Tuesday, 5 January 2010

RubinReports: The Suicidal Rules of Arab Political Debate: How Relatively Moderate Regimes are Robbed of Self-Defense

The Suicidal Rules of Arab Political Debate: How Relatively Moderate Regimes are Robbed of Self-Defense

By Barry Rubin

It’s always interesting to analyze those little stories that show so clearly the rules of Arab politics and debate, themes which never quite find their way into the Western media, which only see these issues in a Western political and intellectual framework. Yet if you want to understand Middle East politics it is imperative to comprehend such realities.

The example here is a statement by Egyptian Minister of Legal Affairs Mofid Shehab attacking al-Jazira television for, in his words, “instigating civil war” in Egypt. Al-Jazira has been complaining that Egypt is building a steel barrier along its border with the Gaza Strip to block Hamas from smuggling in weapons and other things.

Shehab complains:.

"A number of Arab satellite stations, and [al-Jazira] especially, have placed themselves as responsible for the sovereignty of our country, and as usual have poisoned the public against the state."

Here are some of the rules. The more militant a group is in fighting Israel or the West, the better. All Arab regimes are supposed to help these groups without reservation, even if it damages their infrastructure and drags it into an unwanted war (Lebanon in 2006; Jordan in the 1960s).

Egypt is building the barrier because it views Hamas as an enemy of the Egyptian regime and national interest in two respects. First, Cairo sees Hamas as an instrument of Iran and its bloc, a grab for regional power of Persian, Shias, and Islamists to the determinant of Arabs, Sunnis, and Arab nationalists.

Second, because Hamas is aligned with the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood which wants to overthrow the regime. If Hamas succeeds in entrenching itself in the Gaza Strip, that will be an inspiration to the regime’s enemies at home, while the arms’ smuggling will also eventually provide more guns for terrorists within Egypt.

Consequently, the Egyptian government would like to see Hamas fall from power in the Gaza Strip and be replaced by a Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority regime. But given the constraints of Arab politics, it will not do too much to bring about that outcome. Similarly, the Egyptian government would be happy in theory if the Palestinians made peace with Israel, ended the conflict, and obtained a state. Again, though it won't do much toward that goal other than insisting the United States has to make it happen.

The above is basic and normal national interests’ stuff. Yet not one word of this—or at least very little--can be expressed by Egypt. After all, Hamas is fighting Israel and Western influence, so that has to be good. It is “Islamist,” piously Muslim, so that has to be good, too. Iran and Syria can speak and act freely; Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan cannot.

Shehab expresses his views in an interview with al-Ahram, a regime-controlled newspaper. Clearly, Hamas’s use of statist repression isn’t something repugnant in principle to the Egyptian government. And so Shehab switches the target from Hamas itself to foreign news media which is assumed to be the instrument of another state rather than merely reporting facts.

The goal of these television networks, explains Shehab, is, “To engender a civil war and inflame the Egyptian and Arab streets, and cause a clash of official authorities."

That is, calling attention to the wall is intended to stir up Egyptians against their own government. How come they’re restricting rather than helping Hamas in its battles? Since Shehab’s government cannot answer that question within the bounds of permitted discourse, it has to focus on the mere raising of the issue as the problem.

Shehab then raises another issue in his arsenal: al-Jazira and other Arab media attacked Israel during the Cast Lead operation in the Gaza Strip in early 2009. They now criticize Egypt. Therefore, according to this logic, they are comparing Egypt to Israel, which is unacceptable: "They have launched a war against the Egyptians just as they did during the barbaric attack on Gaza a year ago."

The mythology must be maintained that all Arabs are always on the same side and that all Muslims are always on the same side. The good guys are good guys who cannot be criticized; the bad guys are always bad guys who must always be criticized. Indeed, Shehab then turns to the ultimate weapon, the atomic bomb of propaganda: attacking Israel and America:

"Why didn't Al-Jazeera have a single word of condemnation to say about the weapons, missiles, and smart bombs that were sent from Al Udeid Base [in Qatar]to Israel in order to bomb the residents of Gaza?"

This is quite a startling lie for a cabinet minister of a “moderate” government “aligned” with the United States and receiving massive amounts of American aid. Shehab, obviously with permission from the highest levels of the Egyptian government is trying to “inflame the Egyptian and Arab streets, and cause a clash" of the Arab masses with the United States.

And of course it is untrue, a lie that could lead to terrorist murders of Americans. There was no U.S. equipment shipped to Israel especially in order to be dropped on the Gaza Strip, especially not from Qatar (which is singled out here because it is the master of al-Jazira). In other words, the proper response for any criticism by Arabs or Muslims is: Oh yeah! Well, you’re a murdering Zionist agent and a lackey of American imperialism!

This is, one must remind oneself, the end of the twenty-first century’s first decade while in the Middle East it is just like being in the 1960s. And the early 1960s at that.

Indeed, Shehab continues, this specific report is a Zionist operation to discredit Egypt:

"This civil war network is first and foremost an Israeli tool. It transferred reports on the Egyptian construction on the border from the news agencies in Israel and has begun to weave its usual plot."

Of course, Israel is happy that Egypt is building this wall. Precisely at the moment when Egyptian and Israeli interests align, the Egyptian government has to step up its verbal attacks on Israel.

The minister does note indirectly that the barrier is being built to avoid a repeat of the time in January 2008 when many Gazans broke through the border defenses as Hamas gunmen shot at Egyptian soldiers. "I ask all Egyptians, and all those who support their homeland, are you willing to accept the violation of your country's sovereignty?"

Shehab thus indulges in a bit of Egyptian patriotism, which is permissible though usually only as a secondary factor which doesn’t enjoy the same level of legitimacy of the other arguments. In short, a more moderate state, at least, is not quite able to pursue its own interests.

They can go against the current when necessary but always at a cost. Egypt made peace with Israel, for example, but faced years of boycott, President Anwar al-Sadat was assassinated, and the peace cannot be a warm one. Saudi Arabia can seek Western help in the fact of Iraq’s seizure of Kuwait but the cost is the rise of Usama bin Ladin and years of terrorism.

Already criticisms and demonstrations are starting against the Egyptian wall in various countries. The claim is that the structure is unacceptable because it “helps” Israel. The fact that it also helps Egypt as much or more is not considered to be relevant.

Thus, one sees in this little item, as in hundreds more, how crippled the Arabic-speaking world is by its own form of Political Correctness. Such a doctrine is incompatible with democracy at home, full peace with Israel or a real alliance with the West. The question for the future is whether it is compatible with the survival of the Arab regimes themselves in the face of a challenge from Iran and revolutionary Islamists.

RubinReports: The Suicidal Rules of Arab Political Debate: How Relatively Moderate Regimes are Robbed of Self-Defense

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Love of the Land: Road to nowhere

Road to nowhere

Nitsana Darshan-Leitner
04 January '10

Last week's High Court ruling opening part of Route 443 to Palestinian traffic has set off a firestorm of criticism in Israeli political circles. In a 38-page decision, the court ruled that by keeping Palestinians off the road, which winds through post-1967 lands on the northwest approach to Jerusalem, the army unfairly discriminated against local Palestinians who should be allowed to use it, fostering among them a "sense of inequality and even associations of improper motives."

The court ordered the army to find "another solution" that would avoid the "sense of discrimination" that the closure entails. While the ruling may at first sound both reasonable and fair, it is in practicality neither and will result in the deaths of additional Israelis.

FIRST, THE history. The IDF's security concerns are far from theoretical. Beginning with the second intifada in 2000, Palestinian terrorists found in 443 an easy target for shootings and other deadly attacks. In just eight months, from December 2000 to August 2001, six Israelis were murdered, and many more wounded, on that very road. The villagers who would use the road today are those who knowingly harbored these terrorists and provided them with an easy escape route. This is why the road was closed to Palestinian traffic in the first place.

Although the Palestinians have failed to mount deadly attacks on 443 since the road was closed to them in 2002, it is not for lack of trying. In the last few years, the IDF has recorded hundreds of violent attacks, from throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails to shootings, along Route 443. Just last month, the army defused a massive roadside bomb along the road. Even with the closure, 443 remains one of the most vulnerable highways to terror.

Second, the road itself. Route 443 is no side street. It is one of the two major arteries connecting Jerusalem with the rest of the country. For many of the more than 100,000 residents living along the stretch from Modi'in to the northern neighborhoods of Jerusalem, it is the only way to get to and from work each day. Although a small part of the road goes through post-1967 territory, the people who use the road are not "settlers," but ordinary Israelis, Arabs and Jews, living their lives.

(Read full article)

The writer is the director of Shurat Hadin - Israel Law Center.

Love of the Land: Road to nowhere

Israel Matzav: US forces EU parliamentarians to cancel Iran trip

US forces EU parliamentarians to cancel Iran trip

A group of EU parliamentarians that was planning to visit Iran has confirmed that it has canceled its trip under pressure from the United States.

A delegation of EU legislators canceled a planned trip to Iran after US congressmen sent a letter of protest to Jerzy Buzek, president of the European Parliament, EU Parliament spokesman Thomas Dudrap confirmed to The Jerusalem Post on Monday.

The EU delegation still wanted to travel this week to Teheran, but the meeting has been called off for now.

In the letter the congressmen wrote, "We believe that such a visit, especially at this critical juncture, is counterproductive and potentially damaging to the international community's efforts to stop Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons.

"As you know, Iran's leaders have been relentlessly pursuing nuclear capabilities for several years, in violation of their obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). They have threatened their neighbors as well as the United States and the European Union.

"As prime funders of Hamas and Hizbullah, they have threatened Western targets, sought to destabilize a critical region in the world, and dedicated themselves to the destruction of the State of Israel."

The letter was signed by 15 members of Congress. Asked if it prompted the EU delegation to cancel its January 8 visit, Dudrap said he "does not know."

Can someone please explain to me why these unnamed members of Congress were apparently okay with John Kerry going to Iran until the Iranians said no, but objected to the Europeans going? Don't get me wrong - I don't think anyone should be visiting Iran right now because it will only encourage the current regime to believe that they can retain power. But the contrast between Kerry and Euroweenies does seem to be a double standard (which I made more blatant with the picture I chose. Heh). Then again, I wouldn't expect any better from this Democrat-controlled Congress.

Israel Matzav: US forces EU parliamentarians to cancel Iran trip

Israel Matzav: Pushing back against disarming America

Pushing back against disarming America

President Obama has a euphoric vision in which we will live in a nuclear-free world. That vision is totally unrealistic. If the United States gives up its nuclear weapons, in no time at all, the world will be dominated by terrorist states or by Russia and China. So the Pentagon has started to push back against Obama's nuclear free world.

Officials in the Pentagon and elsewhere have pushed back against Obama administration proposals to cut the number of weapons and narrow their mission, according to U.S. officials and outsiders who have been briefed on the process.


In turn, White House officials, unhappy with early Pentagon-led drafts of the blueprint known as the Nuclear Posture Review, have stepped up their involvement in the deliberations and ordered that the document reflect Obama's preference for sweeping change, according to the U.S. officials and others, who described discussions on condition of anonymity because of their sensitivity and secrecy.

The Pentagon has stressed the importance of continued U.S. deterrence, an objective Obama has said he agrees with. But a senior Defense official acknowledged in an interview that some officials are concerned that the administration may be going too far. He described the debate as "spirited. . . . I think we have every possible point of view in the world represented."

The debate represents another collision between Obama's administration and key parts of the national security establishment, after scrapes over troop levels in Afghanistan and missile defenses in Eastern Europe.

But more than those issues, the future of U.S. nuclear weapons policy is directly tied to a series of initiatives Obama has advanced as a prime goal of his presidency.

"This is the first test of Obama's nuclear commitments," said former U.S. Ambassador Nancy E. Soderberg, who held senior foreign policy positions in the Clinton administration. "They can't afford to fall short at the outset."

Read the whole thing. It's not realistic for the US to totally give up its nuclear arsenal. It may not be realistic to give up a significant portion of it either. If the West gives up its nuclear weapons, only terrorists would have them, which would be far worse than the current situation.

Israel Matzav: Pushing back against disarming America

Israel Matzav: Overnight music video

Overnight music video

Yeedle Werdyger sings "Every Jew has a share in the World to Come."

Let's go to the videotape.

Israel Matzav: Overnight music video

Israel Matzav: Who needs peace?

Who needs peace?

This is the flip side of the story about how much it costs us to try to make peace. Dan Ephron reports in Newsweek that most Israelis aren't very interested in peace anymore.

Only about 40 percent of Israelis now long for a rejuvenated peace process with the Palestinians. An even smaller number, about 20 percent, believe such talks would amount to anything. That doesn't mean Israelis are warmongers, although right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu often complains his government is portrayed that way. Palestinian negotiators were outraged last week when the Israelis approved construction of another roughly 700 housing units in East Jerusalem despite a freeze on new building in West Bank settlements; they claim Netanyahu's professed desire to sit down and talk is disingenuous. Yet in the long years since the Oslo process began, each side has had its turn—several turns—as the spoiler. And in fact, more Israelis than ever (including Netanyahu, though with major provisions) now say they're willing to live alongside an independent Palestinian state.

What's changed is that more Israelis than ever also seem to feel little urgency about reaching that goal. This, as much as any reluctance on Netanyahu's part, may pose the greatest obstacle to the Obama administration's efforts to reach a peace agreement before 2012. A combination of factors in recent years—an improved security situation, a feeling that acceptance by Arabs no longer matters much, and a growing disaffection from politics generally—have for many Israelis called into question the basic calculus that has driven the peace process. Instead of pining for peace, they're now asking: who needs it?


In short, Israelis are enjoying a peace dividend without a peace agreement. Clearly, that can't last. Without a resolution to its conflict, Israel will always face the prospect of international isolation and challenges to its very legitimacy. But the tendency toward short-term thinking is reinforced by another somewhat skewed cost-benefit analysis that Israelis are inclined to embrace: while the absence of peace is exacting a very low price, Israeli attempts to forge a peace deal have exacted a very high one.

Most Israelis, in this analysis, associate the Oslo accords not just with the historic handshake on the White House lawn but with the first suicide attacks by Palestinians. Ask Israelis what they got in return for their offer at Camp David nearly a decade ago to hand over most of the West Bank and they'll point to the second intifada. In Israeli minds, Palestinians should have been grateful for the 2005 withdrawal from Gaza—instead they fired rockets at Israel.

Read the whole thing.

I don't agree with everything he says, but it would be fair to say that most Israelis feel no urgency to reach an agreement with the 'Palestinians' and many of us are convinced that the current situation could last for quite some time - barring an Iranian nuclear weapon coming into play. In the long run, the fact that most Israelis don't feel that we have to make peace may be what brings the 'Palestinians' to the table without an unreasonable set of demands.

Israel Matzav: Who needs peace?

Israel Matzav: Too good to check: Ahmadinejad's web site has been hacked

Too good to check: Ahmadinejad's web site has been hacked

This is too good to check: Ahmadinejad's web site has been hacked (Hat Tip: Only Mehdi).


Welcome Gateway Pundit readers.

Israel Matzav: Complying with Goldstone's demands would lower Israel's standards

Complying with Goldstone's demands would lower Israel's standards

Justice Richard Goldstone has demanded that Israel establish a special review committee to examine the IDF's conduct during Operation Cast Lead. But, argues David Benjamin, establishing such a committee would actually lower the standards to which the IDF is already subject.

LET'S TAKE a look at the investigation process as stipulated by Israeli law: Firstly, the IDF is required to investigate every complaint into misconduct by its troops, from the severe to the trivial. The IDF will also launch investigations even when no complaint has been filed, such as when alleged misconduct is brought to light in the media. Generally, the initial investigation may take one of two forms: either a criminal investigation by the Military Police or an operational enquiry by senior officers.

The former is appropriate when the criminality of the alleged misconduct is clear, e.g. looting, assault of detainees. The latter is employed where the circumstances do not necessarily point to a criminal act, e.g. civilian casualties as a result of a bombing raid. There is nothing to preclude the military advocate general (MAG) from ordering a criminal investigation at the outset in any case, including in cases concerning operational activity (note that Goldstone erroneously claims that this is not so) and the MAG has in fact done so on a number of occasions.

The MAG is authorized to review the findings of all operational enquiries for the purpose of deciding whether or not to order a criminal investigation. Moreover, the civilian attorney-general is authorized to review and overturn the decisions of the MAG in this regard. Most significantly, the Supreme Court can review and overturn any such decision.

Also, the MAG's decision whether to press charges - and if so, what charges - is also reviewable and can be overturned both by the attorney-general and by the Supreme Court.

The point is that all decisions by the military and civil authorities in relation to investigations and prosecutions, including questions of "pusillanimity," are ultimately reviewable by the highest court in the land.

THE LIKELIHOOD of such review taking place is far from hypothetical. Anyone with a legitimate interest can petition the High Court to review any decision by any Israeli authority, civilian or military. It has been long established that Palestinian residents of Gaza and the West Bank as well as Israeli human rights organizations have the right of standing in the High Court.

The thousands of petitions brought annually against the IDF are testimony to the routine nature of such proceedings. It is important to note that unlike the US Supreme Court, which can select the cases it wishes to adjudicate, the High Court has no such luxury and is obliged to give its attention to every petition. The bottom line is that anybody who is unhappy with the Cast Lead investigation process in general, or with any individual investigation in particular, has a clear path to the High Court once they have exhausted other remedies.

Benjamin, a former legal adviser to the IDF, wonders whether Goldstone ignored the IDF investigatory process, or whether he was simply unaware of it. As you may recall, at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs' session for bloggers two weeks ago, I asked Dore Gold how much Goldstone had previously seen of the material that Dore presented during his debate with Goldstone in November. Dore said that it had all been sent to Goldstone last summer, but Goldstone had obviously not seen it. Dore speculated that Goldstone's staff may have kept the material away from him.

This is also likely the case with respect to the IDF's investigatory process. It's doubtful that Goldstone's staff knew or bothered to ask what the IDF's investigatory process is. Goldstone was likely too lazy or apathetic to care. After all, he knew what his conclusions had to be in order to advance his career, and was likely not interested in any evidence that would conflict with those conclusions.

Israel Matzav: Complying with Goldstone's demands would lower Israel's standards

Israel Matzav: Pursuing peace brings out the sharks

Pursuing peace brings out the sharks

Let's get you into the mood first. Let's go to the videotape.

Sixteen years ago, Israel signed the Oslo Accords and began what looks like a panicked pursuit of peace. Not only have we not gotten peace, argues Evelyn Gordon in the latest issue of Commentary, but the more we pursue peace, the worse our standing in the 'international community' becomes. Gordon argues that there are four reasons behind this:

First, Oslo led Israel to sideline its own claim to the West Bank and Gaza, which all Israeli governments (and international Jewish leaders) had stressed to some extent before 1993. Though there had long been a lively debate as to whether Israel ought to hold on to these territories in practice, until 1993 all sides were ready to assert that it had a valid claim to them in principle.


Granted, much of the world was disposed to accept the Palestinian claim even before Oslo. But as the sage Hillel famously said 2,000 years ago, “If I am not for myself, who will be for me?” Oslo marked the moment when Israel stopped defending its own claim to the West Bank and Gaza and instead increasingly endorsed the Palestinian claim. And with no competing narrative to challenge it any longer, the view of Israel as a thief, with all its attendant consequences, has gained unprecedented traction.


[T]he problem has been compounded by another unanticipated consequence of Oslo: the territorial withdrawals it entailed have resulted not only in more dead Israelis but also in more dead Palestinians. Nothing undermines a country’s image more quickly than pictures of bleeding victims recycled endlessly on television and computer screens. That is precisely why worldwide protests against both the Second Lebanon War in 2006 and Operation Cast Lead in Gaza last January—operations aimed at halting terror launched from territory Israel had evacuated to the last inch—drew far larger crowds than protests against Israel’s ongoing occupation of the West Bank. Death causes more outrage than occupation.


Israeli withdrawals have also had another unintended consequence: they have energized anti-Israel radicals who, despite their small numbers, have contributed greatly to the anti-Israel climate by propelling the boycott and divestment movement. Because groups such as labor unions and churches are generally viewed positively, when a wide variety of such groups throughout the West all start targeting one particular country for boycott and divestment, people without any prior knowledge of the facts might naturally assume that the accused country must indeed be guilty to merit such treatment. What those people fail to realize is that boycotts and divestments are usually approved not by an organization’s full membership but by a handful of activists, which enables a few radicals to hijack the debate.


Yet this desperate quest for peace also failed to win Israel points among the general public, because each new initiative raised new hopes of a peace that was in fact never achievable. And it is human nature to be angrier over disappointed hope than over having never hoped at all. What is worse is the very fact that whenever negotiations broke down, it was Israel, rather than the Palestinian side, that came back with a better offer, created the impression that both sides thought peace would be achievable if Israel just gave enough. Thus the lack of peace must be Israel’s fault.

Gordon believes that the damage is reversible. I'm not sure it is. We need to add a fifth factor: Many Israelis - maybe even majority - don't believe in our right to be here anymore. Many Israelis would gladly emigrate elsewhere and melt into the non-Jewish communities in the diaspora if they were able to do so. Those of us who are religious and believe that this country is where we belong do not realize how many secular Israelis would like to leave. For them, Oslo's failure was the last straw. They want to live 'normally' and don't believe they can do so here. The sharks smell blood and are ready to eat us alive.

Read the whole thing.

Israel Matzav: Pursuing peace brings out the sharks

Israel Matzav: Video: Israel introduces new drone

Video: Israel introduces new drone

The Israel Air Force has unveiled the new Shoval UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) system, which represents a huge leap in Israel military operational capabilities. Infolive.TV covered the unveiling of the advanced drone.

Let's go to the videotape.

Still waiting for the first 'Palestinian' drone.


Israel Matzav: Video: Israel introduces new drone

Israel Matzav: China evading UN sanctions on Iran

China evading UN sanctions on Iran

Before President Obama seeks new sanctions on Iran, perhaps he ought to do something about enforcing the existing ones (yes, they do exist). The Wall Street Journal reports that - surprise - China has been evading the existing sanctions by continuing to trade missile technology with Iran while continuing to trade with the United States at the same time.

A unit of state-owned China Precision Machinery Import-Export Corp., for example, has made nearly 300 illegal shipments to U.S. firms since a ban was imposed on CPMIEC and its affiliates in mid-2006, according to an analysis of shipping records by the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control, a nonprofit proliferation watchdog.

A Wall Street Journal review of the records and interviews with officials at some of the American companies indicate that the U.S. firms likely were unaware they were doing business with banned entities, and in many cases were tripped up by altered company names.

The CPMIEC shipments, worth millions of dollars, include everything from anchors and drilling equipment to automobile parts and toys. In many cases, CPMIEC acted as a shipping intermediary -- activity also banned under a 2006 presidential order.

The ability of CPMIEC and other foreign companies to continue doing business in the U.S. despite the sanctions comes as the Obama administration considers fresh economic sanctions against Iran. The illegal shipments suggest that U.S. sanctions have become so numerous and complex that they have become difficult to enforce.

Or that there isn't enough enforcement and that the penalties for being caught are too low to serve as a deterrent for those who might consider trying. If you had to pay a civil fine equal to two to three times any transaction you're caught doing with a company under sanctions, I suspect these companies would find ways to figure out whether they're doing business with CPMIEC and the like.

This is something that needs to be resolved. The sooner, the better.

Israel Matzav: China evading UN sanctions on Iran

Israel Matzav: Cartoon: The evolution of the modern airport passenger

Israel Matzav: Cartoon: The evolution of the modern airport passenger

Israel Matzav: Arabs protest against Egyptian apartheid wall

Arabs protest against Egyptian apartheid wall

In front of Egyptian embassies throughout the Arab world, there are protests going on against the apartheid wall being built between Egypt and the Gaza Strip.

Some 150 people gathered outside the Egyptian embassy in Amman, Jordan on Sunday and burned photos of President Hosni Mubarak. The photos depict Mubarak with a Star of David stamped on his forehead.

The rally was organized by Jordanian labor unions and supporters of the opposition.

In Lebanon, members of the Jamaa al-Islamiya movement demonstrated outside the Egyptian embassy. A number of clerics who took part in the rally said the wall being constructed by Egypt violates Islamic law.

Meanwhile, the London-based Arabic-language newspaper al-Quds al-Arabi reported that a number of prominent and radical Muslim clerics have issued edicts against the wall. According to the newspaper, Abdul Majeed al-Zindani, head of the Iman University in Yemen, and Egyptian scholar and Islamist preacher Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, who is affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, have also voiced their objection to the wall, as have other Egyptian and Saudi religious leaders.

However, Cairo's Al-Azhar University, a major center of Arabic literature and Sunni Islamic learning, has officially backed the government's decision to build a wall along the border with Gaza. On Thursday 25 of the institute's senior administrators issued a statement backing the "state's right to build along its walls facilities and obstacles that will enhance is security."

The wall will take 'months' to complete even if the Egyptians work at it 24/7, and although it will be an improvement over the current situation, it will not hermetically seal the Gaza Strip.

Israel has far more effective methods to deal with 'Palestinian' smuggling: Out of 3,000 tunnels that were active before Operation Cast Lead, only 150 now remain. Too bad Olmert didn't finish the job when he had the chance.

Israel Matzav: Arabs protest against Egyptian apartheid wall

Israel Matzav: Lockdown at Newark Airport

Lockdown at Newark Airport

Rabbi Shmuely Boteach was sitting in Newark International Airport during Sunday night's lockdown, waiting for his wife and nine children to come off a flight from Chicago. While he was there, he scribbled a few words about airport security that got published at Huffington Post.

Let's state the obvious. They can install the most sophisticated machinery in every American airport. They can X-Ray our boxers, they can check for explosives in every bodily orifice. We're still not going to be safe. It's not only people's bodies you're supposed to check but their backgrounds, their nationalities, and especially their eyes. Israel has the most secure airport in the world. I cannot imagine for a moment that a man with nitroglycerine in his undies would ever have made it on a plane. And why? Because they would have asked him some simple and direct questions with the purpose of studying his reaction as he responded. You're from Nigeria. You're going to the US. Why? How long are you staying? What is your purpose? And where is your return ticket? All along they would be scrutinizing not his bodily bulges but his twitches. What Israel excels at is not even ethnic profiling so much as psychological profiling.

But how can we ever hope to study people's suspicious behavior when the TSA agents are wasting their precious time on the most innocent of passengers who don't fit any kind of terrorist profile whatsoever. On the way to Chicago last week my eleven-year-old daughter's backpack somehow merited secondary screening. For ten minutes a TSA agent performed about seven explosive swab tests on every knickknack a young girl might carry on a plane. Her reading books seemed to be of particular interest. I could only roll my eyes and pray for patience. While this went on approximately fifty adults passed through without any secondary screening because my eleven year old occupied the rapt attention of the TSA. Could this have gotten any more ridiculous?

The answer, unfortunately, is yes. I travel often. The degree of silliness I have witnessed is staggering. I have seen seventy-year-old grandmas with hip replacements being combed by two TSA agents (who knows what those surgeons implanted there!) I once saw an octogenarian man with a cane forced to remove his neck brace as it was repeatedly swabbed for explosives.

Good you say. Terrorists come in many forms. And if we principally look out for young men from known terrorist countries to carry explosives on planes, the terrorists will quickly adapt and activate their sleeper-agent Edith from Valley View Retirement Home to detonate the nitroglycerine hidden in her dentures. I concede that indeed there have been unsuspecting young women who have been given bombs by their terrorists boyfriends to bring on planes, which is why we have to absolutely check everyone. But airport security is never going to be omniscient. And you need to focus your energy on those who pose the greatest threat. Nationality is not any real predictor of terrorists. Richard Reid was a Briton who was half-Jamaican. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is not from the Middle East but Nigeria. Timothy McVeigh was an American. But these and nearly every other terrorist bomber was a male of a certain age group. None were eleven-year-olds with schoolwork stuffed in their backpacks who happened to be travelling with eight other siblings. Would it not therefore make sense to concentrate on those who most fit the terrorist profile while letting up on the three-year-olds with their toy tractors?

Here is where Israel has a unique opening. A country that routinely gets terrible press because of how effectively its enemies portray it as repressive can come to the West's rescue with sound advice on how to secure airport and air travel. In the process the West will gain a greater understanding of the level of threat Israel is up against. I'm surprised that Prime Minister Netanyahu has not already given a major address sympathizing with the American people for the intended attack on Christmas Day and offering Israel's assistance in securing American air travel. Israel, after all, often dispatches humanitarian rescue teams to various parts of the world after an earthquake or a tsunami. Why not immediately dispatch a high-level security team to Washington, DC, to advise an increasingly hapless Homeland Security Administration about the right way to deploy limited resources in securing a vast air network? I realize that Israel is a tiny country and has to secure only one major international airport. But then again, unlike the United States it lives surrounded by terrorists yet has an exemplary record in protecting air travel.

This makes a lot of sense. But come on Rabbi, you can't really believe that the Obama administration would take advice from little Israel, could you?

Read the whole thing.

Israel Matzav: Lockdown at Newark Airport

Israel Matzav: Netanyahu thinks it's time for talks

Netanyahu thinks it's time for talks

Prime Minister Netanyahu told his Likud party on Monday that he believes that it is time for Israel to sit and talk to the 'Palestinians' without preconditions.

The prime minister went on to say, "I wish for the resumption of talks without preconditions… in which both sides can express their views… and I will insist on maintaining our national interests."

But Netanyahu, Deputy Prime Minister Moshe (Boogie) Yaalon and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman all rejected the notion that an agreement with the 'Palestinians' could be reached within two years.

The prime minister also addressed earlier reports of a US peace initiative that could result in a Palestinian state in two years' time. "I see in the media certain viewpoints, plans and border lines that have been attributed to me. There is no truth in this. I want to clarify that my views have not changed," he said.

Also responding to the US plan, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman asserted Monday that a final status arrangement with the Palestinians could not be reached in the near future.

Speaking during a meeting with Quartet Middle East envoy Tony Blair, Lieberman said, "It will not be possible to reach an arrangement on final borders within nine months, nor a complete final status arrangement within two years… This is an unrealistic date."

He suggested that the two sides "begin direct talks without committing to any target date."

Vice Premier Moshe Ya'alon also responded to reports concerning the Washington peace plan, saying that they were "not even close to being accurate."

The leaders' comments followed an Egyptian confirmation that the US peace plan includes Israeli guarantees for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state within two years.

A spokesperson for the Egyptian Foreign Ministry told the country's Al Ahram newspaper on Monday that according to the plan, both sides were to exchange formal letters dealing with mutual guarantees.

The principles behind the White House initiative reportedly include an immediate resumption of talks between the Palestinians and the Israelis with the defined goal of reaching a final status arrangement within two years.

The first issue to be addressed would be that of permanent borders, according to the report. It also said that the target date established by US President Barack Obama to reach a compromise on the border issue was nine months, before the end of the settlement construction moratorium in Judea and Samaria.

According to the plan, immediately following the demarcation of defined borders, negotiations would shift to more complex issues ranging from the future of Jerusalem to the status of Palestinian refugees.

Obama reportedly expects a formal exchange of guarantees between the Israelis and Palestinians. In conjunction, it is believed by the White House that members of the Arab League will come out in support of this phase of the proceedings in order to help the Palestinian Authority leader raise his stature among the Palestinian public.

On top of that, the despicable Shlomo Ben Ami has emerged from his cave.

In an interview with Army Radio on Monday morning, former foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami stressed that "Hamas must be included in the process" even if it means losing momentum for jump-starting peace talks with the Palestinians. Ben-Ami went on to say that "the moderate elements will not accept a decision that the extremists will define as treason."

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Netanyahu thinks it's time for talks

Israel Matzav: 'Moderate,' Western-looking 'Palestinian' calls for ethnic cleansing of Jews

'Moderate,' Western-looking 'Palestinian' calls for ethnic cleansing of Jews

The West is enamored with 'moderate' 'Palestinian Prime Minister' Salam Fayyad, because he dresses Western. No kafiyah, no scraggly Islamic beard, no long robes. Suit and tie.

Well, the West is enamored with the outside. The inside is pure 'Palestinian.' And unless the West is still into ethnic cleansing, if they'd chip just a little beneath the Western facade, they might not like what they find.

On Sunday night, Fayyad called for ethnic cleansing of Jews from Judea and Samaria.

At a demonstration near Ramallah Sunday night, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad told a crowd that a future Arab state in Judea and Samaria must be free of all Jews. Fayyad, who was never elected to his office democratically, was an economist for the International Monetary Fund until being handpicked by former United States President George W. Bush to lead the PA.

Maybe President Obumbler's attorney general can explain why that kind of statement and the ethnic cleansing that underlies it, which would not be tolerated in the United States, are okay for our region. I'm sure Eric Holder would tell you that it's fine but there is no logical way to explain why.

Israel Matzav: 'Moderate,' Western-looking 'Palestinian' calls for ethnic cleansing of Jews

Israel Matzav: A new species of 'militant': 'Civilians'

A new species of 'militant': 'Civilians'

From a new Israeli website:

"The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights" (PCHR) published the list of "civilians" - casualties of Operation Cast Lead. This Centre which is based in Gaza Strip, gathered comprehensive details regards the casualties - Although, chose to distort the findings. Instead of filing militants of terror organizations as "Militants" - it chose to file them as "Civilians".

It's the same Centre which claims: "The Zionist Occuption Forces Murder Civilians"; It's definitely not surprising for such Centre to spread lies for the purpose of demonizing the Israel Defense Forces. Until this very day, the media and human rights organizations, completely ignore IDF's statement regards the sum of militant casualties, and keep spreading the lie - "Most casualties were civilians".

Cross-checking the claim with the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Reveals quite a bit of the truth. Nevertheless, it is only one of Hamas's militant wings. The Hamas has three militant wings: the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the Executive Police Force, and the "Morbiton". Not only the three militant wings of Hamas participated in the combat: the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades - participated as well.

Inevitable conclusions:

A. The majority of the casualties during Operation Cast Lead were militants.

B. "The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights" (PCHR) blatantly lied and distorted the findings.

Let's go to the videotape (Hat Tip: The Beguiling Avigayil (Daughter # 1, Child # 1)).

The list of names that is scrolled down at the end of the video, with more details about them, may be found here.

Israel Matzav: A new species of 'militant': 'Civilians'

Israel Matzav: Good news: IDF planning for next Amona

Good news: IDF planning for next Amona

The IDF believes that the demolition of buildings in Judea and Samaria that are being built in violation of the 'settlement freeze' will lead to demonstrations as violent as those that took place in Amona four years ago.

One officer predicted that level of violence during demolitions would be similar to the resistance security forces encountered during the evacuation of the illegal structures at Amona, overlooking Ofra, in February 2006. During those demolitions, unprecedented clashes erupted between settlers and security personnel, with the latter slammed by a Knesset inquiry for using excessive force. More than 300 people were injured, most of them protesters.

There is also a fear that settlers will take revenge against nearby Palestinians, as allegedly occurred with the arson attack against a mosque in the village of Yasuf last month.

"Demolitions are an escalation for the settlers," one officer explained. "If and when this happens, they will view it as the beginning of a withdrawal from all of the West Bank and will fight hard to stop it."

One defense official warned that if the settlers violently resisted the demolitions, the Defense Ministry would slow down the authorization process for the construction of communal buildings - such as schools - that do not fall under the moratorium order.

"If they do not obey the order there are other measures, such as slowing down the authorization process for public buildings," explained the official. "They will have to decide what they want."

The 'battle plan' sounds remarkably like Amona's too. The only difference is that this time, they've dropped the pretense that the police in the 'inner circle' will be unarmed. Aren't you glad we have a Likud government in power instead of Kadima? Hope and change same.

Israel Matzav: Good news: IDF planning for next Amona

Israel Matzav: Obama sending reinforcements to al-Qaeda in Yemen

Obama sending reinforcements to al-Qaeda in Yemen

Given how much President Obama has already messed up, if he goes through with this, it will still have to rate among the stupidest things he's done (Hat Tip: Instapundit).

As Susan notes below, a bipartisan group of lawmakers is urging the Obama White House not to go forward with plans to send a number of Yemeni terrorists now being held in the Guantanamo Bay detention facility back to their home country. But the Obama White House insists it will continue to send those Gitmo inmates to Yemen -- a country now recognized as a hotbed of terrorism so dangerous that the U.S. has decided to close its embassy there.

On Fox News Sunday, top White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan said the administration "absolutely" intends to keep sending Guantanamo prisoners to Yemen.


On the bipartisan opposition to transfers to Yemen, Democratic Sen. Joseph Lieberman said on ABC today that "One thing we better learn from [the Detroit terrorism incident] is it would be irresponsible to take any of the Yemeni detainees in Guantanamo and send them back to Yemen." Also on ABC, Democratic Rep. Jane Harman, chairman of the intelligence subcommittee of the House Homeland Security Committee, said, "I think it is a bad time to send the 90 or so Yemenis back to Yemen."

Their position is shared by Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, who last week said, "Guantanamo detainees should not be released to Yemen at this time. It is too unstable." Beyond those leading Democrats, it's safe to say that most Republicans in both the House and Senate believe returning Guantanamo inmates to Yemen is a bad idea.

America's in good hands. What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Obama sending reinforcements to al-Qaeda in Yemen

Israel Matzav: Mitchell visit postponed, 'Palestinians' balking at terms of reference

Mitchell visit postponed, 'Palestinians' balking at terms of reference

Buried deep in a Jerusalem Post article, in which Prime Minister Netanyahu denies the implication by Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Aboul Gheit that Netanyahu has accepted the 1949 armistice lines as a basis for negotiations with the 'Palestinians,' is this little tidbit.

Netanyahu's position is that the pre-1967 lines are not the starting point for talks, but that the reference point should be secure and defensible borders for Israel.

If that is the jumping-off point, diplomatic officials explained, then it was not a given that Israel would have to exchange land at a 1:1 ratio, as former prime minister Ehud Olmert was nearly willing to do in the offer he made to Abbas in the fall of 2008.

The US is trying to straddle the Israeli and Palestinian positions.

Following the imposition of the construction moratorium in the settlements in November, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the US believed that "through good-faith negotiations the parties can mutually agree on an outcome which ends the conflict and reconciles the Palestinian goal of an independent and viable state based on the 1967 lines, with agreed swaps, and the Israeli goal of a Jewish state with secure and recognized borders that reflect subsequent developments and meet Israeli security requirements."

Israeli officials at the time praised this comment, indicating that it could possibly serve as the elusive terms of reference for talks between Israel and the Palestinians. Washington is believed now to be trying to get Palestinian approval of this formula as well.

In what some observers are interpreting as an indication that this is proving more difficult than anticipated, US Mideast envoy George Mitchell, who was widely expected to visit the region either this week or next, is now not expected until the third or fourth week of January. He has not been here since early November.


Rick Richman and I had an extensive discussion of the 'terms of reference' at Contentions and on this blog last week. Just to add to that discussion, it's interesting to note that the Post article reminds us that President Obama used the word 'contiguous' to describe the 'Palestinian state' at the UN, while Secretary of State Clinton did not use that term in her statement.

My gut reaction is that the 'Palestinians' really have no interest in talking. Abu Mazen has no interest in reaching a deal with Netanyahu because he knows that it will be less than he was offered by Ehud Olmert or than Yasser Arafat was offered by Ehud Barak. Abu Mazen is weak and unpopular, and cannot go to the 'Palestinian people' to tell them that they sustained thousands of deaths and injuries for a deal that is less than they were offered nine and a half years ago. He doesn't want to go to talks at all, because he doesn't want to end up where Yasser Arafat ended up with Bill Clinton. Besides, it's much easier to keep waiting for the world to support him and for Egypt to try to force Hamas to reconcile with him. That's why Abu Mazen has insisted on conditions that he knows are most unlikely to be fulfilled.

So don't expect negotiations anytime soon. The real question is whether Netanyahu will continue to damage his standing by keeping the freeze in effect for ten full months, and what will happen at the end of those ten months when there are still no negotiations. But by then, an Iranian nuclear weapon may be close to or online, and we will have bigger issues to attend.

Israel Matzav: Mitchell visit postponed, 'Palestinians' balking at terms of reference

Israel Matzav: Uh oh... US weapons sales to Arab countries 'will alter the military balance in the region'

Uh oh... US weapons sales to Arab countries 'will alter the military balance in the region'

Haaretz has a deeply disturbing report on recent sales of American weapons to other countries in the region, principally Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Of particular concern are the sale of offensive weapons to the Egyptians that could potentially be used against Israel, and the fact that there have been no arms sales to Israel since the Obama administration took office. In a report to Congress, the Pentagon notes that some of the arms sales 'will alter the military balance in the region.'

Israel's defense establishment began to be concerned by U.S. arms sales to moderate Arab states during George W. Bush's presidency. In response to criticism the U.S. has argued that providing Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries with arms is part of Washington's efforts to boost the moderate axis in the Middle East and to deter Iran.

Senior Israeli and U.S. officials have said that Israel has been informed about the arms deals.

One of the deals troubling Israel was the sale to Egypt of four batteries of Harpoon Block II anti-ship cruise missiles, in a deal worth $145 million and containing 20 missiles. The Harpoon II is an advanced, accurate missile, capable of overcoming the countermeasures and electronic warfare suites generally available for defense.

The U.S. also sold Egypt four fast missile boats in a deal worth $1.29 billion. The U.S administration said the Egyptian navy needs the boats in order to better defend access to the Suez Canal.

Another deal with Egypt, this one to bolster the country's air force, included 450 Hellfire antitank missiles. These missiles are usually launched from Apache attack helicopters. "Egypt needs these missiles in order to protect its borders," the Pentagon explained in its report to Congress. "Restrictions on the use and transfer of the missiles will be part of the deal," according to the Pentagon.

The U.S. will also sell Cairo 156 jet engines for F-16 jets, valued at $750 million, in the wake of a deal in October for the sale of 24 F-16 C/D fighter aircraft equipped with electronic warfare suites. The total value of the F-16 deal is estimated at $3 billion.

Read the whole thing. At the end of the day, restrictions on use and transfer are pieces of paper that can be torn up whenever the Egyptians don't like. Surely you don't believe that the United States would come and try to repossess its missiles (or that it could do so even if it wanted to).

Egypt is a repressive regime that continues to reap rewards for a peace treaty it signed thirty years ago while holding the other party to that peace treaty at arms length or worse. One cannot escape the sense that the Egyptian regime is lying in wait, still hoping one day to destroy the Jewish state. In all of its war exercises, the enemy is Israel.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Uh oh... US weapons sales to Arab countries 'will alter the military balance in the region'

Israel Matzav: Iran asks Hamas and Hezbullah to coordinate attacks on Israel

Iran asks Hamas and Hezbullah to coordinate attacks on Israel

Iran has apparently asked Hamas and Hezbullah to coordinate attacks on Israel.

A Lebanese Web site on Sunday quoted Saudi newspaper al-Madina as reporting that Iran nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili met with Hamas and Hizbullah officials, including Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal, in Damasucs and asked them to orchestrate "operations" against Israel.

The report said that Jalili also traveled to Beirut and urged Hizbullah and Amal representatives to launch attacks.

Jalili reportedly also asked Hamas and Hizbullah to coordinate their attacks.

There's only one thing about this story that makes no sense: Why now? With the West reaching the conclusion that Iran cannot produce a nuclear weapon for another 18 months anyway and Israel apparently playing along, why would Iran try to spur Hamas and Hezbullah into action now - especially Hamas which still has not recovered from last winter's Operation Cast Lead? Unless Iran doesn't believe Israel intends to give Obama the time he has requested for sanctions against Iran to take effect.


Israel Matzav: Iran asks Hamas and Hezbullah to coordinate attacks on Israel

Israel Matzav: Some of us saw this coming

Some of us saw this coming

Caroline Glick wrote a brilliant column over the weekend, but ultimately she still fails to recognize that the current Prime Minister, Bibi Netanyahu, whom she strongly backed, is no different than Ariel Sharon whom she blames for most of Israel's ills over the last decade. And many of us saw it coming two years ago.

As we move into the second decade of this century, we need to understand how the last decade was so squandered. How is it possible that in 2010 Israel continues to embrace policies that have failed it - violently and continuously for so many years? Why, in 2010 are we still ignoring the lessons of 2000 and all that we have learned since then?

There are two main causes for this failure: The local media and Sharon. Throughout the 1990s, the Israeli media - print, radio and television - were the chief propagandists for appeasement. When appeasement failed in 2000, Israel's media elites circled the wagons. They refused to admit they had been wrong.

Misleading phrases like "cycle of violence" were introduced into our newspeak. The absence of a security fence - rather than the presence of an enemy society on the outskirts of Israel's population centers - was blamed for the terror that claimed the lives of over a thousand Israelis. Palestinian propagandists and terrorists such as Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti were treated like legitimate politicians. Palestinian ties to Iran, Syria, Iraq and the nexus of global jihad went unmentioned or uncommented upon.

At the same time, opponents of appeasement - those who had warned of the dangers of the Oslo process and had spoken out against the withdrawal from Lebanon and a potential withdrawal from the Golan Height and Gaza - were not congratulated for their wisdom. They remained marginalized and demonized.

This situation prevails still today. The same media that brought us these catastrophes now derides Likud ministers and Knesset members who speak out against delusion-based policies, while suddenly embracing Netanyahu who - with Barak at his side - has belatedly embraced their pipe dreams of appeasement-based peace.

Netanyahu didn't belatedly embrace the 'peace process.' He embraced it long before he became the Likud's candidate for Prime Minister, because he felt that he could not get enough support from the Left to form a government without embracing the 'peace process,' and after what happened to him in 1999 (when the Right brought him down for not being ideologically pure enough), he wasn't going to try to form a government of the Right alone, even though that's what most Israelis wanted. The failure to recognize that Netanyahu's campaign for media appeal and his rejection of the people's will is our fault, will ensure that we continue to elect spineless politicians who are more able to endanger us on the Right than on the Left.

All one needs to do is mention some of the people with whom Netanyahu surrounded himself two years ago to appreciate that his goal was to be Prime Minister rather than to defeat our enemies, and that he was willing to forfeit all of his values for that goal. Dan Meridor. Uzi Dayan. Tal Brody. Even Caroline Glick herself was taken in. This is Caroline from right after the Likud primary in August 2007.

Here in Israel, after Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu's stunning victory in the Likud leadership primaries Tuesday, we are also moving into pre-election mode. Israeli voters will expect Defense Minister Ehud Barak, the Labor Party leader, and Netanyahu to present their visions of where Israel should be going.

Since Barak owes his primary victory to Labor's Arab voters, no one expects him to give up on his commitment to Palestinian statehood. But Netanyahu is a different story. It would make perfect sense for the Likud to base its electoral platform on recognizing that Fatah is Israel's enemy, and by rejecting the establishment of a Palestinian state. And Netanyahu is better qualified than any politician to convince Israeli voters to support such a reality-based platform.


As Cantor's letter and Giuliani's article make clear, there also is a strong coalition in the US that is willing to recognize that Fatah is a member of the enemy camp and to accept that a terror-supporting Palestinian state would harm US national security interests. Yet, as Steny Hoyer made clear, only Israelis can stand at the helm of such a coalition. Israelis and Americans alike must hope that Netanyahu will embrace his duty to lead that coalition.

But for reasons that were evident two and a half years ago, Caroline was doing some wishful thinking. Netanyahu wasn't going to take chances with his shot at being Prime Minister to head a Right wing coalition that would recognize that Fatah is the enemy.

Caroline is right that Olmert and his government refuse to accept that Fatah is the enemy. And if left to his own devices, there is little doubt that Olmert will reach an agreement with Abu Mazen that, like Oslo, Netanyahu will be obligated to honor should he come to power again.

But does Netanyahu understand that Fatah is the enemy? Does Netanyahu want to stop Olmert from reaching that agreement? Or would he prefer that Olmert reach the agreement and then that he, Netanyahu come to power 'facing' a fait accomplis? From his actions this week, Netanyahu seems to think that it's not Fatah - but Feiglin - who is the enemy, and that he'd just as soon let Olmert reach an agreement with Abu Mazen.

In this week's Likud primary, Moshe Feiglin garnered just over 23% of the vote. Instead of being gracious and trying to co-opt Feiglin into a strong nationalist coalition, Netanyahu treated him and one quarter of the Likud's voters like interlopers. He barred Feiglin from the victory celebration and made sure he was not photographed with Feiglin. In fact, he made sure that former education minister Limor Livnat stood by him like a wall to make sure that no photographer would get a picture of him with Feiglin. Instead of speaking out against the corrupt government of Ehud K. Olmert in his victory speech, Netanyahu spoke of recruiting "moderates into the party's leadership from the business sector, academia and former IDF generals." Earlier this week, I noted what Netanyahu meant by that statement:

He's talking about bringing people who abandoned the Likud for Kadima Achora back into the party. He's talking about people like Shaul Mofaz, who zealously commanded the expulsion of the Jews from Gaza two years ago, and Bibi's old buddy Tzachi Hanegbi who has never seen a bribe that looked too criminal to take, and who has been under 'investigation' nearly as many times as Olmert. Bibi's not talking about former generals like Effie Eitam, who was beaten by police at Amona, or Moshe (Boogie) Yaalon, who was fired as Chief of Staff of the IDF because he opposed the Gaza expulsion. (Yaalon is already a member of the Likud, but if Bibi brings Mofaz back, you can bet that it is Mofaz who will be defense minister and not Yaalon).

Netanyahu wants to make the Likud a 'centrist' party and not a party of the right. It's as if he's playing for votes from Haaretz and not from Israel's right. People seem to have forgotten - as he wanted them to - that Netanyahu stayed in the cabinet and voted for the expulsion from Gaza almost to the very end. Netanyahu was the only leader in the Likud who could have mobilized people against the expulsion. He didn't do it:

So when Netanyahu was elected and immediately started courting Barak and Livni, none of us should have been surprised. Not even Caroline Glick.

Caroline goes on to blame Ariel Sharon for betraying his voters, and she's right about that. What she missed is that Binyamin Netanyahu did - and continues to do - exactly the same thing. Were it not for Moshe Feiglin, we would not have the likes of Danny Danon and Tzipi Hotovely in the Knesset today trying to do something to protect the Likud's traditional positions. Yes, we need to understand why we continually squander opportunities. One reason is that we're afraid to stand up to the mainstream media and espouse goals - like a Jewish state from the Jordan to the Mediterranean - that aren't politically correct, but that are our only hope - with a lot of help from God - for survival.

Caroline Glick is smart enough to recognize that.

Israel Matzav: Some of us saw this coming

Israel Matzav: What Egypt gets and the 'internationals' don't

What Egypt gets and the 'internationals' don't

Over at Firedog Lake, the moonbats are trying to show how they 'won' despite the fact that the Egyptians did not let them into Gaza to commemorate Operation Cast Lead, and despite the fact that their protests on the Israeli side of the border only made a big deal here because an 'Israeli Arab' MK handed his government-issued cell phone to Ismael Haniyeh (Hat Tip: "Memeorandum"). The bottom line here is that a year later, Israeli Jews still overwhelmingly support the war and the way it was fought and understand that the IDF did what had to be done. As a collective, we are not suicidal morons, although we do have some such among us (you will see one of them below). The overwhelming majority of Israeli Jews understand that if things like glass and concrete are allowed into Gaza, they will be used to build rockets and to make bunkers for the Hamas leadership and not to build homes.

And the Egyptians understand it too. The Egyptians understand that rehabilitating Hamas means creating an Islamist province on their border that could spread its noxious doctrine to them. They are not fools either, and that's why they did not let the vast majority of the useful idiots into Gaza and why they are going along with preventing the types of supplies that could be used to make rockets from reaching Gaza.

Let's go to the videotape.

Israel Matzav: What Egypt gets and the 'internationals' don't

Love of the Land: PR fails again

PR fails again

Jonathan Dahoah Halevi
Israel Opinion/Ynet
04 January '10

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) published in its weekly summary a report on an incident in which three Palestinians were killed by IDF fire: “On Saturday, December 26, 2009 at around 00:30 Israeli forces opened fire on a number of Palestinians who approached the border. As a result, three of them were killed. They were unarmed and apparently trying to infiltrate Israel in order to look for work.”

The organization thus accuses the IDF of killing three innocent Palestinian civilians. In order to further exacerbate the Israeli “crime”, the organization added details in the service of Palestinian propaganda in relation to the economic distress in the Gaza Strip, which it claims is the reason that the group of Palestinians attempted to enter Israel to find work.

Stories of this kind, about young people who were killed in an attempt to cross the border to find work in Israel, can be found in abundance in reports issued by Palestinian human rights groups as well as in reports on Palestinian victims issued by B’Tselem.

This case allows one to learn about the conduct of terror organizations, Palestinian propaganda (sometimes with the assistance of Israeli human rights organizations) and the ineffectiveness of Israeli public relations. In this relation it should be clarified that not a single Palestinian terror organization claimed responsibility for the incident. Does this mean that these were civilians and not terrorists? Not necessarily.

The IDF Spokesperson’s Office issued a statement on December 29, 2009, which sheds some light on the incident:

“On Friday night an IDF force identified four terrorists approaching the border fence in northern Gaza in a military crawl, apparently in order to carry out an attack in Israel. The force fired at them using the ‘see and fire’ system, with the help of Air Force jets and forces from the Golani Brigade. The fire killed three terrorists and an additional terrorist was injured… In patrols held after the incident soldiers discovered a rope ladder and three explosive devices, among them a powerful device.”

The story of the incident, as it is revealed by the IDF’s version, is totally different from the report published by the Palestinian human rights group. The four Palestinian youths, three of whom were killed by IDF fire, were not trying to find work in Israel due to economic distress, but were sent either by a Palestinian terror organization or the Hamas government’s security forces on a mission – to plant powerful explosive devices on the border with Israel.

(Read full article)

Jonathan Dahoah Halevi is a senior researcher and fellow at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs and Director of Research at the Orient Research Group

Love of the Land: PR fails again
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