Sunday, 31 January 2010

Israel Matzav: Maybe he was looking for 'Cindy'?

Maybe he was looking for 'Cindy'?

The always sensationalist Uzi Mahnaimi reports in the Times of London that Mahmoud al-Mabhouh died of a heart attack induced by a poison injection (which, if correct, would contradict earlier reports that he was electrocuted).

A HIT squad that killed a top Hamas commander in his Dubai hotel room injected him with a drug that induced a heart attack, photographed all the documents in his briefcase and left a “do not disturb” sign on the door.

The body of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, 50, was discovered by staff at the luxury Al Bustan Rotana hotel after lunch on January 20. There were no suspicious signs and local doctors diagnosed a heart attack.

Nine days later, after blood samples sent to Paris for analysis showed signs of poison, Hamas announced his death and blamed Mossad, the Israeli overseas intelligence service, for the assassination.

Mr. al-Mahbouh was apparently a pretty big fish.

Al-Mabhouh was one of the founders of the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, the Islamic organisation that seized control of the Gaza strip in 2007.

According to Middle Eastern sources, al-Mabhouh, who was the official responsible for arranging arms supplies from Iran to Gaza, was tracked from the moment he boarded Emirates flight EK 912 at Damascus at 10.05 on January 19.

He was said to have been travelling on a false passport and on arrival in Dubai was followed by two men described by local police as “Europeans carrying European passports”.

Unless they were carrying false passports too.

Finally, there's this curious detail from YNet.

Senior Hamas official Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was without his security guards when he was assassinated in his hotel room in Dubai, according to reports in Persian Gulf media outlets. According to the reports, al-Mabhouh entered the United Arab Emirates under his true identity [Note that contradicts the Mahnaimi report above. CiJ].

Hamas officials confirmed the report that al-Mabhouh was "key figure" in supplying weapons to the organization. Hamas also reported that al-Mabhouh was "on a mission" when he was killed in Dubai. According to them, his trip was slated to last a number of days and that he decided for some reason to travel without his security detail.

Maybe he was hoping to meet 'Cindy.'

Heh.


Israel Matzav: Maybe he was looking for 'Cindy'?

Love of the Land: Cast Lead And Contemporary Warfare

Cast Lead And Contemporary Warfare


Eamonn McDonagh
Z Word Blog
29 January '10

Amos Harel and Avi Issacharoff have a piece here in which they assess Operation Cast Lead a year after its conclusion. They acknowledge that,

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) penetrated to the heart of the strip — the center of Gaza City, where most of Hamas’s major compounds are located. The organization’s defensive infrastructure, which had been painstakingly built over three years and included hundreds of booby-trapped houses, tunnels, landmines, and smuggled anti-tank rockets, was destroyed.

Hamas fighters had no answer for the IDF’s technological and military edge. Their attempts to kidnap Israeli soldiers failed and, though Hamas fired hundreds of rockets into Israeli territory, only a few civilians were killed. More than a year after the fighting, the strip is still under siege by both Israel and Egypt. Most Gazans are forbidden from traveling abroad, while their supply of goods depends primarily on smuggling through tunnels from Egypt.


They go on to describe how, in spite of this, a year later Hamas is celebrating what it feels was a great victory and explain this by saying,

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Cast Lead And Contemporary Warfare

Israel Matzav: Gaza motorcycle accidents on the rise, Israel to blame

Gaza motorcycle accidents on the rise, Israel to blame

Really.


Israel Matzav: Gaza motorcycle accidents on the rise, Israel to blame

Israel Matzav: Prospects for Iran strike heating up?

Prospects for Iran strike heating up?

Is the Obama administration finally tiring of Ahamdinejad's games? Is it acknowledging the reality that if it does not strike Iran, Israel will? If you put three weekend stories together, that certainly seems to be the case. First, there is the deployment of patriot missiles.

The Obama administration is accelerating the deployment of new defenses against possible Iranian missile attacks in the Persian Gulf, placing special ships off the Iranian coast and antimissile systems in at least four Arab countries, according to administration and military officials.

...

The news that the United States is deploying antimissile defenses — including a rare public discussion of them by Gen. David H. Petraeus — appears to be part of a coordinated administration strategy to increase pressure on Iran.

The deployments are also partly intended to counter the impression that Iran is fast becoming the most powerful military force in the Middle East, to forestall any Iranian escalation of its confrontation with the West if new sanctions are imposed. In addition, the administration is trying to show Israel that there is no immediate need for military strikes against Iranian nuclear and missile facilities, according to administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

By highlighting the defensive nature of the buildup, the administration was hoping to avoid a sharp response from Tehran.

Military officials said that the countries that accepted the defense systems were Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Kuwait. They said the Kuwaitis had agreed to take the defensive weapons to supplement older, less capable models it has had for years. Saudi Arabia and Israel have long had similar equipment of their own.

Then, there was Israel's unannounced guest.

Israeli sources say CIA director Leon Panetta traveled to Israel this past week. He met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, and Mossad chief Meir Dagan, one former Israeli official said. The main subject of conversation was Iran, as well as "relations" in general, the former official said.

A CIA spokesman said that they don't as a rule discuss the CIA director's travel. Regional news reports said that Panetta also traveled to Cairo for meetings with Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman and other officials.

Earlier this month, Obama National Security Advisor Jim Jones traveled to Israel, the Palestinian territories, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon, accompanied by the NSC's Dennis Ross.

Panetta previously was reported to travel to Israel last May.

And then there's a new guest.

Lt . Gen. John D. Gardner, deputy commander of U.S. European Command, will arrive in Israel for a visit Sunday, and will remain here for three days as the guest of Deputy IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz. Gardner will meet with high ranking IDF officers and will be given an opportunity to get a close-up view of the security issues facing Israel. He will also visit Yad Vashem, and participate in the Herzliya Conference this week.

This is Gardner's first trip to Israel.

Hmmm.


Israel Matzav: Prospects for Iran strike heating up?

Israel Matzav: Al-Qaeda: Breasts with bombs

Al-Qaeda: Breasts with bombs

One of the very strange Leftist anti-Israel protest groups in the San Francisco area is called Breasts not Bombs. There's a pictorial of one of their demonstrations here - I don't suggest opening it at work or in front of children. Al-Qaeda is developing its own version of Breasts not Bombs. They call it Breasts with Bombs (Hat Tip: Jammie Wearing Fool).

Until now, terrorists have attacked airlines, Underground trains and buses by secreting bombs in bags, shoes or underwear to avoid detection.

But an operation by MI5 has uncovered evidence that Al Qaeda is planning a new stage in its terror campaign by inserting ‘surgical bombs’ inside people for the first time.

Security services believe the move has been prompted by the recent introduction at airports of body scanners, which are designed to catch terrorists before they board flights.

It is understood MI5 became aware of the threat after observing increasingly vocal internet ‘chatter’ on Arab websites this year.

...

A leading source added that male bombers would have the explosive secreted near their appendix or in their buttocks, while females would have the material placed inside their breasts in the same way as figure-enhancing implants.

Experts said the explosive PETN (Pentaerythritol Tetranitrate) would be placed in a plastic sachet inside the bomber’s body before the wound was stitched up like a normal operation incision and allowed to heal.

A shaped charge of 8oz of PETN can penetrate five inches of armour and would easily blow a large hole in an airliner.

Security sources said the explosives would be detonated by the bomber using a hypodermic syringe to inject TATP (Triacetone Triperoxide) through their skin into the explosives sachet.

...

Security sources fear the body-bombers could pretend to be diabetics injecting themselves on airliners, Tubes or buses in order to prevent anyone stopping their suicide missions.

Companies such as Smiths Detection International UK, which is based in Watford, Hertfordshire, manufacture a range of luggage and body scanners designed to identify chemicals, explosives and drugs at airports and other passenger terminals around the world.

These include high-specification X-ray equipment that could identify body bombs.

But one source with expertise in the field said: ‘They can make as many pieces of security equipment as they like but there is no one magic answer that can spot every single potential terrorist passing through.’

No, there isn't. But the Israelis have a darned good track record - much better than anything else that has been tried.


Israel Matzav: Al-Qaeda: Breasts with bombs

Elder of Ziyon: Prominent Dutch socialite proves her seething Jew-hatred

Elder of Ziyon: Prominent Dutch socialite proves her seething Jew-hatred

Elder of Ziyon: Iranian official threatens to destroy Tel Aviv

Elder of Ziyon: Iranian official threatens to destroy Tel Aviv

Love of the Land: Swedish Editor Accuses “Liberals” of Covering-Up “Israeli Organ Thefts”

Swedish Editor Accuses “Liberals” of Covering-Up “Israeli Organ Thefts”


Judeosphere
31 January '10

Jesús Alcalá—a lawyer, writer and former chairman of the Swedish branch of Amnesty International—recently wrote an article in the Swedish daily newspaper, Svenska Dagbladet, titled “The Dangers of Careless Journalism.”

Alcalá has harsh words for the tabloid newspaper Aftonbladet’s publication of Donald Boström’s article on “Israeli organ harvesting”—and for Åsa Linderborg, the Aftonbladet editor who continues to stand by the story:

Every year around thirty different human rights organizations – international, Israeli and Palestinian – report on abuses and violations of human rights in Israel, on the West Bank, and in Gaza. The criticism of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians is often harsh. But none of these organizations have ever accused or suspected Israel of stealing organs from Palestinians that the Israeli army has killed. Not Amnesty. Not Human Rights Watch. Not a single of Israel’s many Jewish and Palestinian human rights organizations. Not a single one.

I have no reason to believe that Boström is an anti-Semite. I am sure that he is driven by genuine concern for the rights of the Palestinians. His cause is good. I believe the same of Åsa Linderborg.

Still. The end cannot justify the means. The carelessness is dangerous. 
Boström is familiar with the conflict in the Middle East. Is it then too much to ask that he avoids any connection to the myths of Jewish blood libels? Is it not careless to lend credence to rumors that are consequently exploited to strengthen hatred?
 Barely a month after Boström’s article is published; the Algerian paper al-Khabar writes that a Jewish organ trade group has kidnapped a great number of Algerian and Moroccan children.


(Read full post)

Love of the Land: Swedish Editor Accuses “Liberals” of Covering-Up “Israeli Organ Thefts”

Israel Matzav: After its smashing success in Iran, 'engagement' to move on to Syria

After its smashing success in Iran, 'engagement' to move on to Syria

After 'engagement's smashing success in Iran, President Obumbler is taking the program to Syria where he is about to name a US ambassador for the first time since the 2005 assassination of Lebanese President Rafik Hariri (Hat Tip: Atlas Shrugs).

Manama: The United States will end a five-year diplomatic hiatus with Syria by appointing Robert Stephen Ford as ambassador to Syria, a Lebanese daily reported on Saturday.

Washington has not had an envoy in Damascus since former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recalled Margaret Scobey in February 2005 in response to the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri and amid tensions between the two countries mainly over issues relating to Iraq and Lebanon.

"US Middle East envoy George Mitchell gave the name of the new US ambassador to Syria in a meeting with Syrian President Bashar [Al] Assad," the Lebanese daily An Nahar said, quoting unnamed American sources.

Mitchell was in Damascus last week as part of a tour of the region that saw him visit several capitals.

Someone remind me what Syria has done to merit the restoration of diplomatic relations with the US.


Israel Matzav: After its smashing success in Iran, 'engagement' to move on to Syria

Israel Matzav: Richard Goldstone meets the people

Richard Goldstone meets the people

Richard Richard Goldstone spoke at Yale this past week, and this time someone stood up with a protest sign at the back. Goldstone seems a little flustered, doesn't he?

Let's go to the videotape (Hat Tip: Aussie Dave).



I don't think he even stammered that much when Dore Gold ripped him to shreds back in November. But since that encounter, Goldstone has refused all requests for debates. Maybe now he will speak to empty lecture halls.

Heh.


Israel Matzav: Richard Goldstone meets the people

Israel Matzav: Fatah's old/new charter

Fatah's old/new charter

Barry Rubin reports that the good terrorists from Fatah adopted a new charter at their convention in August, and it's finally been translated into English. Change? Here's Barry.

The document was translated by the U.S. government and has just been leaked by Secrecy News. You are now reading the first analysis of this charter.

Secrecy News remarks: “The document is not particularly conciliatory in tone or content. It is a call to revolution, confrontation with the enemy, and the liberation of Palestine, ‘free and Arab.’" But then the newsletter continues:

“But what is perhaps most significant is what is not in the document. The original Fatah charter (or constitution) from the 1960s embraced `the world-wide struggle against Zionism,’ denied Jewish historical or religious ties to the land, and called for the `eradication of Zionist economic, political, military and cultural existence.’ None of that language is carried over into the new charter, which manages not to mention Israel, Zionism, or Jews at all.”

Now here’s an important lesson for you. When a radical group is portrayed as moderate based on some position it supposedly has taken or some statement made there has to be a catch somewhere. Here’s the tip-off in this case, a single sentence in the new charter:

“This internal charter has been adopted within the framework of adherence to the provisions of the Basic Charter.”

Yes folks, it's hope and change same!

Read the whole thing.


Israel Matzav: Fatah's old/new charter

Love of the Land: Sderot Victim's UN Testimony: Ignored by Goldstone Report

Sderot Victim's UN Testimony: Ignored by Goldstone Report


UN Watch
(First posted
16 January '09)

"Are human rights for some, but not others?" Organized by UN Watch, Sderot law student Liraz Madmony testified on Jan. 12, 2009, before the U.N. Human Rights Council emergency session on "Israel's Grave Violations in Gaza." The speech, delivered in name of the EUJS, was covered in the Jerusalem Post and Maariv newspapers, and on numerous Israeli TV and radio programs. UN Watch submitted this testimony to the Goldstone inquiry, but it was completely ignored.




Love of the Land: Sderot Victim's UN Testimony: Ignored by Goldstone Report

Love of the Land: Avi’s heroic mother

Avi’s heroic mother


Eitan Haber
Israel Opinion/Ynet
31 January '10

I first heard Mahmoud al-Mabhouh’s name about 20 years ago, some time after the murder of IDF soldier Avi Sasportas. Ever since then, al-Mabhouh went off the radar screen, until he made his comeback two or three days ago as a lifeless body; a dead man.

The cries and shouts that emerged from this man of terror’s funeral in Damascus over the weekend took me back at once to memories of one of the most noble people I have ever seen in my life; a woman who I never saw cry: Rachel Sasportas, Avi’s mother.

If she did cry, and I have no doubt that her eyes were overwhelmed by tears, she must have done it behind closed doors. During daylight hours, she would walk to the officer of then-Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin with her head held up high; she was quiet and restrained, almost whispering.

“I have no news for you,” the defense minister kept on telling her 21 years ago. “Your son’s body has not yet been found.” And she, Avi’s mother, listened to every word attentively, as if looking for a hidden treasure, and only said: “I know. I’m certain that the IDF and other security forces are making every effort to find Avi. I trust you.”

(Read full story)

Love of the Land: Avi’s heroic mother

RubinReports: Answering Readers' Questions and Updates: Fatah and Turkey

Answering Readers' Questions and Updates: Fatah and Turkey

Please subscribe to the blog that raises the questions--and answers them--that the media misses or mistakes

1. Fatah, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan

Question: You describe Fatah hardliners as seeking a Palestine from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean. Why don't they want to take over Jordan also? And why is a similar change of mind impossible about a permanent peace with Israel?

Answer: Historically, the PLO and Fatah have not sought to overthrow Jordan and take it over. The exception is when they were overconfident during the 1968-1970 period and even then that was more a PFLP and DFLP idea than a Fatah one. While seeking revenge through the Black September terrorist group from 1970 to 1972, Fatah and the PLO have not worked actively to subvert Jordan, in part remembering the total defeat Jordan gave them in September 1970. Actually, the fact is that Hamas has largely displaced the PLO and many Palestinian Jordanians support the Muslim Brotherhood-related Islamic Action Front today. Jordan does worry about an independent Palestinian state but doesn't see Fatah as a direct threat today.

2. Fatah and the Al-Aqsa Brigade

Question The new Fatah charter refers to Al Asifa as its military wing. Is there a reason that Fatah seems to be abandoning Al Aqsa martyrs brigade? Or did Fatah itself use both names?

Answer: Al-Asifa has been the name of the PLO irregularforces (guerrilla/terrorist) since the 1960s. Al-Aqsa is not controlled by the Fatah Central Committee. One might call it a deniable terrorist force which is under the control of the West Bank local Fatah organization. Although the Western news media often falls for the trick, since Fatah has never tried to stop the group or disciplined any member for participating in it, al-Aqsa is clearly a Fatah group but, again, not necessarily one controlled from the top Fatah bureaucracy. Al-Aqsa was created by Marwan Barghouti, who is now a member of the Fatah Central Committee though in an Israeli prison for organizing the bloody second intifada--by his own admission--in 2000.

3. Turkish Regime's Plans to Take Over Army

Following the Turkish regime's attempt to intimidate me and my article about how that Islamist government is slandering the army and intimidating or throwing into jail peaceful critics, the next step in the campaign has been taken. Today's Zaman, the leading organ of the regime, now says the solution is that the armed forces reflect Turkey's diversity by admitting Islamist officers. Eventually, of course, the regime would ensure that the army is ideologically loyal to itself. So this is the plan: keep accusing the army of planning coups and terrorism (including schemes to put bombs in mosques), discredit it with the public, and blackmail it into becoming Islamist-oriented, thus completing the AKP regime's control over all Turkish institutions.


RubinReports: Answering Readers' Questions and Updates: Fatah and Turkey

RubinReports: Suckered by Hamas and Hizballah: How the Media Interprets Radical Documents as "Proof" of Moderation

Suckered by Hamas and Hizballah: How the Media Interprets Radical Documents as "Proof" of Moderation

Please subscribe to a blog written by someone who actually reads the speeches and documents that others don't examine and don't understand

By Barry Rubin

Following my article on the new Fatah Charter (click on the link for a more detailed report and analysis of the charter), JTA published a story positively glowing about Fatah's "moderation," under the title, "New Fatah charter omits language on Israel’s demise." claiming that:

"The charter focuses on democratizing the movement, a reflection of last summer's political struggle between the young guard and the more established leadership. Whereas the Central Committee for years had been an ad hoc collection of acolytes of the leadership, 18 of its 23 members must now be elected by the entire membership."

Well, not exactly. Most important, as I pointed out, the charter clearly and prominently says that the old charter is still in force and nothing in the new one contradicts it. So nothing has changed in fact. All the old language still stands. Why isn't it repeated? Because this document is only about Fatah's internal structure, not its policies or goals. Pretty obvious, right?

Moreover, while the charter has some language that sounds superficially democratic--and will never be implemented--it endorses the old Communist party system of "democratic centralism" and shows how totally the Central Committee rules by choosing most candidates for parliament, cabinet ministers, and large portions of most other Palestinian institutions. Moreover, while 18 members of the Central Committee were "elected," the leadership packed the delegates to ensure that its candidates all won!

And guess what? Precisely the same thing has just happened with Hizballah's new charter. According to AFP: "It's much more moderate and they've dropped their demands for an Islamist state in Lebanon based upon [the Iranian system].

This is despite the fact that the charter states:

"The history of the Arab-Israeli conflict proves that armed struggle and military resistance is the best way of ending the occupation....We categorically reject any compromise with Israel or recognizing its legitimacy." In addition, Hizballah daily publicizes the Islamization of the areas it controls and the organization's loyalty to Tehran.

My favorite example is when a high-ranking Hizballah leader denied the group was originally founded in coordination with the Iranian regime, tossing a big Arabic-language book written by one of the founders at a journalist as proof. In fact, as Lebanon expert Tony Badran pointed out citing the page number, that book confirms the claim. Another example is that Hizballah's spiritual guide is the official representative in Lebanon of Iran's spiritual guide, the actual ruler of the Islamist regime there.

To make the situation more ridiculous, the Fatah charter is available in English and Hizballah has been bragging publicly about the hardline provisions in its own new charter.

It is amazing how easy it is for various radical Arab and Islamist groups to fool Western journalists. It always helps to read a document before describing it as a breakthrough for moderation.


RubinReports: Suckered by Hamas and Hizballah: How the Media Interprets Radical Documents as "Proof" of Moderation

Love of the Land: Goldstone Ignores His Own Evidence about Flour Mill

Goldstone Ignores His Own Evidence about Flour Mill


An image from UNITAR of the Al Badr flour mill contradicting Goldstone's
report that Israel targeted the facility with an air strike

CAMERA/Snapshots
31 January '10

In an open letter, CAMERA challenged Judge Richard Goldstone on his findings that Israel deliberately targeted the Al Bader flour mill in a Jan. 9, 2009 air strike in order to deprive the civilian population of a food source. Goldstone declined to address the contradictions of his conclusion, and Elder of Ziyon blogger now observes that the judge even ignored contradictory evidence that he himself commissioned. Elder writes:

(Read full post)


Love of the Land: Goldstone Ignores His Own Evidence about Flour Mill

Berlusconi Doubts Wisdom of Gaza Pullout - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Berlusconi Doubts Wisdom of Gaza Pullout - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Hamas Man Received 'Poison to the Heart' - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Hamas Man Received 'Poison to the Heart' - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Dershowitz Slams Goldstone: "He's An Evil Man" - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

Dershowitz Slams Goldstone: "He's An Evil Man" - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

Benny Begin at New Judea Neighborhood Ceremony - Inside Israel - Israel News - Israel National News

Benny Begin at New Judea Neighborhood Ceremony - Inside Israel - Israel News - Israel National News

Hamas Threatens Revenge on Jews Outside Israel - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Hamas Threatens Revenge on Jews Outside Israel - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Netanyahu Declares City of Ariel Jewish Capital of Samaria - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

Netanyahu Declares City of Ariel Jewish Capital of Samaria - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

US Defying Iran by Arming Arabs - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

US Defying Iran by Arming Arabs - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Israel Matzav: Israel launching new satellite to watch Iran

Israel launching new satellite to watch Iran

Over the next few months, Israel will launch a new satellite, the Ofek 8, which will play a significant role in monitoring Iranian activities.

In an effort to beef up intelligence gathering in the face of Iran’s pursuit of nuclear power, will send a new spy satellite into space in the coming months, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

Called Ofek 8, the satellite will be launched from and is currently in its final production stages at Israel Aerospace Industries. It will be placed in low orbit by the IAI-made Shavit launcher that was used for the Ofek 7 satellite in 2007.

“This will significantly boost our intelligence-gathering capabilities,” a defense official said.

The Ofek 8 weighs about 300 kg. and can complete an orbit every 90 minutes.

While the new satellite will not represent a significant technological breakthrough – it will carry the same camera as the Ofek 7 – it will provide the IDF with greater flexibility in utilizing its space assets.

Hmmm....


Israel Matzav: Israel launching new satellite to watch Iran

Israel Matzav: Egypt shelves Hamas - Fatah reconciliation

Egypt shelves Hamas - Fatah reconciliation

This is from a Haaretz analysis which claims that both Egypt and Jordan are coordinating their moves with Israel to an unprecedented extent.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who continues to serve as a de facto Foreign Minister, returned Wednesday from a short visit to Sharm el-Sheikh where he met Egypt's Hosni Mubarak. This is his second diplomatic excursion in the region in less than a week, after his trip to Turkey where he was partially successful in calming the animosity between Ankara and Jerusalem.

In line with an Egyptian request Barak made do with a laconic statement that talks were "productive and extensive. However, where the media is not watching, Israel and Egypt are finding themselves increasingly partners in common and growing interests.

Senior sources in the defense establishment say that the Egyptians are even willing to agree, albeit belatedly, with the Israeli-American conclusion that nothing good will result from Cairo's effort to mediate between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. The Obama administration fears that intra-Palestinian reconciliation would only bolster Hamas at the expense of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his Prime Minister, Salam Fayyad.

Palestinian unity has been understood to mean that a joint government would involve Hamas and that would also present the United States with a constitutional problem.

Legislation passed in Congress would prevent the administration from continuing to give aid to the Abbas-Fayyad government the minute it agrees to include Hamas as a partner. Cairo will not admit it publicly but it appears that its reconciliation initiative is dead.

An Egyptian source says that the mediation efforts stopped because "conditions in the area do not permit it." The source said that the Hamas rejection of an Egyptian compromise proposal, in part because of pressure from Iran and Syria, is preventing progress toward reconciliation.

Hmmm.


Israel Matzav: Egypt shelves Hamas - Fatah reconciliation

Israel Matzav: Target claims to be withdrawing globes that replaced Israel with 'Palestine'

Target claims to be withdrawing globes that replaced Israel with 'Palestine'

In the wake of a demonstration in New York City on Thursday, Target corporation claims that it has withdrawn from its stores globes that replaced Israel with an imaginary country called 'Palestine.'

"It is a very serious thing, its not just a little mistake, we're seeing companies kowtowing to people who live in tyrannical governments who are trying to dictate policy here and dictate how people think and feel," said Rabbi Gary Moskowitz, who led the rally at Zuccotti Park on Liberty Street and Trinity Place in downtown Manhattan.

"We're fighting 'global war on terrorism,' and in this global war we have to 'target' the people who are coming against us," said Moskowitz. "I hope Target did this in error.. and they must have a recall of all these globes."

In a statement, a Target spokeswoman said: "It is never our intention to offend any of our guests and we apologize. We have removed the mini-globe from our shelves, and we are following up with our vendor."

They went on to say that, "The country is labeled on a key on the mini-globe; however, the important issue is that we are no longer selling this product in our stores and we are sorry for offending our guests."

Here's one big Target customer who will stop buying there if those globes show up again.


Israel Matzav: Target claims to be withdrawing globes that replaced Israel with 'Palestine'

Israel Matzav: Good news: Netanyahu to make a 'gesture' to Abu Bluff

Good news: Netanyahu to make a 'gesture' to Abu Bluff

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has promised President Obumbler that he will make yet another 'gesture' to 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen in yet another bid to get the recalcitrant 'Palestinian' to come to the 'negotiating' table. Netanyahu promised that he will free hundreds of 'Palestinian' terrorists so that Abu Bluff can pocket yet another concession.

Mitchell proposes that he travel between Jerusalem and Ramallah, relaying messages to the two sides on various core issues, including borders, Jerusalem, refugees and security. At a later stage the talks might be taken over by low-level officials on both sides to evaluate if negotiations can be continued at top levels.

The proposal also included Israeli goodwill gestures that would be carried out at the start of the proximity talks the United States would conduct. The main goodwill gesture is expected to be the release of hundreds of Fatah prisoners to the West Bank.

The senior source in Jerusalem said that these would largely be prisoners with only a little time left in their sentences. Other goodwill gestures involve easing travel in the West Bank.

Netanyahu accepted Mitchell's proposal, according to the Israeli source. However, Netanyahu emphasized that the Palestinians must also agree to the plan.

Mitchell presented his proposal to Abbas but the Palestinian leader has not yet said whether he agrees.

Somehow, Netanyahu missed the fact that President Obumbler did not even mention the 'Middle East peace process' in his State of the Union address on Wednesday, signaling that it's being put on the back burner until after the midterm elections (at least), and that therefore Mitchell has no leverage to ask for more 'concessions' right now.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Good news: Netanyahu to make a 'gesture' to Abu Bluff

Israel Matzav: Joementum gets Iran sanctions bill through Senate

Joementum gets Iran sanctions bill through Senate

Senator Joe Lieberman (I-Ct) played a major role in getting the Iran sanctions bill through the Senate last Thursday.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was under a lot of pressure to pass the sanctions bill out of the Senate, especially after seven senators sent a bipartisan letter to Obama yesterday urging him to get moving on sanctions. The Dodd bill was extremely popular among senators and Reid has enough problems without being seen as weak on Iran.

Reid had promised to get it done before the break, but if he brought up the bill in February, the administration would complain that it was unhelpful in its drive to seek a new U.N. Security Council resolution on Iran sanctions, which they are expected to do as soon as France takes over the presidency of the council from China next week.

So tonight was the night, before senators leave town, and The Cable reported earlier today that negotiations were underway. As the deadline loomed, only one Senator was threatening to derail the plan to pass the bill easily: John McCain.

McCain’s proposed amendment would require the president to sanction Iranian officials who have committed human rights abuses or acts of violence against civilians engaging in peaceful political activity. Those listed would be subject to visa bans, freezes on their assets in the United States or within U.S. jurisdiction, and other restrictions on their financial activities.

"McCain's amendment would identify Iranian human rights abusers and make them feel some serious pain,” said another senior Senate staffer.

But Reid didn't want to open a Pandora's Box by allowing McCain's amendment and then having to allow amendments by others seeking to weigh in, like John Kerry and Patrick Leahy. He needed everyone on board to pass the bill by unanimous consent and avoid a protracted debate that would eat up precious floor time he doesn't have.

At the eleventh hour, in swooped Lieberman with a compromise. McCain would agree to withdraw his amendment if Reid agreed to add the substance of McCain's amendment into the conference report on the bill. Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell both promised to hold up their end of the bargain, and McCain withdrew his objection to proceeding.

I hope McCain's amendment makes it into the final bill. It's the only provision that actually requires the Obumbler to do something.

By the way, didn't the Senate just go back into session on January 20? Why are they going on vacation again?


Israel Matzav: Joementum gets Iran sanctions bill through Senate

Israel Matzav: The offer to Iran is still on the table

The offer to Iran is still on the table

When I was young, this was a symbol of something that was overdone. Let's go to the videotape.



Yes, Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead, and the IAEA offer to Iran to trade its low enriched uranium for a higher enriched model is still on the table.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told Reuters the proposal, which would involve Iran sending its low enriched uranium abroad in exchange for more highly enriched fuel to produce medical isotopes, "still can be on the table."

He was speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, shortly after Yukiya Amano, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency which brokered the draft deal on enriched uranium, told reporters in the Swiss ski resort that the offer remained.

"The proposal is on the table. Dialogue is continuing," Amano said in his first public remarks on the standoff since he succeeded Mohamed ElBaradei two months ago.

He left unclear whether "dialogue" meant the IAEA was actively exploring compromises with Iran and world powers. Western officials have stopped short of declaring the plan dead but said Tehran's approach had not been serious.

What could go wrong?


Israel Matzav: The offer to Iran is still on the table

Israel Matzav: And you thought Jews controlled the World?

And you thought Jews controlled the World?

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad implied at a conference on Saturday that Iran controls the World.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in a Tehran conference Saturday that whoever controls the Middle East controls the world, the semi-official Fars News Agency reported.

In a speech during a conference marking 30 years to the Islamic Revolution, Ahamdinejad reportedly implied that Iran is the top power in the Middle East. "Now the question is who has the last say in the Middle East? Well, of course, the answer is clear to every one," Ahamdinejad said.

The Iranian president further emphasized that the Middle East is the most important region in the world. "Now, there are a number of developed countries which even own anti-satellite missiles, yet they are not effective and influential in the world because they do not have a role in the Middle-East," Fars News Agency quoted Ahamdinejad as saying.

So the next time someone claims that the Jews control the World, you can tell them that even our worst enemy doesn't say that.

Heh.

Israel Matzav: And you thought Jews controlled the World?

Israel Matzav: Obama's national security adviser warns Israel not to pressure Iran

Obama's national security adviser warns Israel not to pressure Iran

On Friday, President Obumbler's National Security Adviser, James Jones, warned Israel not to pressure Iran (Hat Tip: Jihad Watch).

Meanwhile on Friday, President Barack Obama's national security adviser cited a heightened risk that Iran will respond to growing pressure over its nuclear program by stoking violence against Israel.

The adviser, retired Marine Gen. James Jones, said history shows that when regimes are feeling pressure they can lash out through surrogates.

He said that in Iran's case that would mean facilitating attacks on Israel through Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza. Iran helps arm Hezbollah and Hamas.

Not the first time Jones has put his foot in his mouth.

Israel Matzav: Obama's national security adviser warns Israel not to pressure Iran

Israel Matzav: Breaking: US drone gets a big one in Pakistan

Breaking: US drone gets a big one in Pakistan

Hakimullah Mehsud, head of Pakistan's Taliban cut down by US drone.

Heh.

Israel Matzav: Breaking: US drone gets a big one in Pakistan

Israel Matzav: What, no virgins?

What, no virgins?

The daughter of Hamas murderer Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, who was deceased in Dubai on the 20th of January, wants to sue the Mossad for murdering her father.

The daughter of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a senior Hamas operative who, according to the organization's claims, was assassinated by Israeli agents in Dubai this week, is calling for a suit to be brought against Mossad officials at a UK court.

She told Al-Jazeera al-Mabhouh's family had already contacted a number of attorneys for this purpose. "We have seen in the past that organizations and attorneys have filed claims against the Israeli criminals. Now we are demanding these organizations do the same and file a suit against the Israeli Mossad," she said.

Forgetting little legal barriers like proof, and how "the Israeli Mossad" can be arrested even under the UK's insane universal jurisdiction law, am I the only one who finds it strange that when a suicide bomber kills himself the 'Palestinian' Arabs hand out candies and celebrate that the bomber is going to his 'wedding' in heaven with 72 virgins, but when a terrorist leader is killed, one hears no mention of virgins? What, is there discrimination against the terror leaders? How come no one is handing out candies? Are the terrorist leaders denied the pleasures of 72 supple virgins? If not, then why are their families complaining?

/Just wondering


Israel Matzav: What, no virgins?

Israel Matzav: Nuance! Senators surveyed on Abdulmutallab

Nuance! Senators surveyed on Abdulmutallab

The Weekly Standard surveyed all 100 US Senators to ask them two simple questions:

Does Senator XX believe that Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab should have been read his Miranda rights? And does Senator XX believe that Abdulmutallab should be tried in civilian courts?

Three Senators - all Democrats - said that the underwear bomber should have been read his Miranda rights. They are Burris, Roland (D-IL)(President Obumbler's replacement), Leahy, Patrick (D-VT), and Reid, Harry (D-NV) (has he given up on being re-elected?). All 40 Republican Senators said no to both questions.

Some other Democrats gave 'nuanced' answers:

Of the Democrats who responded, many gave thoughtful, nuanced answers that were not directly responsive to the questions. Some, like Blanche Lincoln from Arkansas, expressed views that would seem to place her in the "no" category, while others, like Ben Cardin from Maryland, expressed views that suggested they support the administration's handling of Abdulmutallab. Still others, Evan Bayh and Joe Lieberman, said without qualification that Abdulmutallab should not have been Mirandized and should not be tried in civilian courts. (Many Democratic senators have not yet responded to repeated phone calls and emails from THE WEEKLY STANDARD and one staffer, from the office of Vermont senator Bernie Sanders, abruptly hung-up on us.)

Where do your Senators stand? Read the whole thing.

Israel Matzav: Nuance! Senators surveyed on Abdulmutallab

Israel Matzav: What if the US really tried?

What if the US really tried?

Ted Bromund notes that Siemens' self-declared embargo on Iran leaves the German telecommunications giant a lot of wiggle room.

That leaves a lot of wiggle room – Siemens is free to conclude new contracts with government entities in Iran, free to carry on with its existing contracts, and free to conclude new ones until its self-imposed deadline of mid-2010 rolls around. And it does nothing to meet criticism from German human-rights advocates that Siemens sells to states like China, knowing that China will then resell to Iran. But it is, at least, a tiny sign that Siemens is feeling the heat. About time too, given Europe’s commercial complicity with the Iranian regime.

As I have noted previously, the fact that Siemens made this announcement just two days before the US Senate passed its own version of the Iran sanctions bill could not have been a coincidence. Bromund comments:

Engagement has been a complete failure, as even Richard Haass now admits. It hasn’t stopped the Iranian nuclear program, reduced the brutality of the regime, or done anything to diminish Europe’s vast trade ties with Iran, which have shrunk in 2009 mostly because of the recession. And yet, as soon as the U.S. Senate looks like it might pass a bill – which still needs to be reconciled with the House version, and for which the President has shown no enthusiasm at all – a major German firm suddenly, mysteriously develops a case of the shakes about cozying up to Tehran. I wonder what they’d do if we really started trying.

Unfortunately, we're not going to find out until it's too late, if at all. The only hope for saving Obama from becoming a more ridiculed historical figure than Neville Chamberlain is an Israeli attack on Iran that puts the Iranian nuclear program out of business.


Israel Matzav: What if the US really tried?

Israel Matzav: Hamas terrorist Al-Mabhouh was filmed shortly before his death#links#links

Hamas terrorist Al-Mabhouh was filmed shortly before his death

On Friday, I reported on the mysterious death in Dubai of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, the Hamas terrorist who was behind the kidnapping and murders of IDF soldiers Ilan Sa'adon and Avi Sassportas in the late 1980's. Now comes word that Hamas videotaped al-Mabhouh talking about his role in those kidnappings shortly before his death, and al-Mabhouh was not too pleased about it.

According to the reports, based on testimony from a close friend of the assassinated leader, the senior Hamas figure feared for his life in recent weeks. Apparently, Al-Mabhouh told his friend just before leaving Syria to Dubai, that he suspected there were strange activities going on around him, even in his office in Damascus

The same source said that recently Al-Mabhouh had been very annoyed by pressure from Hamas leaders who urged him to be filmed relating his part in the kidnap of the two IDF soldiers, Aviv Sasportas and Ilan Saadon.

Al-Mabhouh refused to be filmed, claiming that he was wanted by Israel for this affair, and that if the film was released, it would goad the Israeli security services to act. He feared that it would cause increased efforts on Israel's part to locate him and assassinate him.

However, according to the same unnamed friend, the Hamas leadership insisted that the film was vital for the organization. Leaders even promised that his face would be blurred and that the film would remain in the movement's military archives.

Al-Mabhouh was irritable and tense in the last weeks, because he discovered that the film crew had failed to follow security protocols and that his face was clearly visible in the footage. They also failed to hide signs that would reveal his whereabouts.

Heh.

Israel Matzav: Hamas terrorist Al-Mabhouh was filmed shortly before his death

Israel Matzav: Hezbullah leaders were supposed to be on Ethiopian flight?

Hezbullah leaders were supposed to be on Ethiopian flight?




Remember the Ethiopian Airlines jet that crashed due to weather-related problems shortly after takeoff from Beirut Airport? This one gets more interesting by the minute.

During the week there were a couple of stories that claimed that the crew ignored instructions from air traffic control and headed in the opposite direction to avoid bad weather.

Let's go to the videotape.



Note what they said about the flight being 'off course.' I even saw stories during the week that said that the pilot had flown in the 'opposite direction' of what he was told to fly.

Now comes word that some Hezbullah bigwigs were supposed to be on the flight. Hezbullah denies it.


Hizbullah denied on Wednesday claims that the Ethiopian plane crash was a "deliberate" attack based on the hypothesis that a high-ranking Hizbullah delegation was supposed to be on the plane.

In a statement released by its media relations, the group said that Lebanese daily Al-Liwaa had made use of the circumstances surrounding the expected travel of MP Nawwar Sahili on the plane in order make a claim that has no relation with the truth.

"What the daily said about a high-ranking delegation of Hizbullah supposed to be on the plane is not true and has no actual basis," the statement read.


Hmmm.



Israel Matzav: Hezbullah leaders were supposed to be on Ethiopian flight?

Elder of Ziyon: Dueling PalArab responses to Goldstone

Elder of Ziyon: Dueling PalArab responses to Goldstone

Elder of Ziyon: They (think they) found Arafat's invisible poison!

Elder of Ziyon: They (think they) found Arafat's invisible poison!

Elder of Ziyon: Abbas again rejects idea of "Jewish state", misquotes Truman

Abbas again rejects idea of "Jewish state", misquotes Truman

Once again, Mahmoud Abbas has rejected the idea of Israel being a Jewish state. The evidence he brings is the fact that the letter that Harry Truman wrote recognizing Israel had the words "Jewish state" crossed out and replaced with "State of Israel."

This is not the first time the PA brought out this argument; Saeb Erekat floated the same idea last April.

The argument is bogus, of course. The UN had declared the partition of Palestine into a Jewish and Arab state, and Truman was recognizing Israel based on the UN's language. He wrote the letter before Israel had named itself. Clark Clifford (not Truman) only changed the letter after Israel declared itself a state. It did not reflect any ambivalence by the US as to what exactly Israel was.

In fact, going through UN archives, one sees the terminology "Jewish State" used thousands of times. One interesting examples is the ICJ opinion against Israel's defensive barrier, which says "On 14 May 1948, the independence of the Jewish State was declared." (Admittedly, most of the more recent examples are usually Arabs who rail against the concept as being racist, at the same time that they reside in states that openly declare themselves Arab and Muslim.)


Elder of Ziyon: Abbas again rejects idea of "Jewish state", misquotes Truman

Love of the Land: The good cop goes to Auschwitz

The good cop goes to Auschwitz


By appearing to identify with the concentration camp’s victims, MK Barakei implies an analogy between them and Palestinians.

Sarah Honig
Another Tack/JPost
29 January '10

Arab-Muslim attitudes to the Holocaust are manifold, cunningly complex and often ostensibly contradictory. But these apparent incongruities are predominantly tactical. The endgame is how to best combat the remnants of Europe’s destroyed Jewry and their descendants in Israel. The common denominator for the diverse ploys is an underlying hypocrisy that allows Holocaust-justification, Holocaust-denial and cynical Holocaust-exploitation to thrive simultaneously in Arab discourse.

MK Ahmed Tibi (Ra’am-Ta’al), whose parliamentary salary is paid by you and me, not infrequently invokes the old canard that the Holocaust’s true victims were Palestinian Arabs, whom a guilt-ridden West saddled with the unwanted Jewish state. In other words, hapless Arabs paid Europe’s penalty despite their self-proclaimed innocence. Tibi, incidentally, who loses no opportunity to undermine anything of potential advantage to the Jewish state (even acceptance to the OECD), was just voted the most popular politician in Israel’s Arab sector. This was the uniform finding of the three leading Israeli-Arab papers: Panorama, Kul al-Arab and a-Sinara.

The second most popular Israeli-Arab politician, according to all three polls, is Hadash MK Muhammad Barakei, who created a stir with his decision to join the Knesset delegation to the Auschwitz liberation memorial ceremony.

Tibi and Barakei often play bad cop and good cop, respectively. Both, as a preliminary measure to dismantling Israel, wish to replace the Jewish state with “a state-for-all-its-citizens.” Both reject its national anthem, flag, emblem and Declaration of Independence.

Tibi is generally rowdier. As Yasser Arafat’s sidekick, he once headed a delegation of hundreds of Israeli-Arabs to Ramallah, where they shrilly chanted “a million shahids [martyrs] will march on Jerusalem,” and “we will open al-Aksa’s gates with the shahids’ blood.”

(Read full article)


Love of the Land: The good cop goes to Auschwitz

Love of the Land: Legal lightweight

Legal lightweight


Soccer Dad
29 January '10

Judge Richard Goldstone was greeted at Yale University with an article in the Yale Daily News written by Noah Pollak and Adam Yoffie that made short work of his commission's report:

Goldstone accepted a mandate from this council to investigate Israel, and only Israel, over its attack last year on the internationally-recognized terrorist group Hamas. The report he produced is a perversion of human rights and international law. It treats Hamas' allegations with meticulous credulity, but Israeli claims with flippant skepticism. It is riddled with factual errors and twisted accounts of the war. The members of Goldstone's staff have long histories of anti-Israel political activism. The report makes frequent and unsupported editorial declarations against Israel and included testimony from residents of Gaza who feared retaliation from Hamas. Justice Goldstone himself has admitted that nothing in the report would be admissible as credible evidence in a court of law.


However the Pollak/Yoffie op-ed was rather mild in comparison with the treatment Goldstone would receive from Richard Landes in recounting Goldstone's talk later.

Perhaps the single most striking feature of the talk was its staggering superficiality. Goldstone might have a reputation (at least among those familiar with his report) for being biased, but not for being a lightweight. And yet in the less than forty minutes of his formal lecture, at no point did one get the impression that one was listening to a trained legal mind, much less a brilliant one. Most of the lecture could have been written by an undergraduate who combined entries at Wikipedia on International Law, Nuremberg Trials, Geneva Convention, and Rome Treaty, with a warmed over version of "war is not the answer," and "why can't we all just get along and follow the law?"


Landes's account is, at once, entertaining and disturbing. Entertaining because Goldstone's superficiality and acute sensitivity come accross in Landes's telling. Disturbing because of the authority international organizations have invested in this man.

(Read full post)


Love of the Land: Legal lightweight

Love of the Land: Israel's First Response to Goldstone

Israel's First Response to Goldstone


Honest Reporting/Backspin
31 January '10

Israel released a document (pdf format) it sent to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in response to the Goldstone report.

The 46-page paper primarily defends the integrity of Israel's due process and civilian oversight of the IDF's investigations into 150 separate incidents and reports.

The paper also dismisses four of the Goldstone report's 36 specific allegations.

The destruction of the Namar water wells: The wells were located within a closed Hamas compound in the Jabaliyah refugee. The IDF did not know of the presence of wells there.

Damage to a sewage treatment plant: There was no record of the Israel targeting the site. Investigator couldn't rule out the possibility that the IDF caused some of the damage, nor could they rule out the possibility that a sewage basin was deliberately damaged by Hamas to hamper IDF movement.

Damage to the Bader flour mill: Israeli forces came under intense fire from the flour mill. It was hit by a tank shell, not by an aerial strike as Goldstone claimed. No phone call warning was made to the flour mill as it was not a pre-planned target.

Destruction of the Abu Askar family home: The Jabaliya home was used to store weapons and ammunition, including Grad rockets. Rockets aimed at Israeli towns were frequently launched in the vicinity of the house.


See the full report for more details.

The IDF is also preparing a separate, comprehensive point-by-point rebuttal of the Goldstone Report's allegations.


Love of the Land: Israel's First Response to Goldstone

Love of the Land: Giving accreditation where it's due

Giving accreditation where it's due


Amiel Ungar
Haaretz
31 January '10

Defense Minister Ehud Barak's announcement of his intention to implement a five-year-old government decision to recognize Ariel College as a university unfortunately elicited the usual "Judea and Samaria delenda est" (the settlements must be destroyed) invective from the left. Such polemics unfortunately only divert us from addressing the need to reevaluate higher education priorities and policies.

It is difficult to respect the intellectual honesty of critics such as Hebrew University Prof. Yaron Ezrahi (quoted in a report by Or Kashti in Haaretz, Jan. 24), who called Barak's move "a dangerous precedent in which a general is establishing a university," adding that "such a thing only exists in totalitarian countries."

Ezrahi and others who resort to such cheap shots know full well that the army's status as legislator is a byproduct of the unresolved status of Judea and Samaria. If the settlement of Ariel were to be annexed today, Barak would be out of the picture in terms of both higher education and housing freezes there. And if Israel had not legally reunified Jerusalem, the roads to Ezrahi's campus would also be governed by a general.

Ezrahi charges that Ariel College was established to promote the ideology of right-wing settlers. In all the years I taught there, I encountered colleagues from all colors of the political spectrum. However, even the most ideological rightist would never have dared to present a right-wing equivalent to an M.A. thesis branding Israeli soldiers as racist because they don't rape Arab women - a thesis sponsored by the former head of the Hebrew University's Truman Peace Center.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Giving accreditation where it's due

Love of the Land: Who decides in the Middle East?

Who decides in the Middle East?


Fresnozionism
30 January '10

News item:

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in a Tehran conference Saturday that whoever controls the Middle East controls the world, the semi-official Fars News Agency reported.

In a speech during a conference marking 30 years to the Islamic Revolution, Ahamdinejad reportedly implied that Iran is the top power in the Middle East. “Now the question is who has the last say in the Middle East? Well, of course, the answer is clear to every one,” Ahamdinejad said.

Before WWII, the answer was ‘Britain’. And from 1945 until Barack Obama, the answer has been ‘the US’. But in his Cairo speech, Obama more or less announced that the US, like Britain before it, was withdrawing from the region. And his inability or lack of will to resist Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons guarantees that Ahmadinejad will soon have the answer he desires.

OK, you can blame the bungled US reaction to 9/11, which included an unnecessary and hugely expensive war and a remarkably stupid followup to a military victory if you want to pin it on the Bush Administration, but shouldn’t Obama have at least made an effort to turn things around before slinking away?

(Read full post)


Love of the Land: Who decides in the Middle East?

Love of the Land: The Egypt-Hamas standoff in Gaza: a view from Israel

The Egypt-Hamas standoff in Gaza: a view from Israel


Shlomo Brom
Daily Star (Lb)
25 January '10

In the course of recent weeks, the relationship between Egypt and the Hamas government in Gaza has deteriorated and their latent conflict has become public. The specific reasons for this state of affairs are two decisions taken by the Egyptian government. The first was a decision to build a new metal wall that penetrates deep into the ground along the Gaza border with the purpose of preventing smuggling from Sinai into the Gaza Strip both above and below ground, through tunnels. The second decision was, first, to delay and then to prevent the entrance into Gaza of the better part of a large convoy of trucks and a delegation organized by Western pro-Palestinian organizations to break Gaza’s isolation. These two decisions led to verbal recriminations between the Egyptians and Hamas, as well as to violent clashes at Al-Arish in Sinai and along Egypt’s border with Gaza in which an Egyptian soldier was killed by a Palestinian sniper.

Ever since Hamas took over Gaza in 2007, Egypt has had difficulty formulating a coherent policy to deal with the resultant dangers. Cairo’s basic attitude toward Hamas as an offshoot and branch of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood is wariness. The Egyptian Brotherhood present the greatest challenge to the Egyptian regime, hence the existence of a territory ruled by a sister movement on Egypt’s border is a problem: it can serve as a model and a base of operations affecting Egypt itself; and it threatens Egyptian sovereignty, as manifested in January 2008 by the breaching of an Israeli-built Gaza-Sinai border wall and the flow of many thousands of Gazans to the Egyptian side.

The close relationship that has developed between Hamas and Iran and Hizbullah has only strengthened the perception of the threat posed by Hamas, especially after the uncovering in Egypt of Hizbullah cells that were part of a network smuggling weapons to Gaza. Evidence that these cells were planning attacks inside Egypt brought home to the Egyptian regime that its worst nightmare was coming true: Gaza was becoming an internal Egyptian security problem.

(Read full article)


Love of the Land: The Egypt-Hamas standoff in Gaza: a view from Israel
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...