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Israel, and its neighbors
Topic: Israel, and its neighbors (Read 264138 times)
Hamas' Godless Killers
Reply #1700 on:
November 17, 2012, 02:01:44 AM »
Re: Israel, and its neighbors
Reply #1701 on:
November 17, 2012, 04:40:19 AM »
Quote from: Crafty_Dog on November 16, 2012, 09:11:51 PM
Intelligent conservatives, a term which excludes the Rep leadership, can point this out i.e. Baraq will have no "But what can I do excuse".
We shall see , , ,
Israel will get vilified by the MSM to such a degree that you'll think they are the Tea party. Buraq will take the same accountability for this that he did for Benghazi and Fast and Furious.
Re: Israel, and its neighbors
Reply #1702 on:
November 18, 2012, 03:31:04 PM »
Israel will get vilified...
That is what happened when they went into Lebanon to stop the rocket attacks.
Meantime Iran keeps moving forward with nuclear weapons.
Reply #1703 on:
November 18, 2012, 09:59:17 PM »
Sunday, November 18, 2012
When 10 minutes feels like 10 years
[A guest-post by Zahava]
There is really nothing that adequately prepares you for the sound. You learn about it. Your kids have drills in school. Your community tests its siren and emergency broadcast system intermittently through out the year.
You know what to do. You know how much time you have to do it.
Until it actually happens – until you are forced to put the practice into action – you really don’t know.
You anticipate that the siren will be terrible. But what you are really unprepared for is the fact that the siren is not the most terrible aspect of the experience.
As a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, and a friend, there were a thousand things that flashed through my frenzied thoughts as my brain registered and processed that our community’s air raid sirens were in fact actually shrilling their warning to take cover. Immediately.
We in Gush Etzion are incredibly lucky. We have a full 90 seconds to get to safety. We have 6 times the amount of time as our compatriots in the south.
I think it only took about 10 seconds to absorb it. Good thing I live in Gush Etzion. 5 seconds would not have been adequate time to: 1) finish drying off after my shower, 2) race up the stairs while simultaneously stabbing my limbs into garments, and 3) rattle off the names of my husband, kids (who were home) and Shabbat guest, while also screaming 4) “get into the mamad (re-inforced room), this is probably not a drill.”
Somehow, the five of us all made it before the siren ceased its wail.
A bit of pressure accompanies the sound.
Sort of reminiscent of a sonic boom.
Except so much more sinister than the sound of an airplane breaking the sound barrier.
Designed to terrorize. Designed to kill.
We waited the required time – 10 minutes according to home front command – before exiting the mamad, wondering the entire time. Worrying the entire time.
It was 10 minutes. But it felt like 10 years.
We emerge grateful that we are all accounted for and unharmed. We hope that everyone in our area can say the same.
In shul, the boys hear from the men who serve on the community’s security squad that the rockets landed in an open area causing little damage and no injuries.
We finish our entry into Shabbat profoundly grateful that we and those we love and those we live among have been spared harm.
We worry about our compatriots. We worry about our soldiers. We worry about the Gazan civilians. We worry about the worrying of overseas family and friends.
Shabbat remains quiet, though we are all edgier than normal. The howl of the traffic from 60 plays tricks on our ears and on our minds.
Was that the start of the siren?
No. For us, mercifully, it was not.
Each moment that carries us further from those 10 minutes. Those 10 minutes which felt like 10 years.
It is Sunday. I, like every news-junkie Israeli, move between productive work and the news sites. Checking. Praying. Listening. Worrying.
And it occurs to me.
If that one time experience of 10 minutes felt like 10 years, what does 3 rockets a day feel like? 30 years?
What does 12 years of rockets feel like?
My heart is broken for the one million residents of southern Israel for whom these exaggerated moments have already stretched on for eternity.
It is enough. Enough is enough.
Kol Yisrael arevi’im zeh la zeh – loosely translated, this means all Israel is responsible for one another.
The time has come to put aside political, philosophical and theological differences. Our citizens may not be subjected to rocket fire.
You want to talk about all the ways that Israel can improve her international standing, her civil policies, her democratic process? Great. Me too. There is, admittedly, much work to be done.
At the moment, our only responsible action is to defend our citizens.
And know that we do this while taking extraordinary measures to simultaneously protect the innocent lives of non-militant Gazans.
It turns out the old axiom is true: time flies when you’re having fun.
Time should fly.
Missiles should not.
Murphy is alive and well in Beer Sheva
Despite the chaos going on elsewhere in the south, it was a quiet morning in Beer Sheva. So much so, that I allowed myself to be lulled into a sense of normalcy.
In fact, I felt so relaxed that I actually made an appointment to go over to the Optician and pick up my new frames which they told me via SMS were ready.
No sooner was I away from the fortified protection of my office campus, I heard the Code Red sirens start to go off all around me. Following procedure, I pulled over and ran (hah!, my knee said, no... you'll stroll) to find the nearest shelter.
Nothing nearby. Not a building. Not a house.
So I stretched out in the dirt by the curb and prayed.
As the sirens were fading away a second set of sirenscame to life... this was a multiple rocket attack.
After a short time I hear seven distinct explosions off to my left and over head. Some were likely interceptions by the Iron Dome system and some were rockets that got through.
Murphy's law that I would pick that moment to venture out.
Re: Israel, and its neighbors
Reply #1704 on:
November 18, 2012, 11:52:00 PM »
Turkey's Erdogan calls Isreal "Terrorist"
Reply #1705 on:
November 19, 2012, 10:39:20 AM »
ISTANBUL—Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Israel of being a "terrorist state" on Monday and criticized world powers for supporting the weeklong bombardment of Gaza that has killed almost 90 people, signaling that the three-year-old rift between Jerusalem and Ankara is deepening.
Speaking in Istanbul shortly after returning from Cairo, where he held emergency talks on Gaza with Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, Mr. Erdogan also railed against Western powers' failure to take concerted action to stop bloodshed in Syria.
But he saved his harshest words for one-time ally Israel.
"Those who speak of Muslims and terror side by side are turning a blind eye when Muslims are massacred en masse," the prime minister told a gathering of the Eurasian Islamic Council. "Those who turn a blind eye to discrimination toward Muslims in their own countries, are also closing their eyes to the savage massacre of innocent children in Gaza…Therefore, I say Israel is a terrorist state."
The comments point to a new nadir for relations between Turkey and Israel, which have been strained since Israel's 2008 offensive in Hamas-controlled Gaza. In early 2009, Mr. Erdogan won fame and popular support on the Arab street when he rebuked Israeli President Shimon Peres at a World Economic Forum event in Davos, Switzerland.
Since then, ties between the countries, once the closest allies in the Middle East, have deteriorated to a historic low. Turkey's prime minister has been vehemently backing Palestinians and their push for statehood, especially after Israel killed Turkish activists on a humanitarian-aid ship that had been seeking to breach Jerusalem's blockade of Gaza in 2010.
Mr. Erdogan, whose anti-Israel outbursts are at odds with Ankara's leading Western ally, the U.S., has sought to capitalize on his popularity to expand Turkey's regional influence.
His comments came after Turkey, a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, stepped up its diplomatic involvement in the Gaza conflict over the weekend, when Mr. Erdogan visited Cairo to help Egypt's Mr. Morsi push negotiations for a cease-fire. Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu plans to travel to Gaza on Tuesday with a group of foreign ministers from the Arab League, Turkey's state news agency Anadolu reported on Sunday.
In a veiled criticism of U.S. President Barack Obama, who lists the Turkish premier among his top-five closest leaders world-wide, Mr. Erdogan said it was unfair to cite a country's right to defend itself to justify Israeli attacks when Jerusalem is the aggressor.
On Sunday, the U.S. and Britain both reiterated their support for Israel's right to defend itself against Palestinian rocket fire.
Israel says its military action against Gaza is a response to Hamas-fired rockets, which have struck Tel Aviv in the first successful attacks on Israel's largest metropolitan area since the 1991 Gulf War.
Turkey's prime minister also criticized the United Nations, which called on Israel and Hamas to work with Egypt to achieve a cease-fire in the conflict. Mr. Erdogan has repeatedly lambasted the U.N. Security Council for failing to take concerted action on Syria, Turkey's neighbor, where an uprising has led to civil war.
"I'm asked how much I trust the U.N., I don't trust it," Mr. Erdogan said, urging once again to reform the world body to make the Security Council more inclusive and effective in stopping bloodshed world-wide.
STratfor: George Friedman on Gaza and Israel
Reply #1706 on:
November 19, 2012, 12:06:52 PM »
Third post of day:
Israel and Gaza: Then and Now
November 19, 2012
Four years ago on Nov. 4, while Americans were going to the polls to elect a new president, Israeli infantry, tanks and bulldozers entered the Gaza Strip to dismantle an extensive tunnel network used by Hamas to smuggle in weapons. An already tenuous truce mediated by the Egyptian government of Hosni Mubarak had been broken. Hamas responded with a barrage of mortar and rocket fire lasting several weeks, and on Dec. 27, 2008, Israel began Operation Cast Lead. The military campaign began with seven days of heavy air strikes on Gaza, followed by a 15-day ground incursion. By the end of the campaign, nearly 1,000 poorly guided shorter-range rockets and mortar shells hit southern Israel, reaching as far as Beersheba and Yavne. Several senior Hamas commanders and hundreds of militants were killed in the fighting. Israel Defense Forces figures showed that 10 IDF soldiers died (four from friendly fire), three Israeli civilians died from Palestinian rocket fire and 1,166 Palestinians were killed -- 709 of them combatants.
The strategic environment during the 2008-2009 Operation Cast Lead was vastly different from the one Israel faces in today's Operation Pillar of Defense. To understand the evolution in regional dynamics, we must return to 2006, the year that would set the conditions for both military campaigns.
Setting the Stage
2006 began with Hamas winning a sweeping electoral victory over its ideological rival, Fatah. Representing the secular and more pragmatic strand of Palestinian politics, Fatah had already been languishing in Gaza under the weight of its own corruption and its lackluster performance in seemingly fruitless negotiations with Israel. The political rise of Hamas led to months of civil war between the two Palestinian factions, and on June 14, Hamas forcibly took control of the Gaza Strip from Fatah. Just 11 days later, Hamas kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalt and killed two others, prompting a new round of hostilities with Israel.
In what appeared to be a coordinated move, Hezbollah on July 12 launched its own raid on Israel's northern front and kidnapped two additional soldiers, kicking off the month-long Second Lebanon War. As Israel discovered, Hezbollah was well-prepared for the conflict, relying on an extensive tunneling system to preserve its launching crews and weaponry. Hezbollah made use of anti-tank guided missiles, improvised explosive devices that caught Israel Defense Forces by surprise and blunted the ground offensive, and medium-range rockets capable of reaching Haifa. Hezbollah incurred a heavy toll for the fight, with much of the infrastructure in southern Lebanon devastated and roughly 1,300 Lebanese civilian casualties threatening to erode its popular support. Casualty numbers aside, Hezbollah emerged from the 2006 conflict with a symbolic victory. Since 1973, no other Arab army, much less a militant organization, had been able to fight as effectively to challenge Israel's military superiority. Israel's inability to claim victory translated as a Hezbollah victory. That perception reverberated throughout the region. It cast doubts on Israel's ability to respond to much bigger strategic threats, considering it could be so confounded by a non-state militant actor close to home.
At that time, Hamas was contending with numerous challenges; its coup in Gaza had earned the group severe political and economic isolation, and the group's appeals to open Gaza's border, and for neighbors to recognize Hamas as a legitimate political actor, went mostly unheeded. However, Hamas did take careful note of Hezbollah's example. Here was a militant organization that had burnished its resistance credentials against Israel, could maintain strong popular support among its constituents and had made its way into Lebanon's political mainstream.
Hezbollah benefited from a strong patron in Iran. Hamas, on the other hand, enjoyed no such support. Mubarak's Egypt, Bashar al Assad's Syria, Jordan under the Hashemites and the Gulf monarchies under the influence of the House of Saud all shared a deep interest in keeping Hamas boxed in. Although publically these countries showed support for the Palestinians and condemned Israel, they tended to view Palestinian refugees and more radical groups such as Hamas as a threat to the stability of their regimes.
While Hamas began questioning the benefits of its political experiment, Iran saw an opportunity to foster a militant proxy. Tehran saw an increasingly strained relationship between Saudi Arabia and Hamas, and it took advantage to increase funding and weapons supplies to the group. Forces from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' Quds Force, along with Hezbollah, worked with Hamas to expand the group's weapons arsenal and build elaborate tunnels under the Gaza Strip to facilitate its operations. Israel soon began to notice and took action toward the end of 2008.
Operation Cast Lead
Hamas was operating in a difficult strategic environment during Operation Cast Lead. Hezbollah had the benefit of using the rural terrain south of the Litani River to launch rockets against Israel during the Second Lebanon War, thereby sparing Lebanon's most densely populated cities from retaliatory attacks. Hamas, on the other hand, must work in a tightly constricted geographic space and therefore uses the Palestinian population as cover for its rocket launches. The threat of losing popular support is therefore much higher for Hamas in Gaza than it is for Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. At the same time, operating in a built-up urban environment also poses a considerable challenge for the Israeli military.
During Operation Cast Lead, Cairo did little to hide its true feelings toward Hamas. Though Egypt played a critical role in the cease-fire negotiations, it was prepared to incur the domestic political cost of cracking down on the Rafah border crossing to prevent refugees from flowing into Sinai and to prevent Hamas from replenishing its weapons supply. The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, then in the opposition, took advantage of the situation to publicly rally against the Mubarak regime, but its protests did little to change the situation. Hamas was boxed in by Egypt and Israel.
The rest of the region largely avoided direct involvement. Turkey was focused on internal affairs, and Saudi Arabia remained largely aloof. Jordan's Hashemite rulers could afford to continue quietly cooperating with Israel without facing backlash. The United States, emerging from an election, was focused on shaping an exit strategy from Iraq. Many of Hamas' traditional wealthy Gulf donors grew wary of attracting the focus of Western security and intelligence agencies as fund transfers from the Gulf came under closer scrutiny.
Iran was the exception. While the Arab regimes ostracized Hamas, Iran worked to sustain the group in its fight. Tehran's reasoning was clear and related to Iran's emergence as a regional power. Iraq had already fallen into Iran's sphere of influence (though the United States was not yet prepared to admit it), Hezbollah was rebuilding in southern Lebanon, and Iranian influence continued to spread in western Afghanistan. Building up a stronger militant proxy network in the Palestinian territories was the logical next step in Tehran's effort to keep a check on Israeli threats to strike the Iranian nuclear program.
In early January 2009, in the midst of Operation Cast Lead, Israel learned that Iran was allegedly planning to deliver 120 tons of arms and explosives to Gaza, including anti-tank guided missiles and Iranian-made Fajr-3 rockets with a 40-kilometer (25-mile) range and 45-kilogram (99-pound) warhead. The Iranian shipment arrived at Port Sudan, and the Israeli air force then bombed a large convoy of 23 trucks traveling across Egypt's southern border up into Sinai. Though Israel interdicted this weapons shipment -- likely with Egyptian complicity -- Iran did not give up its attempts to supply Hamas with advanced weaponry. The long-range Fajr rocket attacks targeting Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in the current conflict are a testament to Iran's continued effort.
The Current Geopolitical Environment
Hamas and Israel now find themselves in a greatly altered geopolitical climate. On every one of its borders, Israel faces a growing set of vulnerabilities that would have been hard to envision at the time of Operation Cast Lead.
The most important shift has taken place in Egypt, where the Muslim Brotherhood carefully used the momentum provided by the Arab Spring to shed its opposition status and take political control of the state. Hamas, which grew out of the Muslim Brotherhood, then faced an important decision. With an ideological ally in Cairo, Egypt no longer presents as high a hurdle to Hamas' political ambitions. Indeed, Hamas could even try to use its ties to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood to achieve political legitimacy. When unrest spread into Syria and began to threaten Iran's position in the Levant, Hamas made a strategic decision to move away from the Iran-Syria axis, now on the decline, and to latch itself onto the new apparent regional trend: the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood and its Islamist affiliates across the Arab world.
This rise of the Muslim Brotherhood spread from Egypt to Syria to Jordan, presenting Israel with a new set of challenges on its borders. Egypt's dire economic situation, the political unrest in its cities, and the Muslim Brotherhood's uneasy relationship with the military and security apparatus led to a rapid deterioration in security in Sinai. Moreover, a Muslim Brotherhood government in Cairo on friendly terms with Hamas could not be trusted to crack down on the Gaza border and interdict major weapons shipments. A political machine such as the Muslim Brotherhood, which derives its power from the street, will be far more sensitive to pro-Palestinian sentiment than will a police state that can rule through intimidation.
In Syria, Israel has lost a predictable adversary to its north. The balkanization of the Levant is giving rise to an array of Islamist forces, and Israel can no longer rely on the regime in Damascus to keep Hezbollah in check for its own interests. In trying to sustain its position in Syria and Lebanon, Iran has increased the number of its operatives in the region, bringing Tehran that much closer to Israel as both continue to posture over a potential strike against Iranian nuclear facilities.
To Israel's east, across the Jordan River valley, pressure is also growing on the Hashemite kingdom. An emboldened Muslim Brotherhood has been joined by disillusioned tribes from the East Bank in openly calling for the downfall of the king. High energy costs are severely blunting the kingdom's ability to contain these protests through subsidies, and the growing crisis in Gaza threatens to spread instability in the West Bank and invigorate Palestinians across the river in Jordan.
Beyond its immediate periphery, Israel is struggling to find parties interested in its cause. The Europeans remain hostile to anything they deem to be excessive Israeli retaliation against the Palestinians. Furthermore, they are far too consumed by the fragmentation of the European Union to get involved with what is happening in the southern Levant.
The United States remains diplomatically involved in trying to reach a cease-fire, but as it has made clear throughout the Syrian crisis, Washington does not intend to get dragged into every conflagration in the Middle East. Instead, the United States is far more interested in having regional players like Egypt and Turkey manage the burden. The United States can pressure Egypt by threatening to withhold financial and military aid. In the case of Turkey, there appears to be little that Ankara can do to mediate the conflict. Turkish-Israeli relations have been severely strained since the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident. Moreover, although the Turkish government is trying to edge its way into the cease-fire negotiations to demonstrate its leadership prowess to the region, Ankara is as wary of appearing too close to a radical Islamist group like Hamas as it is of appearing in the Islamic world as too conciliatory to Israel.
Saudi Arabia was already uncomfortable with backing more radical Palestinian strands, but Riyadh now faces a more critical threat -- the regional rise of the Muslim Brotherhood. Islamist political activism poses a direct threat to the foundation of the monarchy, which has steadfastly kept the religious establishment out of the political domain. Saudi Arabia has little interest in the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood encouraging Hamas' political rise, and Riyadh will thus become even more alienated from the Palestinian theater. Meanwhile Gulf state Qatar, which has much less to lose, is proffering large amounts of financial aid in a bid to increase its influence in the Palestinian territories.
Iran, meanwhile, is working feverishly to stem the decline of its regional influence. At the time of Operation Cast Lead, Iran was steadily expanding its sphere of influence, from western Afghanistan to the Mediterranean. A subsequent U.S. military buildup in the Persian Gulf and an intensifying U.S.-led economic warfare campaign slowed Iran down, but it was the decline of the al Assad regime that put Iran on the defensive. An emboldened Sunni opposition in Syria, backed by the West, Turkey and the Arab Gulf states, could spill into Lebanon to threaten Hezbollah's position and eventually threaten Iran's position in Iraq. With each faction looking to protect itself, Iran can no longer rely as heavily on militant proxies in the Levant, especially Palestinian groups that see an alignment with Iran as a liability in the face of a Sunni rebellion. But Iran is also not without options in trying to maintain a Palestinian lever against Israel.
Hamas would not be able to strike Tel Aviv and Jerusalem with long-range rockets had it not been for Iran, which supplied these rockets through Sudan and trained Palestinian operatives on how to assemble them in Gaza. Even if Hamas uses up its arsenal of Fajr-5s in the current conflict and takes a heavy beating in the process, Iran has succeeded in creating a major regional distraction to tie down Israel and draw attention away from the Syrian rebellion. Iran supplied Hezbollah with Zelzal rockets capable of reaching Haifa during the 2006 Second Lebanon War. Hamas was limited to shorter-range Qassam and Grad rockets in Operation Cast Lead but now has Iranian-made Fajr-5s to target Israel's most cherished cities.
Hamas is now carrying the mantle of resistance from Hezbollah in hopes of achieving a symbolic victory that does not end up devastating the group in Gaza. Israel's only hope to deny Hamas that victory is to eliminate Hamas' arsenal of these rockets, all the while knowing that Iran will likely continue to rely on Egypt's leniency on the border to smuggle more parts and weaponry into Gaza in the future. The Hamas rocket dilemma is just one example of the types of problems Israel will face in the coming years. The more vulnerable Israel becomes, the more prone it will be to pre-emptive action against its neighbors as it tries to pick the time and place of battle. In this complex strategic environment, Operation Pillar of Defense may be one of many similar military campaigns as Israel struggles to adjust to this new geopolitical reality.
Re: Israel, and its neighbors
Reply #1707 on:
November 19, 2012, 01:18:49 PM »
Little Lives and Big Lies
Reply #1708 on:
November 20, 2012, 03:13:04 AM »
Little Lives and Big Lies
On the Front Lines of the Hamas Propaganda War
November 19, 2012
Throughout the years, terrorist organizations have deliberately targeted Israeli civilians with rockets fired from Gaza for the purposes of maximizing innocent casualties and striking fear into the population.
By firing from schools and hospitals, Hamas is essentially committing a double war crime – striking innocent civilians while embedding itself among its own population centers. Its fighters even fired rockets towards Jerusalem recently without regard to the Muslim holy sites—something that even Saddam Hussein never dared to do. One could only imagine the consequences of a Hamas rocket hitting the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount.
The use of women and children as human shields serves a dual purpose. Terrorists believe this tactic deters extensive Israeli retaliation because the Jewish state makes great efforts to minimize non-combatant casualties. When Israel drops mass leaflets and sends text messages to warn the Palestinians of an impending response, Gazan terrorists are given ample time to desert their positions and avoid harm. However, an often overlooked perspective is that Hamas actually gains from increasing Palestinian collateral damage in the crucial public relations war against Israel.
The more pictures of civilian Palestinian women and children killed, the more Israel is perceived to be the aggressor, leading to further deterioration in the international community's support for its actions. Israel's military superiority leaves Hamas knowing that the propaganda war is the only battle they can win.
There is tremendous incentive for Hamas to inflate the statistics regarding Palestinian civilians caught in the crossfire. But what if Hamas' rockets are causing innocent Palestinian casualties?
This issue has come to the fore in the recent violent escalation between Israel and Hamas. An infamous image has been disseminated throughout mainstream media outlets showing senior Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and Egypt's Prime Minister Hisham Kandil embracing the body of a dead Palestinian boy (Mahmoud Sadallah), who was allegedly killed by an Israeli air strike.
Despite Israel's observance of a cease fire during the Egyptian Prime Minister's visit to Gaza, CNN's report by Sara Sidner of the Sadallah incident alleges that the boy was killed by the Israeli Air Force.
However, CNN's narrative was challenged by Britain's Sunday Telegraph on Saturday:
"… there were signs on Saturday that not all the Palestinian casualties have been the result of Israeli air strikes. The highly publicized death of four-year-old Mohammed Sadallah appeared to have been the result of a misfiring home-made rocket, not a bomb dropped by Israel.
The child's death on Friday figured prominently in media coverage after Hisham Kandil, the Egyptian prime minister, was filmed lifting his dead body out of an ambulance. "The boy, the martyr, whose blood is still on my hands and clothes, is something that we cannot keep silent about," he said, before promising to defend the Palestinian people.
But experts from the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights who visited the site on Saturday said they believed that the explosion was caused by a Palestinian rocket." [Emphasis added]
Even the New York Times in an article on Friday stated otherwise:
"The Abu Wardah family woke up on Friday morning to word that a hudna — Arabic for cease-fire — had been declared during the three-hour visit of the Egyptian prime minister to this embattled territory. So, after two days of huddling indoors to avoid intensifying Israeli air assaults, Abed Abu Wardah, the patriarch, went to the market to buy fruits and vegetables. His 22-year-old son, Aiman, took an empty blue canister to be refilled with cooking gas. The younger children of their neighborhood, Annazla, in this town north of Gaza City went out to the dirt alley to kick a soccer ball.
But around 9:45 a.m., family members and neighbors said, an explosion struck a doorway near the Abu Wardah home, killing Aiman Abu Wardah as he returned from his errand, as well as Mahmoud Sadallah, 4, who lived next door and had refused his older cousin's pleas to stay indoors.
It is unclear who was responsible for the strike on Annazla: the damage was nowhere near severe enough to have come from an Israeli F-16, raising the possibility that an errant missile fired by Palestinian militants was responsible for the deaths. What seems clear is that expectations for a pause in the fighting, for at least one family, were tragically misplaced." [Emphasis added]
Furthermore, the Associated Press reported Friday that:
"Mahmoud Sadallah, the 4-year-old Gaza boy whose death moved Egypt's prime minister to tears, was from the town of Jebaliya, close to Gaza City.
The boy died Friday in hotly disputed circumstances. The boy's aunt, Hanan Sadallah, and his grief-stricken father Iyad — weak from crying and leaning on others to walk — said Mahmoud was killed in an Israeli airstrike. Hamas security officials also made that claim [Emphasis added].
Israel vehemently denied involvement, saying it had not carried out any attacks in the area at the time [Emphasis added].
Mahmoud's family said the boy was in an alley close to his home when he was killed, along with a man of about 20, but no one appeared to have witnessed the strike. The area showed signs that a projectile might have exploded there, with shrapnel marks in the walls of surrounding homes and a shattered kitchen window. But neighbors said local security officials quickly took what remained of the projectile, making it impossible to verify who fired it." [Emphasis added]
According to the Israeli Prime Minister's Office spokesman, 60 Gazan rockets landed within the Gaza Strip on Palestinian civilians. Moreover, the Israel Defense Forces revealed that 99 rockets fired at Israel have actually landed within Gaza in the first four days of the conflict.
This Palestinian tactic is nothing new, since previous accounts of errant Hamas rockets inflicting death and injuries on Gazans has been reported in previous conflicts with Israel. For example, a Palestinian rocket aimed at Israel in 2006 ended up striking a home in the Gaza Strip, wounding a two-year-old boy sleeping in his bedroom.
It is time for all reputable media outlets to engage in real investigative techniques, avoid hasty conclusions, and prevent biased reporting from perpetuating the terrorists' narrative.
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WSJ: The Truth About Gaza
Reply #1709 on:
November 20, 2012, 04:16:57 AM »
The Truth About Gaza I was wrong to support Israel's 'disengagement' from the Strip in 2005
By BRET STEPHENS
Sometimes it behooves even a pundit to acknowledge his mistakes. In 2004 as editor of the Jerusalem Post, and in 2006 in this column, I made the case that Israel was smart to withdraw its soldiers and settlers from the Gaza Strip. I was wrong.
My error was to confuse a good argument with good policy; to suppose that mere self-justification is a form of strategic prudence. It isn't. Israel is obviously within its rights to defend itself now against a swarm of rockets and mortars from Gaza. But if it had maintained a military presence in the Strip, it would not now be living under this massive barrage.
Columnist Bret Stephens on the escalating conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. Photo: Associated Press
Or, to put it another way: The diplomatic and public-relations benefit Israel derives from being able to defend itself from across a "border" and without having to get into an argument about settlements isn't worth the price Israelis have had to pay in lives and terror.
That is not the way it seemed to me in 2004, when then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon decided to pull up stakes, reversing the very policy he had done so much to promote as a general and politician in the 1970s. Gaza, I argued, was vital neither to the Jewish state's security nor to its identity. It was a drain on Israel's moral, military, political and diplomatic resources. Getting out of the Strip meant shaving off nearly half of the Palestinian population (and the population with the highest birthrate), thereby largely solving Israel's demographic challenge.
Withdrawal also meant putting the notion of land-for-peace to a real-world test. Would Gazans turn the Strip into a showcase Palestinian state, a Mediterranean Dubai, or into another Beirut circa 1982? If the former, then Israel could withdraw from the West Bank with some confidence. If the latter, it would put illusions to rest, both within Israel and throughout the Western world.
Finally, I argued that while direct negotiations with the Palestinians had proved fruitless for Israel, Jerusalem could use its withdrawal from Gaza to obtain political and security guarantees from the United States. That's just what Mr. Sharon appeared to get through an exchange of formal letters with George W. Bush in April 2004.
Things didn't work out as I had hoped. To say the least.
Within six months of Israel's withdrawal, Hamas won Palestinian parliamentary elections. Within two years, Hamas seized control of the Strip from the ostensible moderates of Fatah after a brief civil war.
In 2004, the last full year in which Israel had a security presence in Gaza, Gazans fired 281 rockets into Israel. By 2006 that figure had risen to 1,777. The Strip became a terrorist bazaar, home not only to Hamas but also Islamic Jihad and Ansar al-Sunna, an al Qaeda affiliate.
In late 2008, Israel finally tried to put a stop to attacks from Gaza with Operation Cast Lead. The limited action—Israeli troops didn't go into heavily populated areas and refrained from targeting Hamas's senior leadership—was met with broad condemnation, including a U.N. report (since recanted by its lead author) accusing Israel of possible "crimes against humanity."
Nor did the reality of post-occupation Gaza do much to dent the appetite of the Obama administration for yet another effort to broker Israeli-Palestinian peace. That included a settlement freeze in the West Bank (observed by the government of Benjamin Netanyahu, to zero benefit) and calls by President Obama for Israel to withdraw to its 1967 lines "with mutually agreed swaps."
In 2009, Hillary Clinton disavowed the Bush-Sharon exchange of letters, saying they "did not become part of the official position of the United States government." Even today, the Obama administration considers Gaza to be "occupied" territory, a position disavowed even by Hamas.
Put simply, Israel's withdrawal from Gaza yielded less security, greater diplomatic isolation, and a Palestinian regime even more radical and emboldened than it had been before. As strategic failures go, it was nearly perfect.
Now Israel may be on the cusp of purchasing yet another long-term strategic failure for the sake of a short-term tactical success. The Israeli government wants to bomb Hamas into a cease-fire—hopefully lasting, probably orchestrated in Cairo. That way Israel gets the quiet it seeks, especially on the eve of elections in January, and the Egyptians get the responsibility for holding the leash on Hamas.
That is largely how it played out during Cast Lead. But as one leading Israeli political figure told me in January 2009, just as the last cease-fire had been declared, "Notwithstanding the blows to the Hamas, it's still in Gaza, it's still ruling Gaza, and the Philadelphi corridor [which runs along Gaza's border with Egypt] is still porous, and . . . Hamas can smuggle new rockets unless [the corridor] is closed, to fire at Israel in the future."
That leading political figure was Benjamin Netanyahu, just before he returned to office as prime minister. He might now consider taking his own advice. Israel can afford to watch only so many reruns of this same, sordid show.
The man who keeps Tel Aviv safe from rockets
Reply #1710 on:
November 20, 2012, 02:29:23 PM »
The man who keeps Tel Aviv safe from rockets
By YAAKOV LAPPIN
“We set up this Iron Dome battery in only 24 hours."
Maj. Itamar Abu is keeping the millions of residents of the greater Tel Aviv metropolitan area safe from death and destruction.
As commander of the hastily assembled Iron Dome battery wheeled out on Friday to defend Israel’s largest metropolis, Abu is playing a critical role in ensuring that the powerful Iranian-made Fajr-5 rockets fired from Gaza do not cause carnage on the city streets.
“It’s an amazing feeling when we make an interception,” Abu said on Monday.
“We set up this battery in only 24 hours. All of the people involved in this – when we see a missile strike, the incoming threat – feel an enormous sense of satisfaction.”
Three days ago, Abu was pursuing his university studies, when he was called back by the air force to command the new battery, the fifth of its kind deployed to defend the lives of civilians from Palestinian terrorists’ rockets.
Re: Hamas' Godless Killers
Reply #1711 on:
November 20, 2012, 05:58:15 PM »
Quote from: Crafty_Dog on November 17, 2012, 02:01:44 AM
"The task of weakening Hamas’s capacity to do harm would be helped, though, if a watching world displayed a greater intellectual honesty when looking at Hamas, and at Israel’s efforts to deny Hamas the capacity to kill. Perhaps those rockets fired at Jerusalem will promote a greater clarity of thought and thence of judgment."
Now to clear the air first, there is no doubt in the case presented who the agressor is nor who incited this particular event.
but it would likewise, do people very good were they to display greater intellectual honesty when looking at Israel retailation policy and Hamas'
capacity to kill.
Some numbers regarding victims during operation Cast Lead and since....mind the block about minors and kids.
One thing seems certain. The IDFs capacity to kill is looking quite more daunting than Hamas'.
Article 52 of Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions provides a widely-accepted definition of military objective:
"In so far as objects are concerned, military objectives are limited to those objects which by their nature, location, purpose or use make an effective contribution to military action and whose total or partial destruction, capture or neutralization, in the circumstances ruling at the time, offers a definite military advantage"
Good thing Protocol 1 (victims in international conflicts) and protocol 2 ( non international conflicts) have not been ratified let alone signed by Israel. They were however signed by Iran. Perspective ?
woof from Ljubljana
Last Edit: November 20, 2012, 06:05:25 PM by AndrewBole
Re: Israel, and its neighbors
Reply #1712 on:
November 20, 2012, 07:12:39 PM »
Meaningless. If the islami-savages wish to martyr themselves why should some antiquated and irrelevant document that none of the parties signed matter?
Perhaps I missed it, Andrew. Did you have the same concerns about Syria ?
Re: Israel, and its neighbors
Reply #1713 on:
November 20, 2012, 07:33:20 PM »
Glad we agree on who started it
That said, before going further I want to see if I understand your point correctly:
Because Hamas' aim is bad and Isreal's anti-rocket technology (like so much technology out of Israel) is rather outstanding, Israel should let it shoot thousands of rockets of ever increasing capabilities supplied by an enemy sworn to Israel's elimination at half of its country? And/or it should not retaliate effectively?
Do I have this right?
PS: Tangential question for rumination: Why does Hamas lack its own technology?
Re: Israel, and its neighbors
Reply #1714 on:
November 20, 2012, 08:46:41 PM »
Children in the town of Kiryat Malachi moments before an air siren alarm goes off. Two days before, three civilians were killed by a rocket hit in the town.
Moments Later Running for Shelter
Re: Israel, and its neighbors
Reply #1715 on:
November 20, 2012, 11:27:26 PM »
I have more questions than answers. I don't understand what is the other side of the story.
Hamas was sending rockets with into Israeli neighborhoods. It does not require much killing to accomplish terror and elicit a response; more would have been killed if not for Israel air defense.
Israel is known to fight back disproportionately; this is nothing new. They intend to both disable the source of the bombings and provide a deterrence for attacks. If the disproportionate response does not deter, why would we expect less of a response?
Now we all go to the peace table (again) and negotiate what? A piece of paper that again, with a straight face, says never again.
There is something bizarre about this. What did Hamas intend to accomplish? Was Hamas intentionally baiting a disproportional Israeli attack to take more casualties and make Israel look bad?
Israel wants survival and peace and has strong defense and strong counter-punch. Hamas wants the destruction of Israel. US stands with Israel but takes no side? We step in and say, come on guys, can't we all get along. That ought to do it.
Why are we not siding with our ally under attack rather than taking a neutral role?
Does say one thing but do another work effectively in foreign policy?
How Long Has Hamas Been Shooting Rockets at Israel?
Reply #1716 on:
November 21, 2012, 09:30:03 AM »
How Long Has Hamas Been Shooting Rockets at Israel?
Many people think Hamas as only been firing rockets into Israel since the start of Operation Pillar of Defense, starting six days ago. In fact, Hamas has been targeting the Israeli Home Front since 2001, and firing rockets on a near-daily basis for years. Here’s a stream of selected tweets from the last year alone:
There is an interesting chart showing the number of rocket attacks form the Gaza Strip. In 2008 there were 3,278 rocket attacks In 2007 2,427
Hamas is much more interested in destroying Israel than in taking care of its people. They don't have the same values a democracy does. It is a fascist death cult. THey will kill their own children to make Israel look bad. Why did 9/11 happen? Did we get a ransom note?
Was our response to 9/11 proportionate?
It is also partly a proxy war between Israel and Iran.
Golda Meir--"Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.
What bothers me most is not that Arabs kill our children, but that they force us to kill theirs."
Re: Israel, and its neighbors
Reply #1717 on:
November 21, 2012, 10:46:48 AM »
"The initial funding and development of the Iron Dome system was provided and undertaken by Israel. This allowed for the deployment of the first two Iron Dome systems. Subsequently, funding for an additional eight Iron Dome systems—along with funding for a supply of interception missiles—is currently being provided by the United States, with two of these additional systems having been delivered by 2012. Funding for the production and deployment of these additional Iron Dome batteries and interceptor missiles was approved by the United States Congress, after being requested by President Obama in 2010. In May 2010, the White House announced that U.S. President Barack Obama would seek $205 million from U.S. Congress in his 2011 budget, to spur the production and deployment of additional Iron Dome batteries. White House spokesman Tommy Vietor stated, "The president recognizes the threat missiles and rockets fired by Hamas and Hezbollah pose to Israelis, and has therefore decided to seek funding from Congress to support the production of Israel's short range rocket defense system called Iron Dome."
Buck: Five Lessons from Gaza
Reply #1718 on:
November 22, 2012, 09:47:48 AM »
Five lessons from the Gaza conflict
By Tobias Buck in Jerusalem
Israel has learnt to end a war
Israel has now fought three inconclusive wars in six years: Lebanon 2006, Gaza 2008-09 and Gaza 2012, none of which produced a clear-cut Israeli victory. All three started in the same way, with a massive aerial bombardment that severely degraded the military capability of Israel’s adversary. In all three conflicts, the apparent success of the opening assault led to calls for a sweeping ground operation, in the hope of addressing the threat posed by Hizbollah and Hamas "once and for all."
This time, however, the Israeli leadership decided to step back, and enter a ceasefire before the tanks started rolling. Most military analysts believe it was the right decision.
In Lebanon, the ground operation achieved little, and at a significant cost in Israeli lives and the country’s international standing. The last war in Gaza turned swaths of the densely populated strip into rubble, cost 1,400 Palestinian lives and triggered a UN investigation suggesting that Israel may have committed war crimes. This time, Israeli leaders seemed ready to accept that a small war with limited gains is better than a big war with limited gains.
Hamas is a legitimate regional player
Hamas may still be listed as a terrorist organisation by Israel, the US and the EU, but few dare to treat it that way now. In the Arab and Muslim world, Hamas lost its pariah status long ago: its leaders have long been welcome guests in royal palaces and presidential residences from Turkey to Qatar and from Tunisia to Jordan.
Naturally, the new Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt is particularly close to its Palestinian offshoot. But governments in the west, and even Israel itself, appear to be modifying their stance as well.
Israeli officials insist they are no closer to recognising Hamas as a legitimate political actor than before. But the ceasefire deal clearly implies that the Islamist group is here to stay. What is more, it offers several concrete measures that will serve to bolster Hamas rule in Gaza.
It was also noteworthy that not once during the ceasefire discussions was there talk of the famous Quartet conditions – a set of political commitments the international community wants Hamas to make in return for engagement. These included forswearing violence and recognising Israel. In the end, Hamas appears to have forced Israel, the US and others to engage with it largely on its terms – as a powerful political force that will no longer be ignored.
Morsi has passed his first test
Mohamed Morsi was bathed in praise on Wednesday night, and it was easy to see why. All kinds of things could have gone wrong for the Egyptian leader, who was walking a political tightrope throughout the conflict.
A show of unconditional support for Hamas would have damaged his credibility as a mediator, deepened the rift with Israel and damaged relations with the US. Failure to come to the aid of Hamas and the Gaza population, meanwhile, would have angered his base and undermined his claim to regional (and moral) leadership.
In the end, Mr Morsi seemed to get it just right: he dispatched his prime minister to Gaza less than 48 hours after the conflict started, in a strong show of solidarity. He sharply condemned what he called Israel’s “aggression”. But in the end, he delivered a crucial service to Israel by brokering a ceasefire that prevented a potentially devastating land incursion and restoring calm to southern Israel and Gaza alike.
Mahmoud Abbas is a spent force
This was supposed to be the moment of Mahmoud Abbas, the veteran leader of the Palestine Liberation Organization and president of the Palestinian Authority.
After years of failed diplomacy, he was poised to win recognition for an independent Palestinian state in the UN general assembly. A resolution to that effect, asking for an upgrade in the Palestinians’ UN status to that of a non-member “observer state”, could still win a majority in the assembly later this month. But it would be a limp and hollow victory, at a time when Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank alike are celebrating the “resistance” offered by Hamas and other groups.
Those celebrations may, of course, turn out to be misguided. The UN vote may still lead to more important political gains.
But Palestinians will not easily forget that their president declined to visit the Gaza Strip when it was under Israeli bombardment. That failure seemed all the more striking given the long list of political leaders and senior officials from the Arab world that did make the trip.
Missile defence saves lives in Israel (and Gaza too)
This was the first real, large-scale test of Israel’s new Iron Dome system. The missile defence shield passed that test with flying colours, effectively blunting the very weapon that has become the hallmark of Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza.
Though three Israelis were killed by rocket fire on the second day of the conflict, the system managed to intercept a critical number of rockets and missiles that were heading for built-up areas. The Iron Dome saved Israeli lives, while giving the government and army more operational flexibility.
Most importantly, it may have helped Israel – and Gaza – avoid a ground invasion: military officials say that the system managed to keep Israeli casualties so low that the pressure to invade the Palestinian territory was far weaker than it otherwise would have been.
POTH's interpretation of the Gaza deal
Reply #1719 on:
November 22, 2012, 09:55:47 AM »
WASHINGTON — President Obama skipped dessert at a long summit meeting dinner in Cambodia on Monday to rush back to his hotel suite. It was after 11:30 p.m., and his mind was on rockets in Gaza rather than Asian diplomacy. He picked up the telephone to call the Egyptian leader who is the new wild card in his Middle East calculations.
Over the course of the next 25 minutes, he and President Mohamed Morsi of Egypt hashed through ways to end the latest eruption of violence, a conversation that would lead Mr. Obama to send Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to the region. As he and Mr. Morsi talked, Mr. Obama felt they were making a connection. Three hours later, at 2:30 in the morning, they talked again.
The cease-fire brokered between Israel and Hamas on Wednesday was the official unveiling of this unlikely new geopolitical partnership, one with bracing potential if not a fair measure of risk for both men. After a rocky start to their relationship, Mr. Obama has decided to invest heavily in the leader whose election caused concern because of his ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, seeing in him an intermediary who might help make progress in the Middle East beyond the current crisis in Gaza.
The White House phone log tells part of the tale. Mr. Obama talked with Mr. Morsi three times within 24 hours and six times over the course of several days, an unusual amount of one-on-one time for a president. Mr. Obama told aides he was impressed with the Egyptian leader’s pragmatic confidence. He sensed an engineer’s precision with surprisingly little ideology. Most important, Mr. Obama told aides that he considered Mr. Morsi a straight shooter who delivered on what he promised and did not promise what he could not deliver.
“The thing that appealed to the president was how practical the conversations were — here’s the state of play, here are the issues we’re concerned about,” said a senior administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations. “This was somebody focused on solving problems.”
The Egyptian side was also positive about the collaboration. Essam el-Haddad, the foreign policy adviser to the Egyptian president, described a singular partnership developing between Mr. Morsi, who is the most important international ally for Hamas, and Mr. Obama, who plays essentially the same role for Israel.
“Yes, they were carrying the point of view of the Israeli side but they were understanding also the other side, the Palestinian side,” Mr. Haddad said in Cairo as the cease-fire was being finalized on Wednesday. “We felt there was a high level of sincerity in trying to find a solution. The sincerity and understanding was very helpful.”
The fledgling partnership forged in the fires of the past week may be ephemeral, a unique moment of cooperation born out of necessity and driven by national interests that happened to coincide rather than any deeper meeting of the minds. Some longtime students of the Middle East cautioned against overestimating its meaning, recalling that Mr. Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood constitutes a philosophical brother of Hamas even if it has renounced violence itself and become the governing party in Cairo.
“I would caution the president from believing that President Morsi has in any way distanced himself from his ideological roots,” said Robert Satloff, executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “But if the president takes away the lesson that we can affect Egypt’s behavior through the artful use of leverage, that’s a good lesson. You can shape his behavior. You can’t change his ideology.”
Other veterans of Middle East policy agreed with the skepticism yet saw the seeds of what might eventually lead to broader agreement.
“It really is something with the potential to establish a new basis for diplomacy in the region,” said Tamara Cofman Wittes, who was Mr. Obama’s deputy assistant secretary of state for the Middle East until earlier this year and now runs the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. “It’s just potential, but it’s particularly impressive potential.”
The relationship between the two leaders has come a long way in just 10 weeks. Mr. Morsi’s election in June as the first Islamist president of Egypt set nerves in Washington on edge and raised questions about the future of Egypt’s three-decade-old peace treaty with Israel. Matters worsened in September when Egyptian radicals protesting an anti-Islam video stormed the United States Embassy in Cairo.
Page 2 of 2)
Mr. Obama was angry that the Egyptian authorities did not do more to protect the embassy and that Mr. Morsi had not condemned the attack. He called Mr. Morsi to complain vigorously in what some analysts now refer to as the woodshed call. Mr. Morsi responded with more security for the embassy and strong public statements that the attackers “do not represent any of us.”
Washington was again leery when the Gaza conflict broke out last week and Mr. Morsi sent his prime minister to meet with Hamas. But as days passed, Mr. Obama found in his phone calls that Mr. Morsi recognized the danger of an escalating conflict.
During their phone call on Monday night, Mr. Obama broached the idea of sending Mrs. Clinton. Mr. Morsi agreed it would help. The president then called Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to talk through the idea. At 2:30 a.m., having changed out of his suit into sweats, Mr. Obama called Mr. Morsi back to confirm that Mrs. Clinton would come.
After leaving Phnom Penh the next day en route back to Washington, Mr. Obama picked up the phone aboard Air Force One to call Mr. Morsi to say Mrs. Clinton was on the way. By Wednesday, he was on the phone again with Mr. Netanyahu urging him to accept the cease-fire and then with Mr. Morsi, congratulating him.
“From Day 1, we had contacts with both sides,” said Mr. Haddad, but the United States stepped in “whenever there was a point at which there would be a need for further encouragement and a push to get it across.” Mr. Haddad said the United States played an important role “trying to send clear signals to the Israeli side that there should not be a waste of time and an agreement must be reached.”
“They have really been very helpful in pushing the Israeli side,” he said.
In pushing Hamas, Mr. Morsi came under crosscurrents of his own. On one side, advisers acknowledged, he felt the pressure of the Egyptian electorate’s strong support for the Palestinian cause and antipathy toward Israel as well as his own personal and ideological ties to the Islamists in Hamas. But on the other side, advisers said, Mr. Morsi had committed to the cause of regional stability, even if it meant disappointing his public.
Analysts further noted that Mr. Morsi needed the United States as he secures a $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund at a time of economic trouble. “There’s no way Egypt is going to have any kind of economic recovery without Washington,” said Khaled Elgindy, an adviser to the Palestinian negotiators during the last decade. (Ummm, POTH, wouldn't this be a good place to mention the nearly $2B we give to Egypt every year?
As for Mr. Obama, his aides said they were willing to live with some of Mr. Morsi’s more populist talk as long as he proves constructive on the substance. “The way we’ve been able to work with Morsi,” said one official, “indicates we could be a partner on a broader set of issues going forward.”
POTH: This has been a practice run
Reply #1720 on:
November 23, 2012, 08:56:31 AM »
Israel, and its neighbors: Krauthammer - Why was there war in Gaza?
Reply #1721 on:
November 23, 2012, 09:26:29 AM »
To clarify an exchange above in the thread, I favor Israel taking disproportionate responses to protect itself.
Charles Krauthammer takes on the question I was trying to get at: Why was there war in Gaza?
The only explanation is destruction/elimination of Israel. The strategy seems to be to keep losing these smaller failed wars, keep the Palestinian movement tied to the Islamic movement, make Israel look like a bully and draw in more war partners.
If Israel is our ally and if destruction of Israel is the agenda, again I would ask, why are we a neutral party, a 'peace' talk facilitator?
And if land for peace is a false trade, why do we still try to advance that or when did we renounce it?
Why was there war in Gaza?
By Charles Krauthammer, Published: November 22 2012
Why was there an Israel-Gaza war in the first place? Resistance to the occupation, say Hamas and many in the international media.
What occupation? Seven years ago, in front of the world, Israel pulled out of Gaza. It dismantled every settlement, withdrew every soldier, evacuated every Jew, leaving nothing and no one behind. Except for the greenhouses in which the settlers had grown fruit and flowers for export. These were left intact to help Gaza’s economy — only to be trashed when the Palestinians took over.
Israel then declared its border with Gaza to be an international frontier, meaning that it renounced any claim to the territory and considered it an independent entity.
In effect, Israel had created the first Palestinian state ever, something never granted by fellow Muslims — neither the Ottoman Turks nor the Egyptians who brutally occupied Gaza for two decades before being driven out by Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War.
Israel wanted nothing more than to live in peace with this independent Palestinian entity. After all, the world had incessantly demanded that Israel give up land for peace.
It gave the land. It got no peace.
The Gaza Palestinians did not reciprocate. They voted in Hamas, who then took over in a military putsch and turned the newly freed Palestine into an armed camp from which to war against Israel. It has been war ever since.
Interrupted by the occasional truce, to be sure. But for Hamas a truce — hudna — is simply a tactic for building strength for the next round. It is never meant to be enduring, never meant to offer peace.
But why, given that there is no occupation of Gaza anymore? Because Hamas considers all of Israel occupied, illegitimate, a cancer, a crime against humanity, to quote the leaders of Iran, Hamas’s chief patron and arms supplier. Hamas’s objective, openly declared, is to “liberate” — i.e., destroy — Tel Aviv and the rest of pre-1967 Israel. Indeed, it is Hamas’s raison d’etre.
Hamas first killed Jews with campaigns of suicide bombings. After Israel built a nearly impenetrable fence, it went to rockets fired indiscriminately at civilians in populated areas.
What did Hamas hope to gain from this latest round of fighting, which it started with a barrage of about 150 rockets into Israel? To formally translate Hamas’s recent strategic gains into a new, more favorable status quo with Israel. It works like this:
Hamas’s new strength comes from two sources.
First, its new rocketry, especially the Fajr-5, smuggled in from Iran, that can now reach Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, putting 50 percent of Israel’s population under its guns.
Second, Hamas has gained strategic strength from changes in the regional environment. It has acquired the patronage and protection of important Middle Eastern states as a result of the Arab Spring and the Islamist reversal in Turkey.
For 60 years, non-Arab Turkey had been a reliable ally of Israel. The vicious turnaround instituted by its Islamist prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, reached its apogee on Monday when he called Israel a terrorist state.
Egypt is now run by Hamas’s own mother organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, of which Hamas is simply the Palestinian wing. And the emir of Qatar recently visited Gaza, leaving behind a promise of a cool $400 million.
Hamas’s objective was to guarantee no further attacks on its leaders or on its weaponry, launch sites and other terror and rocket infrastructure. And the lifting of Israel’s military blockade, which would allow a flood of new and even more deadly weapons. In other words, immunity and inviolability during which time Hamas could build unmolested its arsenal of missiles — until it is ready to restart the war on more favorable terms.
Yet another hudna, this one brokered and guaranteed by Egypt and Turkey, regional powers Israel has to be careful not to offend. A respite for rebuilding, until Hamas’s Gaza becomes Hezbollah South, counterpart to the terror group to Israel’s north, with 50,000 Iranian- and Syrian-supplied rockets that effectively deter any Israeli preemptive attack.
With the declaration of a cease-fire Wednesday, Israel seems to have successfully resisted these demands, although there may be some cosmetic changes to the embargo. Which means that in any future fighting, Israel will retain the upper hand.
Israel has once again succeeded in defending itself. But, yet again, only until the next round, which, as the night follows the day, will come. Hamas will see to that.
Last Edit: November 23, 2012, 09:39:55 AM by DougMacG
Stratfor: Behind the killing of a Hamas commander
Reply #1722 on:
November 26, 2012, 08:05:32 AM »
As we continue to monitor the sustainability of the current cease-fire, it is a useful time to reflect on one of the key triggers to the latest Gaza conflict: The Nov. 14 assassination of Ahmed Jabari, chief of Hamas' armed wing, the Izz al-Deen al-Qassam Brigades, and architect of the group's Iranian-made Fajr-5 rocket program.
Various commentators in the Israeli media have written about Jabari's past cooperation with Israel. Stratfor sources in the region claim that Jabari's fondness for money and women made him an ideal person to work with. In addition to working with the Israelis to a limited extent, he also allegedly worked with the Iranians and Qataris and was rumored to be on the payroll of all three countries' intelligence services (this information could not be verified, but the fact that Jabari played a major role in the Fajr-5 program strongly supports the claim that he was working with Iran). Jabari was also believed to be integral to the negotiations over the release of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. For several years, Israel viewed Jabari as essential to maintaining the balance of power in Gaza.
This was especially true after 2006, when Hamas had just risen to political power but had to fight a civil war with Fatah to control Gaza. Even then, Hamas had become economically isolated by the Israeli blockade and politically alienated in the Arab world. During Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009, Hamas paid a high price. The Israeli military operation left more than 1,000 Palestinians dead and devastated much of the infrastructure in Gaza. Hamas at this time made a conscious decision to avoid major confrontations with Israel and would occasionally clash with more radical groups like Palestinian Islamic Jihad that insisted on sustaining attacks. Israel took advantage of Hamas' predicament and sought out figures such Jabari, who carried significant clout in the group's military operations and could be incentivized to help secure the border and contain Hamas' military activities.
But that cooperation obviously ended, as evidenced by the Israeli decision to assassinate him. A Stratfor source connected to Hamas explains that Jabari's move to discontinue cooperation with Israel came during the Arab unrest, as Hamas began to realize its growing strength with the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the heavy military support it was receiving from Iran at the same time. No longer able to rely on Jabari to police Gaza and likely aware that Jabari's cooperation with Iran had turned critical, Israel presumably made the decision to eliminate him, sparking seven days of mortar and rocket fire, including, most importantly, the Iranian-made Fajr-5 rockets that Jabari was instrumental in bringing to Gaza.
Jabari's story in many ways represents the potential shift in the balance of power that we are currently witnessing in the Israeli-Palestinian theater. If the cease-fire holds, and if Israel doesn't follow through with a military campaign that devastates Hamas, then Hamas can walk away from this conflict with a major symbolic victory as the only militant group that has demonstrated the capability to attack the Israeli heartland from its home base. To wit, the risk Hamas took in arming itself with the Iranian-made Fajr-5s may well have been worth it. This is a dynamic that many Israelis fear, as can already be seen in the rising domestic opposition to the Israeli Cabinet's decision to agree to the cease-fire in the first place.
Read more: Behind the Killing of a Hamas Commander | Stratfor
Re: Israel, and its neighbors
Reply #1723 on:
November 26, 2012, 09:14:43 AM »
Odd that there was no Obama administration interest in a cease fire when Hamas was shooting unilaterally. No talk of cancelling an Asia trip. The crisis began when Hamas was losing.
Re: Israel, and neighbors, Brokering a victory for Hamas
Reply #1724 on:
November 26, 2012, 09:19:25 AM »
Re: Israel, and its neighbors
Reply #1725 on:
November 26, 2012, 06:34:03 PM »
Quote from: DougMacG on November 26, 2012, 09:14:43 AM
Odd that there was no Obama administration interest in a cease fire when Hamas was shooting unilaterally. No talk of cancelling an Asia trip. The crisis began when Hamas was losing.
Very good point!
"He wore a kippa at AIPAC" update
Reply #1726 on:
November 26, 2012, 07:00:42 PM »
Obama Throws Israel to the Wolves
“Accepting defeat after eight days means that the Zionist regime is becoming increasingly weak." — Saeed Jalili, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council. by
November 26, 2012 - 12:06 pm Barack Obama pressured Israel to accept the current ceasefire agreement with Hamas that was devised by Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi, and Israel’s worst enemies are thrilled.
Hamas declared November 22, the day the truce went into effect, a “national holiday of victory.” Israel National News reported that “mosques in Gaza City blared through their loudspeakers: ‘Allahu Akbar (G-d is great), dear people of Gaza, you won. You have broken the arrogance of the Jews.’”
A Hamas sheikh, preaching at the funeral of one of those killed in Gaza, declared that Hamas had just won a great victory, one that would prove to be “the first nail in the coffin of Israel.” The Financial Times noted that “on Friday, the midday prayers were dominated by declarations of victory, with some preachers drawing a line between the latest conflict and the Prophet Mohammed’s victory over the infidels.”
Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad crowed: “Zionists have reached the dead point and have no other alternative but officially recognizing and bowing to the absolute right of the Palestinian nation.” The speaker of Iran’s Parliament, Ali Larijani, agreed, saying: “The victory of Gaza highlights the necessity to continue resistance and Jihad against the Zionist regime. With their patience and perseverance, the people of Gaza showed that the only way to confront the Zionist regime is Jihad and resistance.” The secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Saeed Jalili, said that “accepting defeat after eight days means that the Zionist regime is becoming increasingly weak,” and that the “counter-resistance is getting stronger.”
Meanwhile, Moussa Abu Marzouk, Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal’s deputy, has already stated obliquely that Hamas has no intention of keeping to the terms of the ceasefire anyway. Marzouk rejected calls for Hamas to stop amassing weapons, saying: “These weapons protected us and there is no way to stop obtaining and manufacturing them.”
Yet the truce terms require, according to the Voice of America, “‘all Palestinian factions’ to stop all hostilities toward Israel from Gaza, including rocket fire and attacks along the Gaza-Israel border.” So if the truce forbids them to fire upon Israel, what is Hamas going to do with all these weapons? Or is Marzouk signaling that Hamas has no intention of keeping the truce at all?
For its part, Islamic Jihad was eager to emphasize that the jihad against Israel would go on. “The battle with the enemy has not ended,” a masked jihadist from the group maintained. “Our choice in fighting and getting weapons to defend our people is going on.”
Another indication that the jihad against Israel will flare up again soon enough came from the imprisoned Saudi Sheikh Nasser bin Hamad Al-Fahd, who praised the jihad bombings in Riyadh in 2003 and was jailed shortly thereafter. In a fatwa posted last week on a jihadi website, al-Fahd declared, according to the Middle East Media Research Institute, that “the Jews are the leaders of the infidels and the greatest enemies of Islam and the Muslims in the present age,” and that therefore Muslims who waged jihad warfare against Jews everywhere would be discharging “one of the most important duties and greatest virtues.” Al-Fahd added that “any guarantees of protection granted them by tyrannical and infidel governments are meaningless, especially when the Jews are attacking Muslims as they please.”
Al-Fahd may be in prison, but his view of the jihad against Israel as a religious obligation incumbent on every Muslim is not by any means restricted to him alone. So many Muslims worldwide share it that even in far-off Indonesia, a Muslim group last week began offering “jihad registration forms” to those believers who wished to wage jihad against Israel.
Muslim Brotherhood leader Muhammad Badie, meanwhile, reminded the world that “jihad is obligatory” for Muslims, and dubbed truces with Israel a “game of grand deception.”
All that may be an elaborate exercise in false bravado and self-delusion. It may be that the ceasefire is not the victory for the forces of jihad that those forces are claiming. But the signals are unmistakable: over the past year Israel wrote no fewer than twenty messages to the United Nations, asking for support in defending itself against rocket attacks from Gaza. The UN didn’t acknowledge any of those letters, but was stirred into action almost immediately when Israel began to defend itself – not to declare support for the Israeli defensive actions against the relentless rocket attacks, but to compel Israel to stop.
And after just eight days, they succeeded, courtesy of Barack Obama. When Israel’s defensive actions began, Obama declared clearly his support for the Jewish state’s right to defend itself, but now he has made another declaration – one that is just as clear, albeit tacit: that when Israel does defend itself, he will move heaven and earth to stop it from doing so, before the damage to the jihad war machine gets too extensive.
The jihadis got the message loud and clear.
Latest Hamas war was Morsi's wag the dog?
Reply #1727 on:
November 27, 2012, 09:25:12 AM »
The expression wag the dog has come to mean same as the shiny object theory, hey look over here! Wag the dog came from the saying that 'a dog is smarter than its tail', but if the tail were smarter, then the tail would 'wag the dog'. To me it just means you sometimes you need to look at things backwards to understand what happened.
The Hamas war timeline looking backwards:
6) Jay Carney representing the White House "expressed concerns over Egypt", but would not criticize Morsi.
5) Morsi declared super-constitutional powers for himself a day after the cease fire.
4) Obama interrupts Asia trip. Dispatches Hillary Clinton. Calls Morsi repeatedly. Obama and Morsi broker a cease fire 'peace agreement'.
3) Doug asks on DBMA forum, what was the purpose of this war?
2) Israel responds to Hamas attacks 'disproportionately'. Starts doing real damage.
1) Hamas attacks Israel with rockets.
Since it all happened rather predictably, doesn't it follow in logic that the purpose of the beginning, the Hamas attacks on Israel, was to get to the end point, Morsi's grab of more power in Egypt without losing US aid or support?
Last Edit: November 27, 2012, 09:27:04 AM by DougMacG
Re: Israel, and its neighbors
Reply #1728 on:
November 27, 2012, 11:06:18 AM »
Interesting thought Doug, though I suspect that Hamas and Iran had their own agendas as well , , ,
Re: Israel, and its neighbors
Reply #1729 on:
November 27, 2012, 11:21:26 AM »
Quote from: Crafty_Dog on November 27, 2012, 11:06:18 AM
Interesting thought Doug, though I suspect that Hamas and Iran had their own agendas as well , , ,
Agree. Hence their eagerness and willingness to cooperate.
Stratfor: Israel successfully tests new air defense system
Reply #1730 on:
November 30, 2012, 08:46:37 AM »
In Israel, a New Air Defense System Test Is Successful
November 27, 2012 | 1130 GMT
Less than a week after agreeing to a cease-fire that ended eight days of hostilities with Hamas, the Israeli government announced it had successfully tested a new air defense system meant to counter long-range projectiles. According to the government, the new system, dubbed David's Sling Weapon System, intercepted a missile over the Negev Desert on Nov. 20. Rather than an improvement on Iron Dome, which was lauded for its effectiveness in the latest round of rocket fire, David's Sling is another phase in Israel's three-tiered air defense strategy, which addresses longer-range threats originating from rocket fire as close as Gaza and Lebanon and as far away as Iran.
David's Sling and Iron Dome differ markedly, and the differences reflect the types of projectiles they are meant to counter. Iron Dome was designed to defend against short-range rockets and uses Tamir interceptor missiles, which house warheads that explode in proximity to inbound rockets. Iron Dome is well suited for dealing with rockets fired from the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula, and with shorter-range rockets fired from Lebanon, but it is ill equipped to deal with longer-range rockets -- its modest success at defending against the Fajr-5 rockets notwithstanding. Even considering the Fajr-5s, Iron Dome batteries are those best equipped to counter the rocket arsenals of the Palestinian territories, a fact that explains why they are deployed mostly in southern Israel.
VIDEO: Israel Test-Launches David's Sling Air Defense System (raw footage)
.For its part, David's Sling is capable of intercepting artillery rockets with ranges of 70 to 300 kilometers (approximately 45 to 185 miles). Developed jointly by Israel's Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and the United States' Raytheon, the system uses two-stage Stunner interceptor missiles that, unlike the Tamirs, hit inbound rockets directly and destroy them with sheer kinetic impact. The Stunner is also larger than the Tamir, and with its more sophisticated guidance and propulsion systems it can travel farther. David's Sling eventually will be able to intercept unmanned aerial vehicles, short-range ballistic missiles and cruise missiles.
A Superior Arsenal
As Operation Pillar of Defense showed, Israel feels threatened by the presence of rockets in the Gaza Strip. But an even greater concern for Israel is Hezbollah, the Shiite militia in Lebanon, which has far more and far better rockets than do Palestinian militants in Gaza. Hezbollah's inventory is thought to hold 100,000 rockets, ranging from 122 mm BM-21 type rockets to the much larger and longer-range 610 mm Zelzal-2 rockets. According to unconfirmed reports, the group may have even acquired Scud missiles from Syria. Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah may have alluded to these weapons during his Ashura speech on Nov. 25, when he said Hezbollah could strike as far away as Eilat in southern Israel.
Hezbollah has enough rockets to overwhelm Iron Dome defenses. (Israel would need to deploy 10-15 batteries for full coverage.) Before reloading, each Iron Dome battery holds a maximum of 60 Tamirs, which are often fired in waves to ensure interception. Even if Iron Dome's purported 84 percent success rate were maintained, there would not be enough interceptors available to stop all short-range rockets from Lebanon. After all, during Operation Pillar of Defense dozens of rockets still managed to strike Israel.
An Option for Defense
Israel understands the threat posed by Hezbollah's large rocket arsenal and recognizes that it has few options to mitigate it; David's Sling is one such option. While Hezbollah and Hamas collectively boast an impressive arsenal of rockets, the vast majority of those rockets are short range. This makes the arsenals much easier to conceal from Israeli intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance efforts. Fajr-5s and Zelzals can travel farther and are more powerful, but they are also more visible and thus more vulnerable to detection and subsequent air and missile strikes.
In fact, the Israeli air force targeted Hezbollah's long-range rocket arsenal at the outset of the 2006 Lebanon War. The air force likewise targeted Hamas' longer-range rocket arsenal at the outset of Operation Pillar of Defense. How many of those rockets were destroyed is questionable: In 2006, Israel claimed to have destroyed some two-thirds of the rockets, and in 2012 Israel claimed to have destroyed the majority of the Fajr-5s even though Hamas continued to fire them at Israeli territory. Nevertheless, it is clear that Israel has been far more successful at detecting the longer-range rockets than the smaller ones.
Short-range rockets will always be difficult to contend with. Given their abundance, particularly in Lebanon, they could oversaturate Iron Dome's short-range air defense network. But Arab militants would find it appreciably more difficult to oversaturate David's Sling's mid-range defense network -- simply because they do not have enough rockets to do so.
For these reasons, the development and eventual deployment of David's Sling marks a milestone in Israel's continued efforts to protect itself from rocket fire. However, no system can provide Israel with full protection in a full-scale war, and Israel's enemies will continue to pursue more advanced weapons and to shift their tactics. Ultimately, Israel will have to continue to rely on the threat of a combined land and air invasion to deter militants within its neighbors' borders.
Read more: In Israel, a New Air Defense System Test Is Successful | Stratfor
WSJ: Israel responds to UN vote
Reply #1731 on:
November 30, 2012, 03:41:52 PM »
second post of day
That E-1 corredor sounds like it might be a mistake , , ,
By JOSHUA MITNICK
TEL AVIV—Israel announced plans Friday to advance a wave of construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, in what appeared to be swift retaliation against a resolution the United Nations General Assembly passed overwhelmingly the previous day declaring the territories as part of a Palestinian state.
The government authorized the building of 3,000 new housing units, an Israeli official said. Israel also gave preliminary planning approval for thousands more units, including in a undeveloped tract of land just east of Jerusalem that is highly sensitive because it interrupts the territorial contiguity of a Palestinian state by driving a wedge between Arab cities in the West Bank's northern and southern halves.
The move is a blunt challenge the Palestinians and international community. It highlights the gap between the Palestinians' resounding but symbolic international victory in winning recognition as a nonmember observer state, and the situation inside the West Bank, where Israel exercises exclusive control.
"Israel is saying, 'You are taking unilateral steps? We are taking unilateral steps, too. And whereas your unilateral steps are empty, ours are tangible," said Nathan Thrall, an analyst for the International Crisis Group.
A White House spokesman criticized Israel's approval of the homes, calling it "counterproductive" for the resumption of peace negotiations. The U.S. had been one of a handful of countries to oppose the Palestinian resolution, which it also labeled counterproductive in the process.
Celebratory gunfire erupted as flag-waving convoys and crowds streamed into Arafat Square in Ramallah, West Bank after the U.N. voted to recognize Palestinian statehood. WSJ's Josh Mitnick reports. wsj.com/worldstream
Israel's move escalates tensions between the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. Mr. Abbas has insisted on an Israeli settlement freeze in recent years as a precondition to negotitations, although he had hinted that he might drop that requirement after the U.N. bid. Continued Israeli settlement expansion will narrow Mr. Abbas's room for manuever in dropping the condition.
Even so, the apparent punative measures from Israel were much less harsh than those that the government had originally promised. Israeli ministers had threatened to topple the Palestinian government in the West Bank in weeks before the vote and cut off the flow of tax revenues that Israel collects on the Palestinians' behalf.
But in the days before the decision, Israel walked back those threats and said the government would take a wait-and-see approach, and would continue to comply with previous agreements with the Palestinian Authority.
The announcement poured cold water on Palestinian celebrations of the U.N. passage of the resolution, which had bolstered Mr. Abbas's standing and spurred festivities throughout the West Bank in to the early hours of Friday morning.
"Israel did not understand the message that was sent loud and clear at the United Nations General Assembly," said Nour Odeh, a Palestinian government spokeswoman. "The announcement shows the Israeli government is commitment to investing in the occupation, not the two-state solution."
The U.N. vote provided a boost for Mr. Abbas's program of using diplomacy to win statehood—a push that appeared tarnished after eight days of fighting in the Gaza Strip won Hamas, which promotes armed conflict with Israel, wide regional acclaim.
There was no immediate comment by Israeli officials on the housing announcement.
The Israeli official who announced the 3,000 units also referred to planning authorizations for a tract of land known as "E-1," which is sensitive because it is a corridor that would connect Jerusalem to the settlement of Maaleh Adumim, a spawling suburb located several miles to the east.
Policy makers in the U.S. and Europe follow activity in E-1 closely because it if is developed, it would nearly bisect the entire West Bank, forcing Palestinians to travel in a circutous route to get from northern to south.
"E-1 will signal the end of two-state solution,'' said Daniel Seidmann, an Israeli peace advocate who focuses on Jerusalem building, in a Twitter post. "E-1 can't be built today—it requires further statutory planning, which will take 6-9 months."
Ten lies, and my comments about one of them
Reply #1732 on:
December 03, 2012, 04:56:50 PM »
Some comments by me after this piece:
December 3, 2012
A ceasefire between Israel and Hamas may have been reached on paper, but evidence already indicates that it is unlikely to hold. A top Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader has already warned that the ceasefire would be short and that a "new, more savage round" of fighting with Israel lies ahead. The agreement establishes Egypt as the guarantor of peace between Israel and Hamas even though President Mohammed Morsi and members of his government openly aided and supported Hamas in the conflict.
The ceasefire will likely embolden Hamas, which views it as a victory over Israel. History shows that ceasefires do not deter Hamas from firing rockets into Israel. Further, Iran's admission that it has given improved weapons technology to Hamas serves as a warning of an increased Iranian effort to destabilize Israel. In the end, this ceasefire represents merely a lull in the fighting, not a beginning of lasting peace. Here are 10 examples of misleading assumptions and conventional wisdom:
1. Hamas Will Adhere to a "Ceasefire"
Hamas accepted a ceasefire with Israel in this latest escalation. However, the Arabic word for truce, "hudna," is perceived differently within the Hamas mentality. In this modern context, a hudna involves a temporary lull in the violence that allows Hamas the necessary time to organize and re-arm itself in anticipation of a future conflict with Israel. It is different from a ceasefire in that it is an agreement to halt hostilities for a defined period of time only, not a peace agreement.
The duration of Hamas's current hudna with Israel remains unknown, and we can be assured that fighting will resume once Hamas decides to do so. Once a hudna is agreed to, observing it becomes a religious duty for the Muslim party as long as the non-Muslim party observes it. It runs counter to the term sul d'aim, which means permanent peace and the recognition of the non-Muslim party's right to exist. 
Hudna was the first word used in Muslim history to describe a ceasefire, found in context of the 7th century Treaty of al-Hudaybiyya – referring to a truce that came six years after Muhammad and his followers deserted Mecca for Medina. This agreement allowed Muhammad and his followers to pray in Mecca, which was then under control of the Quraysh tribe, for a decade. However, when Muhammad's army became strong enough, it used an attack by the Quraysh-aligned Banu Bakr tribe two years into the pact as a pretext to give the Quraysh an ultimatum to disavow their allies, pay restitution for their attack against the Muslims or nullify the treaty. The Quraysh chose the final option and Muhammad marched on Mecca and easily conquered the city.
This event set a precedent, justifying the abandonment of operations for the purposes of regrouping and rearming, allowing for a future attack on the territory left behind. The late PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat alluded to the Treaty of al-Hudaybiyya while giving a speech in a mosque in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1994, suggesting that peace with Israel would be temporary.
History has proven that Hamas subscribes to this perspective, and that it uses hudnas as temporary lulls in the fighting prior to renewing hostilities. In June 2003, Hamas announced a hudna with Israel, yet it ended violently with a suicide bombing two months later in Jerusalem that killed 22 people and wounded more than 130. Likewise, Israel's 2008 incursion into Gaza led to a hudna as well. However, Hamas ended this temporary truce by firing rockets into Israel sporadically since the last "ceasefire," escalating the attacks dramatically in the past month.
Modern interpretations of hudna mean there will be no end to the religiously-inspired struggle until Israel is defeated. The Hamas covenant proves this point: "There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals, and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors." Hamas co-founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin regarded the hudna as a "tactical move" in its war with Israel. Discussing the prospect of peace with Israel earlier this year, Hamas leader Moussa Abu Marzook indicated that his organization would be open to a hudna with Israel, but it would never renounce its goal of Israel's destruction.
2. Hamas is Interested in Peace
Hamas, designated as a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union, does not distinguish between the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and pre-1967 Israel. To it, all of "Palestine" is occupied. The Hamas charter explicitly calls for the destruction of the Jewish state as its top priority. In fact, Hamas prides itself as the main "resistance" (code word for terrorism) movement against Israel. "All the energies of the people and the ummah (nation) [are needed] in order to uproot the oppressive Entity," al-Qassam Brigades Commander Muhammad al Deif said just before the current ceasefire.
Any recognition of Israel's right to exist is unacceptable to the Hamas leadership. This belief is the root of the conflict. In light of a Nov. 21 bus bombing of in Tel Aviv, Hamas member Ezzat Rishq confirmed that the attack was a "repercussion of the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip." Rishq added that "the Zionist Entity should know that the continuation of aggression and crimes against our defenseless people in Gaza will double the state of rage, boiling excitement and discontent among our people everywhere against their crimes, soldiers and extremists, pointing out that the Zionists have to expect worst."
3. The Problem is Israel's Siege of Gaza
With Israel's unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005, removing every Jewish resident and soldier from the territory, Palestinians were given a chance to fully govern themselves and build their society. However, instead of trying to improve Gaza's standard of living, Hamas remained focused on its hostility toward Israel by firing rockets at the Jewish state immediately after taking over. Since Hamas first exerted control in Gaza in 2006, 6,109 rockets have hit Israeli territory. It fully seized power in a bloody Palestinian civil war with the rival Fatah faction in 2007. In response, Israel imposed a blockade on Gaza in an attempt to curb the flow of arms to Hamas. This year alone, 1,822 rockets have hit Israeli territory. From November 10-13, immediately prior to Israel's operation, Hamas fired 121 rockets into Israel. Hamas launched another 1,500 rockets after Israel initiated Operation Pillar of Defense on Nov. 14. Israel's blockade is by no means an "occupation" – rather, it is a necessary response to stem Hamas' weapons smuggling into Gaza, actions that threatens Israel's security. This tactic is nothing new, as the United States blockaded Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, and the United Kingdom blockaded the Falkland Islands during its war with Argentina in 1982. A 2011 United Nations report concluded that Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip is legal under international law.
4. Israel Deliberately Targets Civilians
Israel went to extraordinary means to minimize innocent Palestinian casualties in response to the terrorist rocket barrage. Prior to any action, the Israeli military dropped thousands of leaflets in Arabic warning Gaza residents of impending attacks. This effort gave residents time to evacuate the area. Collateral damage happens because Hamas intentionally embeds itself in population centers in violation of international law. If Israel deliberately targeted civilians, its military superiority would allow it to inflict far greater casualties. An Israeli pilot actually aborted a strike mission on a rocket launch pad located in a playground because he saw Palestinian children nearby. That rocket ended up being fired at Tel Aviv, causing Israeli children to run for the bomb shelters. Imagine what the United States government would do if the Mexican drug cartels fired thousands of rockets at San Diego, Phoenix, or other cities along the Mexican border from the safety of Mexico.
5. There is a Moral Equivalence Between Actions by Israel and Hamas
Israel strives to minimize civilian casualties. Hamas tries to maximize Israeli civilian casualties and strike fear into the population. This is self-evident based on the fact that Israel strategically targets Hamas terrorists with accurate, pinpoint airstrikes. Hamas, on the other hand, indiscriminately fires deadly rockets at Israeli cities with the intent of killing or maiming Israeli civilians. Hamas purposefully fires from Palestinian population centers to elicit an Israeli response that occasionally results in civilian casualties that who it can use for strictly propaganda purposes. The terrorist group also uses Palestinians as human shields to protect military targets, which is considered a war crime under international law.
"Hamas … has a media strategy," Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren wrote last week. "Its purpose is to portray Israel's unparalleled efforts to minimize civilian casualties in Gaza as indiscriminate firing and children, to Israel's rightful acts of self-defense into war crimes. Its goals are to isolate Israel internationally, to tie its hands from striking back at those trying to kill our citizens and to delegitimize the Jewish state."
Unfortunately, many in the mainstream media implicitly allude to a moral equivalence between Hamas and Israel by insinuating that both sides are at fault for this recent escalation. For instance, Ethan Bronner from the New York Times started his Nov. 17 report by stating: "When Israel assassinated the top Hamas military commander in Gaza on Wednesday, setting off the current round of fierce fighting …" Bronner conspicuously omitted the fact that Hamas fired more than 100 rockets in the days leading up to Israel's operations. There is absolutely no moral equivalence between actions by Hamas and Israel – this recent escalation would have been avoided had Hamas not initiated the rocket fire.
6. Hamas is a Reliable Source of Information
It is in Hamas' interest to inflate Palestinian casualty figures. Throughout the years, Hamas has used fake images, staged funerals and lied about specific casualties to enhance the perception that Israel was committing deliberate massacres. This recent escalation has been no different. A photo was circulated in the media following the start of the recent conflagration allegedly depicting a Palestinian child who was supposedly killed by Israel. In fact, the child was one of the 30,000 casualties of the Syrian Civil War. Another infamous picture making headlines shows visiting Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil and Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh embracing a dead Palestinian boy whom they label as a victim of an attack by the Israeli Air Force. However, "experts from the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights said they believed that the explosion was caused by an errant Palestinian rocket" that landed within Gaza. Hamas creates these fabrications and lies to gain ground in the public relations war with Israel – the only battle it can win. In the social media and communications age, the propaganda war is a vital component to get Hamas' message across.
7. Gaza is Besieged and Starving
Israel continues to transfer goods and supplies into the territory to help Palestinian civilians despite the rocket fire from Gaza. In fact, Gaza civilians do not suffer from a scarcity of food or other basic needs. Throughout this recent escalation, the Jewish state has facilitated the transfer of essential food, water, fuel and electricity. Moreover, Israel continues to treat Gazans in Israeli hospitals.
November 20, 2010: Trucks waiting at Kerem Shalom crossing (Photo: IDF Spokesperson)
8. Egypt Is an Reliable Mediator
Post-uprising Egypt, which is now ruled by the Muslim Brotherhood, has explicitly thrown its weight behind Hamas and blamed Israel for this latest violence. Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi tweeted on Nov. 16: "Egypt stands as a protective shield for the Arab and Islamic nation" and "O People of Gaza, you are of us and we are of you. We will not abandon you." In the past, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak played a crucial role as a mediator between both sides. Morsi is personally linked to Hamas, which was created as the Palestinian arm of the Muslim Brotherhood. As Morsi panders to domestic sentiment and engages in a concerted effort to garner more global public support for the Palestinians, Egypt cannot continue to claim that it is an honest broker for truce talks between Israel and Hamas. It is clear Egypt is not a neutral party.
9. Turkey is a Constructive Player in the Crisis
President Obama has engaged Turkey as a constructive player in this crisis. Turkish Islamist Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan recently called Israel a "terrorist state" in response to Israel's defensive actions in Gaza. This comment is ironic, given Turkey's own terrorist insurgency conflict with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). In one incident, Turkey was responsible for the death of 35 civilians in an airstrike near a Kurdish village. Turkey has also illegally occupied Northern Cyprus since it invaded the island in 1974. In contrast, Israel has no forces stationed in Gaza. Turkey believes it is justified to retaliate against aggressive actions in its own case – but vilifies Israel for defending itself against Hamas attacks.
Furthermore, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) put Turkey on its list of "countries of particular concern." This action places Turkey among the world's most repressive states such as Iran, Saudi Arabia, and North Korea. In addition, Turkey jails more journalists than any other country in the world, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, which reported at least 61 Turkish journalists are imprisoned directly because of their work. Under Erdoğan's Islamist government, Turkey has suffered severe setbacks on their religious and media freedom. On Nov 20, Erdoğan declared that Israel is engaging in ethnic cleansing in Gaza, a preposterous accusation coming from a government that refuses to acknowledge its nation's responsibility in the Armenian genocide of 1915 or the millions of Greeks, Assyrians and other minorities who were ethnically cleansed by the Turks after World War I.
10. This Conflict Has Nothing to Do with Iran
Iran's fingerprints are all over Hamas' rocket arsenal, including the Fajr-5 long range rockets which were fired at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Iran is Hamas' main benefactor – supplying weapons, providing training, and sending money. Furthermore, Iranian Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari told Iran's Fars News Agency that it has given Hamas the technology to build its own Fajr-5s. Iran may have ordered Hamas to initiate this round of violence to cause problems for Israel and distract international attention from Iran's nuclear weapons program. In its quest for regional hegemony, Iran continues to be a major state-sponsor of terrorism, and constitutes the greatest threat to global stability. By enlisting its proxy to attack Israel, the fundamentalist government in Iran is reinforcing its commitment to see Israel wiped off the map.
 Ḥarūb, Khālid. "Resistance and Military Strategy." Hamas: A Beginner's Guide. 2nd ed. Ann Arbor, Mich.: Pluto Press, 2010. 55.
 Tamimi, Azzam. "7: The Liberation Ideology of Hamas." Hamas: A History From Within. Northampton, Mass.: Olive Branch Press, 2007. 159.
 Susser, Asher. Challenges to the Cohesion of the Arab State. Tel Aviv: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies, Tel Aviv University, 2008. 149.
 Rudolph Peters, Islam and Colonialism: The Doctrine of Jihad in Modern History (The Hague: Mouton, 1979), pp. 41-2.
 Cook, David. "Banu Isr'al to the State of Israel." Contemporary Muslim apocalyptic literature. Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 2005. 117
Concerning point #8 about Egypt as a mediator: As has been documented and commented in the Egypt thread, Egypt is quite far from being self-sufficient in food. Apparently the Nile River that Allah gave them is not quite enough. Furthermore, as has also been documented and commented in the Egypt thread, Egypt does not have the money/the hard currency to buy the additional food it needs. Indeed without the $2B or so of US aid, the people of Egypt would be starving and rioting in the streents within 2-3 months or so according to what seem to me to be the best guestimates of the Egyptian situation.
I know that some were upset that we "allowed" Hamas to win power in Gaza and that we "allowed" the MB to win power in Egypt.
However, by becoming "the State" in Gaza it seems to be that pressures can be brought to bear on Hamas that could not be brought to bear when it was just a movement e.g. the dimunution or cessation of aid. This is now the case with the MB in Egypt. It seems to me that one might plausibly wonder if a grand bargain is being struck between Morsi and Team Obama. Morsi continues to get the $2B (plus some big bucks from the IMF) which is important to him if he does not want mass rioting by starving Egyptians in short order. Morsi gets the status of Egypt and he being a big player at the table, but in point of fact the unspoken understanding is that he is to leash Hamas.
Naturally Hamas, Iran, and he will try various perfidious deeds (e.g. ever greater armament by Iran) but the US does have considerable leverage here.
Also, in fairness we must note that Obama seems to have done a pretty good job of supplying Iron Dome to Israel.
Re: Israel, and its neighbors
Reply #1733 on:
December 03, 2012, 05:15:17 PM »
"we "allowed" the MB to win power in Egypt."
You mean when Buraq undercut our ally and turned the center of political and cultural gravity in the middle east into the heart of the neo-caliphate? Who could possibly object to that?
"Also, in fairness we must note that Obama seems to have done a pretty good job of supplying Iron Dome to Israel."
Can it stop an Iranian nuke?
Re: Israel, and its neighbors
Reply #1734 on:
December 03, 2012, 05:21:27 PM »
a) Hence my quotation marks around "allowing".
b) Hmmm , , , let me think , , , uhhh , , , No; but then again that wasn't the question. I'm only making the fair and true statement that Obama has done acted properly with regard to this point.
Re: Israel, and its neighbors
Reply #1735 on:
December 03, 2012, 05:29:54 PM »
Quote from: Crafty_Dog on December 03, 2012, 05:21:27 PM
a) Hence my quotation marks around "allowing".
b) Hmmm , , , let me think , , , uhhh , , , No; but then again that wasn't the question. I'm only making the fair and true statement that Obama has done acted properly with regard to this point.
Of course, Buraq would never leak anything to nations hostile to Israel, right?
TEL AVIV — Defense and industry leaders here are discovering that even in a U.S. election year — when bipartisan and bicameral support for Israel is at its peak — some American gift packages still come tied with strings.
In exchange for $680 million for Israel’s Iron Dome short-range rocket defense system, Washington wants “appropriate rights” to the Israeli-developed technology and U.S.-based coproduction of the system’s high-speed intercepting missiles.
According to language included in the House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee’s markup for the 2013 defense authorization bill, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta may provide up to $680 million to Israel for Iron Dome procurement over the next 29 months.
speaking of George Gilder: new book
Reply #1736 on:
December 03, 2012, 07:05:39 PM »
"The Israel Test" GG was on TV the other day - I don't recall which station.
His new book really speaks highly of Israel. Ironically he speaks so proudly of Jews, their success, their capatilistic ingenuity, their democracy - ironic because 75% of Jews in America are socialist, communist, phoney, do gooder liberals. They obviously don't believe in the individual - that is - until they lose what they have achieved.
Re: Israel, and its neighbors
Reply #1737 on:
December 03, 2012, 11:16:03 PM »
GM: Maybe I'm being too lineaer, , , , or maybe you are changing the subject.
What a wonderful day in the neighborhood
Reply #1738 on:
December 09, 2012, 01:27:57 PM »
As is usually the case with TLF, there's some wooly-headedness in this, but nice to see even someone of his ilk address the question of the neighborhood.
Tomas L. Friedman
THESE were the main regional news headlines in The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday: “Home Front Command simulates missile strike during drill.” Egypt’s President “Morsi opts for safety as police battle protestors.” In Syria, “Fight spills over into Lebanon.” “Darkness at noon for fearful Damascus residents.” “Tunisian Islamists, leftists clash after jobs protests.” “NATO warns Syria not to use chemical weapons.” And my personal favorite: “ ‘Come back and bring a lot of people with you’ — Tourism Ministry offers tour operators the full Israeli experience.”
Ah, yes, “the full Israeli experience.”
The full Israeli experience today is a living political science experiment. How does a country deal with failed or failing state authority on four of its borders — Gaza, South Lebanon, Syria and the Sinai Desert of Egypt — each of which is now crawling with nonstate actors nested among civilians and armed with rockets. How should Israel and its friends think about this “Israeli experience” and connect it with the ever-present question of Israeli-Palestinian peace?
For starters, if you want to run for office in Israel, or be taken seriously here as either a journalist or a diplomat, there is an unspoken question in the mind of virtually every Israeli that you need to answer correctly: “Do you understand what neighborhood I’m living in?” If Israelis smell that you don’t, their ears will close to you. It is one reason the Europeans in general, and the European left in particular, have so little influence here.
The central political divide in Israel today is over the follow-up to this core question: If you appreciate that Israel lives in a neighborhood where there is no mercy for the weak, how should we expect Israel to act?
There are two major schools of thought here. One, led by Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, comprises the “Ideological Hawks,” who, to the question, “Do you know what neighborhood I am living in?” tell Israelis and the world, “It is so much worse than you think!” Bibi goes out of his way to highlight every possible threat to Israel and essentially makes the case that nothing Israel does has ever or can ever alter the immutable Arab hatred of the Jewish state or the Hobbesian character of the neighborhood. Netanyahu is not without supporting evidence. Israel withdraws from both South Lebanon and Gaza and still gets hit with rockets. But this group is called the “ideological” hawks because most of them also advocate Israel’s retaining permanent control of the West Bank and Jerusalem for religious-nationalist reasons. So it’s impossible to know where their strategic logic for holding territory stops and their religious-nationalist dreams start — and that muddies their case with the world.
The other major school of thought here, call it the “Yitzhak Rabin school,” was best described by the writer Leon Wieseltier as the “bastards for peace.”
Rabin, the former Israeli prime minister and war hero, started exactly where Bibi did: This is a dangerous neighborhood, and a Jewish state is not welcome here. But Rabin didn’t stop there. He also believed that Israel was very powerful and, therefore, should judiciously use its strength to try to avoid becoming a garrison state, fated to rule over several million Palestinians forever. Israel’s “bastards for peace” believe that it’s incumbent on every Israeli leader to test, test and test again — using every ounce of Israeli creativity — to see if Israel can find a Palestinian partner for a secure peace so that it is not forever fighting an inside war and an outside war. At best, the Palestinians might surprise them. At worst, Israel would have the moral high ground in a permanent struggle.
Today, alas, not only is the Israeli peace camp dead, but the most effective Israeli “bastard for peace,” Defense Minister Ehud Barak, is retiring. As I sat with Barak in his office the other day, he shared with me his parting advice to Israel’s next and sure-to-be-far-right government.
Huge political forces, with deep roots, are now playing out around Israel, particularly the rise of political Islam, said Barak. “We have to learn to accept it and see both sides of it and try to make it better. I am worried about our tendency to adopt a fatalistic, pessimistic perception of history. Because, once you adopt it, you are relieved from the responsibility to see the better aspects and seize the opportunities” when they arise.
If Israel just assumes that it’s only a matter of time before the moderate Palestinian leaders in the West Bank fall and Hamas takes over, “why try anything?” added Barak. “And, therefore, you lose sight of the opportunities and the will to seize opportunities. ... I know that you can’t say when leaders raise this kind of pessimism that it is all just invented. It is not all invented, and you would be stupid if you did not look [at it] with open eyes. But it is a major risk that you will not notice that you become enslaved by this pessimism in a way that will paralyze you from understanding that you can shape it. The world is full of risks, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t have a responsibility to do something about it — within your limits and the limits of realism — and avoid self-fulfilling prophecies that are extremely dangerous here.
He wore a kippa at AIPAC update
Reply #1739 on:
December 11, 2012, 12:01:36 PM »
Israel Gets a Better Reception from Berlin than Washington — That’s a Man Bites Dog Story
December 10th, 2012 - 11:04 am
If the re-elected Obama administration has not quite shown its true colors, it’s given the world a peek. As former UN Ambassador John Bolton observed, the Palestine Authority could not have swung a UN vote for “observer” status without the passive support of Washington. After Israel responded to the Palestinian end-run around the Oslo Agreement by approving 3,000 new apartments in a Jerusalem suburb, five European countries–Spain, Britain, Denmark, France and Sweden–formally reprimanded Israel by summoning its ambassador, an unprecedented diplomatic step. As the Daily Telegraph wrote Dec. 4, the gang of five did so in connivance with the Obama administration.
The newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, quoted unnamed Israeli diplomats as saying the outcry could not have occurred without the complicity of the Obama administration, which has profound differences with Mr Netanyahu over settlements.
“We would not be mistaken to say that Europe was acting with Washington’s encouragement,” the paper’s commentator, Shimon Shiffer wrote. “The White House authorised Europe to pounce on the Netanyahu government and to punish it.”
One Israeli official told the Daily Telegraph that while the US was unlikely to have ordered such a move, it may have signalled approval.
“It’s more likely that they [the Americans] have been informed and have not raised any objection, but also showed some understanding and maybe even more,” he said. “There’s probably an understanding between the US and the Europeans that this is the right thing to do at this point.”
But it really doesn’t matter what Britain, Spain, Denmark, France and Sweden think. There’s only one European country whose opinion matters, and that is Germany — where Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu received a warm welcome from Chancellor Angela Merkel. Washington sandbags America’s closest ally while Berlin gives it backing. The world is changing. Obama’s strategic withdrawal, while lamentable, has one good side: it limits Obama’s capacity to do damage.
Here is how Akiva Eldar read the Netanyahu-Merkel meeting in AI-Monitor, a Middle Eastern news site that tilts towards the Arab viewpoint:
The summoning of Israel’s ambassadors to the European capitals in the wake of the decision to approve the construction of some 3,200 housing units between Jerusalem and Ma’aleh Adumim took place only after those countries rejected Israel’s demand that they vote against the admission of Palestine as a nonmember observer state of the UN. The parties to the left of the right-wing Likud Party as well as some political pundits portrayed Germany’s decision to abstain at the UN General Assembly vote and its strong protest against the decision regarding E1 as a colossal diplomatic failure. They called the crisis in the relationships with Chancellor Angela Merkel — Israel’s greatest supporter in Europe — as a monumental failure by Netanyahu’s government.
But lo and behold, at the end of that week, Israeli voters saw Netanyahu sporting a broad smile while standing next to Merkel at the press conference in Berlin shortly after their meeting. The prime minister had good reason to feel content with his host; the headlines that had previously reported a rift with Germany were supplanted by the chancellor’s wishy-washy statement that “with regard to the settlements, we agreed to disagree. That topic has been addressed time and again, yet this doesn’t prevent us from exchanging similar views on security issues that are important to Israel […] As close partners, we can convey our assessment whether it would be correct or incorrect to promote the two-state solution, and there’s disagreement on this point.” Merkel explained that “Israel is a sovereign state that will make its own decisions.”
“When an important state such as Germany brushes a flagrant violation of the law and international consensus under the red-carpet treatment it gives Netanyahu, it in fact endorses the joint Likud-Beitenu slate as well as the settlements in the eyes of the Israeli voter,” Eldar fulminated.
The conservative daily Die Welt, the newspaper closest to Chancellor Merkel, interviewed Netanyahu at length and gave the Israeli prime minister space to make a full and eloquent defense of Israel’s position. Like Merkel, the Die Welt journalists registered their regret over expansion of “settlements,” but in the context of softball questions. All this praising by faint damn is of great help to Netanyahu.
What explains Chancellor Merkel’s sympathy towards Israel? Part of it is simple righteousness. Mrs. Merkel rose through the democracy movement in East Germany during the last years of the Cold War — she speaks Russian with Vladimir Putin — and came to believe in democracy the hard way. Second, the German chancellor is a righteous Gentile who believes that Germany has a special obligation to the State of Israel and the Jewish people. She has demonstrated this again and again, for example, by intervening to insure that b’rit milah — Jewish ritual circumcision– remained legal in Germany despite attempts to prohibit it. And third — and in this case most important — Mrs. Merkel is a practical woman of high intelligence, trained as a scientist and toughened by years in political life. She has no patience with Obama’s utopianism.
Germany is changing. Its economy is doing reasonably well despite the European recession, because it is exporting more to Eastern Europe, Russia and China. A recent opinion poll asked Germans to name the world’s most important economy. Sixty percent said China and only 30% said the United States. As Germany acts in its own economic interests in the absence of American leadership, it will continue to gravitate towards strong and vibrant countries such as Israel and disengage from hopeless losers like Spain — or the Arabs. Nothing succeeds like success, and Israel’s reception by the practical Mrs. Merkel is further proof of its standing in the world. A lot of things will change in the next couple of years. I just don’t know whether we’ll hear about them here in the United States.
Stratfor: The Israeli Periphery
Reply #1740 on:
December 12, 2012, 06:52:45 AM »
By Reva Bhalla
Vice President of Global Affairs
The state of Israel has a basic, inescapable geopolitical dilemma: Its national security requirements outstrip its military capabilities, making it dependent on an outside power. Not only must that power have significant military capabilities but it also must have enough common ground with Israel to align its foreign policy toward the Arab world with that of Israel's. These are rather heavy requirements for such a small nation.
Security, in the Israeli sense, is thus often characterized in terms of survival. And for Israel to survive, it needs just the right blend of geopolitical circumstance, complex diplomatic arrangements and military preparedness to respond to potential threats nearby. Over the past 33 years, a sense of complacency settled over Israel and gave rise to various theories that it could finally overcome its dependency on outside powers. But a familiar sense of unease crept back into the Israeli psyche before any of those arguments could take root. A survey of the Israeli periphery in Egypt, Syria and Jordan explains why.
Maintaining the Sinai Buffer
To Israel's southwest lies the Sinai Desert. This land is economically useless; only hardened Bedouins who sparsely populate the desert expanse consider the terrain suitable for living. This makes the Sinai an ideal buffer. Its economic lifelessness gives it extraordinary strategic importance in keeping the largest Arab army -- Egypt's -- at a safe distance from Israeli population centers. It is the maintenance of this buffer that forms the foundation of the 1979 peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.
The question percolating in Israeli policy circles is whether an Islamist Egypt will give the same level of importance to this strategic buffer. The answer to that question rests with the military, an institution that has formed the backbone of the Egyptian state since the rise of Gamel Abdul Nasser in 1952.
Over the past month, the military's role in this new Muslim Brotherhood-run Egypt quietly revealed itself. The first test came in the form of the Gaza crisis, when the military quietly negotiated security guarantees with Israel while the Muslim Brotherhood basked in the diplomatic spotlight. The second test came when Egypt's Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi, attempted a unilateral push on a constitutional draft to institutionalize the Muslim Brotherhood's hold on power.
The military bided its time, waiting for the protests to escalate to the point that rioters began targeting the presidential palace. By then, it was apparent that the police were not to be fully relied on to secure the streets. Morsi had no choice but to turn to the military for help, and that request revealed how indispensable the military is for Egyptian stability.
There will be plenty of noise and confusion in the lead-up to the Dec. 15 referendum as the secular, anti-Muslim Brotherhood civilian opposition continues its protests against Morsi. But filter through that noise, and one can see that the military and the Muslim Brotherhood appear to be adjusting slowly to a new order of Nasserite-Islamist rule. Unlike the 1979 peace treaty, this working arrangement between the military and the Islamists is alive and temperamental. Israel can find some comfort in seeing that the military remains central to the stability of the Egyptian state and will thus likely play a major role in protecting the Sinai buffer. However, merely observing this dance between the military and the Islamists from across the desert is enough to unnerve Israel and justify a more pre-emptive military posture on the border.
Israel lacks a good buffer to its north. The most natural, albeit imperfect, line of defense is the Litani River in modern-day Lebanon, with a second line of defense between Mount Hermon and the Sea of Galilee. Modern-day Israel encompasses this second barrier, a hilly area that has been the target of sporadic mortar shelling from Syrian government forces in pursuit of Sunni rebels.
Israel does not face a conventional military threat to its north, nor will it for some time. But the descent of the northern Levant into sectarian-driven, clan-based warfare presents a different kind of threat on Israel's northern frontier.
It is only a matter of time before Alawite forces will have to retreat from Damascus and defend themselves against a Sunni majority from their coastal enclave. The conflict will necessarily subsume Lebanon, and the framework that Israel has relied on for decades to manage more sizable, unconventional threats like Hezbollah will come undone.
Somewhere along the way, there will be an internationally endorsed attempt to prop up a provisional government and maintain as much of the state machinery as possible to avoid the scenario of a post-U.S. invasion Iraq. But when decades-old, sectarian-driven vendettas are concerned, there is cause for pessimism in judging the viability of those plans. Israel cannot avoid thinking in terms of worst-case scenarios, so it will continue to reinforce its northern defenses ahead of more instability.
Neutralizing the Jordan River Valley
The status of the Jordan River Valley is essential to Israel's sense of security to the east. So long as Israel can dominate the west bank of the river (the biblical area of Judea and Samaria, or the modern-day West Bank) then it can overwhelm indigenous forces from the desert farther east. To keep this arrangement intact, Israel will somehow attempt to politically neutralize whichever power controls the east bank of the Jordan River. In the post-Ottoman Middle East, this power takes the form of the Hashemite monarchs, who were transplanted from Arabia by the British.
The vulnerability that the Hashemites felt as a foreign entity in charge of economically lackluster terrain created ideal conditions for Israel to protect its eastern approach. The Hashemites had to devise complex political arrangements at home to sustain the monarchy in the face of left-wing Nasserist, Palestinian separatist and Islamist militant threats. The key to Hashemite survival was in aligning with the rural East Bank tribes, co-opting the Palestinians and cooperating with Israel in security issues to keep its western frontier calm. In short, the Hashemites were vulnerable enough for Israel to be considered a useful security partner but not so vulnerable that Israel couldn't rely on the regime to protect its eastern approach. There was a level of tension that was necessary to maintain the strategic partnership, but that level of tension had to remain within a certain band.
That arrangement is now under considerable stress. The Hashemites are facing outright calls for deposition from the same tribal East Bankers, Palestinians and Islamists that for decades formed the foundation of the state. That is because the state itself is weakening under the pressure of high oil prices, now sapping at the subsidies that have been relied on to tame the population.
One could assume that Jordan's oil-rich Gulf Arab neighbors would step in to defend one of the region's remaining monarchies of the post-Ottoman order against a rising tide of Muslim Brotherhood-led Islamism with heavily subsidized energy sales. However, a still-bitter, age-old geopolitical rivalry between the Hejaz-hailing Hashemite dynasty and the Nejd-hailing Saudi dynasty over supremacy in Arabia is getting in the way. From across the Gulf, an emboldened Iran is already trying to exploit this Arab tension by cozying up to the Hashemites with subsidized energy sales to extend Tehran's reach into the West Bank and eventually threaten Israel. Jordan has publicly warded off Iran's offer, and significant logistical challenges may inhibit such cooperation. But ongoing negotiations between Iran's allies in Baghdad and the Jordanian regime bear close watching as Jordan's vulnerabilities continue to rise at home.
Powerful Partners Abroad
In this fluctuating strategic environment, Israel cannot afford to be isolated politically. Its need for a power patron will grow alongside its insecurities in its periphery. Israel's current patron, the United States, is also grappling with the emerging Islamist order in the region. But in this new regional dynamic, the United States will eventually look past ideology in search of partners to help manage the region. As U.S.-Turkish relations in recent years and the United States' recent interactions with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood reveal, it will be an awkward and bumpy experience while Washington tries to figure out who holds the reins of power and which brand of Islamists it can negotiate with amid messy power transitions. This is much harder for Israel to do independently by virtue of ideology, size and location.
Israel's range of maneuver in foreign policy will narrow considerably as it becomes more dependent on external powers and as its interests clash with those of its patrons. Israel is in store for more discomfort in its decision-making and more creativity in its diplomacy. The irony is that while Israel is a western-style democracy, it was most secure in an age of Arab dictatorships. As those dictatorships give way to weak and in some cases crumbling states, Israeli survival instincts will again be put to the test.
Read more: The Israeli Periphery | Stratfor
What the Israeli Public Really Thinks:
Reply #1741 on:
December 24, 2012, 12:07:51 PM »
What the Israeli Public Really Thinks
Posted By Steven Plaut On December 24, 2012 -
I find public opinion polls fascinating, at least when they are real polls, as opposed to that manipulative pseudo-poll from a couple of weeks back, run by Peace Now’s Amiram Goldblum (Hebrew University, pharmacy studies) and his far-leftist cronies, claiming to “prove” Israelis were pro-apartheid. In the past the Israeli media used to publish 3 or 4 polls a week. The number dropped to near zero in recent years, and my guess is it is because the leftist media do not want you to know what Israelis actually think.
But with elections nigh, there are a lot of polls coming out. The one in a recent edition of Maariv is, I think, interesting. It is a survey of the general population (including Arabs), and a sub-survey just of those who identify themselves as leaning to the Right.
You can draw your own conclusions.
Of the general population, when asked if they favor the existence of a Palestinian state, 66% oppose, 11% favor, and 23% are undecided or have a more ambiguous position. Bear in mind that about 18% of Israelis are Arabs. When asked if they favor construction in the E-1 area between Jerusalem and the Maaleh Adumim suburb, which has been in the news recently as a “controversy,” 51% support construction, 9% oppose, and 40% are not sure (probably do not know what it is about). When asked about allowing Jews to pray on the Temple Mount, 71% support and 7% oppose. When asked what they think of Supreme Court judicial review of laws, 48% oppose it, 41% support, and only 10% did not know.
When restricted to Israelis defining themselves as leaning Right, 54% of these are secularists, 27% say they are religiously “traditionalist,” 11% modern Orthodox, and 8% Chareidi. This is notable because the media stereotype of the “Right” is as the ”Religious Right.” But more than half of rightists are secularist, larger probably than the numbers among the Left or Center. Women are more likely than men to identify with the Right, and the young more than the old. About 24% of rightists have college or post-high school education, probably a bit less than the general population but not a lot less. Income distribution of Rightists looks similar to that of the general population.
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"You have enemies? Good. That means that you have stood up for something, sometime in your life." - Winston Churchill.
POTH: Building supplies allowed into Gaza, Gazans not impressed
Reply #1742 on:
December 31, 2012, 12:29:55 PM »
JERUSALEM — For the first time in five years, Israel on Sunday allowed 20 truckloads of building materials into Gaza for use by the private sector, according to Israeli and Palestinian officials. One of the first tangible concessions under a cease-fire deal reached after eight days of intensive fighting in November, it signaled a shift in Israel’s approach to the Palestinian enclave.
Israeli officials said that construction materials would now be allowed in on a daily basis via the Kerem Shalom crossing on Israel’s border with Gaza.
The shipment on Sunday came in addition to 34 trucks of gravel that crossed into Gaza over the weekend from Egypt, which also had Israel’s approval. The materials from Egypt were earmarked for housing complexes and other construction projects that the emir of Qatar, Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, pledged to pay for when he visited Gaza in October.
The easing of restrictions on imports is a result of continuing talks in Cairo meant to anchor the cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, the Islamic militant group that controls Gaza. Israel is holding the discussions with Egypt and has no direct contact with Hamas, which refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist.
Israel has strictly controlled the entry of building materials. Israeli officials have argued that such materials could otherwise be used by militants for manufacturing weapons or constructing tunnels and bunkers.
In return for loosening the movement of goods, Israeli officials say, Egypt is expected to help prevent the smuggling of weapons into Gaza.
Maj. Guy Inbar, a spokesman for the Israeli authority responsible for the crossings, said that Israel had approved the transfer of materials to the private sector “against the background of the talks with the Egyptians and the quiet that has prevailed” in the past five weeks along the Israel-Gaza border.
Soon after the cease-fire was announced, the fishing zone off the Gaza coast was extended for Palestinian fishermen from three nautical miles to six nautical miles, and Palestinian residents of Gaza were given more access to lands in a buffer zone imposed by Israel along the border.
Taher al-Nounou, a spokesman for the Hamas government in Gaza, said Sunday that the construction materials coming from Egypt would increase to 100 trucks a day and that as part of the cease-fire agreement with Israel, more goods, including cars, would enter Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing.
“Israel is aware now that it will lose a lot financially if it doesn’t sell its goods to the consumers in Gaza,” Mr. Nounou added.
The last round of hostilities began in mid-November when Israel began an assault on the enclave after militants there stepped up rocket attacks against southern Israel. During eight days of fighting, Israel bombed more than 1,000 targets in Gaza and the militants fired more than 1,500 rockets into Israel, leaving more than 160 Palestinians and 6 Israelis dead.
With the cease-fire, the parties agreed to begin dealing with broader issues like easing restrictions on the movement of people and goods in and out of Gaza. The sides have revealed little detail about the progress of talks in Cairo. Israel has played down the shift in its blockade policy, presumably not wanting to feed the Hamas assertions of victory over Israel in the latest conflict, particularly ahead of Israeli elections on Jan. 22.
But Israeli officials have explained the willingness to ease restrictions in terms of trying to ensure the longevity of the cease-fire. They say that the discussions over the deal have also provided Israel with a welcome channel of communication with the new Egyptian leadership under President Mohamed Morsi, seen here as important for the preservation of the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt.
The election of Mr. Morsi, a former Muslim Brotherhood leader, brought Hamas, a Palestinian offshoot of the Brotherhood, closer to Cairo. The ousted president of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, was hostile to the Islamists and helped Israel impose a tight blockade on Gaza after Hamas took over there in 2007. But Egypt under Mr. Morsi’s leadership has also remained cautious, and expectations in Gaza that the border with Egypt would be thrown open have not yet been realized.
Israel began to ease restrictions on many imports into Gaza in 2010, under international pressure after a deadly Israeli raid on a Turkish boat that was trying to breach the naval blockade. Most everyday products were allowed in. But Israel continued to ban cement, steel and other building materials for the private sector and some other products that Israel deemed a security risk. Gaza contractors came to rely on getting construction materials that were smuggled in from Egypt through a vast network of tunnels running under the border.
For that reason, some in Gaza were not particularly impressed by news of building materials arriving from Israel. Majdi Qawalishi, who owns a brick factory in Gaza City, said that the gravel that came through the tunnels from Egypt was significantly cheaper than gravel from Israel, saving him about $300 per day.
“I am not really bothered about the Israeli building materials,” he said, “as long as those from Egypt are widely available.”
An employee of The New York Times contributed reporting from Gaza.
Danny Ayalon: Israeli electorate moving to the right
Reply #1743 on:
January 10, 2013, 12:07:03 PM »
Conversation with Shimon Peres
Reply #1744 on:
January 13, 2013, 10:13:29 AM »
Morsi calls Jews "Apes and Pigs" - American Media Fails to Notice...
Reply #1745 on:
January 16, 2013, 10:50:23 AM »
Posted by Robert Spencer - January 13, 2013 -
I posted here at Jihad Watch on January 3 about MEMRI's report on Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood President Morsi calling Jews "blood-suckers...warmongers, the descendants of apes and pigs." Eight days later, Richard Behar in Forbes noted the media -- the same media that shamelessly cheerled for the so-called "Arab Spring" that was always an Islamic supremacist takeover and not a democracy movement at all -- has steadfastly refused to take notice of this fact. After all, it would upset their paradigm.
"News Flash: Jews Are 'Apes And Pigs.' So Why Is Egypt's Morsi The Elephant In America's Newsrooms?," by Richard Behar in Forbes, January 11:
Last Friday, the sitting president of Egypt – the world’s 15th most populous nation — was exposed for calling Jews “apes and pigs.” And he did it in a TV interview (in Arabic) in 2010, less than two years before he took office.
Needless to say, this was HUGE NEWS for American mass media! Only it wasn’t. (Knock, knock, New York Times? Anybody home?) In fact, to be fair to the paper of record, not a single major outlet has covered it. Not AP or Reuters. Not CBS News or CNN. Not Time magazine or U.S. News & World Report. Not the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, or USA Today. Etcetera. And therein lies a story, which this column can only begin to skin open here.
Mohamed Morsi’s bizarre Apes-and-Pigs rant hit the Jerusalem Post’s homepage that same day (again, last Friday), as its lead story. Specifically, a prestigious U.S. organization named the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) — chaired by Oliver “Buck” Revell, a former deputy head of the FBI in charge of counter-terrorism – released it widely to the global media and posted it on YouTube.
Undoubtedly, the Cairo and Jerusalem bureaus of the big U.S. media outlets saw the story. But the news only found its way to certain American readers and viewers by getting picked up in Jewish and/or conservative forums over the following days.
Commentary magazine, American Thinker and Breitbart thoughtfully weighed in on the subject. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency (JTA), Jewish Talk Radio, and the Christian Broadcasting Network also saw value in covering it. So did – of all things — a prominent national stock-picking and finance newspaper, Investor’s Business Daily. Fox News entertainer Sean Hannity has been pouncing on it — no surprise there. (Do I really have to tune in to that unpleasant loudmouth if I want to be sure not to miss such newsworthy information?) UPI gave it some pickup, but that news service is only a shadow of its former great self. Once nearly equaling the size and reach of AP in the 1960s, it shrunk to a virtual carcass by 2000 — when it was sold to a company founded by Reverend Moon, the self-proclaimed messiah.
The Times of Israel ran a story about it, and added the fact that Morsi was captured three months ago by MEMRI on a different video. In that tape, he can be seen in fervent prayer at a mosque in western Egypt in October, mouthing the word “Amen” after the preacher urged Allah to “destroy the Jews and their supporters.” (Virtually every big media outlet in America ignored that, too.)
I studied the Pigs-and-Apes story’s journey and trajectory through America over the past week with Sue Radlauer, the Director of Research Services here at Forbes. We gave it seven days to see if any of the so-called “mainstream media” — a pejorative phrase that too-often obscures more than it reveals — bestowed the hate speech even a few sentences of back-page ink. Nothing.
Of course, the demonization of Jews is commonplace and de rigueur in the Arab media (although most Americans wouldn’t know that because they are not being made aware of it). But what makes this omission in Big Media especially egregious is that Morsi–sometimes spelled Morsy or Mursi– went even further than genetically pairing Jews with lower beasts. As you can see and hear for yourself in the Morsi Tapes, he called for an end to any and all negotiations for a two-state solution between Israelis and Palestinians – droning on that all the land belongs to the latter. He called for a boycott of American goods because of its support for Israel. (Of course, he didn’t bother mentioning that American taxpayers have provided nearly $70 billion of aid to Egypt, since it made peace with Israel in 1979, and the spigot continues for now.) He even went so far as to label the Palestinian Authority an entity “created by the Zionist and American enemies for the sole purpose of opposing the will of the Palestinian people and its interests.”
Apes and pigs aside, Morsi also warned his TV listeners that Jews have never been nice people. “They have been fanning the flames of civil strife wherever they were throughout history,” he oozed. “They are hostile by nature.” (One can almost see comedian Jon Stewart’s frozen eyes right about now, before he says something like, “A holiday in Luxor, anyone?”)
If that’s not enough to make the Morsi Tapes even a little newsworthy, consider that Egypt’s economy is on the brink of collapse, with its government desperate for a $4.8 billion IMF loan. Meanwhile, plans have long been underway for the first official visit by the Egyptian president to Washington this March, where he’ll dine with President Obama. So far, the U.S. State Department hasn’t issued a peep of dismay about the tapes. And yet this is arguably the time to do so — before (not after) the huge checks are cut.
So what’s going on here? On Monday, I raised the topic of Morsi’s 2010 language with Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S. “Well, they [Muslim Brotherhood] certainly don’t have a monopoly over anti-Semitic comments in the Middle East,” said Oren, who was born and raised in America, and who has written best-selling books on Middle Eastern history. “These comments were alarming, intolerant, and cause for serious concern. Still, we want to distinguish between what they say and what they do. We expect people to act in a responsible and accountable way. That Morsi and his government today played a constructive role in reaching a ceasefire [with Hamas in November], that’s more important – because it actually saved lives.”
Fair enough. But major, seasoned reporters still need to hold Morsi’s feet to fire over such comments – if not by asking him directly about them, then at least by reporting that he uttered them. Surely, if the president of virtually any other country in the world had defamed an entire people in such a way — only a couple years before they got the top job, to boot — it would have at least gotten a few column-inches. Yet Morsi gets a free pass.
“In my view, it’s important to know just how extreme this important man really is, especially because [Leon] Panetta and [Hillary] Clinton after visits there made statements suggesting otherwise,” says MEMRI board director Elliott Abrams, who served in top policy positions under Presidents Reagan and George W. Bush. “You’re right that if such a tape by Putin or [Turkey's] Erdogan or [Argentina's] Kirchner, etc., etc., was discovered, it would be big news. If it isn’t, is the MSM saying, ‘Well, hell, we know all Muslims have a fanatical hatred of Jews, so no big deal?’”
On Sunday, CNN’s Wolf Blitzer spent an hour with Morsi in Cairo in what the network billed as an exclusive interview. It was a fine conversation, and he’s doing an hour-long special this weekend about his hour-long interview and visit to Egypt. Blitzer is one of my favorite TV anchors today. (He plays it straight, if sometimes dull, and doesn’t condescend to viewers. I never feel like he’s trying to drag me with a rope through my television set.)
But Wolf could have tossed a few Ape-and-Pig hardballs in Morsi’s direction — given that his reporting staff surely must have been aware of the tapes from the Jerusalem Post piece, if from nowhere else. Why not ask the anthropologist-in-chief: “Do you still believe that Jews are pigs? Invoking Koranic scripture, you claimed that Zionists descend from pigs, but since Zionists weren’t around at the time of your prophet, does this mean all Jews come from pigs, or just certain ones? Do you still believe that America should be boycotted? And does that include American cash? Or should your whole diatribe be disregarded as merely the kooky, carefree views from one’s youth – uhhh…TWO YEARS AGO?”
For several days, I attempted to speak with Blitzer about the good, the bad and the ugly of media coverage of the Middle East. But his publicist says he’s too busy – even to consider responding to a single email question prior to my publishing.
The New York Times rarely touches this stuff. In fact, a harshly critical mega-report about the newspaper’s Middle East coverage was recently released by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA). The Times can’t be too happy about it. “The failure of the New York Times to cover the hate indoctrination leads the pack, in a way,” CAMERA’s head Andrea Levin told me yesterday. “The fact that they deem it to be so unimportant helps to lay down that news decision for others as well. And, to us, it’s one of the greatest derelictions in current news coverage of the conflict.”...
Read it all. And note that yesterday the New York Times, probably shamed into it by Behar's piece, finally noticed Morsi's remarks. The rest of the mainstream media, however, still doesn't find Morsi's remarks fit to print.
"You have enemies? Good. That means that you have stood up for something, sometime in your life." - Winston Churchill.
Hitler Honored in Upscale Mall in Turkey...
Reply #1746 on:
January 16, 2013, 10:54:14 AM »
Hitler honored in upscale mall in modern, moderate Turkey
Robert Spencer - January 16, 2013 -
Turkey's rapid re-Islamization and abandonment of secularism has been accompanied by a sharp rise in hostility for Israel and Islamic antisemitism. "Hitler Honored in Upscale Instanbul Mall," by Lori Lowenthal Marcus in the Jewish Press, January 15:
People who have been paying attention know that relations between Israel and Turkey have been eroding, but not many realize that Turkey is now not only openly hostile to the Jewish State, but also to the Jewish people.
On Friday, January 11, a Turkish citizen took a picture to show exactly how belligerent Turkey has become. The picture is of a huge poster with the words, “Who Would You Like to Meet if You Could?” and the last name, and only photograph, is of Adolf Hitler. The other choices include Suleiman I, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Napolean Bonaparte, the Beatles, Elvis Presley, Vladimir Lenin, Boris Yeltsin, Leonardo Da Vinci, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Michael Jackson. But only Hitler warranted a picture, a huge one at that.
According to Ege Berk Korkut, an active Turkish writer and blogger, the sign was placed in the Sapphire Mall by the owners, a group of Turkish businessmen who are devoted to Erdogan. Korkut explained to The Jewish Press that the Sapphire is an ultra-upscale mall in Levent, the wealthiest neighborhood in Istanbul. The Sapphire building is one of the tallest buildings in Europe.
Korkut said that while a few people have complained about the banner – and the management has refused to remove it – most shoppers just glance at it and continue shopping. Ho-hum, nothing startling or even mildly interesting about a huge photograph of Adolf Hitler hanging in the Turkish equivalent of Via Bellagio in Las Vegas or The Shops at Columbus Circle in New York City.
And it is not only Israel and the Jews towards which Turkey has turned its back.
The Iranian Ambassador to Turkey, Bahman Hussein Pour, discussed the close and ever-increasing Iranian-Turkish relations in an article in the January 14 MehrNews.com, an Iranian news agency.
Hussein Pour pointed out that while Western countries, “especially the U.S.,” have been pressuring Turkey to reduce economic relations with Iran, “Iran-Turkey trade volume exceeds $21b this year for the first time.” The Iranian Ambassador concluded that Turkish-Iranian relations are irreversible.
In addition to the trade relations between the two countries which has more than quadrupled since 2008, Hussein Pour also explained that “more than 15 Turkish provinces have become sister provinces with Iranian ones.”
"You have enemies? Good. That means that you have stood up for something, sometime in your life." - Winston Churchill.
Shock! Schumer for Hagel
Reply #1747 on:
January 16, 2013, 11:40:47 PM »
For Democrats party is ALWAYS first:
Caroline Glick of the Jerusalem Post on Michele Bachmann...
Reply #1748 on:
January 22, 2013, 09:18:46 AM »
The Left’s New Campaign to Destroy a Friend of Israel’s: Michele Bachmann
Posted By Caroline Glick On January 22, 2013 -
To sign the Freedom Center’s petition to stop the witch-hunt against Rep. Michele Bachmann, click here. And please spread the word about this petition far and wide!
Israel has many passionate supporters on Capitol Hill, particularly on the Republican side of the aisle. These are men and women who are deeply committed to Israel and understand that Israel is the US’s only reliable ally in the Middle East and America’s most vital ally in the world today in light of the rise of radical Islamic regimes, movements and leaders.
Now that Obama has officially entered his second term in office, Israel enters a period unlike any it has experienced before. It will face a hostile US president who does not fear the voters. Moreover, it faces a US president who is so hostile to Israel that his first serious act after his reelection was to appoint Chuck Hagel Defense Secretary, (and John Brennan CIA Director).
As I wrote last week, I believe that Israel will not be the hardest hit by Obama’s “transformative” foreign policy over the next four years. As an independent state, Israel has the ability to diversify its network of strategic allies and so mitigate somewhat the hit it will take from the Obama administration. The US, and first and foremost the US military, will not be so fortunate.
Not surprisingly, Israel’s biggest defenders in the US Capitol are also the most outspoken allies of the US military and the most concerned about maintaining America’s ability to remain the most powerful nation on earth both economically and militarily. They are as well, Obama’s most outspoken critics on the Hill.
For their outspoken criticism, and their competence, these men and women have been targeted for political destruction by Obama and his allies. Last November we saw this leftist machine outgun and so defeat Cong. Allen West in Florida and Joe Walsh in Illinois. Both men were targeted by Obama’s smear machine that included, among other things, J-Street endorsements of their opponents, and rancid attacks against them.
One of the voices that Obama’s machine has spent millions of dollars trying to silence is that of Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann.
As a member of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, and as a contender in the Republican presidential primaries, Bachmann has been one of Israel’s most passionate and articulate defenders and one of Obama’s most effective critics on everything from federal spending to Obama’s abandonment of the US-Israel alliance to his opening of the US federal government and intelligence apparatuses to members of the Muslim Brotherhood – that is to members of a movement dedicated to the destruction of the American way of life.
For her efforts, Rep. Bachmann has been the target of repeated media smear campaigns, often joined by skittish Republicans like John McCain who failed to recognize the danger of the Muslim Brotherhood’s rise in Libya and Egypt, and failed to understand the danger that the penetration of the US federal government by Muslim Brotherhood members constitutes to US national security.
I have had the privilege and pleasure of meeting with Rep. Bachmann on several occasions over the years. She is one of the most intelligent women I know. And her grasp of the nature and importance of the US-Israel alliance is extraordinary. So too, her understanding of the challenges to US national security is clear, educated and sophisticated.
Watch for instance these speeches that she has delivered in recent months.
The day she announced her candidacy for President:
And at the Values Voters Summit shortly before the Presidential election:
In the past, every time that I have written about Cong. Bachmann, I have been bombarded with comments from readers who say that they cannot believe I can support her, since they claim, she is such an extremist. But Cong. Bachmann is not an extremist at all.
What she is is a victim of a very successful smear campaign undertaken by people who recognize her talent, conviction, intelligence and effectiveness. They set out to destroy and marginalize her, just as they set out to destroy and marginalize Mitt Romney and West and Walsh and many others, because they perceive these leaders as a threat to their agendas.
Today Cong. Bachmann is the target of a new leftist smear campaign, organized by the far Left People for the American Way. The campaign involves a petition that has reportedly been signed already by 178,000 people demanding that House Speaker John Boehner expel Rep. Bachmann from the House Select Committee on Intelligence.
The proximate cause for the petition is a series of letters Bachmann and five other (wonderful and similarly courageous) Congressional colleagues penned to the Inspectors General of the Departments of Homeland Security, the Defense Department, the State Department, Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Justice asking for the IGs to conduct an investigation of the ties senior officials in these departments have with the Muslim Brotherhood.
For her efforts, Bachmann was condemned not only by the Left, but by Senator John McCain as a bigot and a McCarthyite.
But she is none of these things. And last month, her concerns were borne out when the Egyptian magazine Rose al Youssef published an article about Muslim Brotherhood operatives in senior positions in the Obama administration. According to the article, these operatives have transformed the US “from a position hostile to Islamic groups and organizations in the world, to the largest and most important supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood.” (Here is the Investigative Project on Terrorism’s translation of the article.)
Among those mentioned in the articles are some of the officials that Bachmann named in her letters last July. Far from waging a McCarthyite, bigoted witch hunt against guileless American citizens, as the Egyptian article makes clear, her concerns were founded in fact and totally reasonable.
Before Obama was reelected, I heard repeatedly that supporters of Israel like Alan Dershowitz, Ed Koch, and Haim Saban who had properly criticized Obama’s hostility towards Israel but then supported his reelection bid, did so because they believed that by supporting him, they would be in a position to pressure him to support Israel in his second term. According to this line of reasoning, these men and others like them believed that Obama would listen to them in his second term if – but only if – they supported his reelection against a candidate who was clearly more supportive of Israel than Obama.
By appointing Hagel as Defense Secretary, Obama made clear even before he was sworn in for his second term that this assumption was completely wrong. By supporting his reelection they supported giving Obama four years to lead American foreign policy unconstrained by the need to feign support for Israel. When you empower your enemies, your enemies are empowered.
By the same token, when you support your friends, your friends are empowered. Rep. Bachmann is a friend of Israel’s. And she is an American patriot committed to doing everything in her power to protecting the US and defending and maintaining America as the indispensable nation.
In response to the PFAW’s petition, the David Horowitz Freedom Center, with which I am proud to be formally associated as the Director of its Israel Security Project, launched a counter-petition to Speaker Boehner voicing support for Bachmann. If you are a US citizen, please take a few moments to sign the petition.
Here is the link.
For further reading on the campaign against Bachmann see Andy McCarthy in National Review here, and Robert Spencer in Frontpage Magazine here and here.
Editor’s note: Frontpage’s editor Jamie Glazov also recently joined Robert Spencer on his show on ABNSat.com to discuss the attacks against Rep. Michele Bachmann and the Unholy Alliance behind them. Watch the whole interview below:
Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.
"You have enemies? Good. That means that you have stood up for something, sometime in your life." - Winston Churchill.
WSJ: Ruell Marc Gerecht: Israel's new Islamist neighborhood
Reply #1749 on:
January 30, 2013, 01:44:28 PM »
Israel's New Islamist Neighborhood
If Western history is any guide, the growth of democracy slowly diminishes religious imperatives. .
By REUEL MARC GERECHT
Israel last week held parliamentary elections, and many in America and Europe are interpreting the results as a triumph for moderates that means new hope for the Middle East peace process. But further negotiations without elections first among the Palestinians—and where acceptance of the Jewish state is on the winning ballot—will only further empower Islamic fundamentalists. The rising Islamist wave that has accompanied the Arab Spring should end the illusion that the Jewish state can be integrated into the Middle East through territorial concessions to nondemocratic regimes.
Supposed Israeli intransigence on the peace process isn't what fueled the growth of Hamas, which today rules the Gaza Strip. The terror group grew strong, like Muslim fundamentalists elsewhere, because modernizing elites ran roughshod over society. Yasser Arafat, Mahmoud Abbas and the secular Palestine Liberation Organization's legions of heavy-handed cronies over time empowered the religious militants of Hamas.
The formula of land-for-peace was always an illusion because it did nothing but abet the growth of those most committed to destroying Israel. It is no coincidence that Hamas gained the most ground against Fatah (the dominant group within the PLO) in the 1990s, when peace-processing was all the rage. Hamas feeds off the peace process, both its perceived successes (Palestinian autonomy throughout Gaza and most of the West Bank) and failures (East Jerusalem remaining in Israeli hands).
Israel may one day be accepted by its Arab neighbors and by its most deadly foe, Iran—but only when Arab and Iranian Muslim identities allow for it. At best, that change is decades away. Modern Islam's great internal tug of war, between the search for authenticity and the love of modernity, must quiet before the Israeli-Palestinian clash can end.
Washington's bipartisan establishment has never wanted to appreciate the religious dimension to the Israeli-Arab collision, for it is a subset of an older struggle between secular and religious Muslims. It was always a dubious proposition that Palestinian Arab nationalism could accept a neighboring Jewish state because the molten core of the Palestinian identity is more Islamic than it is anything else.
For any Muslim with traditional sentiments—and especially for fundamentalists—the peace process is galling because it is premised on the faithful surrendering their God-given right to a land conquered in the golden age of the rightly guided caliphs (the Muslim rulers who immediately followed Muhammad in the seventh century). For Muslims, the great Jewish prophets are Muslim prophets whom the Jews either spurned or falsified. So accepting Israel's legitimacy, which means accepting the Jewish religious narrative in which Hebrew prophets bind their people to Israel, would be a revocation of the Quran and the foundational story of the Islamic faith.
But modernity can attenuate, as well as amplify, religious identity. Muslim fundamentalists have reared their heads so viciously in part because they know what modernity brings. They have seen their best and brightest seduced by the West. Many live in fear of democracy because it makes man, not God, the principal agent of history.
Most Israelis fear that the Arab Spring will see secular dictators replaced by religious ones. Understandably, they have little stomach for more representative government among Palestinians, which could expand Hamas's power and bring down the monarchy in Jordan, where Palestinians may now make up more than 70% of the population.
Yet if Western history is any guide, the growth of democracy slowly diminishes religious imperatives. Representative government demystifies politics and ethics, as the here-and-now takes precedence over abstract aspirations. It makes the mundane transcendent. It promotes healthy division because it puts competing visions, even competing fundamentalist visions, to the vote. It localizes ambitions and focuses people's passions on the national purse.
With the collapse of the peace process in 2000 amid Arafat's bloody second intifada, Palestinians began turning a more critical eye inward. When Arafat died in 2004, Palestinians began to have, however tepidly, a debate about leadership and political mores.
Jerusalem's decision to build a barrier between Israel and the West Bank limited the spread of suicidal fantasies among Palestinians. George W. Bush also helped by encouraging the Palestinians' first and only real elections, in 2005 and 2006, which ended in a split decision, with Hamas taking the parliament and Fatah the presidency. That government never got off the ground, and both parties now appear to fear new elections.
An electorally triumphant Hamas might be able to harness democracy to a total war against the Jews. Ditto for the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and its counterparts in Syria and Jordan. But we certainly know that Islamists untethered to elections spread the most extreme views at no cost. Secular authoritarians in Egypt, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan have gradually lost sway to fundamentalists partly because they have signed treaties with Israel that are blessed neither by elected governments nor referendums.
Although they are running against Islamic history, Arab secular democrats have some hope. Religious authoritarianism secularizes societies pretty quickly.
In 1979, religious millenarianism was a mass movement in Iran. But the hollowing of revolutionary fervor set in motion a popular re-evaluation of the Islamic Republic's hatred of the United States and Israel. In 2009, Iranian youths protesting for democracy pointedly mocked the Palestinian cause as not their own. The Iranian people, if their votes could rule, would surely restore diplomatic relations with Washington and possibly even with Israel.
A similar process is likely among the Arabs, where democracy will probably produce majoritarian governments ruled by authoritarian Islamists. Their attempts to enforce certain Islamic values through legislation will inevitably produce faction and fatigue. Secularists will grow stronger. And unlike their great liberal forbearers of the 19th and early-20th centuries, Muslim secularists who win at the ballot box will be much less inclined to kowtow to orthodox Islamic sentiments. Accepting Israel, though still unpleasant, will seem less a dastardly, Western-imposed act.
The age of Islamism and democracy has just arrived. The interplay may be long, arduous and ugly. But it is conceivable that Israelis, Arabs and Iranians will finally find a modus vivendi based on something more profound than land-for-peace. It will be based on free men voting.
Mr. Gerecht, a former Middle East specialist at the CIA, is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the author of "The Wave: Man, God, and the Ballot Box in the Middle East" (Hoover Institution Press, 2011).
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