Sunday, 29 November 2009

Israel Matzav: Iran building ten new nuclear enrichment plants

Iran building ten new nuclear enrichment plants

Iran gave its response to President Obumbler's pleas for 'engagement' on Sunday and it was not what the President expected.

The atomic body has been ordered to begin building at five new sites earmarked for uranium enrichment plants, state television IRIB reported on its website.

The government also ordered the Iranian body to locate sites for another five over the next two months, the media organisation said.

The new enrichment plants are to be the same size as its main enrichment complex at Natanz.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is reported to have said he will not allow an inch of Iranian rights to be wasted.

The cabinet is meeting on Wednesday to discuss plans to enrich uranium up to 20% purity, the president is quoted as saying on the website.

Mr Ahmadinejad said Iran should be producing 250-300 tonnes of nuclear fuel per year, according to IRIB.

The development is likely to add further strain to relations between Iran and Western powers.

John Podhoretz comments:

It would seem logical to assume the purpose of these multiple sites is to make a successful military strike to downgrade or destroy Iran’s nuclear-bomb-making capacity difficult to the point of impossibility. It would be hard enough for Israel or the United States to stage a complex series of simultaneous surprise aerial bombings against four locations; from four to 14 would certainly be beyond Israel’s capacity and would significantly strain our own.

Remember when everybody was saying, including in the Democratic primary for president, that it would be unacceptable for Iran to get the bomb? Remember when President Bush said those who allowed Iran to get the bomb would enjoy the same reputation in the annals of history as the Western leaders at Munich?

Yeah, they're calling him Neville Obama.

Seriously though, this development may speed up the timetable for an Israeli strike. If there are really only four facilities right now, it will be much easier to hit four than fourteen.

Israel Matzav: Iran building ten new nuclear enrichment plants

Israel Matzav: 62 years since the Partition Plan

62 years since the Partition Plan

Big Government's open thread today reminds us that today is the 62nd anniversary of the UN Partition Plan that called for the division of 'Palestine' into a Jewish and Arab state. The Jews rejoiced - as you can see in the picture - while the Arabs just said no.

Foolish Arabs. They would have had much more land under the Partition Plan than they had under the 1949 armistice lines.

But then it was never a state that they wanted, was it?

Israel Matzav: 62 years since the Partition Plan

Israel Matzav: Help wanted!

Help wanted!

Defense Minister Ehud Barak is looking to triple the Defense Ministry's building inspectors.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak has put out an emergency call for building inspectors to be hired in order to enforce the government's building freeze in Judea and Samaria. Barak ordered Ministry officials to hire 40 inspectors to ensure that no building takes place in the affected areas. The new inspectors will be trained and on the job within two weeks.

Currently there are only 14 inspectors working in Judea and Samaria. Barak's office said that the inspectors would work in tandem with police, border police, and the civil administration, under the general responsibility of the IDF.

No one in this country is hired or trained for anything within two weeks.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Help wanted!

Israel Matzav: Switzerland and its friends

Switzerland and its friends

Living near mosques takes getting used to. Five times a day they issue a noisy call for prayer; the first time is approximately an hour and a half before sunrise. I have lived near mosques for years and for the most part they don't bother me (there is one within 500 meters of our home), but I can definitely understand that they bother others. It's a noise that is indescribable.

Reuters reports that Switzerland has voted on Sunday to ban the construction of new minarets, the towers use to project noisy calls for prayer in mosques.

If confirmed, the result would be a huge embarrassment for the neutral Swiss government, which had warned that amending the constitution to ban construction of minarets could serve could "serve the interests of extremist circles."

"The initiative would appear to be accepted, there is a positive trend. It's a huge surprise," French-language Swiss television said, 30 minutes after polls closed at midday.

A majority of voters as well as cantons appeared to have approved the initiative, it said, citing exit polls carried out by the Berne-based Institute Gfs.

Both the Swiss government and parliament had rejected the initiative as violating the Swiss constitution, freedom of religion and the nation's cherished tradition of tolerance. The United Nations human rights watchdog had also voiced concerns.

A group of politicians from the right-wing Swiss People's Party (SVP), the country's biggest party, and Federal Democratic Union gathered enough signatures to force the vote on the initiative which opposes the "Islamisation of Switzerland."

I suppose it would be a 'huge embarrassment,' particularly for Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey, pictured above flirting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

But in fact, according to Reuters, Switzerland's minarets aren't allowed to issue the loud calls for prayer, and Sunday's vote was a backlash against the Islamization of Switzerland, which now has 300,000 Muslim immigrants among its population of 7,000,000. If today's vote is indicative of change coming in Switzerland, maybe it will mean a change in Switzerland's choice of friends. And such a change cannot come too soon according to Assaf Sagiv.

What a pity, then, that Switzerland’s pastoral image has come at the price of ignoring many of the basic values that any enlightened nation is duty-bound to uphold. In recent months, a series of controversial diplomatic moves have reflected a disturbing eagerness on the part of the Swiss government to appease some of the world’s greatest despots and terrorists, casting doubt (and not for the first time) on the public integrity and political insight of those who advocate a policy of neutrality. Indeed, these actions illustrate the vast moral chasm facing those who may be tempted to follow the Swiss example—a temptation with dangerous implications both for the future of the West and for freedom-loving peoples everywhere.


It might be tempting to chalk Swiss diplomacy up to a case of ovezealous neutrality. Yet it hardly cuts both ways: In July of this year, the official Swiss news agency reported that Ahmadinejad’s congenial hosts had decided to exhibit a more reserved attitude toward the Dalai Lama. Although the exiled Tibetan leader has been a lifelong proponent of non-violent resistance—in stark contrast, for example, to Mahmoud al-Zahar—the Swiss government decided to shun him during his visit to Lausanne in early August. Given that Switzerland is now in advanced negotiations with China over a free-trade agreement, it seems reasonable to conclude that the decision to sidestep the 74-year-old Nobel Peace Prize winner was the result of pressure from Beijing. In a radio interview, Foreign Minister Calmy-Rey reluctantly admitted as much. “It’s not a good time, it’s a difficult period, it’s impossible for me, for my colleagues too,” she said.

By contrast, the Swiss have been particularly obsequious toward Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. In July 2008, Gaddafi’s son Hannibal and his wife Aline were arrested in Geneva after beating two domestic employees. After posting half a million Swiss francs in bail, the couple was released two days later. The Libyans were nonetheless outraged: Gaddafi the elder immediately slapped a series of sanctions on Switzerland—which he called a “mafia state” at the yearly G8 meeting—including the halting of all oil exports, the cancellation of all flights between the two countries, and the withdrawal of some $5 billion in Libyan assets from Swiss banks. For the Swiss, this was all too much to bear. During an August 2009 visit to Libya, the Swiss president publicly groveled before his hosts, apologizing for Hannibal’s “unjust arrest.”

The Swiss people are noted for several praiseworthy national traits, such as seriousness and precision. Unfortunately, as their leaders’ recent actions and the not-so-distant past demonstrate, they are sorely lacking in one crucial quality: shame.

Sagiv suggests that Switzerland's 'neutrality' has been out of place for the last 70 years.

In the twentieth century, however, the picture changed dramatically. World War II and the ensuing confrontation between the West and the Soviet bloc were not merely geopolitical conflicts between morally equivalent parties. Rather, they were clashes between worldviews, each of which sought to propel mankind in an opposing direction. These battles set open societies against closed ones, democracies against dictatorships, and value systems that promote pluralism and tolerance (albeit often begrudgingly honored) against ideologies that sought to obliterate the “other.” The battle being waged today between the West and radical Islam is no different. The atrocities carried out by extremist Muslims in Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, Algeria, and Israel—and let us not forget New York—have made it clear that, now as then, the forces of freedom are up against unconstrained evil.

In such a conflict, there is no place for neutrality—or passivity, indifference, and weakness. The reality of our world demands total commitment to one or the other side. Sadly, Switzerland is not the only state that has chosen to be one of what Dante called “the sad souls… who lived without blame and without praise.” Even among those nations that have proclaimed their willingness to fight to protect their freedoms, many too frequently prefer to avoid decisive action, thus enabling their enemies to gather strength and prepare for the next round. Thus, for example, is Israel obliged to sit back and watch while Iran’s nuclear project, which poses an apocalyptic threat to its existence, moves forward, while in America and Europe—not to mention China and Russia—statesmen talk incessantly of “diplomatic channels” and warn against “burning bridges” with the Muslim world. And when the president of the United States asserts, in his initial response to the presidential election fraud in Iran and the subsequent suppression of popular protest, that “it’s not productive” for his country to intervene, his words recall the advice of Switzerland’s fifteenth-century patron saint, Nicholas of Fle, who counseled his flock: “Don’t get involved in other people’s affairs.”

History shows that at times there is simply no escaping involvement in other people’s affairs—lest we wish them to become our own. Winston Churchill once said, “An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.” If we seek to avert disaster, we cannot suffice with not feeding the crocodile. We must also confront those who do.

Read the whole thing.

If Sunday's vote banning new minarets passes, it will be a small but significant step in setting Switzerland's neutrality on the right side of the moral divide. As Egyptian blogger Sandmonkey points out on Twitter,

Switzerland is banning the ... extension of a mosque. Not building the mosque itself. Muslim countries do that, to churches.

Still, a Swiss ban on minarets would be a small but important step in the right direction.

Israel Matzav: Switzerland and its friends

Israel Matzav: Obama's 'gate crashers' may have been invited after all

Obama's 'gate crashers' may have been invited after all

In a story that has gotten a lot of attention in the US, but comparatively little in Israel, a couple 'crashed' President Obama's state dinner for the Indian Prime Minister last Tuesday night. The couple turned out to be Michaele and Tareq Salahi. AP described Michaele Salahi as "a reality TV hopeful trying to get on Bravo's 'The Real Housewives of D.C.'" The Secret Service is quite upset about the security breach - the Salahis got into the receiving line and shook hands with President Obumbler and Vice President Biden - and there has even been talk about them receiving prison time for their offense. One reason why they may have succeeded in 'crashing' the party without anyone noticing is that you would have had to check the guest list to realize that they were not invited. You see, the Salahis have met and been photographed with President Obama before. Jim Hoft fills in the details (Hat Tip: Ashan).

From the Polo Contacts Website
“America’s Cup Polo Pre-Event with President-Elect Barack Obama”

From Left to Right is: Randy Jackson, better known as a Judge on American Idol – his previous life he was a bass player for the Rock band JOURNEY, which also performed at the America’s Polo Cup. Others pictured are Black Eyed Peas Rock Band, Tareq Salahi the President of the America’s Polo Cup, President Elect Obama, Fergie from Black Eyed Peas and Michaele Salahi a former Miss USA and SuperModel.
But here's where it gets interesting.
American Power discovered this on the White House party crashers- They belong to a radical anti-Israeli group [unfortunately, ATFP is not considered that radical anymore. Obama's National Security Adviser James Jones spoke to them last month. CiJ]:
Tareq Salahi, the polo-playing intruder, is a Palestinian nationalist with ties to the American Task Force on Palestine (ATFP) , a pro-Palestine lobby demanding the “right of return” for all Palestinian refugees and their descendants. The “right of return” has long been considered the backdoor to Israel’s destruction. But not only that: ATFP President Ziad Asali is an America-basher who blamed 9/11 on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Asali was a lead U.S. official to PLO terrorist Yassir Arafat’s funeral in 2004. And in a position paper in 2007, the ATFP called for a power-sharing agreement at the Palestinian Authority, which would have included the State Department’s designated-terrorist group, Hamas.
And, there’s more…
There sure is.

The former Vice President of ATFP is... Rashid Khalidi. Yes, the same Rashid Khalidi whose videotape the Los Angeles Times refused to release before the election (or since) because it showed Khalidi and Obama bashing Israel at Khalidi's farewell to Chicago party. The same former PLO member (when the PLO was classified as a terror organization by the United States government) whom Barack Hussein Obama described as his friend at the University of Chicago. The same Rashid Khalidi around whose table Obama held 'conversations' that forced him to re-examine his prejudices.

Read the whole thing.

Ashan speculates that this might have been the reason that the state dinner was held in a tent. That way, the Salahis could have a conversation with Obama in the reception line and it would be less likely to be recorded. It's an interesting thought.

Israel Matzav: Obama's 'gate crashers' may have been invited after all

Israel Matzav: JNF to plant trees in new 'Palestinian' city

JNF to plant trees in new 'Palestinian' city

The Jewish National Fund (JNF) is planting trees in a new 'Palestinian' city called Ruwabi, which is being built north of Ramallah. On the other hand, the JNF refuses to carry on any activities in Jewish cities and towns that are outside the 1949 armistice lines (Hat Tip: David Hazony via Twitter).

As a first step, the JNF contributed 3,000 tree seedlings for planting in what is meant to be a forested area on the edges of the new city. At the same time, the forestry experts of the JNF have been advising the city planners on the matter.

Suhil Zaydan, one of the JNF's forestry managers, is serving as liaison between the organization and the city planers.

"There have been a number of meetings, both at the location where the city will be built and also at the JNF greenhouses," he says. "We have contributed with our know-how, by advising on how to prepare the ground for the planting and how public gardens should be planned, as well as the best times for planting, and what kinds of trees it is preferable to plant. We did not talk about politics and we shall not talk about it - we deal with trees and understand forestry, botany and greenhouses."

The ambitious project of building a city from scratch has drawn an estimated investment of $800 million, mostly from Palestinian and Qatari sources.

The plan is for 6,000 housing units over a 6,300 dunam area that is supposed to provide housing for nearly 40,000 people and employ some 10,000 Palestinian workers. The project is aimed at the Palestinian middle class.

And that policy?

According to its official policy, the JNF does not purchase lands beyond the Green Line, one reason being to keep it out of political debates liable to have a negative effect on donations.

The Jewish National Fund (Hebrew: קרן קימת לישראל, Keren Kayemet LeYisrael) (abbreviated as JNF, and sometimes KKL) was founded in 1901 to buy and develop land in Ottoman Palestine (later Israel) for Jewish settlement. But while buying land for Jews across the 'green line' is liable to have a 'negative effect on donations,' buying and developing land for Arabs (with Jewish money) is perfectly acceptable.

What could go wrong?

By the way, read the whole thing. I guarantee you that there are no other trees in the world that are receiving the care these trees for the 'Palestinians' are receiving.

Israel Matzav: JNF to plant trees in new 'Palestinian' city

Israel Matzav: High Court appeal: Disclose commission recommendations on hostage release

High Court appeal: Disclose commission recommendations on hostage release

National Union MK Yaakov Katz (Ketzaleh) has filed an appeal with the High Court of Justice asking that Prime Minister Netanyahu be ordered to disclose the contents of the Shamgar Commission report. The Shamgar Commission, which was established to recommend principles for 'prisoner exchanges,' looked at the effects of trading terrorists for Israeli hostages, and is believed to have recommended strongly against such trades. Although the report was delivered to the government in 2008, it has never been released to the public.

In the appeal, Katz claimed Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are preventing the publication of the Shamgar Commission's findings until after the deal to release captive IDF soldier Gilad Schalit is completed.


"Imagine what the outcome of the Second Lebanon War would have been if the Winograd Commission had delivered its findings in advance of the war. How prepared we would have been," he said last week. "Now, we have that opportunity with the Shamgar Commission. Netanyahu must reveal the findings before we make any decision to release terrorists, and he must have a debate in the government and in the Knesset before he reaches any conclusion."

Commission chairman Meir Shamgar is a former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Yes, of course the report should be released.

Israel Matzav: High Court appeal: Disclose commission recommendations on hostage release

Israel Matzav: The Narrative

The Narrative

There are two surprising things about this article. One is that it appears in the New York Times. The other is that it was written by Tom Friedman (Hat Tip: David Hazony via Twitter).

Have no doubt: we punched a fist into the Arab/Muslim world after 9/11, partly to send a message of deterrence, but primarily to destroy two tyrannical regimes — the Taliban and the Baathists — and to work with Afghans and Iraqis to build a different kind of politics. In the process, we did some stupid and bad things. But for every Abu Ghraib, our soldiers and diplomats perpetrated a million acts of kindness aimed at giving Arabs and Muslims a better chance to succeed with modernity and to elect their own leaders.

The Narrative was concocted by jihadists to obscure that.

It’s working. As a Jordanian-born counterterrorism expert, who asked to remain anonymous, said to me: “This narrative is now omnipresent in Arab and Muslim communities in the region and in migrant communities around the world. These communities are bombarded with this narrative in huge doses and on a daily basis. [It says] the West, and right now mostly the U.S. and Israel, is single-handedly and completely responsible for all the grievances of the Arab and the Muslim worlds. Ironically, the vast majority of the media outlets targeting these communities are Arab-government owned — mostly from the Gulf.”

This narrative suits Arab governments. It allows them to deflect onto America all of their people’s grievances over why their countries are falling behind. And it suits Al Qaeda, which doesn’t need much organization anymore — just push out The Narrative over the Web and satellite TV, let it heat up humiliated, frustrated or socially alienated Muslim males, and one or two will open fire on their own. See: Major Hasan.

“Liberal Arabs like me are as angry as a terrorist and as determined to change the status quo,” said my Jordanian friend. The only difference “is that while we choose education, knowledge and success to bring about change, a terrorist, having bought into the narrative, has a sense of powerlessness and helplessness, which are inculcated in us from childhood, that lead him to believe that there is only one way, and that is violence.”

Friedman asks what to do. He says that he believes that most Arab Muslims know the truth about the Narrative and he urges President Obama to confront them about it. Unfortunately, everything we have seen about President Obama to date indicates that he is someone who appeases Islam, and not someone who confronts it and exposes its flaws.

But perhaps the most telling thing about this article is the fact that Friedman's Jordanian friend asked to remain anonymous. Jordan is a country that is supposedly friendly with the United States and has a peace treaty with Israel. Jordan is a country that is viewed as friendly with the United States, and it has a peace treaty with Israel. Yet a 2008 Pew study shows Jordanian approval of Jews in single digits, while the majority expresses positive views of Hamas and Hezbullah.

Perhaps Friedman should confront his friend with Jordan's attitude toward Jews and ask what can be done about it before asking that President Obama confront Muslims generally. A country's attitude toward Jews and Israel says more about the love for freedom and mankind in that country than anything else.

Israel Matzav: The Narrative

Israel Matzav: Is it too late to stop the 'freeze'?

Is it too late to stop the 'freeze'?

Some people still think the 'freeze' can be stopped. Yisrael Beiteinu's Uzi Landau has submitted a demand for a debate by the entire government.

"This is a central issue in the state agenda, and it is essential that all members of government get a chance to express their opinions," Landau said.

And Likud's Danny Danon has submitted enough signatures to bring the 'freeze' to a debate within his party.

MK Danny Danon handed in a sufficient number of Likud members' signatures in order to demand a debate on the recently imposed construction freeze in West Bank settlements.

Danon said the signatures "express public opinion in the Likud, as well as the opinions of ministers unable to be here".

But watch this interview with Efrat Council head Oded Ravivi - who is a friend of a friend. It will make you wonder whether the 'freeze' has any meaning at all in light of Israeli government policies over the last several years.

Let's go to the videotape.

By the way, this shows just how badly the Obama administration messed up with its freeze demand. Efrat, which is in a 'settlement bloc' that most Israelis expect to remain within Israel even in the eventuality of 'peace' with the 'Palestinians,' hasn't had a new building permit in eight years. That kind of makes you wonder why Obama made such a big deal out of a 'settlement freeze,' doesn't it? And now that one has been imposed, you can bet that when those ten months are up, there is going to be enormous pressure on Netanyahu from Israelis to turn on the faucets and let the construction begin in earnest.

A silver lining exists in the current clouds after all.

Israel Matzav: Is it too late to stop the 'freeze'?

Israel Matzav: NGO: 'Settlements' are legal and we'll go to court to prove it

NGO: 'Settlements' are legal and we'll go to court to prove it

An Israeli NGO has sent a letter to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton threatening a class action lawsuit if she continues to call Jewish cities and towns in Judea and Samaria 'illegal settlements.' The letter, which was also sent to Prime Minister Netanyahu, argues that the 'settlement freeze' is illegal under a 1924 treaty in which the United States recognized that Judea and Samaria were part of the British Mandate for 'Palestine.'

The Office for Israeli Constitutional Law, a non-governmental legal action organization, sent a letter to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week, warning that by labeling Jewish settlements in the West Bank illegal, she is violating international law.

The little-known Anglo-American Convention, a treaty signed by the US and British governments in 1924, stipulated that the US fully accepted upon itself the Mandate for Palestine, which declared all of the West Bank within its borders.

"The treaty has been hidden," said OFICL director Mark Kaplan. "But if you look at the House [of Representatives] deliberations during World War I, people are saying, 'Look, we've invested a lot of money in Palestine, and we expect that this treaty will be upheld.'"

Though the United Nations' 1947 partition plan declared the West Bank an Arab territory, the mandate's borders still hold today.

"The mandate expired in 1948 when Israel got its independence," Kaplan said. "But the American-Anglo convention was a treaty that was connected to the mandate. Treaties themselves have no statute of limitations, so their rights go on ad infinitum."

"The UN partition plan was just that-a plan," said OFICL chairman Michael Snidecor in a statement. "The General Assembly has no authority to create countries or change borders."

Israel Matzav: NGO: 'Settlements' are legal and we'll go to court to prove it

Israel Matzav: How the US failed to get Bin Laden

How the US failed to get Bin Laden

In December 2001, the United States had Osama Bin Laden cornered in the mountains of Tora Bora in Afghanistan and allowed him to escape.

By early December 2001, Bin Laden’s world had shrunk to a complex of caves and tunnels carved into a mountainous section of eastern Afghanistan known as Tora Bora. Cornered in some of the most forbidding terrain on earth, he and several hundred of his men, the largest concentration of Al Qaeda fighters of the war, endured relentless pounding by American aircraft, as many as 100 air strikes a day. One 15,000-pound bomb, so huge it had to be rolled out the back of a C-130 cargo plane, shook the mountains for miles. It seemed only a matter of time before U.S. troops and their Afghan allies overran the remnants of Al Qaeda hunkered down in the thin, cold air at 14,000 feet.

Bin Laden expected to die. His last will and testament, written on December 14, reflected his fatalism. ‘‘Allah commended to us that when death approaches any of us that we make a bequest to parents and next of kin and to Muslims as a whole,’’ he wrote, according to a copy of the will that surfaced later and is regarded as authentic. ‘‘Allah bears witness that the love of jihad and death in the cause of Allah has dominated my life and the verses of the sword permeated every cell in my heart, ‘and fight the pagans all together as they fight you all together.’ How many times did I wake up to find myself reciting this holy verse!’’ He instructed his wives not to remarry and apologized to his children for devoting himself to jihad.

But the Al Qaeda leader would live to fight another day. Fewer than 100 American commandos were on the scene with their Afghan allies and calls for reinforcements to launch an assault were rejected. Requests were also turned down for U.S. troops to block the mountain paths leading to sanctuary a few miles away in Pakistan. The vast array of American military power, from sniper teams to the most mobile divisions of the Marine Corps and the Army, was kept on the sidelines. Instead, the U.S. command chose to rely on airstrikes and untrained Afghan militias to attack bin Laden and on Pakistan’s loosely organized Frontier Corps to seal his escape routes. On or around December 16, two days after writing his will, bin Laden and an entourage of bodyguards walked unmolested out of Tora Bora and disappeared into Pakistan’s unregulated tribal area. Most analysts say he is still there today.

The decision not to deploy American forces to go after bin Laden or block his escape was made by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his top commander, Gen. Tommy Franks, the architects of the unconventional Afghan battle plan known as Operation Enduring Freedom. Rumsfeld said at the time that he was concerned that too many U.S. troops in Afghanistan would create an anti-American backlash and fuel a widespread insurgency. Reversing the recent American military orthodoxy known as the Powell doctrine, the Afghan model emphasized minimizing the U.S. presence by relying on small, highly mobile teams of special operations troops and CIA paramilitary operatives working with the Afghan opposition. Even when his own commanders and senior intelligence officials in Afghanistan and Washington argued for dispatching more U.S. troops, Franks refused to deviate from the plan.

There were enough U.S. troops in or near Afghanistan to execute the classic sweep-and-block maneuver required to attack bin Laden and try to prevent his escape. It would have been a dangerous fight across treacherous terrain, and the injection of more U.S. troops and the resulting casualties would have contradicted the risk-averse, ‘‘light footprint’’ model formulated by Rumsfeld and Franks.

But commanders on the scene and elsewhere in Afghanistan argued that the risks were worth the reward.

Five years later, Israel failed to learn the lesson of Tora Bora.

Have we learned it since?

Israel Matzav: How the US failed to get Bin Laden

Israel Matzav: Iran to halt voluntary cooperation with the IAEA

Iran to halt voluntary cooperation with the IAEA

This should not come as too great a surprise to anyone. Now that his good friend Mohammed ElBaradei is not going to chair the IAEA anymore, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's Iran has announced that it is halting all voluntary cooperation with the nuclear watchdog (Hat Tip: Jihad Watch).

Iran officially announced that it will cease its voluntary cooperation with the IAEA after the agency’s Board of Governors adopted a resolution against Iran on Friday under pressure by Western countries.

Iran said the drafters of the anti-Iran resolution made a historic mistake and advised the West to discard its policy of confrontation with Tehran.

“To show its goodwill, the Islamic Republic of Iran has so far taken steps beyond its commitments, but this resolution will cause Iran to cooperate with the agency only within the framework of the NPT (nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty),” Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran’s ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, said on Friday.

“The Board of Governors’ resolution will disrupt the current atmosphere of cooperation and will cause Iran to discontinue its voluntary cooperation which went beyond its commitments,” Soltanieh told the Mehr News Agency.

One other little curiosity from Friday's IAEA vote: The third largest recipient of US foreign aid abstained.

Malaysia, which is the current president of the IAEA Board, Venezuela, and Cuba voted against the resolution, and Afghanistan, Brazil, Egypt, Pakistan, South Africa and Turkey abstained. Azerbaijan Republic missed the vote.

Someone please remind me again why the US gives Egypt, which has one of the bigger interests in not seeing Iran go nuclear, $2 billion in foreign aid every year.

But wait, it gets worse:

The Egyptian ambassador to the IAEA said there is no justification for the resolution since it will damage the quality of Iran’s cooperation with the UN body.

Which 'cooperation' did he have in mind?

Israel Matzav: Iran to halt voluntary cooperation with the IAEA

Israel Matzav: Major Nidal Malik Hassan's enabler

Major Nidal Malik Hassan's enabler

Mark Steyn nails the political correctness that led to the Fort Hood massacre earlier this month (Hat Tip: Instapundit):

Major Hasan couldn’t have been more straightforward about who and what he was. An army psychiatrist, he put “SoA”—i.e., “Soldier of Allah”—on his business card. At the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences, he was reprimanded for trying to persuade patients to convert to Islam and fellow pupils objected to his constant “anti-American propaganda,” but, as the Associated Press reported, “a fear of appearing discriminatory against a Muslim student kept officers from filing a formal written complaint.”

This is your brain on political correctness.

As the writer Barry Rubin pointed out, Major Hasan was the first mass murderer in U.S. history to give a PowerPoint presentation outlining the rationale for the crime he was about to commit. And he gave the presentation to a roomful of fellow army psychiatrists and doctors. Some of whom glanced queasily at their colleagues, but none of whom actually spoke up. And, when the question of whether then-Captain Hasan was, in fact, “psychotic,” the policy committee at Walter Reed Army Medical Center worried “how would it look if we kick out one of the few Muslim residents.”

This is your brain on political correctness.

So instead he got promoted to major and shipped to Fort Hood. And barely had he got to Texas when he started making idle chit-chat praising the jihadist murderer of two soldiers outside a recruitment centre in Little Rock. “This is what Muslims should do, stand up to the aggressors,” Major Hasan told his superior officer, Colonel Terry Lee. “People should strap bombs on themselves and go into Times Square.”

In less enlightened times, Colonel Lee would have concluded that, being in favour of the murder of his comrades, Major Hasan was objectively on the side of the enemy. But instead he merely cautioned the major against saying things that might give people the wrong impression. Which is to say, the right impression.

This is your brain on political correctness.

“You need to lock it up, major,” advised the colonel.

Steyn's warnings on political correctness are pertinent for Israel as well. Too many of our politicians ignore what the Arab Muslims would like to do to the Jews in this country since it's not politically correct to talk about it. We pretend that the 'Palestinians' want peace when they don't and we appease their enablers in Washington, New York, London and Paris by stifling normal life in our own communities. We pretend that creating a 'Palestinian state' on the '1967 borders' will resolve our dispute with the Arab world when nothing could be further from the truth.

Yes, it's all part of the same political correctness. And if we and other countries in the free world don't stop abiding by it, we're going to end up with more Nidal Malik Hassan's in more countries around the world.

Israel Matzav: Major Nidal Malik Hassan's enabler

Israel Matzav: Awww..... Guess who the big losers are in Dubai

Awww..... Guess who the big losers are in Dubai

Guess who the big losers are in Dubai? Yes, you guessed it. The 'Palestinians.'

Arab financial analysts said the crisis in the Gulf states, compounded by debts and falling oil prices, will affect the economy in the Palestinian Territories, where many families depend on money from relatives working in Dubai, primarily in construction.

Other Palestinians work as engineers, instructors and in technology-related professions in Dubai. Some have started construction businesses there, such as Arab-Tech, which was among the country's first victims of the financial crisis.

This recession resulted in the cancelation of building contracts and projects and sent the industry into a freeze, prompting many Palestinians to leave Dubai for neighboring Qatar - which last month injected $6 billion in fresh capital into its banking system to "restore confidence" in its own economy - and in Saudi Arabia. Some have returned to the West Bank.

Maybe if the 'Palestinians' don't have it so good, they'll consider compromising on some of their demands.

Nah, perish the thought.

Israel Matzav: Awww..... Guess who the big losers are in Dubai

Israel Matzav: And who is going to enforce the 'freeze'?

And who is going to enforce the 'freeze'?

What if the government imposed a 'settlement freeze' and the local authorities all refused to enforce it? That's the prospect facing the Netanyahu-Barak government Sunday morning after Beit El's regional council head tore up the order when it was delivered on Friday and Ariel Mayor Ron Nachman announced on Saturday night that he won't enforce the freeze.

"Is this freeze so important that they had to distribute the orders banning construction on Friday afternoon, right before Shabbat?," Nachman asked rhetorically. Speaking to Arutz 7, Nachman said that "when the Defense Ministry called me on Friday afternoon, I thought that a war had broken out. I do not intend to remain silent in light of the humiliation and shame that the mayors of towns in Judea and Samaria have been put through. I plan to petition the High Court over the despicable way the authorities chose to distribute these orders, without giving us the right to respond, without listening to us, summarily taking away our rights.

"The Defense Minister, without feeling or intelligence, ran roughshod over our rights," continued Nachman. "He thinks he is still leading an IDF intelligence unit and that we are the enemy. Because they took away my authority as mayor to authorize projects in my jurisdiction, I hereby give up my authority to enforce these orders. If anyone violates this building freeze in my jurisdiction I will not act against them. If the Civil Administration wants to handle it, they are welcome to. I am out of the picture," Nachman added.

Two points bear mentioning here: Unlike most leaders in Judea and Samaria, Nachman is secular and so is his most of his city. Second, Nachman is a former Likud MK.

In fact, within the Likud, Nachman is only the tip of the iceberg.

Rank-and-file Likudniks and lawmakers in the ruling Likud party lambasted the Obama administration at a gathering on Saturday, in response to Israel's decision to temporarily freeze construction in West Bank settlements.

MK Dani Danon organized the meeting after Culture and Sports Minister Limor Livnat (Likud) launched a verbal attack over the matter on U.S. President Barack Obama's administration, which she branded "terrible."


"The Obama administration is an enemy of the Jews and the worst regime there ever was for the State of Israel," said Yossi Naim, the head of the Beit Aryeh regional council, at the Ra'ana meeting. "I announce to Obama: You won't be able to stop us."

The mayor of the West Bank settlement of Ariel, Ron Nahman, called Netanyahu's announcement of the settlement freeze a disgrace.

Directing his comments to Livnat, he said: "I am proud and happy that you said what you said, because you had the public courage to say what most of the public feels ever since Obama came to power."

Nahman repeatedly referred to the U.S. leader as "Hussein Obama," omitting his first name.

There's more too. Deputy Minister Moshe (Boogie) Yaalon, who flirted with Moshe Feiglin a few months ago, was forced to leave Kiryat Arba without speaking on Saturday night after a riot broke out. Read the whole thing.

What if there was mass civil disobedience in Judea and Samaria and everyone just built anyway? Who would enforce the 'freeze'? The IDF? Not with much of the officer corps living in Judea and Samaria. That's inviting mass refusal of orders, not to mention what it would do to the IDF's combat readiness during the lead-up to a possible attack on Iran. The police? There aren't enough of them, and the consequences for the rest of the country of deploying the police on construction patrols in Judea and Samaria would be devastating.

But fear not. The country is in good hands. What could go wrong?
Israel Matzav: And who is going to enforce the 'freeze'?

Israel Matzav: Do I get to say 'I told you so'?

Do I get to say 'I told you so'?

Caroline Glick rips Prime Minister Netanyahu for capitulating to our enemies this past week.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu weakened Israel this week. And he did so for no good reason.

Thursday's headlines told the tale. The day after Netanyahu bowed to US pressure and announced a total freeze on Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria for ten months, Yediot Aharonot reported that the Obama administration now wants Israel to release a thousand Fatah terrorists from prison.

The Americans also want Israel to allow US-trained, terror supporting Fatah paramilitary forces to deploy in areas that are currently under Israeli military control. Moreover, the Americans are demanding that Israel surrender land in the strategically crucial Jordan Valley to Fatah.

And these are just American preconditions for starting negotiations with the Palestinians. According to Yediot, if those talks ever begin, the White House will demand that Israel accept a Palestinian state in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and Gaza and agree to ethnically cleanse all the areas of Jews.

So far from winning American support or at least causing the White House to ease its bullying, US President Barack Obama sees Netanyahu's decision to implement a militarily irrational, bigoted policy of prohibiting Jews from building in Israel's heartland as a drop in the bucket.


MANY COMMENTATORS claim that Netanyahu's announcement Wednesday night was his way of balancing his desire to release 450 Hamas murderers from prison in exchange for hostage Gilad Schalit with an equal concession to Fatah. That is, the freeze was required, it is argued, because without a move of this magnitude, the terrorists-for-hostage deal would destroy Fatah completely.

This view is the quintessence of the notion that two wrongs make a right.

In an interview with Channel 2 Wednesday night, Defense Minister Ehud Barak admitted that in negotiating Schalit's release, Netanyahu has gone well beyond former prime minister Ehud Olmert's offers to Hamas. With Netanyahu and Likud in the opposition loudly proclaiming the truth that any deal with Hamas will imperil untold numbers of Israelis, Olmert didn't dare accept Hamas's demand that Israel release its most brutal mass murderers from its prisons. But now that Netanyahu and Likud are in the driver's seat, they are only too happy to accept what was previously unacceptable.

Read the whole thing (there is much more).

Do I get to say 'I told you so' yet?

Israel Matzav: Do I get to say 'I told you so'?

Israel Matzav: Of course he supports the freeze

Of course he supports the freeze

Remember 'settler MK' Otniel Schneller who stuck with Ehud Olmert and his Kadima party through thick and thin? Well, I'm sure those of you who remember him will be shocked - just shocked - to hear that he's all in favor of the 'settlement freeze.'

MK Otniel Schneller (Kadima),resident of Maale Machmesh settlement, announced that he supports the temporary freeze order on West Bank construction.

Schneller also urged his party members to back the cabinet's decision to continue construction in Jerusalem due to natural growth: "The construction freeze will help renew negotiations with the Palestinian people while maintaining the national interests of Israel."

By the way, construction in Jerusalem is permitted under the 'freeze' even if it has nothing to do with 'natural growth.' I'm sure in that case, Schneller is opposed.

I wonder what his reaction will be when God forbid the IDF comes to remove him from his home in Maale Michmash (which is outside the 'security fence'), because Israel has decided to give the town to the 'Palestinians.' It seems that may be the only chance that Schneller will ever 'get it.' Maybe some of his leftist friends will find him a house in Ramat Aviv.

Israel Matzav: Of course he supports the freeze

Israel Matzav: What's a 'settlement freeze'?

What's a 'settlement freeze'?

For those of you who are wondering what a 'settlement freeze' means as a practical matter, this ought to give you an idea.

The new building freeze orders issued beginning Friday are far more serious, because they forbid any building whatsoever – even something as simple as turning a porch into an enclosed room, or adding a floor to an existing home. Residents can, if they wish, request a special permit from the Civil Authority for such construction, which until now was granted by the local authority.

Civil Authority officials began distributing the official orders instituting the building freeze on Friday. The freeze strips local authorities of powers to approve any building within the borders of the area under their jurisdiction, and prohibits construction on any site where a foundation for a building has not yet been dug – even if the site has a building permit.

Among the first local authority heads to receive the orders was Beit El's Rosenbaum , who took the orders and ripped them up. In an interview with Arutz 7, Rosenbaum said he spoke to the director of Prime Minister Binyamin Netayahu's office, Eyal Gabai, and told him that to remind Netanyahu that he needed to keep his promises to voters. "This freeze is shameful," said Rosenbaum. "In the British 'White Paper' there were severe restrictions on the sale of land to Jews, and here a Jewish leader in the state of Israel has undertaken a similar racist policy. I am shocked by this decision," Rosenbaum said.

Disgraceful, isn't it?

Mrs. Carl read me a very clever article about the freeze from Mishpacha Magazine as I was preparing to go to synagogue on Friday evening. Since Mishpacha now requires you to sign your eldest child away in order to access anything on their website (What century are you living in? Name, address and phone number for web site access?), I won't link it.

Israel Matzav: What's a 'settlement freeze'?

Israel Matzav: What if....

What if....

At the end of a lengthy article about the possibility of Israel attacking Iran (yes, but not as soon as people think), Amir Oren of Haaretz asks the following question:

In closed meetings, Israel has been flexing its muscles and saying that it is not worthwhile for Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran to test its seriousness. The behavior during the Gilad Shalit affair contradicts this pose. Israel can shout a thousand times a day that the deal for the release of Palestinian murderers will definitely be the last. But if Talbot and other foreign observers are correct in their assumptions that the burden of an Israeli operation against Iran would fall on the Israel Air Force's squadrons of war planes, Israel must prepare for the possibility that the aircraft will be hit by enemy fire or will encounter technical difficulties - as with missing IAF navigator Ron Arad's Phantom jet - and not all of the pilots will be rescued.

If members of flight crews fall into Iranian captivity, the Iranians will likely put them on trial in order to condemn them to death and open a bazaar of multi-stage negotiations. In return for rescinding the death sentence and reducing it to a life sentence, Iran will demand the release of all the other murderers in Israel; afterward, in return for the release of the pilots, navigators and other captured soldiers, it will demand far-reaching concessions on completely different issues. For example, in Jerusalem; or in the field that General Myers brands a "nuclear-armed" Israel. Would the Israeli public, which persistently pled for the government to sign the Shalit deal, dare to suddenly refuse? Would Benjamin Netanyahu, who is tough-talking but soft in action, not fold again, as is his wont?

I hope someone in the government has thought about this, especially in light of the fact that they are about to release 1,000 terrorists in exchange for one IDF corporal. I think you all know where I stand on the question. If God forbid a pilot is shot down, we try to rescue him, but we do not release terrorists in an 'exchange.'

What could go wrong?

The picture at the top is missing IDF navigator Ron Arad (since 1986) in captivity.

Israel Matzav: What if....

Love of the Land: Breaking News: Tehran OKs Ten Uranium Enrichment Facilities; U.S. Government Begs Iran to Negotiate

Breaking News: Tehran OKs Ten Uranium Enrichment Facilities; U.S. Government Begs Iran to Negotiate

Barry Rubin
The Rubin Report
29 November 09

Iran's government announced a cabinet-level decision approving construction of ten new facilities to make enriched uranium, defying the United States and the UN. U.S. reaction so far? Please please talk with us . This is the moment for the president to make that "My fellow Americans..." getting tough and imposing high sanctions speech, showing leadership and urging Europe to follow him. Why is it one doubts that will happen?

This is not just another slap, it is a hitting over the head with a two by four. It’s getting pretty obvious that Iran doesn’t want to make nice no matter how hard the West and particularly President Barack Obama tries. There’s a broader lesson here: if you apologize, they take it as weakness. If you take too long to react, they use it as an opportunity to advance. If you make a concession they demand more. If you pass a resolution, they laugh in your face.

At some point in history, perhaps Western leaders, academics, and intellectuals will understand this. How about today?

After all, the Iranian regime has now approved a plan to build 10 new uranium enrichment facilities (start building five; start planning five more). Get it? You criticize us for building one, so our answer is to build 10. You criticize us for building one in secret, so we do it right before your eyes.

What are you going to do about it? Come and get me, copper! You don’t like it? Go drink the Nile. And a lot of other expressions which require words I don’t use but an example has two words, the first of which has four letters and the second of which is “you.”

It should be noted that this probably isn't going to happen. When the regime starts talking about 500,000 centrifuges that is a fantasy, so is the idea of building ten facilities. It's a largely--but not necessarily totally--demagogic response. Yet it also indicates the likelihood that Iran will build (is building? has already built?) more facilities.

Love of the Land: Breaking News: Tehran OKs Ten Uranium Enrichment Facilities; U.S. Government Begs Iran to Negotiate

Love of the Land: Iran Speeds Up

Iran Speeds Up

John Podhoretz
29 November 09

Iran has announced its intention to build ten new nuclear-enrichment sites. What? How could this be? Surely the international community’s outrage at Iran’s deception, which then led last week to a really strong letter to the editor—excuse me, scolding from the International Atomic Weapons Agency—was going to teach the Persians a thing or two!

It would seem logical to assume the purpose of these multiple sites is to make a successful military strike to downgrade or destroy Iran’s nuclear bomb-making capacity difficult to the point of impossibility. It would be hard enough for Israel or the United States to stage a complex series of simultaneous surprise aerial bombings against four locations; from four to fourteen would certainly be beyond Israel’s capacity and would significantly strain our own.

Remember when everybody was saying, including in the Democratic primary for president, that it would be unacceptable for Iran to get the bomb? Remember when President Bush said those who allowed Iran to get the bomb would enjoy the same reputation in the annals of history as the Western leaders at Munich?

Love of the Land: Iran Speeds Up

Love of the Land: Questions people are afraid to ask Salam Fayyad

Questions people are afraid to ask Salam Fayyad

David Bedein/Arlene Kushner
28 November 09

In his column of November 20, "Salam Fayyad builds Palestine," Jerusalem Post Editor-in-Chief David Horovitz describes "two staunch Jewish supporters of Israel" - Sen. Joe Lieberman, former vice presidential candidate, and Rep. Howard Berman, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee - "nodding their encouragement" at a recent Ramallah press conference, where Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad explained how he was preparing Palestinians for statehood. The piece goes on to outline a Palestinian state in formation, regarding security forces, the economy and civic institutions, with an optimistic sense of what the PA is achieving.

Regrettably, Lieberman and Berman did not use the press conference to raise some troublesome questions.

Since these American elected officials let that opportunity pass, perhaps it was Horovitz's journalistic responsibility to explore these matters, to offer a more balanced picture. Instead, he alluded to "staunch supporters of Israel nodding their agreement" - conveying the notion that, except for some technical problems, all is well.

Questions that Lieberman, Berman or Horovitz could have asked would have included:

• Renunciation of the PLO state of war with Israel.

The charter of Fatah - the predominant element in the PLO and the PA - to this day continues to call for the destruction of Israel. Written in 1964, before Israel controlled the West Bank and Gaza, it uses the term "Palestine" to refer exclusively to Israel within the Green Line. The charter declares that "Liberating Palestine is a national obligation," and that "Armed public revolution is the inevitable method" for doing so. This cannot be dismissed as an irrelevant anachronism. Last August, Fatah held its first General Congress in 20 years. Hope was held out for a charter revision, with violence officially renounced, but it never happened. Instead, Fatah continued to unambiguously embrace "armed resistance" to liberate Palestine. Why is this so?

• Cessation of incitement via changes in PA-produced textbooks.

(Continue reading...)

Love of the Land: Questions people are afraid to ask Salam Fayyad

Love of the Land: Birthday Wishes

Birthday Wishes

Noah Pollak
29 November 09

Shulamit Aloni, a former head of Israel’s Meretz Party, gave an interview to Yedioth on her 81st birthday. “It’s hard for me to say a kind word about the state today,” she said.

“No one should be speaking this nonsense about ‘blood on the hands.’ Since 2000, with the launching of the second intifada, we have murdered thousands. We too have blood on our hands,” she remarked.

“We need to release those demanded (by Hamas) immediately,” she went on. …

“We are a nefarious people. What we are doing in the West Bank is worse than all the pogroms done to the Jews.” But she qualified her statement by saying she was “not referring to the Nazis, but the Cossacks.”

Conventional leftist self-hatred, as these things go. But this comment on Israeli politics was interesting:

“The Right has two left hands, but the Left doesn’t even exist today,” she said.

Here’s some free political advice: That’s because most Israelis don’t loathe their country, and they know the Aloni-Meretz faction does.

Love of the Land: Birthday Wishes

Love of the Land: Global Peace Index: The Profection of Distorted Research

Global Peace Index: The Profection of Distorted Research

Farid Ghadry
Reform Party of Syria (RPS)
29 November 09

"We, Syrians, if not for the poverty and the oppression, would sleep far better than any Israeli could ever do, who is harassed and terrorized by violent Middle East dictators, UN dormant officials, and western policy makers with deeply rooted dislike for success."

Washington DC - November 29, 2009 (Farid Ghadry Blog) -- Vision for Humanity has just published its Global Peace Index for 2009 in which it highlights the various GPI rankings it follows for 144 countries.

On its own website, VFH states: "Peace is the prerequisite for the survival of society as we know it in the 21st century. It lies at the centre of being able to manage humanity’s many and varied challenges, simply because peace creates the optimum environment in which the other activities that contribute to human growth can take place." It also makes this interesting claim: "But the structure, causes and value of peace need to be better understood."

After reading their index, it is obvious that the structure, causes, and value of peace is misunderstood by VFH.

For example, GPI ranks Syria as the 92nd country out of 144 and Iraq as the 144th country. Iraq is at the bottom of the heap. In its first line item analysis, GPI claims that Syria has fought ONLY ONE conflict between 2002-2007 in which 25 people or more died.

We do not know whether they mean the number of deaths by the Syrian proxy called Hezbollah who sparked a war in 2006 or Hamas, another Syrian proxy, who sparked yet another war in 2008. Or maybe the Syrian regime itself, which started acts of terror against Iraq in 2003 -- killing hundreds of thousands of Iraqis -- and continue to this day unabated. Or maybe the mysterious hundreds of killings in Lebanon at the hands of the Syrian regime itself.

There are four conflicts we know of, yet GPI lists only ONE. Most of the other line items were similarly distortive.

Syria, under the Assad regime, is very much involved in Iraq's destruction and Iraq, under a democratically elected government, is at the receiving end of terrorists crossing from Syria and the terror masters in Iran. For an institution feeding off the respected Economist Intelligence, the ranking is upside down.

Syria, with Assad ruling, should be at the bottom because it is destabilizing the whole Levant region and beyond. Any good researcher would be able to see the pattern followed by the ruling Alawite minority in Damascus as a tactic for surviving to govern brutally 22 million hapless Syrians.

(Continue reading...)

Love of the Land: Global Peace Index: The Profection of Distorted Research

Love of the Land: A minor correction

A minor correction

Leftist coalition operating anti-Israel boycott website gets it wrong

Hagai Segal
29 November 09

The leftist boycott industry against Israel is becoming increasingly sophisticated with the passage of time. For example, the Coalition of Women for Peace operates an English-language website that presents a comprehensive list of plants that are related to the settlements in one way or another.

All the plants on the web site are presented as ones that benefit at the expense of an occupied nation. The site is called "Who Profits?"

However, the Coalition of Women for Peace does not make do with just providing the names of plants, the kind of goods they produce, and their exact address. The website also provides the names of the owners, perhaps so that one of these days it would be possible to bring them to trial at the International Court of Justice at The Hague on charges of committing crimes by benefiting from the occupation.

Among other names, until this weekend at least the website noted that a woman called Noa Alon is one of the owners of a Jewish food-processing plant in the West Bank.

Well, for the benefit of the highly moral European followers of the website, I will note that Noa Alon has not been the owner of that plant for a long time now. A Palestinian terrorist murdered her as well as her young granddaughter, Gal Eisenman, in a suicide attack at Jerusalem's French Hill neighborhood about seven years ago.

Both grandmother and granddaughter have been laid to rest in the small cemetery in the West Bank community of Ofra, not too far from the industrial zone where the plant was located before it was relocated to the kosher side of the Green Line.

I wonder whether their very burial there also constitutes a type of benefit of the occupation.

Love of the Land: A minor correction

Love of the Land: The Militarization of Sex

The Militarization of Sex

The story of Hezbollah's halal hookups.

Hanin Ghadar
Foreign Policy
25 November 09

Hanin Ghadar is Managing Editor and Writer - NOW Lebanon

Mohammad, a 40-year old Lebanese Shiite who lives in Hezbollah's stronghold in Beirut's southern suburbs, was holding forth on the virtues of resistance, loyalty, and sex. "You could create the most loyal army by providing political power, social services and fulfilling the desires of your men -- namely, sexual ones," he declared.

"And Hezbollah has been very successful in this regard," Mohammad continued. It is hard to disagree. Hezbollah liberated South Lebanon from Israeli occupation, expanded the Shiite community's political power within the country, and has provided social services, such as health care and education, to its constituency since the 1980s. Today, it is also working to fulfill the sexual needs of its supporters, though a practice known as mutaa marriage.

Mutaa is a form of "temporary marriage" only acceptable within Shiite communities, one that allows couples to have religiously sanctioned sex for a limited period of time, without any commitments, and without the obligatory involvement of religious figures. In conservative Muslim societies known for their strict sense of propriety, mutaa offers an escape clause. The contract is very simple. The woman says: "I marry myself to you for [a specific period of time] and for [a specified dowry]" and the man says: "I accept." The period can range between one hour and a year, and is subject to renewal. A Muslim woman can only marry a Muslim man, but a Muslim man can temporarily marry a Muslim, Christian, or Jewish woman, as long as she is a divorcée or a widow. However, those interviewed for this article confirmed that Hezbollah-the "Party of God"-has allowed the practice to spread to virgins or girls who have never married before, as long as the permission of her guardian (father or paternal grandfather) is obtained.

Temporary marriage has long been practiced by Shiites around the world. However, it has recently become more commonplace in Lebanon, notably within Hezbollah strongholds in Beirut's southern suburbs and in southern Lebanon after the 2006 war with Israel,

Hezbollah's recent encouragement of this phenomenon highlights the compromises it had been required to make in order to remain the preeminent force among its domestic Shiite constituency. As the party gained strength due to its effectiveness in fighting Israel, it was forced to cope with the reality that many Lebanese Shiites did not share the Iranian-inspired religious beliefs of Hezbollah's leaders. They came to dominate a community that was shaped by the secular leftist trends of the 1970s and 1980s, and the cosmopolitan culture embodied by Beirut. Today, Lebanese Shiites are exposed to pop icons such as sexpot singer Haifa Wehbe, countless Western advertisements and programs, and technological innovations such as online dating. Allowing these Shia to balance their sexual desires with their support for the "Resistance" against the "Zionist entity" is a vital ingredient to Hezbollah's staying power.

(Continue reading...)

Love of the Land: The Militarization of Sex

Love of the Land: How to end terrorist kidnappings

How to end terrorist kidnappings
28 November 09

News item:

Voice of Palestine radio quoted Egyptian sources on Saturday as saying that in an unusual move, security around the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt has been beefed up, speculating that the added security could signal the imminent transfer of captive Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit from Gaza into Egypt…

The sources also said that when Shalit is transferred from Gaza into Egypt he will be examined by Red Cross medical teams as well as Israeli and French teams, in addition to the German mediator. Israel will simultaneously free 1,000 Palestinian prisoners, the sources said…

Senior Hamas officials said Thursday that the talks had hit a snag over some of the Palestinian prisoners the Islamic group wants freed, including Marwan Barghouti and Ahmad Sa’adat…

Hamas is demanding, among other the prisoners, the release of Ibrahim Hamad, head of the group’s military wing in the Ramallah area, Abdallah Barghouti, a bomb engineer, and Abbas a-Sayad, the Hamas head in Tul Karm who planned the 2002 massacre during Passover in Netanya’s Park Hotel. These three prisoners are considered responsible for the murder of hundreds of Israelis.

Other names mentioned in the Arab media are Hassan Salame, who was involved in planning the suicide bus bombings in the mid ’90s, and Jamal Abu al-Hijla, head of Hamas in Jenin, who was convicted of taking part in planning and funding several suicide attacks during the second intifada.

Unfortunately, Israel has close to zero leverage. Hamas has held Shalit for three years and can keep him for as long as it likes. The Netanyahu government is under tremendous pressure from the media and others to get Shalit out no matter how much it costs. Although I’m sure the families of the terrorists would like them released, Hamas can afford to be far less responsive to its public than Israel! And of course the conditions under which Palestinian prisoners are held in Israel are far better than those faced by Shalit.

(Continue reading...)

Love of the Land: How to end terrorist kidnappings
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