Monday, 21 September 2009

Israel Destroys Three Weapons Tunnels - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Israel Destroys Three Weapons Tunnels - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News
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Mumbai Chabad House Chose to Stay Open Despite Warnings - Jewish World - Israel News - Israel National News

Mumbai Chabad House Chose to Stay Open Despite Warnings - Jewish World - Israel News - Israel National News
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IDF Kills Two Gaza Terrorists - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

IDF Kills Two Gaza Terrorists - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News
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'Symbolic' Trilateral Talks Set for Tuesday in New York - Politics & Government - Israel News - Israel National News

'Symbolic' Trilateral Talks Set for Tuesday in New York - Politics & Government - Israel News - Israel National News
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'Hitler Youth' Synagogue Restored to Jews in Poland - Jewish World - Israel News - Israel National News

'Hitler Youth' Synagogue Restored to Jews in Poland - Jewish World - Israel News - Israel National News
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Chesler Chronicles » Mother of Dead Dallas Girls Calls Their Murder An “Honor Killing”

Chesler Chronicles » Mother of Dead Dallas Girls Calls Their Murder An “Honor Killing”

Israel Matzav: How to engage with Ahmadinejad without being seen with him

How to engage with Ahmadinejad without being seen with him

President Obama may want to 'engage' with Iranian President Mahmojud Ahmadinejad, but he certainly does not want to be seen with him in public (nor to create a lot of great clips for Democratic campaign ads in 2012).

For that matter, the Obumbler doesn't want to be seen with Muamar Gadhafi either. So what's a President to do? Well, it sounds like the President is getting some blockers to make sure that Ahmadinejad and Gadhafi don't come near him.

Mr Obama is performing a carefully choreographed diplomatic dance. American diplomats have been busy behind the scenes trying to ensure that his star turn on the world stage is not marred by any uncomfortable encounters with the Libyan leader, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, or President Ahmadinejad of Iran.

Mr Obama is due to deliver his maiden address to the 192-nation General Assembly on Wednesday morning — immediately before Colonel Gaddafi. He is expected to proclaim Washington’s full engagement with the UN after eight years of the internationally unpopular Bush Administration.

Susan Rice, his UN Ambassador, has summed up the speech thus: “Everybody has a responsibility. The US is leading anew, and we’re looking to others to join.”

America’s first black President — who plans to host a first luncheon for black African leaders — has celebrity status at the United Nations. He is likely to receive a standing ovation from delegates, in sharp contrast to Mr Bush, who used to refer to his stony-faced reception as a visit to the “wax museum”.

Before making his address, Mr Obama will hold a pro-forma meeting with Ali Treiki, the former Libyan Foreign Minister, who is this year’s General Assembly president.

US diplomats, however, have been consulting UN protocol officers on ways to ensure that Mr Obama — who strongly criticised Britain’s release of Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi, the convicted Lockerbie bomber — does not cross paths with Colonel Gaddafi in the General Assembly chamber. Plans are afoot for separate entrances and exits from the podium.

Mr Obama will find it harder to avoid an embarrassing handshake with Colonel Gaddafi when he becomes the first US President to chair the 15-nation UN Security Council for a special session on nuclear non-proliferation on Thursday.

They will sit just a few feet away from each other around the table — along with Gordon Brown.

Wouldn't it be funny if the desert dictator planted a kiss on Obama's cheek for the cameras? I'd pay for that one.


Israel Matzav: How to engage with Ahmadinejad without being seen with him

Israel Matzav: Brzezinski: Shoot down IAF jets over Iraq

Brzezinski: Shoot down IAF jets over Iraq

Zbigniew Brzezinski, former National Security Adviser to Jimmy Carter and a campaign adviser to President Obama, told The Daily Beast in an interview on Sunday that the United States should shoot down IAF jets over Iraq if they are headed for Iran.

Is the fallout as bad if Israel preemptively strikes Iran?
Absolutely. That is the way, more importantly, how the Iranians would view it. They really can’t do much to the Israelis, despite all their bluster. The only thing they can do is unify themselves, especially nationalistically, to rally against us, and the mullahs might even think of it as a blessing.

How aggressive can Obama be in insisting to the Israelis that a military strike might be in America’s worst interest?
We are not exactly impotent little babies. They have to fly over our airspace in Iraq. Are we just going to sit there and watch?

What if they fly over anyway?
Well, we have to be serious about denying them that right. That means a denial where you aren’t just saying it. If they fly over, you go up and confront them. They have the choice of turning back or not. No one wishes for this but it could be a Liberty in reverse. [Israeli jet fighters and torpedo boats attacked the USS Liberty in international waters, off the Sinai Peninsula, during the Six-Day War in 1967. Israel later claimed the ship was the object of friendly fire.]

One big difference: The attack on the Liberty was not pre-meditated (and don't even bother coming out of the woodwork Libery freaks, because I will delete all your comments).

And you thought Samantha Power was the only one in this administration who was willing to shoot at America's (former) number one ally? Does anyone believe that Obama no longer talks to Zbig? What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Brzezinski: Shoot down IAF jets over Iraq

Israel Matzav: Gaza's only spa

Israel Matzav: Gaza's only spa

Israel Matzav: Speaking of that 'summit'

Israel Matzav: Speaking of that 'summit'

Israel Matzav: Mahnaimi raises hysteria again

Israel Matzav: Mahnaimi raises hysteria again

Israel Matzav: Ellison speaks at fundraiser for unindicted co-conspirator

Israel Matzav: Ellison speaks at fundraiser for unindicted co-conspirator

Israel Matzav: A Leftist cries over the Goldstone Report

Israel Matzav: A Leftist cries over the Goldstone Report

Israel Matzav: A 'stream of consciousness' greeting for Gadhafi

Israel Matzav: A 'stream of consciousness' greeting for Gadhafi

Israel Matzav: The 'moderate' Salam Fayyad

The 'moderate' Salam Fayyad

Last month, I reported that 'Palestinian' Prime Minister Salam Fayyad had presented a plan that would create a 'Palestinian state' within two years - with or without Israeli consent. Fayyad has been widely praised as a 'moderate' and his 'Palestinian state' announcement was largely hailed in the mainstream media (including in Israel) as showing that Fayyad was building the institutions of a 'Palestinian state' from the ground up, thereby making it more likely that such a state would actually be established.

Unfortunately, many of the people who praised Fayyad apparently never bothered to read his actual proposal. It's called Ending the Occupation, Establishing the State. And it has some provisions in it that ought to make those who consider Fayyad a 'moderate' reconsider that classification (Hat Tip: David Bedein).

Protect Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the Palestinian state

Jerusalem is our people’s religious, cultural, economic and political center. It is the Flower of Cities and Capital of Capitals. It cannot be anything but the eternal capital of the future Palestinian state. Jerusalem is under threat: the occupying authority is implementing a systematic plan to alter the city’s landmarks and its geographical and demographic character in order to forcibly create facts on the ground, ultimately separating it from its Palestinian surroundings and eradicating its Arab Palestinian heritage. To achieve this goal, the occupying authority is pursuing its intensive settlement policy in and around Jerusalem, including land confiscation, expanding and distorting the city’s structural plans, and, through the construction of the Wall, isolating it from its Palestinian surroundings. Inside the city, which has effectively been converted by these policies into an isolated and closed ghetto, the occupation regime has shut down our national institutions, neglected the development of Palestinian life, continued to demolish and evacuate Palestinian homes, and restricted access to sacred Christian and Islamic sites. If these measures continue, the possibility of establishing the Palestinian state and ending the conflict on the basis of the two-state solution will be terminally undermined.

The Government emphasizes its unreserved commitment to defending the Arab character and status of Jerusalem, and to restore its character as a city of peace, worship and tolerance that, with no barriers or walls, is open not only to our people but to all humankind. The Government will continue to do all that is possible to achieve this goal. The Government will work with all organizations to preserve the landmarks of Jerusalem and its Arab Palestinian heritage, develop the city, and secure its contiguity with its Palestinian surroundings. The Government will also dedicate all its capacities to confront the occupation regime’s policies; continue to work on regional and international levels to stop these policies; support education, health, economic, cultural, and tourism activities; reopen Palestinian institutions; defy house demolition and evacuation orders; and resist all restrictions on our citizens, thereby safeguarding their struggle to remain steadfast in the capital city of their homeland. [Does anyone think he's only talking about 'east' Jerusalem? CiJ]

Protect refugees and follow up on attainment of their rights

The majority of the Palestinian people are refugees and displaced persons living in the Palestinian territory and abroad. Most refugees live under oppressive and harsh conditions, lacking their most fundamental human rights, foremost of which is the right to live on their homeland. Though the issue of refugees will be addressed in the final status negotiations, it is certain that no political settlement can be accepted by Palestinians without a just and agreed solution to this fundamental issue in accordance with international resolutions, including UN General Assembly Resolution 194. [This is the resolution that calls for allowing 'refugees' who are willing to live in peace with Israel to return to their homes. In 1948, it might have been relevant. Time has passed it by and most of those 'refugees' are long since dead. In other words, he's calling for the 'right of return' which would destroy Israel from within. CiJ]

The refugee issue will remain under the jurisdiction of the PLO, through its Department of Refugees’ Affairs. The Government affirms its full commitment to all PLO decisions in relation to this issue. Within limits of its jurisdiction, without derogation of PLO’s responsibility, and in a manner that does not exempt the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) from its responsibilities, the Government emphasizes that it will do all within its power and authority to bolster on the legal rights and living conditions of refugees in the occupied territory, particularly in refugee camps, including the provision of all the resources it can afford to support and alleviate the suffering of refugees in all aspects of their lives.

It is also clear from this document that Fayyad plans on having a full diplomatic corps. Forget that demilitarized state with no treaties or alliances that Prime Minister Netanyahu envisioned. And he envisions that 'Palestine' will be a shari'a compliant state.

Ministry of Waqf and Religious Affairs

The Ministry of Waqf and Religious Affairs (MoWRA) has the following objectives:
Promote awareness and understanding of the Islamic religion and culture and disseminate the concept of tolerance in the religion through:

  • Developing and implementing programs of Shari’a education as derived from the science of the Holy Qur’an and Prophet’s heritage.
  • Empowering mosques as a center of guidance, through improving their infrastructure and services.

Promote service delivery to citizens through:

  • Developing buildings and services, and maintaining mosques.
  • Supporting the activities of the Hajj and ‘Umrah.
  • Supervising Shari’a education, including at the College of Preaching and Shari’a Science as well as the Islamic Orphanage.

Protect and promote effective and efficient management of Zakat funds and Waqf properties through:

  • Improving the management of the Zakat funds and ensuring equitable distribution.
  • Following up on the survey of the Waqf properties.
  • Creating a computerized database to keep all information on Waqf properties.
  • Developing policies on the best utilization of Waqf properties.
The court system is also a shari'a court system.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: The 'moderate' Salam Fayyad

Israel Matzav: Norwegian media applauds propagandizing doctors

Israel Matzav: Norwegian media applauds propagandizing doctors

Israel Matzav: Goldstone's sins of omission

Goldstone's sins of omission

Writing in the Guardian (of all places) Dan Kosky nails the deficiencies of the Goldstone Commission:

Yet it is perhaps what is missing which is most telling. Reading the report, one would be unaware of Hamas's human-shield strategy, a significant contributory factor to the civilian deaths in Gaza. Goldstone prefers to ignore the obvious. Although he states: "Palestinian armed groups were present in urban areas during the military operations and launched rockets from urban areas", he avoids the logical conclusion of the massive use of human shields. Of course, admitting that Hamas endangered Gazan citizens would provide an alternative to Israeli guilt. Yet, rather than state the inconvenient truth, the report reinforces preconceived Israeli culpability.

Goldstone is similarly evasive over the unreliability of key "eyewitnesses". Like the flood of NGO publications in the immediate aftermath of the conflict (particularly those by Human Rights Watch, of which Goldstone was a board member) Goldstone's so-called investigation is largely reliant upon "eyewitness" Gaza testimony. The report applies entirely illogical reasoning, failing to elaborate on "a certain reluctance by the persons … interviewed in Gaza to discuss the activities of armed groups". This observation provides a glimpse of the dangers faced by those speaking out against the regime in Gaza, yet Goldstone omits to mention how Hamas intimidation undermines witnesses and with it the very foundation for his conclusions.

On the basis of such flimsy testimony, Goldstone's recommendations are particularly sinister. Although "the findings do not … pretend to reach the standard of proof applicable in criminal trials", they will undoubtedly fuel a judicial campaign against Israel. Both Israel and the euphemistic "Gaza authorities" have been given six months to prove their mettle in investigating potential war crimes or face the prospect of becoming international pariahs at the international criminal court (ICC).

Realistically, no one can expect to hold to account a non-state actor such as Hamas, supported by Iran. Fewer still can imagine that any Israeli investigation will be judged by the UN framework as satisfactory. The Israeli authorities have already investigated more than 100 allegations of wrongdoing, with 23 cases still pending. These efforts were deemed insufficient before they began and one wonders how many convictions would have to be secured in Israeli courts to ward off the wrath of Goldstone.

Read the whole thing.

JPost columnist Amir Mizroch refers to Goldstone as a Zionist and as a practicing Jew. What the hell was Goldstone thinking?
Israel Matzav: Goldstone's sins of omission

Israel Matzav: The plan to terminate the Jewish state

The plan to terminate the Jewish state

I received this via email:

ICT's 9th International Conference - Closing Evening

10 September 2009

Prof. Uriel Reichman President of IDC University in Herzilea

The plan to terminate the Jewish state is no longer based on winning one major allout war. The planned strategy is based on two long-term operations. One is a continuous, low intensity, violent campaign. Such terror acts directed at civilians are aimed to break the citizens' will-power and to cause internal debates and chaos.

The other part of the strategy is taking place abroad. Activities aimed at spreading hatred against Israel and arguing that the Jewish state has no right to exist are taking place daily. Such as, for example, the claims that Israel is an apartheid state, a colonial state, a racist entity, a society that faked its history to claim rights to a land that does not belong to it, and so on. By doing so, public opinion is built to demand boycotts against Israel, to start criminal proceedings against I.D.F. commanders, to move governments and several nations to impose sanctions on Israel and finally, perhaps, to call international military activity against us.

It is a sophisticated process that can be especially effective against a small nation.

Substantial Arab resources are poured into accomplishing these results, buying all kinds of media and funding anti-Israel organizations. There is no doubt that innocent people are caught by the emotional, as well as ideological, propaganda against Israel.

The most extreme allegations against Israel are often made by a small anti-Zionist group of Israeli university professors. Their ideas are widely circulated and are especially effective because they are made by Israelis. Recently, in an article published in the Los Angeles Times, an Israeli professor called his audience to boycott Israel on all levels, to "save that apartheid state from itself."

How should a university respond to such writing? Is it a case of constitutionally protected free speech or academic freedom? There is a difference between internal democratic debate, what course should a nation adopt, when being called in for sanctions by other countries. The professor who wrote the L.A. article would probably support the use of international military forces, in case the sanctions fail its "save Israel from itself" campaign. Calling other nations to take action against your own country - be it by economic sanctions or military force – means turning your back on the internal democratic system. Such an attitude is morally right only if you believe that the situation has reached a point in which the system has entirely lost its legitimacy and thus merits revolt. If that is the case, it is very odd that such a professor is requiring a salary from a state university funded by the tax payers' money.

Freedom of speech is guaranteed to enable free debate in a society; it does not extend to calls for force, which will actually terminate debates. Such calls have also nothing to do with academic freedom. It is a joke to regard a call for academic boycott as being part of academic freedom.

The paradox of modern communication is that fundamentalist calls for the annihilation of one people are supported by arguments of self-proclaimed Human rights moralists. What we all need is the power to face evil, and the human decency to distinguish between right and wrong, oppose the call to eliminate the other and support the right of self-defense and freedom.

In eight days, the Jewish New Year starts. Let me wish all of you Shana Tova – a Happy New Year, a year free of violence, a year of joy and creativity.

Thank you for attending the conference.

The professor to whom he is referring is of course Neve Gordon. At some point, the privilege of biting the hand that feeds you ought to come to an end. Gordon is long past that point. But then, unfortunately, so is much of Israel's academia.

Israel Matzav: The plan to terminate the Jewish state

Israel Matzav: Goldstone's shallow questions

Israel Matzav: Goldstone's shallow questions

Israel Matzav: Transcript: Television interview with Prime Minister Netanyahu

Israel Matzav: Transcript: Television interview with Prime Minister Netanyahu

Israel Matzav: Why Hamas has gone (relatively) quiet

Why Hamas has gone (relatively) quiet

Over the weekend, two Hamas terrorists were killed trying to infiltrate the border fence between Gaza and Israel. Still, Hamas has gone relatively quiet since the end of Operation Cast Lead, leading some to believe that perhaps the group has given up terror altogether. TerrorWonk explains that belief is wrong.

Rocket fire against Israel would only increase Hamas' international isolation, enforce the notion that sanctions against Gaza are necessary, and lend further impetus to American and Israeli support for Fatah against Hamas in the West Bank. This would weaken the organization amidst its current drive to supplant Fatah as the representative of the Palestinians and consolidate power after a 2006 electoral victory and its 2007 military coup in Gaza.

In other words, the decision to halt the firing of rockets from Gaza is not an abandonment of its long-term strategy of war against Israel. It is merely an element within its short-term strategy to consolidate power among the Palestinians. As Shin Bet (Israeli Security Agency) chief Yuval Diskin recently noted, the recent trail off in rocket fire, "doesn't mean they [Hamas] have abandoned ideological principles. Hamas is turning to the diplomatic sphere to challenge exclusive control by [Fatah leader] Abu Mazen."


It would be overly optimistic to interpret Hamas' cease-fire since Operation Cast Lead as an indication of a philosophical change. The ineffectiveness of Hamas' rocket attacks relative to the damage it suffered from the IDF offensive must be one factor in Hamas' decision-making. Intra-Palestinian politics is another. Ultimately, short-term choices that impact Palestinian political dynamics will not likely prompt Hamas to renounce its goal of destroying Israel, or its long-term use of violence to achieve that end.

Read the whole thing.

It's naive to think that Hamas has given up terror altogether. I'm inclined to believe that they were badly beaten in January (not badly enough) but they are regrouping for the next battle. They are also hoping that the Goldstone Commission and its ilk will weaken Israel on the diplomatic front and force it to be even more constrained in the next round.

The picture at the top is Anas Naim, one of the Hamas 'medics' that the Goldstone Commission found was killed by Israel during Operation Cast Lead.

Israel Matzav: Why Hamas has gone (relatively) quiet

Israel Matzav: Congress angry over Saudi boycott

Congress angry over Saudi boycott

Last Monday, I reported that instances of the Saudis asking companies to boycott Israel had risen 76% since the Saudis agreed not to boycott Israel as a condition to their admission to the World Trade Organization in 2005. That report has apparently angered members of Congress on both sides of the aisle.

Democrat Howard Berman of California, Chairman of the powerful House Foreign Affairs Committee, told the Post from Washington that he had read the report in Monday's paper.

"This is a very disturbing report," Berman said, "particularly in light of the fact that US officials assured us four years ago that Saudi Arabia would abandon the boycott as the condition for its entry into the World Trade Organization."

Berman declared that he would take action on the issue.

"I intend to pursue this matter with the administration," he said.

Across the aisle, Congressman Mike Pence of Indiana, who chairs the House Republican Conference, also criticized Riyadh for its duplicity.

"Saudi Arabia's disregard of its 2005 pledge to end the boycott against Israel is unacceptable," Pence told the Post.

"Congress and the administration must hold Saudi Arabia accountable. The United States cannot stand by and continue to witness this mistreatment towards the peace-loving people of Israel," he said.

"Ending the Arab League boycott and establishing trade relationships with Israel would help foster much needed peace in the region," Pence added.

Hey folks - time to stop fooling ourselves. The Saudis aren't going to accept Israel's 'right to exist' as a Jewish state in this region - not now and not ever. And neither will any of the other Arab - Muslim countries. The existence of the 'Palestinians' is a sham that's meant to divert attention from the fact that Israel liberated Judea and Samaria (and Gaza and Sinai and the Golan Heights) in a defensive war, and therefore has an absolute right to those lands under international law.

I'd love to see Saudi Arabia kicked out of the WTO, but it will never happen.

Israel Matzav: Congress angry over Saudi boycott

Israel Matzav: Medvedev: 'Peres promised that Israel won't attack Iran'; UPDATE: Peres was wrong

Medvedev: 'Peres promised that Israel won't attack Iran'; UPDATE: Peres was wrong

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev was the guest on Fareed Zakaria's GPS show on CNN on Sunday. During the interview, Medvedev was asked about Russia's relations with Iran, Iran's nuclear program and the prospects that Iran will attack Israel or that Israel will attack Iran. It all starts at 7:58 below and runs until 14:14 (sorry, they did not break this video apart and I don't know how to do that myself):

Let's go to the videotape.

So Medvedev says that Shimon Peres told him that Israel won't attack Iran. That was the headline here. Just one problem: Peres is a figurehead with no real power.

If Medvedev really believes that Israel won't attack Iran if it feels threatened, he is fooling himself. Shimon Peres is not in charge here. Barack Obama isn't in charge either.


Fox News reports that Peres was wrong.
"Israel has the right to defend itself and all options are on the table," Israel Lieutenant-General Gabi Askenazi said during a rare interview on Army Radio.

The army chief's statement comes after Medvedev said on Sunday that Israeli President Shimon Peres assured him it would not attack Iran.

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon was asked by Reuters on Monday if the comment by Peres, as reported by Medvedev, was a guarantee there would be no Israeli strike on Iran.

"It is certainly not a guarantee," Ayalon said. "I don't think that, with all due respect, the Russian president is authorised to speak for Israel and certainly we have not taken any option off the table."

Israel Matzav: Medvedev: 'Peres promised that Israel won't attack Iran'; UPDATE: Peres was wrong

Israel Matzav: Ambassador Michael Oren's Rosh HaShana letter to the Jewish community

Ambassador Michael Oren's Rosh HaShana letter to the Jewish community

This open letter to the American Jewish community below was sent by Israel's ambassador to the United States, Michael Oren (Hat Tip: Lance K).
Notice how much of the letter is devoted to Iran. I hope you all had the threat to Israel from Iran in mind during your prayers this weekend, and that you will do so on Yom Kippur as well. For those who are familiar with the Shmoneh Esrei prayer, I personally find the the three paragraphs that begin "u'v'chein tein" to be the most appropriate place to have this in mind. Your mileage may vary.

For those who cannot read it from the picture above, here is the full text of Ambassador Oren's letter:
September 17, 2009

Dear Rabbis, community leaders and friends:

This month, Jews throughout the world will celebrate the New Year of 5770. Both Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur instruct us to reflect on our previous year and prepare for the year to come.

This past year, Israel has made significant accomplishments. Our scientists are unlocking the secrets of the human body to discover new cures for diseases. Israeli art, film, and literature received prestigious recognition from internationally renowned institutions. The Israeli economy was one of the first countries to emerge from the economic recession.

In spite of a year of many achievements in a variety of fields, these are challenging times for the State of Israel and the Jewish people. The direst threat to Israel—indeed to the Middle East and the world—is a nuclear armed Iran.

Iran's support for terrorism, its commitment to Israel's destruction, and its determination to produce nuclear weapons represents the most pressing issue of our time. Iran has repeatedly demonstrated its refusal to accept norms of democracy and civility. Iranian security forces killed dozens of their fellow citizens in the aftermath of the recent elections and Iranian judges routinely sentence juvenile offenders to death. Last month, President Ahmadinejad appointed an internationally-wanted terrorist, the mastermind of the murderous attack on the Jewish Center in Buenos Aires in 1994, as his defense minister. The president has publicly called for a world without Zionism and America.

While uniting against the Iranian threat, Israel also seeks American and international support in moving toward a permanent, sustainable peace. Israel will continue to reach out to Palestinian leaders without preconditions in the hope of realizing this dream in our lifetime.

We are facing a critical juncture in our history. The Jewish community must confront this unprecedented threat before it is too late. I urge you as leaders of the Jewish community to impress this situation on your congregations. It is imperative to act now, at the start of a new year, and to join our voices in doing what absolutely necessary to stop the Iranian nuclear threat.

L’Shana Tova U’Metuka,

Michael Oren
Israeli Ambassador to the United States

Israel Matzav: Ambassador Michael Oren's Rosh HaShana letter to the Jewish community

Israel Matzav: Maybe this explains it

Israel Matzav: Maybe this explains it

Love of the Land: Brezinski Calls for Obama to Shoot Down Israeli Jets; "A Liberty in Reverse"

Brezinski Calls for Obama to Shoot Down Israeli Jets; "A Liberty in Reverse"

Posted by Michael Goldfarb
The Weekly Standard
21 September 09

(It's not to difficult to understand why Carter's survived only one term as President surrounded by such dazzling intellects.)

In a little noticed interview with the Daily Beast (presumably little noticed because serious people don't read the Daily Beast), Zbigniew Brzezinski suggests that Barack Obama do more than just refuse to support an Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear sites -- the American president must give the order to shoot down Israeli aircraft as they cross Iraqi airspace:

DB: How aggressive can Obama be in insisting to the Israelis that a military strike might be in America’s worst interest?

Brzezinski: We are not exactly impotent little babies. They have to fly over our airspace in Iraq. Are we just going to sit there and watch?

DB: What if they fly over anyway?

Brzezinski: Well, we have to be serious about denying them that right. That means a denial where you aren’t just saying it. If they fly over, you go up and confront them. They have the choice of turning back or not. No one wishes for this but it could be a Liberty in reverse.

Contrary to Brezinski's half-hearted disclaimer that no one wishes for such an outcome, there are plenty on the left who would delight in a pitched battle between the United States and Israel. Democrats in Congress routinely support resolutions affirming Israel's right to take whatever steps it deems necessary to assure its own national defense. And Obama has at least paid lip service to the concept. But hostility to Israel among the rank and file is very real on the left -- and among "realists."

So conjure the image -- the Obama administration sending U.S. aircraft up to protect Iran's airspace and it's nuclear installations from an attack by a democracy that is one of America's closest allies. Unfortunately, this may not be so hard to imagine in Israel, where the number of people who believe Obama is pro-Israel is at just 4 percent -- and falling. And given Obama's (literally) submissive posture to the Saudis, his indulgence of the Iranians, and his simultaneously hard-line approach to Israel, it seems even some of Obama's supporters can savor the possibility of a "reverse Liberty."

Love of the Land: Brezinski Calls for Obama to Shoot Down Israeli Jets; "A Liberty in Reverse"

Love of the Land: Peace Process or War Process?

Peace Process or War Process?

Daniel Pipes
Middle East Quarterly
Fall 2009

Dear Reader:

I have written over 300 pieces on the Arab-Israeli conflict and have been crafting the essay offered below for about a decade. At just over 2,500 words in length, it provides a distillation of my thinking on this topic.

When Barack Obama announced in June 2009 about Israeli-Palestinian diplomacy, "I'm confident that if we stick with it, having started early, that we can make some serious progress this year," he displayed a touching, if naïve optimism.

Indeed, his determination fits a well-established pattern of determination by politicians to "solve" the Arab-Israeli conflict; there were fourteen U.S. government initiatives just during the two George W. Bush administrations. Might this time be different? Will trying harder or being more clever end the conflict?

No, there is no chance whatever of this effort working.

Without looking at the specifics of the Obama approach — which are in themselves problematic — I shall argue three points: that past Israeli-Palestinian negotiations have failed; that their failure resulted from an Israeli illusion about avoiding war; and that Washington should urge Jerusalem to forego negotiations and return instead to its earlier and more successful policy of fighting for victory.

I. Reviewing the "Peace Process"

It is embarrassing to recall the elation and expectations that accompanied the signing of the Oslo accords in September 1993 when Israel's prime minister Yitzhak Rabin shook hands on the White House lawn with Yasir Arafat, the Palestinian leader. For some years afterward, "The Handshake" (as it was then capitalized) served as the symbol of brilliant diplomacy, whereby each side achieved what it most wanted: dignity and autonomy for the Palestinians, recognition and security for the Israelis.

President Bill Clinton hosted the ceremony and lauded the deal as a "great occasion of history." Secretary of State Warren Christopherconcluded that "the impossible is within our reach." Yasir Arafat called the signing an "historic event, inaugurating a new epoch." Israel's foreign minister Shimon Peres said one could see in it "the outline of peace in the Middle East."

The press displayed similar expectations. Anthony Lewis, a New York Times columnist, deemed the agreement "stunning" and "ingeniously built." Time magazine made Arafat and Rabin two of its "men of the year" for 1993. To cap it off, Arafat, Rabin, and Peres jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize for 1994.

As the accords led to a deterioration of conditions for Palestinians and Israelis, rather than the expected improvement, these heady anticipations quickly dissipated.

When Palestinians still lived under Israeli control, pre-Oslo accords, they had benefited from the rule of law and a growing economy, independent of international welfare. They enjoyed functioning schools and hospitals; they traveled without checkpoints and had free access to Israeli territory. They even founded several universities. Terrorism declined as acceptance of Israel increased. Oslo then brought Palestinians not peace and prosperity, but tyranny, failed institutions, poverty, corruption, a death cult, suicide factories, and Islamist radicalization. Yasir Arafat had promised to build his new dominion into a Middle Eastern Singapore, but the reality he ruled became a nightmare of dependence, inhumanity, and loathing, more akin to Liberia or the Congo.

As for Israelis, they watched as Palestinian rage spiraled upward, inflicting unprecedented violence on them; theIsraeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs reports that more Israelis were killed by Palestinian terrorists in the five years after the Oslo accords than in the fifteen years preceding it. If the two hands in the Rabin-Arafat handshake symbolized Oslo's early hopes, the two bloody handsof a young Palestinian male who had just lynched Israeli reservists in Ramallah in October 2000 represented its dismal end. In addition, Oslo did great damage to Israel's standing internationally, resurrecting questions about the very existence of a sovereign Jewish state, especially on the Left, and spawning moral perversions such as the U.N. World Conference against Racism in Durban. From Israel's perspective, the seven years of Oslo diplomacy, 1993-2000, largely undid forty-five years of success in warfare.

Palestinians and Israelis agree on little, but with a near universality they concur that the Oslo accords failed. What is called the "peace process" should rather be called the "war process."

(Full Article)

Love of the Land: Peace Process or War Process?

Love of the Land: Peeling Off J Street’s Invisibility Cloak: What the NY Times Magazine Won’t Tell You

Peeling Off J Street’s Invisibility Cloak: What the NY Times Magazine Won’t Tell You

Lenny Ben-David
17 September 09

There is no street in Washington named for the letter “J,” but that hasn’t stopped a group of critics of Israel from forming the “J Street” lobby. It’s like J. K. Rowling’s invisible Platform 9 ¾ at the King’s Cross Station. Befitting a Harry Potter character, J Street performs acts of illusion and deception such as cooking its polling data and presenting it as scientific truth. The “pro-Israel” J Street PAC has cloaked dozens of PAC contributors as plain citizens, when they are actually Arab-American, Palestinian, Islamic, and pro-Iranian activists. All the while, J Street hides the names of its directors and has never explained who makes its controversial decisions.

The adoring media audience gasps with uncritical wonderment at the amazing show of prestidigitation carried out so far by the upstart lobby. The J Street appreciation society was expanded today with a lengthy piece in the
New York Times Magazine.

Breaking out of the media trance, a Jerusalem Post reporter recently revealed that the organization maintains a “finance committee” consisting of “50 members — with a $10,000 contribution threshold.” It’s members include, according to the report, “Lebanese-American businessman Richard Abdoo, a current board member of Amideast and a former board member of the Arab American Institute, and Genevieve Lynch, who is also a member of the National Iranian American Council board.”

The latest conjurer is Zahi Khouri, who contributed to J Street PAC this summer. The unfortunate man is listed [5] in Federal Election Committee records filed by J Street as “not employed” and living in Orlando, Florida.

Open the New York Times of September 9 to the Op-Ed section,
however, and learn that he is the “chief executive of the Palestinian National Beverage Co.” The Times could have gone on to describe Khouri as a director of the Palestinian Development and Investment Company (PADICO) and CEO of Paltel, the Palestinian telecommunications company and cellular service provider. He also writes that he lives in the West Bank, [cue violins] having “left a comfortable life on Park Avenue in Manhattan” to open his Coke franchise.

In his New York Times article, Khouri decries Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s attempts to achieve an “economic peace” between the Palestinians and Israel. He dismisses the seven percent growth projected for the West Bank, fails to mention the crippling corruption that has plagued the Palestinian Authority, and ignores the Palestinian terrorism that wracked the West Bank and Gaza economies and forced Israel to build security barriers to protect its citizens. When the previous Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, offered almost all of the West Bank and sections of Jerusalem, the Palestinian Authority’s Abu Abbas rejected the deal. But Khouri the conjurer lays the blame for the stalemate at Netanyahu’s feet.

In all fairness — and presumably with a straight stage face — Khouri told the Jerusalem Post that “he donated to the J Street PAC because ‘I believe that they are sincere about being pro-Israel and they are sincere about being pro-peace. And AIPAC I consider an enemy of Israel rather than a friend of Israel because they’re not helping it to achieve peace.’” Khouri’s definition of peace, of course, is not widely accepted, certainly not by Israelis and friends of Israel in the U.S.

Other JStreet PAC contributors include an “attorney” whom J Street doesn’t reveal as a board member of the hyper-critical-of-Israel Human Rights Watch, a “teacher” who was actually a founder of an Islamic school in Virginia, a “housing specialist” who is the national co-chairman of Middle East Network of United Methodists, another serial defamer of Israel, a Washington lawyer who actually works for the Saudi Embassy, and many more.

Does the Sphinx answer another riddle?

On July 13, J Street was invited to meet with President Obama as part of a delegation of national Jewish organizations. Some eyebrows should have been raised again when it was invited to a small meeting of Jewish organizations with Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak in Washington on August 17. Perhaps it’s logical that President Obama’s favorite Jewish organization would be invited by an Egyptian leader seeking to score points with the White House.

But a closer look at J Street’s supporters may explain how it got its ticket to the show. The organization has several prominent Egyptophiles on its board of advisors and among its financial supporters.

The Jerusalem Post recent exposé revealed that the head of the Egyptian desk at the State Department, Nicole D. Shampaine at the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, contributed $1,000 to J Street’s political action committee last year.

Sitting on J Street’s advisory council are a couple of former U.S. ambassado
rs to Egypt, and one of them, Robert Pelletreau, was also registered at the U.S. Justice Department as a foreign agent for Egypt, working for the firm of Afridi, Angel & Pelletreau.

Another J Street advisor, Judith Barnett, once served as the deputy assistant secretary of commerce for the Middle East and Africa. Upon leaving government service, she set up her own consulting firm and affiliated with the international PA Consulting Group where she worked for the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Trade. In her own words, she “created Egypt, Inc., a major initiative to increase trade and investment for the Ministry … which included a worldwide assessment of Egypt’s commercial services for its companies, a commercial website, and a series of national outreach programs in the U.S.”

After writing a sycophantic piece in the Washington Post in 2004 about the changing role of women in Saudi Arabia [“I found … that the role of Saudi women is changing far more quickly than most in the West realize.”], Ms. Barnett went on to register with the Justice Department as a foreign agent for Saudi Arabia, as well.

So it should be no mystery why J Street was invited to meet with President Mubarak. Would that the organization have such prominent advocates for another Middle East country, one called Israel.
Related: Protecting the QB in the Whitehouse

Love of the Land: Peeling Off J Street’s Invisibility Cloak: What the NY Times Magazine Won’t Tell You

Love of the Land: David Landau’s Criticism of Goldstone: Even the Self-Absorbed See a Problem

David Landau’s Criticism of Goldstone: Even the Self-Absorbed See a Problem

Richard Landes
Augean Stables
21 September 09

Even hyper-self-critic David Landau, whose astonishingly self-destructiive advice to Condaleeza Rice, I’ve discussed before, finds Goldstone unpalatable. And yet, he remains firmly inside his moral narcissism, obsessing over the four-dimensional Israeli soul, implicitly treating Gentiles as three-dimensional bit players, and the Palestinians as two dimensional cardboard figures whose moral angency does not even exist.Even for Goldstone, getting criticized by someone like Landau has to hurt. From fashlah to fadihah.

The Gaza Report’s Wasted Opportunity

Published: September 19, 2009

ISRAEL intentionally went after civilians in Gaza — and wrapped its intention in lies.
That chilling — and misguided — accusation is the key conclusion of the United Nations investigation, led by Richard Goldstone, into the three-week war last winter. “While the Israeli government has sought to portray its operations as essentially a response to rocket attacks in the exercises of its right to self-defense,” the report said, “the mission considers the plan to have been directed, at least in part, at a different target: the people of Gaza as a whole.”

The report has produced a storm of outraged rejection in Israel. Politicians fulminate about double standards and anti-Semitism. Judge Goldstone, an eminent South African jurist and a Jew, is widely excoriated as an enemy of his people.

The report stunned even seasoned Israeli diplomats who expected no quarter from an inquiry set up by the United Nations Human Rights Council, which they believe to be deeply biased against Israel. They expected the military operation to be condemned as grossly disproportionate. They expected Israel to be lambasted for not taking sufficient care to avoid civilian casualties. But they never imagined that the report would accuse the Jewish state of intentionally aiming at civilians.

Israelis believe that their army did not deliberately kill the hundreds of Palestinian civilians, including children, who died during “Operation Cast Lead.” They believe, therefore, that Israel is not culpable, morally or criminally, for these civilian deaths, which were collateral to the true aim of the operation — killing Hamas gunmen.

It is, some would argue, a form of self-deception.

When does negligence become recklessness, and when does recklessness slip into wanton callousness, and then into deliberate disregard for innocent human life?

Note that we have yet to even reach the Palestinian starting point — target civilians deliberately… or, in short, terrorism. This simple observation, not on Landau’s radar screen because he doesn’t really think about Palestinians as human beings (i.e., moral agents), but only as victims (i.e., as innocent creatures), will become especially important in noting how the Goldstone Commission used the “T” wordonly to refer to Israel and never to refer to Hamas.

But that is the point — and it should have been the focus of the investigation. Judge Goldstone’s real mandate was, or should have been, to bring Israel to confront this fundamental question, a question inherent in the waging of war by all civilized societies against irregular armed groups.

“…that attack the civilized society’s civilians from within their own civilian population, making non-retaliation a recipe for further aggression and retaliation an excruciating moral dilemma.”

Are widespread civilian casualties inevitable when a modern army pounds terrorist targets in a heavily populated area with purportedly smart ordnance?

That, of course, depends on your definition of “widespread.” For the Sri Lankans, and their allies in the UNHRC, which commissioned Goldstone’s investigation, 20,000 civilians were a fair price to pay in order to wipe out the Tamil Tigers. Even by Palestinian figures — which are undoubtedly exaggerated — the Sri Lankan operation has “widespread” civilian casulties of an order of over 20 times the magnitude of Palestinian civilians.

Are they acceptable? Does the enemy’s deployment in the heart of the civilian area shift the line between right and wrong, in morality and in law?

Duh, yes. That’s the whole point; and according to the Geneva Convention, the civilian deaths are the fault of the military that hides among the civilians. The case for responsibility to the latter is further sharpened when the civilians among which the enemy army has hidden has voted in “democratic elections” for that army. But again, Landau poses the question as if it were answerable in the negative — “No, the enemy’s deployment does not shift the line [and allow attacks with civilian casualties].” For him, Hamas’ culpability does not even enter into the equation.

These were precisely the questions that Israeli politicians and generals wrestled with in Gaza, as others do today in Afghanistan.

Because the generals and politicians in Israel and the US live by principles that value human life even the lives of the enemy, and have free MSNM to keep them honest. They are, to a significant extent, self-policing, even when it harms them tactically (e.g., Abu Graibh).

It is possible, and certainly arguable, that the Israeli policymakers, or individual Israeli field commanders in isolated instances, pushed the line out too far.

But Judge Goldstone has thwarted any such honest debate — within Israel or concerning Israel. His fundamental premise, that the Israelis went after civilians, shut down the argument before it began.

This is regrettable, for the report could have stirred the conscience of the nation. Many Israelis were dismayed at the war’s casualty figures, at the disparity between the dozen deaths on the Israeli side and the thousand-plus deaths, many of them of noncombatants, in Gaza.

Many Israelis were profoundly troubled by this arithmetic even though they supported Israel’s resort to arms in the face of incessant violation of their sovereign border by Hamas’s rain of rockets.

Note three things:

  • 1) the “many” Israelis represent, by and large, the amazing shrinking Israeli left where Landau hangs out; many more Israelis felt it was an unfortunate but necessary move.
  • 2) they were profoundly troubled by the numbers, which are themselves, figments of PCHR operatives’ imaginationschanneled by NGOs and MSNM. Would they have been as troubled had the figures come — as they plausibly may — with a 3:1 combatant/civilian casualty rate, the best by far in the history of urban warfare?
  • because Israelis have such high standards, they are troubled by figures which still have them in the front ranks of armies fighting against terrorist armies hiding among civilians.

Landau can only gaze, obsessively, at his own navel, agonizing over every Palestinian casualty. He welcomes the UN commission’s harsh gaze, because it can “stir the conscience of the nation.” But he would be incapable of saying,

    Had the Commission investigated more carefully the behavior of Hamas, and they ways it deliberately sought to endanger its people, they might have stirred the conscience of the Gazans, who voted for them despite (or because of) their open claims to want war with Israel, and of Hamas, who would stand before the court of world opinion, shamed for their victimization of their own people and their hypocritical accusations against Israelis.

Love of the Land: David Landau’s Criticism of Goldstone: Even the Self-Absorbed See a Problem

Love of the Land: Is the U.S. About to Dump Syria?

Is the U.S. About to Dump Syria?

Michael J. Totten
20 September 09

Hussain Abdul-Hussain reports in Kuwait’s Arabic-language daily Al Rai that the Obama administration has quietly decided not to return an ambassador to Syria as promised. He quotes unnamed officials who say president Bashar Assad is blackmailing the United States and its neighbors while conceding nothing in negotiations.

“Assad had started to count the American eggs in his basket before offering anything in return,” said an administration official, according to Tony Badran’s translation from Arabic. “Assad fires a rocket here or there [in south Lebanon] and expects us to run to him. . . . This kind of security blackmail no longer works on the United States.”

Syrian blackmail, though, has been working for decades. Bashar Assad’s government, like that of his late father, Hafez Assad, is an extortionist gangster regime that demands—and usually gets—the diplomatic equivalent of protection money. “The basic line is ‘Do what we want or we will kill you,’ ” said Barry Rubin, author of The Truth about Syria. “Yet at the same time they hold out the bait of great progress if only their demands are met. They play the West at times like a master fisherman reeling in his victim.”

There’s a case to be made, albeit a weak one, for buying off rogue regimes if they’ll behave. The biggest problem with bribing the Syrians, aside from the fact that it encourages more blackmail later, is that Assad won’t even hold up his end of the deal. “The Syrians,” Lebanese blogger Mustapha explained on his blog Beirut Spring, “try to sell, for a high price, water for fires they cause themselves, then they don’t deliver.”

No matter what the Syrian government is offered—normal relations, a looser sanctions regime, trade agreements—it has never rolled back support for international terrorist organizations. Syria refuses to hold peace talks with Israel or close down the local branches of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Assad won’t stop obstructing the formation of a new Lebanese government nor will he shut down his terrorist pipeline into Iraq.

Lebanese politicians and journalists have been under siege by Syrian assassins and car bombers since 2005. Iraqis have been blown apart by Syrian-supported suicide-bombers since 2003. And Israelis have been under assault by terrorist groups backed by Damascus since the Assad regime came to power decades ago. “This is how Syria negotiates,” Lee Smith wrote in 2007 after Syrian agents blew up a bus on Mount Lebanon, “with its knife on the table and dripping with blood.”

“The impediment to real change in the Syrian regime’s behavior in a manner that would satisfy American decision-makers is structural and systemic,” wrote Tony Badran in NOW Lebanon. “Syria cannot abandon its support for violence and subversion, or its alliance with Iran, because those are the only tools allowing it to bolster its relevance above its political weight.”

Indeed, Assad and his father have made Syria an indispensable nation in the Middle East, despite its utter dearth of economic and military power, by exporting terrorism and suicide murder to neighboring countries. Henry Kissinger’s famous formulation, “No war without Egypt, no peace without Syria,” would be negated at once if Assad ceased and desisted his support for Palestinian, Lebanese, and Iraqi terrorist groups. Syria would become just another failed Soviet-style state with no more geopolitical power than Yemen.

The Obama administration has been a bit more accommodating of Assad than it should have been, but the same can be said for every American administration in recent decades. Barry Rubin warned about this possibility long before Barack Obama was even elected. “The next U.S. president might try to engage Syria and spend a year or so finding out that it doesn’t work,” he told me in 2007.

Bashar Assad does not play well with others, and he never has. Neither did his father. The Syrians, according to a U.S. official quoted by Abdul-Hussain, “don’t know the difference between normalizing relations and behaving like they’ve defeated the US in a world war.”

President Obama’s conciliatory nature meant a temporary rapprochement with Syria was likely, if not inevitable. Assad’s nature all but ensures it won’t last.

Related: The Syrian Paradox

Love of the Land: Is the U.S. About to Dump Syria?

Love of the Land: Train Wreck

Train Wreck

27 February 07

Dry Bones cartoon: Ahmadinejad explains that Iran's brakes have been disabled.
Check out our previous posting on Iran's runaway train.

- - - - - - - - - -


Ahmadinejad at the controls?
No Brakes?

Love of the Land: Train Wreck

Love of the Land: Holidays in Captivity and Letters to Jonathan Pollard

Holidays in Captivity and Letters to Jonathan Pollard

September 21, 2009

Our sages teach that captivity is the worst of all possible afflictions because it includes all the other afflictions:

"The sword is worse than death, famine is worse than the sword, captivity is worst of all"
(Babylonian Talmud, Bava Batra 8a)

The worst days in captivity for a Jewish captive are Shabbat and Jewish holidays. Even without a Jewish calendar, the neshama of the captive senses the extra Kedusha (holiness) of these days, and its suffering is increased exponentially, not only because of the afflictions it is enduring, but especially because of its inability to act upon the Kedusha.

There is little consolation for a soul that is fettered and deprived of the most basic Jewish expression at holiday times - how much more so during the Yamim HaNoraim - The High Holidays.

The letters that Jonathan is receiving at this time are his lifeline, his reassurance that people on the outside care very deeply. Jonathan often remarks to his wife, Esther, how very much he enjoys the letters and how varied they are. They run the gamut, he said, from one end of the spectrum to the other in terms of stories, anecdotes, prayers, and personal life experiences. Some people write of how they much are praying for Jonathan, others recount personal problems so severe that Jonathan is now praying for them (along with all of his prayers for Am Yisrael).

Most people express the hope that Jonathan will write back, but he simply is not able to. Why not? Because all of his out-going mail is routed via the National Security Agency in Washington where it is supposedly "vetted" to ensure that it does not contain classified information. In the process of being "vetted" somehow all of his out-going mail gets lost or destroyed. It does not reach its destination. This is an age-old vengeful technique that is intended to demoralize a prisoner.

Fortunately, Jonathan does receive all of his incoming mail. Incoming mail goes directly to the prison mailroom where it is checked to ensure that the letter is in English and does not contain any contraband. (No bubble gum, stamps, glitter, stickers, money etc permitted). Only letters and photos are permitted (Photos in modest quantity: up to 5). Letters in Hebrew are shown to Jonathan very briefly (not sufficient time for him to read) and then discarded; it is clearly preferable to write in English.

As soon as the mailroom staff checks the mail, it is distributed and Jonathan receives all of his letters, without exception.

Especially now at holiday time, please keep writing! Please know that all of your letters reach Jonathan as long as they are correctly addressed and contain no forbidden enclosures. Please know as well, how very much these letters mean to him.

Jonathan Pollard: 8705 days in prison

Here is Jonathan's address:

Jonathan Pollard #09185-016
c/o FCI Butner
P.O. Box 1000
Butner, NC
U.S.A 27509-1000

Feel free to send a copy of your letters to
With your permission we will share copies of some of the letters with our

Love of the Land: Holidays in Captivity and Letters to Jonathan Pollard
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