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Posts: 245

« Reply #1400 on: August 29, 2011, 07:08:09 AM »

South Tel Aviv: 8 hurt in terror attack outside nightclub
08/29/2011 09:11
Police: Nablus resident commandeers cab, rams Border Police road block, gets out, begins stabbing people; police officers among injured.

Talkbacks (113)
Eight people were injured in south Tel Aviv early Monday morning, when a terrorist from the West Bank carjacked a taxi and rammed it into a police road block protecting a Tel Aviv nightclub, before going on a stabbing spree.

Police said the terrorist, a 20-year-old Nablus resident, entered a taxi near the beginning of Salameh Street, and hijacked the vehicle, stabbing the driver in the hand. He then drove for approximately a kilometer down Salameh Street towards the Haoman 17 nightclub, which was filled with high school children at an end-of-summer party. At the time of the attack, almost all of the teenagers were inside the club.

Click for timeline of Monday's attack
DJ at Tel Aviv club: I was told to keep playing
Background: Ramming terror attacks in recent years

Border Police had set up a precautionary road block ahead of time at the entrance to the club on Abarbanel Street, in Tel Aviv's Florentine neighborhood. The terrorist rammed the road block, and struck a number of civilians and a border policeman.

"He then got out of the car, screamed Allah Akbar [God is Great], and went on a knife attack," a police spokeswoman said.

The suspect was tackled to the ground by Border Police officers and taken into custody. He was taken to the Wolfson Medical Center in Holon after being lightly injured. He was later released and was taken in for questioning under heavy security.

The eight people injured in the attack were all Border Police officers and club security guards. One was seriously injured, two were moderately injured and three were lightly injured. The remaining casualties were released from hospital after receiving medical treatment.

The cabdriver whose taxi was hijacked, Nachman Azi, said that the Palestinian man got in his cab at the start of Salameh Street and asked to be taken to the Central Bus Station, moments later, said Azi “he pulled out a knife and told me to get out of the cab. I grabbed the knife and started to fight him, but it cut my hand very bad and I told him he could take the car.”

Azi, his hand heavily bandaged and his shirt splotched with blood, said that the terrorist let him take some of his personal belongings, and that he believed he only wanted to steal the car.

A police source said that the road block had prevented a far worse outcome.

Israel Radio reported that the attack was coordinated to strike a large youth party being held in the area.

Police Insp.-Gen. Yochanan Danino said Monday morning that over 1,000 teenagers were inside the club which was targeted. He said Border Police  preparations "were extraordinary and prevented a big disaster."

Ben Hartman and staff contributed to this report.
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Posts: 245

« Reply #1401 on: August 29, 2011, 07:10:26 AM »

Accentuate the positive
The first female Ethiopian physician in Israel is not only healing, but inspiring young people across the country
DR. HADAS MALADA-Matsree, 26, an intern at Soroka Medical Center and the first female Ethiopian-Israeli doctor, is slowly getting used to being seen as a role model.

“At first, I did not feel the need to do anything special as a result of the title, but the more I saw that people cared about it, especially young kids, the more I realized I do have a special role and I can have a positive influence,” she said in a lengthy telephone interview with The Jerusalem Report.

Presently on maternity leave to care for four-month-old baby Tamar, Malada- Matsree’s life is a balancing act involving career, family and a major commitment to community service. For the past two years, she has lectured to students about her own experience of success. She travels throughout the country for the lectures, organized by the Education Ministry. For many young Ethiopian-Israelis, in particular, she has become a symbol of what is possible.

“After I speak, they come up and ask me a lot of questions. Sometimes the questions are really basic, like ‘How do I apply to university?’ But they have no one to ask. I try to support them and help them along,” she says.

Her message to young Israelis is twofold.

First, she tries to show immigrant students that despite the hardships brought on by aliya – and the perception many immigrants kids have of being abandoned – their parents do care about them. Second, she tries to inspire young people to dream big. “I find, generally, they either don’t know how to dream at all, or if they dream, they set their sights very low. I want to show them how to believe in themselves and not give up on their dreams,” she says.

Soft-spoken and self-effacing, Malada- Matsree’s polite manner seems to coexist with a palpable inner strength. Her core of confidence is the likely result of a lifetime of surmounting challenges.

THE FIRST FOUR YEARS OF HER life, a period she no longer remembers, were spent in a rural farming community in Ethiopia. The family sustained itself with agriculture as well as by raising sheep and cattle.

Her mother, married by 12, was busy raising the growing brood, while her father became active in working with Israeli officials to help the Ethiopian Jewish community immigrate to Israel. At one point, he was sent to jail for his activism.

At 4, she immigrated to Israel with her parents and six siblings; four more were born in Israel. On the journey, Malada-Matsree contracted malaria, measles and a third mystery illness that caused all her hair to fall out.

When the family reached Israel, she had to be hospitalized for five months. By the time she was healthy again, she had also found her life’s calling.

“I said to my mother: ‘I want to be like the people in white.’ I meant the doctors and nurses,” she explains. “Since then, it’s been obvious.

It’s what I’ve always wanted to do.”

She says that her parents, neither of whom finished high school, believed completely in her ability to reach her goal. Although they supported the family through manual labor – cleaning, construction, washing dishes – they were adamant that their children aim for a different life.

They would often use their own financial struggles as a cautionary tale. “They would say to us: ‘Study. Do your schoolwork, or you’ll end up doing the kind of work we have to do.’” Malada-Matsree credits a large part of her success to her parents’ active involvement in her life. Although they had no time to study Hebrew formally, as they had to work to support the large family, they declared that Hebrew was the official language at home, so that they could be fully integrated in their children’s lives. They even attended parentteacher meetings, despite not always understanding everything.

She contrasts her family situation to the situations of other Ethiopian immigrants to Israel.

Like her family, they, too, faced the pressures of moving from a rural, agrarian culture to a technologically advanced one. They had to learn basic domestic chores, like using an oven or gas stove, and also had to acquire skills to organize a modern household – opening a bank account, for example. The children, who learn the language and pick up cultural clues more quickly, became the experts at home, while their parents, once revered as decision-makers, were reduced to the role of dependents.

Additionally, most social programs target Ethiopian-Israeli youth, leaving older adults out, further compounding an already tough situation, she says.

“Children sometimes begin to feel that their parents don’t care about them or what they are doing at school,” she adds. She explains that the desire to strive for achievement at school goes together with knowing that someone at home cares and knowing that someone is tracking their academic progress. When that feeling is absent, the children often start to act out, finding the sense of caring and belonging from their peers instead of from their elders.

Malada-Matsree believes she was lucky; she experienced a caring family as well as a supportive community.

Arriving in Israel, the Malada family settled in an absorption center in the southern town of Arad, where they lived until moving to Beersheba, when she was 9. “In both places we lived in diverse communities. In the absorption center, we were together with immigrants from Russia, France, America, and other places.” She points out that a sense of isolation can make it more difficult for Ethiopian-Israeli youth to find their way within Israeli culture. “All they see is other kids going through the same thing, with nothing to do after school hours.”

In contrast, Malada-Matsree’s school years were marked by a growing sense that her dream of being a doctor was achievable. Her favorite subject was science, with bible and literature coming in second. She is quick to note, however, that for her, “literature is a hobby but medicine is a love.”

EVENTUALLY, WITH EXCELLENT test scores, she began studying medicine at Ben-Gurion University as part of a government scholarship program that covers many of her medical studies expenses in exchange for a commitment of five years of service as a doctor in the IDF. Supporting herself financially while studying has been an ongoing challenge. Time spent working has meant less time to study, which in turn initially made it more difficult for her to excel, despite her talents.

A$3,000 a year stipend has made a big difference.

“When I received a stipend from the ENP (Ethiopian National Project, a non-profit funded by the government, global Jewry and the Ethiopian-Israeli community), things became a lot easier. My grades went from 70s and 80s to 90s and 100s, and I was cited for excellence,” she says, adding that the handful of other Ethiopian-Israeli medical students she knows all benefit from the program, supported primarily by the Jewish Federation of Lehigh Valley, as well as other charities.

She is firmly in favor of programs that level the playing field and also says she’s not averse to affirmative action, although she’s not sure if it should be awarded based solely on ethnic background. She points out that a high school student who can’t afford NIS 6,000 to pay for tutoring for the college entrance tests, or a medical student who is unable to take time off from work to study for qualifying exams is at a distinct disadvantage. “The only affirmative action I’m aware of at Ben-Gurion is for Bedouin students. So why not for Ethiopian- Israelis, as well?” she asks.

Yet she earned her own medical education without such benefits. Currently in the last few months of her year-long internship, Malada- Matsree has navigated the system of higher education largely on her own. And she can still remember feeling particularly disturbed when she first entered medical school and realized there were rumors that her ethnicity had helped her win a spot in the class. “One ‘brave’ person even asked me to my face,” she says.

“My first real encounter with racism happened in an academic setting,” she adds with irony.

Although the members of her family have all experienced incidents of racism, it is something she chooses not to dwell on. “If you spend too much time involved in it, it just brings you down,” she says.

The rumors ended as soon as it became clear that she was indeed a gifted student, but her encounter with bigotry had a deep effect on her, ultimately helping to bring her closer to her Ethiopian heritage. When she realized that no matter how Israeli she was, people saw her as different, she decided to learn more about her tradition.

In 2004, she traveled to Ethiopia for a closer look at her roots. Later, as a medical student, she chose to do her pediatric medicine elective in Ethiopia, traveling to Black Lion Hospital in Addis Ababa, in April 2010, to work with Ethiopian children. While there, she also improved her command of Amharic, with a special focus on learning medical terms and understanding more about Ethiopian cultural approaches to medicine and healing.

For example, she explains, when an Ethiopian patient says his stomach hurts, it may mean that he’s experiencing physical pain, but it may also mean that he is feeling worried or distraught. The seemingly lyrical statement “my heart has spilled” actually just means the person is experiencing heartburn.

She points out that making the effort to understand the meaning behind such terminology can help Israeli doctors to bridge a significant cultural divide with their patients. She is now at work on a dictionary of Amharic medical terminology, which she has already begun sharing with some of her peers.

Her Ethiopian heritage also plays a key part in her personal life. Although her husband, architect Yonatan Matsree, is not Ethiopian, the young family keeps the community’s traditions alive at home. “People always say that he’s more Ethiopian than me,” she says, giggling and adding that she and her husband make an effort every year to travel to Jerusalem for the main ceremony of the Sigd, the Ethiopian Jewish holiday that commemorates those who died on their way to Israel. Since many of her siblings live nearby, she remains in close contact with family and community.

And while baby Tamar doesn’t speak yet, when she’s ready, Malada-Matsree has already enlisted her mother to teach her Amharic. “I would do it, but my accent is too Israeli,” she says. She says she is also looking forward to teaching Tamar the Ethiopian children’s stories she grew up on.

Yet she also emphasizes that her heritage as an Ethiopian-Israeli is just one facet of her life.

When not working, she tries to find the time to read, catch a yoga or spinning class, and travel, “preferably in Israel,” she says.

And like the young people she inspires, she too has big dreams. She wants to spend as much time as possible with her family and to eventually take time to practice medicine in the developing world.

She is proud of her own success, but says that she is not alone in being an Ethiopian- Israeli who is contributing to Israeli society. In addition to herself, she knows of at least two other Ethiopian-Israeli doctors and six medical students. On the lecture circuit, she also meets many Ethiopian-Israeli high school students who are choosing challenging coursework and excelling.

“The press is very critical of the Ethiopian aliya. But if you look at how long it takes to become a doctor – 12 years of primary and secondary schooling, four to seven years of medical school, army service – it adds up to 20 years, and that’s as long as we’ve been here.

People need to see the positive accomplishments too. We need to focus on the success stories.” ✡
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Posts: 245

« Reply #1402 on: August 30, 2011, 08:04:51 AM »

The day after Palestine,7340,L-4115514,00.html
Op-Ed: UN recognition of Palestinian state a flawed international effort to shirk responsibility
Avi Yesawich

In three weeks, a sovereign Palestinian state will almost certainly be welcomed into the United Nations – if not by the UN Security Council then as a “non-member state” by the General Assembly. Worldwide celebrations in honor of the new Palestinian state will undoubtedly take place. Unfortunately, this festival will be honoring a superficial development; an illusion of achievement. In reality, recognition of a Palestinian state in the current political climate will not resolve any of the outstanding issues of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, only exacerbate them.
Here is an ominous reminder: the UN will be recognizing a state whose government(s) maintains questionable legitimacy among its own population, is maligned by deep corruption and internal fighting, lacks control over terror cells that undermine all peace efforts, is depressingly mismanaged and is completely dependent on Israeli industry. The world will be voting int
Central America 'battles' over PA's UN bid  / Ronen Medzini
Recent regional summit of Latin America, Caribbean nations becomes stage for diplomatic squabble over future Palestinian bid for statehood
Full story
o existence a welfare state that currently owes much of its sustenance to the donations of the international community and Israeli tax transfers.
The Fatah- Hamas reconciliation agreement has proven to be a failure and never came close to being implemented – and it may never be. Abbas recently rejected the recognition of Israel as the Jewish State. The recent terror attacks and rocket fire emanating from Gaza have shown that terrorist groups other than Hamas hold considerable political and military sway in the Gaza Strip. Israeli security cooperation with Fatah has minimized similar developments in the West Bank, although that certainly didn’t prevent the Itamar massacre or other recent murders. Are these positive signs that point to a nation ready for statehood?
Anyone who endeavors to predict the consequences of the Palestinian bid is imprudent, yet media commentators and politicians are shuffling through the foreseeable scenarios. Large-scale riots, peaceful protests, violent confrontations, and regional war - anything is possible. The Arab Spring’s results (or lack thereof) already showed us that the Middle East is volatile, erratic and largely unpredictable. Yet one thing is clear: The vote will do nothing to further the interests of Israelis or Palestinians, and can only serve as a critically divisive moment within an already less than stellar period of Israeli-Palestinian relations.
Although defining “statehood” by standards of international law can be problematic, the four main criteria are (a) permanent population, (b) defined borders, (c) effective government and (d) ability to maintain relations with other states. The PA fails to fulfill at least two, if not three, of these criteria.
Fictitious solution
The Palestinians deserve freedom, justice, security and self-determination. However, a Palestinian state should only be established through a comprehensive and viable peace agreement. We need negotiations that offer real solutions to the intractable issues that statehood is meant to alleviate. Contrarily, the current UN bid looks to shirk responsibility for resolving internal and external Israeli-Palestinian issues of significant magnitude, issues that must be resolved before statehood can be bestowed upon a population who, as of now, seems woefully unprepared for it.
Some observers argue that UN recognition will force Israel to finally realize its West Bank presence is unacceptable to the international community. Yet the real consequences of such recognition vary considerably depending on who you ask. Many analysts seem to agree that the current bid will likely have no practical implications. It is reasonable to assume that UN recognition will provoke confrontations between Palestinian nationalists, settlers and Israeli soldiers.
Of course, the threat of further international isolation and boycotts against Israel is also reasonable, but authentic progress won’t - and never has - come from unilateral action or power plays in this conflict, but through mutual agreements and meaningful negotiations.
Many nations around the world understandably want to wash their hands of the Israeli-Arab conflict and rid themselves of a problem that has been a source of immense political tension and violence for more than four decades. However, the current UN bid will not wash away the blood of thousands of Jewish and Palestinian lives that have been lost in this conflict, and the fictitious solution of declared statehood certainly won’t prevent further blood from being spilled. It may in fact encourage it.
The upcoming vote on a Palestinian state in September is an attempted quick fix, an example of the international community dodging responsibility in order to force progress on an intractable conflict. This approach will be a serious mistake. Fortunately for those countries, the implications of such recognition probably won’t result in violence, bombings, shootings or the loss of innocent life in their respective countries like it will here in our region.
Abbas, Erekat and others have claimed that the current UN bid is not meant to isolate Israel. However, unless the UN bid is retracted - which several senior leaders of the PA have recommended – both countries will be isolated: Israel from the international community and Palestine from realizing its true aspirations of sovereignty and self-determination.
The right of return, Jerusalem, recognized borders, freedom of movement, settlements, security and commerce issues will only be resolved through negotiations, not symbolic recognition or empty declarations. As long as both parties are guilty of refusing to return to the negotiating table, it will be to the detriment of all of us who desire to see a peaceful end to this conflict.
Avi Yesawich is an independent journalist and political commentator. He holds degrees from Cornell University and Tel Aviv University, is an IDF combat reservist and co-founder of Israeli Centrism , a social/political blog focusing primarily on Middle Eastern affairs
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« Reply #1403 on: September 01, 2011, 07:20:55 AM »

Israel: Third Iron Dome Deployed Outside Ashdod
August 31, 2011 2123 GMT
The Israeli air force deployed a third Iron Dome battery outside Ashdod on Aug. 31, The Jerusalem Post reported. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak praised the Israel Defense Forces and the Israeli air force for deploying the rocket defense system sooner than he expected. Earlier in 2011, the United States provided $205 million for Israel to purchase four Iron Dome batteries, each consisting of three launchers with 20 Tamir interceptors. Each battery is capable of protecting about 150 square kilometers.
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Posts: 7826

« Reply #1404 on: September 02, 2011, 12:27:49 PM »

Turkey expels Israeli ambassador

Ankara follows through on threat to impose independent sanctions on Jerusalem following its refusal to apologize for deadly Marmara raid: Top-level diplomatic staff expelled, key military contracts suspended. Turkish FM: Time for Israel to pay the price

News agencies Latest Update:  09.02.11, 15:06 / Israel News 

Israel-Turkey relations sink to a new low: Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu announced on Friday that following Jerusalem's adamant refusal to apologize over the 2010 Gaza flotilla raid, Ankara will be downgrading its diplomatic relations with Israel and suspending key military agreements.

In a dramatic turn of events, Turkey announced that it was expelling Israeli Ambassador Gabby Levy from Ankara. Davutoglu said Turkey's diplomatic representation in Israel would be further reduced to second-secretary level. In accordance, all lower Israeli diplomatic personnel above the second-secretary level have also been expelled. 

More on Israeli-Turkish diplomatic crisis:

Israel defiant: No apology to Turkey
Palmer Report fails main objectives
Will Palmer Report lead to legal onslaught?
UN report: Israel should compensate Turkey
Turkey rebuffs Palmer findings   

The announcement followed a press conference, in which Davutoglu said that some of the UN's Palmer Report findings on the raid were "unacceptable," adding that it was "time for Israel to pay the price... The highest price it can pay is losing our friendship."   

"Today, we reached a point where Israel has, in fact, spent all of the chances that were given to them. The Israeli government, on the other hand, see themselves (as being) above international laws and human conscience," the Turkish FM said.

Turkey withdrew its own ambassador to Israel immediately after last year's raid.

Davutoğlu's stated that Ankara views the Israeli government as responsible for the situation, and that Turkey will not revise its position on the matter until Israel reconsiders its stand on the flotilla incident. Davutoğlu added that despite the Palmer Report findings, Turkey does not recognise the legality of the Israeli blockade on Gaza. 

Turkish President Abdullah Gul reportedly said Friday that as far as Turkey was concerned, the Palmer Report was "null and void." Ankara is also said to be exploring its options against Israel with the International Court of Justice.

 Earlier Friday, Turkey vowed that its demand for an apology from Israel would remain unchanged, stating that it is powerful enough to protect the rights of its citizen. The statement was made in Ankara's first official reaction to a leaked United Nations panel report on the Mavi Marmara incident.
Israel remains adamant over its decision not to offer Turkey an official apology. A senior official told Ynet that while Israel is aware of the implications of its decision to refrain from issuing an apology, "we cannot conduct ourselves based on ultimatums."

The Palmer Report does not demand an Israeli apology, establishing instead that Israel should express regret and pay reparations, the official said, adding that Jerusalem still hoped that the two countries could "return to the cooperation that was a cornerstone of regional stability." Another senior official added that "the severing of ties goes against Turkey's strategic interests."

Jerusalem sources were unfazed by the move, saying that Israel's military agreements with Turkey had previously been suspended – by Israel. "Military trade with Turkey was suspended a while ago… we didn’t want to risk any weapons made in Israel falling into the wrong hands," a diplomatic source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Other sources hedged that while Turkey may downgrade its ties with Israel, the US is likely to stop Ankara from severing its ties with Jerusalem completely.

 Foreign Ministry Director-General Rafael Barak called for a situation assessment on Friday afternoon, following Turkey's decision. The meeting was called after he conferred with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is currently on an official visit to Moldova.

Meanwhile, Turkey's Zaman news site reported Friday that Davutoğlu had spoken with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and that he raised The New York Times issue with him. Davutoğlu added that UN’s Ban was also surprised to hear about the publication of the leaked report.

 AP, Reuters, AFP and Ronen Medzini contributed to this report
prentice crawford
« Reply #1405 on: September 03, 2011, 08:50:57 PM »

 ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey is preparing to challenge Israel's blockade on Gaza at the International Court of Justice, the foreign minister said Saturday, ratcheting up tensions between the once close allies.

Ahmet Davutoglu's comments came a day after Turkey expelled the Israel's ambassador and severed military ties with the country, angered over its refusal to apologize for last year's deadly raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla that killed nine pro-Palestinian activists.

In an interview with Turkey's state-run TRT television, Davutoglu dismissed a U.N. report into the raid that said Israel's naval blockade of Gaza was a legal security measure. Davutoglu said the report — prepared by former New Zealand Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer and former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, and presented to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon — was not endorsed by the United Nations and was therefore not binding.

"What is binding is the International Court of Justice," Davutoglu said. "This is what we are saying: let the International Court of Justice decide."

"We are starting the necessary legal procedures this coming week," he said.

But Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said his country has nothing to apologize for and that it has done all it could to avoid a crisis with Turkey. He said the Turks apparently intended to raise tensions with Israel for its own reasons.

"The problem here is on the Turkish side. ... They were not ready for a compromise and kept raising the threshold," Ayalon said on Israeli TV Saturday. "I think we need to say to the Turks: as far as we are concerned, this saga is behind us. Now we need to cooperate. Lack of cooperation harms not only us, but Turkey as well."

Davutoglu said the U.N. report released Friday contradicted an earlier report on the Gaza flotilla incident which found that Israeli forces violated international law when they raided the flotilla. That report was prepared in September by three human rights experts appointed by the U.N.'s top human rights body.

He also warned Israel that it risks alienation among Arab nations by resisting an apology.

"If Israel persists with its current position, the Arab spring will give rise to a strong Israel opposition as well as the debate on the authoritarian regimes," Davutoglu said.

On Friday, Turkey downgraded its diplomatic ties with Israel to the level of second secretary and gave the ambassador and other high-level diplomats until Wednesday to leave the country. In other measures against Israel, Turkey suspended military agreements, promised to back legal actions against Israel by the raid victims' families, and vowed to take steps to ensure freedom to navigate in the eastern Mediterranean.

Turkish officials refused to elaborate on their government's latest move, but some analysts suggested Turkey could send navy vessels to escort aid ships in the future.

Turkey's main opposition party on Friday warned that such a step could lead to confrontation between Turkish and Israeli forces. "The probability that (Turkey's ruling) party has carried Turkey to the brink of a hot conflict is saddening and unacceptable," said Faruk Logoglu, a deputy chairman of the opposition Republican People's Party.

On Saturday, Ban urged Turkey and Israel to mend ties for the good of the Middle East peace process. "I sincerely hope that Israel and Turkey will improve their relationship," Ban told reporters during a visit to Australia.

"Both countries are very important countries in the region and their improved relationship — normal relationship — will be very important in addressing all the situations in the Middle East, including the Middle East peace process," he said, referring to a negotiated Palestinian-Israeli peace pact.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's spokesman said the U.N. committee's report concluded that Israel had acted within its rights and said he hoped it would help "put the relationship between Jerusalem and Ankara back on the right track."

"The U.N. commission clearly states that Israel acted legally in imposing the naval blockade to protect our people from the smuggling of rockets and weapons that are fired at our civilians," the spokesman, Mark Regev, said.

The U.N. report released Friday called the May 31, 2010 Israeli raid "excessive and unreasonable." The U.N. panel also blamed Turkey and flotilla organizers for contributing to the deaths.

Israel insists its forces acted in self-defense and says there will be no apology. Israeli officials pointed out that the report does not demand an apology. Rather, it says "an appropriate statement of regret should be made by Israel in respect of the incident in light of its consequences."
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« Reply #1406 on: September 06, 2011, 08:09:35 AM »

By MARC CHAMPION in Istanbul and JOSHUA MITNICK in Tel Aviv
ISTANBUL—Turkey said Monday it would do nothing "for now" to change its economic relationship with Israel as a rift between Washington's two closest allies in the Middle East deepened.

What appeared to be a veiled threat from Turkish economy minister Zafer Caglayan came just hours after the governor of Israel's central bank warned that the cost of losing trade with Turkey would be far-reaching for the Jewish state.

Ties between Turkey and Israel, once strategic partners, reached a new low Friday when Ankara downgraded diplomatic relations and canceled all military agreements between the two states.

Turkish officials said they were responding to Israel's continued refusal to apologize for the deaths of eight Turkish citizens and an American of Turkish descent on board a Gaza-bound aid ship in May last year.

But tensions continued to escalate Monday when tourist groups from both countries were held temporarily for questioning at airports in Tel Aviv and Istanbul in apparent tit-for-tat actions. Meanwhile, Turkey's foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, pledged at a news conference with a senior Palestinian official to secure the needed votes in favor of recognizing a Palestinian state at the United Nations this month.

Both Israel and the U.S. oppose such a U.N. recognition of Palestine, setting the scene for a potential diplomatic confrontation in New York.

Mr. Davutoglu's statement Friday said nothing about the growing trade relationship between the two countries—valued at nearly $3.5 billion last year and up by more than a quarter in the first half of 2011 from a year earlier. But reports in Turkish and Israeli media said economic sanctions would follow. "For now, there is no change in economic relations," Mr. Caglayan said Monday.

A spokesman for Mr. Davutoglu declined to comment on the media reports but noted that Friday's statement stressed that the measures it announced were only those to be taken "at this stage." Turkish leaders have said more punitive action will come unless Israel delivers an apology for the nine deaths, as well as compensation.

Speaking to a conference on regional cooperation in Tel Aviv, Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer said the deterioration of ties with Turkey could hurt Israel, noting that Turkey's $700 billion economy was the largest in the region. "The consequences of not having trading relations with Turkey would be potentially expansive, particularly for us, because in terms of sophisticated economies in the region—which is where we export most successfully—[Turkey] is the most important," he said.

Mr. Caglayan acknowledged there also would be costs to Turkey in losing the relationship. Israel is one of the few significant trading partners with which Turkey enjoys a surplus, a boon at a time when Ankara is struggling to control a ballooning trade deficit.

Still, the potential economic impact of the rift appeared to be on display already Monday. Businesswoman Hayuta Leibovitch was among some 40 Israelis who landed in Istanbul in the morning and reported being detained by border police at the airport without explanation. Ms. Leibovitch, who imports fashion products from Turkey, told Israel Radio that the group had their passports taken away for 90 minutes before being allowed to proceed.

"I feel this is a point of no return. I am going to do what I've been mulling over for two years, and look for alternatives. This won't be easy," said Ms. Leibovitch, who told Israel Radio she had been visiting Turkey at least once every two months for 10 years. "The feeling was humiliating, like, 'You're not apologizing? We'll show you who the boss is here.' "

A Turkish tour group returning from Ramadan celebrations in Jerusalem said they also had been singled out—by Israeli security officials at Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion airport. Members of the group told reporters they had been strip searched, were repeatedly questioned and had their bags pulled apart, before being allowed to fly home.

"There was a different treatment against Turkish people," the group's guide, Eyup Ansar Ugur told Turkey's state-run Anadolu news agency.

Further tensions look likely. A spokesman for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday that a long-planned trip to Egypt is now set, probably early next week, and that efforts to arrange a politically sensitive side trip to the Gaza strip were continuing. Israel fears that a visit to Gaza by so senior and popular a figure as Mr. Erdogan would help to legitimize Hamas, which governs the territory but is considered a terrorist organization by Israel and the U.S.

Here's a story for the man-bites-dog folder: The United Nations has conducted another inquiry into an Israeli military operation—and produced a report that mainly vindicates the Jewish state. And here, alas, is a story for the dog-bites-man folder: The Turkish government has responded to the U.N. report by withdrawing its ambassador from Tel Aviv and expelling Israel's from Ankara.

The Palmer report—named for the inquiry's chairman, former New Zealand Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer—was commissioned by the U.N.'s Secretary General to investigate the May 2010 "flotilla incident," when six ships sailing from Turkey to Gaza on an alleged humanitarian mission were boarded by Israeli commandos enforcing a naval blockade of Gaza. Nine passengers were killed (and several Israeli soldiers badly beaten) in the ensuing melee, sparking a crisis in Jerusalem's already frayed relations with Ankara.

Given the U.N.'s track record on Israel, one might have expected this latest report to be a reprise of Richard Goldstone's notorious report alleging Israeli war crimes during its 2009 war with Gaza (charges later retracted by Mr. Goldstone). Instead, the Palmer report offers a point-by-point rebuttal to some of the most preposterous accusations leveled against Israel.

One such accusation from the Turks is that Israel's naval blockade of Gaza is illegal because blockades can only be legally imposed on another state, and Israel has never recognized Palestine as a state. The Palmer report dismisses that legal legerdemain, noting that "Hamas is the de facto political and administrative authority in Gaza," that "it is Hamas that is firing projectiles into Israel or permitting others to do so," that "law does not operate in a political vacuum" and thus "Israel was entitled to take reasonable steps to prevent the influx of weapons into Gaza."

Then there is the fiction that the flotilla had embarked on a "humanitarian mission." If that were true, its organizers would not have spurned Israel's offer to off-load their supplies in the nearby Israeli port of Ashdod. As the report acidly observes, the flotilla's largest ship and the site of the fighting—the Mavi Marmara—barely contained any humanitarian goods beyond "foodstuffs and toys carried in passengers' personal baggage."

The report also gives weight to the view that a "hardcore group of about 40 activists" from an Islamist NGO known as the IHH "had effective control over the vessel during the journey and were not subjected to security screening" when they boarded the ship in Istanbul. "It is clear to the Panel that preparations were made by some of the passengers on the Mavi Marmara well in advance to violently resist any boarding attempt."

Simply put, the flotilla's organizers were spoiling for the fight they later would claim as evidence of Israeli criminality. That's a fight Israel went out of its way to avoid, both through high-level diplomatic representations to Ankara and repeated warnings to the flotilla to turn away from the blockade. Too bad, then, that the report makes a weak stab at balance by chiding the conduct of Israeli soldiers in the heat of a battle against dozens of thugs armed with iron bars, chains, knives and—given that two of the Israeli commandos were shot—probably firearms as well.

All of this might have provoked a bit of soul-searching within the Turkish government, just as its once-warm embrace of Syria's Bashar Assad has. Instead, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has doubled down on his anti-Israel bets, insisting that Jerusalem apologize to Turkey, compensate the victims and lift its blockade of Gaza as the price for his forgiveness. The Palmer report is a fresh reminder—from the least likely of sources—of why Israel has no honorable choice but to spurn those demands. The Turks will learn in their own time that being Hamas's patron is a loser's game.

« Last Edit: September 06, 2011, 08:31:48 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
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« Reply #1407 on: September 06, 2011, 08:17:49 PM »

Dispatch: Turkey Suspends Defense Ties With Israel
September 6, 2011 | 2146 GMT
Click on image below to watch video:

Analyst Reva Bhalla discusses Turkey’s strategic need for a crisis with Israel and a growing U.S.-Turkish relationship that is increasing Israel’s vulnerability.

Editor’s Note: Transcripts are generated using speech-recognition technology. Therefore, STRATFOR cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.

Related Links
Fresh Tensions Between Israel, Turkey Over Flotilla Incident
Iran Monitors Turkey’s Rising Regional Power
Israeli-Arab Crisis Approaching
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivered a press conference on Tuesday in which he said Turkey would be suspending defense industry ties with Israel. The announcement follows Israel’s continued refusal to apologize for a flotilla incident last May, as well as a leaked report on a U.N. report that largely exonerated Israel before that crisis. Turkey has a strategic intent to ratchet up its crisis with Israel for primarily public-relations purposes, but this is a diplomatic crisis that Israel cannot afford.

Over the past several months, back channel talks between Israel and Turkey that have primarily been mediated by the United States have been taking place in search of a compromise over the flotilla incident. Political personalities certainly play a role in sustaining the sticking points in these negotiations, but there is a deeper interest that Turkey has in continuing this crisis. Turkey is slowly but surely reemerging as a regional power. Last May when the flotilla incident occurred, Turky’s public relations campaign designed to broaden Turkish appeal in the Islamic world, was already well under way. Many will recall Erdogan’s outburst at the Davos Summit in 2009. The spread of unrest in the Arab world has accelerated Turkey’s rise, pushing Turkey into making difficult policy decisions on everything from cooperating with the United States against Iran and Iraq to developing a contingency plan for a post-Assad Syria. Many countries in the region, including Egypt, Iran and Saudi Arabia, are looking to Turkey to see if Turkish talk is all it’s worth. There’s been a great deal of skepticism in the Arab media in particular, over whether Turkish influence is really as much as it claims.

Playing up a crisis with Israel could help, in part, with Turkey’s credibility issues as it seeks to redefine its relationship with Israel and saturate the Middle East with its own influence. The problem for Israel is that Israel cannot afford diplomatic isolation. Israel needs Turkey far more than Turkey needs Israel, especially as Israel is encountering many problems on its borders.

From Turkey’s perspective, even defense industry cooperation with Israel can be substituted, and that’s where we see the United States playing an interesting role. The United States will become increasingly reliant on Turkey to help manage conflicts in the Middle East from Syria, to Egypt, to Iran, and so the U.S. will increasingly prioritize its relationship with Turkey over its relationship with Israel. This is something that Turkey is likely aware of, and is why we think that Turkey may be more serious this time about expanding its presence in the eastern Mediterranean, including the possibility of the Turkish Navy escorting aid ships to the Gaza Strip.

Turkey doesn’t need to care too much about what Israel thinks, but it does need to care about what the United States thinks on these issues. Some bargaining can thus be expected between Ankara and Washington. For example, Turkey, in exchange for cooperation on issues that the U.S. cares about, can negotiate U.S. tolerance for a continued diplomatic crisis with Israel. That’s even a dynamic that the U.S. could use to its advantage in trying to corner Israel on other issues. In that sense, Turkey’s decision on Sunday to formally approve the installation of an X-band radar as part of a U.S.-led ballistic missile defense strategy, could serve as a useful indicator that Turkey and the United States have issues, largely unrelated to Israel, that take precedence.

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« Reply #1408 on: September 08, 2011, 10:14:32 AM »

US election season is clearly upon us as US President Barack Obama has moved into full campaign mode. Part and parcel of that mode is a new bid to woo Jewish voters and donors upset by Obama's hostility to Israel back in the Democratic Party's fold.

To undertake this task, the White House turned to its reliable defender, columnist Jeffrey Goldberg. Since 2008, when then-candidate Obama was first challenged on his anti-Israel friends, pastors and positions, Goldberg has willingly used his pen to defend Obama to the American Jewish community.

Trying to portray Obama as pro-Israel is not a simple task. From the outset of his tenure in office, Obama has distinguished himself as the most anti-Israel president ever.

Obama is the first president ever to denounce Jewish property rights in Jerusalem. He is the first president to require Israel to deny Jews property rights in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria as a precondition for peace talks with the Palestinians.

He is the first US president to adopt the position that Israel must surrender its right to defensible borders in the framework of a peace treaty. He has even made Israeli acceptance of this position a precondition for negotiations.

He is the first US president to accept Hamas as a legitimate actor in Palestinian politics. Obama's willingness to do so was exposed by his refusal to end US financial assistance to the PA in the aftermath of last spring's unity agreement between Fatah and Hamas.

He is the first US president to make US support for Israel at the UN conditional on Israeli concessions to the Palestinians.

Even today, Obama has refused to state outright whether or not he will veto a Security Council resolution later this month endorsing Palestinian statehood outside the context of a peace treaty with Israel. As he leaves Israel twisting in the wind, he has sent his chief Middle East Peace Processors Dennis Ross and David Hale to Israel to threaten Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu into caving to US-Palestinian demands and beg PA leader Mahmoud Abbas to accept an Israeli surrender and cancel his plans to have the UN General Assembly upgrade the PLO's mission to the UN.

Given Obama's record - to which can be added his fervent support for Turkish Prime Minister and virulent anti-Semite Recep Tayyip Erdogan, his courtship of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and his massive weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and Egypt - it is obvious that any attempt to argue that Obama is pro-Israel cannot be based on substance, or even on tone. And so Goldberg's article, like several that preceded it, is an attempt to distort Obama's record and deflect responsibility for that record onto Netanyahu. Netanyahu, in turn, is demonized as ungrateful and uncooperative.

Goldberg's narrative began by recalling Netanyahu's extraordinary statement during his photo opportunity with Obama at the Oval Office during his visit to Washington in May. At the time, Netanyahu gave an impassioned defense of Israel's right to secure borders and explained why the 1949 armistice lines are indefensible.

Goldberg centered on then-secretary of defense Robert Gates's angry statement to his colleagues in the wake of Netanyahu's visit. Gates reportedly accused Israel of being ungrateful for all the things the US did for it.

After presenting Gates as an objective critic whose views were justified and shared by one and all, Goldberg went on to claim that the administration's justified antipathy for Netanyahu was liable to harm Israel. That is, he claimed that it would be Netanyahu's fault if Obama abandoned traditional US support for Israel.

Goldberg's article is stunning on several levels. First, his distortion of events is breathtaking. Specifically he failed to note that Netanyahu's statement at the Oval Office was precipitated by Obama's decision to blindside Netanyahu with his announcement that the US supported an Israeli withdrawal to the indefensible 1949 armistice lines. Obama made the statement in a speech given while Netanyahu was en route to Washington.

Then there is his portrayal of Gates as an objective observer. Goldberg failed to mention that Gates's record has been consistently anti-Israel. In his Senate approval hearings during the Bush administration, Gates became the first senior US official to state publicly that Israel had a nuclear arsenal.

Gates was a member of the 2006 Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group that recommended the US pressure Israel to surrender Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights in order to appease the Arab world and pave the way for a US withdrawal from Iraq.

Gates did everything he could at the Pentagon to deny Israel the ability to attack Iran's nuclear installations. He was also a fervent advocate of massive arms sales to Saudi Arabia that upset the military balance in the Middle East.

The Obama administration bases its claims that it is pro-Israel on the fact that it has continued and expanded some of the joint US-Israel missile defense projects that were initiated by the Bush administration. Goldberg sympathetically recorded the argument.

But the truth is less sanguine. While jointly developing defensive systems, the administration has placed unprecedented restrictions on the export of offensive military platforms and technologies to Israel. Under Gates, Pentagon constraints on Israeli technology additions to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighters nearly forced Israel to cancel its plans to purchase the aircraft.

It is an open question whether American Jews will be willing to buy the bill of goods the administration is trying to sell them through their media proxies in next year's presidential elections. But if next week's special elections for New York's Ninth Congressional District are any indication, the answer is apparently that an unprecedented number of American Jews are unwilling to ignore reality and support the most anti-Israel president ever.

The New York race is attracting great attention because it is serving as a referendum on Obama's policies toward Israel. The district, representing portions of Queens and Brooklyn, is heavily Jewish and has been reliably Democratic. And yet, a week before the elections, Republican candidate Bob Turner is tied in the polls with Democratic candidate David Weprin, and the main issue in the race is Obama's policies on Israel.

To sidestep criticism of the president's record, Weprin is seeking to distance himself from Obama. He refuses to say if he will support Obama's reelection bid. And he is as critical of Obama's record on Israel as his Republican opponent is.

But Turner's argument - that as a Democrat, Weprin will be forced to support his party and so support Obama - is gaining traction with voters. According to a McLaughlin poll of the district released on September 1, Turner's bid is gaining steam, and Weprin's is running out of steam, with Turner's favorability rates on the rise and Weprin's declining.

Deflecting substantive criticism by seeking to demonize one's opponents is a standard leftist play. Obama and his political supporters engage in it routinely in their demonization of their political opponents as "terrorists" and "extremists." And now, with the American Jewish vote in play for the first time since 1936, they are doing it to Netanyahu.

It is encouraging to see that at least in New York's Ninth Congressional District, American Jews are refusing to be taken in.
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« Reply #1409 on: September 08, 2011, 10:23:54 AM »

"Trying to portray Obama as pro-Israel is not a simple task. From the outset of his tenure in office, Obama has distinguished himself as the most anti-Israel president ever."

Whaaaaaaat? But he wore a kippa at AIPAC!  rolleyes
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« Reply #1410 on: September 09, 2011, 08:12:05 AM »

By JAY SOLOMON in Washington and JOSHUA MITNICK in Ramallah

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas rebuffed a last-ditch U.S. push aimed at getting him to back away from his campaign to win Palestinian statehood through a United Nations vote, placing Washington and Ramallah on a potential collision course in the months ahead.

On Thursday, Mr. Abbas recommitted to his plan to pursue the U.N. vote this month, following a meeting in the West Bank the previous day with two senior Obama administration officials. These officials explicitly warned the Palestinian leader that his relations with the U.S. could sour if he followed through on his initiative, according to diplomats briefed on the meeting.

The two American diplomats, the White House's Dennis Ross and special Middle East peace envoy David Hale, specifically pointed Mr. Abbas to threats made by the U.S. Congress to cut American financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority as a result of the U.N. initiative, according to these diplomats.

Messrs. Ross and Hale also told the Palestinian leader that the U.N. vote could undermine security in the Palestinian territories and potentially derail longer-term hopes for Mideast peace, as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will likely disengage and harden his government's position toward the Palestinian Authority, according to these diplomats.

"The U.N. route is not an option," the American diplomats said, according to an official briefed on the exchange.

Mr. Abbas confirmed during a news briefing in Ramallah on Thursday that the U.S. has been exerting growing pressure on him to back away from his U.N. strategy. But he said he still planned to introduce a resolution to the Security Council this month asking that the 15-nation body recognize Palestine as a sovereign state, despite repeated U.S. statements that it will veto the measure.
"They talked about some sort of confrontation, which means there will be a big difference between'' the Palestinians and the U.S., Mr. Abbas said. "I am in need of their help. I will keep my relations normal-style with them. But if they don't want that, of course, it's up to America."

U.S. officials acknowledged Thursday they have been increasing pressure on Mr. Abbas. The State Department said U.S. diplomats would veto any resolution on Palestinian statehood placed before the Security Council. The State Department has also launched a global campaign in recent weeks to lobby governments to vote against any Palestinian initiative at the U.N. General Assembly. "If something comes to a vote in the U.N. Security Council, the U.S. will veto," State Department spokesman Victoria Nuland said Thursday.

The U.S. envoys offered sweeteners to Mr. Abbas on Wednesday, according to the diplomats briefed on the meeting. But Palestinian officials said these were too little, too late.

Among the incentives: The U.S. had suggested the so-called quartet of powers working to broker a Mideast peace—composed of the U.N., European Union, U.S. and Russia—would put out a new statement in the coming days that seeks to more formally define the terms of a new round of talks between Israel and the Palestinians.  (What a , , , remarkablestrategy this is!)

The statement is specifically seeking to weave in President Barack Obama's stated position that new talks use Israel's borders prior to the 1967 Six Day War as the baseline for creating a new Palestinian state, while acknowledging the need for some territorial exchanges. Mr. Netanyahu has so far rejected such parameters for the talks, arguing that Israel's 1967 borders are now "indefensible."

The Palestinians have been asking the quartet to demand a complete freeze on Jewish construction in the disputed West Bank and East Jerusalem, a timeline for new talks and guarantees that East Jerusalem and the future status of Palestinians refugees will be on the agenda.

None of these issues are expected in the new statement, U.S. and European officials say.

Mr. Abbas said Thursday that he would look at the text of any new quartet statement. But he strongly suggested that his decision had been made to go to the U.N. "If if they come now in this short time and say: 'Okay, we have a package, and don't go to the United Nations,' I think this amounts to a game,"' Mr. Abbas said.

The U.S. officials also told Mr. Abbas that U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would play a more central and "personal" role in the peace process if the Palestinians agreed to enter into another round of direct talks with Israel's government.

U.S. officials privately worry that a decision by the Obama administration to veto the Palestinian initiative could end up dominating the debate at the U.N. General Assembly during the last two weeks of September.

The White House had been hoping to utilize the annual event to showcase the spread of democratic movements across the Middle East and North Africa. Mr. Obama is planning to participate in an event showcasing the new leadership in Libya that recently overthrew longstanding strongman Moammar Gadhafi, with the help of U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organization military strikes.

The Palestinians' push at the U.N. is in many ways ceremonial. Only the Security Council has the power to formally authorize the creation of a new state, which Washington has made clear won't happen.

But Palestinian officials said they were likely to work around the Security Council and seek a vote among the 192-nation General Assembly aimed at giving Palestine the status of a nonmember observer state. Only the Vatican now has that status.

A widely expected vote in favor could give the Palestinians far more rights at the U.N. and membership at key U.N. and global bodies, such as the U.N. Human Rights Council and the International Criminal Court at the Hague.

Israeli officials are already expressing concerns that their government could face growing legal challenges at both the Human Rights Council and the ICC if the General Assembly votes in favor of the Palestinian initiative. Indeed, Messrs. Ross and Hale told Mr. Abbas that actions by the Palestinians at the ICC was a "red line" that the U.S. believed couldn't be crossed.

Mr. Abbas said Thursday that the Palestinians aren't looking to go to the ICC, but suggested they might pursue claims there in the future in response to Israeli actions.

Leading Democratic and Republican lawmakers have publicly warned Mr. Abbas in recent months that he risks future U.S. financial assistance if he goes forward with the U.N. vote. The U.S. has been providing the Palestinian Authority with $500 million to $900 million in annual aid. It has come in the form of military assistance, direct budgetary support and funds for international organizations like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

The chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R., Fla.), announced last month that she would also seek to cut off funding for any U.N. agency that accepts an upgrade in the Palestinians' diplomatic status.

In 2006, Congress briefly cut off most funding for the Palestinian Authority after the militant group Hamas, which the U.S. designates as a terrorist organization, won local elections. The U.S. actions greatly undercut the Palestinian Authority's ability to pay its staffers and meet its financial obligations. Much U.S. legislation toward the Palestinians has rigid requirements that limit the White House's ability to seek waivers.

Still, a number of U.S. officials have privately said that the cessation of aid to the Palestinian Authority could end up undermining Washington and Israel's interests. The Palestinian Authority has been commended for improving the performance of its security forces in the West Bank. An end of military assistance could ultimately hurt Israel's security situation, said these U.S. officials.

"If they cut their aid to us, it will be a different situation,'' Mr. Abbas said Thursday. "Of course it's a problem."

prentice crawford
« Reply #1411 on: September 09, 2011, 07:42:34 PM »

  Egyptians break into Israel Embassy in Cairo
By AYA BATRAWY - Associated Press | AP – 58 mins agotweet9Share4EmailPrintRelated Content
Egyptian activists demolish a concrete wall built around a building housing the Israeli …

Some hundreds of Egyptian activists demolish a concrete wall built around a building …
CAIRO (AP) — A group of about 30 protesters broke into the Israeli Embassy in Cairo Friday and dumped hundreds of documents out of the windows after a day of demonstrations outside the building in which crowds swinging sledge hammers and using their bare hands tore apart the embassy's security wall.

Israel's ambassador, Yitzhak Levanon, his family and other embassy staff were waiting at Cairo's airport for a military plane to evacuate them, said airport officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Hundreds of protesters converged on the embassy throughout the afternoon and into the night, tearing down large sections of the graffiti-covered security wall outside the 21-story building housing the embassy. Egyptian security forces made no attempt for hours to intervene.

Just before midnight, a group of protesters reached a room on one of the embassy's lower floors at the top of the building and began dumping Hebrew-language documents from the windows, said an Egyptian security official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

In Jerusalem, an Israeli official confirmed the embassy had been broken into, saying it appeared the group reached a waiting room on the lower floor. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not permitted to release the information.

No one answered the phone at the embassy late Friday.

Since the fall of Hosni Mubarak in February, calls have grown in Egypt for ending the historic 1979 peace treaty with Israel, a pact that has never had the support of ordinary Egyptians. Anger increased last month after Israeli forces responding to a cross-border militant attack mistakenly killed five Egyptian police officers near the border.

Several large protests have taken place outside the embassy in recent months without serious incident. Friday's demonstration, however, quickly escalated with crowds pummeling the security wall with sledge hammers and tearing away large sections of the cement and metal barrier, which was recently put up to better protect the site from protests.

For the second time in less than a month, protesters were able to get to the top of the building and pull down the Israeli flag.

Crowds outside the building photographed documents that drifted to the ground and posted some of them online.

Protesters clashed with police and set fire to a police truck outside the embassy. Crowds also tried to attack a nearby police station but were turned back by security forces firing tear gas and warning shots. State radio reported that one person died of a heart attack and that 163 people were injured.

Senior Israeli officials were holding discussions on the embassy breach.

Israeli Defense Minster Ehud Barak said in a statement that he also spoke with his American counterpart, Leon Panetta, and appealed to him to do what he could to protect the embassy.

Thousands elsewhere protested for the first time in a month against the country's military rulers.

Seven months after the popular uprising that drove Mubarak from power, Egyptians are still pressing for a list of changes, including more transparent trials of former regime figures accused of corruption and a clear timetable for parliamentary elections.

Egyptians have grown increasingly distrustful of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, which took control of the country when Mubarak was forced out on Feb. 11 after nearly three decades in power. The council, headed by Mubarak's defense minister, Field Marshall Hussein Tantawi, has voiced its support for the revolution and those who called for democracy and justice.

But activists accuse it of remaining too close to Mubarak's regime and practicing similarly repressive policies, including abusing detainees. The trials of thousands of civilians in military courts has also angered activists.

"In the beginning we were with the military because they claimed to be protectors of the revolution, but month after month nothing has changed," said doctor Ghada Nimr, one of those who gathered in Tahrir Square.

One banner in Cairo read, "Egyptians, come out of your homes, Tantawi is Mubarak."

Demonstrators in Cairo also converged on the state TV building, a central courthouse and the Interior Ministry, a hated symbol of abuses by police and security forces under Mubarak. Protesters covered one of the ministry's gates with graffiti and tore off parts of the large ministry seal.

Protests also took place in Alexandria, Suez and several other cities.

About 850 people were killed in the early days of the Jan. 25-Feb. 11 uprising. Tantawi is scheduled to testify in Mubarak's trial in closed sessions that begin Sunday. The 83-year-old Mubarak is on trial on charges of complicity in the deaths of protesters, a charge that could bring the death penalty.

The judge in the trial banned TV cameras from the courtroom during this week's sessions, and starting Sunday the proceedings will be closed to the media and the public.

The lack of transparency in trials of members of Mubarak's inner circle has angered many in Egypt.

"These are all practices of the old regime: repression and restriction on freedoms," said Cairo protester Khaled Abdel-Hamid.

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« Reply #1412 on: September 09, 2011, 08:46:59 PM »

With the moves in the UN that will give observer status to Gaza-West Bank (and the right to sit on various bodies such as the Human Rights Council if I am not mistaken), the Turks apparently planning to challenge the blockade of Gaza and the Israeli development of natural gas off its coastline, the apparent trajectory in Egypt towards ending the peace treaty, and Baraq Hussein Obowma in the White House, the prognosis is grim indeed.
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« Reply #1413 on: September 09, 2011, 08:51:35 PM »

Who could have seen this coming?
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« Reply #1414 on: September 12, 2011, 10:10:25 AM »

I wonder who the intellectual is.  State's he is an Israeli but also quoted as speaking to him in US.  Wonder if it is Soros.:

*****Jordan's Abdullah: Israel's situation today more difficult than ever

King says 'Jordan and the future Palestine are stronger than Israel is today. It is the Israeli who is scared today'

Roee Nahmias Published:  09.12.11, 15:21 / Israel News 

"Jordan and the future Palestine are stronger than Israel is today. It is the Israeli who is scared today," King Abdullah of Jordan said late Sunday in Amman.

The king described a recent conversation he held in the US with "one of the Israeli intellectuals" who commented on events in the Arab world, arguing that they were good for Israel. "I replied and said that it was the opposite and that Israel's situation today is more difficult than ever before.

Abdullah reiterated that his country would not serve as an "alternative homeland to the Palestinians."

According to the Jordanian leader, "Jordan is Jordan and Palestine is Palestine. We support all Palestinian rights and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state – our policy hasn’t changed. The subject of an alternative homeland must not be part of the discussion. It is unacceptable."

Abdullah sought to reassure everyone, saying "I have never heard from any senior American official – whether Bush, Clinton or Obama – any pressure on Jordan that the Palestinian solution should come at its expense."

"Jordan", the king added, "Will defend its rights and support its vision of a permanent solution that would ensure the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital and a just realization of the right of return and adequate compensation."****

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« Reply #1415 on: September 12, 2011, 04:10:29 PM »

Analyst Kamran Bokhari examines Israel’s regional challenge and Egypt’s domestic challenge following an attack on the Israeli Embassy in Cairo.

Editor’s Note: Transcripts are generated using speech-recognition technology. Therefore, STRATFOR cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.

Egyptian protesters storming the Israeli embassy in Cairo on Sept. 9 has created friction between Egypt and Israel, as both sides try to manage the uneasy relationship. This incident has domestic policy implications for Egypt as well as foreign policy implications for Israel.

Egyptian and Israeli authorities are trying to put behind the incident that took place on Friday when several protesters stormed the Israeli embassy, forcing the Israeli ambassador and his family to return to Israel. Authorities in both countries are trying to manage the diplomatic relationship that has become tense, given the fall of President Hosni Mubarak and the uncertain political conditions in Egypt.

The tensions involving Israel are not exactly completely negative from the point of view of Egypt’s military leadership. The Egyptian military authority is interested in delaying, as much as possible, the transition toward civilian rule. What that means is essentially postponing elections as long as possible. Given the current mood within Egypt, the military government doesn’t exactly have the leverage to be able to postpone those elections. That said, an issue like tensions with Israel can be used by the government in Cairo to be able to pull off that kind of postponement of elections. But, nonetheless, the situation right now is very premature and it’s not really clear whether the Egyptian authorities will be able to make use of the incident with Israel to manage domestic politics.

The tensions between Egypt and Israel come at a time when Israel is facing growing problems across its regional neighborhood. Israel has to worry about what is happening in Syria, what would be the fate of the embattled al Assad regime that is facing protests of its own. The Turkish government has announced that it is going to deploy its own naval forces in the eastern Mediterranean, which essentially is upping the anti with Israel, because Israel, thus far, has had freedom of movement in those waters.

In addition, there is the issue of the Palestinians who are trying to use the United Nations General Assembly session this year to be able to pull off a vote in favor of Palestinian statehood. Taken together, all of these issues complicate matters for Israel, and the key pillar of Israeli security is Egypt and the relationship with Egypt. And if Egyptian relations with Israel cannot be managed, then that becomes a far bigger problem for Israel and makes it less likely for Israel to be able to manage the other issues.

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« Reply #1416 on: September 13, 2011, 11:55:53 AM »

As Egypt and Turkey increase tensions with Israel, the Palestinian Authority seeks to isolate the Jewish state even further by demanding that the United Nations accord Palestine recognition as a "state" without a negotiated peace with Israel. President Mahmoud Abbas described his playbook for seeking U.N. recognition while bypassing the step of negotiating a two-state solution: "We are going to complain that as Palestinians we have been under occupation for 63 years."

What exactly happened 63 years ago? The U.N. recommended partitioning the former British mandate into two states: one Jewish, the other Arab. Israel and most of the rest of the world accepted that partition plan, and Israel declared itself the nation-state of the Jewish people. The United States, the Soviet Union and all the great powers recognized this declaration and the two-state solution that it represented.

The Arab world unanimously rejected the U.N. partition plan and the declaration of statehood by Israel. The Arab population within Israel and in the area set aside for an Arab state joined the surrounding Arab nations in taking up arms.

In defending its right to exist, Israel lost 1% of its population, many of whom were civilians and survivors of the recent Holocaust. Yet the current Palestinian leadership still insists on calling the self-inflicted wounds caused by its rejection of a two-state solution the "nakba," meaning the catastrophe.

By claiming that the Palestinians "have been under occupation for 63 years" (as distinguished from the 44 years since the Arab states attacked Israel in 1967 and Israel occupied some lands of the invading nations), the Palestinian president is trying to turn the clock back to a time prior to Israel's establishment as a state based on the U.N.'s two-state proposal. In other words, the push for recognition by the U.N. of Palestine as a state, based on Mr. Abbas's complaint that the Palestinians have been under occupation for 63 years, is an attempt to undo the old work of the U.N. that resulted in Israel's statehood 63 years ago.

Enlarge Image

CloseAssociated Press
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas
.Mr. Abbas's occupation complaint also explains why he is so adamant in refusing to recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. Every Arab state is officially a Muslim state and yet, as in 1948, none of them is prepared to accept the permanent existence of a state for the Jewish people in the Middle East. Certainly some, including the Palestinian Authority, are prepared to mouth recognition of Israel as a state, so long as the so-called right of return remains for four million so-called refugees who, if they were to return in mass, would soon turn Israel into yet another Arab state.

Mahmoud Abbas is generally a reasonable man, and many of the things he has recently said about the need for the two-state solution are also reasonable. But he talks out of two sides of his mouth: one for consumption by the international community and the other for consumption by the Palestinian street. His complaint about a 63-year occupation is clearly designed to signal to his constituents that he won't give up on the ultimate goal of turning Israel into a Palestinian state.

If the General Assembly recognizes Palestine as a state without the need to negotiate with Israel, it will, in effect, be undercutting many of its own past resolutions, as well as many bilateral agreements reached between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Such recognition would set back the prospects for a negotiated peaceful resolution and would encourage the use of violence by frustrated Palestinians who will gain nothing concrete from the U.N.'s hollow action but will expect much from it.

We saw what happened when the Palestinian people came close to achieving statehood in 2000-'01—a prospect that was shattered by Yasser Arafat's rejection of the Clinton-Barak peace plan. Arafat's rejection, which even the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. at the time, Bandar bin Sultan, later called a "crime" against the Palestinian people, resulted in a bloody intifada uprising among Palestinians in which thousands of Palestinians and Israelis were killed. The U.N. will be responsible for any ensuing bloodshed if it stokes the flames of violence by raising Palestinian expectations while lowering the prospects for a negotiated peace.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has urged the Palestinians to return immediately to the negotiating table without any preconditions. There is no downside in doing so, since everything would then be on the table for negotiation, including the borders, the right of return, recognition of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people, the settlements and anything else the Palestinians would seek as part of a negotiated two-state peace.

The job of the U.N. is to promote peace, not to retard it. So instead of discouraging negotiations by promising recognition, the U.N. should be demanding that the Palestinian leadership and the Israeli government begin negotiations immediately without any preconditions. That would be a positive step.

Mr. Dershowitz is a law professor at Harvard. His latest book is "Trials of Zion" (Grand Central Publishing, 2010).

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« Reply #1417 on: September 14, 2011, 07:54:39 AM »

and picks up on my point about the Egyptian military being pressured to change relations with Israel due to domestic considerations.
===================Turkey Seeks to Reassert Its Influence As Tensions Flare Between Egypt and Israel

Following a near crisis situation late Friday night when protesters laid siege to the Israeli embassy, the head of Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Planning Unit, Amir Eshel, traveled to Cairo on Monday to discuss the recent security developments in Egypt. Although Eshel’s visit was reportedly focused primarily on the threats posed by lawlessness in the Sinai Peninsula, he also likely discussed an issue of major concern for Israel at the moment — the rising tone of anti-Israel sentiment in public demonstrations that has become commonplace in post-Mubarak Egypt.

“The only thing holding back a growing tidal wave of anti-Israel sentiment in Egypt is the military.”
The Egyptian protests that began last January in an effort to force the removal of then-President Hosni Mubarak never really stopped, even after he was deposed in a military coup. There have been occasional lulls, but the ruling Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) has been dealing with demonstrations on a consistent basis now for over seven months. It was only recently that one of the major themes has become opposition to the SCAF’s relationship with Israel. The change in tone was triggered by the deaths of six members of the Egyptian security forces following the Aug. 18 Eilat attacks – and the way the SCAF handled the aftermath, most notably in refusing to recall Egypt’s ambassador to Israel.

There is a disconnect between the way most Egyptian people feel regarding Israel and the strategic considerations that guide the military’s relations with its northeastern neighbor. To put it simply, most Egyptians dislike Israel and the peace treaty the two nations negotiated in 1978, while the military views their long-held alliance as a pillar of Cairo’s national security. Israel’s fear since last winter has been that new domestic considerations would leave the Egyptian military vulnerable to public pressure to amend this relationship.

The SCAF could have prevented the demonstrations outside the Israeli embassy from escalating to the point where protesters were able to physically enter the building. There was an order from the top to allow the situation to become a near crisis before intervening to stop it. The SCAF waited for what must have felt like to Israel (and the United States) an interminably long time to order its commandos to bring the crisis to an end, whisking the remaining staff away and out of harm’s way. Israel expressed appreciation for this rescue, but it also likely understood the message conveyed by this incident: The only thing holding back a growing tidal wave of anti-Israel sentiment in Egypt is the military.

It is unclear who organized the demonstrations that began as a standard protest in Tahrir Square before moving over to the embassy. The Israeli embassy had witnessed several such (largely peaceful) gatherings in the weeks following the Eilat attacks. Israel is not as concerned with who organized the demonstrations as much as how the SCAF may feel it has to appease the demonstrators to avoid being seen as being too quick to rush to Israel’s defense. Although the SCAF is still in firm control of the country and has no intention of breaking the peace treaty, in Israel’s mind, exploiting events such as last Friday’s for political gain is playing with fire. At some point, the military may not be able to save the day.

Turkish Prime Minister Recap Tayyip Erdogan — the leader of another country whose relationship with Israel has seen significant strains — was already scheduled to visit Cairo on Monday when the embassy crisis erupted. In the middle of what Ankara has dubbed the Turkish leader’s “Arab Spring tour,” Erdogan has planned visits to Egypt, Libya and Tunisia. (An idea to also visit the Gaza Strip was abandoned last week, possibly at the behest of the SCAF.)

Turkey, like Egypt, has a long-running alliance with Israel. Unlike Egypt, Turkey had already begun to re-orient its foreign policy in recent years away from having such close ties with Israel. (The Mavi Marmara incident, which has recently come back into the headlines, was a by-product of this shift that began in 2008.) Reasserting its influence in the Arab world, especially in the countries that experienced political turmoil in the wake of the Arab Spring, is currently one of Ankara’s main foreign policy goals. The Turks are using their public spat with Israel to gain credibility in the region that shares anti-Israel sentiments. The sight of Erdogan speaking to a crowd of Egyptians in Arabic on Monday to chants of “Protector of Islam” points to the utility of such an approach.

In the end, however, Turkey is not yet ready to play the role of regional powerhouse, or to even effectively mediate the tensions between Egypt and Israel. Ankara is playing a perceptions game with Erdogan’s regional tour — a process that will take time to bear fruit. Israel, on the other hand, is facing reality. Given its strained relations with Turkey, doubt about its alliance with Egypt, a looming Palestinian U.N. vote, a weakened Syrian regime, a perpetually unpredictable Lebanon and an Iran that is about to gain from the looming vacuum in Iraq, Israel is reminded of the pitfalls of being located in the Middle East.

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« Reply #1418 on: September 15, 2011, 05:59:40 PM »
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« Reply #1419 on: September 16, 2011, 04:21:49 AM »
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« Reply #1420 on: September 16, 2011, 05:19:36 AM »

Saudi Arabia, America's Ally and Enemy


Michael Doran

December 23, 2003
International Herald Tribune

Saudi Arabia is in the throes of a crisis. Its population is growing faster than its economy, its welfare state is rapidly deteriorating, regional and sectarian resentments are rising, and the disaffected are increasingly turning to radical Islamic activism. Many understand that the Saudi political system must evolve in order to survive, but a profound cultural schizophrenia prevents the elite from agreeing on the specifics of reform.
On the one hand, some Westernizers in the ruling class look to Europe and the United States as models of political development; on the other, a Wahhabi religious establishment holds up its interpretation of Islam's golden age as a guide and considers giving any voice to non-Wahhabis as idolatry.
Saudi Arabia's two most powerful figures have taken opposing sides in this debate: Crown Prince Abdullah tilts toward the liberal reformers, whereas his half-brother Prince Nayef, the interior minister, sides with the clerics. Abdullah cuts a higher profile abroad, but Nayef, who controls the secret police, casts a longer and darker shadow at home.
The two camps divide over a single question: whether the state should reduce the power of the religious establishment. The clerics and Nayef take their stand on the principle of tawhid, or "monotheism," as defined by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, Wahhabism's founder. In their view, many people who claim to be monotheists are actually polytheists and idolaters. For the most radical Saudi clerics, these enemies include Christians, Jews, Shiites, and even insufficiently devout Sunni Muslims. From the perspective of tawhid, these groups constitute a grand conspiracy to destroy true Islam.
In the minds of the clerics, stomping out pagan cultural and political practices at home and supporting war against Americans in Afghanistan and Iraq are two sides of the same coin. Jihad against idolatry, the clerics never tire of repeating, is eternal, "lasting until Judgment Day," when true monotheism will destroy polytheism once and for all. The doctrine of tawhid also ensures the clerics a unique domestic political status, since it implies they alone have the necessary training to safeguard the purity of the realm.
If tawhid marks the right pole of the Saudi political spectrum, then the doctrine of taqarub - rapprochement between Muslims and non-Muslims - marks the left. Taqarub promotes the notion of peaceful coexistence with nonbelievers. It also seeks to expand the political community by legitimizing political participation by groups that the Wahhabis consider non-Muslim - Shiites, secularists, feminists and so on. In foreign policy, taqarub muzzles jihad, allowing Saudis to live in peace with Christian Americans, Jewish Israelis, and even Shiite Iranians.
Abdullah clearly associates himself with Taqarub. He has advocated relaxing restrictions on public debate, promoted democratic reform, supported a reduction in the power of the clerics, and even shown willingness to allow greater freedoms for Saudi Arabia's oppressed Shiite minority. By floating the "Saudi plan" for Arab-Israeli peace, moreover, and traveling to Crawford, Texas, to discuss the issue with President George W. Bush, he harmonized his domestic and foreign agendas. To a Western eye there is no inherent connection between Abdullah's political reform agenda and his rapprochement policies toward non-Muslim states and Shiite "heretics." In a political culture policed by Wahhabis, however, they are seen to be cut from the same cloth.
While Abdullah has signaled friendship with the West, Nayef has encouraged jihad - to the point of offering tacit support for Al Qaeda and overseeing a crackdown on Saudi liberals. Nayef does not take overt responsibility for the persecution of domestic reformers, but the hand of the secret police is barely hidden from view. The sequence of events is now familiar. Either without warning or in response to a complaint by a prominent cleric, a critic of the religious establishment loses his job. His employers subsequently refuse to comment. Islamic extremists then issue a death threat to the unemployed man over the phone or on the Internet. Almost invariably, the campaign achieves its desired result.
Everyone knows that Osama bin Laden rejects the legitimacy of the Saudi family, but few recognize the substantial overlap between the beliefs of Al Qaeda and the Saudi religious establishment. The chief ideological difference between them is that the former includes the Saudi royal family among its enemies while the latter does not.
This hardly rules out limited or tacit cooperation on a variety of issues. Al Qaeda activists sense, moreover, that the American desire to separate mosque and state across the Middle East constitutes the greatest immediate threat to their broader political goals. So Al Qaeda's short-term objective is less to topple the Saudi regime than to shift the country's domestic balance of power to the right and punish supporters of Taqarub.
Projecting their domestic struggle onto the external world, Saudi hard-liners are now arguing that the Shiite minority in Saudi Arabia is conspiring with the United States in its war to destroy Islam. Al Qaeda's nightmare scenario is that the Americans and the Iraqi Shiites will force Riyadh to enact broad reforms and bring the Saudi Shiites into the political community. There is no question that many hard-line Saudi clerics share precisely the same fears.
These notions of an American-Shiite conspiracy are not simply an internal Saudi matter. They legitimize the daily attacks on American soldiers in Iraq's "Sunni Triangle," as well as attacks such as the anti-Shiite suicide bombing in Najaf last August. Nonetheless, changing the situation will be difficult, because the United States has limited means of muting the anti-Shiism and anti-Americanism that the Saudi clerics espouse.
Wahhabism is the foundation of an entire political system, and everyone with a stake in the status quo can be expected to rally around it when push comes to shove. The United States has no choice but to press hard for democratic reforms in both Iraq and Saudi Arabia. But the very attempt to create more liberal political orders will set off new disputes, which will inevitably generate anti-American feelings. As Washington struggles to promote democracy in the Middle East, therefore, it will find once again that its closest Arab ally is also one of its most bitter enemies.

The writer is assistant professor of Near Eastern studies at Princeton University and adjunct senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. This article is drawn from a forthcoming essay in Foreign Affairs.
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« Reply #1421 on: September 16, 2011, 05:25:53 AM »

Saudi Venom in American MosquesBy: Daniel Pipes | Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Those of us following the nascent career of Islam in America have for years worried about the unhealthy influence of Saudi money and ideas on this community.
We watched apprehensively as the Saudi government boasted of funding mosques and research centers; as it announced its support for Islamist organizations such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations; as it trained the imams who became radicalized chaplains in American prisons; and as it introduced Wahhabism to the university campuses via the Muslim Student Association.
But through the years, we lacked information on the contents of Saudi materials. Do these water down or otherwise change the raw, inflammatory message that dominates religious and political life in Saudi Arabia? Or do they replicate the same outlook?
Now, thanks to excellent research by Freedom House (a New York-headquartered organization founded in 1941 that calls itself “a clear voice for democracy and freedom around the world”) we finally have specifics on the Saudi project. A just-published study, “Saudi Publications on Hate Ideology Fill American Mosques,” provides a wealth of detail.
(Two points about it bear noting: this important study was written anonymously, for security reasons; and it was issued by a think tank, and not by university-based researchers. Once again, an off-campus organization does the most creative and timely work; yet again, Middle East specialists find themselves sidelined.)
The picture of Saudi activities in the United States is not a pretty one.
Freedom House’s Muslim volunteers went to fifteen prominent mosques from New York to San Diego and collected over two hundred books and other publications disseminated by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (some 90 percent in the Arabic language) in the mosque libraries, publication racks, and bookstores.
What they found can only be described as horrifying. These writings – each and every one of them sponsored by the kingdom – espouse an anti-Christian, anti-Semitic, misogynist, jihadist, and supremacist outlook. For example, they:
 •Reject Christianity as a valid faith: Any Muslim who believes “that churches are houses of God and that God is worshipped therein … is an infidel.”
•Insist that Islamic law be applied: On a range of issues, from women (who must be veiled) to apostates from Islam (who “should be killed”), the Saudi publications insist on full enforcement of the Shari‘a in America.
•See non-Muslims as the enemy: “Be dissociated from the infidels, hate them for their religion, leave them, never rely on them for support, do not admire them, and always oppose them in every way according to Islamic law.”
•See the United States as hostile territory: “It is forbidden for a Muslim to become a citizen of a country governed by infidels because this is a means of acquiescing to their infidelity and accepting all their erroneous ways.”
•Prepare for war against the United States: “To be true Muslims, we must prepare and be ready for jihad in Allah’s way. It is the duty of the citizen and the government.”
The report’s authors correctly find that the publications under review “pose a grave threat to non-Muslims and to the Muslim community itself.” The materials instill a doctrine of religious hatred inimical to American culture and serve to produce new recruits to the enemy forces in the war on terrorism.
To provide just one example of the latter: Adam Yahiye Gadahn, thought to be the masked person in a 2004 videotape threatening that American streets would “run with blood,” became a jihadi in the course of spending time at the Islamic Society of Orange County, a Saudi-funded institution.
Freedom House urges that the U.S. government “not delay” a protest at the highest levels to the Saudi government about its venomous publications lining the shelves of some of America’s most important mosques. That’s unobjectionable but it strikes this observer of Saudi-American relations as inadequate. The protest will be accepted, then filed away.
Instead, the insidious Saudi assault on America must be made central to the (misnamed) war on terror. The Bush administration needs to confront the domestic menace that the Wahhabi kingdom presents to the United States. That means junking the fantasy of Saudi friendship and seeing the country, like China, as a formidable rival whose ambitions for a very different world order must be both repulsed and contained.
Daniel Pipes ( is director of the Middle East Forum and author of Miniatures (Transaction Publishers).

Mr. Pipes ( is director of the Middle East Forum and Taube distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University.
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« Reply #1422 on: September 16, 2011, 05:46:38 AM »

April 7, 2010
The Maturing Saudi-China Alliance
By Daniel Wagner & Theodore Karasik

As Washington's influence in the world and the Middle East wanes, Gulf countries are weaning themselves from their traditional orientation toward and dependence on the United States. America's post-war political and economic supremacy in the region is now threatened as a result of its own foreign policy, but equally so by the rise in importance of the emerging powers. No country has capitalized on the shifting landscape more than China, which has, consistent with its actions globally, moved assertively to strengthen its ties with the Gulf region generally and in particular with its most important economic and political power, Saudi Arabia.
Chinese-KSA Background
From the Chinese perspective, energy security lays at the heart of the bilateral relationship with Saudi Arabia, as has been the case with many of China's most important strategic relationships over the past decade. China has adopted a multi-tiered foreign policy designed to acquire and secure long-term energy supplies by diversifying its sources of oil and gas, engaging in 'energy diplomacy,' and establishing energy reserves. With the world's largest oil reserves, Saudi Arabia was bound to play an important role in Chinese energy policy.


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Daniel Wagner & Theodore Karasik

Saudi Arabia



The Kingdom demonstrated its intention to adopt an independent approach to global affairs more than 20 years ago by holding talks between the former Soviet Union and Afghan rebels in 1988. China and Saudi Arabia signed a Memorandum of Understanding and opened commercial offices in each other's countries that year as well, which led to the formal establishment of diplomatic bilateral ties. Their relationship has steadily grown since then. Just as China has been vociferous in its pursuit of a deeper relationship with the region, Saudi Arabia has been the most assiduous in the region in cultivating a stronger relationship with China. For this reason, Saudi Arabia has, since 9/11, been perceived with some suspicion by America - even during the Bush years. King Abdullah's first foreign visit upon assuming the throne was to China. And President Hu has paid two visits to Saudi Arabia in the span of three years.
Saudi Arabia cast its eye on Asia with greater fervor over the past decade, recognizing that Japan's thirst for oil, combined with China's and India's economic growth and increasing influence in the global economy, meant that Asia will eventually replace North America and Europe as the largest consumer of Saudi oil. In 2009, Saudi oil exports to the U.S. fell to 989,000 barrels per day - the lowest level in 22 years, and down by a third from 2008. By contrast, Saudi oil exports to China doubled between 2008 and 2009 to more than a million barrels per day. The Kingdom now supplies a quarter of all of China's oil imports. The economic importance of each country to the other cannot therefore be exaggerated.
A substantial boost in Chinese exports to Saudi Arabia occurred after 2000, when Chinese products became more price-competitive. As a result of rising oil prices in the early part of the last decade, Saudi Arabia's appetite for Chinese products rose dramatically. Between 2002 and 2004, Saudi imports from China jumped by 160 percent - a growth rate not matched by any other country during this period in value terms. In 2006 Chinese President Hu declared a desire to boost bilateral trade between the two countries to SR150 billion by 2010. By 2008 Saudi exports reached SR116 billion and imports from China reached SR40 billion, when the volume of oil exported by the Kingdom to China reached 720,000 barrels per day.
China's oil demand is expected to grow by nearly one million barrels per day over the next two years, with its overall oil consumption having nearly doubled between 2000 and 2009 (to 8.5 million barrels per day). China will account for one third of global oil consumption in 2010. So while China's oil consumption is still only half that of the U.S. (at 18.5 million barrels per day), Saudi Arabia knows that it is only a matter of time until China will become the top consumer. The Kingdom is reorienting its foreign and energy policy to become consistent with that eventuality.
The Kingdom is already China's largest trading partner in the greater Middle East, and China is Saudi Arabia's fourth-largest importer and fifth largest exporter in general. Chinese industrial products are increasingly replacing western goods in Saudi markets, which is impacting Saudi attitudes regarding the relative importance of China - and therefore the West - in long-term strategic relations. If China signs a free trade agreement with the GCC, China's perceived importance to the entire region will grow.
Current Affairs
The truth is that many in the GCC have grown tired of U.S. pressure on fighting terrorism and perceived U.S. interference in domestic affairs. Many Gulf states find their burgeoning relationship with China refreshing, in that China -- which itself objects to perceived U.S. interference in its domestic affairs -- tends not to do the same with its trading partners. But China's cordial relationship with Gulf States is not without sensitivities. In particular, China's repression of Muslims in Xinjiang Province has complicated its political dialogue with states in the region. Religious activists in the Gulf are bound to draw parallels between Xinjiang, Gaza, and Kashmir. Ultimately, the strength of the region's economic relations with China will dominate its political relations with China, and any disagreements over state political policy will take a back seat to ensuring that regional and bilateral relations remain cordial and on the right track.
Presuming that the acquisition of oil remains central to China's economic and foreign policy, it will not be long before China will want to take its relationship with Saudi Arabia to another level. It will want to transform its relationship from that of a somewhat bashful suitor toward a more formal engagement. To do so, it must choose between working within the confines of the post-War diplomatic landscape crafted by the United States, or challenging that order in bold fashion. Doing so would break the century-long dominance America and its allies have had on Gulf diplomatic relations and enable China to truly begin to mold its bilateral and regional relations in its own image. This choice may come sooner than China, or the West, may imagine, for China's political power has in many respects already outstripped its economic power - something pundits tend not to focus on. For example, China has unleashed a fiscal and diplomatic tidal wave in an effort to secure economic resources in Africa for the better part of a decade.
But would this be something China actually seeks? Breaking the status quo ante and undoing a century of history and influence would entail enormous effort in terms of persuasion, fiscal largesse, influence peddling, and relationship building. Africa was a relatively easy nut to crack - most African nations need the money and infrastructure China has provided, and are drawn to China simply by the fact that it has pursued a relationship with them. But the Gulf does not need China's money, or its infrastructure, and is not generally so easily accommodating to such overtures.
So what would China need to do to accomplish a similar feat in the Gulf? It would need to replace the security umbrella the U.S. has so carefully crafted over the past 60 years. This is clearly not something that will be easily achieved - if it can be achieved at all. China is not a global naval power-although Beijing is building its capabilities in that regard - through the protection of international shipping against Somali pirates right off the shore of Saudi Arabia from the Red Sea. But it has projected its military power in the Gulf since the 1980s through missile proliferation and arms sales. Saudi Arabia purchased intermediate range CSS-2 missiles from China in 1988, raising suspicion at the time about the Kingdom's nuclear ambitions. China met an important strategic need for the Kingdom that America would not agree to meet. The U.S. has continued to measure its military support for the Kingdom with its strategic imperatives for Israel - something China has not and will not do.
Chinese behavior in the Gulf is primarily driven by two potentially contradictory factors. One is China's newly-found status as a 'stakeholder state' favoring regime stability. But this is somewhat inconsistent with China's tendency to elbow its way into relationships it deems important, and its history of dictating the terms on which it will address topics of critical perceived importance. China is also still finding its footing on the global stage, and at times clumsily manages bilateral relations. The other is the Chinese quest for energy in light of its economic explosion, the opportunistic pursuit of which may lead China to have a destabilizing influence in the Gulf. Saudi Arabia has hinted that it may increase oil shipments to China in times of military crisis, which could prompt China to overstep its reach in the Gulf, and elsewhere.
For now, Saudi Arabia will keep a foot in both the American and Chinese camps, judging that its own long-term interests are well served by maintaining the comparative advantages offered by both nations. That said, the pendulum is clearly shifting toward the Chinese camp. In time, as the Kingdom's economic ties grow firmer with China, their military relationship will expand. As China's military power comes to match its political and economic power globally, it will become Saudi Arabia's strongest military ally. However, a potential roadblock stands in the way-the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). If the SCO brings Iran, from observer to member status, then the calculus may change as Beijing, and Moscow, arrive at the Gulf through a Persian doorway.
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« Reply #1423 on: September 16, 2011, 08:52:41 AM »

Good stuff, GM.  And thanks for not killing the messenger.   wink
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« Reply #1424 on: September 16, 2011, 11:17:53 AM »

The Arab Disease

September 15, 2011: In the last decade, the world has learned what Israelis have known for a long time; Arabs and their governments tend to favor self-destructive policies. Western nations have generally ignored this madness, or excused each instance as a momentary lapse in good judgment. But this bad behavior has spawned Islamic terrorism, and sustains it. Many Arabs believe what al Qaeda preaches, that the world should be ruled by an Islamic religious dictatorship, and that this must be achieved by any means necessary (including force, against non-Moslems, and Moslems who don’t agree.) This sort of thinking has been popular with Islamic conservatives since Islam first appeared in the sixth century. Since then, it has periodically flared up into major outbreaks of religious inspired violence. But that’s not the only problem. Arabs, in particular, sustain these outbursts with their fondness for paranoid fantasies and an exaggerated sense of persecution and entitlement. For example, most Arabs believe that the September 11, 2001 attacks were not carried out by Arabs, but were a CIA scam, to provide an excuse for the West to make war on Islam.  That’s just the tip of the iceberg. U.S. troops in Iraq were amazed at the number of fantastical beliefs that were accepted as reality there. Then there is the corruption and intense hatreds. It’s a very volatile and unpredictable part of the world, and always has been.
For centuries, the West was shielded from this problem because the Ottoman Turks ruled most of the Arabs. Western diplomats often heard the Turks complain about their Arab subjects. A favorite quip among the Turks was, “One should not involve oneself with the affairs of the Arabs.” Then, when World War I, and the Ottoman Empire, ended in 1918. Western nations found themselves temporarily in charge of these former Turkish Arab provinces. Before World War II broke out in 1939, most of these Arab provinces were turned into separate states. These new countries were not stable. After World War II began, for example, Iraq (a monarchy at that point) attempted to ally itself with Nazi Germany. Arabs admired the Nazi attitudes towards Jews (not realizing that Nazi anti-Semitism applied to all Semites, of whom Arabs were the most numerous.) Britain could not afford to have a Nazi ally sitting on their major source of oil, and gathered together a few divisions and invaded. Three weeks later, Iraq was conquered, and a more agreeable group of Iraqis were found to run the place for the rest of the war.

After World War II, there were problems in several Arab states, most of them involving reformers (who turned out to be dictators, once they took over) and the ruling traditionalists (who were less efficient dictators, for the most part). Then there was Israel, where Arabs had been demonstrating the religious intolerance they have long been infamous for. Around the same time, Saudi Arabia was explaining to Western oil workers why the long list of lifestyle rules for foreigners (no non-Moslem houses of worship, restrictions on the dress and activities of women and so on) was necessary, and mandatory (on pain of death). But when the UN approves the establishment of Israel (and an adjacent Arab state), the Arab world announces that they will not tolerate this. Arab states tell Arabs living near Jews to flee, temporarily, while the combined armies of all Arab states in the region attack and wipe out the greatly outnumbered Jews. To the world’s amazement, the Arabs are defeated. Even though Arab military skill had been held in low esteem for centuries (and Jews were not considered much better), this defeat came as a shock.

The newly created state of Israel studied all this, and concluded that the Arabs were done in by corruption and self-delusion. These two problems continued to cripple Arab military effectiveness. There were a few exceptions. The Jordanians institutionalized the training they had received from the British, although that only made them a more difficult enemy for the Israelis to defeat in 1967. Since then, Jordan has maintained good relations with Israel. Egypt reformed its military in the early 1970s, but those reforms were gone by the late 1970s, replaced by the usual corruption and incompetence.

The Arabs have fought five major wars with Israel, losing all of them badly, even though Israel was always outnumbered and outgunned. Unlike Jordan, all the other Arab states continue to insist that Israel must be destroyed. Palestinians continue to believe the promises of these Arab states that this will soon be accomplished. In the meantime, the descendants of the Arabs who fled Israel in 1948 are still living in refugee camps, because the Arab states those camps are in will not accept the Palestinians as refugees, and give them citizenship. In the West, the Palestinians were accepted as refugees and allowed to settle and become citizens. The Palestinians are unimpressed at how Europe handled a similar situation after World War II, when many borders were and millions of people moved. After the Arab attack on the newly declared Israeli state in 1948 failed, Arab nations refused to take in any of the 700,000 Palestinians who fled the fighting. Had those Palestinians stayed, they would have outnumbered the 600,000 Israelis and the history of Israel would have been quite different. It's interesting to note that nearly all of the 25 million refugees produced by the aftermath of World War II in the late 1940s were resettled. This included 600,000 thousand Jews who fled Arab nations after Israel was established.

It gets much worse. As hundreds of billions in oil revenue poured into the Persian Gulf states, the Arab nations there did not invest in their economies, instead they created government jobs for most of the males, and imported foreigners to run the economy (pick up the garbage, build and maintain everything, run the stores, hospitals and so on). East Asian nations, without oil, invested what they had in education and their economy. Fifty years later, the Arabs still have their consumer society, run by foreigners, while the East Asian states (some of them Moslem) have achieved economic independence, with vibrant, self-sustaining economies. Some Arabs have noticed this, but the majority have not.

The madness continued, especially when it came to the lack of tolerance for other religious or political ideas. For example, in Iraq, a Sunni minority had long ruled a Shia Moslem majority, often using a lot of brutality to keep the Sunnis in power. A Sunni dictator, Saddam Hussein, came to power in the late 1960s, and in 1980 ignored thousands of years of history (where the more powerful Iranians kick the Arabs around at will most of the time) and invades Iran. There is a revolution going on in Iran at that time, and Saddam believes he can seize some oil fields just across the border, and then negotiate a peace deal with the distracted Iranians. That’s not how the Iranians operate. They never have. A bloody war ensues. Total casualties are several million dead and wounded. In 1988 both sides agree to a ceasefire. The armies were basically sitting on their pre-war borders at that point. Iraqi gained nothing, except a lot of debts (needed to buy weapons, and loyalty from Iraqi Shia). The insanity continued in 1990, when Saddam decided that he could invade Kuwait (to whom he owned over $10 billion) and add their oil to Iraq’s already enormous reserves. Saddam overlooks the fact that the West (and most Arabs) consider him an unreliable maniac, and will not tolerate the seizure of Kuwait. Within six months, a coalition of Western and Arab troops drive Saddam’s forces out of Kuwait and demand reparations for all the damage Iraq did to Kuwait. The UN puts Iraq under an embargo until the debts are paid, and weapons inspectors are satisfied that Iraq has no more chemical, biological or nuclear weapons. Note that the Arab states joined this coalition only after the United States promised not to invade Iraq and remove the Sunni Arab minority from power. This was part of the long struggle between Iranians and Arabs. Iraq had a Shia Moslem majority (as did Iran) and the Sunni Arab oil states did not want a more pro-Iran Shia government running Iraq.

Saddam, terrified that Iran would now invade Iraq and kill him (Iranian leaders had publicly vowed to do that), now that Iraq was so weak, refused to admit that he has already destroyed his “weapons of mass destruction.” This fact was kept very secret because, as Saddam later admitted, he wanted Iran to think he still had these weapons (to discourage Iran from invading.) Saddam believed that the UN would eventually get tired of the embargo and inspections and go away. Iran, however, would always be there.

When the U.S. invaded in 2003, Saddam’s forces folded about as quickly as they had in 1991. But Saddam had a Plan B. He told his Sunni Arab followers to begin a terror campaign against the foreign troops (which did not work out too well) and against Shia Arabs (which killed over 50,000 civilians). Saddam reasoned that this   would cause the Shia Arabs in Iraq to attack Iraqi Sunni Arabs, and that this would bring in neighboring Sunni Arab nations to aid the Iraqi Sunni Arabs in taking power again. Saddam even considered it possible that he would end up as the dictator of Iraq again. This was insane, but it made perfect sense to many Iraqi Sunni Arabs. None of the neighboring Arab states were going to aid the Iraqi Sunni Arab terrorists (other than allowing their own terrorism minded citizens to go to Iraq and get killed as suicide bombers or inept gunmen). This Sunni Arab terror campaign went on for nearly five years, until most Iraqi Sunni Arabs (at least the ones who had not fled the country, as a fifth already had) gave up, and turned against the terrorists.

But most Arabs admit that their main reason for hating the West, is the existence of Israel. The Palestinians are united by their desire to destroy Israel and drive all Jews from the Middle East, but they are also divided by many things, including religion. Although most (except for three percent who are Christians) are Moslem, they are at odds over what kind of Islam should be practiced. Many, but not most, Palestinians in Gaza (where 1.5 million live) favor Islamic conservatism, and making religion the center of people's lives and forcing all Palestinians to comply with Islamic law (Sharia). But in the West Bank (where 2.5 million live), the trend is definitely in favor of education (always popular among Palestinians) and moving away from destructive practices (religious conservatism and Islamic terrorism). This is actually still a contentious issue in the West Bank, where the ruling (as the PLO) Fatah party has long been known for corruption more than any kind of reform. But the Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority (a Fatah man) has been talking up more education, and critical thinking (something that could get you killed in Iran).

Some Arab leaders go even further. Four years ago, at a meeting of the Arab League, the king of Saudi Arabia told the assembled rulers that the biggest problem in the Arab world was poor leadership. This was a bold statement, but not unusual for the senior people in the Saudi government. These princes have also been supporting the Arab Reform Movement, which is based on the idea that most of the Arab world's problems are internal, not the result of outside interference. Actually, most educated Arabs will readily admit that their leaders have been less than stellar, and largely responsible for the corruption and bad decisions that have put the Arab world so far behind the West, and every other region, except Africa, when it comes to economic growth.

But knowing and admitting to the problem does not solve it. The United States found that out after Saddam Hussein's Baath Party dictatorship was overthrown. Iraqis eagerly embraced democracy, only to find that the people they elected were not a big improvement over Saddam. Some of Iraq's new leaders backed terrorists. This was especially true of Iran backed Shia factions, which unleashed death squads, that killed thousands of Sunni Arabs. Some of the Sunni Arab leaders supported terrorists who targeted Shias. And then there was the corruption, with billions of dollars of government money missing.

This incompetence is also, as the Saudi king likes to point out, the cause of the Islamic terrorism that has found a home in the Islamic world. Indeed, these terrorists only began attacking kafirs (non-Moslems) in the 1990s when they realized Islamic terrorists were getting shut down in Arab countries. In Egypt, Syria and Algeria, Islamic radical attempts to toss out corrupt governments all failed. While Arab leadership may suck, these guys have certainly mastered the art of running a police state.

But attacking non-Moslems, outside of the Moslem world, brought into play the Western media. This was important, because the Western media now had 24 hour, world-wide (via satellite) outlets. All the people that mattered could now see what the Islamic terrorists did. Before, terror attacks inside Arab countries were largely ignored by the rest of the world. But now, the instant publicity was critical, because there were millions of Arabs living in the West. These people were making more money than they were back home. Fed up with the corrupt and incompetent leadership back home, they moved. This Arab Diaspora provided a refuge for Islamic militants. Another benefit was the appearance of Arab language satellite news services in the 1990s. Terrorist movements thrived on publicity, and the more news channels there were out there, the more attention terrorist attacks would get.

All that terrorism was a sign that some Arabs are very unhappy. For decades, the powers-that-be refused to acknowledge why the kids were pissed off. Thanks to all those suicide bombs and breathless news reports, the family secret was out there for the entire world to see. No, not the al Qaeda "the West is making war on Islam," canard, but an earlier al Qaeda call to overthrow the corrupt leaders of the Arab countries. Al Qaeda has to come up with the "war on Islam" angle to justify September 11, 2001, and earlier attacks. But the root cause is bad leadership at home.

The Palestinians have used terrorism against each other, as well as the Israelis, and it has not worked. The Arab states that donate so much money to the Palestinians have noted that, as well as the fact that Palestinians supported Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait in 1990, and the threat to keep going (had not the American led coalition promptly shown up.) Palestinians continue to support al Qaeda, which is still at war with the Arab nations Palestinians depend on for payroll money.

So when the king of Saudi Arabia tells the assembled Arab leadership that they are the problem, you can take that as a sign of progress. But real progress it ain't. Arab leaders are victims of their own success. Their rule is based on corruption and police state tactics. Think East Europe before 1989. Big difference is that, although the populations of East Europe then, and the Arab world now, were both fed up with their leaders and governments, the Arabs were not willing to make as painless a switch as the East Europeans did in the 1990s. That's because the East Europeans had two choices; communism or democracy. The Arabs have three; despotism, democracy or Islamic dictatorship.

In Iraq and Gaza we see how the Islamic radicals react to democracy. They call it un-Islamic and kill those who disagree with them. The Arabs have to deal with this, and in Iraq they are. In Gaza they aren't. But the violence in Iraq has revealed another Arab problem. Even if you remove religion from the equation, not all Arabs are keen on democracy. In Iraq, the Sunni Arab minority believe it is their right (or responsibility) to run the country. This is a common pattern in Arab countries. One minority believes they are rulers by right, and that democracy is an abomination and un-Islamic (or at least inconvenient for the ruling minority). This is the pattern in nearly every Arab country.

**Read it all.
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« Reply #1425 on: September 16, 2011, 02:08:42 PM »

Maybe some lefty Jews should examine their anti-goy bias and rethink who they should align themselves with.
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« Reply #1426 on: September 16, 2011, 02:11:31 PM »

"anti-goy bias"?

Care to expound on that GM?
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« Reply #1427 on: September 16, 2011, 02:34:41 PM »

**The always insightful Dennis Prager captures it well here.

Why Are Jews Liberal?
 By Dennis Prager

The most frequently asked question I receive from non-Jews about Jews is, why are Jews so liberal?

 The question is entirely legitimate since Jews (outside of Israel) are indeed overwhelmingly liberal and disproportionately left of liberal as well. For example, other than blacks, no American group votes so lopsidedly for the Democratic Party. And the question is further sharpened given that traditional Jewish values are not leftist. That is why the more religiously involved the Jew, the less likely he is to be on the Left. The old saw, "There are two types of Jews -- those who believe Judaism is social justice and those who know Hebrew," contains more than a kernel of truth.

 In no order of importance, here are six reasons:

 1. Judaism is indeed preoccupied with social justice (as well as with holiness and personal morality), and many Jews believe that the only way to achieve a just society is through leftist policies.

2. More than any other major religion, Judaism has always been preoccupied with this world. The (secular) Encyclopedia Judaica begins its entry on "Afterlife" by noting that "Judaism has always affirmed belief in an afterlife." But the preoccupation of Judaism has been making this world a better place. That is why the Torah (the Five Books of Moses) is largely silent about the afterlife; and it is preoccupied with rejecting ancient Egyptian values. That value system was centered on the afterlife -- its bible was the Book of the Dead, and its greatest monuments, the pyramids, were tombs.

3. Most Jews are frightened by anything that connotes right wing -- such as the words "right-wing" and "conservative." Especially since the Holocaust, they think that threats to their security emanate from the Right only. (It is pointless to argue that Nazism stood for National Socialism and therefore was really a leftist ideology. Whether that is theoretically accurate doesn't matter; nearly everyone regards the Nazis as far Right, and, therefore, Jews fear the Right.) The fact that the Jews' best friends today are conservatives and the fact that the Left is the home of most of the Jews' enemies outside of the Muslim world have made little impact on Jews' psyches.

 4. Liberal Jews fear most religion. They identify religion -- especially fundamentalist religion and especially Christianity -- with anti-Semitism. Jews are taught from birth about the horrors of the Holocaust, and of nearly 2,000 years of European, meaning Christian, anti-Semitism. They therefore tend to fear Christianity and believe that secularism guarantees their physical security. That is what animates the ACLU and its disproportionately Jewish membership, under the guise of concern with the Constitution and "separation of church and state" (words that do not appear in the Constitution), to fight all public expressions of Christianity in America.

 5. Despite their secularism, Jews may be the most religious ethnic group in the world. The problem is that their religion is rarely Judaism; rather it is every "ism" of the Left. These include liberalism, socialism, feminism, Marxism and environmentalism. Jews involved in these movements believe in them with the same ideological fervor and same suspension of critical reason with which many religious people believe in their religion. It is therefore usually as hard to shake a liberal Jew's belief in the Left and in the Democratic Party as it is to shake an evangelical Christian's belief in Christianity. The big difference, however, is that the Christian believer acknowledges his Christianity is a belief, whereas the believer in liberalism views his belief as entirely the product of rational inquiry.

 The Jews' religious fervor emanates from the origins of the Jewish people as a religious people elected by God to help guide humanity to a better future. Of course, the original intent was to bring humanity to ethical monotheism, God-based universal moral standards, not to secular liberalism or to feminism or to socialism. Leftist Jews have simply secularized their religious calling.

 6. Liberal Jews fear nationalism. The birth of nationalism in Europe planted the secular seeds of the Holocaust (religious seeds had been planted by some early and medieval Church teachings and reinforced by Martin Luther). European nationalists welcomed all national identities except the Jews'. That is a major reason so many Jews identify primarily as "world citizens"; they have contempt for nationalism and believe that strong national identities, even in America, will exclude them.

Just as liberal Jews fear a resurgent Christianity despite the fact that contemporary Christians are the Jews' best friends, leftist Jews fear American nationalism despite the fact that Americans who believe in American exceptionalism are far more pro-Jewish and pro-Israel than leftist Americans. But most leftist Jews so abhor nationalism, they don't even like the Jews' nationalism (Zionism).

 If you believe that leftist ideas and policies are good for America and for the world, then you are particularly pleased to know how deeply Jews -- with their moral passion, intellectual energies and abilities, and financial clout -- are involved with the Left. If, on the other hand, you believe that the Left is morally confused and largely a destructive force in America and the world, then the Jews' disproportionate involvement on the Left is nothing less than a tragedy -- for the world and especially for the Jews.

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« Reply #1428 on: September 16, 2011, 02:53:40 PM »

A great piece, but what does it have to do with anti-goy animus on the part of lefty jews?
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« Reply #1429 on: September 16, 2011, 02:57:59 PM »

How many Jewish voters hear Perry's twang and shut off, despite his absolute clear message for supporting Israel? How many will ignore who Buraq has surrounded himself with for decades, and even after seeing all he's done to undercut Israel's security will vote for him again?
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« Reply #1430 on: September 16, 2011, 03:06:24 PM »

Umm, , , reality check. Baraq is a goy, and most of the leftist movements of the world are goyim-- yet they are supported by lefty Jews so to call lefty Jews "anti-goy" makes no sense whatsoever.  The left jew reacts to Perry as he does the same way any progressive, goy or jew does.

You made an off-handed little thought out comment and should walk it back  cheesy
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« Reply #1431 on: September 16, 2011, 03:12:58 PM »

Oh c'mon. "Anti-goy" "goy-bashing". It's clever.  grin

I'm no expert on Yiddish, but I think there are other terms that would probably be used for Buraq that wouldn't be "goy" and wouldn't be polite either.

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« Reply #1432 on: September 16, 2011, 05:35:50 PM »

Insert Quote
Oh c'mon. "Anti-goy" "goy-bashing". It's clever.

So clever it went right over my head rolleyes cheesy

As for other terms, "putz" comes to mind.
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« Reply #1433 on: September 16, 2011, 05:41:20 PM »

Ok, so is there a Yiddish term for "Redneck"? Aside from "The meshugganah in the cowboy boots"?
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« Reply #1434 on: September 20, 2011, 06:15:52 AM »

Later this week Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is expected to seek recognition of a Palestinian state from the United Nations. The move is opposed by the Obama administration, which has rightly called it a "distraction." Nevertheless, the PA's effort has wide support among the U.N. membership, including Security Council members Russia, China and Britain, as well as other important regional states such as Turkey. These powers should think again because putting the U.N.—and particularly the General Assembly—in the business of state recognition is inconsistent with international law and the U.N. Charter, and it is manifestly not in their interests.

The U.N.—General Assembly or Security Council—has no power to create states or to grant all-important formal "recognition" to state aspirants. The right to recognize statehood is a fundamental attribute of sovereignty and the United Nations is not a sovereign. Those who cite as precedent the General Assembly's 1947 resolution providing for the partition of Palestine misread that instrument and its legal significance.

 Rep. Buck McKeon on the impact of $1 trillion in defense cuts.
.Resolution 181 outlined a detailed (and rigorous) process whereby the British Mandate in Palestine was to end and two new states, one Jewish and one Arab, were to be established. It recommended that process to Great Britain (as the mandate-holder) and to other U.N. members. It did not create or recognize these states, nor were the proposed states granted automatic admission to the United Nations. Rather, once the two states were established as states, the resolution provided that "sympathetic consideration" should be given to their membership applications.

In the event, the Arab countries rejected partition and Israel declared (and successfully defended) its independence. Israel's statehood was recognized, in accordance with international law, by other states—including the United States and the Soviet Union.

The Palestinian Authority, by contrast, does not meet the basic characteristics of a state necessary for such recognition. These requirements have been refined through centuries of custom and practice, and were authoritatively articulated in the 1933 Montevideo Convention on the Rights and Duties of States. As that treaty provides, to be a state an entity must have (1) a permanent population, (2) a defined territory, (3) a government, and (4) the capacity to enter into relations with other states.

As of today, the PA has neither a permanent population nor defined territory (both being the subject of ongoing if currently desultory negotiations), nor does it have a government with the capacity to enter into relations with other states. This pivotal requirement involves the ability to enter and keep international accords, which in turn posits that the "government" actually controls—exclusive of other sovereigns—at least some part of its population and territory. The PA does not control any part of the West Bank to the exclusion of Israeli authority, and it exercises no control at all in the Gaza Strip.

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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas (left) with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
.The PA does not, therefore, qualify for recognition as a state and, concomitantly, it does not qualify for U.N. membership, which is open only to states. All of this is surely understood by the PA and its backers, and is also why the administration has correctly labeled this effort as a distraction—"stunt" being a less diplomatic but even more accurate term in these circumstances. What is unfortunate is that the Obama administration has failed to present the case against a Palestinian statehood resolution in legal rather than tactical terms, even though these arguments are obvious and would greatly reinforce the U.S. position, also providing a thoroughly neutral basis for many of our allies, particularly in Europe, to oppose Mr. Abbas's statehood bid.

The stakes in this battle are high. The PA's effort to achieve recognition by the U.N., even if legally meaningless, is not without serious consequences. To the extent that state supporters of that measure may themselves have irredentist populations or active border disputes with their neighbors—as do Russia, China, Britain and Turkey—they will certainly store up future trouble for themselves.

Traditionally, states rarely recognize (even if they may materially support) independence movements in other states. This is because granting such recognition may have very serious consequences, up to and including war. (The classic example here being France's recognition of the infant United States in 1778 and its immediate and inevitable entry into the War for Independence against Britain).

With respect to Israel, although it does not actually claim all of the territory on which the "State of Palestine" would be established, it is and has been engaged in difficult negotiations over that territory—and the PA's status—for many years. Support for U.N. recognition might not rise to the level of an act of aggression against Israel, but the U.N. Charter also forbids members to act in a "manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations." First among those purposes is maintaining international peace and security, and efforts prematurely to force recognition of a Palestinian state clearly undercut this goal. This is, in fact, a rare instance in which a measure is bad policy, bad law, and has the real potential to damage the interests of its opponents and its supporters.

Messrs. Rivkin and Casey are Washington, D.C., lawyers who served in the Justice Department during the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations. Mr. Rivkin is also a senior adviser to the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

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« Reply #1435 on: September 20, 2011, 12:37:14 PM »

second post:

Harper gives thumbs down to Palestinian state


OTTAWA - Prime Minister Stephen Harper has made his government's strongest statements yet against a drive to get the United Nations to recognize a Palestinian state next week.

"No unilateral actions like this are helpful in terms of establishing a long-run peace in the Middle East," Harper said during a stop in Saskatoon, Sask. "Canada views the action as very regrettable and we will be opposing it at the United Nations."

Previously, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird had dismissed the Palestinian Authority's effort as "meaningless" and "unhelpful."

He also indicated Canada would welcome a Palestinian state only after peace negotiations with Israel.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas plans to goes before the UN next week to demand recognition of full Palestinian statehood and UN membership.

Right now, the Palestinians are recognized simply as an "entity."

Even if a statehood resolution passed in the UN General Assembly, it would then go to the Security Council where Washington has already said it would exercise its veto.

In that case, the Palestinians could still go back to the full UN General Assembly to gain recognition as a non-member state.

That would give the Palestinians possible access to other international bodies, such as the International Criminal Court.
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« Reply #1436 on: September 20, 2011, 12:43:12 PM »

Hooray for Canada. I remember how I used to enjoy mocking their pathetic economy and weak foreign policy.

How things have changed.
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« Reply #1437 on: September 21, 2011, 06:47:58 AM »

The UN’s tragic failure
In the General Assembly, about 20 anti-Israel resolutions are adopted each year, as opposed to just five or six against other countries.
Today, perhaps more than ever before in history, there is a desperate need for an objective, responsible international body capable of peacefully arbitrating conflicts, enforcing human rights and mitigating the more negative forces of globalization.

In theory, the United Nations, as an international body with over 190-member nations, has all the requisite resources needed to perform this crucial function.

Indeed, it could take significant measures to fight violations of human rights in countries such as China, Russia, North Korea, Cuba, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Zimbabwe or Sudan. In the field of diplomacy and security the UN could be conducive to formulating peaceful resolutions of conflicts in the Middle East and in Africa.

Unfortunately, instead of being a positive force for tikkun olam, the UN has failed miserably to rise to the many moral challenges faced by humanity in the 21st century.

Two UN-sponsored events taking place at the end of this week in New York City – the Durban III Conference and the UN General Assembly vote on Palestinian statehood – provide instructive examples of how the UN has allowed itself to be hijacked by forces inimical to peace and human rights.

Durban III is envisioned as a commemoration of the 10- year anniversary of the 2001 UN World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Related Intolerance held in Durban, South Africa.

Though ostensibly about the promotion of human rights, Durban I (followed in 2009 by Durban II) quickly deteriorated into anti-Israel hate fests. Sessions were characterized by Trotskyist anti-Zionism, Iranian-inspired conspiracy theories and a flood of anti-Semitic slanders.

Protocols of the Elders of Zion were freely handed out together with Islamist, leftist anti-globalist propaganda referring to Israel as a racist, theocratic and apartheid state.

The Durban Conference declaration singled out the Jewish state for censure. Israel was the only UN member specifically mentioned in the context of human-rights abuses (though it did recognize Israel’s right to exist in peace) and criticized “occupation” of Palestinian land.

That declaration will be reaffirmed during Durban III, with the backing of the G-77, a bloc of developing states created after the breakup of colonialism, many of which are Muslim.

Meanwhile, the UN General Assembly, slanted by the same G-77 bloc, is expected to vote in the near future in favor of the creation of a Palestinian state. As Ben-Gurion University historian Benny Morris has noted, the UN is essentially helping the Palestinians to implement a strategy first adopted by Yasser Arafat in the late 1980s.

After realizing Israel could not be destroyed in war, Arafat set about establishing a Palestinian state encompassing the West Bank, east Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip without making peace with Israel or forfeiting any Palestinian demands, such as the “right of return.”

Unfettered by a peace treaty, this mini-Palestinian state would be free to continue its struggle against Israel. Petitioning the International Criminal Court against alleged Israeli crimes as an “occupier” might be one aspect of the struggle, while launching rockets and missiles on Israeli towns from the West Bank – like the ones fired from Hamas-controlled Gaza or Hezbollah-controlled south- Lebanon – might be another.

Palestinians are already planning to march on security check-points and settlements in the West Bank after the UN General Assembly vote, which could provoke an Israeli response and lead to violence.

But the UN appears unperturbed by Israel’s legitimate security concerns and oblivious to the fact that only a negotiated peace settlement based on mutual concessions and recognition can resolve the conflict.

Instead, the UN seems obsessed with singling out Israel for condemnation.

According to UN Watch in Geneva, the Human Rights Council has adopted, since its founding in 2006, about 70 resolutions condemning specific countries – 40 of which have been against Israel.

In the General Assembly, about 20 anti-Israel resolutions are adopted each year, as opposed to just five or six against other countries.

Its nearly pathological fixation on Israel, coupled with its refusal to acknowledge real crimes against humanity elsewhere, has invalidated the UN as a forum for healing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

More tragically, it has wasted its potential as an international force for good and as a promoter of tikkun olam.
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« Reply #1438 on: September 22, 2011, 06:38:23 AM »

Will Israel survive? That question hasn't really been asked since 1967. Then, a far weaker Israel was surrounded on all sides by Arab dictatorships that were equipped with sophisticated weapons from their nuclear patron, the Soviet Union. But now, things are far worse for the Jewish state.

Egyptian mobs just tried to storm the Israeli embassy in Cairo and kill any Israelis they could get their hands on. Whatever Egyptian government emerges, it will be more Islamist than before -- and may renounce the peace accords with Israel.

One thing unites Syrian and Libyan dissidents: They seem to hate Israel as much as the murderous dictators whom they have been trying to throw out.

The so-called "Arab Spring" was supposed to usher in Arab self-introspection about why intolerant strongmen keep sprouting up in the Middle East. Post-revolutionary critics could freely examine self-inflicted Arab wounds, such as tribalism, religious intolerance, authoritarianism, endemic corruption, closed economies and gender apartheid.

But so far, "revolutionaries" sound a lot more like reactionaries. They are more often retreating to the tired conspiracies that the Israelis and Americans pushed onto innocent Arab publics homegrown corrupt madmen such as Bashar Assad, Muammar Gadhafi and Hosni Mubarak.

In 1967, the more powerful periphery of the Middle East -- the Shah's Iran, Kemalist Turkey, a military-run Pakistan and the Gulf monarchies -- was mostly uninvolved in the Israel-Arab frontline fighting.

Not now. A soon-to-be-nuclear Iran serially promises to destroy Israel. The Erdogan government in Turkey brags about its Ottoman Islamist past -- and wants to provoke Israel into an eastern Mediterranean shooting war. Pakistan is the world's leading host and exporter of jihadists obsessed with destroying Israel. The oil-rich Gulf states use their vast petroleum wealth and clout to line up oil importers against Israel. The 21st century United Nations is a de facto enemy of the Jewish state.

Meanwhile, the West is nearly bankrupt. The European Union is on the brink of dissolving, its population shrinking amid growing numbers of Islamic immigrants.

America is $16 trillion in debt. We are tired of three wars. The Obama administration initially thought putting a little "light" into the once-solid relationship between Israel and the United States might coax Arab countries into negotiating a peace. That new American triangulation certainly has given a far more confident Muslim world more hope -- but it's hope that just maybe the United States now cannot or will not come to Israel's aid if Muslim states ratchet up the tension.

It is trendy to blame Israel intransigence for all these bleak developments. But to do so is simply to forget history. There were three Arab efforts to destroy Israel before it occupied any borderlands after its victory in 1967. Later, it gave back all of Sinai and yet now faces a hostile Egypt. It got out of Lebanon -- and Hezbollah crowed that Israel was weakening, as that terrorist organization moved in and stockpiled thousands of missiles pointed at Tel Aviv. Israel got out of Gaza and earned as thanks both rocket showers and a terrorist Hamas government sworn to destroy the Jewish state.

The Arab Middle East damns Israel for not granting a "right of return" into Israel to Palestinians who have not lived there in nearly 70 years. But it keeps embarrassed silence about the more than half-million Jews whom Arab dictatorships much later ethnically cleansed from Baghdad, Damascus and Cairo, and sent back into Israel. On cue, the Palestinian ambassador to the United States again brags that there will be no Jews allowed in his newly envisioned, and American subsidized, Palestinian state -- a boast with eerie historical parallels.

By now we know both what will start and deter yet another conflict in the Middle East. In the past, wars broke out when the Arab states thought they could win them and stopped when they conceded they could not.

But now a new array of factors -- ever more Islamist enemies of Israel such as Turkey and Iran, ever more likelihood of frontline Arab Islamist governments, ever more fear of Islamic terrorism, ever more unabashed anti-Semitism, ever more petrodollars flowing into the Middle East, ever more chance of nuclear Islamist states, and ever more indifference by Europe and the United States -- has probably convinced Israel's enemies that finally they can win what they could not in 1947, 1956, 1967, 1973, 1982 and 2006.

So brace yourself. The next war against Israel is no longer a matter of if, only when. And it will be far more deadly than any we've witnessed in quite some time.
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« Reply #1439 on: September 22, 2011, 07:01:23 AM »

second post of the morning:

AS the United Nations General Assembly opens this year, I feel uneasy. An unnecessary diplomatic clash between Israel and the Palestinians is taking shape in New York, and it will be harmful to Israel and to the future of the Middle East.

I know that things could and should have been different.

I truly believe that a two-state solution is the only way to ensure a more stable Middle East and to grant Israel the security and well-being it desires. As tensions grow, I cannot but feel that we in the region are on the verge of missing an opportunity — one that we cannot afford to miss.

The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, plans to make a unilateral bid for recognition of a Palestinian state at the United Nations on Friday. He has the right to do so, and the vast majority of countries in the General Assembly support his move. But this is not the wisest step Mr. Abbas can take.

The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has declared publicly that he believes in the two-state solution, but he is expending all of his political effort to block Mr. Abbas’s bid for statehood by rallying domestic support and appealing to other countries. This is not the wisest step Mr. Netanyahu can take.

In the worst-case scenario, chaos and violence could erupt, making the possibility of an agreement even more distant, if not impossible. If that happens, peace will definitely not be the outcome.

The parameters of a peace deal are well known and they have already been put on the table. I put them there in September 2008 when I presented a far-reaching offer to Mr. Abbas.

According to my offer, the territorial dispute would be solved by establishing a Palestinian state on territory equivalent in size to the pre-1967 West Bank and Gaza Strip with mutually agreed-upon land swaps that take into account the new realities on the ground.

The city of Jerusalem would be shared. Its Jewish areas would be the capital of Israel and its Arab neighborhoods would become the Palestinian capital. Neither side would declare sovereignty over the city’s holy places; they would be administered jointly with the assistance of Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the United States.

The Palestinian refugee problem would be addressed within the framework of the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative. The new Palestinian state would become the home of all the Palestinian refugees just as the state of Israel is the homeland of the Jewish people. Israel would, however, be prepared to absorb a small number of refugees on humanitarian grounds.

Because ensuring Israel’s security is vital to the implementation of any agreement, the Palestinian state would be demilitarized and it would not form military alliances with other nations. Both states would cooperate to fight terrorism and violence.

These parameters were never formally rejected by Mr. Abbas, and they should be put on the table again today. Both Mr. Abbas and Mr. Netanyahu must then make brave and difficult decisions.

We Israelis simply do not have the luxury of spending more time postponing a solution. A further delay will only help extremists on both sides who seek to sabotage any prospect of a peaceful, negotiated two-state solution.

Moreover, the Arab Spring has changed the Middle East, and unpredictable developments in the region, such as the recent attack on Israel’s embassy in Cairo, could easily explode into widespread chaos. It is therefore in Israel’s strategic interest to cement existing peace agreements with its neighbors, Egypt and Jordan.

In addition, Israel must make every effort to defuse tensions with Turkey as soon as possible. Turkey is not an enemy of Israel. I have worked closely with the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In spite of his recent statements and actions, I believe that he understands the importance of relations with Israel. Mr. Erdogan and Mr. Netanyahu must work to end this crisis immediately for the benefit of both countries and the stability of the region.

In Israel, we are sorry for the loss of life of Turkish citizens in May 2010, when Israel confronted a provocative flotilla of ships bound for Gaza. I am sure that the proper way to express these sentiments to the Turkish government and the Turkish people can be found.

The time for true leadership has come. Leadership is tested not by one’s capacity to survive politically but by the ability to make tough decisions in trying times.

When I addressed international forums as prime minister, the Israeli people expected me to present bold political initiatives that would bring peace — not arguments outlining why achieving peace now is not possible. Today, such an initiative is more necessary than ever to prove to the world that Israel is a peace-seeking country.

The window of opportunity is limited. Israel will not always find itself sitting across the table from Palestinian leaders like Mr. Abbas and the prime minister, Salam Fayyad, who object to terrorism and want peace. Indeed, future Palestinian leaders might abandon the idea of two states and seek a one-state solution, making reconciliation impossible.

Now is the time. There will be no better one. I hope that Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Abbas will meet the challenge.

Ehud Olmert was prime minister of Israel from 2006 to 2009.
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« Reply #1440 on: September 23, 2011, 09:21:41 AM »

""[Palestinian leaders] have explicitly said on more than one occasion that if [Netanyahu] put up the deal that was offered to them before -- my deal -- that they would take it," Clinton said, referring to the 2000 Camp David deal that Yasser Arafat rejected."

As usual Clinton flatters himself.   If only not for Netanyahu peace on Clinton's terms would have been accepted.  He totally ignores the rise of Hamas and Hezbelloh since the BJ in chief king was in office.  I will listen to Aaron Klein this Sunday as he might weigh in on this:

***Bill Clinton: Netanyahu killed the peace process
Posted By Josh Rogin  Thursday, September 22, 2011 - 2:22 PM   Share

Who's to blame for the continued failure of the Middle East peace process? Former President Bill Clinton said today that it is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu -- whose government moved the goalposts upon taking power, and whose rise represents a key reason there has been no Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.

Clinton, in a roundtable with bloggers today on the sidelines of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York, gave an extensive recounting of the deterioration in the Middle East peace process since he pressed both parties to agree to a final settlement at Camp David in 2000. He said there are two main reasons for the lack of a comprehensive peace today: the reluctance of the Netanyahu administration to accept the terms of the Camp David deal and a demographic shift in Israel that is making the Israeli public less amenable to peace.

"The two great tragedies in modern Middle Eastern politics, which make you wonder if God wants Middle East peace or not, were [Yitzhak] Rabin's assassination and [Ariel] Sharon's stroke," Clinton said.

Sharon had decided he needed to build a new centrist coalition, so he created the Kadima party and gained the support of leaders like Tzipi Livni and Ehud Olmert. He was working toward a consensus for a peace deal before he fell ill, Clinton said. But that effort was scuttled when the Likud party returned to power.

"The Israelis always wanted two things that once it turned out they had, it didn't seem so appealing to Mr. Netanyahu. They wanted to believe they had a partner for peace in a Palestinian government, and there's no question -- and the Netanyahu government has said -- that this is the finest Palestinian government they've ever had in the West Bank," Clinton said.

"[Palestinian leaders] have explicitly said on more than one occasion that if [Netanyahu] put up the deal that was offered to them before -- my deal -- that they would take it," Clinton said, referring to the 2000 Camp David deal that Yasser Arafat rejected.

But the Israeli government has drifted a long way from the Ehud Barak-led government that came so close to peace in 2000, Clinton said, and any new negotiations with the Netanyahu government are now on starkly different terms -- terms that the Palestinians are unlikely to accept.

"For reasons that even after all these years I still don't know for sure, Arafat turned down the deal I put together that Barak accepted," he said. "But they also had an Israeli government that was willing to give them East Jerusalem as the capital of the new state of Palestine."

Israel also wants a normalization of relations with its Arab neighbors to accompany a peace deal. Clinton said that the Saudi-inspired Arab Peace Initiative put forth in 2002 represented an answer to that Israeli demand.

"The King of Saudi Arabia started lining up all the Arab countries to say to the Israelis, ‘if you work it out with the Palestinians ... we will give you immediately not only recognition but a political, economic, and security partnership,'" Clinton said. "This is huge.... It's a heck of a deal."

The Netanyahu government has received all of the assurances previous Israeli governments said they wanted but now won't accept those terms to make peace, Clinton said.

"Now that they have those things, they don't seem so important to this current Israeli government, partly because it's a different country," said Clinton. "In the interim, you've had all these immigrants coming in from the former Soviet Union, and they have no history in Israel proper, so the traditional claims of the Palestinians have less weight with them."

Clinton then repeated his assertions made at last year's conference that Israeli society can be divided into demographic groups that have various levels of enthusiasm for making peace.

"The most pro-peace Israelis are the Arabs; second the Sabras, the Jewish Israelis that were born there; third, the Ashkenazi of long-standing, the European Jews who came there around the time of Israel's founding," Clinton said. "The most anti-peace are the ultra-religious, who believe they're supposed to keep Judea and Samaria, and the settler groups, and what you might call the territorialists, the people who just showed up lately and they're not encumbered by the historical record."

Clinton affirmed that the United States should veto the Palestinian resolution at the U.N. Security Council for member-state status, because the Israelis need security guarantees before agreeing to the creation of a Palestinian state. But the Netanyahu government has moved away from the consensus for peace, making a final status agreement more difficult, Clinton said.

"That's what happened. Every American needs to know this. That's how we got to where we are," Clinton said. "The real cynics believe that the Netanyahu's government's continued call for negotiations over borders and such means that he's just not going to give up the West Bank."***

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« Reply #1441 on: September 23, 2011, 10:37:47 AM »

'U.N. 194" is the slogan of the campaign to grant the Palestinians a seat at the United Nations, to recognize their authority as the 194th nation in that world body. This is the Palestinians' second chance, for there was the session of the General Assembly in 1947 that addressed the question of Palestine, and the struggle between Arabs and Jews over that contested land.

A vote took place on the partition resolution that November and provided for two states to live side by side. It was a close affair. It required a two-thirds majority, and the final tally was 33 states in favor, 13 opposed, 10 abstentions, and one recorded absence. Israel would become the 58th member state. The Palestinians refused the 59th seat.

Arab diplomacy had sought the defeat of the resolution, and the Palestinians had waited for deliverance at the hands of their would-be Arab backers. The threat of war offered the Palestinians a false promise; there was no felt need for compromise. The influential secretary-general of the Arab League, the Egyptian Azzam Pasha (by an exquisite twist of fate a maternal grandfather of al Qaeda's leader Ayman al-Zawahiri), was to tell a talented, young Zionist diplomat, Abba Eban, that the Arab world was not in a compromising mood. "The Arab world regards the Jews as invaders. It is going to fight you," he said. "War is absolutely inevitable."

For the Zionists, the vote was tantamount to a basic title to independence. But the Jewish community in Palestine had won the race for independence where it truly mattered—on the ground. Still, theirs was a fragile enterprise.

Britain, the Mandatory Power in Palestine since the end of World War I, had wearied of the Zionists, of the Arabs, and of the whole sordid burden of adjudicating their competing claims. The British Empire was broke and looking for a way to reduce its burdens. In August 1947, it had given up India, the Jewel of the Crown, and stood aside as a wave of cataclysmic violence between Hindus and Muslims provided a shameful end to a long imperial dominion. It was no use shedding blood and treasure in Palestine, and Pax Britannia was eager to pass the problem onto the U.N.

Nor were matters clinched for partition, and for the cause of a Jewish state, in the American councils of power. President Harry Truman was indecisive. He drew sustenance from the Bible and the cause of Jewish statehood tugged at him, but he was under immense pressure from a national security bureaucracy that had no sympathy for the Zionist project. An accidental president who had come to the presidency after the death of FDR, he lacked the self-confidence a crisis of this kind called for.

His secretary of state, Gen. George Marshall, was dubious of the idea of partition, fearful that a war would break out over Palestine that would require the intervention of American troops. Truman stood in awe of Marshall, regarded him as one of the "great commanders of history." Secretary of Defense James Forrestal was more antagonistic still. There were oil interests in the Arab world, and a big strategic position in the region to protect.

The voting at the U.N. was messy. In the end, all American doubts were swept aside, and the United States opted for partition, lobbied for it, and was joined by the Soviet Union. Britain abstained. The tire magnate Harvey Firestone secured Liberia's vote for partition. The Philippines hesitated but cast a favorable vote. India had hinted that it was in sympathy with partition but in the end chose not to run afoul of the sensibilities of its own Muslim population. Rumor had it that the delegate from Costa Rica sold his country's vote for $75,000.

"The partition line shall be nothing but a line of fire and blood," Azzam Pasha warned. And history would vindicate him. Six months later, with Britain quitting Palestine without even a ceremonial handover of responsibility, war would break out.

Related Video
 Matt Kaminski on President Obama's U.N. speech, Palestine's statehood gambit, and attitudes toward the U.S. in Muslim countries.
..But the scenarios of doom for the new Jewish state were not to be fulfilled. Israel held its own. And the Palestinians who had bet on the Arab cavalry riding to the rescue were to know defeat and dispossession. Their cause was subsumed under a wider Arab claim, mandatory Palestine was to be divided—there was the new Jewish state, Jordanian sovereignty over the West Bank and east Jerusalem, Egyptian control over Gaza. The victory of Israel two decades later in the Six Day War reunited the land and, ironically, gave the Palestinians a chance to release themselves from pan-Arab captivity.

"We need to have full membership at the U.N. We need a state, a seat at the United Nations," Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas declared last week in Ramallah as he launched this bid, in defiance of American wishes. Thus state-building would be bypassed, and the Palestinians, in a familiar pattern of their history, would place their faith in deliverance through the indulgence of others.

But were the Palestinians to look at their history, they would come to recognize that the one break that came their way happened in 1993, through direct negotiations with Israel. The peace of Oslo that secured them their national authority, that brought Yasser Arafat from his Tunisian exile to Gaza, was a gift of direct diplomacy. Arafat was looking for redemption; he had bet on Saddam Hussein in the Gulf War of 1990-91 and lost the financial support of the Arab oil states. Israel, for its part, had just elected a war hero, a stoical, determined man, Yitzhak Rabin, as its leader, and he had campaigned on the promise of getting "Gaza out of Tel Aviv."

True, the ceremony of reconciliation on Sept. 13, 1993, had taken place on the South Lawn of the White House, Bill Clinton nudging Arafat and Rabin together for that reluctant handshake. But the Americans were giving away the bride long after the couple had eloped.

A generation after that handshake, the lesson of that accord remains unaltered. There can be no avoiding the toil and the exertions of direct negotiations. The deliberations at the U.N. are only theater, just another illusion.

Mr. Ajami is a senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution and co-chair of the Working Group on Islamism and the International Order.

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« Reply #1442 on: September 24, 2011, 08:24:12 AM »

Will the Egyptian military be permitted to remilitarize the Sinai? Since Palestinian and Egyptian terrorists crossed into Israel from Sinai on August 18 and murdered eight Israelis this has been a central issue under discussion at senior echelons of the government and the IDF.

Under the terms of the Egypt-Israel peace treaty, Egypt is prohibited from deploying military forces in the Sinai. Israel must approve any Egyptian military mobilization in the area. Today, Egypt is asking to permanently deploy its forces in the Sinai. Such a move requires an amendment to the treaty.

Supported by the Obama administration, the Egyptians say they need to deploy forces in the Sinai in order to rein in and defeat the jihadist forces now running rampant throughout the peninsula. Aside from attacking Israel, these jihadists have openly challenged Egyptian governmental control over the territory.

So far the Israeli government has given conflicting responses to the Egyptian request. Defense Minister Ehud Barak told The Economist last week that he supports the deployment of Egyptian forces. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Sunday that he would consider such deployment but that Israel should not rush into amending the peace treaty with Egypt.

Saturday Barak tempered his earlier statement, claiming that no decision had been made about Egyptian deployment in the Sinai.

The government's confused statements about Egyptian troop deployments indicate that at a minimum, the government is unsure of the best course of action. This uncertainty owes in large part to confusion about Egypt's intentions.

Egypt's military leaders do have an interest in preventing jihadist attacks on Egyptian installations and other interests in the Sinai. But does that interest translate into an interest in defending Israeli installations and interests? If the interests overlap, then deploying Egyptian forces may be a reasonable option. If Egypt's military leaders view these interests as mutually exclusive, then Israel has no interest in such a deployment.

Israel’s confusion over Egypt's strategic direction and interests echoes its only recently abated confusion over Turkey's strategic direction in the aftermath of the Islamist AKP Party's rise to power in 2002. Following the US's lead, despite Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's hostile rhetoric regarding Israel, Israel continued to believe that he and his government were interested in maintaining Turkey's strategic alliance with Israel. That belief began unraveling with Erdogan's embrace of Hamas in January 2006 and his willingness to turn a blind eye to Iranian use of Turkish territory to transfer arms to Hezbollah during the war in July and August 2006.

Still, due to US support for Erdogan, Israel continued to sell Turkey arms until last year. Israel only recognized that Turkey had transformed itself from a strategic ally into a strategic enemy after Erdogan sponsored the terror flotilla to Gaza in May 2010.

As was the case with Turkey under Erdogan, Israel's confusion over Egypt's intentions has nothing to do with the military rulers' behavior. Like Erdogan, the Egyptian junta isn't sending Israel mixed signals.

Former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak was never a strategic ally to Israel the way that Turkey was before Erdogan. However, Mubarak believed that maintaining a quiet border with Israel, combating the Muslim Brotherhood and keeping Hamas at arm's length advanced his interests. Mubarak's successors in the junta do not perceive their interests in the same way.

To the contrary, since they overthrew Mubarak in February, the generals ruling Egypt have made clear that their interest in cultivating ties with Israel's enemies - from Iran to the Muslim Brotherhood - far outweighs their interest in maintaining a cooperative relationship with Israel.

From permitting Iranian naval ships to traverse the Suez Canal for the first time in 30 years to opening the border with Hamas-ruled Gaza to its openly hostile and conspiratorial reaction to the August 18 terrorist attack on Israel from the Sinai, there can be little doubt about the trajectory of Egypt's relations with Israel.

But just as was the case with Turkey - and again, largely because of American pressure - Israel's leaders are wary of accepting that the strategic landscape of our relationship with Egypt has changed radically and that the rules that applied under Mubarak no longer apply.

After Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in August 2005, terrorists in Gaza and Sinai took down the border. Gaza was immediately flooded with sophisticated armaments. Then-prime minister Ariel Sharon made a deal with Mubarak to deploy Egyptian forces to the Sinai to rebuild the border and man the crossing point at Rafah. While there were problems with the agreement, given the fact that Mubarak shared Israel's interests, the move was not unjustified.

Today this is not the case. The junta wants to permanently deploy forces to the Sinai and consequently is pushing to amend the treaty. The generals' request comes against the backdrop of populist calls from across Egypt's political spectrum demanding the cancellation of the peace treaty.

If Israel agrees to renegotiate the treaty, it will lower the political cost of a subsequent Egyptian abrogation of the agreement. This is the case because Israel itself will be on record acknowledging that the treaty does not meet its current needs.

Beyond that, there is the nature of the Egyptian military itself, which was exposed during and in the aftermath of the August 18 attack. At a minimum, the Egyptian and Palestinian terrorists who attacked Israel that day did so with no interference from Egyptian forces deployed along the border.

The fact that they shot into Israel from Egyptian military positions indicates that the Egyptian forces on the ground did not simply turn a blind eye to what was happening. Rather, it is reasonable to assume that they lent a helping hand to the terror operatives.

Furthermore, the hostile response of the Egyptian military to Israel's defensive operations to end the terror attack indicates that at a minimum, the higher echelons of the military are not sympathetically disposed towards Israel's right to defend its citizens.

Both the behavior of the forces on the ground and of their commanders in Cairo indicates that if the Egyptian military is permitted to deploy its forces to the Sinai, those forces will not serve any helpful purpose for Israel.

The military’s demonstrated antagonism toward Israel, the uncertainty of Egypt's political future, the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, and the hatred of Israel shared by all Egyptian political factions all indicate that Israel will live to regret it if it permits the Egyptian military to mobilize in the Sinai. Not only will Egyptian soldiers not prevent terrorist attacks against Israel, their presence along the border will increase the prospect of war with Egypt.

Egypt's current inaction against anti-Israel terror operatives in the Sinai has already caused the IDF to increase its force levels along the border. If Egypt is permitted to mass its forces in the Sinai, then the IDF will be forced to respond by steeply increasing the size of its force mobilized along the border. And the proximity of the two armies could easily be exploited by Egyptian populist forces to foment war.

In his interview with The Economist, Barak claimed bizarrely, "Sometimes you have to subordinate strategic considerations to tactical needs." It is hard to think of any case in human history when a nation's interests were served by winning a battle and losing a war. And the stakes with Egypt are too high for Israel's leaders to be engaging in such confused and imbecilic thinking.

The dangers emanating from post-Mubarak Egypt are enormous and are only likely to grow. Israel cannot allow its desire for things to be different to cloud its judgment. It must accept the situation for what it is and act accordingly.
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« Reply #1443 on: September 24, 2011, 10:39:11 AM »

Apparantly Mubarak was able to contain Jihadists before they got to Sinai.  The Egyptian military without his is not doing so.

A really bad sign.

I would agree with the opinion that Israel cannot allow Egyptian military demonstrating no commitment to Israel's security into Sinai.

No Jew should vote for Brock.  Yet most still will though it appears less than before.  Or at least stay home if not hold their nose and vote Republican.

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« Reply #1444 on: September 25, 2011, 10:24:24 AM »

The UN to push an Apartheid, Judenrein, Islamic Palestine
The new Palestinian state would prohibit any Jews from being citizens, from owning land or from even living in the Muslim state of Palestine.
The United Nations is being asked to grant the Palestinians the status of a “state,” for at least some purposes.   The question arises what kind of a state will it be?  In an effort to attract Western support, the Palestinian Authority claims that it will become another “secular democratic state.”  Hamas, which won the last parliamentary election, disagrees.  It wants Palestine to be a Muslim state governed by Sharia Law. 

We know what the Palestinian leadership is saying to the West. Now let’s look at what its saying to its own people, who will, after all, be the ultimate decision makers if Palestine is indeed a democracy. 

The draft constitution for the new state of Palestine declares that “Islam is the official religion in Palestine.”  It also states that Sharia Law will be “the major source of legislation.”  It is ironic that the same Palestinian leadership which supports these concepts for Palestine refuses to acknowledge that Israel is the nation state of the Jewish people.  Israel, in contrast to the proposed Palestinian state, does not have an official state religion.  Although it is a Jewish state, that description is not a religious one but rather a national one.  It accords equal rights to Islam, Christianity and all other religions, as well as to atheists and agnostics.  Indeed, a very high proportion of Israelis describe themselves as secular.

The new Palestinian state would prohibit any Jews from being citizens, from owning land or from even living in the Muslim state of Palestine.  The Ambassador of the PLO to the United States was asked during an interview whether “any Jew who is inside the borders of Palestine will have to leave?”  His answer: “Absolutely!”  After much criticism, the Ambassador tried to spin his statement, saying that it applied only to Jews “who are amid the occupation.” 

Whatever that means, one thing is clear:  large numbers of Jews will not be welcome to remain in Islamic Palestine as equal citizens.  In contrast, Israel has more than 1 million Arab citizens, most of whom are Muslims.  They are equal under the law, except that they need not serve in the Israeli army.

The new Palestine will have the very “law of return” that it demands that Israel should give up.  All Palestinians, no matter where they live and regardless of whether they have ever set foot in Palestine, will be welcome to the new state, while a Jew whose family has lived in Hebron for thousands of years will be excluded. 

To summarize, the new Palestinian state will be a genuine apartheid state.  It will practice religious and ethnic discrimination, it will have one official religion and it will base its laws on the precepts of one religion.  Imagine what the status of gays will be under Sharia law!
Palestinian leadership accuses Israel of having roads that are limited only to Jews.  This is entirely false: a small number of roads on the West Bank are restricted to Israelis, but they are equally open to Israeli Jews, Muslims and Christians alike.  The entire state of Palestine will have a “no Jews allowed” sign on it.   

It is noteworthy that the very people who complain most loudly about Israel’s law of return and about its character as the nation state of the Jewish people, are silent when it comes to the new Palestinian state.  Is it that these people expect more of Jews than they do of Muslims?  If so, is that not a form of racism?   

What would the borders of a Palestinian state look like if the Palestinians got their way without the need to negotiate with Israel?  The Palestinians would get, as a starting point, all of the land previously occupied by Jordan prior to the 1967 War, in which Jordan attacked Israel.  This return to the status quo that led to the 6 Day War is inconsistent with the intention of Security Council Resolution 242, which contemplated some territorial changes. 

The new boundaries of this Palestinian state would include Judaism’s holiest place, the Western Wall.  It would also include the access roads to Hebrew University, which Jordan used to close down this great institution of learning founded by the Jews nearly 100 years ago.  The new Palestinian state would also incorporate the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem, in which Jews have lived for 3000 years, except for those periods of time during which they were expelled by force. 

It is contemplated, of course, that Israel would regain these areas as part of a land swap with the Palestinians.  But there is no certainty that the Palestinians would agree to a reasonable land swap.  Palestinian leaders have already said that they would hold these important and sacred sites hostage to unreasonable demands.  For example, the Western Wall covers only a few acres, but the Palestinian leadership has indicated that these acres are among the most valuable in the world, and in order for Israel to regain them, they would have to surrender thousands of acres.  The same might be true of the access road to Hebrew University and the Jewish Quarter. 

When Jordan controlled these areas, the Jordanian government made them Judenrein—Jews could not pray at the Western Wall, visit the Jewish Quarter, or have access to Hebrew University.  There is no reason to believe that a Palestinian state would treat Jews any differently if they were to maintain control over these areas. 

An Apartheid, Islamic, Judenrein Palestine on the 1967 borders is a prescription for disaster.  That is why a reasonable Palestinian state must be the outcome of negotiations with Israel, and not the result of a thoughtless vote by the United Nations.

The Palestinians and Israeli leaders are now in New York.  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has offered to sit down and negotiate, with no preconditions, a realistic peace based on a two-state solution.  Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas should accept that offer, which will actually get the Palestinians a viable state rather than a cheap paper victory that will raise expectations but lower the prospects for real peace. 
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« Reply #1445 on: September 25, 2011, 11:05:33 AM »

Good article

"Imagine what the status of gays will be under Sharia law!"

That is a good idea fpr a new strategy.  Send the American gay infatada to the West bank and stir up trouble there.
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« Reply #1446 on: September 25, 2011, 11:26:52 AM »

Good article

"Imagine what the status of gays will be under Sharia law!"

That is a good idea fpr a new strategy.  Send the American gay infatada to the West bank and stir up trouble there.

No, they only go where it is safe. They''ll go into a church in the US and disrupt a service, but they'll never go into a mosque.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2011, 04:01:32 PM by G M » Logged
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« Reply #1447 on: September 25, 2011, 02:05:53 PM »

On behalf of Crafty Dog...please use the scroll bar at bottom to see the right-side column (it has not been cropped)

« Last Edit: September 25, 2011, 02:08:30 PM by Kostas » Logged

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« Reply #1448 on: September 26, 2011, 07:51:35 PM »

Thank you Kostas.

I caught a fragment of a report on FOX that we are now providing bunker busters to the Israelis?!?  Can anyone confirm or deny?

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« Reply #1449 on: September 26, 2011, 08:06:33 PM »

Thank you Kostas.

I caught a fragment of a report on FOX that we are now providing bunker busters to the Israelis?!?  Can anyone confirm or deny?

The Bunker Busters and the Measure of Support for Israel

Jonathan S. Tobin | @tobincommentary 09.23.2011 - 4:40 PM

Today, Eli Lake reported in the Daily Beast that President Obama “has secretly authorized significant new aid to the Israeli military that includes the sale of 55 deep-penetrating bombs known as bunker busters.” The story, to be published in Newsweek on Monday, indicates that Obama released the bombs to Israel in 2009 after the Bush administration had at first denied the request and then delayed it.
This decision, taken at a time when the president was also applying brutal pressure on Israel to make concessions on territory and Jerusalem to the Palestinians, sums up the contradictions in the Obama administration’s Middle East policy.

The strategic alliance between the United States and Israel transcends the differences between the two countries over the peace process and even the attempts of Obama to tilt the diplomatic playing field toward the Palestinians as he has repeatedly done during his time in office.
Obama has done more to undermine the Jewish claim on Jerusalem than any of his predecessors. He has also set out to distance the American position on the peace process from that of Israel, a foolish misjudgment that encouraged Palestinian intransigence and led to the diplomatic debacle on display this week at the United Nations. But to note this, as one must, doesn’t mean Obama is, as some of his most extreme critics assert, an open foe of the Jewish state.
Like many of his predecessors, Obama has hoped to encourage Israel to take risks for peace by measures that would enhance its sense of security. Such initiatives have a dual purpose in that they are intended to make Israel more defensible while also creating an atmosphere in which the leaders of the Jewish state will be more inclined to make concessions. Their impact on security is both necessary and laudable. Their effect on Israeli diplomacy is usually dubious.
The bunker busters gave Israel more confidence in its ability to deal with Hamas and Hezbollah terrorist targets. They might also be used against Iranian nuclear facilities, a fact that might lead some to think Obama had given a green light to an Israeli attack on Iran. If true, it would be highly ironic, because Obama was otherwise engaged in a foolish attempt to “engage” Iran in 2009. But it is highly unlikely this is the case. Given the U.S. command of the skies over the region through which Israeli planes would have to travel to get to Iran, the president probably believes he can still exercise a veto on such a strike.
The United States is Israel’s sole ally. Even if items such as the bunker busters may come with a hefty diplomatic price tag, it is not difficult to understand why the Israel Defense Forces think they are worth it.
Yet, let us be in no doubt as to the reason why news about the bunker buster sale was leaked now, more than two years after the fact, according to Lake’s reporting. At a time when Obama’s support in the Jewish community is dropping in part because of his abusive treatment of Netanyahu, it is vital he try to prove he is as good a friend to Israel as any of his predecessors.
Obama’s Democratic surrogates will, no doubt, cite this sale as well as other things the president has done to help bolster Israeli security. But judging Obama’s attitude toward Israel solely on the basis of whether or not he is willing to maintain normal security cooperation is to measure it by an extremely low standard.
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