Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Chester Chronicles - Why is America Still Allied with Saudi Arabia?

Chester Chronicles - Why is America Still Allied with Saudi Arabia?

RubinReports: Why the Terrorist Trial in New York Will Be a Disaster in the Middle East and for U.S. Interests

Why the Terrorist Trial in New York Will Be a Disaster in the Middle East and for U.S. Interests

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By Barry Rubin

What will be the impact on the Middle East of putting September 11 plotters on trial in New York? As usual most of the debate in America revolves around the effect within the United States: how will New York react, might the defendents get off. But what's really important, and largely ignored, is what the trial will mean for the Middle East and U.S. interests there.

Isn't it ironic that the Obama Administration, which is more ethnically and racially diverse probably than any previous U.S. government, is proving to be so incredibly ethnocentric? By that I mean, having the least understanding of how other nations and cultures think and behave.

One possible explanation is that since they see themselves as non-white or so exceptionally sensitive, such people then take the next "logical" step and assume that someone from a distant land thinks precisely the same way as they do. Of course the difference is the society and world view you grow up in and have to function within in your life.

Ironically, their own ideology should make them understand this better in some ways. Take two identical twins separated at birth. One grows up in a middle class family in the United States and attends the finest universities. The other grows up in, say, Saudi Arabia.

Now if the racist theory were true, the twins would be exactly alike! But if multi-cultural, Politically Correct, anti-racism were to be true, then they would be very different, right? Because the whole rejection of racism is based on the argument that environment is more important than inherited traits. Of course, this is a simple presentation but the basic point holds true.

The Administration's doctrine also holds that ideas are all-important. If you change someone's world view then you can perform marvels and transform society. So shouldn't they understand that if someone believes in Islamism, or at least non-moderate Islam, and Arab nationalism, and conspiracy theories, etc., that they are also going to think differently than an American?

In the trial, the terrorists will almost certainly base their defense on the concept of "defensive Jihad." They will argue that the Islamic world was acting in self-defense in retaliating. They will give a long list of real or alleged American misdeeds, long lists of civilians killed (in Afghanistan alone they could come up with thousands), alleged sufferings during the embargo on Iraq when Saddam Hussein was rejecting his commitments after the Kuwait war.

This defense will inflame large numbers of Muslims. It will provide a great platform for the defensive Jihad theory which, most recently, persuaded Major Khalid Hasan to kill 13 American soldiers. There will be specific terrorist attacks inspired by the speeches made in New York. People will join Islamist and terrorist groups, not necessarily al-Qaida, as a result of this inspiration. You can bet on it.

In addition, the high-profile of the trials could well inspire terrorists to seize Americans as hostages to exchange for the imprisoned Jihadists. The terrorists don't have to expect the United States to make such a deal. They want the publicity and will be quite happy to kill the hostages and blame it on the Americans' stubborness.

The Arab regimes won't like it because the defendants will spend a lot of time blasting Egypt and Saudi Arabia as American puppets and urge their overthrow. Of course, the terrorists will bring in Israel, too. It will be interesting to see how much time is devoted to each of the many topics they will use to attack America.

Naively, the Administration apparently believes that this show of American fair play, equal justice for all, innocent until proven guilty, trial by a jury of their peers (if the entire jury isn't Muslim, of course, most Middle East Muslims won't accept that notion), and the rules of evidence will impress Muslims worldwide about how great a system the United States has and what great people Americans are.

Yes, a few highly educated Arab liberals will write about such things but that will appeal to less than five percent. By the time the trial is through the masses to a large extent will not conclude that the defendents are dastardly people who murdered 3,000 innocent victims but that the prosecutors and the government behind them are dastardly villains who have murdered millions.


RubinReports: Why the Terrorist Trial in New York Will Be a Disaster in the Middle East and for U.S. Interests

RubinReports: The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: What’s It Really About and Why Does it Continue?

The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: What’s It Really About and Why Does it Continue?

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By Barry Rubin

It is always the same theme: Palestinians are the victims of Israel. They want an end to the “occupation,” which in a real sense has not existed for 15 years, and are desperate for a state of their own. Help us! Help us! Help us!

But the funny thing is that it doesn’t turn out that the Palestinian political leaders behave as if they actually believe this stuff. Between 1948 and 1988, the Palestinian leadership explicitly rejected negotiations with Israel, rejected any two-state solution, and openly sought total victory. This was true for two decades after Israel captured the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Indeed, in 1979, for example, when local Palestinian notables indicated an interest in negotiating with Israel for a state (in the framework of the Egypt-Israel Camp David agreement), PLO leader Yasir Arafat told them they’d be traitors and die if they did any such thing.

In 1988, the PLO said it wanted a state of its own but did so with such double-talk language that it was all too clear this was intended only as a springboard for a second round in which Israel would be destroyed. Then the PLO opened a dialogue with the United States based on its agreement to stop terrorism. Though the United States bent over backwards to ignore terrorist attacks (it’s only a specific member group in the PLO attacking so it doesn’t count, said the State Department), Arafat so blatantly broke his promise that the dialogue was broken off.

Then Arafat supported Saddam Hussein of Iraq in his invasion of Kuwait and the Palestinian leader expressed the hope that Iraq would defeat the United States.

What followed at the PLO’s moment of weakness—Saddam defeated; the angry Kuwaitis and Saudis cut off his money—was an act of what they hoped would be enlightened generosity by Israel and America: now that the PLO was so defeated, they reasoned, it would see that victory was impossible and make peace. The result, the Oslo peace process, proved the Palestinian leadership didn’t want a stable peace with a two-state solution. Arafat repeatedly broke his commitments.

And when the moment of truth came, both at Camp David and in the Clinton plan during 2000, the Palestinian leadership (now the Palestinian Authority, PA) turned down offers of a state. Instead, Arafat launched an armed terrorist assault on Israel that went on for five years until the Palestinians were defeated.

Other than Hamas taking over the Gaza Strip, which cripples the PA’s negotiating capacity, nothing much has happened since then. The Palestinian leadership has not even begun to prepare its people for accepting Israel’s existence and peace. On the contrary, it has become even more extreme, preparing them for endless warfare and a refusal to accept Israel’s existence but rather bring it to an end.

I reluctantly present the above history because it is all too generally forgotten today. Why is reality reversed, with the Palestinians the alleged victim of an Israeli refusal to make peace?

The answer is that if one only looks at a snapshot of the present on the basis of either very little knowledge or a set of stereotypes, that interpretation makes sense. Israel wins; the Palestinians lose. Israel is strong; the Palestinians are weak. Israel is prosperous and the Palestinian economy is a mess.

And so many Westerners reason as follows: No one would voluntarily keep engaging in losing wars, choose poverty and occupation, and not want a state of their own. Therefore, the Palestinians must be forced into this situation by Israel. And the solution is more talks, more Israeli compromises, some clever new proposal about Jerusalem or borders or some other detail.

That makes sense in terms of Western sensibilities and politics but not in terms of Middle Eastern ones. The Palestinian leadership—which is quite well off materially, of course, you should have seen their villas in Tunis and now in the West Bank which are much nicer than your home—doesn’t care about its people. State? They are running things already. Poverty? They aren’t poor. Suffering? Well, they aren't suffering and that others keep suffering is preferable to treason against Islam and giving Arab rights to the whole country, isn’t it?

And besides, material improvement makes people soft (that’s their view of the West). If Palestinians do have a state and higher living standards they will be seduced by materialism and not want to fight on. This kind of thinking is far clearer with Hamas but is also in the saddle with Fatah and the PA.

Even today, with the Palestinians divided into two separate regimes, Israel getting steadily stronger, the main strategy being discussed by Fatah and the PA isn’t compromise but escalation. Thus, Saeb Erakat, one of the most relatively moderate people in the PA leadership (and the only one of the pre-1994, old West Bank notables still in any position of responsibility) said, in effect, that the more Palestinians lose, the more they demand:

“With the continuation of settlement activities, the two-state solution is no longer an option."

Continuation? There have been no new settlements in 15 years or in general—there might be small exceptions—but the territorial expanse of settlements has not increased. Eraket said this after Israel announced it would finish 3000 apartments being built now and then freeze construction. His words do not correspond with reality, now more than ever.

Secretary of State Hilary Clinton responded with logic: "Getting into final status negotiations will allow us to bring an end to settlement activity." True, but indeed there is an even better answer: Getting a Palestinian state would end the “occupation” and remove all the settlements on Palestinian territory.

Yet that was a decision the Palestinians could have made in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s, as well as throughout this almost completed decade.

Note the Western thinking—if you want a concession you must compromise to get it—with the Middle Eastern approach—give us what we want or we’ll hold our breath till we turn blue.

Instead, Erakat proposes that the Palestinians "refocus their attention on the one-state solution where Muslims, Christians and Jews can live as equals." No doubt this means “equals” in an Islamic and Arab state, with the Israelis turning over all they’ve created and earned for 60 years to a dictatorship of those who have spent their time in trying to kill them rather than by engaging in productive labor.

This would never happen, of course, unless Israel was either militarily defeated, collapsed from within, was destroyed by international action, or some mixture of the above.

But in fact the Fatah leadership, with a few exceptions, never accepted the two-state solution.

A Western observer would respond that these things are not going to happen and therefore the Palestinian leadership could not possibly believe such nonsense. Well, they do believe it—or at least they partly believe it and know that this is the only permissible public stance in Palestinian society. This view is the basis for their political behavior, a factor viewable on a daily basis and one that they understand completely.

To recall how little progress Palestinians have made in thinking about this issue, remember that what they are talking about now was a program first proposed in 1968 and adapted by the PLO in 1974. After 35 years, they are still in the same place. As for the word “refocus,” Erakat is well aware that this has always been the focus.

A few years ago, Erakat was addressing a visiting Western delegation and told them that the Palestinian program was nonsense and could never succeed. After basically denouncing the real mistakes the Palestinians have made, he looked around nervously and said, “I didn’t say any of that.”

In his more recent interview, Erakat said. "This is the moment of truth for us."

Yes, it is always the moment of truth. The problem is that at the moment of truth you always tell lies.


RubinReports: The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: What’s It Really About and Why Does it Continue?

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Druze MK: Don'Trust UN Doll Soldiers to Protect Israel - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

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Pressure Campaign against Netanyahu's Proposed Building Freeze - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

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Officials Ignore Terrorist Barghouti's Illegal Media Campaign - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

TAMID: Connecting Students With Israel's Business World - Jewish World - Israel News - Israel National News

TAMID: Connecting Students With Israel's Business World - Jewish World - Israel News - Israel National News

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Bibi Tells Expulsion Victims Helping Them is 'National Mission' - Inside Israel - Israel News - Israel National News

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New Army Order against Anti-Expulsion Signs: Raise Your Shirts - Inside Israel - Israel News - Israel National News

Israel Matzav: Overnight music video

Overnight music video

This is a Japanese gym class going through its warmups.

Let's go to the videotape. Heh.



Did I mention that it's 19 days to Chanuka?
Israel Matzav: Overnight music video

Israel Matzav: What has been guaranteed to Israel

What has been guaranteed to Israel

Over the weekend, 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen called for the UN to endorse a 'two-state solution' based upon the June 4, 1967 borders between Israel and Jordan and between Israel and Egypt. I have pointed out many times that UN Security Council Resolution 242 does not call for a return to the 1949 armistice lines that were in effect on June 4, 1967. Rick Richman does a good job of summing up the promises that have been made to Israel regarding its eventual permanent border.

The Roadmap calls for final-status negotiations in Phase III “based on UNSCR 242.” It does not mention the June 4, 1967, lines, much less endorse them as “borders.” The U.S. has at least three times formally assured Israel of “defensible borders” as the outcome of the peace process: (1) in the January 16, 1997, letter from Secretary of State Warren Christopher to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; (2) in the April 14, 2004, letter from President George W. Bush to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon; and (3) in the January 16, 2009, Memorandum of Agreement between the U.S. and Israel. Only such borders meet the Resolution 242 requirement that Israel’s borders be not only recognized but also secure.

There will be a quiz tomorrow. Heh.


Israel Matzav: What has been guaranteed to Israel

Israel Matzav: 1986: Goldstone sends 13-year old boy to jail for protesting apartheid

1986: Goldstone sends 13-year old boy to jail for protesting apartheid

And you thought Richard Goldstone was a champion in the fight against apartheid. Well, not always.

In the most poignant case, Goldstone ruled against the 1986 appeal of a 13-year-old boy who had been sentenced to jail for disrupting school as a protest against apartheid and increasingly draconian "emergency laws" used to preserve order and squelch opposition to the government. Goldstone, according to The New York Times, provided no comment to his decision to uphold the sentence of the lower court.

...

The case of the 13-year-old boy Goldstone ruled against came in the context of a wave of national protests and school disruptions by South Africa's black youth against apartheid and the brutal emergency laws. Authorities responded with mass detention of children who participated in the protests, or were suspected of doing so. By the fall of 1985, at least 800 students had been detained. By December of 1986, South African security officials admitted to having detained more than 1,800 teenagers, while reports surfaced that policemen routinely whipped children at their school desks if they were suspected of supporting the anti-apartheid protests.

Goldstone was slammed by South African human rights organizations for his 1986 ruling against the boy. In a later interview with The New York Times' Bill Keller (who called Goldstone a "cross between King Solomon and Ghostbusters"), the South African judge said about his ruling against the boy that the emergency laws left him "no way out."

Read the whole thing. Long before he investigated Operation Cast Lead, Richard Goldstone was not as pure as he pretends to be.


Israel Matzav: 1986: Goldstone sends 13-year old boy to jail for protesting apartheid

Israel Matzav: What could go wrong?

What could go wrong?

Barry Rubin looks at some of the possible consequences of putting 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohamed and friends into a civilian trial in New York.

In the trial, the terrorists will almost certainly base their defense on the concept of "defensive Jihad." They will argue that the Islamic world was acting in self-defense in retaliating. They will give a long list of real or alleged American misdeeds, long lists of civilians killed (in Aghanistan alone they could come up with thousands), alleged sufferings during the embargo on Iraq when Saddam Hussein was rejecting his commitments after the Kuwait war.

This defense will inflame large numbers of Muslims. It will provide a great platform for the defensive Jihad theory which, most recently, persuaded Major Khalid Hasan to kill 13 American soldiers. There will be specific terrorist attacks inspired by the speeches made in New York. People will join Islamist and terrorist groups, not necessarily al-Qaida, as a result of this inspiration. You can bet on it.

In addition, the high-profile of the trials could well inspire terrorists to seize Americans as hostages to exchange for the imprisoned Jihadists. The terrorists don't have to expect the United States to make such a deal. They want the publicity and will be quite happy to kill the hostages and blame it on the Americans' stubborness.

The Arab regimes won't like it because the defendants will spend a lot of time blasting Egypt and Saudi Arabia as American puppets and urge their overthrow. Of course, the terrorists will bring in Israel, too. It will be interesting to see how much time is devoted to each of the many topics they will use to attack America.

Naively, the Administration apparently believes that this show of American fair play, equal justice for all, innocent until proven guilty, trial by a jury of their peers (if the entire jury isn't Muslim, of course, most Middle East Muslims won't accept that notion), and the rules of evidence will impress Muslims worldwide about how great a system the United States has and what great people Americans are.

What could go wrong? Read the whole thing.

Israel Matzav: What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Goldstone afraid to debate Dershowitz

Goldstone afraid to debate Dershowitz

Well, here's proof that Richard Goldstone thinks that Dore Gold won their debate at Brandeis earlier this month: Goldstone refuses to debate Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz on Goldstone's 'home turf' at Fordham University where Goldstone is a guest lecturer.

In a conversation with Ynet, Dershowitz claimed that Goldstone preferred to give interviews to public television over debating him. Dershowitz said that it isn't appropriate for Goldstone to filter whom he debates, saying that he chose to speak with Bill Moyers and People magazine, but refused to sit at the same table as him.

Dershowitz, a Harvard University law professor who gained fame through a number of highly publicized court cases, including that of OJ Simpson, invited Goldstone to a debate on the home turf of the report's author in front of his students at Fordham University, where he is a visiting lecturer. Goldstone turned down the invite.

...

Dershowitz said that he tried to confront Goldstone, but that Goldstone clearly showed that he is uninterested in debating people who have access to information and have read his report meticulously and with a critical eye. Dershowitz, not hiding his dismay with Goldstone, said that the judge used very poor judgment, and noted that judges are not above the law or morality, and nor are they above criticism or debate.

Dershowitz demanded that Goldstone provide explanations of the sources that led him to his final conclusion in the report, which asserted that Israel's policy in Operation Cast Lead was to kill as many Palestinian civilians as possible.

Dershowitz said that this is an utter lie and that Goldstone must be ashamed for coming to such a conclusion, saying that while Goldstone now denies such allegations in interviews, this indeed is the bottom line of the report written plainly in black and white.

To all of you who thought that Goldstone won the debate or that it was a draw: Goldstone believes otherwise.

Heh.


Israel Matzav: Goldstone afraid to debate Dershowitz

Israel Matzav: Take the battle to Damascus and Beirut

Take the battle to Damascus and Beirut

Noah Pollak says Israel has to stop letting Hamas and Hezbullah (and Iran and Syria) dictate where its battles take place. The only way to stop proxy wars is to go after the principal.

The new strategy of creating proxy terrorist groups endowed with the potency and sophistication of armies, but with none of their restrictions or responsibilities, is racking up points. The goal is not to defeat Israel on the battlefield, but to wage a war of attrition that erodes its national confidence, challenges its moral clarity, and transforms it into a pariah among democratic peoples.

Yet this model of warfare depends for its success on one important factor: Israel's willingness to fight on the battlefields that Iran and Syria have assigned to it. Many argue that Israel has established deterrence with Hamas and Hizbullah. Perhaps, but it is only temporary - the Francop's missiles, grenades, and mortar rounds are testament to that.

More importantly, Israel is only deterring the junior members of the terrorist hierarchy, and they can renew their ranks and capabilities much more easily than can a regime. It is hard to imagine that in the coming years there will not be another conflict with Hizbullah that will lead to a predictable cycle of events: civilian deaths in Lebanon; condemnation of Israel; farcical UN and NGO investigations; and a deepening Israeli feeling of isolation that will make peace harder to achieve.

But the tables can be turned by shifting the target of retaliation onto the state sponsors of Hamas and Hizbollah. The military strategist Carl Von Clausewitz argued that "a major act of strategic judgment" is to distinguish the "centers of gravity in the enemy's forces" - and attack there, where it will make the most difference.

By fighting in Gaza and Lebanon, Israel is attacking its enemy's periphery, not its center of gravity. Its victories will thus always be ephemeral.

Three years ago, Israel had the opportunity to go after one of Hezbullah's patrons: The Bush administration expected Israel to attack Syria during the Second Lebanon War. Unfortunately, the Olmert-Peretz-Livni government didn't have the guts to do it. With Obama in power, if Israel ever goes after Syria or Iran in response to a Hezbullah or Hamas attack, Obama will lead the charge to the UN. On the other hand, if Israel goes after Iran's nuclear capability, there may not be much Obama can do about it.

Heh.

Israel Matzav: Take the battle to Damascus and Beirut

Israel Matzav: America's confusion

America's confusion

Being confused about what's right and what's wrong and what's good and what's evil is how you end up with a Barack Obama as President or an Ehud Olmert as Prime Minister. Israel elected Prime Minister Netanyahu in March, and until today I thought he at least had moral clarity. The proposed mass release of terrorists is making me wonder how much moral clarity Netanyahu has. But in the meantime, here's how you end up with Obama.

We have carved out for our culture and ourselves categories that are completing meaningless in and of themselves to whitewash the notions of reality before our eyes, realities such as good and evil. In the days following 9/11, many of us thought a lot was morally clarified; that for the first time in a generation, the true hand of evil and the true face of evil could be seen for what they were, without psycho-babble, without moral unseriousness, without politically correct norms, without the language of mush. And we, in fact were there. It didn’t last. We have a Muslim terrorist, who called for jihad, who shouted “Alahu Akbar” as he was killing unarmed soldiers in a health center, who had cards made up that said “Solider of Allah,” who spoke of pouring boiling oil down the throats of infidels, who has regular correspondence with a radical imam who preached to 9/11 terrorists...and, and, and, and we call it not terrorism but a “killing spree” as if that was and not a terrorist trying to kill as many Americans as possible for political motives.


Israel Matzav: America's confusion

Israel Matzav: Expanded presentation of Dore Gold response to Goldstone

Expanded presentation of Dore Gold response to Goldstone

There's an expanded presentation of Dore Gold's response to Richard Goldstone earlier this month, with Gold's slides worked into the text, here (20-page pdf document).

It's worth checking out.

Israel Matzav: Expanded presentation of Dore Gold response to Goldstone

Israel Matzav: How dumb can they get?

How dumb can they get?

This is from a Chicago Tribune interview with Sderot Mayor David Bouskila:

Q You've said you're not sure how long the quiet will last. What is the future of Sderot?

A The army solved the problem when there were 100 Kassams a month. The army cannot fight against one or two people (launching rockets). This is something you have to solve politically, but I don't think Hamas is ready to do something like this.

Q Why not take away the militants' ability to make trouble for you? Why not move the people out of Sderot?

A Hamas started with Kassams that traveled three or four kilometers. Now they have rockets that travel 40 kilometers. We have to give them the idea that it's not good for them to launch rockets. They lose more than they win.

When the Israelis evacuated Gaza in 2005, they thought if we give all the settlements back to the Palestinians, there will be peace. But instead of launching rockets at Gush Katif, they launch them at Sderot. After that at Ashkelon. After that at Ashdod. We have to be (in Sderot), and we have to be strong enough.

Q All of your people feel this way?

A Yes. If not they would all have left. There was a time when (the population) was 17,000. Now it is 25,000. It's our country. It's our home.

What does this reporter think would happen if we moved everyone out of Sderot and Kiryat Shmona and Ashdod and Ashkelon and all the other places where there's rocket fire? Does he really think the Arabs would stop shooting? What a moron....

The picture at the top is Sderot kids on the floor of a classroom during a drill or a rocket attack.

Israel Matzav: How dumb can they get?

Israel Matzav: Gilo is not a 'settlement'

Gilo is not a 'settlement'

Maurice Ostroff discusses some of the history of Jerusalem's southwestern suburb of Gilo, the site of some controversy last week.

THE REALITY is that Gilo is very different than the outposts in the West Bank. It is not in east Jerusalem as widely reported. It is a Jerusalem neighborhood with a population of around 40,000. The ground was bought by Jews before WWII and settled in 1971 in south west Jerusalem opposite Mount Gilo within the municipal borders. There is no inference whatsoever that it rests on Arab land.

The current building approval was not a deliberately provocative political decision by Binyamin Netanyahu as reported in some media. The plan was initiated a long time ago by the Israel Land Administration. Since Gilo is an integral part of the city, the approval was given by Jerusalem's Construction and Planning Committee and, as Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat said in a statement released by his office, "Israeli law does not discriminate between Arabs and Jews, or between east and west of the city. The demand to cease construction just for Jews is illegal, as in the US and any other enlightened place in the world. The Jerusalem Municipality will continue to enable construction in every part of the city for Jews and Arabs alike."

Ironically, Netanyahu has gone further than any previous Israeli prime minister. While continuing the policy of previous governments in refusing to consider a construction freeze in Jerusalem he unexpectedly did agree to halt construction in the West Bank during negotiations with the Palestinians.

...

According to a November 19 report, a cabinet minister told Ha'aretz that Netanyahu has entirely frozen building in the settlements. Ever since this government was established in April, not a single tender has been issued or plan approved, not even in east Jerusalem. And this has been done by a cabinet including ministers considered to be extreme right wingers like Bennie Begin, Moshe Ya'alon, Avigdor Lieberman, Uzi Landau and Eli Yishai. "Yet," the minister said, "Bibi is getting clobbered, relentlessly".

...

AS THE Western Wall, Ramat Eshkol, French Hill, Pisgat Ze'ev, and Mount Scopus are all beyond the Green Line, it important to consider its significance realistically. The Green line is not an international border. It refers only to the 1949 Armistice lines established after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War. Its name is derived from the green ink used to draw the line on the map. Nor is it fixed, as explained by Justice Stephen M. Schwebel, who spent 19 years as a judge of the International Court of Justice at The Hague, including three years as President. He wrote "...modifications of the 1949 armistice lines among those States within former Palestinian territory are lawful (if not necessarily desirable), whether those modifications are, in Secretary Rogers's words, "insubstantial alterations required for mutual security" or more substantial alterations - such as recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the whole of Jerusalem.." And in a footnote he added "It should be added that the armistice agreements of 1949 expressly preserved the territorial claims of all parties and did not purport to establish definitive boundaries between them".

The Palestinians never had sovereignty over the West Bank nor east Jerusalem and Justice Schwebel concluded that since Jordan, the prior holder of these territories had seized that territory unlawfully in 1948, Israel which subsequently took that territory in the lawful exercise of self-defense in 1967, has better title to it. Jordan's illegal annexation of the West bank and east Jerusalem in 1948 was recognized only by Britain and Pakistan and Jordan now makes no claim to it.

In terms of international law, between 1948 and 1967 this territory was terra nullius, or "land belonging to no one" over which sovereignty may be acquired through occupation. The concept of terra nullius is well recognized in international law. For example it has been a major issue in Australian politics and Norway occupied parts of uninhabited Eastern Greenland in the 1920s on the grounds of terra nullius.

As east Jerusalem came into Israel's possession in the course of a defensive war, Israel was entitled to annex it and create a united Jerusalem. Consequently, the Jerusalem City Council has jurisdiction over building approvals for Jewish and Arab residence in any part of the city.

It is highly relevant that the Oslo Accords do not require any freeze of building activity and even the road map which was never formally ratified, speaks only of dismantling "outposts" erected since March 2001, a far cry from Gilo, that has been a residential suburb of Jerusalem since 1971.



Israel Matzav: Gilo is not a 'settlement'

Israel Matzav: Germans object to Mohamed death penalty

Germans object to Mohamed death penalty

I was in New York last week when President Obumbler's moronic attorney general, Eric Holder, promised that Khalid Sheikh Mohamed, the mastermind of 9/11, would be convicted in his civilian trial and get the death penalty. Unsurprisingly, Holder has not thought this through. Some of the evidence to be used at the trial on which Holder and his boss insist was provided by the German government. The German government does not believe in the death penalty. They are sending a team to New York to make sure that Mohamed is not put to death.

Germany, which does not have a death penalty, provided evidence for the trial on the condition that it could not be used to support a death sentence. Several members of the al Qaeda cell that planned and executed the attacks of September 11 were previously based in the northern German city of Hamburg.

"In this case we will observe very closely that the given assurances are kept," Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said.

However it was unclear exactly how evidence from Germany would be distinguished from evidence procured from elsewhere.

The defense lawyer for one of the accused, Ramzi Binalshibh, said that a conviction of his client would "scarcely be possible without evidence from Germany."

What could go wrong?

Der Spiegel adds:

This presents the German government with a dilemma. Berlin can either oppose the use of German evidence in a bid to protect the defendants from execution -- and risk alienating a NATO ally in the process -- or it can approve the use of the incriminating documents, which would contravene Germany's position on the death penalty.

According to the current mutual legal assistance agreement between the two countries, should the information furnished by German investigators be used to impose the death penalty, Germany can insist that this evidence be considered inadmissible in court. This would not be the first time that the Germans have demanded such assurances for criminal proceedings.

The trial in New York is threatening to put a strain on German-American relations. Washington already feels that Germany has let it down by refusing to take in former detainees after the Obama administration decided to close Guantanamo. What's more, when it comes to bringing the terrorists behind 9/11 to justice, there is currently very little understanding in the US for any legal concerns that Berlin might have.

...

The problems facing Germany in the upcoming New York trial are considerably more serious. Moussaoui had never lived in Germany and the dispute over evidence in his trial concerned only very few documents. But it is another story altogether with Ramzi Binalshibh, who was allegedly the main logistics man behind the attacks. He lived in Germany for six years and shared an apartment in Hamburg with two of the 9/11 suicide pilots, including Mohammed Atta, who crashed the first plane into the Twin Towers.

Working out of Germany, Binalshibh gathered information about flight training schools in the US and regularly transferred large sums of money to the future 9/11 hijackers. There were, therefore, a large number of references to the results of the German investigation in the old indictment against Binalshibh, which the Bush administration had hoped would be used in a trial heard before a military commission.

...

Aside from that, federal prosecutors in New York will find it difficult to use confessions coerced using highly controversial interrogation methods such as waterboarding. "It is hard to imagine how the government could present a case against Ramzi Binalshibh where a significant portion of the government case would not be based on evidence gathered in Germany," says Thomas Durkin, who is a member of the ACLU John Adams Project and a member of Binalshibh's defense team.

This explains why Holder's announcement of the trial has alarmed the German Justice Ministry in Berlin and its subordinate agency in Bonn, the Federal Office of Justice, which is responsible for mutual legal assistance.

Another off-the-cuff, not thought out Obama administration decision going bad?


Israel Matzav: Germans object to Mohamed death penalty

Israel Matzav: Syria stalling on EU free trade agreement

Syria stalling on EU free trade agreement

Syria is stalling on entering into a free trade agreement with the European Union out of fears that it will not be able to compete with European products.

Instead of embracing the invitation, Syria balked, perplexing European diplomats who had thought Damascus was still eager for a deal. Syrian officials now say they need more time to study the ramifications for their economy, which is already undergoing significant reforms.

Recent trade liberation with other countries has been welcomed by consumers here. But it has hurt local industry. Some manufacturers have complained they can't compete with better-quality goods now flowing in from other Arab countries, China and Turkey.

"We are taking our time to see the impact on our agriculture, our industry, and when we have finished the study we will inform the Europeans," Deputy Prime Minister Abdullah Dardari said in a recent interview.

Syrian businessmen are lobbying hard against the partnership, saying new competition with European goods could have devastating effects on local industry. At the Badr Chocolates factory in the southern suburbs of Damascus, the challenges facing businesses here are clear.

Aging machines sputter, cranking out chocolates that would have a hard time competing with European alternatives. European products are already easy to come by. They are made expensive, however, by import duties that the EU deal would remove.

Sounds like Israel 20 years ago. Now we have 'purchase tax' instead of duties to keep prices high. Shh.... Don't tell anyone.

Do I sound cynical about my country's economic policies? Let me put it in perspective: One of the things I brought back from the States was microfiber tights for the two teenage daughters. They were about $6 per pair in the US. In Israel, they are NIS 120 per pair according to the girls - more than $30 at today's exchange rate. Cynical? Me?

But as to the Syrians? Heh.


Israel Matzav: Syria stalling on EU free trade agreement

Israel Matzav: Breaking: One prisoner holding up Shalit exchange?

Breaking: One prisoner holding up Shalit exchange?

The Hamas newspaper al-Risalah is reporting that one terrorist is holding up the Gilad Shalit for 1,000 terrorists exchange. Rumor has it that the terrorist is one of the murderers of Tourism Minister Rechavam (Gandhi) Zeevi.

An anonymous source in Cairo says that Israel has agreed to free 160 terrorists whom it had previously vetoed. I would bet that they are all murderers.

Anyone want to take bets on how long until the next kidnapping?

UPDATE 4:09 PM

Israel Radio's 4:00 news just has the usual platitudes from Hamas about how they want to do a deal. Maybe the censor wouldn't let them say more.

UPDATE 4:28 PM

Netanyahu says that there is no deal for Shalit and that any deal will be brought to the Cabinet and to the Knesset. I understand the Cabinet, but the Knesset?


Israel Matzav: Breaking: One prisoner holding up Shalit exchange?

Israel Matzav: The unimpressive President

The unimpressive President

Writing in Monday's Wall Street Journal, former US ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton has withering criticism for President Obumbler's Asia trip. Here's the bottom line of a damning article.

Overall, President Obama surely suffered his worst setbacks in Beijing, on trade and economics, on climate change, and on security issues. CNN analyst David Gergen, no conservative himself, compared Mr. Obama's China meetings to Kennedy's disastrous 1961 encounter with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev in Vienna, a clear indicator of how poorly the Obama visit was seen at home. The perception that Mr. Obama is weak has already begun to emerge even in Europe, for example with French President Nicholas Sarkozy, and if it emerges in Asia as well, Obama and the U.S. will suffer gravely.

Many media analysts attributed the lack of significant agreements in Beijing to the "rising China, declining America" hypothesis, which suits their ideological proclivities. But any objective analysis would show that it was much more Mr. Obama's submissiveness and much less a new Chinese assertiveness that made the difference. Mr. Obama simply seems unable or unwilling to defend U.S. interests strongly and effectively, either because he feels them unworthy of defense, or because he is untroubled by their diminution.

Of course, most Americans believe they elect presidents who will vigorously represent their global interests, rather than electing Platonic guardians who defend them only when they comport with his grander vision of a just world. Foreign leaders, whether friends or adversaries, expect the same. If, by contrast, Mr. Obama continues to behave as a "post-American" president, China and others will know exactly how to take advantage of him.

Read the whole thing.

And we're not even through the first year yet. What could go wrong?


Israel Matzav: The unimpressive President

Israel Matzav: Iran stages war games

Iran stages war games

Iran staged war games on Sunday in a bid to show that it does not fear Israeli attack.

Iran's army and Revolutionary Guard staged large-scale air defense war games on Sunday in an effort to show off the country's deterrence capabilities amid rising pressure from the West over its nuclear program, state television reported.

Images broadcast Sunday included warplanes dropping bombs on targets in the desert, rockets being launched and paratroopers boarding Chinook troop helicopters. Iranian leaders had earlier warned that any attempt by Israel to destroy Iranian nuclear facilities would be met with a military response. "If the enemy tries its luck and fires a missile into Iran, our ballistic missiles would zero in on Tel Aviv before the dust settles on the attack," said Mojtaba Zolnour, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's representative in the Revolutionary Guard Corps, told the government-run Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) on Saturday.

The display of military muscle Sunday came as Iran's envoy to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, insisted Iran needs guarantees it will receive nuclear fuel on time for its research reactor if it is to agree to a swap of uranium proposed by the West, reported semi-official Iranian Students' News Agency (ISNA).

The United States, Russia and France have said they are running out of patience with Iran, which has not given a formal answer on a proposal for trading a large part of Iran's stockpile of low-enriched uranium for the higher-enriched uranium that the country needs for medical uses, such as cancer treatments.

I wonder what the Iranians will do when they find out Israel has a missile defense. That should come some time after the US and France find out that Israel has run out of patience with them. Heh.


Israel Matzav: Iran stages war games

Israel Matzav: Government censor barring publication of Shalit reports

Government censor barring publication of Shalit reports

In his personal blog, Channel 10 newscaster Raviv Drucker accuses the government censor of stifling reports on the negotiations to free kidnapped IDF corporal Gilad Shalit for no reason (link in Hebrew, translation below).

The censor favors a deal for Shalit

I have no idea when the Shalit deal will be brought to the cabinet, but I'm willing to guess how chief censor Sima Waknin - Gil would vote were she given a vote. Strongly in favor. Well, it's her right. Excuse me, but absolutely not. As the chief censor, she is forbidden to use censorship to promote or thwart the deal. The role of censorship is to forbid publications that are quite likely to harm state security. Its role is not to forbid publications that in its opinion may harm the deal. The censorship has forbidden the publication of much information about Shalit, which is unrelated to state security, which leaves us exposed almost exclusively to information from Arab media outlets, some of which have already released Shalit.

Does execution of the Shalit deal contribute to state security?

Maybe or maybe not, but this is really not a question that the censor is qualified to answer. The opposite is true. She needs to recognize that it is not her role to block publications that might hurt the deal. The censor is not meant to be a person who carries out the policies of the Prime Minister and the Defense Minister. It is clear that she must pay attention to their wishes, but with all of the personal difficulty there are cases when the censor must say, "sorry, I cannot help."

The fact that a lot of information has been blocked from publication by Israeli sources is helping to mobilize public support for the deal, which support we may regret in the future (as is known, I oppose the deal in its current form).

Hmmm.

For those who were not aware of it until now, Israel has a military censor that is entitled to prevent publication of reports that are likely to damage state security.


Israel Matzav: Government censor barring publication of Shalit reports

Israel Matzav: Hundreds of terrorist murderers to be released?

Hundreds of terrorist murderers to be released?

On Friday, I reported that rumors were flying that kidnapped IDF corporal Gilad Shalit was to be released in exchange for 1,000 terrorists, many of whom have blood on their hands. Since Friday, the rumors have continued to come fast and furious, but I have ignored most of them and not posted them on this blog. Yesterday, there were stories that claimed that the issue of the 70 prisoners that Israel had refused to release had been 'resolved.'

To give you a flavor for what's been going on, here are two reports from the last few hours. This is the first report (the first link above):

Arab media outlets have reported in recent hours that Israel has agreed to release hundreds of terrorists responsible for the murder of many Israelis, as part of a deal for kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit.

According to the reports, some of the terrorists have already informed their families that they will be released in the coming days.

And here is the second report.

Rami Igra, former head of the Mossad’s Department on Prisoners has warned that a major terrorist release in a deal for Gilad Shalit would be a big mistake.

Speaking on Army Radio, Igra said that a major terrorist release would "change the face of the Middle East". “He who is freed in a deal today may join the next IDF soldier kidnapping group tomorrow," he warned.

It sure sounds like something is up.

As I was typing this letter, I received the following email from my former colleague Arnold Roth. Arnold's email is self-explanatory.

Dear friends,

Earlier today, we sent a letter to the cabinet members of the government of Israel. The following is an English translation of what we wrote to them.

Like the rest of the Jewish nation, we yearn to see Israeli hostage Gilad Shalit back home with his long-suffering parents as soon as possible.

But it is with indescribable pain that we read about the impending mass release of the convicted murderers of Israeli civilians and soldiers. Those of us who still personally feel the agony of the terror attacks of the last few years have failed to motivate our leaders to free Gilad Shilat via alternative means.

Among the prisoners to be released will be the convicted mass murderer Ahlam Tamimi.

And among the victims whose sacrifices will be denigrated is our precious child, Malki.

Tamimi is unique in several ways. As such, she should be treated differently from other convicted murderers.

While she is a woman, and for this reason accorded relatively compassionate coverage by the media, Tamimi is a far more prolific murderer than most of the men she will accompany. She slaughtered seven men and women and eight babies and children in cold blood. Tamimi personally led the suicide-bomber, Al-Masri, right up to entrance of the target she herself selected, Jerusalem's Sbarro restaurant, made a hasty getaway to save her own skin, and then, in effect, "fired her weapon". Few of the prisoners on Hamas' demand list were so intimately involved in the terror attacks for which they were convicted and sentenced. Those who were, usually died in the attack.

Tamimi was sentenced to 16 consecutive life sentences, and has been in prison for five years. Few of the murderers Israel has agreed to release have spent so brief a period behind bars.

She has enjoyed the notoriously comfortable conditions that Israel lavishes on female Palestinian prisoners, including: the freedom to dress in clothes of her choice - she swapped her secular garb for Muslim fundamentalist scarf and robe; the opportunity to grant interviews to writers and to a documentary film-maker, thereby gaining widespread international media coverage and air-time for her hateful values; the unfettered opportunity to practice her religion to the fullest extent; the option of higher education - she was a university student and part-time journalist at the time of the murders; the time to socialize and politicize with her fellow terrorist-prisoners. Few male Palestinian murderers enjoy conditions as generous as Tamimi's.

Tamimi has declared unequivocally that she has no regrets about what she did. In one of her media interviews, permitted by the Israel Prison Service, she is quoted saying: “I am not sorry for what I did. I will get out of prison and I refuse to recognize Israel’s existence… Discussions will only take place after Israel recognizes that this is Islamic land”.

Several years ago, Tamimi spoke with Barbara Victor, author of “Army of Roses: Inside the World of Palestinian Women Suicide Bombers” (London; Constable & Robinson, 2004). In her book, Victor writes that Tamimi “didn’t regret the deaths of all these children” and said “They should have returned to Poland, Russia or the United States, to the countries their parents came from”.

Of the other convicted terrorists to be freed, none – as far as we know – has made such egregious and documented statements of un-repentance.

Abdullah Barghouti, another mass murderer who prepared the bomb that slaughtered the Sbarro victims and who is also slated to be released in the Gilad Shalit exchange, publicized his lack of regret as well. But he qualified this by saying: "I do not accept responsibility for their deaths. I feel pain, of course. They are little children. But the government of Israel is solely responsible."

When, during the filming of a documentary, Tamimi was informed that the number of children she had murdered was higher than she had herself presumed, she smiled with pleasure into the camera.

The Sbarro bombing remains one of the most horrific acts of terrorism that Israel has ever known. It decimated an entire family, the Schijveschuurders; the father, mother and three of their young children died instantly, leaving behind four orphans. It robbed a couple of their only child, pregnant with her first baby when Tamimi murdered her. It sent a young mother into a coma from which she has never emerged; her ravaged life is never included in the tally of Tamimi's victims.

The evil that Tamimi embodies is special, and deserves treatment distinct from that of the other terrorists.

We recognize, as many observers have pointed out, that Israel has probably bungled the handling of Shalit's return. The damage has been done and there is no turning back the clock. We are resigned to the fact that releasing terrorists for Gilad Shalit's return means that Hamas will commit fresh kidnappings.

We also fear that Israeli soldiers, sent by their commanders to risk their lives in the pursuit of suspected terrorists, will now wonder whether they should die just so that another name is added to the next prisoner-release list.

Removing Tamimi's name from the list will enable Israel to demonstrate some vestige of strength, conviction and morality. This is a message which needs to be heard by its citizens, its enemies and the world. Please support our efforts to bring this about.

Frimet and Arnold Roth
Jerusalem
family.roth.jerusalem@gmail.com

This is a small country. Arnold and I briefly worked at the same firm. His daughter Malki HY"D (may God avenge her blood), the girl playing the flute in the photo above, was a year behind my daughter in school.

I have talked about Sbarro (from which my own daughter was half a block away when the attack took place) and its victims many times on this blog, usually on the anniversary of the attack. A cousin of the Schijveschuurder family has been in touch with me and reads this blog from time to time. The pregnant woman who was an only child had purchased the home of one of our closest friends in New Jersey together with her husband. And the lady who is in a coma is a friend of a friend (who has a husband and young daughter who was a toddler at the time of the attack) and continues to be on my prayer list daily.

This is a small country. Releasing Ahlam Tamimi would be a kick in the gut for most of us. And it would be devastating for Arnold and Frimet and the family members of the other victims. It cannot be allowed to happen.

Israel Matzav: Hundreds of terrorist murderers to be released?

Israel Matzav: Resist the Syrian temptation

Resist the Syrian temptation

France has offered to replace Turkey as a go-between for Israel and Syria. Jonathan Spyer explains why it would be harmful to Israel to engage in diplomatic talks with Syria in the foreseeable future under French auspices.

The bigger picture of the Israeli and broader Western interest in the region requires the containment and ultimately the rolling back of the currently emboldened Iranian-led alliance. Reviving the prospect of Israeli territorial concessions to Syria, at a time when Damascus is engaged in sponsoring organizations engaged in proxy war with Israel and others would be to reward aggression.

It would furnish an additional argument in the armory of Iran and its supporters who maintain, not without reason, that the camp facing them is weak and responds to pressure by making concessions.

The Obama administration has so far held off from joining in the rush to make up with Syria. Washington has sent a series of visitors to Damascus and is preparing to appoint a new ambassador. But the sanctions remain in place, and the administration appears mindful of Syrian actions in Iraq, Lebanon and among the Palestinians.

The administration has failed, nevertheless, to articulate a clear understanding of the current strategic picture in the region. The building of clarity in this regard represents a core strategic interest for Israel. It would be mistaken to sacrifice this interest on the altar of any short-term alleviation of pressure resulting from a revival of virtual diplomacy with the Assad regime.

Read the whole thing.

Talks with Syria seem to be a non-starter in any event. The Syrians are demanding that Israel promise them the entire Golan in return for agreeing to sit down at the table. That's not going to happen with this Israeli government in power, regardless of the American and European belief that Israel has to be engaged in 'peace talks' with someone at all times.

The French may be trying to force Israel into reaching 'peace' with Syria in the hope that it will divert attention from Iran (with whom France would love to continue trading), although Paul Mirengoff chalks it up to the French pursuing their own self-interest in being seen as a 'player' in international relations.

And note who is completely out of the picture.

What could go wrong?


Israel Matzav: Resist the Syrian temptation

Israel Matzav: Obama messed up China too

Obama messed up China too

Japan wasn't the only country where President Obumbler messed up during his current Asian trip. There was a reason why Saturday Night Live mocked his press conference in China. Paul Mirengoff cites a Democratic source from the Council on Foreign Relations who calls Obama's visit to China "one of the worst in memory."

Just think - there's more than three years left to go of this even if Obama is not re-elected. Will the US have any friends left when it's over?

Anyone still want him to come to Israel? I don't.


Israel Matzav: Obama messed up China too

Israel Matzav: The poodle barks

The poodle barks

The late Yitzchak Rabin used to refer to Yossi Beilin (pictured) as Peres' poodle when all three of them were members of the Labor party. Beilin decided that Labor wasn't Leftist enough for him, and left to join the Meretz party several years ago. He resigned as Meretz chairman and is no longer a member of the Knesset. His former party has three seats out of 120 in the current Knesset, so it's not exactly a major factor.

But that didn't stop the French from conveying the Legion of Honor on the man who reached an 'agreement' with Abu Mazen that nearly all Israelis vehemently reject, the so-called Geneva Accords. And Beilin used the occasion to blast the Netanyahu government for refusing to freeze Jewish housing in Jerusalem to make Abu Bluff happy.

"Netanyahu is set to announce in the coming days that he will accept a construction freeze in the West Bank settlements for 10 months but will exclude (Arab east) Jerusalem," said Yossi Beilin, who now leads the left-wing Meretz party [No, he doesn't. Chaim Oron does. CiJ].

"The Palestinians will reject the offer and this move will in effect mark a backwards step that will lead to a political vacuum and the dismantling of the Palestinian Authority," he said.

Soccer Dad points out that there is no one to blame for that situation except the 'Palestinians.' In the process, he points out this curious factoid from 'Palestinian' chief spokesman bottle washer Saeb Erekat.

Erekat acknowledged that Israel had presented the Palestinians with a proposal in November 2008 which "talked about Jerusalem and almost 100% of the West Bank," and he noted that Mahmoud Abbas could have accepted this proposal, just as the "Palestinian negotiators could have given in in 1994, 1998, or 2000." Intriguingly, Erekat then proceeded to reveal what he considered a "secret": he explained why the Palestinians had rejected the recent proposals just like the ones offered in 2000/01 during the negotiations in Camp David and Taba. What prevented an agreement every time - at least according to Erekat - was the Israeli request that the Palestinians acknowledge the central importance of the Temple Mount for Jewish history and religion.

Maybe Yossi Beilin is willing to agree to the lie that there is no Jewish connection to the Temple Mount. But 99.9% of Jewish Israelis would not. And by the way, neither would most Christians in the World either.

Read the whole thing. If the French think that by honoring Beilin they are honoring Israel, someone ought to tell them that we are completely unimpressed.

Israel Matzav: The poodle barks

Israel Matzav: Obama messes up big time in Japan

Obama messes up big time in Japan

Big Government is reporting that although the American media is ignoring it, President Obumbler has messed up big time in Japan. Japan has joined Israel, England, Colombia, Honduras, France and other one-time allies who have gotten the Obama treatment.

In another slight to Japan, a Japanese ruling party spokesman noted that it was obvious to them that Obama was more interested in China on this trip anyway as four days were scheduled for the Communists while only two were scheduled for them.

The magazine notes that Obama was left waiting in a car for five minutes at the entrance to the Prime Minister’s Official Residence and this may have been a message of rebuke sent to Obama by Japanese officials for the president’s abrupt change of schedule.

Shukan Bunshun magazine also notes that while the Japanese had “a total of 14 officials, including six cabinet ministers, the Foreign Minister Okada, the Defense Minister Kitazawa,” the president’s retinue only consisted of members of “Team Obama” and no other American officials of high standing. This was taken as a message that Obama did not consider this meeting very important.

Consequently, after the meeting with Japanese officials, PM Hatoyama immediately left Japan for the APEC Summit essentially leaving Obama alone on Japanese soil even though Obama had several other high profile visits to wrap up in Japan. Japanese journalist Michael Yu noted that this was a message that Hatoyama did not feel much respect for Obama since, as host, he essentially abandoned his guest, President Obama, and flew off to Singapore.

The Japanese magazine characterizes this visit as the “worst” one ever.

Read the whole thing.

Maybe Obama should just stay home from now on. I mean, there's nothing he could screw up in Washington, is there? What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Obama messes up big time in Japan

Israel Matzav: Pro-Israel, anti-Ahmadinejad rally in Rio

Pro-Israel, anti-Ahmadinejad rally in Rio

Pamela Geller carries a report on a pro-Israel rally in Rio de Janeiro that coincides with a visit to that city by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The report comes from Brazilian blogger David Bor and the original is in Portugese.

Today, 11-22-09, a beautiful sunday, at Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro, more than 5000 people gathered to protest against the visit of iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Brazil. Jews, gays,a few muslims,baha'is,women and blacks protested and marched along the avenue singing and shouting words. At the end many balloons were released from a cage symbolizing human rights wich are not respected in Iran.

David has some video too (including the balloon release) so make sure to check it out.


Israel Matzav: Pro-Israel, anti-Ahmadinejad rally in Rio

Israel Matzav: American universities for sale

American universities for sale

The New York Post reports that American universities are for sale to Iranian money. Unsurprisingly, one of the universities that is for sale is my alma mater, Columbia Bir Zeit on the Hudson.

Anti-Israel, pro-Iran university professors are being funded by a shadowy multimillion-dollar Islamic charity based in Manhattan that the feds charge is an illegal front for the repressive Iranian regime.

The deep-pocketed Alavi Foundation has aggressively given away hundreds of thousands of dollars to Columbia University and Rutgers University for Middle Eastern and Persian studies programs that employ professors sympathetic to the Iranian dictatorship.

"We found evidence that the government of Iran really controlled everything about the foundation," said Adam Kaufmann, investigations chief at the Manhattan District Attorney's Office.

Federal law-enforcement authorities are in the midst of seizing up to $650 million in assets from the Alavi Foundation, which they charge funnels money to Iran-supported Islamic schools in the United States and to a syndicate of Iranian spies based in Europe.

In one of the biggest handouts, the controversial charity donated $100,000 to Columbia University after the Ivy League school agreed to host Iranian leader and Holocaust denier Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, according to the foundation's 2007 tax filings obtained by The Post.

Rutgers professor Hooshang Amirahmadi, former head of the school's Center for Middle Eastern Studies and president of the American-Iranian Council, a nonprofit advocacy group, unabashedly has touted Hezbollah and Hamas as legitimate organizations and not terrorists.

Between 2005 and 2007, the Alavi Foundation donated $351,600 to the Rutgers Persian language program, a spokesman for the school acknowledged. The university would not comment further.

Alavi's Web site says its mission is the "promotion of Islamic culture and Persian language."

The Obama administration will undoubtedly dismiss this as freedom of expression. Sorry, but foreigners have no right to freedom of expression in the United States, and they certainly don't have the right to act on behalf of terror organizations and governments.

Read the whole thing.

On December 19, 2008, the same day that the Alavi Foundation's President was indicted for obstruction of justice, the organization contributed between $25,000 and $50,000 to the William J. Clinton Foundation (yes, the foundation established by the Secretary of State's husband). And that wasn't the organization's first or only contribution to the former President.

There's much more about the Alavi Foundation here.

With the Alavi Foundation influencing the education of America's best and brightest through contributions to America's universities, what could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: American universities for sale

Israel Matzav: Europe chooses a low profile

Europe chooses a low profile

The European Union has chosen its leadership for the first time under its new constitution. Belgium’s prime minister, Herman Van Rompuy, was chosen as the bloc’s president and Catherine Ashton, the European commissioner for trade, who is British, was chosen as foreign policy chief. Max Boot points out that the choice of these two relative unknowns shows that the European Union is nothing more than the sum of its parts.

One suspects that the Europeans chose Van Rompuy and Ashton precisely because they are unlikely to threaten national prerogatives over foreign policy. For all their talk of unity and their actions to achieve some in economic policy, European states remain intensely nationalistic when it comes to the core prerogatives of a nation-state, such as defense and foreign policy. They have little desire to subcontract out those responsibilities to bureaucrats in Brussels. As long as that remains the dominant attitude on the continent — and it shows little sign of changing — the nations of the EU will never achieve the aggregate power that, in theory, the size of their population and economy (both larger than those of the U.S.) would entitle them.

The rest of the world is better off that way. By the middle of this century, much of Europe may well be Muslim. Especially under those circumstances, it's better that Europe should remain a second rate power.

Israel Matzav: Europe chooses a low profile

Love of the Land: Bought and Paid

Bought and Paid


Jennifer Rubin
Contentions/Commentary
23 November 09


While the media was fixated on a health-care vote with a preordained outcome, the New York Post broke a blockbuster story over the weekend:

Anti-Israel, pro-Iran university professors are being funded by a shadowy multimillion-dollar Islamic charity based in Manhattan that the feds charge is an illegal front for the repressive Iranian regime.

The deep-pocketed Alavi Foundation has aggressively given away hundreds of thousands of dollars to Columbia University and Rutgers University for Middle Eastern and Persian studies programs that employ professors sympathetic to the Iranian dictatorship.

“We found evidence that the government of Iran really controlled everything about the foundation,” said Adam Kaufmann, investigations chief at the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

And remember the much criticized visit of Holocaust denier Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? It seems it was a good deal for Columbia University: “In one of the biggest handouts, the controversial charity donated $100,000 to Columbia University after the Ivy League school agreed to host Iranian leader and Holocaust denier Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, according to the foundation’s 2007 tax filings obtained by The Post.”

The Iranian regime has gotten its money’s worth. Gary Sick of Columbia chimes in that we can disregard all that “wipe Israel off the map” stuff from Ahmadinejad. The Sick translation of Ahmadinejad’s genocide talk: “What he means is that there should be a free referendum among the peoples of the Palestine that existed to [sic] the partition in 1948 to vote about the kind of a government they should have. He is confident that, in a free vote, Israel and Israelis would lose that vote and it would turn out to be something else: a unitary state, probably run by the Palestinians.” Got that?

Other professors from Columbia and Rutgers (which also received funds) are equally forthcoming with propaganda nonsense, enough to make the mullahs proud. This is a scandal of the first order — a financial conflict of interest and an ethical betrayal of the universities’ supposed role as bastions of academic independence and free inquiry. They have instead among their ranks a number of shills for the mullahs, whose leftist claptrap is subsidized by those with an interest in seeing the mullahs’ party line recirculated through American universities. It seems worth taking a look, especially when these institutions receive taxpayer money and their students earn degrees on taxpayer-supported scholarships.



Love of the Land: Bought and Paid
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