Thursday, 17 December 2009

DoubleTapper: Happy Chanukah

Happy Chanukah



DoubleTapper: Happy Chanukah

DoubleTapper: IDF Women

IDF Women








DoubleTapper: IDF Women

DoubleTapper: IDF Chanuka Celebrations

IDF Chanuka Celebrations



http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/images/2007/12/07/idf_chanukah.jpg


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DoubleTapper: IDF Chanuka Celebrations

Love of the Land: The Enduring Iran-Syria-Hezbollah Axis

The Enduring Iran-Syria-Hezbollah Axis


Michael Rubin
American Enterprise Institute
December 09

The Obama administration would like to move Syria into the camp of more moderate Arab states, but there is scant evidence that Syria is willing to give up its support for terrorist organizations. Like Iran, it remains a destabilizing and dangerous force in the region.

Key points in this Outlook:

  • The Lebanese and Israeli border is calmer today than during the 2006 war, but the potential for regional conflict is great.
  • Both the Syrian and Iranian governments have used Hezbollah to conduct proxy warfare against Israel.
  • The Obama administration has tried to move Syria from a rejectionist state into the more moderate Arab camp, but there is no evidence that the engagement policy has worked.

The 2006 war between Lebanon and Israel took not only outside observers by surprise, but also Israel and the government of Lebanon. A day after an operation in which Hezbollah killed five Israeli soldiers and captured two others, the Israel Defense Forces struck Lebanese targets as far north as Beirut. Over subsequent days, the Israeli Air Force bombed Hezbollah-controlled neighborhoods in Beirut and struck targets in the country's north.

U.S., European, and Arab diplomats scrambled to prevent the spread of hostilities. While Arab governments remained conspicuously silent, unwilling to support Hezbollah publicly, if at all, Iranian authorities egged on the militia. Speaking six days after the war began, Gholam-Ali Haddad-Adel, the speaker of Iran's parliament, declared, "To Hassan Nasrallah [Hezbollah's secretary general] we say, well done. This religious scholar roars like a lion, and the blood of Imam [Ruhollah] Khomeini rages in his veins."[1] Iran's supreme leader encouraged Hezbollah to keep fighting. According to Nasrallah, Ali Khamenei sent him a letter two days after the war began, which stated, "You have a hard war ahead, but if you resist, you will triumph."[2]

United Nations (UN) Security Council Resolution 1701 restored calm, but only a tenuous one. While the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) returned to Lebanon, it failed to prevent the resupply of Hezbollah with an arsenal even more advanced than before the 2006 conflict. The Lebanese and Israeli border may be calm today, but the potential for regional conflict has only grown. If a new conflict erupts, it likely will be deadlier and harder to contain to Israel and Lebanon. Hezbollah now possesses missiles capable of striking not only Haifa, but also Tel Aviv.[3]

The Obama administration, meanwhile, has reached out diplomatically to both Syria and Iran in the belief that a less confrontational approach to conflict resolution might lead the two states to reconsider their rejectionist behavior. It has not worked. While Tehran and Damascus may welcome the incentives inherent in U.S. engagement, both states continue to use proxies to pursue radical aims and undercut stability. Iran may be Hezbollah's chief patron, but Syria is the lynchpin that makes Iranian support for foreign fighters possible. While Israel may be the immediate target of the Iran-Syria nexus, the partnership threatens broader U.S. interests.

(Read full article)


Love of the Land: The Enduring Iran-Syria-Hezbollah Axis

Love of the Land: Guardian misleads on profile of pro-Palestinian lawyer

Guardian misleads on profile of pro-Palestinian lawyer


Just Journalism
17 December 09

The Guardian’s reporting of the Tzipi Livni arrest warrant story fell short of journalistic standards today when it failed to properly identify prominent pro-Palestinian lawyer Daniel Machover, who was quoted condemning the UK government for its response to the issuing of the warrant.

Machover is Chair of Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights and a partner at London law firm Hickman and Rose, which in 2005 successfully represented Palestinians seeking an arrest warrant in the UK against Israeli Major General Doron Almog over house demolitions in Gaza.

Only yesterday he authored an article published on The Guardian’s Comment is free website in which he claimed that Gordon Brown and David Miliband’s diplomatic intervention in favour of Livni ‘sends a message that Britain is in fact a safe haven for suspected torturers and war criminals’.

Despite his past and current active involvement in this issue, in ‘Outcry over plan to give attorney general veto on issuing of war crimes warrants’ by Guardian Legal Affairs Correspondent Afua Hirsch and Middle East Editor Ian Black, he is described simply as ‘a solicitor’. The article reads:

"I feel honest revulsion at the idea of a case where a judge has granted an arrest warrant and a politician gets on the phone and apologises," said Daniel Machover, a solicitor. "They have got to stay out of individual cases and legal decisions…

"It's outrageous and the only reason the Foreign Office wants to do it is to avoid embarrassment – there is no good legal reason," said Machover. "If there was an arrest warrant against Livni, it's because there was a case to answer according to a judge who found that there was reasonable suspicion."

This failure to identify sufficiently the contributor deprives Guardian readers and website users of the necessary information with which to contexualise his comments. They will have been misled by today’s description of Daniel Machover as ‘a solicitor’ because this implied falsely that he was being cited as an objective legal voice, rather than the extremely active pro-Palestinian legal advocate that he is.

Just Journalism’s August roundtable, which convened journalists and legal experts to discuss how international law is reported in the UK, addressed this very issue. Director of the Centre for Social Cohesion Douglas Murray discerned a ‘halo effect’ enjoyed by legal activists who are identified in the media simply as lawyers when they are, in fact, ‘more than lawyers’.

Just Journalism has contacted The Guardian on this issue and is awaiting a response.

Love of the Land: Guardian misleads on profile of pro-Palestinian lawyer

Love of the Land: The Purpose of the Army

The Purpose of the Army


Paula R. Stern
A Soldier's Mother
17 December 09

WARNING: Politics ahead

Anyone who knows me, knows my political stand. I have tried, over the last almost three years, to focus not on my politics, but on the journey I and thousands of other mothers (and fathers) take when their son (and daughter) begins serving in the Israeli (or other) army. I have tried, throughout all this time, to show Elie in real and human terms - for the good and the bad.

When he is good, I show what he has accomplished, what he has become. And when he (or the situation) is bad, I try to look at things realistically and balance the sides so none are embarrassed or hurt. I have written of politics sometimes, because it is impossible to live in Israel and in the Middle East without acknowledging that we are at war for political gains...no, not Israel's, but the Palestinians.

That already is a statement, a political one. But I have read the history of this land; lived it. I know it and am not blind to the faults of my government and my land. I know what we are guilty of...and what we are not. I know what we do and why we do it and still believe in the morality of Israel and its people.

You cannot stop history and re-start it at a convenient time. All that comes before, impact on all there is now. This is something the Arabs refuse to accept and the world caters to this misconception. The Arabs do not want to speak of 1929, when they massacred the Jews in Hebron and ran them out of their homes. If a Jew dares to want to enter Hebron today, dares to want to live there, it is, in the Arabs mind, an act of incitement, a call to war. They are not interested in 1929, and they fail to understand that what happens in 2009 is related, not just to 2008 and 1968 and 1948, but yes, even back to 1929 and even further back.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: The Purpose of the Army

Love of the Land: Hamas still wants to liberate 'all of Palestine'

Hamas still wants to liberate 'all of Palestine'


Dr. Aaron Lerner
IMRA
17 December 09

"The truth is harsh. The occupation is destroying Israel. It is undermining Israel's ethical, democratic and diplomatic foundations"
Hamas still wants to liberate 'all of Palestine' By Ari Shavit, Haaretz

So claims Ari Shavit.

I would suggest that, in retrospect, much of the activity surrounding Oslo has been "undermining Israel's ethical, democratic and diplomatic foundations."

Oslo was, from the first day, a story of tremendous corruption - both financial and professional - among Israeli officials involved in the "process".

- many of the Israelis involved with the Palestinians made personal fortunes in business deals that they made - at times with the very same Palestinians that they interacted with on a profffessional basis - that were related to the PA.

- many of the Israelis involved seriously and consciously distorted the assessments that they provided to policy makers so that their careers would not be hurt by being identified as an "enemy of the peace process".

- democratic values were ignored or abused in moves to push through various policies and programs that were at odds with the mandates given the elected leadership as expressed in the results of elections in which the candidate and parties promised that a vote for them was a vote against those very policies and programs.

- Oslo took Yasser Arafat and his PLO off the dungheap of history (wallowing in Tunis after being thrown out of Lebanon) - leading ultimately to the diplomatic challenge we face today.]

Love of the Land: Hamas still wants to liberate 'all of Palestine'

Love of the Land: Egypt's Gaza smugglers shrug off reports of border barrier

Egypt's Gaza smugglers shrug off reports of border barrier


Samer al-Atrush
Telegraph.co.uk
15 December 09

Trucks filled with contraband trundle along on a road leading to Egypt's frontier with the besieged Gaza Strip. Their cargo will be sorted into bags and then slipped into Gaza through the tunnels.

"That one has concrete," said Abu Khaled, as he parked his mud-camouflaged pick-up by the side of the road. The gaunt, bearded Bedouin operates a tunnel himself, and specialises in supplying the Palestinian enclave with concrete.

For a man wanted by the police for smuggling, Abu Khaled is remarkably upbeat about his prospects. He shrugged off reports that the authorities were constructing an underground barrier to sever the tunnels into Gaza.

"It shouldn't pose a problem," he said.

The smugglers have long been accustomed to outwitting frontier guards. They react to the sight of heavy machinery digging along the border and inserting pipes and metal sheets into the ground with a mixture of amusement and scorn. The barrier will reportedly reach a depth of between 18 and 30 metres (60 to 100 feet), but the smugglers say they can easily burrow beneath it.

"They're taking American money and dumping it into the ground," said one smuggler in the border town of Rafah, giving his name as Mohammed.

No one along the border believes that Egypt will ever be able - or willing - to end the smuggling that provides the people of Gaza with food, fuel and weapons. Israel enforced a semi-blockade of the territory after the Islamist movement Hamas seized it in 2007.

"There's a whole cocktail of reasons why it won't work," said Abu Ahmed, a Bedouin arms trader. The police are corrupt, he says, the Bedouin and other smugglers are resourceful, and if Egypt cuts the underground lifeline to Gaza people there may inundate Sinai, as they did briefly in 2008 after Hamas blasted the border wall.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Egypt's Gaza smugglers shrug off reports of border barrier

Love of the Land: A Blood Libel's Half-Life

A Blood Libel's Half-Life

Honest Reporting/Backspin
17 December 09

The video's been disgraced, but the image of Mohammed Dura remains a powerful symbol. An MSNBC slide show titled The Decade in Pictures includes this still. (It's picture 58 of 59):

Msnbc

Most notably, the caption doesn't single out the IDF for killing the boy. This tells me two things:

  • The image hasn't faded from the world's consciousness.

  • Media watchdogs and web activists are making an impact on "history's first draft."

Over the years, HonestReporting has confronted a number of false or exaggerated libels weighed against Israel. Some of the worst can be viewed on our interactive Big Lies feature. It's incumbent upon us all to fight back and ensure that the truth be an antidote to the poison of online lies.



Love of the Land: A Blood Libel's Half-Life

Love of the Land: Planet Palestine

Planet Palestine


FresnoZionism.org
16 December 09

Mustafa Barghouti (not to be confused with convicted multiple murderer and possible next Palestinian President Marwan Barghouti), a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, lives on another planet.


In an op-ed written for the NY Times, Barghouti talks about freedom and non-violence like a 1960’s civil rights activist instead of a representative of a people which practically invented terrorism as its political strategy.


Through decades of occupation and dispossession, 90 percent of the Palestinian struggle has been nonviolent, with the vast majority of Palestinians supporting this method of struggle. Today, growing numbers of Palestinians are participating in organized nonviolent resistance.


Apparently on Planet Palestine, Hamas — whose charter calls for the murder of Jews and whose leader called for the ‘liberation’ of “all Palestine” just this Monday – did not win a majority in the last Palestinian election. On Planet Palestine, it’s not the case that in 2007, 70% of Palestinian Muslims viewed suicide bombing as sometimes or often justified (Pew survey, 7/24/07) or that 77% of Palestinians say that “the rights and needs of the Palestinian people cannot be taken care of as long as the state of Israel exists” (Pew survey, 6/27/07). Planet Palestine is different from Earth.


On Earth there’s been violent terrorism against Jews by Palestinian Arabs since the early 20th century — long before the ‘occupation’ of Judea, Samaria, West Jerusalem and Gaza, and even before there was a Jewish state. I would like to know — Barghouti must have explained it to the Times’ fact-checkers — exactly what he defines as the ’struggle’ which has been 90% nonviolent. Where is the ‘vast majority’ he mentions?


In the face of European and American inaction, it is crucial that we continue to revive our culture of collective activism by vigorously and nonviolently resisting Israel’s domination over us.


Translation: because Europe and the US cannot force Israel to make even more suicidal concessions than the near-surrender offered by Ehud Olmert in 2008 and Barak/Clinton in 2000 — concessions, like the ‘right of return’ that would be the end of Israel — then the Palestinians will continue to ‘resist’.


(Full article)



Love of the Land: Planet Palestine

Love of the Land: The war on Hanukka

The war on Hanukka


Michael Freund
Fundamentally Freund/JPost
16 December 09

For more than 2,000 years, Jews around the world have been faithfully celebrating Hanukka, the annual festival of lights which commemorates the miracles performed for our ancestors during the great Hasmonean revolt against the Seleucid tyrant Antiochus Epiphanes.

It is a holiday rife with meaning for young and old, which in part explains its popularity among all sectors of Jewry, from the most estranged to the most observant. Who, after all, does not draw inspiration from the heroism of the Maccabees? Guided by divine providence, they restored our national and religious sovereignty, defeated the Syrian-Greek invaders and purified the Temple in Jerusalem.

What a stirring example of Jewish faith and fortitude!

AND YET, in recent years, a deeply troubling phenomenon has taken root, as the festival and its underlying themes have come under attack. By defacing and distorting its meaning, a growing number of pundits have essentially declared war on Hanukka, seeking to hijack the holiday to advance their own personal or political agendas.

For the most part, the assault on this beloved holiday has largely been led by devotees of the left, who have sought to shear away Hanukka's historical, religious or even cultural content, and transform it into a vehicle for promoting entirely unrelated issues.

Take, for example, an article in last week's Philadelphia Inquirer, which proclaimed the advent of "Hanukka with a climate-change message," It quoted Arthur Waskow of the Shalom Center, who said regarding the holiday: "Can there be a more perfect occasion to focus on energy conservation and breaking our dependence on fossil fuel?" Somehow, I doubt that when Judah the Maccabee and his brothers made their valiant stand two millennia ago, they did so to promote awareness of global warming.

The fact of the matter is that the Maccabees fought to salvage Judaism, not to save the oceans or even the whales. To suggest otherwise is to misrepresent the holiday and its message.

(Continue article)

Related: Hanukkah's Scrooge


Love of the Land: The war on Hanukka

Love of the Land: The War for Israel's Soul

The War for Israel's Soul


Moshe Feiglin
Manhigut
17 December 09

It is very symbolic that Defense Minister Barak has chosen Chanukah - the holiday that would never have been born if the Greeks had not attempted to eliminate Jewish faith - to threaten the freedom of thought of a Jewish scholar and educator. "Teach what I tell you to teach," says Barak," and in exchange we will allow the religious nationalist students to combine Torah study with army service - as long as they defer to the army and not to their rabbis."

The struggle between the Israeli regime and Rabbi Eliezer Melamed's hesder yeshiva in Har Bracha is another chapter in the all-out war that the auto-anti-Semitic Israeli elite wages against Religious Zionism. This is a war for Israel's soul. It is the war of the crumbling anti-Jewish old guard fighting for its hegemony against the Jewish alternative that is being born.

Whoever reads the leftist commentaries in Ha'aretz understands that the elites crave another expulsion; they yearn for burning synagogues and the sight of settler families being dragged from their homes. For them, the goal of expulsion is expulsion itself and the goal of the battle against the yeshiva of Har Bracha is the destruction of all the hesder yeshivas. Four and a half years ago, they broke the physical body of the settlements. Now they want to break its spirit.

When Barak expelled the Har Bracha yeshiva from the army, he turned all the remaining yeshivas into state-controlled institutions. From now on, the rabbis of the various hesder yeshivas must all toe the government line. If not, they, too, will be expelled from the hesder arrangement. The students must understand that if a rabbi cannot speak his mind because of fear of the government and its ego-inflated ministers, the Torah that he teaches cannot be one hundred per cent true.

The only logical reaction to the current phase of this war for Israel's soul is for all the hesder yeshivas to cancel their arrangement with the Defense Ministry. Instead, they should send the students who have not yet enlisted in the army to the Har Bracha yeshiva. But it is hard to believe that that is what will happen. So now the ball is in the yeshiva students' court.

For years, Religious Zionist youth have been brought up to serve in the army with self-sacrifice. In Israel, army service is a prerequisite for growing up. Enlistment is like a second bar-mitzvah - an essential part of a young man's maturity and self-image. But now, it is time for the Religious Zionist youth to overcome the army tradition. They must defer their enlistment and enroll in the Har Bracha yeshiva, instead.

Forget about the hesder arrangement. The fact that it is an "arrangement" means that something about it is not right. Study true Torah for two years in Har Bracha or in other yeshivas that are not state-controlled. Mold your values and beliefs well. At the age of 20 - enlistment age according to the Torah - enlist in the army like all other Israelis. Just make sure that you are willing to clearly delineate the limits of obedience.


Love of the Land: The War for Israel's Soul

Love of the Land: The Palestinian Authority Sets its New Strategy: Tempts Obama Administration with Instant Peace if it Pressures Israel

The Palestinian Authority Sets its New Strategy: Tempts Obama Administration with Instant Peace if it Pressures Israel


Barry Rubin
The Rubin Report
17 December 09

We now have Mahmoud Abbas’s answer regarding short-term Palestinian Authority (PA) strategy. He says that if Israel stops all construction now—in Jerusalem and the 3000 apartments being completed—and accepts in advance the 1967 borders and there will be peace within six months. This is the basic story we’ve been hearing since around 1988: one or more Israeli concessions and everyone will live happily ever after.

This is clearly bait being dangled for President Barack Obama, offering him an “easy” way out of his dilemma of not having any peace talks after almost a year in office: pressure Israel to give up more and you will look good, with plenty of photo opportunities of you presiding over Israel-PA talks.

Of course, what Abbas wants to do is to remove one of the main points of Israeli leverage, the borders to be agreed upon and the status of east Jerusalem. Moreover, is leaving out both the additional demands he will be demanding (all Palestinians who want to can go live in Israel) and all the Israeli demands he will be ignoring (recognition of Israel as a Jewish state, the end of the conflict and dropping all Palestinian claims, security guarantees, an unmilitarized Palestinian state, settling all refugees in Palestine).

(Continue article)


Love of the Land: The Palestinian Authority Sets its New Strategy: Tempts Obama Administration with Instant Peace if it Pressures Israel

RonMossad: Who will retell the triumphs of Israel? Not Radio Hanukkah, that's for sure

Who will retell the triumphs of Israel? Not Radio Hanukkah, that's for sure

Hanukkah is the festival of lights,
Instead of one day of presents, we have eight crazy nights.
--Adam Sandler, The "Hanukkah" Song



Over the past few days I have had the indescribable delight of listening to "Radio Hanukkah" on Sirius/XM satellite radio. After almost a week of listening to 500,000 different versions of "Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel" and "Oh Chanuka, Oh Chanuka as well as nonsensical Hanukkah parodies of Christmas songs like "Feliz Hanukkah" and "The 8 Days of Hannukkah", reality hit me harder than a menorah to the forehead...

The holiday alternately known as Chanuka, Hannukkah, Hannuka or any of 10,000 other English spellings is a very different holiday in the United States than it is in Israel.

While both versions result in the same essential practices (lighting candles, eating fried potatoes, dairy foods and donuts, etc) the attitude toward these practices vary tremendously.

Everyone knows the story of this most important Jewish holiday of the year right? The dreidel-spinning Jewish hippies of ancient Palestine (actually JUDEA) needed to light their freedom-lamp but only had enough oil to last one day...lo and behold there was a miracle and it lasted for not one...but eight craaaaaazy nights! I think that reggae rabbi guy from Letterman - what's his name? Matty something right? - might have had something to do with it. And hey look at this, it happened right around that OTHER festival of lights...CHRISTMAS! What a wonderful coincidence! Let's all have a party and go shopping like our wreath-toting Christian brethren, it's perfect! Don't worry little Jakey, your friend Anthony may get a ton of presents on the 25th, but you'll get a new toy EIGHT NIGHTS IN A ROW! Oy vey? Fuhgetaboutit!

Or at least that's the American version of Chanuka.

First of all, if you read that version of the story and didn't find anything wrong with it, please click here immediately and read about the Maccabean revolt, the advent of guerrilla warfare in the Middle East and a potential screenplay for the most violent warrior movie since Braveheart.


They may take our lives, but they'll never take our...bagels...


But wait a minute. You're telling me that JEWS used to fight like William Wallace and the rest of those crazy Scotsmen? How can that be when today's Jews are caricatures of caricatures like Jon Stewart and Sarah Silverman? They're supposed to be docile and neurotic like Woody Allen, not brave and unpredictable like King Leonidas. I've never seen an accountant or investment banker impale a war elephant or lead an army of savages in brutal hand-to-hand combat! How can this be? This doesn't fit the stereotype of the American Jew by any stretch of anyone's imagination!

For whatever reasons you choose to subscribe to, in the United States any symbol of Jewish strength is regularly downplayed in favor of an image of a nebbishy weasel who would rather eat gefilte fish in peace and quiet than stand up and be proud of his multi-millennia-old culture. Whereas in Israel, Chanuka is celebrated essentially as a national (as well as religious) holiday commemorating an astonishing military triumph of impossible odds...in America we get Radio Hanukkah and light festivals. Take for example this Chanuka song - popular in Israel but almost unheard of in America:

מי ימלל גבורות ישראל
אותן מי ימנה
הן בכל דור יקום הגיבור
גואל העם
שמע
בימים ההם בזמן הזה
מכבי מושיע ופודה
ובימינו כל עם ישראל
יתאחד, יקום ויגאל

Who can retell the triumphs of Israel?
Who can count them?
In every generation will a arise a hero...
To save the nation
Listen!
In those days, during this time
A Maccabee brought salvation and redemption
And in our days the whole nation of Israel...
Will unite, arise and be saved!

In fact, we're so neutered in the United States that even when this song DOES appear, as it does in this Wikipedia entry or this absolutely absurd version on Youtube they REMOVE the references to triumph and strength and even Israel entirely. Why?!

And so, instead of songs about strength and valor and victory we get such mindless, asinine stupidity as this (heard today on Radio Hanukkah on my way to work):

On the eighth night of Hanukkah, my true love gave to me
8 Alka- Seltzer
7 noodle kugels
6 pickled herrings
5 bowls of chicken soup
4 potato latkes
3 pounds of corned beef
2 Kosher pickles and
Lox, bagels and some cream cheese

I swear to God, if I hear one more person try to define their "Jewishness" by referring to chicken soup and brisket and oy vey I may actually stuff a dreidel down their throat. The worst thing though, is that I've heard Jews listening to this garbage and laughing along with it - hell for almost two weeks every year there's an entire station on satellite radio dedicated to it!

This entire holiday's foundation was an open rebellion against quiet assimilation, where a small group of determined Jewish warriors who were proud enough of their culture and heritage to fight for it upended an empire! Of all of the Jewish holidays this is the ONLY one that actually celebrates a military victory. The ONLY one!

And what do we do with it? We turn it into nothing more than a politically correct, assimilated, muddled excuse to make ourselves feel like we're not missing out on Christmas presents. How materialistic. How shallow. How pathetic.

But it is this need to blend that is endemic in American Jewish culture and has been for decades as the Kahanists will (repeatedly) remind you. It only makes sense that we would turn a proud celebration of military strength (with God's help) and cultural preservation (through self-determination) into Radio Hanukkah. And we wonder why the rest of the world looks at us as nerdy sellouts with no pride who deserve to be mocked at every opportunity. We don't DESERVE to get upset when someone throws an anti-Jewish stereotype at us, because we perpetuate them EVERY CHANCE WE CAN. We should be ashamed of ourselves.

Eight crazy nights indeed.

So please...if you didn't know before what this holiday was really about...please...get the "Hanukkah bush" out of your house and throw out those clever little "Chrismukka" cards you thought you would dazzle your friends at work with. Light your candles tonight knowing that people fought and died so that you would have the freedom to eat your latkes and spin your dreidels and do whatever else it is that you choose to do to celebrate your heritage. How about next year, Radio Hanukkah actually plays some music that makes us feel PRIDE in our culture instead of this dreck they're force-feeding us 24/8?

And finally, if you aren't Jewish and reading this, PLEASE believe me when I tell you that there's more to us and our religion than latkes and Manishevitz.

Chag sameach everyone.

RonMossad: Who will retell the triumphs of Israel? Not Radio Hanukkah, that's for sure

Chester Chronicles - Europe Cracks Down on Honor Killings

Chester Chronicles - Europe Cracks Down on Honor Killings

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Boycott Britain, Suggests Kadima MK - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

Terrorists Fired on Sderot with Russian-Made Rockets - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Terrorists Fired on Sderot with Russian-Made Rockets - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Border Police to Recruit: Will You Expel Your Friends? - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Border Police to Recruit: Will You Expel Your Friends? - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Temple-Era DNA Reveals Oldest Case of Leprosy - Inside Israel - Israel News - Israel National News

Temple-Era DNA Reveals Oldest Case of Leprosy - Inside Israel - Israel News - Israel National News

PA Confiscates, Destroys $50,000 Worth of Israeli Goods - Inside Israel - Israel News - Israel National News

PA Confiscates, Destroys $50,000 Worth of Israeli Goods - Inside Israel - Israel News - Israel National News

Ashkenazi: Police Better than IDF for Evictions - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Ashkenazi: Police Better than IDF for Evictions - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

R. Eliezer Melamed to Let Colleagues Decide on Eviction Politics - Jewish World - Israel News - Israel National News

R. Eliezer Melamed to Let Colleagues Decide on Eviction Politics - Jewish World - Israel News - Israel National News

Israel Matzav: Overnight music video

Overnight music video

Sorry about the long break. We had the entire family over (the two married kids came over with their spouses and the grandson, the son who is in yeshiva out of the city came home for the evening, and the daughter who is mother's helpering for the twin 2-year olds for the week came home for the evening) after which I crashed and burned for a while.

Here are the Kinderlach lighting Chanuka candles and singing afterward. Let's go to the videotape.


Israel Matzav: Overnight music video

UNIVERSAL TORAH: MIKETZ

UNIVERSAL TORAH: MIKETZ

By Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum

Torah Reading: MIKETZ Gen. 41:1-44:17

"AND PHARAOH WAS DREAMING."

The exile of the Children of Israel in Egypt and their subsequent redemption and exodus are the paradigm of all exile and redemption, physical and spiritual. The chief oppressor is Pharaoh, King of Egypt, a figure first introduced in the Torah several parshiyos earlier, in LECH LECHA (Ch. 12, v. 10ff). Famine had forced Abraham to go down to Egypt, the "nakedness of the earth" (just as in our parshah, famine forces his descendents down to the same place). Egypt is the stronghold of MITZRAYIM, second son of the accursed Ham, who had "uncovered" his father Noah's nakedness. In the same tradition of sexual immorality, Pharaoh, representing the evil, self-seeking aspect of earthly power, kidnapped Sarah, embodiment of the Indwelling Presence of G-d, until a divine plague forced him to release her. According to tradition, Sarah was released on the night 15 Nissan, the date of the later Exodus of her descendants from Egypt.

Our parshah of MIKETZ traces the successive stages in which the snare was laid to force Jacob and his Twelve Sons to follow Joseph down into exile in Egypt in preparation for the ultimate redemption of the Children of Israel years later on that same date. The net is artfully prepared by Joseph, who alone of all the sons of Jacob had the power to stand in the House of Pharaoh. Joseph is the archetype of the Tzaddik who enables us to survive in This World. Having been drawn down to Egypt by Joseph, the Children of Israel are eventually redeemed by Moses, who, having been brought up in the House of Pharaoh, had the power to stand there. Moses is integrally linked with Joseph, and thus Moses "took the bones [= the essence] of Joseph with him" up out of Egypt. Moses is the Tzaddik who teaches us the path leading through the wilderness of This World to the Land of the Living -- the Land of Israel.

This World is but a dream. Pharaoh is dreaming. Pharaoh is the "back-side" (PHaRAO = ORePH, the back of the neck) -- the external appearance of This World as opposed to it's inner "face", the inner spirituality and meaning. The outward appearance is frightening: plump prosperity turning into wizened waste.

Pharaoh is the worldly ego. "So says the Lord G-d, Here I am against you, Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great crocodile [=primordial serpent] lying down in his rivers, who says: 'The river is mine, and I made myself' (Ezekiel 29: 3, from the Haftara of parshas VO-ERO which recounts the plagues sent against Egypt). Pharaoh thinks he is all-powerful -- "I made myself" -- but in the end he is humiliated by G-d's plagues, which show him his limitations. As yet his downfall is still far-off -- a distant vision, a bad dream. Yet already Pharaoh is being humiliated. The dream is terrifying. Pharaoh's own magicians and wise men are helpless: they cannot give meaning to his dream. The only one who can help Pharaoh is "a man who has the spirit of G-d in him" (Gen. 41:38), the truly righteous Tzaddik: Joseph.

* * *

THE VIRTUE OF THRIFT

Temporal leaders may imagine they are pulling the strings, but the underlying forces that drive human history are great global cycles of success and decline ("Seven years of plenty" / "Seven years of famine") that are in the power of G-d alone. Likewise, G-d alone has the power to send truly wise leaders to guide us through these cycles to a better end.

While Pharaoh is the archetype of the self-seeker, Joseph is the archetype of self-discipline. The latter is the virtue needed to get through This World successfully. Pharaoh knows how to consume to gratify the self here and now -- to live the dream of This World. This may work as long as the river keeps flowing. But Pharaoh does not know what to do when the flow stops. He is unprepared, because Pharaoh is PARU'AH, undisciplined. He does not know how to conserve and save for lean times.

Pharaoh's self-seeking is rooted in the fundamental flaw of Adam: KERI, spilling the seed in vain -- waste. Thus it is said that the sparks in the seed spilled by Adam fell to Egypt, where they had to be rectified in the generation of Joseph and in the generation of Moses. The rectification in the generation of Joseph was accomplished by the DISCIPLINE which Joseph brought to the country. Joseph used the Seven Years of Plenty to teach the Egyptians to put limits on IMMEDIATE CONSUMPTION AND GRATIFICATION in order to SAVE for the FUTURE. (Similarly in the generation of the Exodus, the Children of Israel, incarnation of Adam's spilled seed, were rectified through the building of Pharaoh's "store-cities".) We must all learn how to set limits to the physical gratification we receive from this world in order to make the best use of our time here to acquire and "save" Mitzvos and good deeds. These are our TZEIDAH LA-DEREKH, the "sustenance for the way" that leads to the Land of the Living, the Future World.

The world today is suffering from the catastrophic effects of IMMEDIATE CONSUMPTION on the global ecology in the form of reckless depletion of resources, pollution etc. and on the moral fabric of contemporary society. The model of happiness entertained by most of the world -- CONSPICUOUS CONSUMPTION -- is unsustainable and destructive, and must be replaced with Joseph's model: that we must "circumcise" ourselves and learn self-discipline. Only by thriftily "saving" Torah and good deeds can we attain true happiness. Thus Joseph told the "Egyptians" to "circumcise" themselves (see Rashi on Gen. 41:55).

* * *

CHASTIZEMENTS OF LOVE

"It is good when manifest reproof stems from hidden love" (Proverbs 27:5).

The essence of good leadership is to teach people to lead themselves -- to take themselves in hand and use self-discipline to attain the good that is available in this world.

Had Joseph revealed himself to his brothers immediately on their first arrival in Egypt, he would have elicited little more from them than superficial expressions of contrition for a sin whose seriousness they still did not understand. "Do not stand idly by the blood of your neighbor" (Leviticus 19:16) -- don't "sit down to eat bread" when your brother is screaming in the pit (Gen. 37:25).

Joseph used his consummate wisdom to engineer events that would put his brothers in the same situation in which they had placed him. As the compassionate leader, Joseph sought to make his brothers draw their own conclusions, knowing that the lessons we learn on our own flesh are more deeply inscribed and instilled than those we simply hear from others.

Joseph engineered events that would force his brothers to "read" and "interpret" for themselves the message of reproof the events implied. So it had been from the beginning. When Joseph dreamed of the sheaves bowing down to him, it was the brothers who interpreted the message for themselves. "Will you surely rule over us?" (Gen. 37:8).

Years later, the brothers bowed before the Egyptian Viceroy TZOPHNAS PA'ANEAH ("Interpreter of that which is Hidden", as Joseph had been named by Pharaoh, Master of the Dream).

"And Joseph saw his brothers and he recognized them, AND HE MADE HIMSELF STRANGE [vayisNACHER] to them" (Gen. 42:7).

In order to chastise his brothers and bring them to genuine contrition, Joseph acted not like a BROTHER but like a NOCHRI, a STRANGER. He clothed himself in the garb of a stranger with a heart of stone, deaf to all appeals.

Joseph's way of teaching and educating his brothers can help us understand how G-d may sometimes have to beat down the walls of people's insensitive hearts by chastising them with enemies that appear strange and incomprehensible to them.

"G-d will bring up a people against you from afar from the end of the earth, like the eagle swoops, a people whose language you will not understand, a people of fierce countenance who will not show respect to the old or compassion for the youth." (Deuteronomy 28: 49).

But like Joseph's indirect, roundabout reproof to his brothers, G-d's reproof has but one purpose: "And they will confess their sin and the sin of their fathers and the treachery that they have committed against Me, that they went contrary [with KERI] against Me; So I will go with them contrary [with KERI, apparently chance events] and I will bring them in the land of their enemies, and then their uncircumcised heart will be humbled and then they will make appeasement for their sin. And I will remember my COVENANT." (Leviticus 26:40-42).

With consummate skill, Joseph brought a series of "troubles" upon his brothers that would bring them to successive levels of self-understanding and genuine contrition. Joseph's first step was to separate one brother (Shimon) from the others and hold him in detention. The brothers read the message: "And one said to the other, But we are guilty over our brother, the pain of whose soul we saw when he pleaded with us and we did not hear: that is why this trouble has come upon us" (Gen. 42:21).

The final stage was when Joseph engineered the framing of Benjamin with Joseph's "stolen" divining goblet (Gen. ch. 44). Still appearing to his brothers as the Egyptian Viceroy Sourcerer, Joseph's choice of scenario was one that had special meaning for the brothers, as they had all (with the exception of Benjamin) witnessed their DIVINER grandfather Laban (Gen.30:27) searching the tent of Rachel, for his stolen TERAFIM (idols).

At last the brothers grasped the complete message. They had stolen their brother and sold him as a slave. "And Judah said, What shall we say to my lord, what shall we speak and how can we justify ourselves? G-d has found your servants' sin."

In next week's parshah we will continue with the beautiful story of how Judah steps forward to TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR HIS BROTHER. This was the goal of all Joseph's "reproof".

The above-quoted words of Judah are woven into our TACHANUN (supplicatory) and SELICHOS (penitential) prayers:

"What shall we say? What shall we speak? How can we justify ourselves? Let us search out and investigate our ways and return to You. For Your right arm is stretched out to receive those who return. Please G-d, save us."

Shabbat Shalom! Chodesh Tov Umevorach! Happy Chanukah

Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum

--
AZAMRA INSTITUTE
PO Box 50037 Jerusalem 91500 Israel
Website: www.azamra.org

Israel Matzav: The military option goes mainstream

The military option goes mainstream

In the Wall Street Journal, former French intelligence specialist Olivier Debouzy argues that neither Israel nor the US can let Iran go nuclear and suggests how to stop them with military action short of all-out war.

Politically, no Israeli prime minister could survive the fact that Iran became a nuclear-armed state, officially or unofficially, on his watch. The pressure on the Israeli government to do something to counter Iran's acquisition of nuclear weapons would be so strong that it could well be tempted to play a desperate gamble, regardless of any security guaranties that the U.S. might offer.

Similarly, no U.S. president (especially one endowed with a Nobel Prize) could escape blame for having let Iran become a nuclear-weapon state by consistently underestimating its ability to conceal its preparations. The intelligence community's credibility would be devastated, and the indecision by successive administrations (Clinton, Bush and now Obama) to quash a program that has been suspected for 15 years and openly known for seven would be seen as a failure of major proportions.

What's more, the message sent to all U.S. and Western allies in the Gulf region would be dire. For all the promises made to these allies, the West has been unable to prevent a rogue state—one intent on destabilizing their societies, the strategic balance in the Middle East and beyond, and the oil market—from acquiring nuclear weapons that will make it much more difficult to compel it to behave prudently.

Last but not least, the nuclear non-proliferation regime, which has been significantly weakened by the North Korean antics and the Iranian finessing, would be close to collapse: If Iran has nukes, the temptation for countries such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Turkey, among others, to equip themselves with such weapons would be almost irresistible. The 2010 review conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty would be rendered a feckless pantomime, with almost as little effect as those aimed, between the two world wars, at preventing armed conflict.

It is now necessary, therefore, to plan for the worst—some form of military constraint upon Iran. It is urgent that the U.S., Great Britain and France, together with Israel if possible (in a discreet and deniable way, of course), gather and try to reach agreement on how to terminate the Iranian nuclear program militarily. Those three permanent members of the U.N. Security Council should not be cowed by the argument—which has already been deployed repeatedly by Iranian advocates and idiots utiles—that such an endeavour would be akin to pitching "the West against the rest." They would actually be exercising an implicit mandate on behalf of all the states that have renounced nuclear weapons and do not accept being threatened and bullied by rogues.

How could this be done? The experience of the 1962 Cuban crisis provides an interesting precedent. Applying pressure on the Iranians by interdicting any imports or exports to and from Iran by sea and by air would send a message that would undoubtedly be perceived as demonstrative by Tehran. Additionally, reinforcing the Western naval presence inside or immediately outside the Gulf would make it clear to the Iranians, without infringing on their territorial waters, that they (and all states dealing with them) are entering a danger zone. In parallel to this slow strangulation, measures should be taken to deter Gulf states (such as Dubai) from engaging in any trade or financial transactions with Iran and to encourage them to freeze Iranian assets in their banks. This should not be too difficult, as the threat of disconnecting any renegade from the Swift system would be sufficiently persuasive in the current circumstances, in which Dubai sorely needs international financial assistance.

It might be necessary to go beyond that and actually resort to force to prevent the Iranians from achieving nuclear military capabilities. Planning for a massive air and missile attack on Iran's nuclear facilities (known and suspected) should be considered seriously, and this planning made public (at least partially) to convince Iran that the West can not only talk the talk, but also walk the walk. Such planning should also, to the extent possible, involve NATO, against the territory of which there is little doubt that the majority of Iranian missiles and nuclear weapons would be targeted (if only because they cannot yet reach the U.S.). The U.S., U.K., French and Israeli intelligence services should better co-ordinate what they know, and contributions from others should also be welcome, as well as any information that could be provided by internal opposition movements in Iran.

The idea here is simple, and has been expressed many times by theoreticians of deterrence: When one plans for war, when one deploys forces and rehearses military options, one actually conveys a message. Deterrence is about dialogue. Whether the Iranian government would listen to it is uncertain. But at least it would have been properly warned.

Read the whole thing. This is the best analysis that I have read of why the solution is military that was not written by John Bolton. Without a credible military threat against Iran, it will go nuclear. And 'containment' is not an option.

Israel Matzav: The military option goes mainstream

Israel Matzav: Surprise: Abu Bluff's term extended indefinitely

Surprise: Abu Bluff's term extended indefinitely

The PLO has decided to extend Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen's term as President of the 'Palestinian Authority' when it expires on January 25. The extension is until elections can be held indefinite.

The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) decided on Wednesday that Mahmoud Abbas will stay on as president after his term expires next month, a PLO official told Reuters.

Abbas's term expires on Jan. 25. The PLO Central Council, meeting in Ramallah, decided to extend his tenure until an election can be held, Wasel Abu Youssef, a member of the Central Council, said.

Just like Chavez and Mugabe. President for life. What could go wrong?

UPDATE 9:12 PM

More here.


Israel Matzav: Surprise: Abu Bluff's term extended indefinitely

Israel Matzav: Thai report says weapons were destined for Iran

Thai report says weapons were destined for Iran

A report coming out of Thailand says that those weapons that were found on a plane from North Korea that landed in Bangkok last Friday were headed for Iran.

Weapons seized in Thailand from an impounded plane traveling from North Korea were likely destined for Iran, said a high-ranking Thai government security official on a team investigating the arms.

"Some experts believe the weapons may be going to Iran, which has bought arms from North Korea in the past," said the official, quoting Thai government military experts who also took part in an investigation of the weapons.

Hmmm.


Israel Matzav: Thai report says weapons were destined for Iran

Israel Matzav: You mean it could be worse?

You mean it could be worse?

President Obumbler rated his first year in office a 'solid B+' over the weekend, and ever since the pundits have been disagreeing with him (including some really funny tweets on Twitter). Walter Russell Mead has broken down his Obama ratings into separate categories. Here's what he has to say about the Middle East (Hat Tip: Jennifer Rubin).

Israel-Palestine: D
This was a complete screw up. The only reason it isn't an F is that there's still time to do better.

Or to do (gulp!) worse? What could go wrong?


Israel Matzav: You mean it could be worse?

Israel Matzav: Albanian opposition newspaper discovers Ukraine - Hezbullah arms deal

Albanian opposition newspaper discovers Ukraine - Hezbullah arms deal

Lebanon's Naharnet is reporting that an Albanian opposition newspaper has disclosed that Albania has been facilitating the transfer of Ukrainian arms to Hezbullah in Lebanon.

An Albanian opposition daily revealed in an article published Dec. 2 the involvement of the Albanian government in facilitating the passage of Ukrainian arms to Hizbullah. It said Albania bought the missiles -- type "C 18" and "C 16" – using money from Iran in favor of Hizbullah and the Islamic Jihad.

The shipment, according to the paper, was then transferred via Off Shore Company to Beirut.

Pan-Arab Asharq al-Awsat daily on Tuesday quoted Albanian and Balkan sources as denying knowledge of an arms shipment from Ukraine to Hizbullah via Albania.

Given Ukraine's past history of anti-Semitism and its joining the organ theft blood libel two weeks ago, should we really be surprised?

Or maybe Hezbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah just has a crush on Ukrainian President Yulia Tymoshenko, and the Albanian opposition blew it out of proportion.

Heh.


Israel Matzav: Albanian opposition newspaper discovers Ukraine - Hezbullah arms deal

Israel Matzav: The pernicious agenda behind 'universal jurisdiction'

The pernicious agenda behind 'universal jurisdiction'

In the Wall Street Journal, former US ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton discusses the pernicious agenda behind 'universal jurisdiction.'

It is no accident that arrest warrants never seem to be issued for the likes of Kim Jong Il or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, since the real targets of universal jurisdiction these days are Western nations. Ultimately, what it targets is the very ideas of sovereign accountability and political independence. These goals largely motivated the 1998 Rome Statute that created the International Criminal Court, itself a step toward constraining states' abilities to police their own affairs, and an institution that the Obama administration yearns to join.

Transferring accountability for decisions from democratic politics to the criminal justice system understandably intimidates policy makers from making perfectly justifiable choices, such as defending against terrorist threats. Moreover, "command responsibility" has been transmogrified from liability for failing to stop known criminal activity, to liability when officials "should have known" their subordinates were committing crimes. This further ups the ante and explains why former foreign ministers like Ms. Livni or Henry Kissinger are at risk.

This deterrent impact is exactly what universal jurisdiction advocates seek—both to affect decisions at the highest national levels, and to discourage mid- and low-level officials from implementing disfavored policies. Some foreign critics hope to prosecute former President George W. Bush for enhanced interrogation techniques and the Guantanamo Bay detention facility. While they likely won't get to the former president, they'll be at least somewhat content prosecuting the attorneys who wrote the underlying legal justifications. Incredibly, the Obama administration has yet to definitively reject the possibility of allowing such prosecutions overseas.

Universal jurisdiction against officials of authoritarian regimes sounds appealing. But in these cases, the real goal should be replacing such regimes with representative governments that undertake sovereign accountability for prior transgressions.

Nonetheless, human-rights activists who view their morality as higher than that of elected governments are satisfied by nothing less than prosecution. That is precisely why contemporary universal jurisdiction is so profoundly antidemocratic.

That last paragraph describes Judge Richard Richard Goldstone perfectly and shows why the purveyors of the Goldstone Report will never be satisfied with Israeli investigations that conclude that Israel did not commit war crimes. After all, if Israel didn't commit war crimes, it could (and will) use the same battle tactics in the next war against the terrorists.

Read the whole thing.



Israel Matzav: The pernicious agenda behind 'universal jurisdiction'

Israel Matzav: Britain vows to change the law

Britain vows to change the law

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband has vowed to change the law that allows courts to issue arrest warrants for visiting politicians under the country's universal jurisdiction statute.

Miliband made the promise in the aftermath of the arrest warrant issued at the beginning of the week for Israeli opposition leader and former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni. Foreign Secretary David Miliband later announced that Britain would no longer tolerate legal harassment of Israeli officials in this fashion.

Speaking after meeting Israel's London ambassador Tuesday night, Miliband said the British law permitting judges to issue arrest warrants against foreign dignitaries without any prior knowledge or advice by a prosecutor must be reviewed and reformed.

Miliband said the British government was determined that arrest threats against visitors of Livni's stature would not happen again.

"Israel is a strategic partner and a close friend of the United Kingdom. We are determined to protect and develop these ties," Miliband said. "Israeli leaders - like leaders from other countries - must be able to visit and have a proper dialogue with the British government."

...

Earlier Tuesday, Miliband called Livni to express his shock over the arrest warrant and pledged to address the matter immediately.

...

Miliband earlier in the day denounced the arrest warrant as insufferable, after Israel warned that the matter could harm bilateral ties.

Miliband made the comments during a meeting with Israel's ambassador to Court of St. James, Ron Prosor. The Israeli envoy asked to discuss the matter with Miliband on Monday, following news that Livni had canceled her trip to Britain after a warrant was issued for her arrest.

Prosor told Miliband that the British government must work immediately to combat the grave phenomenon of arrest warrants being issued against senior Israeli officials.

There's a Channel 2 news report on this story at the Haaretz site linked above. I removed it because it was annoying people by turning on automatically.


Israel Matzav: Britain vows to change the law

Israel Matzav: US plans to restart Israel-PA 'negotiations' based on '49 armistice line?

US plans to restart Israel-PA 'negotiations' based on '49 armistice line?

Haaretz is reporting that the United States plans to restart 'negotiations' between Israel and the 'Palestinian Authority' based upon the 1949 armistice lines. According to the report, Israel would also agree to freeze construction in 'east' Jerusalem, but that freeze would not be announced, allowing Israel to 'save face.' De facto, the Netanyahu government has not issued any building permits in 'east' Jerusalem since it took power anyway. The report is based upon an interview with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit in the pan-Arabic daily Asharq al-Awsat.

The United States and Egypt, along with France, are planning a joint move to restart Israeli-Palestinian talks on the basis of the June 4, 1967, borders, territorial exchanges and a complete freeze of construction beyond the Green Line, including East Jerusalem. The freeze would not be announced publicly.

Egypt's foreign minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, said in an extensive interview with the Arabic daily Asharq Al-Awsat that "once they realized their earlier approach had failed, the Americans see themselves forced to change direction."

He added that Egypt had recently discussed with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas the new strategies for negotiations raised in talks between Cairo, Washington and Paris. An Egyptian source told Haaretz that Egypt's intelligence minister, Omar Suleiman, is scheduled to visit Israel and then Washington in the coming days.

At a press conference in Beirut last week, Abbas said he expects U.S. envoy to the Middle East, George Mitchell, to arrive in Jerusalem and Ramallah during the first week of January. He said Mitchell will be pushing an initiative to renew negotiations, in coordination with the Arab League and on the basis of a complete freeze of settlement construction for five months - without a public statement to that effect.

Such an initiative would allow Abbas to hold general elections in the territories in June 2010. The Egyptian foreign minister said the new program would set up the basic principles of the negotiations, the intended results and a clear timetable. He added that an agreement would have to include the following points: Establishing a Palestinian state on all territories occupied in 1967, with a possibility for small-scale territorial exchanges; establishing East Jerusalem as a Palestinian capital; a just arrangement for all refugee issues; agreed security arrangements; normalization between the Arab world and Israel; and no construction in settlements until the negotiations are complete.

Guess who hasn't been consulted. Haaretz notes that Netanyahu and Abu Bluff cannot even agree on what starting negotiations means. Netanyahu wants to start them from the beginning and not be bound by 'understandings' reached by the previous government, while Abu Bluff wants to resume 'negotiations' where they left off, i.e. with everything already conceded by a desperate Ehud Olmert.

Moreover, this story has not been confirmed by the US or by Israel. That leads me to believe that it's a lot of wishful thinking on the Egyptians' part.

Finally, if the 'Palestinians' do hold elections in June (what's the magic about June?), what will happen if Hamas wins? What could go wrong?


Israel Matzav: US plans to restart Israel-PA 'negotiations' based on '49 armistice line?

Israel Matzav: Shocka: Lockerbie bomber has 'disappeared'

Shocka: Lockerbie bomber has 'disappeared'

Robert Spencer is right: You had to be a fool not to see this coming from a mile away.

Mystery surrounded the Lockerbie bomber last night after he could not be reached at his home or in hospital.

Libyan officials could say nothing about the whereabouts of Abdul Baset Ali al-Megrahi, and his Scottish monitors could not contact him by telephone. They will try again to speak to him today but if they fail to reach him, the Scottish government could face a new crisis.

Under the terms of his release from jail, the bomber cannot change his address or leave Tripoli, and must keep in regular communication with East Renfrewshire Council.

Politicians on both sides of the Atlantic and relatives of the 270 people who died in the 1988 bombing expressed anger about al-Megrahi’s disappearance.

...

On Sunday evening The Times called at the bomber’s home in suburban Tripoli. A policeman sitting on a plastic chair outside was asked to deliver a message to al-Megrahi. He spoke no English, but indicated that al-Megrahi was not there.

The next day The Times visited the Tripoli Medical Centre where alMegrahi was treated soon after his return to Libya. The receptionists said he had left the hospital some time ago.

Back at al-Megrahi’s home, there was no sign of activity. One of three security officers sitting in a grey Mercedes car outside said: “They’ve all gone.” He refused to elaborate.

Alerted by The Times, Jonathan Hinds, of East Renfrewshire Council, tried to telephone al-Megrahi at his home yesterday. He spoke to a Libyan man who said al-Megrahi was too ill to speak to him.

Mr Hinds has called al-Megrahi every other Tuesday since August, and has always been able to speak to him. Yesterday was not one of the regular Tuesdays, so al-Megrahi would not have been expecting a call.

“We will continue to attempt to call Mr Megrahi tomorrow and will then consider the situation,” a council spokesman said. If there were grounds for suspecting al-Megrahi was breaching the terms of his release, “we would report that to the Scottish Government and it would be up to them to decide what action to take”.

And of course, the dhimmis are giving al-Megrahi the benefit of the doubt, speculating that maybe he really is too ill to come to the phone. But what action is the Scottish government going to take from thousands of miles away? Bomb Gadhafi's tent?

Releasing al-Megrahi in the first place was craven and foolish. The British and Scottish government deserve any public humiliation that arises from this. You don't release terrorists and certainly not to Libya. Come to think of it, I can think of a country in the Levant that needs to learn that lesson.

UPDATE 2:23 PM

Al-Guardian now reports that al-Megrahi has been found.

East Renfrewshire's criminal justice team continued efforts to contact Megrahi this morning, as a spokesman said they were prepared to refer the case to the Scottish government if officials were unable to speak to the Libyan.

However at about 9.30am today the council was able to speak to Megrahi on the telephone.

"In the last five minutes the criminal justice team have spoken to Megrahi at home in Tripoli," a spokesman for East Renfrewshire council said.

He said officials had no concerns regarding Megrahi's whereabouts and would not be taking the matter further.

Under the terms of Megrahi's release the Libyan must remain at the same address and is forbidden to leave Tripoli. He is required to stay in regular contact with East Renfrewshire council.

For now. Look for this to keep happening more and more often.

Israel Matzav: Shocka: Lockerbie bomber has 'disappeared'
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