Saturday, 29 August 2009

Love of the Land: Everyone Seems to Agree That Israel Must Solve the "Iranian Problem"

Everyone Seems to Agree That Israel Must Solve the "Iranian Problem"

JINSA Report #: 919
August 26, 2009

They say nothing happens in Washington in August - the President is away, Congress is out, even traffic is easy. But it isn't true. In Washington in August, everyone is getting ready for September. Word is out that the Obama Administration is working on a grand strategy to present at the UN when the General Assembly opens. The rumored outlines:

Israel agrees to a settlement freeze of some sort and some duration, allowing the administration to claim that it has done the world a favor and beaten Israel into submission.
Some Gulf States agree that people with Israeli stamps on their passport (though not necessarily Israelis) can enter their countries, and agree to accept limited trade with Israel. Others do not. Saudi Arabia's failure to publicly object allows the administration to claim that Israel has been accepted in the region and has nothing to fear from additional concessions to the Palestinians.
Abu Mazen agrees to accept the additional concessions from Israel, allowing the administration to claim it is on the way to a Palestinian State. The question of who Abu Mazen represents is papered over. The Hamas-Fatah (-al Qaeda?) civil war in Gaza - complete with suicide bombers, rockets fired into and out of mosques and dozens of civilian casualties - is papered over.
It doesn't sound like much of a deal for Israel - Syria, which is busily funneling al Qaeda fighters into Iraq and partying with Ahmadinejad in Tehran - is not involved; Egypt has declined; the Palestinians are no closer to agreeing in public or private that they will settle for a rump split state wedged between a hostile Israel and a hostile Jordan - its own two parts not talking to each other. So what does Israel get? An anonymous administration source is reported to have said, "Settlements are not strategic; Iran is strategic."

So in exchange for fuzzying up its red lines, a series of papered over semi-agreements, and an excellent photo op with the President at the UN, Israel gets stronger American rhetoric on Iran? Or, some sort of American green light for Israel to take care of the problem itself?
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Love of the Land: Everyone Seems to Agree That Israel Must Solve the "Iranian Problem"

Israel Matzav: When doesn't anyone care about dead 'Palestinians'?

When doesn't anyone care about dead 'Palestinians'?

When doesn't anyone care about dead 'Palestinians'? When they're killed by other 'Palestinians' of course.

You may recall that a couple of weeks ago, Hamas put down what it called a revolt by an al-Qaeda-linked organization - Jund Ansar Allah - that claimed that Hamas was 'not Islamic' enough. Well, Hamas proved that it is definitely Islamic enough. This looks like a gangland execution, not a war.
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Israel Matzav: When doesn't anyone care about dead 'Palestinians'?

Israel Matzav: Germany gives Hamas a deadline

Germany gives Hamas a deadline

The German daily Der Spiegel is reporting that the BND German intelligence agency has offered Hamas 450 'Palestinian' terrorists in exchange for kidnapped IDF corporal Gilad Shalit. Hamas has until the end of the month to respond to the offer.

According to information obtained by SPIEGEL, Israel would release at least 450 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Shalit. After his release, the Israeli government has expressed a willingness to release further prisoners.

The government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has insisted that the prisoner releases be done as a humanitarian gesture and without any time pressure. Hamas has been given until the beginning of September to respond to the proposal.

The German negotiator has been activated at the explicit request of the Israeli government and has been commuting since mid-July to conduct negotiations with the parties to the conflict. Shalit was kidnapped in June 2006 on Gaza Strip border and has been in the hands of the Islamist Hamas ever since.

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Israel Matzav: Germany gives Hamas a deadline

Israel Matzav: When the Democrats were pro-Israel

When the Democrats were pro-Israel

JPost has an editorial about Ted Kennedy in Friday's edition that moves on from Kennedy to the Democratic party itself. Here's the bottom line:

THE PRO-ISRAEL liberalism embodied by Kennedy, Hubert Humphrey, Henry Jackson, Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Jacob Javits seems archaic nowadays.

Their generation knew first-hand that the Arabs' rejection of Israel's existence was at the root of the conflict. Today, calls for throwing the Jews into the sea have been replaced by reasonable-sounding Arab initiatives for a two-state solution. Only the fine print - pertaining to recognition, borders, militarization and refugees - suggests something else. Once there were no settlements, and still the Arabs sought Israel's destruction. Yet yesterday, a CNN primer of the conflict pointed to settlements as the stumbling block to peace.

Maybe the old Kennedy liberals were really centrists, and today's progressives are really leftists. Or maybe, 60 years on, liberals have just grown uncomfortable and impatient - after Lebanon wars, intifadas, checkpoints, barriers and Gaza blockades.

The liberal catechism is 1. All conflicts are soluble; 2. Israel is the stronger party; 3. And so it must take the greater risks for peace.

Liberals are exasperated by Israel's failure to embrace these principles categorically. Yet we survive in this region because we don't.

Edward Kennedy understood all this and more. Israel feels his loss acutely.

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Israel Matzav: When the Democrats were pro-Israel

Israel Matzav: Seized Iranian weapons intended for Hezbullah?

Seized Iranian weapons intended for Hezbullah?

Shavua tov - a good week to everyone.

During the night on Friday night, it was reported that on August 15, the United Arab Emirates seized a Bahamian-registered ship that was carrying weapons from North Korea to Iran in violation of UN sanctions.

The United Arab Emirates has seized a cargo ship bound for Iran with a cache of banned rocket-propelled grenades and other arms from North Korea, the first such seizure since sanctions against North Korea were ramped up, diplomats and officials told The Associated Press on Friday.

The seizure earlier this month was carried out in accordance with tough new UN Security Council sanctions meant to derail North Korea's nuclear weapons program, but which also ban the North's sale of any conventional arms.

Diplomats identified the vessel as a Bahamas-flagged cargo vessel, the ANL Australia. The diplomats and officials spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

"We can confirm that the UAE detained a North Korean vessel containing illicit cargo," a Western diplomat told the AP.

Turkey's deputy UN ambassador, Fazli Corman, who chairs the Security Council's sanctions panel, also confirmed the incident without providing details and said council members are examining the seriousness of it.

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Israel Matzav: Seized Iranian weapons intended for Hezbullah?

Love of the Land: Déjà Vu Diplomacy

Déjà Vu Diplomacy

Rick Richman
28 August 09

The day before George Mitchell met with Benjamin Netanyahu in London this week, in the continuing effort to meet Palestinian preconditions for new final-status negotiations, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad announced a plan to create a Palestinian state within two years—“regardless of progress in the stalled peace negotiations with Israel.”

For those familiar with the history of the peace process, the Palestinian announcement and its timing provided a sense of déjà vu.

In the spring of 1998, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process was stalled. Prime Minister Netanyahu was seeking “reciprocity” from the Palestinians before further Israeli withdrawals from West Bank territory. Arafat was offering the umpteenth Palestinian promise to “crack down” on terrorism and agreed—“in principle”—to produce a detailed security plan in exchange for a further Israeli withdrawal that met his demands and a move to final-status negotiations.

That was good enough for the State Department, which turned to Netanyahu and told him it needed a “second yes.” Netanyahu raised concerns about the scope of the withdrawal—and Arafat threatened a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state. On April 28, 1998, Hanan Ashrawi, then the Palestinian minister of higher education, spoke at the National Press Club in Washington and said Palestinians would declare statehood in one year regardless of where the peace process then stood.

At the time, no American administration had ever endorsed a Palestinian state. A week later, as Dennis Ross was traveling to Israel to meet with Netanyahu, Hillary Clinton spoke (via satellite hookup arranged by the State Department) to Arab and Israeli teenagers attending a “peace summit” in Switzerland. In response to a student who asked about her use of the word Palestine, Hillary used the word state nine times, sayingit would be “very important” for “Palestine to be a state.” In case Israel missed the significance of her words, the American embassy in Tel Aviv immediately released a report entitled “Hillary Clinton: Eventual Palestinian State Important for Mideast Peace.”

The White House said she was “not reflecting any administration policy”—only a “personal view.” But William Safire wrote in the New York Times that the explanation was “laughably implausible” and was “a calculated move by both Clintons to ratchet up the pressure on Israel” by warning that American policy might change if Netanyahu did not promptly move the process forward.

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Love of the Land: Déjà Vu Diplomacy

Love of the Land: Column One: The Rigged Game

Column One: The Rigged Game

Caroline Glick
28 August 09

On Tuesday the Guardian reported that the Obama administration is now making Israel an offer it can't refuse: In exchange for a government order to freeze construction for Jews in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, the administration will adopt a "much tougher line with Iran over its alleged nuclear weapons program."

German Foreign Minister Frank...

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu prior to their meeting in Berlin, Thursday.
Photo: AP

Israel should refuse this offer.

What the Guardian account shows is an Obama administration looking to blame Israel for the failure of its policy of attempting to appease the likes of Iranian dictator Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Come September, US President Barack Obama is going to have a difficult time of it. He set a September deadline for his strategy of diplomatically courting the mullahs. This policy involves deferring further sanctions against Teheran and all but openly renouncing the option of using military force to destroy Iran's nuclear installations while waiting politely for the mullahs to sit down for tea with US officials.

Far from accepting Obama's offer, the Iranians have spit on it. Indeed, they have been too busy brutalizing their own people and building bombs and missiles to even respond to him directly. Instead, they have signaled their contempt for Obama by promoting known arch-terrorists to high office. For instance, Ahmadinejad just appointed Ahmad Vahidi, the suspected mastermind of the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people and the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia where 19 US servicemen and women were murdered to serve as defense minister.

In support of Obama's appeasement efforts, both the House and the Senate Foreign Relations committees set aside veto-proof bills that would place sanctions on companies exporting refined fuel to Iran. But Congress, now on summer recess, reconvenes in September and members are anxiously awaiting a green light from the White House to put the bills before a vote.

So unless something saves him, Obama will look like quite a fool next month. His appeasement policy has given the mullahs eight precious months of unimpeded work at their nuclear installations. Their uranium enrichment facility at Natanz is now operating some 5,000 centrifuges, with another 2,400 centrifuges about to go on line. That is an eightfold increase in centrifuge activity from a year ago.

Obama now turns to Israel to avoid embarrassment. If he can convince Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that the White House will only get serious about Iran's nuclear weapons program if Netanyahu freezes Jewish building in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, then Obama can present his sudden willingness to sign on to veto-proof congressional sanctions legislation not as a consequence of his own failure, but as a result of Israeli pressure.

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Love of the Land: Column One: The Rigged Game

Love of the Land: Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Virgin boss Richard Branson play on the Holocaust to advance case against Israel

Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Virgin boss Richard Branson play on the Holocaust to advance case against Israel

Richard Shepherd
Think Tank Blog
28 August 09

Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Virgin boss Richard Branson play on the Holocaust to advance case against IsraelIt is a sign of the corrosiveness of the anti-Zionist agenda that even some of the most admirable and well-regarded of international luminaries feel no compunction these days about using the greatest crime against the Jewish people as a convenient weapon against the Jewish state. Holocaust inversion has now entered the mainstream. No-one, it seems, is immune from its temptations.

Enter former anti-apartheid campaigner, Nobel laureate, and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu who has used an interview with the liberal-Left Israeli newspaper Haaretz today to make some typically ill considered remarks of his own:

“The lesson that Israel must learn from the Holocaust is that it can never get security through fences, walls and guns,” he was quoted by the paper as saying. “…in South Africa, they tried to get security from the barrel of a gun. They never got it. They got security when the human rights of all were recognized and respected.”

This is crass even by Tutu’s standards when talking about Israel. But it was nothing compared to the truly disturbing comments made earlier this week by Virgin Atlantic boss and international NGO financier Richard Branson.

Asked to draw on his business and public relations skills to advise Israel on how to improve its image, he said:

“I think it’s something similar to what happened after 9/11. You know after 9/11 the world had enormous sympathy for America, and you know that sympathy was somehow lost. And obviously after the Second World War, the world had enormous sympathy for the Jewish people. Over a number of decades, that sympathy has been lost …. You’ve got a great country, but you’ve just got to hold the hands of your neighbors, and then you’ll get back on top again.”

I have remarked on a number of occasions on how submersion in the anti-Zionist agenda leads otherwise reasonable and sane individuals to say things which make them look ridiculous. But “you’ve just got to hold the hands of your neighbours, and then you’ll get back on top again.”? Don’t these people ever think about what they are saying? The mind boggles.

That aside, the first thing to note about Branson and Tutu is that it is obvious that neither of them has any idea of what they are talking about. They seek to pronounce on a matter of great complexity while demonstrating that the history and basic facts of the conflict are simply lost on them. All we are left with is the standard UN/NGO narrative in which a belligerent and colonialist Israel is juxtaposed with oppressed third-world freedom fighters struggling against all odds for justice and recognition.

Tutu in particular has form in this regard. As an attentive reader reminded me earlier today, he made some particularly vicious remarks in a commentary in the Guardian along such lines in April 2002. In an article tellingly entitled Apartheid in the Holy Land he said of the struggle against Israel:

“For goodness sake, this is God’s world! We live in a moral universe. The apartheid government was very powerful, but today it no longer exists. Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin, Pinochet, Milosevic, and Idi Amin were all powerful, but in the end they bit the dust.”

Well, I’m glad that Desmond Tutu thinks we are living in a “moral universe”. And one trusts he is confident that, when confronted with the higher authority he invokes, his Faustian pact with the forces of anti-Zionist bigotry is not held against him.

As for Richard Branson, one really has to marvel at his audacity. I am not Jewish myself, but I would venture to say that “sympathy” is not quite what the Jewish people were looking for in establishing their state after the Holocaust.

Even so, if defending that state against extremism is all it has taken for all that “sympathy” to evaporate I am not convinced that it was all that deeply rooted in the first place.

Originally posted at :Love of the Land: Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Virgin boss Richard Branson play on the Holocaust to advance case against Israel

RubinReports: To the Media: Higher Standard for Israel? Then Higher Standard for Coverage of Israel

To the Media: Higher Standard for Israel? Then Higher Standard for Coverage of Israel

By Barry Rubin

A friend who deals professionally with the media says that when he complains about coverage of Israel in the media he is told: ""We expect more from the Jews and Israel."

I suggested he respond like this:

You are saying that because of historical factors you have higher expectations from Jews and Israel. Ok. But there are other historical factors to take into account: antisemitism, deliberate slander and honest misunderstanding of Jews, and deliberate slander and misunderstanding of Israel. You should also have higher standards on how Jews and Israel should be treated fairly.

For most of history people have held mistaken concepts--Jews killed the guy from Nazareth, Jews killed the guy from Mecca, Jews poisoned wells, Jews sought to destroy Christianity, Jews were behind capitalism and communism, Jews were disloyal citizens, and so on. Incidentally, these all are not only ideas common in the Muslim majority world today but are once again spreading quickly into the West, in part due to your coverage.
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RubinReports: To the Media: Higher Standard for Israel? Then Higher Standard for Coverage of Israel

RubinReports: Key Saudi Prince Injured in Terror Attack: Shaking Up the Kingdom

Key Saudi Prince Injured in Terror Attack: Shaking Up the Kingdom

By Barry Rubin

Of Saudi Arabia it has been said that a bird doesn’t move without the royal family’s permission. That a suicide bomber was able to get close enough to wound the Saudi Assistant Interior Minister Prince Muhammad bin Nayef is a very worrisome development that will shake up the kingdom.

This is not just anybody nor even just any Saudi prince but the man whose father leads the regime’s intelligence and counterterrorist operations, and who himself plays an important role in this campaign. The government knew he was a high-priority target and provided the best security possible. The—presumably al-Qaida linked—terrorists knew it also and thus calculated that making such a hit would show their strength and effectiveness.

As a traditional tribal leadership, Saudi royals frequently hold open meetings, secure in their forces’ tight security control. The terrorist was thus able to approach closely, though the prince was not seriously wounded and no one was killed.

But this is a message: the insurgency against the Saudi regime is not dead, despite many arrests and executions. It is also a reminder that Saudi security can be pretty lax, as has been seen in past attacks where seemingly secure areas were penetrated by terrorists.
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RubinReports: Key Saudi Prince Injured in Terror Attack: Shaking Up the Kingdom

RubinReports: Here's Your Story: No Engagement Game Because Iran Burned Down

Here's Your Story: No Engagement Game Because Iran Burned Down

By Barry Rubin

Gerald Seib’s article in the Wall Street Journal is worth responding to because it does symbolize the curious mentality about Iran prevailing in American policymaking and opinion-making circles. The article is entitled, "Iran Collapse Complicates U.S. Moves."

On the contrary! I think it makes things much simpler and clearer.

But first a story told to me many years ago by famed radio host Barry Farber:

A reporter is dispatched to cover a high school basketball game but doesn’t file a story. As deadline approaches the editor irritably calls the journalist into his office and asks where is the story?

“There isn’t any story,” says the reporter.

“Why not?” asks the editor.

“There wasn’t any game,” the journalist replies.

“Why not?” asks the editor.

“The gym burned down.”

For those of you who are journalists with certain mass media outlets, I should explain the point of the anecdote: The gym burning down was the story.

Now back to Seib.

He explains there is an alleged irony in the fact that, “America's most vexing enemy is plagued by growing internal dissension, a vocal opposition movement that won't die and a crisis of legitimacy.”

What is it?

“The upheaval there actually is making the job of crafting an American strategy more difficult.”


Because, you see, it is harder to engage Iran when it is so busy with domestic matters and in disarray. I’ve heard this from others in Washington as well. And Seib gives us the likely Obama administration conclusion:

“And here's the most likely outcome: The U.S. will leave the door open to engagement with Iran, but won't be trying as hard as before to coax the Iranians into walking through it.”

Well, why are we even talking about this? It is time for a new view of Iran and U.S. policy. Memo to Obama: The situation has changed big-time.
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RubinReports: Here's Your Story: No Engagement Game Because Iran Burned Down
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