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« Reply #650 on: June 06, 2009, 09:10:21 AM »

Sharia law, based on the qu'ran, ahadith and the sunna (life of Muhammad) mandate the treatment of non-muslims in a discriminatory manner.
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« Reply #651 on: June 06, 2009, 09:17:45 AM »

Wednesday, December 28, 2005
The Unreported Legal Abuse of Non-Muslims in Islam


Indian in Saudi Arabia to Have an Eye Gouged Out

The big story here is not the brutality of the Saudi justice system. What is never reported is that because non-Muslim testimony has half the weight of a Muslim's in a sharia court, non-Muslims are almost always the losers of disputes. (The same holds true for women.) In this case, for example, an Indian gas station worker pointlessly testified that the injury he inflicted was in self-defense.

This presents enormous potential for abuse, even disregarding corruption and the routine hostility toward the "other" in the Muslim world. This is how the most unbelievable items are routinely stolen from Christians, for example, such as land and houses in the West Bank and Gaza. It is one reason why Christians are fleeing nearly every country with Muslim rule.

This system offers unscrupulous Muslims carte blanche to abuse others in private, which is behind the routine oppression (including rape) and de facto enslavement of foreign domestic workers in Saudi Arabia.

A former PLO terrorist, Walid Shoebat, explained how his land and property in Judea were stolen from him by his family after he converted to Christianity. His case was not typical, given the death sentence meted under sharia for converts from Islam. After he converted, he learned that his American mother had been held prisoner for 35 years after a honeymoon in the Holy Land. His father's responses to her attempts to flee made her keep her Christianity a secret from her own children.

Update (Dec. 29): Here is a shocking illustration:

79 Lashes for Gangrenous Maid Who Spoke Against Saudi Torturer (from The Arab News-Saudi Arabia, via the excellent Lost Budgie Blog).
A Riyadh judge sentenced an Indonesian maid, who accused her sponsor and his wife of torturing her, to 79 lashes yesterday....In March, Miyati was brought to a hospital in Riyadh by her sponsor in a critical condition suffering from gangrene to her fingers, toes and a part of her right foot. Doctors had to remove some of her fingers and toes....A judge later sentenced the sponsor?s wife, who admitted to beating Miyati, to 35 lashes. The husband was found innocent due to lack of evidence against him.
There was a "lack of evidence" against the husband despite the pictures, the medical evidence and the wife's confession. The (apparently Muslim) maid's testimony was essentially discarded because it is accorded half of the weight of that of a Muslim man.

Despite the distinction unanimously claimed by the mainstream media between "radicals" and the "moderate majority," there is no significant Muslim opinion that disagrees with either the desirability of implementing Muslim law or the half-valuation of testimony under it. There is almost no source other than IRIS explaining the systemic incentive to exploit the "other" under Islam.

See also:

Saudi Police Arrest Thousands of... Runaway Maids

Saudis to Gouge Out More Eyes

April 24, 2006: Pakistani Teen Raped, Jailed in Saudi Arabia
"Isma Mahmood, 16, was deported to Pakistan last month after having served six months in shackles and handcuffs in a prison in Saudi Arabia. Her crime?being raped by a Saudi man"
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« Reply #652 on: June 06, 2009, 10:25:19 AM »


Since you are relatively new around here, you may not been here or found the time to go back through the various threads on Islam.  If/when you do, you will find a plethora of material such as GM just posted. 

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Posts: 2004

« Reply #653 on: June 06, 2009, 10:48:38 AM »

Actually, I was just about to post.

My original post was asking Huss what he meant by "mistreatment" of non muslims.

GM's immediate post is exactly on mark, identify and giving an excellent example of a "mistreatment" of non muslims in a discriminatory way.

In contrast, Boyo's post was not an example of discriminatory mistreatment of non muslims and therefore I disagreed.

But I will do further research on past posts.
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« Reply #654 on: June 06, 2009, 11:58:47 AM »

"GM's immediate post is exactly on mark, identify and giving an excellent example of a "mistreatment" of non muslims in a discriminatory way. Indefensible." 


"In contrast, Boyo's post was not an example of discriminatory mistreatment of non muslims and therefore I disagreed."

Fair enough.

"But I will do further research on past posts."

Thank you.
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« Reply #655 on: June 06, 2009, 02:41:24 PM »

Actually, I was just about to post.

My original post was asking Huss what he meant by "mistreatment" of non muslims.

GM's immediate post is exactly on mark, identify and giving an excellent example of a "mistreatment" of non muslims in a discriminatory way.

In contrast, Boyo's post was not an example of discriminatory mistreatment of non muslims and therefore I disagreed.

But I will do further research on past posts.


a really good website to visit for more info on islam is
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« Reply #656 on: June 06, 2009, 07:03:04 PM »

Hey Huss!

Remember how you and I used to go around the Mulberry Bush over at WT?   

JDN, watch out for him!  In my conversations with him I used to sound like you do now here, but now look at me shocked cheesy

Anyway gentlemen, further discussion of this strand within Islam should be continued on one (or more) of the Islam threads.  Please used advanced search funtion for "Islam" in the subject and see what pops up.

« Last Edit: June 06, 2009, 08:18:27 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
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« Reply #657 on: June 06, 2009, 08:11:10 PM »

Hey Huss!

Remember how you and I used to go around the Mulberry Bush over at WT?   

JDN, watch out for him!  In my conversations with him I used to sound like you do now here, but now looks at me shocked cheesy

Anyway gentlemen, further discussion of this strand within Islam should be continued on one (or more) of the Islam threads.  Please used advanced search funtion for "Islam" in the subject and see what pops up.


hahahahahaha, i almost got banned from there for it.  I will say this JDN, read through the Koran on the link i supplied you.  When you are done reading you will not be able to defend islam at its core as a peacefull religion.  I also suggest you study the time line of mohammed life, he was nothing more then a murdering bandit.
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« Reply #658 on: June 10, 2009, 08:49:45 AM »


By George Friedman

Amid the rhetoric of U.S. President Barack Obama's speech June 4 in Cairo, there was one substantial indication of change, not in the U.S. relationship to the Islamic world but in the U.S. relationship to Israel. This shift actually emerged prior to the speech, and the speech merely touched on it. But it is not a minor change and it must not be underestimated. It has every opportunity of growing into a major breach between Israel and the United States.

The immediate issue concerns Israeli settlements on the West Bank. The United States has long expressed opposition to increasing settlements but has not moved much beyond rhetoric. Certainly the continued expansion and development of new settlements on the West Bank did not cause prior administrations to shift their policies toward Israel. And while the Israelis have occasionally modified their policies, they have continued to build settlements. The basic understanding between the two sides has been that the United States would oppose settlements formally but that this would not evolve into a fundamental disagreement.

The United States has clearly decided to change the game. Obama has said that, "The United States does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements. This construction violates previous agreements and undermines efforts to achieve peace. It is time for these settlements to stop." Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has agreed to stop building new settlements, but not to halt what he called the "natural growth" of existing settlements.

Obama has positioned the settlement issue in such a way that it would be difficult for him to back down. He has repeated it several times, including in his speech to the Islamic world. It is an issue on which he is simply following the formal positions of prior administrations. It is an issue on which prior Israeli governments made commitments. What Obama has done is restated formal U.S. policy, on which there are prior Israeli agreements, and demanded Israeli compliance. Given his initiative in the Islamic world, Obama, having elevated the issue to this level, is going to have problems backing off.

Obama is also aware that Netanyahu is not in a political position to comply with the demand, even if he were inclined to. Netanyahu is leading a patchwork coalition in which support from the right is critical. For the Israeli right, settling in what it calls Samaria and Judea is a fundamental principle on which it cannot bend. Unlike Ariel Sharon, a man of the right who was politically powerful, Netanyahu is a man of the right who is politically weak. Netanyahu gave all he could give on this issue when he said there would be no new settlements created. Netanyahu doesn't have the political ability to give Obama what he is demanding. Netanyahu is locked into place, unless he wants to try to restructure his Cabinet or persuade people like Avigdor Lieberman, his right-wing foreign minister, to change their fundamental view of the world.

Therefore, Obama has decided to create a crisis with Israel. He has chosen a subject on which Republican and Democratic administrations have had the same formal position. He has also picked a subject that does not affect Israeli national security in any immediate sense (he has not made demands for changes of policy toward Gaza, for example). Obama struck at an issue where he had precedent on his side, and where Israel's immediate safety is not at stake. He also picked an issue on which he would have substantial support in the United States, and he has done this to have a symbolic showdown with Israel. The more Netanyahu resists, the more Obama gets what he wants.

Obama's read of the Arab-Israeli situation is that it is not insoluble. He believes in the two-state solution, for better or worse. In order to institute the two-state solution, Obama must establish the principle that the West Bank is Palestinian territory by right and not Israeli territory on which the Israelis might make concessions. The settlements issue is fundamental to establishing this principle. Israel has previously agreed both to the two-state solution and to not expanding settlements. If Obama can force Netanyahu to concede on the settlements issue, then he will break the back of the Israeli right and open the door to a rightist-negotiated settlement of the two-state solution.

In the course of all of this, Obama is opening doors in the Islamic world a little wider by demonstrating that the United States is prepared to force Israel to make concessions. By subtext, he wants to drive home the idea that Israel does not control U.S. policy but that, in fact, Israel and the United States are two separate countries with different and sometimes conflicting views. Obama wouldn't mind an open battle on the settlements one bit.

For Netanyahu, this is the worst terrain on which to fight. If he could have gotten Obama to attack by demanding that Israel not respond to missiles launched from Gaza or Lebanon, Netanyahu would have had the upper hand in the United States. Israel has support in the United States and in Congress, and any action that would appear to leave Israel's security at risk would trigger an instant strengthening of that support.

But there is not much support in the United States for settlements on the West Bank. This is not a subject around which Israel's supporters are going to rally very intensely, in large part because there is substantial support for a two-state solution and very little understanding or sympathy for the historic claim of Jews to Judea and Samaria. Obama has picked a topic on which he has political room for maneuver and on which Netanyahu is politically locked in.

Given that, the question is where Obama is going with this. From Obama's point of view, he wins no matter what Netanyahu decides to do. If Netanyahu gives in, then he has established the principle that the United States can demand concessions from a Likud-controlled government in Israel and get them. There will be more demands. If Netanyahu doesn't give in, Obama can create a split with Israel over the one issue he can get public support for in the United States (a halt to settlement expansion in the West Bank), and use that split as a lever with Islamic states.

Thus, the question is what Netanyahu is going to do. His best move is to say that this is just a disagreement between friends and assume that the rest of the U.S.-Israeli relationship is intact, from aid to technology transfer to intelligence sharing. That's where Obama is going to have to make his decision. He has elevated the issue to the forefront of U.S.-Israeli relations. The Israelis have refused to comply. If Obama proceeds with the relationship as if nothing has happened, then he is back where he began.

Obama did not start this confrontation to wind up there. He calculated carefully when he raised this issue and knew perfectly well that Netanyahu couldn't make concessions on it, so he had to have known that he was going to come to this point. Obviously, he could have made this confrontation as a part of his initiative to the Islamic world. But it is unlikely that he saw that initiative as ending with the speech, and he understands that, for the Islamic world, his relation to Israel is important. Even Islamic countries not warmly inclined toward Palestinians, like Jordan or Egypt, don't want the United States to back off on this issue.

Netanyahu has argued in the past that Israel's relationship to the United States was not as important to Israel as it once was. U.S. aid as a percentage of Israel's gross domestic product has plunged. Israel is not facing powerful states, and it is not facing a situation like 1973, when Israeli survival depended on aid being rushed in from the United States. The technology transfer now runs both ways, and the United States relies on Israeli intelligence quite a bit. In other words, over the past generation, Israel has moved from a dependent relationship with the United States to one of mutual dependence.

This is very much Netanyahu's point of view, and from this point of view follows the idea that he might simply say no to the United States on the settlements issue and live easily with the consequences. The weakness in this argument is that, while Israel does not now face strategic issues it can't handle, it could in the future. Indeed, while Netanyahu is urging action on Iran, he knows that action is impossible without U.S. involvement.

This leads to a political problem. As much as the right would like to blow off the United States, the center and the left would be appalled. For Israel, the United States has been the centerpiece of the national psyche since 1967. A breach with the United States would create a massive crisis on the left and could well bring the government down if Ehud Barak and his Labor Party, for example, bolted from the ruling coalition. Netanyahu's problem is the problem Israel has continually had. It is a politically fragmented country, and there is never an Israeli government that does not consist of fragments. A government that contains Lieberman and Barak is not one likely to be able to make bold moves.

It is therefore difficult to see how Netanyahu can both deal with Obama and hold his government together. It is even harder to see how Obama can reduce the pressure. Indeed, we would expect to see him increase the pressure by suspending minor exchanges and programs. Obama is playing to the Israeli center and left, who would oppose any breach with the United States.

Obama has the strong hand and the options. Netanyahu has the weak hand and fewer options. It is hard to see how he will solve the problem. And that's what Obama wants. He wants Netanyahu struggling with the problem. In the end, he wants Netanyahu to fold on the settlements issue and keep on folding until he presides over a political settlement with the Palestinians. Obama wants Netanyahu and the right to be responsible for the agreement, as Menachem Begin was responsible for the treaty with Egypt and withdrawal from the Sinai.

We find it difficult to imagine how a two-state solution would work, but that concept is at the heart of U.S. policy and Obama wants the victory. He has put into motion processes to create that solution, first of all, by backing Netanyahu into a corner. Left out of Obama's equation is the Palestinian interest, willingness and ability to reach a treaty with Israel, but from Obama's point of view, if the Palestinians reject or undermine an agreement, he will still have leverage in the Islamic world. Right now, given Iraq and Afghanistan, that is where he wants leverage, and backing Netanyahu into a corner is more important than where it all leads in the end.

This report may be forwarded or republished on your website with attribution to

Copyright 2009 Stratfor.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2009, 08:55:46 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
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« Reply #659 on: June 10, 2009, 09:54:03 AM »

Comment, Rachel?
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« Reply #660 on: June 10, 2009, 11:25:36 AM »

Yes, please!
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« Reply #661 on: June 10, 2009, 01:11:04 PM »

My take (even though they all wanted someone else  smiley) on this Stratfior piece - that Obama is in a position of strength and Netanyahu of weakness:  Strat is always insightful and thought provoking.  Their points are valid, but... I don't think Netanyahu puts clinging to power above clinging to his principles and his vision Israel's best interests.  Far as I know he never has. Obama is just the opposite.  He has swayed with the wind on dozens of issues and shows no sign of extraordinary backbone on this one. 

Israel lost at least part of an ally in the last 2 American elections.  Israel's strategy now is survival with or without the full support of the U.S.  The re-emergence of Netanyahu is a sign of that.

From Statfor: "[Israel] is not facing a situation like 1973, when Israeli survival depended on aid being rushed in from the United States. The technology transfer now runs both ways, and the United States relies on Israeli intelligence quite a bit. In other words, over the past generation, Israel has moved from a dependent relationship with the United States to one of mutual dependence."

To me, that is instructive.  The debate on the board recently over who needs whom the most misses the reality that the need is mutual.  Obama may not realize this yet as he learns the names of the intelligence agencies, after basketball practice and auto company board meetings.

Strat thinks Netanyahu's political survival rests on compliance with US demands.  Maybe so but a man based in principle isn't likely to cave based on opinion polls or a cling to power.  The assumption that Obama is an eternal legend with the everlasting excitement of his victory speech in Grant Park Chicago is fading.  Power dissipates with falling opinion polls.  Bush learned that.  At the peak of the exuberance, Obama won 28 states.  Bush won 31 states just 4 years earlier before losing it all in the congressional midterms 2 years later. 

Netanyahu knows about 9.4% American unemployment and that Dems in the US are starting to poll behind R's on key issues at home.  That is before the fights on cap trade taxation, nationalized healthcare, activist confirmation hearings, full year record trillion and a half dollar deficit numbers release and double digit unemployment materializing.  His 'unity' coalition includes Jewish Americans (like Rahm) working with the world's greatest haters of Jews and Israel, and independent deficit hawks voting with the world's biggest spenders.  There is plenty on Obama's plate without this fight and Israeli settlements won't be in the top 10 or top 100 issues facing his administration or the American public as he heads into his own mid-terms, nor is Middle East tranquility about to break out suddenly either way. 

Obama makes pandering appearances and statements in his photo-ops for his own sake and Netanyahu recognizes that.  JMHO.
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« Reply #662 on: June 10, 2009, 01:31:59 PM »

My company does business in Israel so i get to talk to quite a few Israelis on a regulary basis, one of them knows Rham Emmanual personally and says he is a national villian.  I think we are looking at this situation through a western lens and not having exposure to other news outlets and lines of thought.  Israel does a brisk business with India, Russia and China, those relationships are growing all the time.  If Israel is going to ask for permission to take out Iran they will ask Russia or China before they ask the U.S.  what is Obama going to do if he gets a call from China and/or Russia saying piss off or your currency is done.  Think about it, China needs the oil to flow im sure they must realize that a nuclear iran is a threat to that.  If the oil is shut off as a result of war or a nuke going off in Israel China's economy will die when the oil stops flowing.
« Reply #663 on: June 10, 2009, 09:57:14 PM »

There was other response so you didn't really need me but anyway.  This is sort of rough but I ran out of time and  you asked.

Stratfor's theory about Obama actions is interesting and a  definitely possibility but I am not fully convinced

In terms about how I feel about Obama and Israel  is  there is good and bad but the bad is  a lot worse than the good


It is good that he had a Seder at the White house and I found his speech  at Buchenwald touching (Elie Weisel's was way better of course). His speech on Middle East  and other statements he has mad about Israel have positive elements.  However  Israel's existential threat is a nuclear Iran and he had done nothing to fix that problem ( Bush didn't fix it either)and the settlement should not  really be an issue.

The harsh rhetoric about the settlements  but I don't  believe that Obama et all has all the cards. Congress is still very pro Israel   North Korea is managing to Ignore Obama on Nukes. I pretty sure Israel can manage to ignore Obama on settlements.
I am very curious to see the future of the Israeli/Russia relationship

It seems like you always view the word  in that anything positive Obama tends to do will fail miserably and anything  negative he does will succeed brilliantly
Is he a moron or a brilliant strategist I'm confused.

G  M ,

I was certainly wrong about Obama and Israel but you come way  too close to extremists on the other side to be "right"

I am annoyed right now but you the reason you won't be hearing from me for a few days or longer  is that I am heavily booked.


« Reply #664 on: June 10, 2009, 09:58:18 PM »

Jun 5, 2009 20:36 | Updated Jun 8, 2009 16:02

Editor's Notes: Picking your battles
Jun. 5, 2009

Many Israelis, and many of Israel's firmest supporters, believe Obama's insistent focus on a settlement freeze to be wrongheaded. But plainly the president sees Netanyahu's obduracy on the issue, and on the subject of Palestinian sovereignty, as a major irritant as he reaches out to the Muslim world. With the Iranian threat looming ever closer, is this a fight our prime minister could, and should, be avoiding?


"In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli population centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, and all previous efforts to negotiate a two-state solution have reached the same conclusion."

- From an April 14, 2004, letter to prime minister Ariel Sharon by US president George W. Bush.

"Within the agreed principles of settlement activities, an effort will be made in the next few days to have a better definition of the construction line of settlements in Judea and Samaria... The Israeli government remains committed to the two-state solution - Israel and Palestine living side-by-side in peace and security - as the key to peace in the Middle East."

- From an April 13, 2004, letter to US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice by prime minister Ariel Sharon's bureau chief, Dov Weissglas.

A man walks into a used car lot, tells the salesman what he's looking for and is shown an appropriate vehicle. The salesman names his price, sees that the buyer is hesitant, so adds: "I'll throw in a free CD player as well."

The client promises to think about it, leaves, and comes back the next day. "I'm not going to take the car," he says. "But I will have the CD player."

That, in a motoring-sales nutshell, is how the critics of Binyamin Netanyahu - critics within the administration of President Barack Obama, and within the ranks of the center-left Israeli opposition - regard the prime minister's complaint that that the US is being "unreasonable" in demanding a complete freeze, with no exceptions for "natural growth," to settlement building.

Netanyahu, they say, is on shaky ground when he protests that the Americans are abrogating understandings which for years saw them turn a blind eye to limited building within existing settlement "construction lines."

Such understandings were indeed worked out behind the scenes by well-coordinated officials in the Israeli and American governments, and were vaguely referred to in such documents as the George W. Bush letter to Ariel Sharon and the Dov Weissglas note to Condoleezza Rice quoted above. But they were framed in the context of a firm Israeli commitment to partner the Americans and, should one emerge, a like-minded Palestinian leadership, in the quest for a viable two-state solution.

Today, in contrast to his predecessors including Sharon, the critics point out, Netanyahu is adamantly refusing to utter the phrase "two-state solution," insistently withholding an explicit endorsement of that vision even in principle. And therefore, they conclude, he has no grounds for complaining that Obama is departing from historic US commitments on the details when he is departing from historic Israeli commitments on the fundamentals. He can't have the CD player if he isn't buying the car.

It is by no means clear that Israel ever actually completed the effort promised by Weissglas in April 2004 to provide "a better definition of the construction lines of settlements" within which Israel was to limit all further building in Judea and Samaria. It seems more than likely, in any case, that Netanyahu has nothing planned that would radically depart from the previous, tacitly accepted parameters for ongoing settlement construction. There is every sense that, like his recent predecessors, he does not envision establishing new settlements, taking control of further disputed territory or re-introducing government-funded incentives to encourage Israelis to move to Judea and Samaria, although he does not oppose Israelis moving to the major settlement blocs of their own volition.

But in the absence of an explicit endorsement of the two-state solution, there is, all-too plainly, no willingness on the part of the Obama administration to quietly live with the gradual expansion of the settlement enterprise until or unless a viable Palestinian partnership, and a substantive peace process, take shape.

As one veteran Israeli government insider put it this week, "The Americans have always opposed Israeli settlement activity. Always. But in recent years, the critical rhetoric on this from Washington, on a one-to-10 scale, never went higher than four. Today it's at eight."

Obama's presidency is quickly bringing the anticipated reassessment of America's interests and orientation. His Israel-free Middle East visit, marked by Thursday's painstakingly calibrated address in Cairo, emblemizes a thorough and daring effort to usher in a new era of conciliation with the Muslim world, including even the proponents of the most extreme interpretations of Islam - uncompromising ideologues hitherto utterly irreconcilable to the West, determined to widen their sphere of influence, and reading a desire for engagement as weakness. Obama is adamant that this high-stakes effort can only benefit Israel - as indeed it would... if it were to succeed. And in this context, Netanyahu's obduracy on the two-state solution and on settlement building is a real irritant to the US, perceived by Obama to be undermining his credibility as he reaches out to the region.

THE DISTRESS within the Netanyahu administration is plain to see. Washington's removal of wiggle room on settlement building - with the president and his secretary of state ruling out the construction of so much as an extra housing unit even at settlements that fall firmly into the Bush letter's definition of "new realities on the ground" - stands at odds with the contention of those around the prime minister just a few days ago that the subject could be finessed and common ground re-established.

In Netanyahu's circle the plaintive cry goes up that Israel has been honoring its commitments, with no land grabs and no new settlements; that the US is "unfairly depicting us as cheats and liars"; that the illegal outposts will go; and that Israel has demonstrated its willingness not merely to freeze but to uproot - from Gaza - an entire vibrant community of Jewish life. It is also argued that Netanyahu couldn't halt all settlement construction even if he tried, since some homes are being built on Jewish-purchased private land, and appeals to the Supreme Court to keep building there would be upheld.

While Israel has been keeping to its road map obligations, they add, the so-called moderate leaders of the Palestinian Authority have abidingly failed to acknowledge Israel as the Jewish state to flourish alongside their sought-for Arab entity - the entire basis of the original, internationally mandated division of this land - and continue to foster incitement for Israel's demise. And far from the Palestinians implementing their phase one road map obligation to dismantle "terrorist capabilities and infrastructure," Gaza has become a full-fledged terrorist state.

Interviewed by The Washington Post's Jackson Diehl last weekend, Mahmoud Abbas casually acknowledged that Ehud Olmert had shown him a map relinquishing 97 percent of the West Bank, accepted the "right of return" in principle and agreed to a limited influx to Israel of Palestinian refugees, but said that such an offer - which Diehl described as unprecedented and unlikely to be repeated - still left gaps "too wide" to bridge. Were Abbas or any subsequent Palestinian leadership to move toward positions that would enable a viable peace process, those around Netanyahu insist, this would be a gamechanger, and Netanyahu's stance would immediately become more flexible and generous.

They stress, too, that Netanyahu's objections to Palestinian statehood stem from valid concerns about the threat to Israel such a fully sovereign entity would pose - concerns, they note, that are shared by the leadership of the previous Kadima-led coalition. And they note that he has made clear his commitment to all previous government agreements including the road map - full title "A performance-based roadmap to a permanent two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict" - which they argue is tantamount to acceptance of a two-state solution.

But tantamount, with this US administration, clearly won't do.

AMID THE palpable dismay, those around Netanyahu nonetheless believe that even this charismatic, popular president will have to pull back a little and agree to some form of compromise on settlement building.

While those around Abbas say they expect Obama to force Netanyahu from office within a couple of years, and are more than happy to wait, the prime minister's loyalists argue that he won't be so easily dislodged. He, too, is popular. And he, too, was elected on a mandate for change, after the Gaza disengagement brought the opposite of peace and after the Olmert government tried so hard to attain a two-state solution, only to be thwarted by Palestinian intransigence.

But in volatile Israel, experience shows how foolish it is to bet on the medium-term, let alone long-term stability of any prime ministership.

Certainly, mainstream Israel holds the Palestinians to blame for the failure of peace efforts to date. Certainly, too, mainstream Israel does not regard ongoing building within existing settlements as constituting a central factor in that failure, and is baffled, if not outraged, by Obama's disproportionate focus on the issue. Obama's speech in Cairo on Thursday, blaming Israel and the Palestinians evenly for the failure to make peace, ignoring six decades of Arab rejectionism and again highlighting that the US "does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlements," will have done nothing to change that feeling.

The surprise extends beyond Israel, into neutral circles too. As Diehl was moved to observe in his Washington Post piece: "In the Obama administration, so far, it's easy being Palestinian."

The Palestinians, under Bush, knew that "until they put an end to terrorism, established a democratic government and accepted the basic parameters for a settlement, the United States was not going to expect major concessions from Israel," he elaborated. But Obama, with his repeated demands for a settlement freeze, "has revived a long-dormant Palestinian fantasy: that the United States will simply force Israel to make critical concessions, whether or not its democratic government agrees, while Arabs passively watch and applaud."

But mainstream Israel has also heard Netanyahu insisting that his top priorities are Iran, Iran and Iran. And Israelis may be left wondering why, even for the sake of issues as emotive and compelling as settlement and Palestinian sovereignty, the prime minister is weakening Israel's vital relationship with the United States as the existential Iranian threat looms ever closer.

Saying "two states" might cause Netanyahu's coalition to wobble, but is unlikely to make it fall. Not saying "two states" is already wobbling our relationship with this administration and complicating the necessary meeting of Jerusalem and Washington minds on Iran. And incidentally, none of that, in turn, is good for Netanyahu's standing in the critical Israeli political middle ground.

CERTAIN INFLUENTIAL American Jewish leaders, I am given to understand, feel strongly that Netanyahu is caught up in the wrong fight, and have urged him this week to, however reluctantly, utter those words "two state solution" - by all means adding the caveat "in principle." Others, though, are more inclined to rally behind the prime minister, and may come out with increasingly open criticism of Obama, although it will be harder for them to do so given the astute construction of the president's Cairo speech.

Tellingly, at its conference just a month ago, AIPAC, the powerful pro-Israel lobby group, sent its thousands of delegates to Capitol Hill to explicitly press "for a viable Palestinian state living side-by-side, in peace, with the Jewish state of Israel." This wording, unpalatable to the prime minister, was included because it reflected AIPAC's long-term position and, quite simply, because it was essential to gaining the traditional overwhelming support for Israel from America's legislators.

AIPAC not merely gently backing, but vehemently demanding a peace-process outcome for Israel that Israel's own government opposes? That's all but unthinkable, and a reflection of how out of sync Netanyahu's stance has put him even with some of those whose entire raison d'etre is to advance and safeguard Israel's interests. If AIPAC has ever been accused of taking a partisan position - a charge it has always denied - its critics have asserted that it sometimes stood to the right of center-left and left-wing Israeli governments. Here, now, it is undeniably, energetically, promoting a position to the prime minister's political left.

WHILE OBAMA has been giving interviews this week, arguing that the US and Israel have a shared interest in Palestinian statehood, Netanyahu has been relatively quiet. The hope in Jerusalem, presumably, is that the president was ratcheting up the rhetoric ahead of his Cairo outreach, possibly even picking a deliberate mini-fight with Israel to bolster his even-handed peace-making credentials, and that now the dispute will simmer down to more tolerable dimensions. Administration officials on Thursday night told The Jerusalem Post gently that "a professional, constructive dialogue" was proceeding on the settlement issue, and that there was an ongoing "conversation" with Jerusalem, too, on the matter of two states.

But if the US rhetoric stays at level eight, Netanyahu can be expected to mount an outreach effort of his own in the near future, to try to rally Israelis and Israel's supporters around the world, especially in the US, behind him.

He may be discomfited to discover, however, that many Israelis, and many of our most committed supporters, strongly share his sense that Iran is our key danger, and therefore depart from him in his dispute with the US on the two-state terminology and on settlements, however wrongheaded they believe Obama's approach to be.

Even were Netanyahu to now publicly and explicitly endorse a "two-state solution," there is no guarantee that a compromise would follow on the parameters for Jewish building in the West Bank. No guarantee whatsoever. But it would be a start. And many friends of Israel would suggest that he make it. The sorry truth is that the Palestinians are the true obstacle to peace, runs their argument, and Obama will discover this sooner or later, so why allow Israel to be mistakenly perceived as the holdout?

Or, to return to the used car lot, they might say: Take the CD player and the car, and be ready to hit the road for a toughened, unified drive to halt Iran's nuclear program.
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« Reply #665 on: June 11, 2009, 02:45:15 PM »

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« Reply #666 on: June 16, 2009, 08:53:50 AM »

Geopolitical Diary: Netanyahu's Speech and the Peace Process
June 15, 2009
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday gave his long-awaited speech, which was in effect a response to U.S. President Barack Obama’s demand that Israel stop expanding its settlements in the West Bank. Netanyahu framed his response in the context of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s election victory. His argument was essentially that the problem was not the presence of Israeli troops in the West Bank, but rather the attitude of Palestinians, Arabs and Iranians to Israel. In doing this, Netanyahu is trying to transform the discussion of the Palestinian peace process, particularly in the United States.

Netanyahu argued that the occupation was not the problem. First, he pointed out that Palestinians had rejected peace with Israel prior to 1967, just as much as after. He went on to say, “Territorial withdrawals have not lessened the hatred, and to our regret, Palestinian moderates are not yet ready to say the simple words: Israel is the nation-state of the Jewish people, and it will stay that way.” In other words, the U.S. demand for a halt to settlement expansions misses the point. There was no peace before Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza, and there was no peace when Israel withdrew or offered to withdraw from those territories.

Therefore, he argued, the problem is not what Israel does, but what the Palestinians do, and the core of the problem is the refusal of the Palestinians and others to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. Essentially, the problem is that the Palestinians want to destroy Israel — not that Israel is occupying Palestinian territories.

The prime minister went on to make an offer that is radically different from the traditional concept of two states. He accepted the idea of a Palestinian state — but only as a disarmed entity, with Israel retaining security rights in the territories. Having defined the problem as Palestinian hostility, he redefined the solution as limiting Palestinian power.

This clearly puts Netanyahu on a collision course with the Obama administration. He rejected the call to stop the expansion of settlements. He has accepted the idea of a two-state solution — but on the condition that it includes disarmament for the Palestinians — and he has rejected the notion of “land for peace,” restructuring it as “land after peace.” This is not a new position by Netanyahu, and it will come no surprise to the United States.

The game Obama is playing is broader than the Israeli-Palestinian issue. He is trying to reshape the perception of the United States in the Islamic world. In his view, if he can do that, the threat to the United States from terrorism will decline and the United States’ ability to pursue its interests in the Muslim world will improve. This is the essential strategy Washington is pursuing, while maintaining a presence in Iraq and prosecuting the war in Afghanistan.

There is obviously a tension in U.S. policy. In order for this strategy to work, Obama must deliver something, and the thing that he believes will have the most value is a substantial Israeli gesture leading to a resumption of the peace process. That’s why Obama focused on settlements: It was substantial and immediate, and carried with it some pain for Israel.

Netanyahu has refused to play. He has rejected not only the settlements issue but also the basic concepts behind the peace process that the United States has been pushing for a generation. He has rejected land for peace and, in some ways, the principle of full Palestinian sovereignty. Rather than giving Obama what he wanted, Netanyahu is taking things off the table.

Netanyahu has said his piece. Now Obama must decide what, if anything, he is going to do about it. He has few choices other than to persuade Netanyahu to back off, sanction Israel or let it slide. Netanyahu cannot be persuaded, but he might be forced. Sanctioning Israel in the wake of the Iranian election would not be easy to do. Letting it slide undermines Obama’s wider strategy in the Muslim world.

Netanyahu has called Obama’s hand. All Obama can do is pass, fold or raise. According to Reuters, the White House has responded to Netanyahu’s speech by announcing that Obama “believes this solution can and must ensure both Israel’s security and the fulfillment of the Palestinians’ legitimate aspirations for a viable state.” Obama is trying to pass for the moment. The Arabs won’t let him do that for long.
« Reply #667 on: June 17, 2009, 08:30:39 PM »

Obama's Jimmy Carter problem?
Tue, 06/16/2009 - 5:56pm

When Fox News reported today from Gaza that former President Jimmy Carter plans to urge President Barack Obama to take the Palestinian militant group Hamas off the U.S. terrorist list in meetings later this week, Washington Democrats and the Obama administration collectively cringed.

"The president has addressed Hamas questions, including in the Egypt speech," an administraton official said. "[We] won't have more to say about this."

"Just like with President Clinton, Carter is becoming a huge problem and a growing concern for Obama," a Washington Middle East hand said. "They are very pissed with him."

After observing Lebanon's elections, Carter visited Damascus last week and met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Foreign Minister Walid Muallem, as well as exiled Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal. This week, he met with Israeli settlers in the West Bank and toured Gaza with top Hamas leader Ismail Haniya as his guide. His trip to Damascus came a day ahead of that of Obama Middle East peace envoy George Mitchell.

Carter's objectives in Gaza, a Washington Middle East expert familiar with the matter told The Cable, are "to open up Gaza, and to see what he can do to pave the way to some [sort of] engagement between Hamas and the U.S.," the expert said, on condition of anonymity, cautioning that he didn't think any such engagement would happen anytime soon. "And to see whether Hamas can shift its position, and the U.S. can shift its position. ...  I think he is smart enough to realize they aren't going to come off the terror list."

"Don't forget people in Gaza were spreading rumors last week that Carter was bringing Hamas a letter from Obama," the expert added. "It's absurd, but it made the rounds for a day."

Don't overreact to an unconfirmed news report, agreed veteran U.S. Middle East peace negotiator Aaron David Miller. "This is Jimmy Carter being Jimmy Carter," Miller said by email. "I didn't see any confirmation that Carter intends to ask the administration to remove Hamas from the terrorism list; more likely he'll urge Obama at the right time to consider opening up a  dialogue with Hamas."

"But that's a key to an empty room right now given everything that Obama is trying to do with [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin ] Netanyahu and [Palestinian President Mahmoud] Abbas," Miller continued. "In fact, the way to lose both of them and much of Congress to boot would be to do precisely what the former president recommends."

Seeking to deflect a potential firestorm from the unconfirmed report, the National Jewish Democratic Council's Ira Forman suggested that instead of taking Hamas off the terrorism list, people should put Carter on a list of people one shouldn't pay attention to. "When someone is saying something so outrageous, even if they're a Democrat, we can't take them seriously."

Mitchell didn't directly address Carter's mission at his first State Department news conference Tuesday. But asked about recent statements from Hamas officials urging that the United States to talk to them without preconditions, and asserting that they seek a Palestinian state in land confined to that seized by Israel during the 1967 war, Mitchell said Hamas is welcome to join talks if it agrees to what he called a "democratic dialogue," which he later specified to be the so-called Quartet conditions. "We made our position clear," Mitchell said. "We welcome the participation of any party that meets the requirements of a democratic dialogue."

Like Mitchell, White House officials and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have repeatedly said Hamas members could join a Palestinian unity government if they agree to renounce terror, recognize Israel and abide by past agreements, the conditions set out by the so-called Middle East Quartet made up of the United States, Russia, the United Nations, and the European Union. Hamas's 1988 charter calls explicitly for the destruction of Israel.

Carter himself has reiterated that message to Hamas, according to reports. "I called on Hamas leaders that I met with in Damascus and I told Hamas leaders in Gaza today to accept these conditions," the former president reportedly said after his meeting with Haniya. "They made several statements, and showed readiness to join the peace [process] and move towards establishing a just and independent Palestinian state."

Behind the scenes, there have been some debates in mostly left-leaning Washington and European Middle East circles about whether there should be a softening of conditions to facilitate Hamas members joining a Palestinian unity government. Those who advocate it are concerned that with Fatah only representing the West Bank, and Gaza controlling Hamas, there is not a sufficiently representative Palestinian entity that the United States can push Israel to negotiate with for a two-state solution. One option being floated in the region by independent Palestinians would be to relax conditions in order to achieve a Palestinian technocratic unity government that would mainly prepare for Palestinian elections scheduled for early next year, and then dissolve.

But there's no sign that such ideas have any traction inside the Obama administration.

Indeed, administration officials have indicated that Omar Suleiman, the Egyptian intelligence chief and the lead negotiator on Palestinian unity government talks, has explicitly urged them in meetings not to soften the conditions for Hamas to join a Palestinian unity government. (Some veteran Middle East hands say that neither Egypt, concerned about the Muslim Brotherhood of which Hamas is an affiliate, nor Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, is enthusiastic about including Hamas in a Palestinian power-sharing government and may be happier if one doesn't materialize.)

Mitchell told journalists today that he would plow ahead with comprehensive Middle East peace talks with the parties that show up in the room, and meet the conditions that have been established.

For its part, Hamas has welcomed Carter's attention. "Someone as high-profile as Carter, coming to the region to meet with Hamas and the government of Ismail Haniya but also [Palestinian Authority] President [Mahmoud] Abbas, is very positive," the Christian Science Monitor quoted Hamas advisor Ahmed Yousef. "He can convey messages to President Obama about the situation in Gaza and in the West Bank and the consequences this blockade has had on our lives. Carter is the messenger that we trust - and that the world community trusts."

What's prompting the recent stream of Hamas interviews and requests for dialogue with Washington? "I think they are intrigued by Obama," the Washington Middle East expert familiar with the matter said. "They saw his [Cairo] speech that had both things that they couldn't swallow and things they are extremely intrigued by. For the first time they are a bit curious, even very curious. And in some ways, they don't know how to deal with him and don't know what to do."

But perhaps not yet quite curious enough or convinced they're going to get left behind to find a way to agree to Obama's conditions for dialogue.
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« Reply #668 on: June 19, 2009, 09:11:31 AM »

Last update - 01:49 19/06/2009     
How an IDF colonel trains infantrymen to think, as well as charge 
By Anshel Pfeffer, Haaretz Correspondent 
Tags: Israel News, IDF, Infantry 

During the final exercise for Battalion 906, which ends a week-long program for squad leaders at the infantry combat training school, the Brigade Commander, Colonel Yaron Boim, as well as his small group of command officers, run at least twice as much as the soldiers participating in the training. Brigade commanders normally oversee the big picture and large unit movements under their command, but in this case Boim runs alongside the companies and the platoons, simulating counter-attacks against hills in the mountains of the northern Negev.

He feels it's important to operate with the lowest levels, that of the foot soldiers in the field and the junior officers. During the exercise Boim barely talks to the officers, but appears behind the squads; as shots ring out, he fires questions at those who in a few weeks will lead fresh squads in IDF infantry units. He points out the slightest details in terms of managing their fire, and how they should move in the terrain. When a soldier exposes himself to the fire of an imaginary foe, Boim does not hesitate to "drop" them as wounded, thus delaying the entire squad that now must evacuate an injured man to the rallying point.

"With this kind of exercise we force the trainees to stop thinking only as a soldier that needs to rush forward and shoot on his own, but to look around, get a feel of his position on the ground and a sense of where the other elements of the force are, choose a path for progress and a direction for the assault," Boim says. "We ask them to plan the exercise, prepare the commands, and offer various ways for conquering targets."
The IDF decided to hold a battalion-size exercise at the completion of the course for infantry squad commanders. Part of the purpose of this exercise is to prevent the possibility that young squad commanders in infantry brigades would move to their next assignments without having experienced a large-scale exercise in command.

Combining ground forces with air power

Even though most of the large exercises, starting at battalion level, have been held regularly since the Second Lebanon War in 2006, great emphasis is placed on combining the various types of ground forces with an element of air power. As such, it is not uncommon to now have infantry, armor, combat engineers and artillery participating in combined training operations with helicopters, unmanned aerial vehicles and air strike units.

All participants are trained in various command skills, navigation, using the terrain, and all the specializations of infantry soldiers. The exercise begins a short while before midnight, with a slow advance of infantry carrying their equipment through rough terrain, along dry river beds. At about 2:30 AM, they form into units at their assault points; half an hour before sunrise, heavy machine guns begin firing from selected positions prepared ahead of time. They are then followed by a gradual wave assault, carried out by three companies.

The course for squad leaders lasts 13 weeks and includes training in all the specializations of infantry soldiers - including navigation in open terrain, urban warfare, and indoctrination and morale classes that revolve around Zionism.

Boim says the assault on the Gaza Strip in January, as part of Operation Cast Lead, proved that the course is effective in training infantry squad leaders. Lessons from the operation have already been adopted into the second part of the training, which involves 30 different classes for training infantry troops in using various types of weapons and driving armored vehicles.

"From the operation [in Gaza] we learned to place emphasis on the use of mortars, especially on how to locate and pinpoint targets," Boim says. On a number of occasions during Cast Lead, mortars were fired against mistaken locations, injuring IDF troops and Palestinian civilians. In most of these cases, the issues stemmed from problems in relaying target data to the units operating the mortars.

Since the Second Lebanon War, the IDF has invested a great deal in the infantry Brigades, including acquiring new combat gear that no longer requires . Plans to acquire new armored personnel carriers, which have been delayed for budgetary reasons for nearly 20 years, are now being implemented in the form of the Namer tank, modeled on the chassis of the Mercava main battle tank.

The level of investment is also evident in the infrastructure at the base, where classrooms are air-conditioned, and there are computer rooms where the trainees undergo testing. The troops are also housed in permanent structures, rather than the typical tents. "It does not make the soldiers soft," Boim assures us. "We still go out to the field a great deal and we sleep in tents under difficult conditions, but the new means are force multipliers. Think of the time saved when we can now check the trainees' tests with computers rather than manually," he adds. 
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« Reply #669 on: June 21, 2009, 10:18:35 AM »


June 20, 2009 --
When Barack Obama was running for president, he vigorously reassured voters of his firm commitment to America's special relationship with Israel. Indeed, he worked to beef up his pro-Israel bona fides long before he even announced his intention to run. In a 2006 speech before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Obama recounted a helicopter tour over the Israeli border with the West Bank. "I could truly see how close everything is and why peace through security is the only way for Israel," he said. In that same speech, Obama called the Jewish State "our strongest ally in the region and its only established democracy." During the primary and general election campaigns, Obama dispatched a stream of high-profile Jewish supporters to canvas Florida, and in a 2008 AIPAC speech, he went so far as to declare that Jerusalem must remain the "undivided" capital of Israel.

For all the qualms that anti-Obama "smears" would depress support in the Jewish community, Jews rewarded Obama with nearly 80% of their votes, more than they gave John Kerry.

Just six months into the new administration, however, it is becoming increasingly clear that those who harbored suspicions about Obama's approach to the Middle East had good reason to be worried. A confluence of factors -- including his administration's undue pressure on Israel, a conciliatory approach to authoritarian Muslim regimes, and the baseless linkage of the failed "peace process" to the curtailment of the Iranian nuclear program -- point to what could become "the greatest disagreement between the two countries in the history of their relationship," as Middle East expert Robert Satloff recently told Newsweek.

This dramatic shift in American policy began several months ago when the administration signaled that it would make the cessation of Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank the centerpiece of its policy to revamp the region. And that approach, mostly hinted at through anonymous leaks, became as good as official when Obama delivered his vaunted address to the Muslim world in Cairo earlier this month. In that speech, Israel (and, specifically, its policy of settlement construction) was the only state to merit specific criticism from the president of the United States. Among all the degradations and injustices in the Middle East, from the abhorrent treatment of women in nations like Saudi Arabia, to Syrian-backed assassinations of pro-sovereignty politicians in Lebanon, to the arrest and imprisonment of gay men in Egypt, the leader of the free world singled out America's one, reliable democratic ally in the region for rebuke.

Obama's strategic worldview assumes that once the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is resolved, other problems in the Middle East will be easier to fix, if not solve themselves. "We understand that Israel's preoccupation with Iran as an existential threat," National Security Advisor Jim Jones told George Stephanopoulos last month. "We agree with that. And by the same token, there are a lot of things that you can do to diminish that existential threat by working hard towards achieving a two-state solution."

By establishing this connection, the fate of the entire region thus hinges upon the resolution of a problem that hasn't had a solution for over six decades. This is an awfully convenient view for those who enjoy the status quo, which is why so many Arab despots cling to it, and it's discouraging to see the Obama administration joining them.

"Linkage" is faulty for two reasons. The first is intrinsic to the peace process itself, as it is going nowhere. And it will continue to go nowhere for at least as long as Hamas -- a terrorist organization constitutionally committed to the destruction of Israel and the murder of Jews -- rules the Gaza Strip, which it has controlled since violently seizing power in the summer of 2007. But it's not just Hamas that remains hesitant to work with Israel. To see the continued intransigence of the Palestinians, witness their bizarre reactions to Benjamin Netanyahu's momentous speech last week, in which the Israeli Prime Minister, for the first time in his career, announced his support for the two-state solution so obsessively demanded by the international community. The Palestinian Ambassador to Egypt denounced Netanyahu's pledge as "nothing but a hoax." The PLO Executive Committee Secretary called Netanyahu a "liar and a crook" who is "looking for ploys to disrupt the peace endeavor." A spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said that, "The speech has destroyed all peace initiatives and [chances for] a solution." And these are the so-called "moderates."

The second reason why "linkage" is a faulty premise, and why the Obama administration is so foolish to pursue it, is that the problems of the Middle East are not inspired by the lack of a Palestinian state. The biggest crisis in the Middle East right now is Iran's mad quest for nuclear weapons. Nothing even comes close. Even the Arab states -- whose citizens, we are told, cannot rest due to Palestinian statelessness -- are letting the world know that their foremost concern is a revolutionary Islamic theocracy with nuclear weapons (As the dramatic and inspiring street protests in Tehran over the past week have amply demonstrated, what really rouses the Muslim "street" is the venality and cruelty of the region's authoritarian governments, not far-off Zionists reluctant to give Palestinians a state).

These regimes know that Iran, thus armed, will be able to act with far greater impunity that it already does, causing more trouble for coalition forces in Iraq, ordering its proxy armies of Hamas and Hezbollah to ramp up attacks on Israel and stir chaos in Lebanon, and support radical elements throughout the region. It would also set off a regional arms race, with Saudi Arabia and Egypt as the next likely proliferators. Yet the Obama administration does not seem to realize that stopping an Iranian nuclear bomb ought take precedence over the stalled "peace process."

In his otherwise admirable remarks about the significance of the Holocaust and the hatefulness of its denial in his Cairo speech, Obama did further damage by paying obeisance to the Arabs' false narrative about Israeli's creation. In neglecting to affirm the Jews' historic claim on the land of Israel, Obama confirmed the Arab belief that they are paying for the crimes of mid-twentieth century Europe. However awful the misfortune that befell them, Obama's narrative -- in the minds of his audience -- portrays the Jews, however awful their misfortune, as occupiers, not indigenous neighbors.

The Cairo speech provided Obama with an opportunity to call on the Muslim world to acknowledge that Jews are as much a part of the Middle East and its history as are Persians and Arabs, Sunnis and Shia, Druz and Christians. He failed in that task.

Unfortunately, the President seems to be paying no domestic political price for turning on Israel. Given the historic support that the American public has shown for the Jewish State, this is in and of itself a disturbing sign. But when an American administration's rhetoric and diplomacy render Israel the obstinate actor and portray its supposed recalcitrance as the main obstacle to peace, public opinion will follow.

The percentage of American voters who call themselves supporters of Israel has plummeted from 69% last September to 49% this month, according to the Israel Project. Meanwhile, only 6% of Jewish Israelis consider Obama to be "pro-Israel," a Jerusalem Post poll found, pointing to a disturbing gulf between the two nations. There are even signs of rising anti-Semitism, as a survey by Columbia and Stanford professors found that 32% of Democrats blamed Jews for the financial crisis.

Obama is turning America against Israel, for what exactly? The false hopes of improved relations with Arab nations and a nuclear-equipped Iran. That is not what he promised in his campaign, and neither a fair practice or a fair trade.

James Kirchick is an assistant editor of The New Republic and a Phillips Foundation Journalism Fellow.
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« Reply #670 on: June 24, 2009, 06:47:49 PM »

This could have been under the Iran thread but this is probably the best spot.

****Unrest in Iran Poses Dilemma For Israel
By Nathan Guttman
Published June 24, 2009, issue of July 03, 2009.
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Washington — Iran’s descent into instability has confronted Israel and its American supporters with a dilemma in choosing between two competing approaches: one based on human rights, and the other on realpolitik.

Israeli officials might personally be rooting for the fall of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whom they view as a tyrant. But at the same time, some fear that his defeat would set back their fight against Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

As a result, Israelis in official positions have avoided, for the most part, publicly taking sides between presidential candidates as the disorder in Iran has intensified over Ahmadinejad’s disputed June 12 election victory. Still, some public and private remarks have slipped through the cracks, shedding light on the debate in Jerusalem.

“Israel would have had a more serious problem” had Ahmadinejad’s main challenger, Mir Hossein Mousavi, emerged victorious in the recent election, said Meir Dagan, chief of the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency.

In testimony before the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on June 16, Dagan said that a Mousavi victory would have required Israel to “explain to the world the danger of the Iranian threat, since Mousavi is perceived in the international arena as a moderate element.”

Dagan went on to argue that on the nuclear issue, there is no difference between Mousavi and Ahmadinejad, the latter of whom has voiced doubt about the historical existence of the Holocaust and expressed his wish to see Israel liquidated.

Last May, speaking at the annual conference of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the pro-Israel Washington lobby, Ilan Berman, a hawkish Iran scholar at the American Foreign Policy Council, called Ahmadinejad “the gift that keeps on giving,” since his harsh rhetoric compels the world to take him seriously.

In the long term, Iran’s rapidly changing profile could mean a difficult challenge for Israel. If Iran is indeed in the process of change, as most analysts agree, Israel could end up the lone voice advocating a tough stance toward it, while Washington and the world seek ways to reach out and embrace the change.

“Already, in Washington policy circles, the Israelis’ mantra, let’s bomb them, has gone off the table,” said Marshall Breger, a former Reagan and Bush senior White House aide and Orthodox Jew who has been engaged in interfaith dialogue with senior Iranian clerics. “It’s not considered serious.”

For now, Israeli leaders, including Prime Minster Benjamin Netanyahu, have tried to maintain an approach similar to that of the Obama administration as events unfold, condemning the brutal suppression of demonstrators without publicly supporting the reformists’ claims of electoral fraud.

But Dagan’s harsh and more candid analysis did draw detractors in what is clearly an ongoing internal debate. Ephraim Halevy, a former head of the Mossad, termed it “simplistic” to say there is no difference between Mousavi and Ahmadinejad on the nuclear issue. “No one can predict what Mousavi would do” if he emerges as the winner of this standoff, Halevy said in a June 21 speech in Jerusalem. Halevy believes there will be “a new ballgame in Iran” if that happens.

For Israel and pro-Israel activists, the crucial question that remains is how events in Iran will affect Tehran’s foreign policy. The Israelis’ goal is to stop Iran from enriching uranium it claims it needs to develop civilian nuclear power but that could potentially be used for nuclear weapons.

No one knows how Mousavi would approach this issue if he gained influence in the end — an eventuality most analysts still consider unlikely.

The only clue thus far comes from an interview that Mousavi gave the Al-Jazeera news network a day before the June 12 elections. He said the West should not expect Iran to abandon its quest for nuclear technology, but he stressed, “What we can talk about, in the international level, is whether we deviate toward the development of nuclear arms.”

This may hint at possibilities for an approach long advocated by Ray Takeyh, a prominent Iran analyst recently appointed to a senior State Department Iran policy post.

Takeyh and others advocate a U.S. “détente” with Iran that would include a negotiated agreement to enforce much stricter control and monitoring of Iran’s enriched uranium. Takeyh argues that this could prevent its diversion to any military use and yet allow Iran to enrich it, as permitted under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Breger agreed that this was likely the direction developments will take if there is eventual progress with any government in Tehran.

“All Iranians believe they have a right to nuclear technology,” he said. “But many moderates are more interested in economic development than in exercising that right.

“As one told me, ‘We want nuclear technology for Iran, we don’t want to sacrifice Iran for nuclear technology.’”

Breger, who served as Reagan’s liaison to the Jewish community, added: “This is a problem for Israel, since as long as there is an Islamic republic, Israel doesn’t want strict inspections, they want regime change.”

The real problem for Israel, he explained, was not the prospect of Iran dropping a nuclear bomb on it — a prospect he viewed as unlikely because of Israel’s own nuclear deterrent — but that “an Iran with nuclear capability, even with no weapons, will constrain Israel’s freedom of action. Israel’s first military principle has always been, they must have total regional military hegemony, or as has been more politely stated, a qualitative military edge.”

“Solutions [to the nuclear issue] that can satisfy the U.S. security needs might not satisfy Israel’s sense of security,” Breger said.

Contact Nathan Guttman at****
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« Reply #671 on: June 24, 2009, 11:37:39 PM »

Despite fervent denials by Obama administration officials, there were indeed agreements between Israel and the United States regarding the growth of Israeli settlements on the West Bank. As the Obama administration has made the settlements issue a major bone of contention between Israel and the U.S., it is necessary that we review the recent history.

In the spring of 2003, U.S. officials (including me) held wide-ranging discussions with then Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in Jerusalem. The "Roadmap for Peace" between Israel and the Palestinians had been written. President George W. Bush had endorsed Palestinian statehood, but only if the Palestinians eliminated terror. He had broken with Yasser Arafat, but Arafat still ruled in the Palestinian territories. Israel had defeated the intifada, so what was next?

Getty Images
Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas, President George W. Bush, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Jordan's King Abdullah, June 4, 2003.
We asked Mr. Sharon about freezing the West Bank settlements. I recall him asking, by way of reply, what did that mean for the settlers? They live there, he said, they serve in elite army units, and they marry. Should he tell them to have no more children, or move?

We discussed some approaches: Could he agree there would be no additional settlements? New construction only inside settlements, without expanding them physically? Could he agree there would be no additional land taken for settlements?

As we talked several principles emerged. The father of the settlements now agreed that limits must be placed on the settlements; more fundamentally, the old foe of the Palestinians could -- under certain conditions -- now agree to Palestinian statehood.

In June 2003, Mr. Sharon stood alongside Mr. Bush, King Abdullah II of Jordan, and Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas at Aqaba, Jordan, and endorsed Palestinian statehood publicly: "It is in Israel's interest not to govern the Palestinians but for the Palestinians to govern themselves in their own state. A democratic Palestinian state fully at peace with Israel will promote the long-term security and well-being of Israel as a Jewish state." At the end of that year he announced his intention to pull out of the Gaza Strip.

The U.S. government supported all this, but asked Mr. Sharon for two more things. First, that he remove some West Bank settlements; we wanted Israel to show that removing them was not impossible. Second, we wanted him to pull out of Gaza totally -- including every single settlement and the "Philadelphi Strip" separating Gaza from Egypt, even though holding on to this strip would have prevented the smuggling of weapons to Hamas that was feared and has now come to pass. Mr. Sharon agreed on both counts.

These decisions were political dynamite, as Mr. Sharon had long predicted to us. In May 2004, his Likud Party rejected his plan in a referendum, handing him a resounding political defeat. In June, the Cabinet approved the withdrawal from Gaza, but only after Mr. Sharon fired two ministers and allowed two others to resign. His majority in the Knesset was now shaky.

After completing the Gaza withdrawal in August 2005, he called in November for a dissolution of the Knesset and for early elections. He also said he would leave Likud to form a new centrist party. The political and personal strain was very great. Four weeks later he suffered the first of two strokes that have left him in a coma.

Throughout, the Bush administration gave Mr. Sharon full support for his actions against terror and on final status issues. On April 14, 2004, Mr. Bush handed Mr. Sharon a letter saying that there would be no "right of return" for Palestinian refugees. Instead, the president said, "a solution to the Palestinian refugee issue as part of any final status agreement will need to be found through the establishment of a Palestinian state, and the settling of Palestinian refugees there, rather than in Israel."

On the major settlement blocs, Mr. Bush said, "In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli populations centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949." Several previous administrations had declared all Israeli settlements beyond the "1967 borders" to be illegal. Here Mr. Bush dropped such language, referring to the 1967 borders -- correctly -- as merely the lines where the fighting stopped in 1949, and saying that in any realistic peace agreement Israel would be able to negotiate keeping those major settlements.

On settlements we also agreed on principles that would permit some continuing growth. Mr. Sharon stated these clearly in a major policy speech in December 2003: "Israel will meet all its obligations with regard to construction in the settlements. There will be no construction beyond the existing construction line, no expropriation of land for construction, no special economic incentives and no construction of new settlements."

Ariel Sharon did not invent those four principles. They emerged from discussions with American officials and were discussed by Messrs. Sharon and Bush at their Aqaba meeting in June 2003.

They were not secret, either. Four days after the president's letter, Mr. Sharon's Chief of Staff Dov Weissglas wrote to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that "I wish to reconfirm the following understanding, which had been reached between us: 1. Restrictions on settlement growth: within the agreed principles of settlement activities, an effort will be made in the next few days to have a better definition of the construction line of settlements in Judea & Samaria."

Stories in the press also made it clear that there were indeed "agreed principles." On Aug. 21, 2004 the New York Times reported that "the Bush administration . . . now supports construction of new apartments in areas already built up in some settlements, as long as the expansion does not extend outward."

In recent weeks, American officials have denied that any agreement on settlements existed. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton stated on June 17 that "in looking at the history of the Bush administration, there were no informal or oral enforceable agreements. That has been verified by the official record of the administration and by the personnel in the positions of responsibility."

These statements are incorrect. Not only were there agreements, but the prime minister of Israel relied on them in undertaking a wrenching political reorientation -- the dissolution of his government, the removal of every single Israeli citizen, settlement and military position in Gaza, and the removal of four small settlements in the West Bank. This was the first time Israel had ever removed settlements outside the context of a peace treaty, and it was a major step.

It is true that there was no U.S.-Israel "memorandum of understanding," which is presumably what Mrs. Clinton means when she suggests that the "official record of the administration" contains none. But she would do well to consult documents like the Weissglas letter, or the notes of the Aqaba meeting, before suggesting that there was no meeting of the minds.

Mrs. Clinton also said there were no "enforceable" agreements. This is a strange phrase. How exactly would Israel enforce any agreement against an American decision to renege on it? Take it to the International Court in The Hague?

Regardless of what Mrs. Clinton has said, there was a bargained-for exchange. Mr. Sharon was determined to break the deadlock, withdraw from Gaza, remove settlements -- and confront his former allies on Israel's right by abandoning the "Greater Israel" position to endorse Palestinian statehood and limits on settlement growth. He asked for our support and got it, including the agreement that we would not demand a total settlement freeze.

For reasons that remain unclear, the Obama administration has decided to abandon the understandings about settlements reached by the previous administration with the Israeli government. We may be abandoning the deal now, but we cannot rewrite history and make believe it did not exist.

Mr. Abrams, a senior fellow for Middle Eastern Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations, handled Middle East affairs at the National Security Council from 2001 to 2009.
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« Reply #672 on: June 26, 2009, 07:53:40 AM »

Geopolitical Diary: A Shift in the U.S.-Israeli Drama
June 25, 2009
A meeting that had been scheduled this week in Paris between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and George Mitchell, the U.S. special envoy to the Middle East, was canceled Wednesday.

Netanyahu’s spokesman said the meeting was called off so that the Americans and Israelis could have more time to “clarify some issues.” But Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot then published a report citing an unnamed Israeli official, who said the U.S. administration had sent the following “stern” message to Netanyahu: “Once you’ve finished the homework we gave you on stopping construction in the settlements, let us know. Until then, there’s no point in having Mitchell fly to Paris to meet you.”

The U.S. explanation for the scrapped meeting was much tamer: State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said Netanyahu and Mitchell had canceled the meeting so that Mitchell could meet first with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak next Monday in Washington. It is still unclear who canceled on whom, but the Israelis seem intent on giving the impression that the Americans are the ones being unreasonable.

Tensions in the U.S.-Israeli relationship can be traced to the post-election crisis in Tehran.

To understand this, we need to rewind to June 4 in Egypt, as U.S. President Barack Obama attempted to reach out to the Muslim masses and distinguish his policies in the region from those of George W. Bush. In that speech, Obama focused on the Israeli-Palestinian issue for several reasons. First, by generating perceptions that his administration was not afraid to stand up to Israel over the issue of West Bank settlements, he might draw an increase in Arab support that could be used to form a more solidified coalition against Iran. Second, he could counter Iranian attempts to hijack the Palestinian cause. Iran’s increasingly blatant support for Hamas is designed to call out the hypocrisy of Arab regimes who pledge support for the Palestinians in public for rhetorical reasons, but whose actions are limited by their own strategic concerns. By laying the groundwork rhetorically for greater acceptance of U.S. policy in the region, Obama could strengthen his negotiating position in regard to Iran — or so the theory went.

But by issuing an ultimatum on the West Bank, Obama also invited a confrontation with Israel. From the Israeli point of view, there is no compelling reason to negotiate on the Palestinian issue. The Palestinian territories are divided geographically, politically and ideologically between the Fatah-controlled West Bank and the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip — and because the Palestinian government is in shambles, there is no authority for the Israelis to deal with in the first place. Still, Obama thought it would be worth the risk to raise tensions with Israel if it would advance his agenda in dealing with Iran.

That strategy already had a number of built-in flaws, but its chances of success appear even slimmer in the aftermath of Iran’s June 12 presidential election. Obama has been careful in his statements on Iran for good reason. He made it clear before and after the Iranian election that he was prepared to deal with Tehran, regardless of who won the presidency. An exclusive report by the Washington Times on Wednesday reinforced this idea: Prior to the election, Obama was said to have delivered a letter to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei through the Swiss Embassy, reiterating his desire to negotiate. Though Obama recognizes that it would be useless to reject the election victory of someone he would be dealing with anyway, he still faces a significant problem at home. With the right wing stressing the futility of talking to an unchanged Iranian regime and the left wing and human rights groups condemning talks with a regime that violently suppresses protests, he is under pressure to take a tougher stance on Iran. Any attempt at talks with Iran also will be widely viewed in the United States as negotiating with an illegitimate government, given the strong allegations of vote fraud in the election.

The Israelis can see that Obama’s diplomatic strategy for Iran — a strategy about which Israel was never really enthused — is rolling toward the gutter. Therefore, the Israelis have an opportunity. Obama previously had tried to pressure Israel over the settlements issue, when he was in a stronger position and knew that Netanyahu would have a heck of a time balancing between the right- and left-wing parties in his own coalition an issue as contentious as the West Bank. Netanyahu first sidestepped the issue with his own peace speech, driving U.S.-Israeli negotiations into the ground by insisting on the right to “natural growth” in the West Bank and the disarmament of the Palestinian territories. Now, Israel sees a U.S. president who is getting hammered at home for his Iran strategy —and whose options on dealing with Iran are dwindling rapidly on the international front.

Obama desperately wants to avoid harsher actions against Iran for fear that Russia will use Iran as a geopolitical lever. The Russians are already hinting privately that they can make the Iran issue more complicated for Washington, through strategic weapons sales, should the Americans fail to meet Moscow’s demands in Eurasia. In essence, Obama is fast becoming stuck in the same mess that ensnared a number of presidents before him.

With the U.S. president in a quandary over Iran, Netanyahu has an opportunity to regain the upper hand, pull the settlement issue from the agenda and start pushing his preferred methods of dealing with Iran — including harsher sanctions. Knowing the constraints Washington is facing on the Iran front, Netanyahu at the very least can get Obama to back off on his demands for Israel, but first he has to snap Washington back to attention. This begins with a mini-diplomatic drama over a canceled meeting with a U.S. envoy. Netanyahu likely will be able to generate several more “crises” should he need them, but that all depends on how much strain Israel wants to put on its relationship with the United States at this point.
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« Reply #673 on: June 30, 2009, 02:00:00 PM »

"My friends, it would behoove you to study everything
you can get your hands on by George Gilder, a true
American genius." -- Rush Limbaugh

"Israel is the crucial battlefield for Capitalism and Freedom in our
time." -- George Gilder, author of The Israel Test

George Gilder's global best seller Wealth & Poverty made the moral case
for capitalism to millions of Americans, changing the national debate. Now
Gilder, in The Israel Test, makes the moral case for Israel as a bastion
of capitalism and freedom.

Have you ever wondered why, in our time, it is the Left that leads the
attack on Israel? After reading The Israel Test you will never wonder
again. Gilder brilliantly shows that Israel is the ultimate test dividing
those who really stand with Capitalist Democracy from those who always
blame America and Israel first.

Gilder's argument has even long-time defenders of Israel saying things
like "I never looked at Israel that way before. I never truly realized
what was at stake." The Jerusalem Post raves about the book's "unexpected
power." But that's the way it has always been with Gilder's work. He has
an astonishing knack for making his readers see fresh what should have
been obvious all along.

The official publication date of The Israel Test is not until July 22. But
we can show you a way to get your copy weeks before it shows up in

Click here to pre-order The Israel Test today at 25% off publisher's


What's so revolutionary about The Israel Test?  Well, for one thing,
Gilder portrays Israel not as a needy "poor relation" dependent on the
U.S. but as a leader of the hi-tech economy indispensable to continued
U.S. success. "The reason America should continue to 'prop up' Israel," he
writes, "is that Israel itself is a crucial prop of American wealth,
freedom, and power."

Obscured by the usual media coverage of the "war-torn" Middle East are
Israel's rarely celebrated feats of commercial, scientific, and
technological creativity. Today tiny Israel, with its population of 7.23
million, five and one-half million Jewish, stands behind only the United
States in technological contributions. In per-capita innovation, Israel
dwarfs all nations. The forces of civilization in the world continue to
feed upon the quintessential wealth of mind epitomized by Israel.

In The Israel Test Gilder documents Israel's transformation into a hi-tech
powerhouse, profiling the top companies and entrepreneurs that are making
Israel into Silicon Valley's greatest rival-and ally-and shows how the
world's leading-edge technologies increasingly feature "Israel Inside."

Obviously with the book still "embargoed" we can't quote The Israel Test
at length here. But here is a just a snippet to whet your appetite: From
The Israel Test , by George Gilder:

The central issue in international politics, dividing the world into two
fractious armies, is the tiny state of Israel.

The prime issue is not a global war of civilizations between the West and
Islam or a split between Arabs and Jews. These conflicts are real and
salient, but they obscure the deeper moral and ideological war. The real
issue is between the rule of law and the rule of leveler egalitarianism,
between creative excellence and covetous "fairness," between admiration of
achievement versus envy and resentment of it.

Israel defines a line of demarcation. On one side, marshaled at the United
Nations and in universities around the globe, are those who see capitalism
as a zero-sum game in which success comes at the expense of the poor and
the environment: every gain for one party comes at the cost of another. On
the other side are those who see the genius and the good fortune of some
as a source of wealth and opportunity for all.

The Israel test can be summarized by a few questions: What is your
attitude toward people who excel you in the creation of wealth or in other
accomplishment? Do you aspire to their excellence, or do you seethe at it?
Do you admire and celebrate exceptional achievement, or do you impugn it
and seek to tear it down? Caroline Glick, the dauntless deputy managing
editor of the Jerusalem Post, sums it up: "Some people admire success;
some people envy it. The enviers hate Israel."

. . . . Today in the Middle East, Israeli wealth looms palpably and
portentously over the mosques and middens of Palestinian poverty. But
dwarfing Israel's own wealth is Israel's contribution to the world
economy, stemming from Israeli creativity and entrepreneurial innovation.
Israel's technical and scientific gifts to global progress loom with
similar majesty over all others' contributions outside the United States.

Though Jews in Palestine had been the most powerful force for prosperity
in the region since long before the founding of Israel in 1948, more
remarkable still is the explosion of innovation attained through the
unleashing of Israeli capitalism and technology over the last two decades.
During the 1990s and early 2000s Israel sloughed off its manacles of
confiscatory taxes, oppressive regulations, government ownership, and
Socialist nostalgia and established itself in the global economy first as
a major independent player and then as a technological leader.

Contemplating this Israeli breakthrough, the minds of parochial intellects
around the globe, from Jerusalem to Los Angeles, are clouded with envy and
suspicion. Everywhere, from the smarmy diplomats of the United Nations to
the cerebral leftists at the Harvard Faculty Club, critics of Israel
assert that Israelis are responsible for Palestinian Arab poverty. . . .
Denying to Israel the moral fruits and affirmations that Jews have so
richly earned by their paramount contributions to our civilization, the
critics of Israel lash out at the foundations of civilization itself--at
the golden rule of capitalism, that the good fortune of others is also
one's own.

In simplest terms, amid the festering indigence of Palestine, the state of
Israel presents a test. Efflorescent in the desert, militarily powerful,
industrially preeminent, culturally cornucopian, technologically
paramount, it lately has become a spearhead of the global economy and
vanguard of human achievement. Believing that this position was somehow
captured, rather than created, many in the West still manifest a primitive
zero-sum vision of economics and life. . . .

Click here to pre-order The Israel Test today at 25% off publisher's
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« Reply #674 on: July 03, 2009, 04:45:49 PM »

Some news about the ongoing "Iran Caper"
Last update - 14:49 03/07/2009     
Israeli sub sails Suez sending message to Iran 
By Reuters 
Tags: Israel news, Suez, submarine   
An Israeli submarine sailed the Suez Canal to the Red Sea as part of a naval drill last month, defense sources said on Friday, describing the unusual maneuver as a show of strategic reach in the face of Iran.

Israel long kept its three Dolphin-class submarines, which are widely assumed to carry nuclear missiles, away from Suez so as not to expose them to the gaze of Egyptian harbormasters.

It was unclear when last month the vessel left the Mediterranean. One source said the voyage was planned for months and so was not related to unrest after the June 12 re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whom the Israelis see as promoting the pursuit of nuclear weapons to threaten them.

Sailing to the Gulf without using Suez would force the diesel-fueled Israeli submarines, normally based in the Mediterranean, to circumnavigate Africa - a weeks-long voyage.

That would have limited use in signaling Israel's readiness to retaliate should it ever come under an Iranian nuclear attack.

Shorter-term, the submarines' conventional missiles could also be deployed in any Israeli strikes on Iran's atomic sites, which Tehran insists have only civilian energy purposes.

A defense source said the Israeli navy held an exercise off Eilat last month and that a Dolphin took part, having traveled to the Red Sea port though Suez. Israel has a naval base at Eilat, a 10-km (6-mile) strip of coast between Egypt and Jordan, but officials say it has no submarine dock there.

"This was definitely a departure from policy," said the source, who declined to give further details on the drill or say whether the Dolphin had undergone Egyptian inspections in the canal, through which the submarine sailed unsubmerged.

A military spokeswoman had no immediate comment on the voyage, first reported on Friday by the Jerusalem Post.

Egyptian officials at Suez said they would neither confirm nor deny reports regarding military movements. One official said that if there was such a passage by Israelis in the canal, it would not be problematic as Egypt and Israel are not at war.

Egypt is one of only two Arab states to have signed a peace treaty with Israel, but relations remain cool. However, Arab states that are allies of the United States appear to share some of Israel's concerns about non-Arab Iran's nuclear program.

Israel is assumed to have the Middle East's only atomic arsenal, but does not discuss this under an "ambiguity" policy billed as deterring its enemies while avoiding provocations.

Another Israeli defense source with extensive naval experience said the drill "showed that we can far more easily access the Indian Ocean, and the Gulf, than before".

But the source added: "If indeed our subs are capable of doing to Iran what they are believed to be capable of doing, then surely this is a capability that can be put into action from the Mediterranean?"

Each German-made Dolphin has 10 torpedo tubes, four of them widened at Israel's request - to accommodate, some independent analysts believe, nuclear-tipped cruise missiles. But there have been questions about whether these would have the 1,500-km
(1,000-mile) range needed to hit Iran from the Mediterranean.

Israel plans to acquire two more Dolphins early next decade. Naval analysts say this could allow it to set up a rotation whereby some of the submarines patrol distant shores while others secure the Israeli coast or dock to undergo maintenance.
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« Reply #675 on: July 05, 2009, 10:47:47 AM »

Israel denies Saudis gave IDF airspace clearance for Iran strike 
By Haaretz Service 
Tags: Saudi Arabia, Mossad

Saudi Arabia has indicated to Israel that it would not protest use of its airspace by Israeli fighter jets in the event the government resolves to launch a military assault against Iran, according to a report which appeared in the British newspaper The Sunday Times.

The Prime Minister's office issued a statement in response Sunday morning, saying that "the Sunday Times report is fundamentally false and completely baseless."

According to The Sunday Times, Mossad chief Meir Dagan held secret meetings with Saudi officials, who gave their tacit approval to Israel's use of the kingdom's airspace.

"The Saudis have tacitly agreed to the Israeli air force flying through their airspace on a mission which is supposed to be in the common interests of both Israel and Saudi Arabia," The Sunday Times quoted a diplomatic source as saying last week.

The report also quoted John Bolton, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, as saying that it would be "entirely logical" for Israeli warplanes to fly over Saudi Arabia en route to bombing nuclear targets in Iran.

Though any Israeli attack would be roundly condemned by Mideast leaders at the UN, Bolton said Arab leaders have privately expressed trepidation at the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran.

"None of them would say anything about it publicly but they would certainly acquiesce in an overflight if the Israelis didn't trumpet it as a big success," Bolton told The Sunday Times.
« Reply #676 on: July 05, 2009, 09:03:11 PM »

Anything recommended by Rush Limbaugh I am tempted to skip but anyway.

I have not read the book but this review makes the ideas sound really simplistic. People view of Israel is not only or even mostly about their view on Capitalism. Plenty of Libertarians  are critical of Israel. 

I am not a liberal  (or at least the liberal for this board) l because I am envious of successful people.  I actually happen to consider myself moderately  successful and I know people who make  a lot more money  or are more accomplished than me who  are much more liberal than I am.    Truthfully I occasionally jealous of people who have more money but in general I don't  want their work/life balance  or family life and I feel grateful for what I have.

This sort of confirms my views that a lot of conservatives don't understand what motivates liberals/progressives at all.

People views on Israel are based on many factors not just capitalism.  The articles does not even mention antisemitism.
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« Reply #677 on: July 05, 2009, 09:34:47 PM »

In general, conservatism is working from ideas that are proven to work while "liberalism" is generally based on fantasy and emotion.
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« Reply #678 on: July 05, 2009, 09:51:57 PM »

Hi Rachel:

George Gilder has quite a bit more going for him than a recommendation from Rush Limbaugh.

He was one of the house intellectuals of the Reagan Revolution, wrote a rather amazing book called "Wealth and Poverty" and then self taught himself high tech stuff to where he hangs out with multi-phds in stuff I don't even know how to describe.  He's made (and lost!) huge amounts of money advising in investments in high-tech stocks (including I might add making a lot of money for me, and then losing me quite a bit more). 

Anyway, I think you have dialed on a key weak link of his-- which is to have a clever insight and then to overuse it.  Nonetheless, the insight is, IMHO, exactly that.

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« Reply #679 on: July 06, 2009, 06:47:58 PM »

SUNDAY, JULY 05, 2009

The Green Light?
A pair of reports, published this weekend, suggest that Israel has received tacit permission for a raid against Iran's nuclear facilities.

The first account, from the U.K. Telegraph, claims that Saudi Arabia has assured Israel that it will "cast a blind eye" to IAF jets flying over the kingdom, during any potential raid against nuclear targets in Iran.

The head of Mossad, Israel’s overseas intelligence service, has assured Benjamin Netanyahu, its prime minister, that Saudi Arabia would turn a blind eye to Israeli jets flying over the kingdom during any future raid on Iran’s nuclear sites.

Earlier this year Meir Dagan, Mossad’s director since 2002, held secret talks with Saudi officials to discuss the possibility.

The Israeli press has already carried unconfirmed reports that high-ranking officials, including Ehud Olmert, the former prime minister, held meetings with Saudi colleagues. The reports were denied by Saudi officials.

“The Saudis have tacitly agreed to the Israeli air force flying through their airspace on a mission which is supposed to be in the common interests of both Israel and Saudi Arabia,” a diplomatic source said last week.

Use of Saudi airspace would solve enormous logistical, planning and tactical challenges for the IAF. Without a direct route (through Saudi Arabia or Iraq), Israeli pilots would be forced to use corridors through Turkey or around the Arabian Peninsula. As we noted more than three years ago, longer routes put added pressure on Israel's small tanker fleet, which would be used to re-fuel strike aircraft on the Iran mission.

Estimates vary on the exact numbers of tankers in the IAF inventory, but most analysts believe there are only 5-7 KC-707s. These aircraft would be an integral part of any long-range mission to Iran, providing aerial refueling and (possibly) command-and-control functions, such as radio relay. Israeli aircraft use the same "boom" refueling system as the USAF; fighters maneuver behind the tanker as the "boom operator" extends the refueling probe into the refueling receptacle of the receiving aircraft. Once contact is established, the tanker begins pumping fuel to the receiver, at a rate of several hundred pounds per minute.

The number of tankers available, coupled with their potential offload, will limit the size of any Israeli strike package. Again, estimates on the size of the formation vary (depending on the number of targets to be struck, fighter payload, target distance and airspeed), but many analysts believe the Israelis would launch 4-5 tankers, supporting no more than 30 strike aircraft, divided roughly between F-15Is and F-16Is (which would attack the nuclear facilities) and other F-15s and F-16s, flying air defense suppression and air superiority missions. Divide the number of "bombers" (say 15) by the number of nuclear complexes (four), and you'll see that the IAF has virtually no margin for error.

Flying across Saudi airspace would not only decrease in-flight refueling requirements, it could also allow the IAF to add additional strike aircraft to the package, and increase their munitions load, improving prospects for success. Utilizing a corridor through Saudi Arabia would also provide "plausible denial" for two of Israel's most important allies, Turkey (which controls northern approaches to Iran), and the United States, which controls Iraqi airspace.

But if securing the Saudi route is critically important--and it is--why leak the information? A couple of possibilities come to mind. First, there's the chance that someone in Israel or Saudi Arabia decided to leak the information, trying to deter the attack for political reasons.

Secondly, the leak may be designed to send a message to Iranian leaders. Saudi complicity means that Israel has overcome one of the last major obstacles in striking Iran's nuclear facilities. That means an attack would come at any time, giving the mullahs something to contemplate as they set strategy in Ahmadinejad's second presidential term.

The announcement about the Saudi air route came just days after another disclosure from Tel Aviv. Late last week, the Defense Ministry disclosed that an Israeli Dolphin-class recently transited the Suez Canal in June. It was the first IDF warship to use the waterway in years, and signals improving relations between Israel and Egypt. The transit also gives Israeli subs direct access to the Red Sea and Indian Ocean, putting them closer to possible targets in Iran.

According to various defense and press accounts, Israel's newest subs are capable of launching cruise missiles through their torpedo tubes. Details on the weapons system remain sketchy; some analysts believe the cruise missile is a modified Harpoon or Popeye with limited range. Others suggest a long-range weapon, capable of hitting targets up to 750 miles away. Whatever its capabilities, the cruise missile gives Israel another option for striking Iran.

There are also indications that the U.S. will not stand in the way if Israel attacks Tehran's nuclear facilities. In an interview on ABC's "This Week," Vice President Joe Biden said the Israelis are free to set their own course on Iran. According to the AP, Biden's remarks suggest the administration is adopting a "tougher" stance toward Tehran, although the vice president still holds out hope for talks with the Iranians.

Given Mr. Biden's penchant for verbal slips and gaffes, it's hard to say if his comments actually reflect administration policy, or he was simply free-lancing once again. Assuming his remarks are consistent with White House views, then it looks like the Obama team may be accepting the inevitable.

In other words, Tehran has no plans to give up its nuclear program, and Israel will not allow Iran to get the bomb. That makes an Israeli strike almost inevitable, and there's only so much the U.S. can do to prevent it.

Besides, even the "diplomacy first" crowd that dominates the White House and State Department must recognize the bottom line. If the Israelis go after Iran, they will be doing the world a favor, and (possibly) prevent a regional conflagration. It's the sort of bold action that-- in another time--might be openly endorsed by the U.S. But in today's political environment, tacit approval is about as good as it gets.
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« Reply #680 on: July 07, 2009, 07:28:48 PM »

Last update - 18:06 07/07/2009     
Israel turns to cyberware to foil Iran nukes 
By Reuters 
Tags: Cyberwar, Israel News, Iran   

In the late 1990s, a computer specialist from the Shin Bet security service hacked into the mainframe of the Pi Glilot fuel depot north of Tel Aviv. It was meant to be a routine test of safeguards at the strategic site. But it also tipped off Israel to the potential such hi-tech infiltrations offered for real sabotage.

"Once inside the Pi Glilot system, we suddenly realized that, aside from accessing secret data, we could also set off deliberate explosions, just by programming a re-route of the pipelines," said a veteran of the Shin Bet drill.
So began a cyberwarfare project which, a decade on, is seen by independent experts as the likely new vanguard of Israel's efforts to foil Iran's nuclear ambitions. The appeal of cyber attacks was boosted, Israeli sources say, by the limited feasibility of conventional air strikes on the distant and fortified Iranian atomic facilities, and by U.S. reluctance to countenance another open war in the Middle East.

"We came to the conclusion that, for our purposes, a key Iranian vulnerability is in its on-line information," said one recently retired security cabinet member, using a generic term for digital networks. "We have acted accordingly."

Cyberwarfare teams nestle deep within Israel's spy agencies, which have rich experience in traditional sabotage techniques and are cloaked in official secrecy and censorship. They can draw on the know-how of Israeli commercial firms that are among the world's hi-tech leaders and whose staff are often veterans of elite military intelligence computer units.

"To judge by my interaction with Israeli experts in various international forums, Israel can definitely be assumed to have advanced cyber-attack capabilities," said Scott Borg, director of the U.S. Cyber Consequences Unit, which advises various Washington agencies on cyber security.

Technolytics Institute, an American consultancy, last year rated Israel the sixth-biggest "cyber warfare threat", after China, Russia, Iran, France and extremist/terrorist groups".

The United States is in the process of setting up a "Cyber Command" to oversee Pentagon operations, though officials have described its mandate as protective, rather than offensive.  Asked to speculate about how Israel might target Iran, Borg said malware - a commonly used abbreviation for "malicious software" - could be inserted to corrupt, commandeer or crash the controls of sensitive sites like uranium enrichment plants. Such attacks could be immediate, he said. Or they might be latent, with the malware loitering unseen and awaiting an external trigger, or pre-set to strike automatically when the infected facility reaches a more critical level of activity.

As Iran's nuclear assets would probably be isolated from outside computers, hackers would be unable to access them directly, Borg said. Israeli agents would have to conceal the malware in software used by the Iranians or discreetly plant it on portable hardware brought in, unknowingly, by technicians.

"A contaminated USB stick would be enough," Borg said.

Ali Ashtari, an Iranian businessman executed as an Israeli spy last year, was convicted of supplying tainted communications equipment for one of Iran's secret military projects.  Iranian media quoted a security official as saying that Ashtari's actions "led to the defeat of the project with irreversible damage." Israel declined all comment on the case.

"Cyberwar has the advantage of being clandestine and deniable," Borg said, noting Israel's considerations in the face of an Iranian nuclear program that Tehran insists is peaceful.

"But its effectiveness is hard to gauge, because the targeted network can often conceal the extent of damage or even fake the symptoms of damage. Military strikes, by contrast, have an instantly quantifiable physical effect."

Israel may be open to a more overt strain of cyberwarfare. Tony Skinner of Jane's Defence Weekly cited Israeli sources as saying that Israel's 2007 bombing of an alleged atomic reactor in Syria was preceded by a cyber attack which neutralized ground radars and anti-aircraft batteries.

"State of War," a 2006 book by New York Times reporter James Risen, recounted a short-lived plan by the CIA and the Mossad to fry the power lines of an Iranian nuclear facility using a smuggled electromagnetic-pulse (EMP) device. A massive, nation-wide EMP attack on Iran could be affected by detonating a nuclear device at atmospheric height. But while Israel is assumed to have the region's only atomic arms, most experts believe they would be used only in a war of last resort.

Related articles:

Shin Bet: Terrorists on Facebook trying to recruit Israeli spies

Israel recruits 'army of bloggers' to combat anti-Zionist Web sites

Is Israel's booming high-tech industry a branch of the Mossad?

Israel, Iran liable to clash in 2009 over nukes, says U.S. intel chief

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« Reply #681 on: July 08, 2009, 09:08:21 PM »

Wednesday, July 8, 2009 International Law and Military Operations in Practice
Col. Richard Kemp -
[Watch the Video]
[Read the Full Transcript]

Former commander of British forces in Afghanistan Col. Richard Kemp told a
conference in Jerusalem on June 18, 2009:

Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

The battlefield - in any kind of war - is a place of confusion and chaos, of
fast-moving action. In the type of conflict that the Israeli Defense Forces
recently fought in Gaza and in Lebanon, and Britain and America are still
fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, these age-old confusions and complexities
are made one hundred times worse by the fighting policies and techniques of
the enemy.

Islamist fighting groups study the international laws of armed conflict
carefully and they understand it well. They know that a British or Israeli
commander and his men are bound by international law and the rules of
engagement that flow from it. They then do their utmost to exploit what they
view as one of their enemy's main weaknesses. Their very modus operandi is
built on the correct assumption that Western armies will normally abide by
the rules, while these insurgents employ a deliberate policy of operating
consistently outside international law.

Civilians and their property are routinely exploited by these groups, in
deliberate and flagrant violation of international laws or reasonable norms
of civilized behavior. Protected buildings, mosques, schools, and hospitals
are used as strongholds. Legal and proportional responses by a Western army
will be deliberately exploited and manipulated in order to produce
international outcry and condemnation.

Hamas' military capability was deliberately positioned behind the human
shield of the civilian population. They also ordered, forced when necessary,
men, women and children from their own population to stay put in places they
knew were about to be attacked by the IDF. Israel was fighting an enemy that
is deliberately trying to sacrifice their own people, deliberately trying to
lure you into killing their own innocent civilians.

And Hamas, like Hizbullah, is also highly expert at driving the media
agenda. They will always have people ready to give interviews condemning
Israeli forces for war crimes. They are adept at staging and distorting

When possible the IDF gave at least four hours' notice to civilians to leave
areas targeted for attack. The IDF dropped over 900,000 leaflets warning the
population of impending attacks to allow them to leave designated areas. The
IDF phoned over 30,000 Palestinian households in Gaza, urging them in Arabic
to leave homes where Hamas might have stashed weapons or be preparing to

Many attack helicopter missions that could have taken out Hamas military
capability were cancelled if there was too great a risk of civilian
casualties in the area. During the conflict, the IDF allowed huge amounts of
humanitarian aid into Gaza, even though delivering aid virtually into your
enemy's hands is to the military tactician normally quite unthinkable.
By taking these actions the IDF did more to safeguard the rights of
civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare.
« Reply #682 on: July 21, 2009, 07:32:17 AM »

Quick: call the Left and let them know about this disenfranchisement . . . oh wait, it's Arabs doing it. Nevermind.

Amman revoking Palestinians' citizenship
Jul. 20, 2009
Khaled Abu Toameh , THE JERUSALEM POST
Jordanian authorities have started revoking the citizenship of thousands of Palestinians living in Jordan to avoid a situation in which they would be "resettled" permanently in the kingdom, Jordanian and Palestinian officials revealed on Monday.

The new measure has increased tensions between Jordanians and Palestinians, who make up around 70 percent of the kingdom's population.

The tensions reached their peak over the weekend when tens of thousands of fans of Jordan's Al-Faisali soccer team chanted slogans condemning Palestinians as traitors and collaborators with Israel. Al-Faisali was playing the rival Wihdat soccer team, made up of Jordanian-Palestinians, in the Jordanian town of Zarqa.

Anti-riot policemen had to interfere to stop the Jordanian fans from lynching the Wihdat team members and their fans, eyewitnesses reported. They said the Jordanian fans of Al-Faisali hurled empty bottles and fireworks at the Palestinian players and their supporters.

Reports in a number of Jordanian newspapers said that the Jordanian fans also chanted anti-Palestinian slogans and cursed Palestine, the PLO, Jerusalem and the Aksa Mosque.

Prince Ali bin Hussein, chairman of Jordan's National Football Association, strongly condemned the racist slurs chanted by the Jordanian fans, saying those responsible would be severely punished.

Baker al-Udwan, director of Al-Faisali team, also condemned the behavior of his team's supporters. He said that a minority of "outcasts" and "corrupt" elements were behind the embarrassing verbal and physical assault on the Palestinian soccer players and their fans.

"We condemn this uncivilized demeanor and welcome any step that would result in the elimination of this tiny group of parasites," he said.

Tarek Khoury, chairman of the Wihdat team, instructed his players to abandon the field as soon as the Jordanian fans started hurling abuse against Palestinians and the Aksa Mosque.

Palestinians said that the confrontation with the Jordanians was yet another indication of increased tensions between the two sides.

"Many Palestinians living in Jordan are convinced that the Jordanian authorities are trying to squeeze them out," said Ismail Jaber, a West Bank lawyer who has been living in the kingdom for nearly 20 years. "There is growing discontent and uncertainty among Palestinians here."

He and other Palestinians said that Jordanians' "hostile" attitude toward them had escalated after the rise to power of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu earlier this year.

Several Jordanian government officials, they said, are convinced that Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman are secretly working toward turning Jordan into a Palestinian state.

As a preemptive measure, the Jordanian authorities recently began revoking the citizenship of thousands of Palestinians, leaving many of them in a state of panic and uncertainty regarding the future.

The Jordanians have justified the latest measure by arguing that it's aimed at avoiding a situation in which the Palestinians would ever be prevented from returning to their original homes inside Israel.

Since 1988, when the late King Hussein cut off his country's administrative and legal ties with the West Bank, the Jordanian authorities have been working toward "disengaging" from the Palestinians under the pretext of preserving their national identity.

That decision, said Jordan's Interior Minister Nayef al-Kadi, was taken at the request of the PLO and the Arab world to consolidate the status of the PLO as the sole and legitimate representative of the Palestinian people.

"Our goal is to prevent Israel from emptying the Palestinian territories of their original inhabitants," the minister explained, confirming that the kingdom had begun revoking the citizenship of Palestinians.

"We should be thanked for taking this measure," he said. "We are fulfilling our national duty because Israel wants to expel the Palestinians from their homeland."

Kadi said that, despite the new policy, Palestinians would be permitted to retain their status as residents of the kingdom by holding "yellow ID cards" that are issued to those who have families and homes in the West Bank.

He said that Palestinians working for the Palestinian Authority or the PLO were among those who have had their Jordanian passports taken from them, in addition to anyone who did not serve in the Jordanian army.

The Jordanian minister said that the Palestinian leadership in the West Bank had been notified of the decision to revoke the Jordanian citizenship of Palestinians.

A PA official in Ramallah expressed deep concern over Jordan's latest move and said that it would only worsen the conditions of Palestinians living in the kingdom. The official said that PA President Mahmoud Abbas raised the issue with King Abdullah II on a number of occasions, but the Jordanians have refused to retract.

Asked by the London-based Al-Hayat daily where the Palestinians should go after they lose their Jordanian passports, the minister replied: "We're not expelling anyone, nor are we revoking the citizenship of Jordanian nationals. We are only correcting the mistake that was created after Jordan's disengagement from the West Bank [in 1988]. We want to highlight the true identity and nationality of every person."

Kadi claimed that the kingdom was seeking, through the new measure, to thwart an Israeli "plot" to transfer more Palestinians to Jordan with the hope of replacing it with a Palestinian state.

"We insist that Jordan is not Palestine, just as Palestine is not Jordan," he stressed. "We will continue to help the Palestinians hold on to their Palestinian identity by pursuing the implementation of the 1988 disengagement plan from the West Bank."

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« Reply #683 on: July 22, 2009, 12:16:55 PM »

Well today's headlines are a final "explanation point" to BO's policies all along.
Remember when McCain said he would be Hamas and Hezbollah's worst nightmare and BO said we need to meet, hug and kiss them more or less.
I keep reading how politicians, military personel state how it would be a "disaster" or catastrophe" if we, or Israel were to use military force against Iran to slow or halt their nuclear weapons persuit.  Not one ioda that if Isreal were laid to waste by a nuclear attack that that would be a disaster. 
It is clear to me that those in power today have decided it is more in the US interest to risk annhilation of Israel than use war with Iran.  People who are not Jewish who otherwise don't care about Jews, do have an argument that Israel is not enough of a major player that it would be worth it to the US.  I can't rationally deny that. 
As a Jew I hate the thought.  As a Jew I will feel sorry for the 80% of Jews who gave up their fellow Jews to vote for a liberal who made his intentions know throughout his life.  For them to say now they are surprised that Bo is siding more with the Jew haters than the Jews is hypocricy.  It is and was obvious.

We can only hope for some sort of political change in Iran before it is too late.
If only we allowed our oil companies to drill for off shore oil off the continental US 5 or 10 years ago we wouldn't be as much at the mercy of foreign oil.  All the darn windmills, corn, solar panels covering the entire midwest won't solve our problems any time soon.
The environementalist have won.  And we have lost.  And indirectly it hurt the Jews in Israel.  The risk of flow of oil throught the Persain gulf is obviously one factor that is being considered in siding against military force against Iran.

Just my arm chair thoughts on today's Drudge headlines:

  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday stirred Israeli fears that Washington would accept a nuclear armed Iran when she raised the idea of a US "defence umbrella" for Gulf allies.
However, Clinton, during a visit to Thailand for an Asian security conference, said later that she was not announcing a new policy and simply wanted to turn Iran away from pursuing a nuclear weapon.

Clinton told Thai television in Bangkok that President Barack Obama's administration was still open to engage Iran in talks about its nuclear programme but warned that Tehran would not be safer if it obtains a bomb.

"We will still hold the door open" to talks over its nuclear program Clinton said.

"But we also have made it clear that we will take action, as I've said time and time again, crippling action, working to upgrade the defence of our partners in the region," she said.

Her previous references to "crippling action" have referred to sanctions.

"We want Iran to calculate what I think is a fair assessment: that if the US extends a defence umbrella over the region, if we do even more to support the military capacity of those in the Gulf, it is unlikely Iran will be any stronger or safer," Clinton said.

"They won't be able to intimidate and dominate as they apparently believe they can once they have a nuclear weapon."

In Jerusalem, Israeli Intelligence Services Minister Dan Meridor criticised her remarks.

"I heard without enthusiasm the American declarations according to which the United States will defend their allies in the event that Iran uses nuclear weapons, as if they were already resigned to such a possibility," he said.

"This is a mistake," Meridor said. "We cannot act now by assuming that Iran will be able to arm itself with a nuclear weapon, but to prevent such a possibility."

Clinton made her initial comments during a recording for a Thai television show before heading to Asia's largest security forum in the Thai resort island of Phuket, where talks were expected to focus on possible nuclear links between North Korea and Myanmar.

Speaking at a press conference in Phuket later, Clinton suggested her remarks were misunderstood.

"I'm not suggesting a new policy. In fact we all believe that Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons is unacceptable, and I've said that many times," she said.

"I'm simply pointing out that Iran needs to understand that it's pursuit of nuclear weapons will not advance its security or achieve its goals of enhancing its power regionally and globally," she said.

"The focus that Iran must have is that it faces the prospect -- if it pursues nuclear weapons -- of sparking an arms race in the region," she said.

"That should affect a calculation of what Iran intends to do and what it believes is in its national security interest because it may render Iran less secure, not more secure," she said.

US lawmakers on Monday stepped up pressure on Obama to ready tough new economic sanctions on Iran in the event Tehran fails to freeze its uranium enrichment programme by late 2009.

Iran, labouring under UN sanctions for its defiance, has rejected the West's charges that it seeks nuclear weapons under cover of a civilian atomic energy program.

Obama has said he wants a diplomatic solution to the standoff but has repeatedly warned that he has not ruled out the use of force.

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« Reply #684 on: August 04, 2009, 10:12:00 AM »

Buchanan on the threat to Israel:

Comments Tell Israel: Cool the Jets!
by  Patrick J. Buchanan


Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, who is wired into the cabinet of "Bibi" Netanyahu, warns that if Iran's nuclear program is not aborted by December, Israel will strike to obliterate it.

Defense Secretary Gates' mission to Israel this week, says Bolton, to relay Obama's red light, was listened to attentively, but will not be decisive.

Israel will decide.

One trusts Gates got into the face of Defense Minister Ehud Barak. For an Israeli strike on Iran, which Joe Biden foolishly said was Israel's call, would drag this country into a third war in the Middle East and destroy a policy that is visibly succeeding.

The Iranian regime is still reeling from the June 12 election, widely perceived in Iran and worldwide as stolen, and its tumultuous aftermath. Hundreds of thousands poured into the streets to protest the election, and then attack the legitimacy itself of the Islamic regime.

The government is gripped by its worst crisis since the revolution of 1979. Members of Iran's establishment with unimpeachable revolutionary credentials have declared the election a fraud.
Ahmadinejad's selection as first vice president of Esfandiar Rahim Mashaie, whose son is married to his daughter, and who has said some kind words about Israel, outraged conservatives.
Ahmadinejad was ordered by Ayatollah Khamenei to rescind the Mashaie appointment. For days he balked, then sent a curt note saying he would comply. Ahmadinejad further affronted the ayatollah by naming Mashaie his chief of staff.
Teheran is now ablaze over reports that scores of street protesters arrested in June may have been beaten to death in prison.
There is talk in Teheran, even before he has been sworn in for a second term, that Ahmadinejad may be impeached or ousted long before he can complete it.
America's policy of patience is working.
And as Ahmadinejad is Israel's bete noire, who Netanyahu cites as the religious fanatic who wants to "wipe Israel off the map" and will launch a nuclear weapon on Tel Aviv as soon as he gets it, why would Israel strike now, and reunite Iranians behind this regime?
Why does Israel insist that America has only five months to halt Iran's nuclear program, or Israel must attack?
Says Bolton: "(W)ith each passing day, Iran's nuclear and ballistic laboratories, production facilities, and military bases are all churning. Israel is focused on these facts, not the illusion of 'tough' diplomacy."
Now, Iran's nuclear "production facilities" may be "churning" out the low-enriched uranium of which it has produced enough for one test bomb. But IAEA inspectors still have their eyes on this pile. None of the LEU has been diverted anywhere.
There is no evidence Iran has built the cascade to raise LEU to highly enriched weapons-grade uranium, or that the facilities even exist to do this. The Iranian regime has declared it has no intention of building nuclear weapons, indeed, that their possession would be a violation of Koranic law.
And the United States has not rescinded its own National Intelligence Estimate of 2007 that Iran, in 2003, abandoned its weapons program.
Israel has been saying for years an Iranian bomb is months away.
Where is the proof? Where is the evidence to justify a new U.S. war in the Middle East to destroy weapons of mass destruction that may not exist in Iran, as they did not exist in Iraq?
Iran may wish to have a nuclear deterrent, considering what happened to neighbor Iraq, which did not. But the idea that the regime, having built a nuclear weapon, would launch it on Tel Aviv and bring massive retaliation by scores of Israeli nukes on Teheran and other cities, killing millions of Iranians and all the leaders and their families of all factions of this disputatious people, seems like total madness.
For Israel to launch a war on such reasoning would seem to meet Bismarck's definition of preemptive war as "committing suicide out of fear of death."
America lived for decades under a threat of nuclear annihilation. We relied on a policy of containment and deterrence, outlasted the Soviet regime in a 40-year Cold War, and are now at peace with Russia.
Ahmadinejad is not so tough a customer as Stalin, Khrushchev or Mao, who talked of accepting 300 million dead in a nuclear exchange. Moreover, Ahmadinejad has no nukes, no authority to take Iran to war, and is looking like a very lame duck before his second term has begun.
And when one looks to U.S. and Iranian interests, they coincide as much as they conflict. Iran detested the Taliban before we took them down, and no more wants them back than do we. Iran is even more pleased with the Shia regime we brought to power in Baghdad than we are.
Iran needs technology to restore its depleted oil and gas fields, and an end to sanctions to restore an economy whose disintegration helped put the regime in crisis and lose it the support of its young.
Obama should tell the Israelis, "Cool the jets!" literally.

Mr. Buchanan is a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Churchill, Hitler, and "The Unnecessary War": How Britain Lost Its Empire and the West Lost the World, "The Death of the West,", "The Great Betrayal," "A Republic, Not an Empire" and "Where the Right Went Wrong."

    Reader Comments: (844)

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Please remember the opinions expressed by our readers are in no way those of Human Events, nor are they condoned by us, and we reserve the right to remove abusive posts. Report Abusive Post
Seems like every time the price of oil sags, Israel (or her apologists) start floating the idea of striking Iran. Funny, isn't it?
Jul 31, 2009 @ 10:18 AMWallaby, The outback
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Is everyone who posts here anti-Semitic or just plain ignorant?
Jul 31, 2009 @ 10:35 AMRandy, Dallas
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The problem with this, of course, is that US concerns aren't the primary concern of Israel; Israel is. They also aren't stupid so I find it unlikely that they will actually launch an attack until they are sure they have no choice because they are just as aware of the fallout they'll have to deal with. However, if they believe that Iran is close to a working bomb and knowing what the likely repercussions of that would be for Israel, they're not going to care what we think. Since we're obviously not overly concerned with the effect our policies have on them, I fail to think them blamable for that attitude.
Jul 31, 2009 @ 10:48 AMMDF, Mass
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Amen. I totally agree with this. Any strike now would reverse all the hard work already done
Jul 31, 2009 @ 10:51 AMGraham, Slough
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ISRAEL, SEND THE JETS TO IRAN. Let's get this show on the road.
Jul 31, 2009 @ 10:52 AMHarold Reimann, Lucerne Valley, CA
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One big problem with your analysis Pat. The leaders of the Soviet Union were not suicidal. The leaders of Iran are. The MAD policy worked with the Soviet Union because they had no personal interest in dying. Ahmadinejad on the other hand believes he will get lots of virgins and eternal drunken party if he dies in a conflict with the “Great Satan” or “Little Satan”. He has no reason to fear annihilation.
Jul 31, 2009 @ 10:59 AMRD, Texas
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Wrong, Pat. Israel has no choice but to attack Iran and she will. She is just waiting for Obama's popularity to fall.
Jul 31, 2009 @ 11:06 AMjorgen, SShare Your Comment  Show All Comments
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« Reply #685 on: August 04, 2009, 10:52:49 PM »

Russia and Israel.
Ahmed Hany May 12, 2009The ex-Soviet Union was the first country that recognized Israel. Moreover, there was an untold agreement between it and the Western powers to keep the military balance in the Middle East in the favor of the Hebrew State. The military relaxation in the Middle East was the term agreed by both superpowers while Israel was occupying Sinai, Golan, West Bank and Gaza. Egypt fought against the will of both superpowers to create new strategic facts on the ground, so that political negotiations could be profitable.

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia kept the same views in the Middle East. It opened doors for its Jewish community to immigrate to Israel and within few years about a million and half Jews reached Israel from Russia. It kept the military balance by limiting arms supplies to its allies. It frankly assured Israel that its arms supplies to Syria and Iran will not change the military balance in the Middle East. These facts mean that Russia have an interest in keeping Israel in the region and safeguarding its security against all countries including Russia´s allies. This should be clear for those who still see the solution of the conflict in the Middle East would be only achieved by throwing Israel into the sea.

In fact Napoleon was the first who thought about creating a nation for Jews in the East separating Egypt from Turkey so that, the Ottoman Empire would collapse. Let us not forget that Russia saw the Ottoman Empire a strategic threat. The Egyptian army saved Turkey in its war against Russia. Few years later, when Mohamed Ali was about to transfer the capital of the Empire to Cairo to renew it against the will of the Ottoman Sultan, Russia joined the international alliance against Egypt. Then, Russia sees Israel beneficial for its strategy provided that Israel itself does not pose a threat to it. This clears the swinging Russian policy in the Middle East since creation of Israel. The Russians see the Israeli nuclear force hostile because they consider it a part of the Western nuclear force. However they see Israel vital for not creating a great power on their Southern borders.

Within the frame of the global conflict between NATO expansion to the East and the Russian desire to safeguard its vital space, the Balkan War erupted. Regardless of the victory over Georgia, the Russians discovered that their aerial surveillance by their unmanned aircrafts was not advanced like the equipments that their tiny rival used. Former Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Levini asked the military institutions to stop exporting arms to Georgia not to anger Russia. In fact, the untold agreement that kept the military balance in the Middle East is more important for Israel than Georgia.

Israel always tries to keep military relation and cooperation with any country that produce arms. That happened with China, India, Brazil, Argentina and even Turkey. While the Arabs might buy arms from these countries, Israel might provide technical aid to develop their industry. Of course cooperation with Israel is more profitable for these countries. Anyhow, Arabs would buy the older less advanced versions because they have no other choice. Israel even may spy on the US and exchange secrets with these countries as what happened with China. Therefore, it was normal for Russia to buy advanced unmanned aircrafts with 49 million dollars from Israel. One should not be astonished if Russia went into more cooperative steps as military exercise.

Since the Balkan War, Russia applies a new strategy that compete militarily with the US up to the level of threatening it European allies with ground to ground missiles and with long range strategic bomber planes. It consolidated its military presence in Latin America. Russia chose to return differently to the Middle East. It is returning to this volatile region as one of the Quartet not as a rival to the US. The difference shows the limit of Russian support to the Palestinian cause. Being a rival to the US opens the door for Russia to stand against Israel. Being one of the Quartet means that Russia would support solving the problem to reach the Two-States solution while safeguarding the presence and security of Israel.

Regarding the Iranian nuclear file, Russia is in favor of dialogue. However it refuses and perhaps more than the US that Iran becomes a nuclear power. Russia does not want another war on its Southern border that may destabilize Central Asia. Even in Afghanistan, Russia is ready to fight if NATO lost the war. It does not want to see Taliban rule again at any cost as the extremism would spread to it small republics that seek independence. Shanghai Cooperation Organization SCO that was formed by four Central Asian republics along with Russia and China did military exercise and is ready for development in Afghanistan. Some strategic analysts predict that SCO would not last long. However, it showed to the Russians that NATO operations in Afghanistan may form a good base for SCO-NATO cooperation. It is known that the US and NATO use unmanned aircrafts heavily for offensive operations against Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The conclusion is to change the military balance in the Middle East the Arabs should develop their ability to industrialize weapons. Russia may not take policies that contradict with the western powers and at the same time its policies are not a copy of them. The global strategy may open doors for some countries to be allies for a certain aim and their contradicting national strategies may lead them to be rivals in other subjects. The military industry and export is now more opened than before. While Russia buys unmanned aircrafts from Israel and provides Iran with military and nuclear aid, it may sell advanced air defense systems to Turkey, the NATO member while assuring that these systems will not be deployed in Syria and Iran.

Arabs should define their regional strategy and their role in the global strategy before talking to or criticizing global powers. They may discover opportunities by coordinating their strategy with the strategies of some global powers and they would know how to defuse threats. The real security strategy is built in schools, laboratories and research centers.
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« Reply #686 on: August 05, 2009, 10:22:58 AM »


What do your know about the author of that piece?
« Reply #687 on: August 09, 2009, 11:22:45 AM »

And these would be the moderates. . . .

Last update - 17:56 08/08/2009         

Fatah: We'll sacrifice victims until Jerusalem is ours

By Haaretz Service and DPA

Tags: Jerusalem, Israel News, Fatah


The status of Jerusalem as the future capital of a Palestinian state is a red line that no Palestinian leader is permitted to cross, President Mahmoud Abbas' ruling Fatah faction declared in the West Bank on Saturday.

According to Israel Radio, the Fatah general conference, which convened in Bethlehem for a three-day gathering, adopted a position paper which also states that the Palestinian national enterprise will not reach fruition until all of Jerusalem, including the outlying villages, come under Palestinian sovereignty.

Fatah, which rules the West Bank but was ousted from power in Gaza by the Islamist Hamas movement, also ruled out any interim agreements with Israel.

"Fatah will continue to sacrifice victims until Jerusalem will be returned [to the Palestinians], clean of settlements and settlers," the paper states.

According to Israel Radio, the paper does not make a distinction between the eastern and western halves of the capital, nor does it distinguish between the territories within the Israeli side of the Green Line and the areas captured by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War.

Abbas relected to lead Fatah
Mahmoud Abbas was re-elected on Saturday to lead Fatah by consensus at the party conference.

There was no vote taken because no other Fatah member challenged Abbas'
five-year rule of the party. Hundreds of delegates cheered and clapped as
Fatah leader Tayib Abdul Rahim announced that Abbas was chosen to lead the party.

Technically Abbas can only lead the party for five years, until a new
conference is announced, but this is the first time Fatah members have met in 20 years, so it isn't clear how long his mandate will last.

Also Saturday, Ahmed Qureia, also known as Abu Alla, told reporters that delegates meeting in Bethlehem would elect a new Central Committee and a Revolutionary Council on Sunday or Monday.

Qureia said the convention would hold the elections for both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank at the same time, adding that "some Gaza members will contest the elections."

He said the modalities of the election were still under discussion. Changes to Fatah's platform were being discussed during Saturday's sessions, he said.

Abbas Zaki, a Fatah representative from Lebanon said "100 candidates are running for membership of the Central Committee and 646 for the Revolutionary Council.

Voting by the some 2,500 delegates for the 18-member Central Committee, and 120-member Revolutionary Council had originally been expected to start on Saturday morning.

The convention is meeting for the first time in 20 years to elect a new leadership for the organization founded by Yasser Arafat.

However, Fatah rival Hamas, which has ruled the Gaza Strip since June 2007, banned scores of Fatah members there from traveling to the West Bank to attend the gathering.

On Friday, Central Committee member Nabil Shaath announced an agreement reached with the convention's leadership that would allow Gaza delegates to vote by telephone.

Fatah said in a statement that Hamas security forces had placed several Gaza convention delegates under house arrest and prevented them from leaving their homes.

It said that on Friday and Saturday, Hamas security personnel detained several Fatah leaders for questioning before releasing them. Hamas Interior Ministry spokesman Ihab al-Ghussein denied there were any detentions.

U.S. to demand Israel, Palestinian deal with borders

The U.S. administration will demand that Israel and the Palestinians address the issue of borders as the first step in the Middle East peace plan, senior Palestinian officials said Thursday.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Wednesday that Washington will present its new plan for a comprehensive Middle East peace soon.

The Americans will also outline proposals for an Israeli peace with Syria and Lebanon, the Palestinian officials said Thursday.

The American plan will not specify step-by-step actions for an Israeli-Palestinian solution, but will address final status issues - borders, Jerusalem and refugees.

The Americans will set a timetable of about a year and a half for the negotiations and demand the sides first solve the border issue, under the belief that this will lead to solutions for other issues, such as the settlements and water. After that the sides will discuss the other fundamental issues - Jerusalem and the refugees.

The negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians probably will be conducted in the presence of American officials, the sources said. The American administration is likely to present its plan before or during the UN General Assembly set for September.
« Reply #688 on: August 15, 2009, 09:26:46 AM »

Editor's Notes: Not Obama, but Abbas
Aug. 13, 2009

It's not the US president we Israelis most need to hear from. It's the Palestinian leader, though after the Fatah conference it's harder than ever to believe he has anything very constructive to say.

The assertion has been gaining ground in recent days that Israelis need some Obama time.

The 44th president is now almost seven months into his term, he's done his fair share of globe-trotting, including in this region, and yet he's not yet found the day or two to pop in and visit the only allied democracy in the Middle East.

Not only are we anxious to host the president, runs the argument advanced in a number of recent newspaper editorials and op-ed articles, but if only Obama were to speak directly to us - as he spoke to the Muslim world in Cairo in June - we would understand him better, like him more, and act accordingly. As things stand, goes this line of thinking, we're feeling unloved, marginalized, even irritated - and so we're digging in our little Zionist heels.

Well, of course we'd welcome a presidential visit. Just over a year ago, when candidate Obama made a brief trip here, he was accorded the full rock-star treatment. The preceding visit, by a bona fide serving national leader, Britain's dour Prime Minister Gordon Brown, was utterly overshadowed by his arrival. Everybody wanted to meet the glamorous Democratic nominee. Every journalist wanted to interview him. Every politician of most every stripe wanted their photo taken with him... sorry, wanted to hold substantive political discussions with him.

Were he to return, now, as leader of the free world, the interest would be still more intense, the clamor for his attention yet more feverish, and the joy that he had spared us some of his time even more unbridled.

At a stroke, I suspect, the very fact of his arrival would begin to remake some of those opinion polls which show that an overwhelming proportion of Israelis consider his presidency to be anything but pro-Israeli. We are a volatile, enthusiastic and easily pleased people. When the leaders of Arab nations embrace the leaders of ours, we have proven ready overnight to put aside decades of well-founded suspicion and to shift, by morning, to a veritable insistence on territorial compromise for the awakened cause of peace. Were the president of our most beloved and most important ally to fly into Ben-Gurion Airport, reemphasize his country's unwavering commitment to our well-being, and set out his vision of our path to long-term stability, we would applaud him, carefully examine what he had to say, and perhaps even shift our attitudes... a little.

But the notion that a few well-chosen words, delivered on our home turf by an articulate, charismatic president, would fundamentally change us, and by extension fundamentally alter the complex mix of forces that, to date, are stymieing Obama's energetic bid to revive the Israeli-Arab process, is simplistic and mistaken.

Because the fact is that it's not Barack Obama we Israelis most need to hear from. It's Mahmoud Abbas - and a very different Abbas, at that, from the one who presided over the just-ended Fatah conference in Bethlehem.

DAY AFTER incendiary day in Bethlehem this week and the week before that, we did hear from Abbas, and from his colleagues in the Fatah leadership. And the noise was not good.

We heard the absurd accusation that Israel, under former prime minister Ariel Sharon, had conspired in the assassination of Abbas's predecessor Yasser Arafat. This is a pernicious charge indeed - that the Zionists killed the symbol of the Palestinian national cause. Risibly, a committee was established, with unanimous approval, not to probe whether Israel had done the foul deed - that ridiculous assertion was treated as a given - but rather how it had been achieved.

We heard speeches insisting on the Palestinian right to "resistance." We heard speeches in defense of the Aksa Martyrs Brigades - Fatah's chief perpetrators of suicide bombings - a terrorist organization that the Palestinian Authority is supposed to have dismantled but which was ringingly re-endorsed as the Fatah armed wing. We heard pledges of looming Fatah "sacrifices" in the cause of liberating all of Jerusalem, until the city "returns to the Palestinians void of settlers and settlements."

By comparison with some of the resolutions his colleagues approved, Abbas's own address to the conference was relatively mild - endorsing "the path of peace and negotiations" and rejecting "all forms of terrorism" even as he reserved the Palestinians' "authentic right to legitimate resistance as guaranteed by international law."

But what we heard overall - what the Israeli and the Palestinian publics heard overall - were not the harmonious melodies of reconciliation, but the fiery, bitter rhetoric of conflict and confrontation. What we heard overall was not even the reluctant acceptance of Jewish sovereign legitimacy alongside the struggle for Palestinian sovereign rights, but the angry denunciation of an Israel whose claim to its own capital was rejected and whose Jewish demographic majority was to be overturned by an influx of millions of "returning" Palestinians.

AN OBAMA visit to Israel might just help chivvy along some kind of formula over settlement building that would enable the current Israeli government to honor its own platform and the American president to save face. But mainstream Israel's discomfort with the president's calls for a settlement freeze is not a function of his Israel-free travel itinerary to date. It is, rather, a consequence of his having pressed emphatically for a halt to all building - in east Jerusalem and Ma'aleh Adumim as well as at remote isolated settlements and outposts.

Into one undistinguished whole, the Obama administration has lumped those areas where most Israelis insist we have the right to build (in parts of Jerusalem to which Israel extended sovereignty after the 1967 war), along with areas most Israelis would like to retain under a permanent accord (such as Ma'aleh Adumim and the Etzion Bloc), together with settlement areas most Israelis would be prepared to relinquish under a permanent accord (dozens upon dozens of settlements beyond the security barrier) and minor settlements that this government vows it is about to remove (the illegal outposts).

By removing the distinctions between these categories of settlement, the administration has galvanized a far larger body of Israeli opposition to a freeze than would have resulted from a more nuanced approach - in the process undermining its own efforts to foster support for compromise.

Moreover, by pushing so relentlessly for a freeze even as it has failed to prise significant steps toward normalization from key Arab players such as Saudi Arabia, it has left Israelis bristling and bemused. Why, it is quite widely wondered here, does the US administration seem convinced that, if only Israel would freeze settlement building, harmony and peace would ensue, when so many Palestinian and Arab utterances make the opposite conclusion so unavoidable? By extension, if the US is so wrongheaded about this, how much of a risk can Israel really take with this administration as it seeks to mediate an accord?

And let there be no doubt: Israel is already taking security risks, in the shape of eased restrictions on Palestinian movement in the West Bank, and in the shape of support for the widening authority of US-trained Palestinian security forces.

AN OBAMA visit would be encouraging, welcome and almost certainly constructive. Israel would certainly be pleased to hear directly from the president. But the voice we need to hear is that of Abbas - an Abbas speaking to his people and to ours in terms he did not employ at Fatah's Bethlehem gathering. An Abbas countering the duplicitous Arafat's assertion to the Palestinian public that the Jews have no rights and no legitimacy here. An Abbas explaining to his people and to ours that we are fated to live together and that he will meet us on the road to a better future.

The trouble is that it gets ever harder to believe that Abbas is indeed a Palestinian leader devoted to compromise when he, by his own admission, so derisively rejected Ehud Olmert's unprecedented peace overtures. It gets ever harder when Abbas presides over the relegitimization of the murderous Aksa Martyrs Brigades at a Fatah conference that did anything but advance prospects for reconciliation.

Worthy columns and editorials notwithstanding, you see, it's not what the US president isn't saying directly to us that's most worrying for Israelis. It's what the Palestinian leadership is saying, to its own people and to anyone else who's listening: far too much that is deeply troubling, and far too little that engenders good faith.
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« Reply #689 on: August 15, 2009, 10:13:34 AM »

Good post Rachel. 

Why oh why can't Israel negotiate with and trust these people?


Hamas crushes challenge by al-Qaida-inspired group

AP � Members of a militant Islamic group Jund Ansar Allah, stand guard as their leader Abdel-Latif Moussa, �
By IBRAHIM BARZAK, Associated Press Writer � 14 mins ago

RAFAH, Gaza Strip � The leader of an al-Qaida-inspired group in the Gaza Strip blew himself up during a shootout Saturday with Hamas security forces, ending hours of violence sparked by a rebellious sermon at a mosque near the Egyptian border.

At least 24 people were killed in clashes with the shadowy group, which posed one of the biggest challenges to Hamas since the militant group seized power in Gaza two years ago.

The fighting broke out Friday when Hamas security men surrounded a mosque in the southern Gaza town of Rafah on the Egyptian border where about 100 members of Jund Ansar Allah, or the Soldiers of the Companions of God, were holed up.

Flares lit up the sky overnight as Hamas machine gun fire and rocket propelled grenades slammed into the mosque. The militants inside returned fire with automatic weapons and grenades of their own.

The head of the radical Islamic group, Abdel-Latif Moussa, detonated an explosives vest he was wearing when fighting resumed after dawn Saturday, said Ihab Ghussein, a Hamas Interior Ministry spokesman.

"The so-called Moussa has committed suicide ... killing a mediator who had been sent to him to persuade him and his followers to hand themselves over to the government," Ghussein said.

He said the fighting ended later in the morning. Dr. Moaiya Hassanain of the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza said a total of 24 people, including six Hamas police officers and an 11-year-old girl, were killed and 150 were wounded.

The group's Web site vowed revenge: "We swear to God to avenge the martyrs' blood and we will turn their women into widows."

Hamas also confirmed the death in the fighting of one of its high-level commanders, Abu Jibril Shimali, whom Israel said orchestrated the capture three years ago of Sgt. Gilad Schalit, an Israeli soldier who is still being held by Hamas.

The fighting appeared to confirm Hamas' iron rule in Gaza despite a punishing Israeli and Egyptian blockade that keeps all but basic humanitarian supplies from entering the impoverished seaside territory.

It also underscored the group's determination not to allow opponents with differing ideologies to gain a foothold in Gaza. The Gaza Strip and the West Bank are together supposed to make up a future Palestinian state, but Hamas' bloody seizure of Gaza in 2007 created rival governments in the two territories � located on opposite sides of Israel � that are complicating Palestinian efforts to gain independence.

Jund Ansar Allah claims inspiration from al-Qaida's ultraconservative brand of Islam but no direct links have been confirmed.

The confrontation was triggered when the leader of the group defied Gaza's Hamas rulers by declaring in a Friday prayer sermon that the territory was an Islamic emirate.

Jund Ansar Allah and a number of other small radical groups seek to enforce an even stricter version of Islamic law in Gaza than that advocated by Hamas.

These groups are also upset that the Hamas regime has honored a cease-fire with Israel for the past seven months.

Hamas says it does not impose its religious views on others, but only seeks to set a pious example for people to follow.

Radical splinter groups such as Jund Ansar Allah call for a global jihad against the entire Western world, while Hamas maintains its struggle is only against the Israeli occupation.

"They are inspired by unbalanced ideologies and in the past they carried out a number of explosions targeting Internet cafes and wedding parties," said Ghussein, adding that the groups do not have any external ties.

The hard-line groups are perhaps the most serious opposition Hamas has faced since it seized control of Gaza and ousted its rivals in the Fatah movement in a five-day civil war in June 2007.

Hamas security blocked all roads to Rafah and declared the town a closed military zone. They said they have arrested about 40 members of the group so far.

Hamas is also investigating the launching of 11 homemade rockets from Gaza into Egypt on Friday. Only five of the rockets detonated, injuring a young girl, said Egyptian security forces.

Saeb Erekat, a senior peace negotiator with Israel and a member of the rival Fatah group in the West Bank, described the situation in Gaza as "alarming."

"Gaza is going down the drain in chaos and lawlessness," he told the AP.

Jund Ansar Allah first came to public attention in June after it claimed responsibility for a failed attempt to attack Israel from Gaza on horseback.

In July, three Muslim extremists from the group holed themselves up in a building in southern Gaza, surrendering to Hamas police only after a lengthy standoff.

It is unclear how many adherents Jund Ansar Allah or other similar extremist groups have in Gaza.

« Reply #690 on: August 16, 2009, 08:12:04 PM »

Gilder and this kind of article are not really my thing. I  think he states the main point too strongly and antisemitims has many causes  mostly not ratiaonal and I don't think resenting achievemnet is at the heart of it.
 However  I thought some of you might be interested and  this article it has more depth (imo) than the original. 
The Israel Test
by George Gilder

Israel is hated not for her vices but her virtues.

Like the Jews throughout history, Israel poses a test to the world. In particular, it is a test for any people that lusts for the fruits of capitalism without submitting to capitalism's imperious moral code. Because capitalism, like the biblical faith from which it largely arises, remorselessly condemns to darkness and death those who resent the achievements of others.

At the heart of anti-Semitism is resentment of Jewish achievement. Today that achievement is concentrated in Israel. Obscured by the usual media coverage of the "war-torn" Middle East, Israel has become one of the most important economies in the world, second only to the United States in its pioneering of technologies benefiting human life, prosperity, and peace.

But so it has always been. Israel, like the Jews throughout history, is hated not for her vices but her virtues. Israel is hated, as the United States is hated, because Israel is successful, because Israel is free, and because Israel is good.

As Maxim Gorky put it: "Whatever nonsense the anti-Semites may talk, they dislike the Jew only because he is obviously better, more adroit, and more capable of work than they are." Whether driven by culture or genes -- or like most behavior, an inextricable mix -- the fact of Jewish genius is demonstrable. It can be gainsaid only by people who do not expect to be believed.

Charles Murray distilled the evidence in Commentary magazine in April 2007. The Jewish mean intelligence quotient is 110, ten points above the norm. This strikingly higher average intelligence, however, is not the decisive factor in overall Jewish achievement.

The three-tenths of 1 percent of the world population that is Jewish has contributed some 25 percent of notable human intellectual accomplishment in the modern period.

What matters in human accomplishment is not the average performance but the treatment of exceptional performance and the cultivation of genius. The commanding lesson of Jewish accomplishment is that genius trumps everything else. Whatever the cause of high IQ, as Murray explains, "the key indicator for predicting exceptional accomplishment (like winning a Nobel Prize) is the incidence of exceptional intelligence... The proportion of Jews with IQs of 140 or higher is somewhere around six times the proportion of everyone else" and rises at still higher IQs.

The great error of contemporary social thought is that poverty must result from "discrimination" or "exploitation." Because Jews tend to be overrepresented at the pinnacles of excellence, a dogmatic belief that nature favors equal outcomes fosters hostility to capitalism and leads inexorably to anti-Semitism.

The socialists and anti-Semites have it backwards. Poverty needs little explanation. It has been the usual condition of nearly all human beings throughout all history. What is precious and in need of explanation and nurture is the special configuration of cultural and intellectual aptitudes and practices -- the differences, the inequalities -- that under some rare and miraculous conditions have produced wealth for the world. Inequality is the answer, not the problem.

In his book Human Accomplishment Murray focused on the fact that the three-tenths of 1 percent of the world population that is Jewish has contributed some 25 percent of notable human intellectual accomplishment in the modern period. Murray cites the historical record:

He then proceeds to more recent data:


The achievements of modern science are heavily the expression of Jewish genius and ingenuity. If 26 percent of Nobel Prizes do not suffice to make the case, it is confirmed by 51 percent of Wolf Prizes in Physics, 28 percent of the Max Planck Medailles, 38 percent of the Dirac Medals, 37 percent of the Heineman Prizes for Mathematical Physics, and 53 percent of the Enrico Fermi Awards.

Jews are not only superior in abstruse intellectual pursuits, such as quantum physics and nuclear science, however. They are also heavily overrepresented among entrepreneurs of the technology businesses that lead and leaven the global economy. Social psychologist David McClelland, author of The Achieving Society, found that entrepreneurs are identified by a greater "need for achievement" than are other groups. "There is little doubt," he concluded, explaining the disproportionate representation of Jews among entrepreneurs, that in the United States, "the average need for achievement among Jews is higher than for the general population."

"Need for achievement" alone, however, will not enable a person to start and run a successful technological company. That takes a combination of technological mastery, business prowess, and leadership skills that is not evenly distributed even among elite scientists and engineers. Edward B. Roberts of Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Sloan School compared MIT graduates who launched new technological companies with a control group of graduates who pursued other careers. The largest factor in predicting an entrepreneurial career in technology was an entrepreneurial father. Controlling for this factor, he discovered that Jews were five times more likely to start technological enterprises than other MIT graduates.

For all its special features and extreme manifestations, anti-Semitism is a reflection of the hatred toward successful middlemen, entrepreneurs, shopkeepers, lenders, bankers, financiers, and other capitalists that is visible everywhere whenever an identifiable set of outsiders outperforms the rest of the population in the economy. This is true whether the offending excellence comes from the Kikuyu in Kenya; the Ibo and the Yoruba in Nigeria; the overseas Indians and whites in Uganda and Zimbabwe; the Lebanese in West Africa, South America, and around the world; the Parsis in India; the Indian Gujaratis in South and East Africa; the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire; and above all the more than 30 million overseas Chinese in Indonesia, Malaysia, and elsewhere in Southeast Asia.

Capitalism overthrows theories of zero-sum economics and dog-eat-cat survival of the fittest. Thus, as in the United States (outside the academic arena), anti-Semitism withers in wealthy capitalist countries. It waxes in socialist regimes where Jews may arouse resentment by their agility in finding economic niches among the interstices of bureaucracies, tax collections, political pork fests, and crony capitalism.

Socialist or feudal systems, particularly when oil-rich and politically controlled, favor a conspiratorial view of history and economics. Anti-Semitism is chiefly a zero-sum disease.

As Walter Lippmann eloquently explained in The Good Society, capitalism opened a vista of mutually enriching enterprise with the good fortune of others creating opportunities for all. The Golden Rule was transformed from an idealistic vision of heaven into a practical agenda. From Poor Richard's Almanack to rich Andrew Carnegie's autobiographical parables, all were rediscovering the edifying insights of the author of Proverbs.

Judaism, perhaps more than any other religion, favors capitalist activity and provides a rigorous moral framework for it. It is based on a monotheistic affirmation that God is good and will prevail through transcending envy and hatred and zero-sum fantasies. Judaism can be plausibly interpreted as affirming the possibilities of creativity and collaboration on the frontiers of a capitalist economy.

The incontestable facts of Jewish excellence constitute a universal test not only for anti-Semitism but also for liberty and the justice of the civil order. The success or failure of Jews in a given country is the best index of its freedoms. In any free society, Jews will tend to be represented disproportionately in the highest ranks of both its culture and its commerce. Americans should celebrate the triumphs of Jews on our shores as evidence of the superior freedoms of the U.S. economy and culture.

The real case for Israel is as the leader of human civilization, technological progress, and scientific advance.

In a dangerous world, faced with an array of perils, the Israel test asks whether the world can suppress envy and recognize its dependence on the outstanding performance of relatively few men and women. The world does not subsist on zero-sum legal niceties. It subsists on hard and possibly reversible accomplishments in technology, pharmacology, science, engineering, and enterprise. It thrives not on reallocating land and resources but on releasing human creativity in a way that exploits land and resources most productively. The survival of humanity depends on recognizing excellence wherever it appears and nurturing it until it prevails. It relies on a vanguard of visionary creators on the frontiers of knowledge and truth. It depends on passing the Israel test.

Israel is the pivot, the axis, the litmus, the trial. Are you for civilization or barbarism, life or death, wealth or envy? Are you an exponent of excellence and accomplishment or of a leveling creed of frenzy and hatred?

This essay is based on George Gilder's new book, The Israel Test. This article originally appeared on

This article can also be read at:
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« Reply #691 on: August 17, 2009, 08:52:49 AM »

Gilder and this kind of article are not really my thing. I  think he states the main point too strongly and antisemitims has many causes  mostly not ratiaonal and I don't think resenting achievemnet is at the heart of it.
 However  I thought some of you might be interested and  this article it has more depth (imo) than the original. 

I've read several books by George Gilder which I found interesting and entertaining but I also discovered a knack of his to come to unwarranted conclusions. At times it seems he does research backwards, he comes to conclusions and then goes in search of supporting data.

Frankly the The Israel Test and the original Charles Murray research have very little in common. Gilder uses the supposed genetic selection of Jews to support his zero sum game economic theories. Instead of looking far back into history, let's see who is being demonized in the modern world. Bill Gates and Microsoft were much too successful not to be hounded. AT&T was broken up because it was too big. And currently the hate is directed to the financial elite who managed to make too much money. Or have a look at a school with no Jewish kids, who gets picked on? More that likely the non-conforming kid who is different. I think the success and oddness are sufficient reasons for anti-Semitism.

I find research and writing such as done by Charles Murray troubling. Some people use it as a point of pride, often I get emails telling me how great we Jews are. But pride is a capital sin.

Pride – Pride is an unrestrained and improper appreciation of our own worth. This is listed first because it is widely considered the most serious of the seven sins; pride often leads to the committing of other capital sins. Pride is manifest in vanity and narcissism about one’s appearance, intelligence, status, etc. Dante described pride as “love of self perverted to hatred and contempt for one's neighbor.”

What is Capital Sin or a Capital Vice?

I want to take you back to the Six Day War. Israel took on and defeated five Arab neighbors with brilliant military strategy, tactics and execution. In a matter of hours the air forces of these five nations ceased to exist, most of their war planes were destroyed on the ground. Dayan's panzer tactics made him a living legend. Out of this victory came inordinate pride. The jokes were telling:

"Let's buy some airplanes to bomb the Pyramids."
"Whatever for?"
"The Jews are doing it. It must be good business!"

The worst part was referring to the defeated Arabs as "Camel Drivers."

Atonement (or revenge) came just six years later with the Yom Kippur War which almost wiped Israel off the map.

Changing the subject somewhat, I have always been in favor of a secular Israel but not in favor of a theocratic Israel. If "secular Israel" is an oxymoron so is a "theocratic democracy." Either we rule ourselves (democracy) or self selected representatives of god do (theocracy). Mesopotamia has two such theocratic democracies, Iran and israel. Both are nominally democratic (one more than the other) but in the end god's representatives make up the rules of the game.

If a state must have religion then it should adopt the American model of separation of church and state, that is the only way liberal democracy can be combined with religion.

Over the weekend I was going to post a cartoon about the life cycle in Gaza. At first blush it was amusing but then the mocking of the Gazans became apparent to me, somewhat akin to bombing the pyramids. The fortunate part of the incident was that while researching the subject I came across  lectures by Azmi Bishara, a Christian Arab Israeli ex-member of the Knesset (wonders never cease in the land of milk and honey). Never before had I stopped to listen to the Arab side of the question. I really have no time for murderous Mullahs, suicide bombers and terrorists. To them, an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. Kill them before they kill you.

The two videos I watched were US Policy & Redrawing the Middle East, a lecture at the University of California, Berkeley, which is about American Imperialism now that it is the only superpower and the other, more germane to the Israel/Palestine issue, The Last Colonial Question, a lecture at the City Club of Cleveland.

It was a pleasure to listen to a different point of view, very well reasoned and with no inflammatory rhetoric which would have turned my ears deaf. As the title of the lecture states, Bishara sees the issue as one of colonialism, the colonizers taking land from the natives. Before 1948 Jews and Arabs lived side by side in the land of milk and honey. Then the UN decreed that Jews could become a colonizing power by creating the State of Israel. I'm not going to argue if this was right or wrong. I have already stated that I support a secular State of Israel (even if it is an oxymoron). I just want to state that from a logical point of view, Bishara's colonial argument makes perfect sense. But that was 1948 and there is nothing that we can do about it. Now it is a fait accompli. No more can Israel be returned to the natives than America can.

Bishara offers two solutions, a one state and a two state solution, both of which sound quite reasonable to me. The one state solution would give all Israeli citizens equal rights which is not possible under a theocracy unless all citizens are of the same faith. In a theocratic democracy there will always be an underclass, in the case of Israel, the gentiles. If you institute separation of church and state then it is no longer a theocracy. As I see it, the one state solution, as Bishara proposes it, is not going to happen, the rabbis will not give up their powers.

Bishara's two state solution is much more in accordance with my own thinking that you cannot turn the clock back. He proposes a two state solution based on the lines of 1967. While this demarcation is over 40 years old, and therefore likely to lose any relevance if not acted upon soon, it would return the land of milk and honey to the pre Six Day War condition. Of course it is not entirely "fair" as both sides are likely to claim but without compromise there is no solution. I think it could be the best bargain both sides could drive. The two state solution would recognize Israel's right to exist which is one of the central issues.

The one item I cannot agree to, and this is not something that I have heard Bishara talk about, is the exclusion of Jews from any future Palestinian state, specially if a Jew is already living in that land. As long as there are theocracies on either side of the fence, the problem will not be solved, it will, at best, be palliated.

Crafty, for someone who likes Stratfor's geo-political analysis, this lecture should be of interest:

and Bishara on the Israel/Palestine issue


Denny Schlesinger
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« Reply #692 on: August 18, 2009, 10:08:45 AM »

Minister Herschkowitz: Some of Obama's policies are 'borderline anti-Semitic'

Aug. 16, 2009
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will reject US President Barack Obama's request for a freeze on natural growth in Judea and Samaria, Habayit Hayehudi head Daniel Herschkowitz said Sunday, based on conversations with Netanyahu.

In an interview with the science and technology minister at his Jerusalem office, Herschkowitz told The Jerusalem Post that he did not believe Netanyahu would cross any red lines of Habayit Hayehudi, the most right-wing party in his coalition.

"From my own talks with the prime minister, I can say confidently that I don't think he will freeze natural growth in the settlements," Herschkowitz said. "I am sure he is in favor of allowing natural growth, but he must navigate smartly and walk between the rain drops to ensure that he will get along with the American administration."

Herschkowitz suggested that an arrangement could be found that could allow construction in the settlements to continue without public acknowledgment.

He said this would be preferable to the opposite scenario of press reports of settlement construction when in fact there is none.

A former resident of Madison, Wisconsin, where he was a mathematics professor at the University of Wisconsin, Herschkowitz did not hold back criticism for Obama, especially his decision to grant the Presidential Medal of Freedom to former UN human rights commissioner and longtime Israel basher Mary Robinson.

"I am disappointed in Obama's policies," Herschkowitz said. "Some of the steps he has taken, like giving a medal to Mary Robinson, are borderline anti-Semitic. Israel is an independent state. Relations with the US are important, but relations must go both ways. I don't know if Obama understands it, but most Americans believe that Israel is their only anchor in the Middle East."

Herschkowitz has been criticized by the Right for praising Netanyahu's June 14 policy address at Bar-Ilan University's Begin-Sadat Center in which he conditionally endorsed the creation of a Palestinian state.

He said he himself opposed a Palestinian state, but a prime minister had to speak differently than the average politician.

"It was a good speech, because he shifted the ball to the other side by setting important conditions," Herschkowitz said. "If they can't accept recognizing a Jewish state and the end of the conflict, it shows their real face. But if they would have, there would have been something to talk about. A leader must say yes, and not just no, so it's ideal to say yes while shifting the ball back to the other side."

The Habayit Hayehudi leader said there was a consensus that Israel did not want to control the Palestinians. He said a demilitarized Palestinian state as Netanyahu outlined it would not be that different from the autonomy the overwhelming majority of the Palestinians already had.

But Herschkowitz said he did not think a peace agreement could be reached.

"It is clear that there is no partner," Herschkowitz said. "Every diplomatic plan, even the most conservative one, is wishful thinking, because there is no plan that both sides would accept."

Regarding the tensions inside Habayit Hayehudi, Herschkowitz denied charges he had made a political deal with Netanyahu to vote for his Israel Lands Authority bill, a vote that enraged the other two MKs in his party, Zevulun Orlev and Uri Orbach. His opponents in the party accused him of receiving a commitment in return from Netanyahu that he would no longer advance the mini-Norwegian bill that would have forced Herschkowitz to quit the Knesset in favor of former MK Nisan Slomiansky.

While Herschkowitz said he had a long talk with Orbach, he admitted he had not yet discussed the matter with Orlev nearly two weeks after the August 5 clash in which Orlev called Herschkowitz's behavior shameful.

Netanyahu had threatened to fire Herschkowitz had he voted against the bill. Herschkowitz's associates mocked Orlev for urging him to take a step that would have resulted in him leaving the cabinet after Orlev himself hesitated to resign from his ministerial post ahead of the Gaza Strip withdrawal.

Asked whether he believed he would still be Habayit Hayehudi's leader in the next election, he said he did not know. He noted that to obtain his present positions, he turned down two plum jobs: president of the Technion and chief rabbi of Haifa.

"Politics is very dynamic," he said. "If you would have asked me nine months ago if I would ever be an MK or a minister, I would have said no. Anything, really anything can happen."

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« Reply #693 on: August 23, 2009, 07:54:24 PM »

Did Mossad hijack Russian ship to stop Iran arms shipment?

Aug. 23, 2009
The Media Line News Agency , THE JERUSALEM POST
Was Israel's secret service behind the unexplained hijacking of a Russian freighter, to foil a secret attempt to ship cruise missiles to Iran?

The mystery surrounding the hijacking of a Russian freighter in July has taken a new twist with reports claiming the pirates were acting in league with the Mossad in order to halt a shipment of modern weapon systems hidden on board and destined for the Islamic republic.

While Israeli and Russian officials dismissed the reports, accounts published in the Russian media sounded more like a spy thriller than a commercial hijacking.

"There is something fishy about this whole story, no doubt about it," former deputy defense minister Ephraim Sneh told The Media Line. "But I can't comment further on this."

The Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported over the weekend that the vessel Arctic Sea had been carrying x-55 cruise missiles and S300 anti-aircraft rockets hidden in secret compartments among its cargo of timber and sawdust.

The eight hijackers originally claimed to be environmentalists when they boarded the ship in the Baltic Sea in Swedish waters on July 24. The Russian navy tracked it down three weeks later and recaptured it near the West African archipelago of Cape Verde on August 17, thousands of kilometers from its original destination of Algeria.

The hijackers were charged late on Friday with kidnapping and piracy, the Interfax news agency reported. Russian authorities have declined to revealing further information about the suspects' motives.

But Dmitri Rogozin, Russia's ambassador to NATO, said allegations that the Arctic Sea had been smuggling weapons were "fantasy" and "ridiculous."

Pravda's Web site reported that the ship had been smuggling cruise missiles to Iran on a well-worn path via Algeria, but a "power that has relations with Ukraine" had prevented this. Novaya Gazeta reported that the hijackers had been operating on behalf of the Mossad. It also reported that President Shimon Peres's visit to Moscow the day after the Russians recaptured the vessel had been motivated by an urgent request to his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, to refrain from arming Iran.

Israeli officials dismissed the reports as "classic conspiracy theories," but defense experts noted that Israel has a record of seizing foreign vessels carrying arms to its enemies.

"This appears as the classic conspiracy theory. I didn't see any evidence for it and so we aren't going to comment," said Yigal Palmor, a spokesman for the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem.

A spokeswoman for Peres also dismissed the report, saying the visit had been planned long in advance.

Brig.-Gen. (res.) Shlomo Brom, a senior research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies, did not rule out Israeli covert action against Iranian efforts to acquire nuclear arms, but doubted Israel would take action against Russian ships.

"It seems that it's full of mystery since everything surrounding Russia is mysterious. And if it's mysterious they dump it on Israel," he told The Media Line.

Brom, a retired senior intelligence officer, added he did not believe such an operation could enhance the Mossad's image since it appeared to be a failed hijacking.

Israel relies heavily on intelligence. Naval Intelligence monitors vessels together with other agencies in order to detect suspicious behavior of ships around the world. It was this way that Naval Intelligence was able to detect the PLO arms ship Karine A in 2002. Officers noticed its log was not entirely in keeping with a cargo ship and correlated the information with other intelligence to build a picture of an arms shipment in the making. The weapons had originated in Iran.

Israeli security agents routinely stage surprise at-sea boardings of ships headed to Israeli ports to search for terrorists, contraband and stowaways.

In March, Israeli forces reportedly struck a weapons convoy in Sudan, some 1,400 km. from the Jewish state. According to CBS, the weapons were intended for Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Nearly 40 people were killed in that attack.

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« Reply #694 on: August 28, 2009, 08:29:01 PM »

Gilad Shalit

Liran Kapoano
Gilad Shalit will feel worse on his 23rd birthday than you will on your 93rd.

Yesterday on Twitter, in honor of Gilad Shalit's birthday (his 3rd in captivity) there was a concerted effort to make #giladshalit a top trending topic. Despite the demise of Ted Kennedy dominating the headlines, this effort was a success, indicating just how much support there is for this 23-year-old. Unfortunately, none of that gets him out of Gaza.

Page Printed from: at August 28, 2009 - 09:27:52 PM EDT
« Reply #695 on: September 11, 2009, 02:20:51 PM »

Growing ties between Israeli, PA police forces
Sep. 10, 2009
Away from the media spotlight on efforts to kick-start diplomatic talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the two parties' police forces together with the IDF's civil administration are increasing their cooperation, and have implemented a series of confidence-building measures over the past two years.

The cooperation has taken a number of surprising forms.

One example is the payment of an estimated NIS 4 million in traffic fines paid to Judea and Samaria Police by PA residents. The police transfer the money to the civil administration, which in turn invests the money in Palestinian infrastructure in the West Bank.

The traffic offenses include speeding, U-turns, and failure to obey traffic signs, and the fines are given out by Judea and Samaria Traffic Police.

Ch.-Supt. Daniel Israel, who heads the Israel Police's Coordination Unit with the Palestinian Civil Police, told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday that the fines represent an effort by both Israeli and Palestinian police to crack down on dangerous driving habits in the West Bank.

"Almost every day, traffic violations in Judea and Samaria kill Palestinians and Israelis. Those who are fined know they can't escape payment, because of the cooperation between the two police forces. The real deterrent effect is what is important," he said.

Daniel Israel is a fluent Arabic speaker. He began speaking the language as a child with Beduin neighbors who had resettled from the Negev to near his home in the Central region. He then studied the Middle East at university, and earned a master's degree in Arabic. In the army, his Arabic proved vital to his service in Military Intelligence.

Today, Israel communicates with his counterparts in the Palestinian police Arabic every day, through e-mails, faxes and phone calls, as well as in weekly face-to-face meetings.

"The cooperation between us certainly helps to build a positive atmosphere," he said. "It most helps in building deterrence, so that both Israeli [Arab] and Palestinian lawbreakers don't feel they can seek shelter in West Bank cities. We still have a long way to go - we still have criminal fugitives in Palestinian cities, and the PA will not transfer Palestinian criminals to our custody, even through this was mentioned in the Oslo agreements. But cooperation has been growing steadily," Israel said.

The Palestinian Civil Police has jurisdiction over 10 West Bank cities, including Nablus, Jenin, Tulkarm, Hebron, Bethlehem and Jericho. The Judea and Samaria Police are responsible for enforcing the law in the remainder of the West Bank.

"The PCP [Palestinian Civil Police]'s enforcement is improving. In traffic enforcement, the PCP has begun cracking down on drivers who talk on cellphones and who fail to buckle up. This is partly due to a political will by the Palestinians, to show that they are a future country," Israel said.

"The enforcement is being assisted by the European Union in the form of the EUCOPPS [European Union Coordinating Office for Palestinian Police Support] program, which provides training courses, vehicles and equipment on a large scale, and facilitates the opening of new Palestinian police stations in rural areas," he added.

"It is also being assisted by cooperation with us. In November we will hold a joint five-day joint training course with our Palestinian counterparts to study drug enforcement, traffic enforcement, and proper crime scene investigation conduct and evidence collection," he said.

One of the most important results of the cooperation is the safe evacuation of hundreds of Israeli civilians who mistakenly enter Palestinian cities in the West Bank every year.

Since January 1,232 Israelis have been returned to Israeli police by Palestinian Civil Police officers. Some innocently drove down the wrong street, ending up in Jericho or Ramallah, while others were Israeli Arab lawbreakers who entered the West Bank as part of their activities.

Of the 24,000 cars that are stolen annually in Israel, 17,000 end up in the West Bank, and here too, the two police forces have been trying to stem crime together. So far this year, a mere 438 cars have been returned, but officer Israel says it is a start.

In 2008, Israeli and Palestinian police jointly interrogated two murder suspects - one, an Israeli resident from east Jerusalem, and the second from Ramallah, before trying them separately in Israeli and Palestinian courts for the same crime.

Palestinians who seek tourist visas from the US Consulate in east Jerusalem turn to the Israel Police for a document that states that they do not have a criminal record.
"These are confidence-building steps," Israel said.

This article can also be read at /servlet/Satellite?cid=1251804541953&pagename=JPArticle%2FShowFull
« Reply #696 on: September 15, 2009, 08:34:17 AM »

September 15, 2009
Wrong use of the 'P word'

By Victor Sharpe
Throughout the Arab, and most of the Muslim world, the territory between the River Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea is called Palestine while the name, Israel, is blotted out.

The so-called moderate wing of the Palestinian Authority displays a wall map behind the desk of its Chairman, Mahmoud Abbas, showing the State of Israel in its entirety but named Palestine.

Indeed, the PA too often refuses to use the name, Israel, preferring to call it "the Zionist entity." In doing so, it should remove from the minds of objective observers any faith in the Arabs' interest in making a true peace. If the Arabs cannot even bring themselves to name their partner, then the entire peace process is a farce: a disaster waiting to happen.

But the general use of the term, Palestine, in a geographical and historical biblical context is often used just as insidiously as that employed routinely by the Palestinian Authority.

Christian and even Jewish writers, many eminent and admirable, often use the word Palestine along with or even instead of Israel, Judea and Judah when referring to the biblical period. This, consciously or unwittingly, helps to belittle the inextricable links of the Jewish people to their biblical and ancestral homeland.

It is time to restore historical correctness and dispose, once and for all, of the literary and present day propagandistic use of the term Palestine when referring to the biblical period.

Nowhere in the Jewish Bible is the word Palestine used. Nor is it ever used in the Christian Bible. Read the New Testament texts and look for the word, Palestine. It does not exist. But Israel is used. For instance in Matt. 2:20-21:

And he arose and took the young child and his mother, and came into the Land of Israel.

The Bible, both Jewish and Christian, never employs the name Palestine in reference to biblical times. Any Bible commentary that refers to the biblical period as 'in Palestine' is either committing an historical error or is making a determined and sinister effort to deny the Jewish biblical names of Judah, Israel, Judea, Samaria and Galilee - especially that of Israel. It is, therefore, necessary to review some brief history to understand the monumental error being committed.

During the First Jewish uprising against the Romans, the Roman general, Titus, destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD. Subsequently Rome issued coins with the phrase, Judea Capta, meaning that the Jewish province of Judea had been captured. However, they did not use the term, Palestine, for it was as yet unknown and certainly never employed in Roman coinage of that time.

The second Jewish Revolt against Roman occupation of Judea broke out under the banner of Bar-Kochba in 132 AD. It was eventually crushed in 136 AD after years of heroic resistance against the legions of Rome's emperor, Hadrian Publius Aelius.

Incidentally, a discovery of 120 coins minted by followers of Bar Kochba, who was known as the Son of a Star, have just been found by Israeli archaeologists near the Dead Sea where the Jewish defenders made their final stand against Rome. The coins all had the words, ‘Freedom for Jerusalem' imprinted on them.

It is intriguing to consider that if the British tribes, at the other end of the empire, had risen in revolt at the same time, both peoples may have prevailed and history would be very different from what it became.

Hadrian destroyed Jewish Jerusalem, plowing the city under and filling the furrows with salt. He renamed it Aelia Capitolina, in part after his own name, and built a shrine to the Roman god Jupiter on the site where the Holy Jewish Temple had once stood.

But he also chose to rename Judea with that of the hated ancient enemy of Israel; the now long extinct Philistines. This was done as a lasting insult to the Jewish people. Hadrian thus renamed the land Philistia, later Latinized into Palestina and, in time, becoming Palestine.

We should note that the Philistines were known as the "Sea Peoples" whom, it is believed, originated from Crete. They settled along much of the south eastern Mediterranean coastline and certainly had nothing to do with the ancestry of any Arabs -- despite the deluded imaginings of the late arch terrorist, Yasser Arafat.   

The usage of the Hadrianic term, Palestine, was subsequently absorbed into the lexicon of the Church, which has continued to use the historically incorrect term, Palestine, when referring to biblical history in maps and literature: often replacing the word, Israel.

Interestingly, when the Crusader King Frederick II obtained a lease of much of the Holy Land from the Egyptian Sultan, Al-Kamil, including Bethlehem, Nazareth and Jerusalem, he called it the Kingdom of Jerusalem.

When Great Britain was awarded the Mandate for the territory in 1920 by the League of Nations, it immediately employed the term, Palestine, on both sides of the River Jordan. 

The British term became the geo-political usage for several decades and the Jewish community was obliged to use terms such as the Palestine Post for today's Jerusalem Post and the Palestine Symphony Orchestra for today's Israel Symphony Orchestra. The historically correct name, Israel, was finally revived after the reconstituted State of Israel proclaimed its independence in 1948.

No such place as Palestine existed in Christ's time or at the time of the biblical Jewish Judges or Kings. The Jewish patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, never lived in a place called Palestine, nor did any of the biblical prophets. Canaan would be accurate for patriarchal times but the Canaanites, the Philistines, and a host of other pagan tribes had already long disappeared by later biblical times. Indeed, as we know, no independent state called Palestine has ever existed in recorded history, certainly not an Arab one. Palestine - like, for instance, Patagonia or Siberia - has always been merely a geographical area. 

Those still believing in historical correctness, not the dubious and transitory concept known as political correctness, might wish to urge publishers and writers to restore historical correctness to the nomenclature in their works.

It is sad to witness glaring historical errors in such titles as: Palestine in Biblical Times; Palestine under the Time of the Judges; Palestine in the Times of the Kings or Jesus' Palestine, when a geographical territory called Palestine did not even exist during those times.

After all, we do not write of Alexander the Great's journey through Bactria as Alexander in Afghanistan. Nor do we describe the invasion into Carthage of Scipio Africanus as Scipio in Tunisia. So why use the term, Palestine, to describe a historical period and location when that word had not yet been invented?   

Surely the use by authors and bible commentators of a name that never existed until at least 135 AD can finally begin to be corrected.

After all, historical correctness must always trump political correctness.

Victor Sharpe is the author of Politicide: The attempted murder of the Jewish state.

Page Printed from: at September 15, 2009 - 09:33:14 AM EDT
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« Reply #697 on: September 16, 2009, 04:34:04 PM »

About Thomson ReutersIran attack: Israel ex-min sees end-yr deadline
Wed Sep 16, 2009 9:15am EDT 

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 By William Maclean, Security Correspondent

LONDON (Reuters) - Israel will be compelled to attack Iran's nuclear sites if Western powers cannot agree crippling sanctions against Tehran by the end of the year, a former Israeli deputy defense minister said on Wednesday. Ephraim Sneh, who holds no position in the current Israeli government and was speaking in his personal capacity, told Reuters it was not clear the United States and European Union had the decisiveness to take such steps, which should include tougher banking and oil curbs, by year's end.

"We cannot live under the shadow of an Iran with nuclear weapons," he said in an interview on a visit to Britain. "By the end of the year, if there is no agreement on crippling sanctions aimed at this regime, we will have no choice."

"This is the very, very last resort. But ironically it is our best friends and allies who are pushing us into a corner where we would have no option but to do it."

"I wonder if they will do it (a tougher sanctions regime) quickly enough. If not, we are compelled to take action."

Sneh, a retired brigadier-general, is a former member of parliament's defense and intelligence committees. As deputy defense minister, he held responsibility for Iran.


Sneh's visit was facilitated by The Israel Project, a privately-funded media organization that seeks to explain Israel's security position in the region and has arranged news conferences for serving Israeli officials overseas.

The United States, Germany, France and Britain have threatened Iran with a fourth round of U.N. sanctions if it continues enriching uranium and refuses to clear up concerns it has done extensive research into how to build a nuclear weapon.

Iran says the activity is a civilian electricity program.

Israel has said a nuclear-armed Iran would be a threat to its existence and points to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's calls for Israel to be wiped off the map.

That has raised worries that Israel could ultimately carry out a military strike against Iranian nuclear sites.

Sneh said the sanctions should consist of a total Western boycott of the Iranian banking system, a ban on selling Iran refined petroleum products, a ban on selling spare parts to the Iranian energy industry and a ban on senior Iranian officials traveling to Western capitals.

Sneh said the sanctions need be imposed only by the United States and European nations, because it was clear Russia and China would not go along with them and in any case the need for the involvement of "Russia and China is a myth." Imposed by the West, such a strategy would be tough enough to work.

"It is bloodless, and it even stops short of a naval blockade," he said.

In comments that appeared to signal Israel had not given up on international diplomacy to curb Tehran's atomic ambitions, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday the time had come for tougher sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program.  Continued...

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« Reply #698 on: September 16, 2009, 04:35:10 PM »

Iran attack: Israel ex-min sees end-yr deadline
Wed Sep 16, 2009 9:15am EDT  Email | Print | Share| Reprints | Single Page[-] Text

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 Sneh said Israel had many reasons to block the emergence of a nuclear weapons-capable Iran, because in that event

-- Immigration to Israel would stop.

-- More able young men and women would emigrate to pursue their future in places seen as more secure.

-- Investment in Israel would be reduced.

-- Decision-making by the cabinet would be hostage to the fear of Iranian nuclear retaliation. The processes of government would thereby be "substantially distorted."

-- Extremist forces in the Middle East would be empowered.

-- Iran would pressure moderate forces in the region to toughen their positions in contacts or negotiations with Israel, for example in discussions over Jerusalem or the Golan Heights

-- Saudi Arabia and Egypt would seek to obtain nuclear weapons themselves, bringing about a Middle East "fully loaded with nuclear weapons."

(Editing by Samia Nakhoul)

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« Reply #699 on: September 18, 2009, 09:30:23 AM »

I think the post on Drudgereport about Amendinjad again proclaiming it is religious duty to snuff out zionists and the holocaust didn't occur makes it clear Israel has no other choice.
My question is will they have to go nuclear to get the job done.
What a horrendous situation.
Just the thought of it.
But the alternative is worse.
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