Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Love of the Land: Can Hamas Be Stopped from Seizing West Bank?

Can Hamas Be Stopped from Seizing West Bank?


Khaled Abu Toameh
Hudson New York
05 January '10

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his prime minister, Salam Fayyad, are hoping that Israel will withdraw to the pre-1967 lines within the next two years to enable the Palestinians to establish an independent state with half of Jerusalem as its capital. But under the current circumstances, an Israeli pullout from these areas could, ironically, mark the beginning of the end of the Abbas-Fayyad era.

In an interview published this week in a Kuwaiti newspaper, Abbas revealed that he had solid proof and “verified information” that Hamas was planning to take over the West Bank. It could also see the Iran-backed Hamas movement and its allies sitting on the outskirts of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. If Israel wants to pull back from any territory, it needs to make sure who is going to be in control of that area.

The last time Israel withdrew from a territory was in the summer of 2005, when it handed the Gaza Strip over to forces loyal to Abbas. Two years later, Hamas managed to toss Abbas’s people out of the Gaza Strip in less than a week. If Israel repeats the same mistake and hands over the West Bank to Abbas and Fayyad when they are still weak and do not enjoy much credibility among their own people, there is no doubt that Hamas will end up sitting on hilltops overlooking Ben Gurion Airport outside Tel Aviv, and the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem. Both Israel and the Palestinian Authority say that Hamas has never abandoned its dream of extending its control from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank.

(Read full article)


Love of the Land: Can Hamas Be Stopped from Seizing West Bank?

Israel Matzav: Surprise! China calls for... 'patience'

Surprise! China calls for... 'patience'

China's UN ambassador said on Tuesday that it's still 'too soon' to impose another round of sanctions on Iran, and that what's necessary is more 'patience.' After all, it takes a few months to build a nuclear weapon.

“This is not the right time or right moment for sanctions because the diplomatic efforts are still going on,” Chinese Ambassador Zhang Yesui told reporters through an interpreter.

Well, by that standard, we'll never impose sanctions, because the Obama administration will never give up on 'diplomatic efforts.'

“The efforts aimed at diplomatic negotiations on the Iranian nuclear issue still need some time and patience,” said Zhang, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the UN Security Council this month.

“Trying to bridge differences and finding a settlement through diplomatic efforts — there’s still space for such efforts,” he said.

And according to Hillary Clinton, there always will be.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Surprise! China calls for... 'patience'

Israel Matzav: Why Obama won't strike Iran

Why Obama won't strike Iran

The scariest part about this article is how true it appears to be. Michael Brenner seems to have Obama pegged.

These telltales of military action notwithstanding, there are reasons for skepticism that Barack Obama will pull the trigger. They are rooted in his political character. Its two most prominent traits are an absence of conviction and a lack of policy/political courage. The past year has provided abundant evidence to confirm this contention. Together, they militate strongly against high risk behavior. What line of reasoning leads to this judgment?

...

On foreign policy, he operates without a finely etched cognitive map. There is no overarching strategy or underlying philosophy. He navigates with few or any fixed reference points. Images of him as a strong willed person with dedicated purpose are belied by his conduct on every matter of consequence — domestic as well as international.

...

Yet, despite the Pentagon’s exalted standing in White House eyes, the outcome will not accord with their importuning advice. That is not because of any onset of foreign policy wisdom in the White House. The key is Obama’s personality. His much noted aversion to confrontation is one element. A deep seated reluctance to do anything that could put his political fortunes beyond his control is another element. He is by nature an undeviating partisan of the path of least resistance. Obama has neither the temperament nor the stomach to be a war president. The presidential commands to shoot at half dozen Somalis in an open boat, to fire cruise missiles into the wilds of northern Yemen or to ramp up drone attacks in Waziristan require little more than Nintendo game bravura. Even the Afghan escalation was treated more as an exercise in intra-mural politics than a grave historic decision. A statesman feeling that his country’s fate rests in his hands does not senselessly set dates for exit strategies and map off-ramps before his escalated campaign has even begun. Nor does he allow senior officials to contradict him within days in ways that dissolve his authority in Washington while shredding his credibility among parties in the region parties. Moreover, Obama could commit to Afghanistan in the confidence that whatever happened, the outcome could be spun. Short of an improbable decisive defeat, there would always be opportunity to craft the narrative and to skew the meaning of what happened.

Iran is of a different order. The Iranians are stubborn and willful. Instinctively, Obama may realize that they are more Bibi Netanyahu than Mahmoud Abbas. War there opens a Pandora’s box. It would be militarily uncontrollable, diplomatically uncontrollable, and — above all — politically uncontrollable. Confidence in the power of spin could reach its limits. Obama’s political future itself could spin out of his control. Those disconcerting realities are to be avoided at almost all costs. What of the costs encountered in stymieing his generals? Of offending hawkish sentiment at home and in the Middle East?

Read the whole thing.

The current occupant of the White House doesn't have the brass parts to make a decision to attack Iran. The President of the United States is a wimp.


Israel Matzav: Why Obama won't strike Iran

Israel Matzav: Overnight music video

Overnight music video

The song is sung by the Miami Boys Choir (it doesn't say but I recognize it and I think it's from the Nassau Coliseum tape), and if you don't know what the words mean, watch the video and I will guarantee that you will get the idea.

Let's go to the videotape.



And to think that they call us racists and accuse us of running an apartheid state.

Israel Matzav: Overnight music video

Israel Matzav: Egged cancels route after bus is firebombed

Egged cancels route after bus is firebombed

There are many places in this country to which I will not take my car. My car is an old car (I like to joke that until I moved to Israel I never owned a yeshivish car - sorry that loses something in translation). It doesn't have bulletproof windows. It doesn't even have the shatterproof windows that most of my friends who live in Judea and Samaria have. I don't have a license to carry a gun so I don't carry a gun. In a word, if someone decides to take a shot at me on Route 60 south of Gush Etzion or on the Ramallah bypass road north of Shaar Binyamin, I'm a sitting duck. So when I need to go places in Judea and Samaria where I don't feel safe driving, I take the bus. You may call me chicken, but I regard it as self-preservation. Besides, with my long-standing obsession with the Matzav (situation) here, I can cite chapter and verse for just about every terror attack that has taken place here in the last 16 years. I know too much to want to take chances.

Fortunately, we don't have family in Negohot, which is south of Hebron, because Egged - the national bus carrier - has decided in its infinite wisdom that the Jews who live there have enough cars and no longer need bus transportation. Actually, that's not what they decided. What Egged decided was that they are no longer willing to take the risks of their drivers being firebombed. So they are abandoning the Jews of Negohot.

Egged bus company on Tuesday notified Neguhot residents in the West Bank that the bus route to their settlement would be canceled, after Palestinians hurled a Molotov cocktail that moderately wounded a woman on one of their buses two weeks ago.

"The settlement is amazed that Egged has decided to stop the bus route to our area," the residents said in a statement, adding that "instead of strengthening the settlement's residents who live on the front line, Egged has chosen the easy way out and retracted its responsibility."

Neguhot is a secluded settlement south of Mount Hebron, with only one road leading into it.

About two weeks ago a teenage woman from the settlement was moderately hurt when a Molotov cocktail was hurled at the Egged bus she was traveling on from Kiryat Gat to Neguhot.

Egged has until now provided transportation to the settlement twice a day, but has decided to stop immediately, saying they do not have an armored bus needed to protect their passengers in the area.

"We don't need to go there," said Egged CEO Miki Levy. "It's on a hill, it's a problematic area, only three to four people take the bus and we lose money on that line.

"After the recent incident we received a letter that stated that sending unprotected busses to the area is against protocol, and I'm not going to armor my buses for five people," he added.

Egged is owned by its drivers, but is essentially public transportation. Imagine if American or European subway systems decided they weren't going to tough neighborhoods anymore. The T in Boston won't go to Roxbury, the New York City mass transit system skips half of Brooklyn, and the underground in London won't go to East London anymore. That's essentially what happened here. Will the government step in and force Egged to restore service? Don't hold your breath.

Israel Matzav: Egged cancels route after bus is firebombed

Israel Matzav: Salam Fayyad takes off his tie

Salam Fayyad takes off his tie

Of all the 'Palestinians' with whom the West deals, the one with whom they are undoubtedly most comfortable is Salam Fayyad. Educated in the West, fluent in English, dressed like a Westerner, Salam Fayyad is (or seems to be) exactly what the West wants in a 'Palestinian.' 'Our kind of guy' with the slight problem of having zero popular support.

Salam Fayyad is out looking for some popular support and to that end he took off his tie on Tuesday and joined in a uniquely 'Palestinian' activity: Throwing Israeli products into a bonfire. The products, which were made in Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria, had previously been confiscated from 'Palestinian' stores in Salfit.

Fayyad and residents of the West Bank town of Salfit threw the products, which were confiscated from Palestinian stores, into a fire.

On Sunday the Palestinian PM said the future Palestinian state will be "free of fences and of settlements."

In a conference held near Ramallah, Fayyad urged the international community to intervene in order to "force Israel to stop ignoring international law and the Palestinians' rights."

About a month ago the Palestinians announced a boycott of Israeli products made in the West Bank, stepping up their campaign against Israeli settlements.

Economics Minister Hassan Abu Libdeh said the Western-backed Palestinian government had already confiscated $1 million worth of products, including foods, cosmetics and hardware, and the goal is to eliminate all settlement-made goods from Palestinian store shelves next year.

"Consuming settlements' products is wrong, nationally, economically, politically, and must stop right away," Abu Libdeh told a news conference.

Of course, Fayyad the economist hasn't told Fayyad the politician yet how many 'Palestinians' will be out of jobs if all 'settlement-made goods' are eliminated from 'Palestinian' store shelves next year.

When I was a kid back in pre-historic times, there were cigarette ads on television. The tune in this ad is one I remember particularly well.

Let's go to the videotape.



You can take Fayyad out of 'Palestine' but you can't take 'Palestine' out of Fayyad. He's as boorish and uncivilized as the rest of them.

Israel Matzav: Salam Fayyad takes off his tie

Israel Matzav: Two kids strike up a friendship in an Israeli hospital

Two kids strike up a friendship in an Israeli hospital

In the late '90's, Mrs. Carl and I had occasion to spend an inordinate amount of time hanging around several Israeli hospitals. What you see there is something that is not seen almost anyplace else in the world. You see, Israeli hospitals don't just treat Israelis. They treat 'Palestinians' and Jordanians and Egyptians and Iraqis. They also treat Israelis. There is nothing in this country that levels the playing field more than the pediatric wards of an Israeli hospital.

Based on my experience, I'm not too surprised at
this story, although the New York Times apparently is. The kid in the picture is Orel Elizarov, age 8, of Be'er Sheva. And you're about to learn about him and his friend Marya. Marya is from Gaza.

Friendship often starts with proximity, but Orel and Marya, both 8, have been thrust together in a way few elsewhere have. Their playground is a hospital corridor. He is an Israeli Jew severely wounded by a Hamas rocket. She is a Palestinian Muslim from Gaza paralyzed by an Israeli missile. Someone forgot to tell them that they are enemies.

“He’s a naughty boy,” Marya likes to say of Orel with an appreciative smile when he gets a little wild.

When Orel arrived here a year ago, he could not hear, see, talk or walk. Now he does them all haltingly. Half his brain is gone. Doctors were deeply pessimistic about his survival. Today they are amazed at his progress although unclear how much more can be made.

Marya’s spinal cord was broken at the neck and she can move only her head. Smart, sunny and strong-willed, she moves her wheelchair by pushing a button with her chin. Nothing escapes her gaze. She knows that Orel is starting to prefer boys as playmates and she makes room. But their bond remains strong.

In a way, a friendship between two wounded children from opposing backgrounds is not that surprising. Neither understands the prolonged fight over land and identity that so divides people here. They are kids. They play.

But for those who have spent time in their presence at Alyn Hospital in Jerusalem, it is almost more powerful to observe their parents, who do understand. They have developed a kinship that defies national struggle.

Read the whole thing. We Jews are a strange people. It has happened many times that suicide bombers were treated in the same hospitals as their victims. It's something most people don't get about this country. When someone needs help everyone pitches in.

Israel Matzav: Two kids strike up a friendship in an Israeli hospital

Israel Matzav: Hamas website offering reward to murder Israeli soldiers

Hamas website offering reward to murder Israeli soldiers

YNet reports that a Hamas website is offering $500 rewards for proof of having deliberately murdered an IDF soldier.

"Kill the troops and get your money back. This is our motto." This message was sent Sunday to many Israelis via e-mail.

The message contained links to videos slandering Israel on the Youtube site, as well as a link to the www.kku4u.info website which offers a $500 reward for anyone who proves he intetionally murdered an Israel Defense Forces soldier by providing a photo and a news item.

It is not yet clear whether only Israelis had received the message or whether it was distributed to foreigners as well. The total number of recipients is also unclear. The site appears in Arabic and also features an English version, which was apparently translated from Arabic using an automatic translation tool in light of the many grammar mistakes.

The site details the steps one needs to take in order to win the cash prize which include providing a photo of the victim. In addition to suggestions for recommended weapons, the site states that the aim is to support the unemployed in Israel.

The only way to contact the administrators is through a contact form and the site doe not contain any details as to its founders or the organization supporting it.

YNet reports that the site is being hosted on Google. But I just tried going to the site and it did not open, so maybe it has been taken down already. Hopefully.

Israel Matzav: Hamas website offering reward to murder Israeli soldiers

Israel Matzav: We're getting our gas masks back

We're getting our gas masks back

The Israeli government will start distributing gas masks to the public at the end of February.

Originally, just over 60 percent of the population were to receive kits, but a decision to extend that protection to the whole country means the production of the necessary equipment has been stepped-up, and another billion shekels is needed to fund to the endeavor.

The plan is to distribute protective kits to each of the nearly eight million citizens (in line with a population estimate for 2013), over a period of three years.

...

Two years ago, during the Olmert government, a decision was made to redistribute the gas masks, but money for the project was scarce. The Home Front Command estimated it could only provide 60 percent of the population with working gas masks, and a decision was made to provide them to the citizens of the areas most likely to come under attack: the Dan region and northern Israel, among others.

The Israel Postal Company, the national postal service, won a Defense Ministry tender to distribute the kits directly to homes starting in late February.

However, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and MK Matan Vilnai, who is manages the Home Front, argued recently that the planned distribution program - 4.5 million kits in three years - fell short. Legal advisers pointed out that it would be difficult to defend a policy that did not account for the personal safety of all citizens equally.

I don't know why they think they have so much time to do this. What may end up happening - God forbid - is that there will be a mass emergency distribution when an attack looks imminent. But there is no reason this should take three years.

And there's no reason not to give them to the entire population. That's absurd. Half the country commutes into Tel Aviv every day anyway.

Read the whole thing.

Israel Matzav: We're getting our gas masks back

Israel Matzav: Let's be realistic: The only way to stop Iran is regime change

Let's be realistic: The only way to stop Iran is regime change

Writing in the New York Post, Israel Radio correspondent Benny Avni urges the Obama administration to stop trying to find a soft footprint for sanctions and to hit Iran hard and fast.

The biggest fallacy is the thought that, if only the right American emissary would be found, if only a creative Western diplomatic formula would be proposed, Tehran's sane elements would emerge and reason would prevail -- the fallacy, presumably, behind the trial balloon of the proposed trip to Tehran by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry.

The plan, reportedly, was to travel to Tehran for a year-end, last-ditch effort at saving Obama's diplomatic initiatives, which Tehran has roundly rejected. Last week the Iranian press roundly reported that he had asked to visit the country. Kerry's camp has since denied those reports (and similar ones in America), and yesterday the Iranian Fars news agency reported that the Majlis, Iran's rubber-stamp parliament, denied Kerry an entry visa, anyway.

Here's why: Our diplomacy advocates may yearn to prevent a head-on collision with Iran by finding the right regime interlocutor. But escalating a confrontation with America is a strategic imperative of the clerics under Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

No one in last week's well-organized pro-regime mass demonstrations carried a sign advocating diplomacy to defuse tensions with America (and anti-government demonstrators aren't itching for it either). A diplomatic solution exists only in our head.

Some (like Kerry) cling to last year's foolishness, but for others it's replaced by a new "boomerang" theory: If we sanction the Iranian people too heavily, they "will be fooled into thinking we are to blame," as an unnamed administration official told The Washington Post.

Nonsense, says Israel Radio's Farsi Service veteran Menashe Amir, whose broadcasts are often cited by Iranian media as instigating the antigovernment protesters.

"The anti-regime movement will be strengthened tremendously if more Iranians believe that the government can't deliver daily necessities and realize that it can't effectively govern," Amir says. (Creating gasoline shortages, as proposed by Congress, would hurt the well-connected upper-middle class, not the masses that can't afford to own a car, he adds.)

Once again, the ideas underlying Washington's new policy miss the target. At this late date, sanctions can only be helpful if they facilitate regime change, which should be the top objective of the new strategy. Targeting for sanctions only a handful of evil regime operators would hardly impress the Iranian masses (although it will be widely applauded in Washington and the United Nations.

Read it all.

This administration has not even thought about what sanctions' goals ought to be, let alone about what sanctions to use. But it should be clear to everyone it is too late now for sanctions alone to stop Iran's nuclear program. The Obama administration wants to try to 'contain' a nuclear Iran, but Israel won't and the American people won't accept 'containment' as a strategy. Israel and the American people want Iran stopped. Containment is putting a volatile mix into the hands of an apocalyptic religious fanatic. But Obama is even willing to do that to avoid war.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Let's be realistic: The only way to stop Iran is regime change

Israel Matzav: Four IDF officers cancel Brit trip over arrest warnings

Four IDF officers cancel Brit trip over arrest warnings

Four IDF officers who were recently invited to Britain by the British army canceled their trip out of fear that they would be arrested upon their arrival in Britain.

Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth reported Tuesday that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has approached the British government in order to ensure that the officers, a colonel, lieutenant colonel and a major, would be able to stay on British soil without fear.

The British authorities could not make such a promise and therefore the delegation's visit was canceled.

The incident is viewed with great severity by Israeli government officials.

Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon said that "should we not get the appropriate securities and if the British law remains unchanged, Israeli officers and seniors will not be able to travel to Britain, which would undermine the good relations between the two countries who share common values and interests. The British must bear in mind that these visits serve both countries."

Meanwhile, British Attorney General Baroness Patricia Janet Scotland is currently visiting Israel and is expected to meet with Justice Minister Yaakov Ne'eman and elements from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Haaretz has details of a meeting on Tuesday between British Attorney General Baroness Patricia Janet Scotland and Deputy Israeli Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon.

Ayalon said the warrants issued against senior Israeli officials "make it difficult for the two countries to maintain a normal relationship."

He also stressed that the majority of Israeli citizens have served in the IDF, and as such would be unable to visit the U.K., which Ayalon said would damage British interests as well.

Scotland said she was aware of the urgent need to address the warrants being issued in her country against Israeli officials over alleged war crimes in the Gaza Strip.

Ayalon on Tuesday appealed to Scotland to find an immediate solution to the "intolerable" situation, warning that the U.K. legal system's acceptance of pro-Palestinian group's lawsuits threatened to "undermine relations" between the two countries.

The Brits have to decide which side they're on in the war on terror. Somehow, when Tony Blair was in power, that seemed a lot clearer than it does today. If they decide they're with the West, they'll find a way to work this out. If they're going to continue to kowtow to their Muslim population, pretty soon there won't be much to talk about.

Israel Matzav: Four IDF officers cancel Brit trip over arrest warnings

Israel Matzav: No talks with the 'Palestinians' anytime soon

No talks with the 'Palestinians' anytime soon

On Tuesday, Israel's Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, begged UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to convince 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen to return to peace talks with Israel. But Ban didn't even have to answer. The 'Palestinians' said no immediately.

"Israel is insisting on the impossible," chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told Army Radio. "It is [Israel] who is setting conditions. We demand an authorized Israeli leader publicly commit to negotiations based on the 1967 borders, in accordance with the road map plan."

"[Israel] is demanding that a unified Jerusalem be it's capital, is continuing construction in the eastern part of the city and wants to control 40 percent of the West Bank - and yet you say you have no preconditions," said Erekat. "As the situation looks now, I really don't see a possibility for a summit."

...

Abbas on Tuesday shot down reports that new developments were afoot in the peace process with Israel. The Palestinian president told Al-Jazeera television that he has yet to see the details of an American peace plan nor has he become aware of American guarantees for the PA in the event that negotiations with Israel resume.

Abbas said that the Palestinians would wait to hear what U.S. President Barack Obama's special envoy to the region, George Mitchell, had to offer during his visit next week before publicly adopting a position on renewing talks. An unnamed Palestinian official told Al-Jazeera that Abbas met with Mitchell on Saturday in Amman.

Abbas also said that he would postpone any decision on whether or not to restart the talks until he sees what happens during next week's visit to Washington by two senior Egyptian officials, Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit and intelligence chief Omar Suleiman.

Israeli officials have predicted that Abbas will first try to wrest as many guarantees as possible from the American administration.

Heh.

Israel Matzav: No talks with the 'Palestinians' anytime soon

Israel Matzav: Staged?

Staged?

The New York Times has now run two articles on its Opinionator page which consist mainly of an interview with AP's Beirut photographer Ben Curtis (the only wire service photographer in Beirut who is not an Arab and the only one who was willing to talk to them - not a coincidence) about a picture he took during the Second Lebanon War. The picture in question is this one:

The first article is here and the second one is here.

I suggest that you read both.

I have two questions. First, if the Mickey Mouse was in a building that was bombed out, what is the likelihood that it was undamaged like that? And second, if the toy wasn't planted by someone (and I believe Curtis that he did not plant it), then how is it that at just about every bombing site that was photographed during the Second Lebanon War, posed pictures of children's toys would show up? Could that be coincidence? I doubt it.

Israel Matzav: Staged?

Israel Matzav: Leftists complain over new road to connect Route 443 to northeastern Jerusalem

Leftists complain over new road to connect Route 443 to northeastern Jerusalem

'Human Rights' groups are outraged that Israel is planning a new road that would connect Route 443 with the northeastern Jerusalem suburbs of Neve Yaakov and Pisgat Zev.

According to an Army Radio report, planning officials are diligently laying the groundwork for Highway 20, an artery which will connect Highway 443 - the road which has remained off limits to Palestinian traffic since the outbreak of the second intifada - with the northern neighborhoods of Jerusalem, including Pisgat Ze'ev.

Officials at Peace Now slammed the plan for the road, which they say will be built on privately owned Palestinian land to be condemned for the project and will cater solely to Israeli motorists.

Peace Now, which submitted an official complaint to the Transportation Ministry's planning committee, says that the planned highway will usurp land in the adjacent West Bank village of Beit Hanina.

...

The government views Highway 20 as a means to ease the traffic burden that has plagued the French Hill section of Jerusalem.

The highway's opponents hope that last week's High Court ruling allowing for Palestinian motorists' use of Highway 443 will serve as a precedent.

There is a huge traffic bottleneck at French Hill every morning with people heading from Pisgat Zev and Neve Yaakov to both Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. There is currently a road that goes directly from the Atarot Airport (just north of Neve Yaakov) to Givat Zev, where it hooks up with the connector from Route 443 to Ramot and Givon, but that road is not considered safe (and may pass through 'Area A,' which means that it cannot be used by Jews - I cannot remember ever being on it, but I know it exists).

The City of Jerusalem says that the new road will be open to all.

For the record, I believe that Beit Hanina is within the Jerusalem city limits, and Pisgat Zev, although nominally a Jewish suburb, has a significant Arab population.

Israel Matzav: Leftists complain over new road to connect Route 443 to northeastern Jerusalem

Israel Matzav: Iranian soccer chief apologizes for being civil to Jooos

Iranian soccer chief apologizes for being civil to Jooos

The head of Iran's national soccer federation has issued a public apology for his director of foreign relations (since resigned) having sent New Year's greetings to the Israeli soccer federation.

“It was a big mistake sending an e-mail to Israel’s football federation,” Ali Kaffashian, president of the Iran Football Federation, said in a statement carried by the semi-official Mehrs News Agency. “However, I am sure the director of the foreign relations office didn’t do it on purpose.”

Kaffashian said Iran’s soccer league routinely sends New Year’s greetings to all members of FIFA, the sport’s global federation, except for Israel. Iran does not recognize Israel, which it dismisses as the “Zionist entity,” and the two countries’ teams do not meet in international competitions.

Someone please tell me whether this type of nonsense will stop if the Green Revolution wins.

Israel Matzav: Iranian soccer chief apologizes for being civil to Jooos

Israel Matzav: How a Jordanian double agent murdered 7 CIA officers and a Jordanian asset

How a Jordanian double agent murdered 7 CIA officers and a Jordanian asset

The Associated Press reports on how a Jordanian double agent penetrated a CIA forward base on the Afghanistan - Pakistan border and murdered seven CIA officers and a Jordanian 'asset' who was working with them.

The bombing killed seven CIA employees - four officers and three contracted security guards - and a Jordanian intelligence officer, Ali bin Zaid, according to a second former US intelligence official. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the incident.

The former senior intelligence official and the foreign official said the bomber was Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi, a 36-year old doctor from Zarqa, Jordan, who had been recruited by Jordanian intelligence. Zarqa is the hometown of slain al-Qaida in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. NBC News first reported the bomber's identity.

He was arrested more than a year ago by Jordanian intelligence and was thought to have been persuaded to support US and Jordanian efforts against al-Qaida, according to the NBC report. He was invited to Camp Chapman, a tightly secured CIA forward base in Khost province on the fractious Afghan-Pakistan frontier, because he was offering urgent information to track down Ayman al-Zawahri, Osama bin Laden's right-hand man [pictured. CiJ].

The CIA declined to comment on the report.

...

Al-Balawi was not searched for bombs when he got onto Camp Chapman, according to both former officials and a current intelligence official.

He detonated the explosive shortly after his debriefing began, according to one of the former intelligence officials. In addition to the eight dead, there were at least six wounded, according to the CIA.

The former senior intelligence official said one of the big unanswered questions is why so many people were present for the debriefing - the interview of the source - when the explosive was detonated.

A half-dozen former CIA officers told The Associated Press that in most cases, only one or two agency officers would typically meet with a possible informant along with an interpreter. Such small meetings would normally be used to limit the danger and the possible exposure of the identities of both officers and informants.

Read the whole thing. We will likely never know why this guy wasn't searched and why so many people were present at that meeting. And no one will ever raise the possibility that the other Jordanian was in on it. But I will. Think about it.

Israel Matzav: How a Jordanian double agent murdered 7 CIA officers and a Jordanian asset

Israel Matzav: State Department tries to dictate Israel's friends, backs anti-Semitism envoy

State Department tries to dictate Israel's friends, backs anti-Semitism envoy

When my oldest son (son #1, child #2) was about 14, and we were visiting the alter haim (old home), Mrs. Carl infuriated him by trying to arrange a 'play date' for him with his old friends from Kindergarten, most of whom he had not seen in years. He said that he was old enough to decide for himself whom he would visit and when. Mrs. Carl apologized and backed off.

I thought of that story when I saw this story in which we are told that the US State Department is not apologizing for remarks made last month by its 'anti-Semitism envoy,' Hannah Rosenthal, in which Rosenthal tried to force Israel's ambassador to the United States Michael Oren to go on a play date with the morons at J Street.

The U.S. State Department expressed its "complete support" for its anti-Semitism envoy and encouraged "broad dialogue" toward Israeli-Palestinian peace.

A statement Monday from the State Department said it would not add comment to a controversy that erupted in the last weeks of December when Hannah Rosenthal criticized Michael Oren, the Israeli ambassador, for snubbing the dovish lobbying group J Street.

However, the statement went on, "Special Envoy Rosenthal has the complete support of the department. As a matter of longstanding policy the United States has supported a peaceful solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. To that end the U.S. government encourages broad dialogue among responsible partners for peace."

...

Separately, Rosenthal's predecessor, Gregg Rickman, has slammed her for her remarks about Oren.

"Ms. Rosenthal's criticisms of Ambassador Oren strike a chord particularly because this is not her policy portfolio to advocate," said Rickman, who served in the Bush adminsitration, in an opinion piece on The Cutting Edge News Web site. "She is supposed to fight anti-Semitism, not defend J-Street, an organization on whose Advisory Board she formally sat before her appointment to the State Department."

Indeed. The Obama nanny state goes international. What could go wrong?


Israel Matzav: State Department tries to dictate Israel's friends, backs anti-Semitism envoy

Israel Matzav: In Italy, another old blood libel is revived

In Italy, another old blood libel is revived

An Italian group called the Italian New Weapons Committee is claiming that Israel is poisoning the soil in Gaza through the bombs it has dropped on the Strip.

The Italy-based group of researchers studied Israel's use of ammunition and said the population of the Gaza Strip is "in danger." It based the claim on soil analysis of four bomb craters. "It is essential to intervene at once to limit the effects of the contamination on people, animals and cultivation," the researchers stated. Their findings grabbed headlines in Italian, European and Middle Eastern publications, including Terra, Ambito, the Turkish Weekly and Tehran Times.

"This so-called research is eerily reminiscent of ancient blood libels against the Jewish people, when rumors were spread about Jews poisoning wells," said Dr. Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress. "Today we are seeing a recurrence of all the worst excesses of anti-Semitism and diatribes that we perhaps naively thought had remained in the Dark Ages."

Paola Manduca, the committee's spokesperson, declined to comment when contacted by Haaretz. "Our study indicates an anomalous presence of toxic elements in the soil," she stated. This included metals that "can cause tumors and problems with fertility, and they can have serious effects on newborns, like deformities and genetic pathologies."

The researchers hailed from the universities of Rome and Genoa and elsewhere and listed the dangerous metals: tungsten, mercury, molybdenum, cadmium and cobalt.

Professor Gerald Steinberg of Bar Ilan University said that the study did not present enough evidence to be credible. In September, the same group accused Israel of experimenting with new weapons in the Gaza Strip.

The picture at the top is an engraving by Hartmann Schedel showing Jews being burned in 1493 for allegedly spreading the black plague by poisoning wells. I got it from a 9/11 truther site, which I will not link.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.


Israel Matzav: In Italy, another old blood libel is revived

Israel Matzav: Flashback: CNN Gaza producer admits Hamas hides among civilians

Flashback: CNN Gaza producer admits Hamas hides among civilians

Here's a video of a CNN interview with their local Gaza producer Talal Abu Rahman, which was done on January 2, 2009, during Operation Cast Lead.

As you may recall, the Goldstone report claimed to have found no evidence of Hamas terrorists hiding among civilians in Gaza. But listen to what CNN producer Abu Rahman has to say between the 2:06 and 2:32 mark of this video:

Hamas, they are under cover, all of them they are civilians now, you don’t see any militants around you, even the cars I don’t know if the car in front of me or in the back of me, if it’s a target or not.

That sure sounds like Hamas was hiding among civilians, doesn't it?

Let's go to the videotape.



If the name Talal Abu Rahman sounds familiar, it should. On September 30, 2000, Talal Abu Rahman produced the video shot at Netzarim that purported to show 12-year old Mohamed al-Dura dying as a result of gunshots by IDF soldiers. That video was shown by France 2, and spread from there all over the world, producing a blood libel against the IDF. In May 2008, a French court decision cast substantial doubt on whether al-Dura was killed in 2000.

Looks like Goldstone lied, doesn't it?

UPDATE 3:03 PM

Elder of Ziyon has made a shorter video that highlights the part I wanted you to see, so let's go to the videotape again.



No evidence?

Israel Matzav: Flashback: CNN Gaza producer admits Hamas hides among civilians

Israel Matzav: Bomb scare, anti-Israel protesters harassing Shahar Pe'er at Auckland

Bomb scare, anti-Israel protesters harassing Shahar Pe'er at Auckland

Israeli tennis star Shahar Pe'er cruised to victory on Tuesday at the Auckland Classic over unseeded Slovenian Polona Hercog despite a bomb scare and anti-Israel protesters who are harassing Pe'er (but claim no connection to the bomb scare).

Play started 20 minutes late after the all-clear was given, delaying the appearance of Israel's Shahar Peer, who went on to beat unseeded Slovenian Polona Hercog 7-5 6-3.

A spokesman for the eight protesters, John Minto, said the Global Peace and Justice Auckland group had sent a letter to Peer asking her to withdraw from the tournament because of Israel's policies towards the Palestinians.

The group launched a similar protest outside the ASB Tennis Centre last year but left halfway through Peer's opening match. This time the group plans to stay as long as the 22-year-old remains in the tournament.

"We will definitely be here if she progresses," Minto said.

What a moron.

More on this story from Pamela, who suggests Minto should move to Sweden.


Israel Matzav: Bomb scare, anti-Israel protesters harassing Shahar Pe'er at Auckland

Israel Matzav: Hey Dude: What to do when your terminal is on lockdown?

Hey Dude: What to do when your terminal is on lockdown?

And my fellow Israelis thought that public song fests are an Israeli preoccupation....

What do you do when your terminal is on security lockdown and no one can come or go? Well, you burst out in song, of course!

You can find more stuff about me at joshwilsonmusic.com, my music on iTunes, etc. [Give the guy his plug - he deserves it. CiJ]

Let's go to the videotape (Hat Tip: Judith W via Twitter).



Heh.


Israel Matzav: Hey Dude: What to do when your terminal is on lockdown?

Israel Matzav: IDF denies it trains dogs to attack anyone saying 'Alla Hu Akhbar'

IDF denies it trains dogs to attack anyone saying 'Alla Hu Akhbar'

The IDF is denying an accusation by Yasser Arafat's former political adviser, Knesset Member Ahmed Tibi (yes, really - only in Israel), that it trains dogs to attack anyone they hear saying Alla Hu Akhbar (God is great in Arabic). Terrorists shout Alla Hu Akhbar as they undertake terror attacks.

"IDF dogs are trained to pounce and attack any Arab who shouts Allah Hu Akbar, as a Pavlovian reaction," said Tibi. "So here I say: Allah Hu Akbar. Are there any dogs here to attack me?"

Speculations of such practice were exposed first by Israel Radio's military correspondent, Carmela Menashe.

Responding to the allegations, the IDF said in a statement: "One of the canine unit's many capabilities is to train the dogs at locating the enemy when dressed both in uniform and as civilian. This is an ability that has proven itself in many cases.

I doubt the IDF trains its dogs to attack any Arab who is heard saying Alla Hu Akhbar, but if it did, that would not be irrational or discriminatory. When was the last time you heard a Jew or a Christian shout Alla Hu Akhbar and undertake a terror attack?


Israel Matzav: IDF denies it trains dogs to attack anyone saying 'Alla Hu Akhbar'

Israel Matzav: Hillary Clinton, cheerleader

Hillary Clinton, cheerleader

In today's wishful thinking department, Haaretz reports that Hillary Clinton is cheerleading for the non-existent 'peace process' (photo Hat Tip: Zombie).

"We know that the Palestinians deserve a state to fulfill their aspirations. The Israelis deserve security to live peacefully side by side with their Palestinian neighbors," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said.

"The Arab nations have made a very positive contribution in the peace initiative of the Arab League and others. So we're going to be even more committed this year, and we're starting this new year with that level of commitment and we're going to follow through and hopefully we can see this as a positive year in this long process," she said.

Like her husband, Hillary Clinton is no longer capable of distinguishing the truth from a lie. 'Very positive contribution' for a plan that's a non-starter that was introduced eight years ago? You've got to be kidding.


Israel Matzav: Hillary Clinton, cheerleader

Israel Matzav: Israel's worst mistake?

Israel's worst mistake?

Last week, Bradley Burston wrote an article in Haaretz in which he summed up Israel's 10 worst errors of the decade. All of them boil down to one thing: The 'siege' of Gaza (pictured at top left).

At The Atlantic, Jeffrey Goldberg disagrees (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).

For my money, the worst mistake Israel made was the mistake that led, ultimately, to the siege of Gaza: The 2005 unilateral withdrawal. Leaving Gaza wasn't the problem, of course -- you'd think the Jews would have learned sooner (see: Samson) that Gaza is no good for Jews, and Ariel Sharon was right to get out. But the method he used was tragic. By refusing to negotiate his exit from Gaza, he strengthened the hand of Hamas. If he had negotiated the withdrawal with the Palestinian Authority, he would have a) extracted concessions from the Palestinians, and b) strengthened the moderates. The moderates would have been credited by their people for coaxing Israel out of Gaza. Instead, Hamas won the round, and then won the election, and then won the coup, and then, in a way, won the most recent war against Israel, and certainly the public relations war, which is the sort of war that really matters in the Middle East, and which Israel almost never fails to lose.

Alas, Jeffrey is wrong. If Sharon had 'negotiated' with the 'Palestinian Authority,' there never would have been a withdrawal from Gaza and its Jews would not have been expelled from their homes. The whole reason Sharon made the withdrawal unilaterally was that he understood that he could never reach an agreement on it with the 'Palestinians.' But because he felt (or maybe because he was forced to present it as) it was the right thing to do, he went ahead and did it unilaterally.

Leaving Gaza was a mistake. It was a mistake for those who lived there, and it was a mistake for those who were moved into closer rocket range by Israel's withdrawal. It sent a message of weakness to both Fatah and Hamas, although it likely would have sent an even worse message of weakness had Israel done it pursuant to an agreement with either Fatah or Hamas. Was it Israel's biggest mistake in the past decade? We've made so many that's debatable.

Israel Matzav: Israel's worst mistake?

Love of the Land: European Media Runs With Latest Unsubstantiated Claims

European Media Runs With Latest Unsubstantiated Claims


TS
CAMERA/
Snapshot
05 January '10


In the aftermath of the debunked Aftonbladet blood libel and the Guardian blue baby affair, the European media is again publishing apparently unsubstantiated allegations concerning Israeli conduct. Ha'aretz reports:


The Italian New Weapons Committee accuses Israel of contaminating Gaza land through bombing, and the president of the European Jewish Congress termed the claims "unfounded blood libels reminiscent of tales of Jews poisoning wells."

The Italy-based group of researchers studied Israel's use of ammunition and said the population of the Gaza Strip is "in danger." It based the claim on soil analysis of four bomb craters. "It is essential to intervene at once to limit the effects of the contamination on people, animals and cultivation," the researchers stated. Their findings grabbed headlines in Italian, European and Middle Eastern publications, including Terra, Ambito, the Turkish Weekly and Tehran Times. . . .

Professor Gerald Steinberg, founder of the Jerusalem-based, non-governmental Monitor organization, said the study did not present enough evidence to support its claim. A lecturer at Bar-Ilan University, he said the committee's "accusations are designed to stigmatize Israel and erase the context of mass terror." He said he considers the accusations "a modern form of blood libel," which quotes "many NGO reports that are a mix of false or unverifiable claims." In September, the New Weapons Committee accused Israel of experimenting with new non-conventional weapons on the civilian population in Gaza. Fabio De Ponte from the committee's press office said the group's work "is strictly scientific and its seriousness should be self-evident from the publication itself."



Love of the Land: European Media Runs With Latest Unsubstantiated Claims

Love of the Land: Obsession and Scandals: HRW in 2009

Obsession and Scandals: HRW in 2009


NGO Monitor
January 05, 2010

Summary:
Human Rights Watch publications on “Israel and the OPT” comprised 28 percent of its total Mideast output in 2009. Israel received more attention than Iran, Saudi Arabia, Libya, Syria, and other chronic human rights abusers.[1]

HRW allocated a disproportionate amount of resources to promoting the UN “fact-finding” mission of former board member Richard Goldstone, including statements in support of UN resolutions that condemned Israel. The 34 pro-Goldstone publications out-numbered documents on all the countries in the Middle East, except Israel and Iran.

Scandals included a fundraising trip to Saudi Arabia, which used HRW’s anti-Israel bias and the specter of the pro-Israel lobby to solicit funds from “prominent members of Saudi society.”

The revelation that Marc Garlasco, “senior military analyst,” is an avid collector of Nazi memorabilia casts serious doubt on HRW’s credibility and demands a close reexamination of his work for the organization.

In a New York Times op-ed, HRW founder Robert Bernstein strongly criticized the organization for its anti-Israel bias and for ignoring severe human rights violations in closed societies.

HRW has taken no action to implement Bernstein’s call to “resurrect itself as a moral force in the Middle East,” or the call from NGO Monitor’s International Advisory Board (including Elie Wiesel and Alan Dershowitz) to “institute a full independent review and reform in the organization.”

In every instance of scandal and criticism, HRW officials (Roth, Levine, Whitson, etc.) responded with ad hominem attacks and ignored the substance.

(Read full report)

Love of the Land: Obsession and Scandals: HRW in 2009

Love of the Land: Hamas TV Poisons Kids' Minds Against Israel and PA

Hamas TV Poisons Kids' Minds Against Israel and PA


Honest Reporting/Backspin
05 January '10

I grew up on cartoons like Bugs Bunny, Superfriends and the Flintstones. Bugs sometimes had an edge, but it was all innocent fun.

This Palestinian cartoon flagged by Memri is very disturbing. If it were "only" satire for adult audiences, it would be bad enough, but Hamas aired this cartoon for Gaza's children.

Hamas doesn't portray the PA any better. After years of PA television demonizing the Jews, the chickens have come home to roost.




Love of the Land: Hamas TV Poisons Kids' Minds Against Israel and PA

Love of the Land: Time for Prime Minister Brown to take decisive steps as Israeli Deputy FM says relationship with UK “insufferable”

Time for Prime Minister Brown to take decisive steps as Israeli Deputy FM says relationship with UK “insufferable”


Robin Shepherd
robinshepherdonline.com
05 January '10

Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon is reported by the Jerusalem Post today as describing the current situation between Britain and Israel as “insufferable”, adding that “normal relations between the two countries” would be difficult to sustain under current circumstances.

Ayalon was referring to the increasingly common practice by Palestinian extremists and their many supporters in the UK of abusing the British legal system to threaten visiting Israeli dignitaries with arrest for alleged war crimes. Former Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, it will be recalled, had to cancel a trip to London in December after a court authorised a warrant for her arrest over Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. It has now emerged that a group of IDF officers had to cancel a trip last week for the same reason.

(Read the rest of this entry)

Love of the Land: Time for Prime Minister Brown to take decisive steps as Israeli Deputy FM says relationship with UK “insufferable”

Love of the Land: 'Wanted' Palestinian fighter hands self in

'Wanted' Palestinian fighter hands self in


Dr. Aaron Lerner
IMRA
04 January '10

(IDF, Good job. They've done their share)

www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=251803

Jenin – Ma'an – An operative affiliated with the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Fatah's paramilitary wing, handed himself over to Israeli authorities on Sunday evening, Ma'an has learned.

Imad Tayih, 22, from the Al-Far'a Refugee Camp near Tubas, had been "wanted" by Israeli authorities for over a year and a half. During his time as a fugitive, Tayih survived targeted assassination attempts and was injured as a result on several occasions.

On Sunday evening, he gave himself up at the Salim military base in Nablus, according to his cousin Faris, who observed that Tayih had been receiving a high volume of telephone calls from Israeli intelligence threatening to kill him if he did not give himself up.

Faris explained that whenever his cousin would receive such a call, it was swiftly followed by attempts to ambush or abduct Tayih, adding that he had survived two assassination attempts and was injured nine times, recently including a critical gunshot wound to the spine. Unable to receive medical assistance and no longer able to bear the pain, Tayih handed himself in.

An Israeli military spokesman did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Love of the Land: 'Wanted' Palestinian fighter hands self in

Love of the Land: Viva Palestina: A Convoy For Hamas

Viva Palestina: A Convoy For Hamas


Habibi
Harry's Place
04 January '10

Viva Palestina’s latest convoy to Gaza has found some wonderful partners between Turkey and Jordan.


Turkey
In Turkey, Viva Palestina has teamed up with a Turkish Islamist charity, IHH, as reported
here. IHH is very close to Hamas and has been banned by Israel for that reason.


Never mind, the alliance gives Viva Palestina access to Turkish politicians, including Numan Kurtulmuş, the head of the hard line Islamist Felicity Party. At a reception for convoy leaders he hosted in Ankara, he must have warmed Holocaust mocker George Galloway’s heart with this barb:


“Israel is continuously keeping the Holocaust on the international agenda. Well, what about Israeli actions in Gaza?”


Here is a lovely picture from the Turkish meetings. Kurtulmuş is the third from the right of the men seated at the table. On the left is Kevin Ovenden of the “Respect” party, sporting a “resistance” look. Next to Ovenden is Mohammed Sawalha, a fugitive Hamas commander who has also beennamed on IslamOnline as “manager of the political committee of the International Organization of the Brothers [i.e. the Muslim Brotherhood] in Britain”.

ovenden_sawalha


Syria
On to Syria. Guess who was
waiting to greet the convoy?

(Read full article)


Love of the Land: Viva Palestina: A Convoy For Hamas

Love of the Land: What Marya Could Teach Goldstone

What Marya Could Teach Goldstone


Evelyn Gordon
Contentions/Commentary
04 December '10

Israel has spent the past year producing voluminous rebuttals of the Goldstone report, which accused it of deliberately targeting civilians during last year’s war in Gaza. But nothing better illustrates the inanity of this accusation than a single report in last week’s New York Times.

The report describes a friendship between two eight-year-olds who have spent long months together in Jerusalem’s Alyn Hospital for children with severe disabilities. Orel is an Israeli Jew severely wounded by a Hamas rocket. Marya is a Palestinian from Gaza severely wounded by an Israeli missile. Seemingly, complete symmetry — a point the report underscores with its concluding quote from Orel’s mother: “Do we need to suffer in order to learn that there is no difference between Jews and Arabs?”

But despite the Times’ efforts, the symmetry breaks down as Marya’s story proceeds. She was wounded three years ago, when a missile targeting a Hamas terrorist hit her family’s car instead. Her mother, grandmother, and older brother were killed; she was paralyzed from the neck down.

The Israeli government brought her to Israel for medical care that she couldn’t receive in Gaza. It also brought her father, Hamdi Aman, to be with her, and her younger brother, Momen, so he wouldn’t be separated from his surviving parent.

When Marya’s condition stabilized, the government proposed returning her to Gaza, or else the West Bank. Aman objected, fearing his daughter’s care would suffer. The Israeli media and “a bevy of volunteers” mobilized “to fight on his behalf,” and the government “backed off.”

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: What Marya Could Teach Goldstone
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