Sir Michael Lyons, will take a different view to the BBC management and conclude that it is in the public interest for Mr Balen's report to

be published."

Mr Sugar called on ministers to review the journalistic exemption.

"The exception was drafted in general terms which has allowed its use to prevent the public gaining access to much material which I am sure the Government intended should be publicly available," he said.

"I hope Lord Falconer, the Lord Chancellor, who is a supporter of freedom of information, will consider clarifying the journalism exception. This would not require primary legislation."

Philip Davies, Tory MP for Shipley and a member of the Culture, Media and Sport select committee, said: "This seems to be outrageous. If the BBC are embarrassed about what they are doing they should not be doing it.

"If they are not embarrassed they should release the information. It is a sad day when they have spent so much money to keep it secret -people think this is a colossal waste of money."

The BBC has faced repeated claims that its reporting of the Arab-Israeli conflict has been skewed towards the Palestinian cause.

Its critics cite the revelation from Middle East correspondent Barbara Plett that she cried when Yasser Arafat was close to death in 2004.

A BBC spokesman said: "The BBC has always maintained that the Balen Report is held for purposes of journalism and, therefore, outside the scope of the Freedom of Information Act.

"We believe that programme makers must have the space to be able to freely discuss and reflect on editorial issues in support of independent journalism.

"It was always intended as an internal review of programme content, to inform future output. It was never intended for publication.

"The BBC's action in this case had nothing to do with the fact that the Balen Report was about the Middle East - the same approach would have been taken whatever area of news output was covered.
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« Reply #590 on: May 22, 2009, 07:35:36 PM »

The Israelmatzav blog.  Now there is an impartial influential report.  I believe I've read,

**I'll put it's credibility up against any left wing bilge you unquestioningly swallow.**

"Israel right wing under pressure".  Maybe a meteor hit the house?

**Maybe, as is the well documented haji M.O.,  the jihadist used a civillian dwelling filled with innocents as a military site in the hope that any return fire will result in propaganda fodder to feed to the world's useful idiots.**

Versus a very long list (BBC et al) of reputable neutral reporting?  Maybe I should check out what the
Hamas Daily Gazette had to say?

**You've already been repeating HAMAS' propaganda, like a good leftist.**

It was Israeli tank fire.  The guy was a hero.  Even the public in Israel is upset.

**Please cite your source for this assertion.**

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« Reply #591 on: May 22, 2009, 07:44:09 PM »

I don't even watch the BBC (Heck I don't even have cable; I read books, but I'm not happy the Lakers are on
ESPN only).  sad

Don't look to me to defend the BBC; choose another reporting newspaper.  They seem to ALL carry the story.
It's being talked about around the world AND in Israel.
Israeli Tank kills......  So it's your choice of a multitude of respected reporting versus a blog out of Jerusalem.

Not my job to argue your position,  smiley but I would focus on if the attack was justified.  Perhaps it was...
But you've got to admit, even the Hamas Film Institute couldn't have written a better story to support
their side. 

Wrong or right, this fight is being fought on the battlefield AND in the press.
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« Reply #592 on: May 22, 2009, 07:47:15 PM »

Guns or Love? IDF, Gaza Doctor Trade Blame on Clash at his Home
Tevet 22, 5769, 18 January 09 12:07by Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu

( The IDF and a Gaza doctor who works in Israel traded charges on whether people in his Jabalya home were armed with guns or love. The IDF shelled the building, killing three of his daughters and wounding three others.

Dr. Ezzeldeen Abu al-Aish, who formerly worked at Soroka Medical Center in Be'er Sheva and now works at the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Aviv, protested the army shelling at a press conference at the Tel Aviv hospital.

Levana Stern, whose sons are serving in Gaza, interrupted the media event to protest, "Why is he engaging in propaganda? He is talking against Israel at the Sheba hospital. You should all be ashamed. All my children are serving in Gaza. Who knows what he had at his home?"

The IDF said his home was the source of gunfire at soldiers. The doctor told reporters, "Were they armed when they were killed? They were not armed with weapons, but rather, with love; love for others. They planned to travel to Canada; I got a job in Canada and they wanted to come with me."

After he was interrupted by Stern, Dr. Al-Aish replied, "They don't want to see the other side; they only want to see one side. They don’t want to see the others."

Stern said her heart aches over his children's deaths but added, "I don't understand why the people of Israel give him a platform at the hospital while our soldiers are lying here wounded. He needs to tell the story, but tell it once, and that's it."
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« Reply #593 on: May 22, 2009, 08:02:14 PM »

I don't even watch the BBC (Heck I don't even have cable; I read books, but I'm not happy the Lakers are on
ESPN only).  sad

Don't look to me to defend the BBC; choose another reporting newspaper. 

**If you'll recall, you cited the BBC.**

They seem to ALL carry the story.

**Yes, the same story from the wire service. BFD.**

It's being talked about around the world AND in Israel.
Israeli Tank kills......  So it's your choice of a multitude of respected reporting versus a blog out of Jerusalem.

**Again, what "respected" reporting? The global media machine has time and time again unquestioningly swallowed jihadist propaganda and then never followed through when the truth emerged.**

Not my job to argue your position,  smiley but I would focus on if the attack was justified.  Perhaps it was...
But you've got to admit, even the Hamas Film Institute couldn't have written a better story to support
their side. 

**This may have well been a constructed story, just as there have been plenty in the past.**

Wrong or right, this fight is being fought on the battlefield AND in the press.

Yes, and you and your leftist ilk are queuing up to act as the global jihads' Tokyo Roses. Shame.
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« Reply #594 on: May 22, 2009, 08:20:58 PM »

The al-Dura Hoax
NIDRA POLLER - 10.02.2007 - 5:40 PM

Daniel Seaman, chairman of Israel’s Government Press Office, declared today that the al-Dura news report was staged. This was the report filmed on September 30, 2000 at Netzarim Junction in the Gaza Strip by a Palestinian cameraman employed by state-owned French channel France 2, which purported to show the death of a Palestinian boy at the hands of the Israeli army. The news broke in the Israeli media this morning, is spreading in the United States, but has not pierced the firewall of mainstream media in France.

In the voice-over to the footage, France 2 Jerusalem bureau chief Charles Enderlin dramatically described the “death” of the twelve-year-old Palestinian boy, Muhammad al-Dura, “target of gunfire from the Israeli position.” The 55-second video was immediately broadcast worldwide and assimilated by unsuspecting viewers. It functioned as a blood libel, justifying atrocities against Israelis and Jews.

For seven years investigators and analysts have labored relentlessly to counter that unfounded accusation. For seven years Charles Enderlin and France 2, protected by the Chirac government and upheld by mainstream media, have stifled criticism and discredited these investigators. The Israeli government, pursuing a “let sleeping dogs lie” policy, discouraged efforts to expose the hoax. Jewish organizations shied away from the controversy.

The al-Dura affair is a smudge on the face of coverage of the “Middle East conflict”; every attempt to wipe it away spreads and deepens the stain. In 2005, France 2 and Enderlin, apparently confident that they could wipe away the smudge, brought defamation lawsuits against three French-based websites that had posted material questioning the authenticity of the al-Dura video. The cases were heard in the autumn and winter of 2006-2007. France 2 lost one on a technicality, and won the other two. Suddenly mainstream media in France discovered the affair . . . long enough to report that the al-Dura scene was not staged!

But one of the defendants, Philippe Karsenty, director of the French news watchdog site Media-Ratings, appealed his conviction and has achieved a major victory—the Appellate Court asked France 2 to produce the 27 minutes of raw footage from which the 55-second “news” video was excerpted. If France 2 has not turned over the document by tomorrow, the Court will order them to do so. The raw footage will be projected at a hearing scheduled for November 14, and the case will be heard in full on February 27, 2008.

The Palestinian cameraman, Tala Abu Rahma, testified under oath that Muhammad al-Dura and his father Jamal were pinned down by uninterrupted gunfire from the Israeli position for 45 minutes. Rahma claims he filmed the incident off and on from beginning to end for a total of 27 minutes, from which Charles Enderlin excerpted 55 seconds for the news report. Enderlin, backed by his hierarchy, insists that the raw footage confirms the authenticity of the news report . . . but has refused to make it available for public scrutiny.

Four reliable witnesses who have viewed the footage testify that it is composed of staged scenes, faked injuries, and falsified ambulance evacuations. There are no images of the al-Duras.

If the raw footage is projected in the courtroom, the battle will be half won, no matter how the court rules on Karsenty’s appeal. If a dozen world-class journalists attend the November 14 hearing, the al-Dura affair will be brought out of its dark alley and into the agora of democratic societies, where it should receive its final judgment.
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« Reply #595 on: May 22, 2009, 08:26:04 PM »

Pallywood propaganda, aided and abetted by the global media.
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« Reply #596 on: May 22, 2009, 08:30:41 PM »

Hooray for Pallywood!
« Reply #597 on: May 22, 2009, 08:36:55 PM »

This will come as  a surprise to no no one but  war sucks war is hell etc and most people who die are under 23 and innocent people die.

There is a lot of Pallywood stuff and his house could  have been selected by terrrorists but this story  does not seem to be fabricated.

The evidence currently is that he lost three of his daughter in shelling by the IDF  a horrible tragedy and there was sympathy for him all over Israel.  

There are celebrations all over Gaza when children all  murdered.

A dead child is a dead child but if you don't see the difference between the Palestinian side and the Israeli side you are one  or more of three three things misinformed, misguided, or there is something wrong with your value system.,7340,L-3657646,00.html

Army presents conclusions of inquiry into death of Gaza doctor's three daughters; IDF says troops fired at from nearby site, adds that it does not intend to take action against forces involved in incident

Hanan Greenberg
Latest Update:    02.04.09, 19:28 / Israel News

The IDF presented Gaza doctor Ezzeldeen Abu al-Aish Wednesday with the conclusions of an inquiry into the death of his three daughters during Operation Cast Lead.

The army's investigation, approved by Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, revealed that an IDF tank fired two shells at the house after fire was opened at troops from a nearby area. The probe also showed that troops spotted figures at the top floors of the building helping to direct Palestinian fire at Golani forces.

Abu al-Aish was briefed on the findings Wednesday morning by the Coordination and Liaison Authority at Erez crossing. The IDF said it regrets the death of innocents.

Gaza Op
Soldiers' mother: Stop Gaza doctor's propaganda / Dudi cohen
Confrontation at Sheba medical center: Mother of three soldiers interrupts press conference convened by Gaza doctor who lost his three daughters, says 'why is he engaging in propaganda? Have you all gone crazy?'
Full Story

However, the army said that despite the tragic results it does not intend to take action against the troops involved in the incident in question, as such mistakes happen during operational activity.

'Hope at this dark time'

Wednesday evening, Abu al-Aish expressed his gratitude to "everyone who helped with this inquiry and brought the truth to light."


"This is a success for anyone who seeks justice and conscience, and it provides hope and justice at this dark time," he said, adding that he would be glad to receive an official apology for his daughters' death.


"The conclusions of this inquiry are not for me, but rather, for very many people who care; my family, people who are close to me, my daughter, and the people I belong to. Truth is on our side, but at times others don't want to bring it out."

'Why did they kill them?'  

The incident took place during battles between the Golani brigade and terrorists in the area that included close-quarters combat and operations aimed at uncovering weapons depots. After troops were fired at, and later spotted Palestinian lookouts in Abu al-Aish's building directing mortar fire at Israeli forces, military officials assessed the situation at length before the two shells were fired.


Doctor Abu al-Aish, who works at Sheba Medical Center near Tel Aviv, convened a press conference at the hospital following the incident and spoke about his daughters.

"They participated in peace camps everywhere. Were they armed when they were killed? They were not armed with weapons, but rather, with love; love for others," he said. "Why they did kill them? Give me a reason."


At one point during the press conference, the doctor was interrupted by a mother of three soldiers who said: "Why is he engaging in propaganda? He's talking against Israel at the Sheba hospital. You should all be ashamed. All my children are serving in Gaza. Who knows what he had at his home?"


Daniel Edelson contributed to the story


First Published:    02.04.09, 17:32

Power User
Posts: 15391

« Reply #598 on: May 22, 2009, 09:22:03 PM »


The Doctor may or may not be complicit in the deaths of his daughters, but as I stated before, the jihadis are well known to place innocents in harm's way in the hopes that US or Israeli troops return fire and inflict civ. casualties so the global jihad's propaganda machine can wave the bloody shirts.

As far as any "palestinian" tragedy, I personally could give a rat's ass. Why? See below:
PA Muslims celebrating fall of the twin towers on 9/11
Fox News
PA Muslims Celebrate 9-11-2001
PA Muslims CHEERING deaths of Americans on 9/11

US/EU/UK governments must explain why they finance, arm, and train international PA/PLO terrorists in the global jihad war against Israel, America, Britain and the Free World.

The Palestinian Authority seeks global Islamic conquest:
Friday sermon, Palestinian Authority TV. May 13, 2005. Sheik Ibrahim Mudeiris:
“The day will come when we will rule America. The day will come when we will rule Britain and the entire world…”

Power User
Posts: 15391

« Reply #599 on: May 25, 2009, 01:46:34 PM »

A turn for the dangerous
May 20, 6:42 PM ·

The standoff between Israel and Iran became even more dangerous today, with Tehran's successful test of a medium-range, solid-fueled missile. 
Iranian officials and state media announced the launch of the Sajjil-2 rocket, which was fired from the Semnan test range, located east of Tehran.  Footage of the launch showed a two-stage missile, lifting off from a mobile launcher.   Iranian radio quoted President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as saying the missile "landed precisely on its target."  Ahmadinejad made the comments during a visit to the city of Semnan, near the test complex, and there was some speculation that the Iranian leader attended the test launch.
With a maximum range of 1,200 miles, the Sajjil-2 is capable of hitting striking Israel, much of the Middle East and some locations in southeastern Europe.  Tehran says that the missile has an advanced navigation system, making it  more accurate than its predecessors. 
While the navigation claim has not been verified, western experts have confirmed that the new missile is a solid-fueled system, giving Iran improved capabilities to strike distant targets.  Until now, Iran's long-range strike capabilities have been largely based on liquid-fueled systems like the Shahab-3.  Missiles that utilize liquid propellant are more dangerous to operate and their launch preparation time is considerably longer.
Why is that significant?  With the Shahab-3 (and shorter-range SCUD variants), it was more difficult for Iran to conceal missile activity.  Fueling a Shahab-3 in the field can take almost a hour--even longer under certain conditions.  During that time, the missile and its crew are vulnerable to detection and attack by enemy intelligence and air assets.
Additionally, the presence of fuel trucks and support vehicles increases the "signature" of deployed missile units, giving surveillance crews another indicator of pending launch activity.  The problem is also compounded by the design of some Iran's older transporter-erector-launcher (TEL) vehicles, which cannot elevate a fully-fueled missile to firing position.  Under that scenario, the liquid-fueled missile must be raised vertically before fueling, making it easier to spot, from the air or on the ground.
Deployment of the Sajjil-2 will eventually eliminate those problems.  Solid-fuel is far less volatile and can be stored in the missile airframe for longer periods of time.  Elimination of fuel trucks and other support vehicles reduces the operational signature, making it easier for the missile crew to remain undetected.  And, most importantly, a solid-fueled system has a much shorter response time, making it ideally-suited for a surprise attack. 
Consider this possibility:  A fully-fueled (and armed) Sajjil-2 emerges from its underground bunker near Bakhtaran, some 200 miles southwest of Tehran.  Moving to a pre-surveyed launch site, the missile crew quickly raises the Sajjil-2 to firing position, and launches the missile.  Within seconds, Defense Support Program (DSP) satellites detect the sold-fueled missile, which is already in flight.  A warning is instantly transmitted to Israeli leaders--and their missile defense forces--but the reaction time is already measured in seconds, rather than minutes. 
Iran has long claimed that its missile and nuclear programs are for "peaceful" purposes, but the capabilities of the Sajjil-2 suggest otherwise.  Put another way, the missile tested today is an ideal weapon for a "bolt from the blue" attack, a fact that isn't lost on the Israelis, or Iran's neighbors in the Persian Gulf.  The successful test of the solid-fueled medium-range missile will only accelerate regional attempts to acquire advanced air defense systems (with anti-missile capabilities) and a potential nuclear arms race in the Middle East.
Some analysts down-played today's launch, noting that Iran has had medium-range missiles--and the ability to strike Israel--for roughly a decade.  But the successful test of the Sajjil-2 (and its pending deployment) affirm Tehran's plans to upgrade its missile arsenal, and develop a true, first-strike capability.  Those developments will only further destabilize the Middle East, and raise prospects for a preemptive, Israeli attack. 
For Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the implications of today's test couldn't be more clear.  The same missile that can now deliver chemical or biological weapons with minimal warning will some day be outfitted with a nuclear warhead.  Meanwhile, President Obama has stated that he will give Iran "until the end of this year" to change its ways, or face the possibility of new sanctions.  The Iranian missile test had been planned for several months, but it offered a dramatic retort to Mr. Obama's plan. 
As for Mr. Netanyahu, he doesn't have the luxury of time--or geography. 
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