Thursday, 21 January 2010



By Rabbi Avraham Greenbaum

Torah Reading: BO Exodus 10:1-13:16
Haftara: Jeremiah 46:13-28


"Who then is able to stand before me?
Who has given Me anything beforehand, that I should repay him?
Whatever is under the whole heaven is Mine" (Job 41:2-3).

In the story of the Exodus, it is obvious who is the villain: obstinate Pharaoh, who will not bow to G-d until his very first-born and those of all his people are smitten. But who is the hero of the story? Can we say it is the Children of Israel? They certainly responded with faith when they heard the good news of their imminent deliverance (Ex. 4:31). They were willing to hear, listen and obey. "And the Children of Israel went and did as HaShem commanded Moses and Aaron, so they did" (Ex. 12:28). But otherwise, the role of the Children of Israel's was mainly passive in the unfolding drama in which Pharaoh's power over them was broken. They were the slaves, and they were released: not the most heroic of roles. They were almost devoid of all merits. The very memory of it should induce humility.

Then is Moses the "hero"? It is true that "also the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt in the eyes of Pharaoh's servants and in the eyes of the people" (Ex. 11:3).

With the unflinching courage that his true prophecy conferred upon him, Moses, with his brother Aaron, played the central role in heralding the awesome and terrible signs through which the redemption came about. Yet it was not Moses who "liberated" or "saved" the Children of Israel. Moses was the greatest of all prophets, but he was still "the MAN Moses". Moses could say that the first-born would be smitten "ABOUT Midnight" (Ex. 11:4). But G-d alone could make the plague actually happen "AT midnight" (Ex. 12:29) -- at the exact moment.

G-d alone is the "hero" of the Exodus. "And I shall pass through [Targum = I shall be revealed in] the land of Egypt on this night" (Ex. 12:12) -- "I and not an Angel; I and not a Saraf; I and not a messenger." (from the Seder Night Haggadah, commenting on "And I shall pass through / be revealed").

The whole purpose of the Exodus was not to glorify a man or a nation, but to reveal G-d's absolute power over all creation. As Moses reminded the people forty years later, at the end of his ministry:

"For you are a holy nation to HaShem your G-d; HaShem your G-d chose you to be His treasured nation out of all the nations that are on the face of the earth. Not because you were more numerous than all the nations did HaShem desire you and choose you, for you are the smallest of all the nations. But because of HaShem's love for you and through His guarding of the oath that He swore to your fathers, HaShem took you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slaves, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know that HaShem, your G-d -- He is the G-d, the Power, who is faithful and guards the covenant and shows kindness to those who love him and who guard His commandments for a thousand generations. And He pays those who hate him in their face, to destroy them; He shall not delay to the one who hates him, He will repay him to his face." (Deuteronomy 7:6-10).

* * *


In Rashi's opening comment on the Torah (Gen. 1:1), he indicates that the real "beginning" of the Torah is in our present parshah of BO. "Rabbi Yitzchak said: the Torah should have started from 'This month will be for you the head of the months' (Ex. 12:2) since this is the first commandment that the Children of Israel were commanded." [See Rashi on Gen. 1:1, where he explains that the account of the Creation and the ensuing history recounted in Genesis are proof of the Children of Israel's G-d-given right to the Land of Israel.]

In other words, the "real" start of the Torah is when we read it first and foremost as a message about our obligations rather than one about our rights. Having been passively freed by G-d from servitude to man, we have obligations to the "hero", the only true Savior. If anyone lays claim to any lien on us, G-d's lien always has priority.

The first mitzvah of the Torah to the Children of Israel is that of "sanctifying the month" (KIDDUSH HACHODESH). This involves counting the months of the year from Nissan, the month of redemption, and, when the Sanhedrin sits in the Land of Israel, taking testimony from witnesses who have sighted the new moon in order to declare the start of the new month. Marking time from the point at which the moon, having briefly disappeared from sight, begins to wax and grow, is a sign of constant regeneration and vitality. The sign of the crescent was taken over by Islam, but the unique power of the crescent of the new moon as a symbol of renewal is known only to the Children of Israel, who observe the commandment of Sanctifying the Month. Alone among the nations, the Children of Israel possess the Secret of IBBUR (literally "pregnancy"). This involves the method of reconciling the Lunar year (of 354 days) with the Solar year (of 365 days) through the insertion of an extra month in certain "leap" years (= SHANAH ME-UBERET, a "pregnant" year of 13 instead of only 12 months). It is to this and the related astronomical and mystical wisdom of the Children of Israel that Moses alluded when he said: "For this is your wisdom and your understanding in the eyes of the nations" (Deut. 4:6, see Shabbos 75a).

The month of Nissan is governed by the astrological sign of Aries (T'LEH, the Ram), called the "head" or first of the constellations, since this is when the annual "regeneration" of the world begins in springtime. The Egyptians, who were masters of astronomy and astrology, worshipped sheep (see Gen. 46:34 and Rashi there). The commandment to the Children of Israel to take young sheep, ritually slaughter and eat them, was indicative of the destruction of the Egyptian religion through the Exodus and its replacement with a completely new and revolutionary way of coming to know G-d.

This commandment applied to those who went out of Egypt (PESACH MITZRAYIM) and it applied in later generations, when festival pilgrims would bring the Paschal lamb sacrifice to the Holy Temple (PESACH DOROS, "Pesach offering of the generations"). After its slaughter and the offering of its blood and fat on the altar on the afternoon of 14th Nissan, the lamb would be taken by the pilgrims to their lodgings in Jerusalem, roasted and ceremonially eaten with Matzah (unleavened bread) and bitter herbs as the centerpiece of the Seder Night commemorating the Exodus. Our present parshah of BO contains the laws of both PESACH MITZRAYIM and PESACH DOROS (Ex. Ch. 12 verses 3-28 and 43-49).

"And you shall say, This is the PESACH sacrifice for HaShem, who jumped over (=PASACH) the houses of the Children of Israel in Egypt when He smote the Egyptians and He saved our houses" (Ex. 12:27). Rashi (on Ex. 12:23) states that the Hebrew root PASACH in this passage carries the twin connotations of "had mercy" (as translated in the Targum here) and "leapt over". In other words, G-d's mercy for the Children of Israel was expressed in the fact that He "leapt over" and spared their houses while striking at the Egyptians.

The Torah contains numerous negative prohibitions (such as the incest prohibitions) whose infringement carries the penalty of KARES (physical and spiritual excision). However, there are only two positive commandments in the entire Torah whose willful neglect carries this penalty. These are the commandment of circumcision of all males and that of participating in the Pesach sacrifice (in Temple times). The two commandments are interrelated, for males may eat the Pesach sacrifice only if they are circumcised.

Fulfillment of the two commandments of circumcision and the Pesach sacrifice is integral to membership of the Community of Souls constituted by the Children of Israel, while for the penalty for infringing them is KARES, excision from that community.

Significantly, the laws of the Pesach lamb require that it be eaten in the company of a Chavurah, a group of friends and fellows, in a house. The significance of the house and the use of "domestic" functions such as communal eating as a focus for religious devotion has been discussed in relation to the story of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob "the House-builder" (see VAYEITZEI).

An indication of the centrality of the Pesach sacrifice in the true Torah tradition may be seen in the fact that the image of the Paschal lamb (like many other aspects of the Torah) was taken over and transmuted by the early developers of Christianity, as if their savior, who by all accounts was executed on 14th Nissan (see Sanhedrin 43a uncensored version), somehow became the paschal lamb. They introduced a new rite of "communion" in which the consumption of the sacrificial lamb was replaced with the eating of the founder's transubstantiated "flesh" (wafers of "bread" = Matzah) and the drinking of his "blood" (wine = "cup of redemption"). This rite could be performed in places of worship anywhere and was, within a generation, opened up to anyone, including the uncircumcised. The purpose was to try to displace the Children of Israel, G-d's true circumcised, from their role in creation, and to displace the Temple in Jerusalem and its sacrificial system, as laid down in the Torah, from their central position in the atonement of man's sins.

None of this can change what is written in the Torah about how man draws close to G-d through sacrifice (see Leviticus 1:1). For "G-d is not a man that He should lie or the son of man that He should change His mind. He spoke -- will He not do it? He pronounced -- will He not fulfill it?" (Numbers 23:19). "For I am G-d, I have not changed." (Malachi 3:6). Long before Christianity was established, G-d already told us through His true prophets that in the end of days, "Many peoples will go and they will say, Go and let us ascend to the Mountain of G-d, to the House of the G-d of Jacob, and He will teach us of His ways and we will go in His paths, for the Torah will go forth from Zion and the word of HaShem from Jerusalem" (Isaiah 2:3).

* * *


The lessons of the Torah are not to remain in the mind. "And you shall know (VEYADAATA) today and bring it DOWN TO YOUR HEART that HaShem is the G-d in the heavens above and on the earth below, there is none other" (Deut. 4:39). The Exodus was the greatest ever revelation in history so far of DAAS -- the "knowledge" that G-d governs this world. The institution of the religion founded upon this event is marked in our parshah with the giving of the first practical commandments through which we keep this knowledge alive from generation to generation and make it palpable and literally tangible in our lives.

The highly tangible act of eating the Pesach sacrifice (or celebrating the Seder night) from year to year keeps the memory of the Exodus alive, stimulating questions from little children, giving the adults the opportunity to hand down the tradition and grow themselves in the process. A farmer's cow or sheep gives birth to a first-born, which he presents to the priest in memory of the saving of the Israelite first-born. A first-born boy is born and must be "redeemed" from the priest. First thing in the day, the Israelite takes leather straps, symbols of bondage, and uses them to bind himself to G-d and literally bind G-d's words and wisdom to his very body, with the Tefilin. "And it shall be for a sign on your hand and for frontlets between your eyes that with strength of hand HaShem brought us out of Egypt" (Ex. 13:16, closing words of the parshah.) Through practical acts of devotion, we bring the knowledge of G-d into our hearts. This is our part in displacing Pharaoh.

Shabbat Shalom!

Avraham Yehoshua Greenbaum

PO Box 50037 Jerusalem 91500 Israel

Netanyahu: Israel Must Surround PA Entity - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

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Bomb Scare at Munich Airport, Suspect Flees - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

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HAZMAT Exercise Simulated Smallpox Terror Attack - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Israel Matzav: Overnight music video

Overnight music video

This song actually comes from the Passover seder, but it's appropriate for this week because this is the Torah portion that describes the exodus from Egypt.

This is Yaakov Shwekey singing V'hei Sheamdah at the Latrun Concert. He invited all the IDF Soldiers to sing on stage with him.

And I think I know the guy whose channel this is. In fact, if he's who I think he is, I saw him yesterday.

Let's go to the videotape.

Israel Matzav: Overnight music video

Love of the Land: Goldstone's Gaza Report: Part Two: A Miscarriage of Human Rights

Goldstone's Gaza Report: Part Two: A Miscarriage of Human Rights

Richard Landes
MERIA Journal
Volume 13, No.4
December '09

The second part of this two-part article explores two main themes: 1) How journalists and human rights NGOs created the body of information Goldstone largely replicated, and 2) the role of intimidation and advocacy on journalists, NGO workers, witnesses, and judges. It concludes with an analysis of how such a systematic misrepresentation of events repeatedly occurred and the dangerous results for the very cause Goldstone espouses--the protection of civilians and the human rights culture.


In order to understand how the Goldstone Report, with all its pervasive flaws, came into existence, one must first appreciate the culture from which it arose. The pattern is largely as follows: Palestinians create alleged facts or information--often through the formal reports, and finally it makes up most of the Goldstone report, without any real critical evaluation taking place at any step in the process.

Media Coverage, Gaza War 1.0

The Gaza operation garnered immediate and sustained attention from all Western news outlets. Due to a controversial decision by the Israelis not to allow journalists in through their border crossings, much of what happened on the ground was accessible only through Gazan journalists such as Rushdi Abu Aluf (BBC), Hazem Balousha (The Guardian), Taghreed El-Khodary (New York Times), and Talal Abu Rahmeh (CNN, France 2), who dutifully reported on hospitals running out of medicine even as Hamas refused to allow Egyptian doctors and ambulances as well as Qatari medical supplies to come across the border.[1]

(Read full report)

See: Goldstone Gaza Report: Part One: A Failure of Intelligence

Love of the Land: Goldstone's Gaza Report: Part Two: A Miscarriage of Human Rights

Love of the Land: Chaos over West’s Iran policy: US intelligence stutters over nuclear programme and Iran rejects uranium exchange proposal

Chaos over West’s Iran policy: US intelligence stutters over nuclear programme and Iran rejects uranium exchange proposal

Robin Shepherd
Robin Shepherd Online
20 January '10

US led efforts to stop Iran acquiring nuclear weapons descended into chaos today as it emerged that Iran had rejected proposals to ship enriched uranium out of the country to prevent Tehran from processing it to weapon’s grade and the US National Intelligence Council (NIC) indicated a merely partial reversal of its infamous 2007 “estimate” that Iran had halted its nuclear weapons programme in 2003.

Iran’s rejection of the uranium plan was conveyed to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna while developments at the NIC emerged from an exclusive report by the Reuters news agency which quoted unnamed officials as saying they now believed that Iran was researching a nuclear weapons programme but not necessarily developing one:

“Basically, we’re talking about research (resuming) — not about the Iranians barrelling full steam ahead on a bomb program,” a U.S. official was quoted by Reuters as saying on condition of anonymity.

Taking these two developments together, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that Western policy on Iran’s nuclear programme has all but fallen apart.

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: Chaos over West’s Iran policy: US intelligence stutters over nuclear programme and Iran rejects uranium exchange proposal

Love of the Land: Curbing the Manipulation of Universal Jurisdiction

Curbing the Manipulation of Universal Jurisdiction

Diane Morrison/Justus Reid Weiner
Global Law Forum
20 January '10

In the past decade Israeli officials have been bombarded by both criminal and civil lawsuits for their political activities in the Israeli government and/or their military activities in the Israel Defense Forces. Examples of this are the criminal complaints that were filed in Belgium in 2001 against former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and in the United Kingdom in August 2005 against Major General (res.) Doron Almog, as well as the arrest warrant that was issued in New Zealand in 2006 against former Chief of Staff Moshe Ya’alon. The most recent instance was the arrest warrant issued in the United Kingdom against Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni for alleged war crimes committed during Israel’s Gaza Operation when she was Israel’s foreign minister. Similar civil suits have also been launched in the U.S. against, for example, Avi Dichter, the former Director of the Israel Security Agency.

Israel’s supporters have pointed to these legal acrobatics as a clear abuse of the principle of universal jurisdiction, a new tool in the toolbox of Israel’s detractors and critics. Advocates of the Jewish state have coined the term “lawfare” to describe this situation. They define lawfare as “a strategy of using or misusing law as a substitute for traditional military means to achieve military objectives.”

While sounding far-fetched to the neutral observer and hysterical to those wary of claims of international anti-Semitism masked as anti-Israel sentiment, warnings of the possible abuse of the principle of universal jurisdiction pre-date these Israeli claims. For instance, in an article published in Foreign Affairs in 2001 entitled “The Pitfalls of Universal Jurisdiction: Risking Judicial Tyranny,” former U.S. Secretary of State and Nobel Laureate Henry Kissinger commended advocates of universal jurisdiction for their commitment to bringing to justice human rights violators, but warned of “pushing the effort to extremes” and risking “substituting the tyranny of judges for that of governments.”

(Read full report)

Love of the Land: Curbing the Manipulation of Universal Jurisdiction

Love of the Land: Useful idiots

Useful idiots

David Harris
In the Trenches/JPost
19 January '10

In 1933, shortly after Adolf Hitler became the German chancellor, the Oxford Union famously adopted a resolution which said "That this House will in no circumstances fight for its King and Country." The measure was passed by a vote of 275 to 153.

Winston Churchill reacted by saying that "one could almost feel the curl of contempt upon the lips of the manhood of Germany, Italy, and France when they read the message sent out by Oxford University in the name of Young England."

Shortly afterward, his son, Randolph, tried to have the resolution stricken from the books, but the motion was resoundingly defeated by the Oxford Union.

In other words, otherwise bright students at a distinguished British university are capable of foolish things. At least in this case, it must be said, "Young England" rose to the occasion six years later, when the Second World War began, and revealed its true colors of patriotism, courage and grit.

Recently, another British student union was presented with a controversial proposal. The London School of Economics (LSE) debated whether to seek the twinning of this world-renowned institution with the Islamic University of Gaza (IUG).

After a spirited discussion, the motion was carried by a vote of 161 to 133. The university administration distanced itself from the decision.

As an alumnus of LSE, I am ashamed of the student action. Sure, LSE has a reputation for feisty politics, but this is taking it a bit far.

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: Useful idiots

Love of the Land: BBC: Denying Jewish Jerusalem

BBC: Denying Jewish Jerusalem

Honest Reporting
Media Critiques
20 January '10

On 18 January, the BBC's flagship documentary program, Panorama, focused on tensions in the area of eastern Jerusalem adjacent to the Old City.

Any pretence at balance is thrown out of the window as reporter Jane Corbin makes it clear that, under the BBC's own interpretation of international law, anything that Israel does in that part of the city is illegal, setting the tone for the entire 30 minute program.

Thus, Israelis are presented as usurpers of Palestinian rights and property in eastern Jerusalem in a one-sided piece of agitprop. As analyst Robin Shepherd writes:

Rarely will you get a clearer insight into the flagrant institutional bias inside the world's most powerful media outlet than this. The slipperiness of the tactics employed, the unabashed censorship of vital historical context, and the blatant pursuit of a political agenda constituted a lesson in the techniques of modern day propaganda. It was something to behold.

Here we examine some of the assumptions, claims and biases that underpin this edition of Panorama.

This edition of Panorama is available to view on YouTube in three parts. Click below to view Part 1. (For links to view Parts 2 and 3, go to full report below.)

(This is an all encompassing article. Click here to read full report)

Love of the Land: BBC: Denying Jewish Jerusalem

Love of the Land: Syria's Financial Support for Jihad

Syria's Financial Support for Jihad

Syrian Terrorism

Matthew Levitt
Middle East Quarterly
Winter 2010, pp. 39-48

It costs a lot of money to run an insurgency. There are arms to buy, attacks to launch, bribes to pay. The local population has to be won over, and extensive networks have to be actively maintained, often involving members of various groups, criminal syndicates, corrupt officials, and independent operators such as local smugglers. Explosive devices have to be made, guns have to be brought in from abroad, volunteers have to be indoctrinated and trained.

In 2008, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an international body focused on preventing money laundering and terror financing, reported that while financing individual attacks may be relatively inexpensive when set against the damage inflicted, "maintaining a terrorist network, or a specific cell, to provide for recruitment, planning, and procurement between attacks represents a significant drain on resources. A significant infrastructure is required to sustain international terrorist networks and promote their goals over time."[1] Creating and maintaining such support and facilitation networks, FATF concluded, requires significant funds.

FATF's findings have a particular relevance to Syria where terrorist and insurgent groups have established sophisticated networks in order to facilitate the movement of foreign fighters from around the world into Iraq. While the number of foreign fighters infiltrated through Syria fluctuates, these networks are especially important since foreign fighters operating in and moving through Syria have been responsible for numerous attacks on Iraqi civilians and coalition forces. Given the primary role that Iraq and Syria both play in the Obama administration's efforts to stabilize the Middle East, it is of great importance to understand the role of Syria and Syrian-based foreign fighters in the Iraqi insurgency. There is now a wealth of information available on these fighters, on their networks, and on their economic impact.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Syria's Financial Support for Jihad

Love of the Land: Blockading the Truth: Getting the facts straight on the ‘Gaza Siege’

Blockading the Truth: Getting the facts straight on the ‘Gaza Siege’

Anav Silverman
Sderot Media Center (SMC)
20 January '10

The year 2009 brought about a fresh wave of anti-Israel rhetoric and accusations, most which cited Israel’s supposed siege on Gaza. The international press frequently cited calls by human rights groups to “end Israel’s illegal blockade” and “liberate Gaza.” Such messages have been conceived to undermine Israel and present a very misleading angle of the actual Gaza conflict.

In a typical blockade, no supplies would be allowed to enter into enemy territory, or any area of land where the controlling regime facilitates the terrorizing of a neighboring country’s citizens. Most English dictionaries define siege as an “act or process of surrounding and attacking a fortified place in such a way as to isolate it from help and supplies...”

Indeed, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website has reported that in the year 2009 alone, Israel allowed for 703, 224 tons of humanitarian aid and 105,600,128 liters of fuel to be delivered into the Gaza Strip following Operation Cast Lead.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Blockading the Truth: Getting the facts straight on the ‘Gaza Siege’

Love of the Land: Abbas supports PA’s naming square after terrorist killer

Abbas supports PA’s naming square after terrorist killer

Itamar Marcus/Nan Jacques Zilberdik
Palestinian Media Watch (PMW)
19 January '10

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has defended the PA's decision to name a square after a terrorist killer, comparing it to Israel's decision to name a road after an Israeli victim of terror.

Last week, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu protested to the US about the PA's continued incitement to hatred and violence. Israel's protest was prompted by Palestinian Media Watch's exposure of a birthday celebration sponsored by Abbas, and the naming of a square in Ramallah. Both were in honor of the terrorist Dalal Mughrabi, who was responsible for the deaths of 37 Israeli civilians when she and other terrorists hijacked a bus in 1978.

The PA Minister of Culture, Siham Barghouti, subsequently defended this terrorist glorification. Now Abbas himself has defended it, comparing the PA's naming of the square after Mughrabi to Israel's naming a road after Rehavam Zeevi, the Israeli cabinet minister who was murdered by Palestinian terrorists. Abbas refers to Mughrabi's bus hijacking and murder of 37 civilians as "military activities," and compares her to Zeevi, who was an officer in the Israeli army before entering politics.

(Read full bulletin)

Love of the Land: Abbas supports PA’s naming square after terrorist killer

Love of the Land: A disproportionate response?

A disproportionate response?

Melanie Phillips
The Spectator
19 January '10

The unfolding mega-disaster in Haiti has exposed in the most sickening form the utter uselessness of the UN. Of course, it must be acknowledged that the UN is itself one of the victims of this tragedy, with more than 100 of its staff said to have been killed in the earthquake and its aftermath. And yes, the wholesale destruction of Haiti’s already fragile infrastructure means that the difficulties in getting supplies to the people are exceptional.

Nevertheless, the key problem appears to be a total absence of leadership, so that no-one is taking control of the situation. Haiti’s own government is unable to do this; until yesterday, America was taking a back seat waiting upon the UN to do the business. But the UN has conspicuously failed to do so. As a result, while the countries of the developed world have been pouring in aid and supplies, this has been piling up while the people of Haiti are dying from injury, disease and lack of water. And now that the US has finally lost patience and piled in troops to deliver supplies to the people, there are predictable cries from the French -- and doubtless other knee-jerk America-bashers – that America is ‘occupying’ Haiti. Such is the derangement of the anti-America obsession.

(Read full article)

Watch: "From the other side of the world"

Love of the Land: A disproportionate response?

Love of the Land: Reactions in the Arab Press to British MP George Galloway's Viva Palestina 3 Aid Convoy

Reactions in the Arab Press to British MP George Galloway's Viva Palestina 3 Aid Convoy

19 January '10

The Viva Palestina 3 humanitarian aid and solidarity convoy to Gaza, organized by British MP George Galloway, arrived at the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza on January 5, 2010.[1] The convoy, 163 meters long and carrying 590 tons of humanitarian aid, departed from the U.K. on December 7, 2009, and made its way from Europe through Turkey, Syria, and Jordan. The organizers asked Egypt to permit the convoy to sail from the port of Aqaba in Jordan to the Sinai port of Nuweiba on the Red Sea, from which it would proceed to the Rafah crossing. However, Egypt decided that it must enter its territory via Al-'Arish on the Mediterranean coast. This forced the convoy to retrace its steps to Latakia in Syria and from there to Al-'Arish. When it arrived in Al-'Arish, clashes broke out between convoy members and Egyptian security forces, who would not permit some of its vehicles to continue on to Gaza.

Egypt has been the target of harsh criticism, both at home and abroad, because of the convoy's forced wanderings and also because of its construction of an underground barrier along its border with Gaza aimed at blocking the smuggling tunnels into the Strip. In effect, it is being accused of tightening the siege on Gaza. Among the critics was Galloway himself, who accused Egypt, which he called a dictatorship, of strangling Gaza, and called on Britain to reexamine its relations with it.

In response to the criticism against Egypt, senior Egyptian officials attacked Galloway, and also said that Egypt had not tried to prevent the convoy from entering into Gaza, but had only insisted that its entrance be in accordance with guidelines and accepted security arrangements. In fact, the Egyptian authorities declared Galloway a persona non-grata and announced that he would not be allowed to re-enter the country. [2]

On the other hand, opposition elements in Egypt and some writers in the Arab world praised Galloway's efforts for the Palestinians, contrasting them with the Arab and Muslim helplessness in the matter.

The following are excerpts from interviews given by Galloway to the Qatari Al-Jazeera TV and to Iran's Press TV, as well as translated excerpts from articles in the Arab press about Galloway's Viva Palestina 3 convoy.

(Continue article)

Love of the Land: Reactions in the Arab Press to British MP George Galloway's Viva Palestina 3 Aid Convoy

Elder of Ziyon: More on Arabs and Haiti.

Elder of Ziyon: More on Arabs and Haiti.

Israel Matzav: Egypt has a consistent policy, Israel does not

Egypt has a consistent policy, Israel does not

Avi Tarengo sums up the problem with Israeli policy on its border with Gaza.

Does Israel have any policy regarding the Gaza Strip? Meaningful policy is supposed to take into account Israel's long-term interests, including its perception by the world. Five years ago, Israel vacated its citizens and army and left Gazans a well-developed economical and agricultural infrastructure. Since the disengagement, Israeli “policy” towards the Gaza Strip has been outlined by a series of symbolic and random decisions, most of them contradicting one another. The indecision regarding Israel’s position in the Gaza Strip can be expressed by the lack of an answer to this simple question: Is Israel still the “occupying force” in the Gaza Strip? The lack of a clear policy is what allowed Judge Goldstone to place the responsibility on Israel as the “occupying force” which is supposed to take care of all the needs of the Strip’s residents.

Unlike Israel, Egypt administrates a clear policy, which slowly but consistently advances Egypt towards achieving its goals. “The Mubarak Line” is not meant to serve Israel’s interests nor is it meant to stop the smuggling of rockets to the Gaza Strip, as Egyptian ambassador Al Hadidi explained so well to the Turks (who complained of the difficulties in transferring aid to the Gaza Strip through Egypt): “Our goal is to prevent the detachment of the Gaza Strip from the West Bank. The Gaza Strip must remain under the status of Territory considered occupied by Israel, and the humanitarian aid must come from there - not from Egypt. Recognizing Gaza as an independent entity will damage Palestinian unity and will harm the Palestinians’ cause – remove it from the world’s agenda.”

The Egyptian ambassador is very much aware of what he is saying: When two weeks ago a “supply convoy” by activists making its way to the Gaza Strip was blocked in Egypt, it did not lead to angry articles in the world press. This is in contrast to a nonstop worldwide protest about how Israel is supposedly imposing a “siege”. The world press considers any difference in opinion between Egyptian authorities and Hamas authorities as an internal Arab issue, one of many local conflicts which are not worthy of coverage by the international press - and this is precisely what Egypt is worried about: That the split between Hamas’ regime in the Gaza Strip and the Fatah’s regime in the West Bank will allow Israel to reduce it's assistance to the Gaza Strip which would naturally impose this burden on Gaza southern neighbor – Egypt.

Read the whole thing.

For those who have forgotten, the picture is a Hamas terrorist 'operating' the Rafah border crossing with Egypt during the 2007 coup. Obviously, Egypt didn't let anyone in then.

For the last five years, we have not had a clear policy on what we want in Gaza. Maybe it's time to decide.

Israel Matzav: Egypt has a consistent policy, Israel does not

Israel Matzav: About that Gaza 'blockade'

About that Gaza 'blockade'

Someone forgot to tell the evil Jooos that the Gaza Strip is supposed to be under 'blockade.' Instead, the evil Jooos have allowed the 'poor Palestinians' to export hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of flowers and strawberries to Europe so that they will have money to pay for Hamas weapons and maybe a motorcycle and a pack of cigarettes the next time the apartheid wall on the Rafah border with Egypt gets knocked down.

For the first time since the Islamist Hamas movement seized power in the territory in June 2007, Gaza's flower and strawberry farmers may be able to export most of their produce to Europe with help from The Netherlands.

"There are promises that the crossings will remain open for exports," the 33-year-old farmer says as workers clip carnations and pack them into crates in a sprawling greenhouse near the southern Gaza town of Rafah.

"Last year our losses were huge. I alone lost 800,000 dollars (550,000 euros)," he says. "We harvested the flowers and then we fed them to the sheep and cows."

Israel allowed only limited exports of flowers and strawberries -- Gaza's main cash crops -- during the season following the bloody Hamas takeover in June 2007 before halting all exports in January 2008, according to the Palestine Trade Centre (Paltrade), which works with the World Bank.

Exports only resumed after Israel's devastating 22-day war on Hamas in December 2008 and January 2009, when 14 truckloads of carnations were allowed out of Gaza, according to Paltrade.

Oh yes, and in the last sentence, AFP adds this little tidbit:

Each month Israel allows hundreds of truckloads of basic goods into the territory of 1.5 million people, but apart from the strawberries and flowers it has allowed virtually no exports since Hamas took power.

Some 'blockade.' The only things they keep out are the things Hamas could turn into weapons. Read the whole thing.

Israel Matzav: About that Gaza 'blockade'

Israel Matzav: Video: Israel's pediatric ICU in Haiti

Video: Israel's pediatric ICU in Haiti

Here's a Fox News report on the pediatric intensive care unit (including a neonatal unit!) that the IDF has set up in Haiti.

Let's go to the videotape.

Israel Matzav: Video: Israel's pediatric ICU in Haiti

Israel Matzav: Breaking: Munich airport closes after explosives found in passenger laptop

Breaking: Munich airport closes after explosives found in passenger laptop

And you wonder why Israeli security has been known to take away laptops and sometimes even shoot holes in them....

Munich airport was closed after a passenger's personal computer was found to contain explosive material. After the explosives were discovered, the passenger managed to escape.

All flights have been canceled and the airport closed.

At least they found it before he got on a plane.

And oh yes, something tells me the guy wasn't a Christian or a Jew.


Fox News adds:

Federal police said they ordered part of the airport's Terminal 2 closed to look for the man following the incident at 3:30 p.m.

An airport security instrument alerted officials to possible explosives as the man's laptop was being checked, police said. He then hastily left the scene carrying the computer into the terminal.

The alert "doesn't necessary have to mean that there were explosives inside," federal police spokesman Albert Poerschke told the German news agency DAPD.

Officials wanted to check the computer again, but the man left. "We believe that the man didn't realize there was more to come," Poerschke said.

Airport spokesman Florian Engert said a dozen aircraft were unable to depart.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Breaking: Munich airport closes after explosives found in passenger laptop

Israel Matzav: Hmmm....


James Anderson explains why Israel will ultimately strike Iran's nuclear capability.

Though still hopeful for a peaceful resolution, Israel has clearly stated its willingness to strike Iran's nuclear weapon program, if need be. Many analysts, however, question Israel's capacity to inflict meaningful damage against Iranian facilities. After all, having learned the lessons from Israel's strike on Osirik in Iraq in June 1981, Iran has widely dispersed and buried key elements of its nuclear program.

But what these analysts often overlook or underestimate is that Israel's long-range strike capabilities have also improved since 1981.

Israel has a track record of high-risk operations when its core security interests are threatened, as evident by its daring rescue of hostages at the Entebbe airport in Uganda in 1976, as well as aerial raids against the nuclear reactor at Osirik in 1981, the PLO headquarters in Tunis in 1985, and more recently, a Syrian nuclear facility in 2007. It is difficult to imagine Israel would abstain from striking militarily if the only alternative outcome were a nuclear-armed Iran.

For Israel, the question is not whether it can completely destroy Iran's program - not even a major U.S. strike could be certain of success in these terms - but whether such a strike could buy enough time for some mix of internal and external pressures to change Iran's behavior. The continuing street protests since the fraudulent Iranian elections last June provide some hope that internal opposition forces might eventually gain enough political traction to alter the regime's decision to pursue nuclear weapons.

Read the whole thing.

I'll bet that if there's an Israeli strike there won't be a response from Iran, just like there was no response from Syria. Ahmadinejad cannot send anyone to war because he needs his troops to control his own streets. There might be some response from Hezbullah, but if there is, look for Lebanon to have its infrastructure destroyed quite quickly and then Hezbullah will stop. Hamas is still too weak from last winter to respond heavily.


Israel Matzav: Hmmm....

Israel Matzav: Abu Bluff tries to save face

Abu Bluff tries to save face

With the results of Tuesday's special election in Massachusetts being bad news for President Obama, 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen is left with two choices: Continue to sit on the sidelines and run the risk that the 'Palestinian people' grow impatient at the lack of 'progress,' or find a way to climb down the tree up which President Obama sent him before pulling away the ladder.

There's just one problem: To a 'Palestinian,' nothing is more important than his 'honor.' Not only does Abu Mazen want to climb out of that tree so that he can get back to having the Obama administration wring concessions out of Israel for him, he has to do it without compromising his 'honor.' Apparently, salvaging Abu Bluff's 'honor' also requires humiliating Netanyahu. So the de facto freeze that Netanyahu has imposed on construction in 'east' Jerusalem just isn't going to be enough.

Enter US Special Middle East envoy George Mitchell who returns to our region on Thursday. Mitchell is going to press Netanyahu to agree to a wee little freeze in 'east' Jerusalem of 3-6 months - exactly the length of the freeze Netanyahu had originally been prepared to give in Judea and Samaria. And hopefully after what happened yesterday, Netanyahu is going to find the you-know-whats to just say no. Maybe.

The Palestinian Authority is pushing Israel to agree to a total construction freeze, in both the settlements and east Jerusalem, of between three to six months, something senior Israeli officials said Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will not agree to, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

This is one idea that US Middle East envoy George Mitchell is expected to raise during talks with Netanyahu on Thursday.


The call for a complete freeze, including in Jerusalem, for a short period is viewed as an attempt by PA President Mahmoud Abbas to return to negotiations without "losing face," since he has said repeatedly that he would not begin discussions with Israel before there was a total halt to construction beyond the June 4, 1967 lines.


"This is not going to happen; it goes against everything Netanyahu says and believes in," one source in the Prime Minister's Office said about even a symbolic freeze in Jerusalem.

The source also dismissed as completely unrealistic the idea that Netanyahu could agree to an unofficial halt to Jewish construction in east Jerusalem, meaning that although he would not announce anything publicly, new building in the capital beyond the pre-Six Day War lines would stop for a certain amount of time.

In addition to being against Netanyahu's world view, the official said, an unofficial freeze would also be unsustainable, since the news of any such informal agreement would inevitably be leaked and cause Netanyahu severe political damage.

Except that three months ago, Netanyahu wasn't going to agree to any kind of freeze in Judea or Samaria either. And there was a de facto freeze in Jerusalem until Housing Minister Ariel Attias raised the alarm bells, and there continues to be a de facto freeze in Jerusalem except for the 700 housing units approved by the United States. So I would not count on Netanyahu not to go against his ostensible 'worldview' yet again.

But it gets worse. On Tuesday, Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Storr met in Jerusalem with representatives of the 'Palestinian Authority.' That's a violation of the Oslo Accords - which constitute the entire basis for the 'Palestinian Authority's existence. The Oslo Accords stipulated that the 'Palestinian Authority' would not undertake any political activities in Jerusalem. Anywhere in Jerusalem.

From 1993 until 2001, Israel did not enforce that provision of the Oslo Accords. But in August 2001, in response to the suicide bombing at Sbarro Pizza in Jerusalem, Israel closed Orient House, where most of the political activity was taking place, and except for a brief attempt to reopen that facility in February 2008, there has not been any official 'Palestinian Authority' political activity in Jerusalem. Until Tuesday.

There has been no reaction from the Netanyahu government to Tuesday's meeting with the Norwegian Foreign Minister in Jerusalem. The silence is deafening. And the Fatah terror organization is continuing its efforts to carry on diplomatic activity in Jerusalem.

The Fatah-led Palestinian Authority has launched an initiative to expand its activities in Israel’s capital. The American-backed PA is increasing its political presence in Jerusalem and investing in a public relations campaign to include the Jewish holy city in the new synthetic Arab state they intend to establish in Judea and Samaria.

Will Netanyahu allow this activity to continue so that Abu Mazen can 'save face' and still come back to the table? That's what Mitchell will suggest on Thursday.

And what is the purpose of getting Abu Mazen back to the table? This is from Yossi Alpher, who is very much in the 'peace camp.'

The real question should be not whether the talks will be renewed, but rather, why? Why do the US, Egypt and Saudi Arabia want negotiations to resume when they are doomed to failure and when failure, meaning a new crisis, could significantly worsen the situation? Why insist on negotiations rather than face up to the strategic realities?

The first and most obvious of these is the three-state reality. There is little near-term prospect that Abbas will succeed in bringing Gaza and Hamas back into the fold of a single Palestinian partner for Israel. Hence he can negotiate only on behalf of the West Bank. But Gaza won't go away: Hamas can easily sabotage an Abbas-Netanyahu peace process with a few sustained rocket barrages, while neither Egypt nor Israel appears to have a viable strategy for dealing with it.

The second reality is that, when he does negotiate, Abbas is certain to table a set of demands on issues like refugees, Jerusalem and borders that Netanyahu cannot and will not meet. Back in late 2008, then-PM Ehud Olmert's very far-reaching proposals for final status were turned down by Abbas; Netanyahu is hardly likely to match even that abortive peace plan.

The third reality is that the Palestinians are currently embarked on their most, indeed only, successful state-building enterprise since the Oslo process began in 1993, and it is largely a unilateral process: building, with international help, security, economic and governance institutions on the West Bank. In the course of the past year, we have seen that negotiations--particularly frustrating and fruitless negotiations--are not necessary to sustain a positive state-building process that in fact dovetails to some extent with Netanyahu's "economic peace" approach. This is especially so, given that the state-building process is spearheaded by PM Salam Fayyad, an independent, while negotiations would be with the PLO, which doesn't represent Fayyad.

The fourth reality is that Netanyahu is hardly an enthusiastic candidate for negotiating a two-state solution. Ehud Olmert was eager and generous in his proposals, for all the good it did him. Netanyahu has grudgingly embraced the two-state solution and will offer no concessions on Jerusalem. His governing coalition has numerous strong ties to the settler movement. And he is offering little of substance to persuade Kadima to join him in a more moderate coalition. He seems to be counting on the Palestinians to disappoint everyone; or on the Americans to become so deeply embroiled elsewhere in the region that they'll abandon the process; or on his own limitless aspiration to manipulate everyone all of the time. Netanyahu is the quintessential politician who lives from day to day: every day celebrated without getting hopelessly entangled in a peace process that damages his welcome in Washington and with his own constituency is a victory; nothing else is important.

In summary, the Obama administration refuses to face the reality that 'peace' is not likely to break out between Israel and the 'Palestinians' during the President's first term in office. Therefore, it pressures Prime Minister Netanyahu for concessions that he knows he should not make, but like the drunk who is going to have just one more drink, Netanyahu may well make one more concession. Abu Bluff continues to play his game, conceding nothing and insisting on everything to save his 'honor.'

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Abu Bluff tries to save face

Israel Matzav: Why Netanyahu is a winner in Massachusetts

Why Netanyahu is a winner in Massachusetts

I don't know whether Senator-elect Scott Brown (R-MA) and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu have ever met. A search of Google images didn't turn up any pictures of them together. While I hope they will meet, that doesn't have to happen for Prime Minister Netanyahu to reap the benefits of Tuesday's stunning election in Massachusetts. Haaretz's Aluf Benn is in a tizzy over the possibility that Netanyahu will be a big beneficiary of what happened yesterday. And he's right to be in a tizzy. Because it's good news for Israel that the Obama agenda - with a 'Palestinian state' as its foreign policy linchpin - went down to a resounding defeat on Tuesday.

Over the past nine months, Netanyahu has managed to curb pressure from Obama, who enjoys a Democratic majority in both houses of Congress. Now, however, Obama will be more dependent on the support of his Republican rivals, the supporters and friends of Netanyahu.

No Israeli politician matches his steps to the political goings-on in the U.S. as much as Netanyahu. He dragged out negotiations over the settlement freeze and then decided it would last for 10 months and end in September - just in time for U.S. Congressional elections in which Democrats are expected to suffer heavy losses.

Netanyahu understood he must withstand the pressure until his right-wing supporters recapture a position of power on Capitol Hill and work to rein in the White House's political activities. The election in Massachusetts, one of the most liberal states in America, will from this moment on be a burden for Obama.

Proponents of the peace process will view this as a missed opportunity for Obama, who spent his first year in office on fruitless diplomatic moves that failed to restart talks between Israel and the Palestinians. From now on, it will be harder for Obama. Congressional support is essential to the political process and in the current political atmosphere in the U.S. - in which the parties are especially polarized - Netanyahu can rely on Republican support to thwart pressure on Israel.

As Ronald Reagan would say, it's morning in America. And in Israel. Thank God.

Israel Matzav: Why Netanyahu is a winner in Massachusetts

Israel Matzav: Video: Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev interviewed by David Frost

Video: Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev interviewed by David Frost

One year on from the war in Gaza, the Middle East 'peace process' is at a standstill. The Israeli government spokesman, Mark Regev, joins Sir David from Jerusalem to talk about the current state of relations between Israel and the Palestinians.

Let's go to the videotape.

On the whole, I thought Regev did pretty well, although I flinched when he talked about his friend Saeb at the beginning. I would have denied that the three people killed the previous night were 'civilians.' I don't think he was forceful enough about doing that.

I also don't believe that the people of Gaza can control Hamas anymore even if they wanted to control them. I believe that Israel should have finished Hamas off when it had the chance last year, and that eventually it will have to go back into Gaza and finish the job - at a considerably higher cost than we would have incurred a year ago.

Israel Matzav: Video: Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev interviewed by David Frost

Israel Matzav: Video: Hitler finds out Scott Brown won Mass. Senate seat

Video: Hitler finds out Scott Brown won Mass. Senate seat

The video will be familiar, but the dialogue is new and it's hysterical.

Let's go to the videotape (Hat Tip: Jonah Goldberg via Twitter).

And you all thought that video was of Chuckles and that it was Sharmuta crying in the hallway, didn't you?

Israel Matzav: Video: Hitler finds out Scott Brown won Mass. Senate seat

Israel Matzav: Awesome: 'Islamic solidarity games' canceled over name of Gulf

Awesome: 'Islamic solidarity games' canceled over name of Gulf

The 'Islamic solidarity games' among Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Oman, the UAE, Qatar and Bahrain have been canceled over a dispute over whether to call the extension of the Indian Ocean located between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula the 'Persian Gulf' or the 'Arabian Gulf.'

The Islamic Solidarity Sports Federation (ISSF) in Riyadh said, after an emergency board meeting, Iran's local organising committee "unilaterally took some decisions without asking the federation by writing some slogans on the medals and pamphlets of the games".

Iran "did not abide by the rules of the Islamic Solidarity Sports Federation" and "did not follow the decisions taken by the general assembly of the federation at a previous meeting in Riyadh", it said in a statement.

But Iran's committee for the games disputed the decision.

"In spite of convincing arguments made to the ISSF executive committee, regrettably and without presenting any logical reasons, the ISSF committee decided not to hold the games with Iran as the host," it said.

The games - which are meant to strengthen ties among Islamic countries - were first held in the Saudi city of Jeddah in 2005.

The games were originally to have been held in October 2009, but were postponed to April 2010 in the hope of resolving the dispute.

Solidarity? Heh.

Israel Matzav: Awesome: 'Islamic solidarity games' canceled over name of Gulf

Israel Matzav: Egypt: 'Without Meir Dagan, Iran would have nuclear weapons'

Egypt: 'Without Meir Dagan, Iran would have nuclear weapons'

I thought about breaking out the flying pig when I saw this.

Egypt's government-owned al-Ahram newspaper reported in an op-ed on Saturday that without Mossad chief Meir Dagan, Iran would already have nuclear weapons.

"Over the past seven years, he has worked in silence, away from the media," the op-ed read. "He has dealt painful blows to the Iranian nuclear program … he is the Superman of the Jewish state."

Among the steps taken by Dagan against Teheran, Al-Ahram listed diplomatic action to embarrass the Islamic republic, action to fuel opposition protests, assassinations and covert attacks against nuclear facilities.

The op-ed stressed that while the Mossad under Dagan's leadership achieved many bold victories against Syria, Hizbullah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, it never took responsibility for its operations, but wisely chose to wait for the other side to declare that they had taken place.

Okay. What do they want from him?

Israel Matzav: Egypt: 'Without Meir Dagan, Iran would have nuclear weapons'

Israel Matzav: Three times as many Saudis favor Israeli strike on Iran as accept Israel as Jewish state

Three times as many Saudis favor Israeli strike on Iran as accept Israel as Jewish state

A new poll suggests that ordinary Saudi citizens are much more willing to see Israel strike Iran's nuclear capabilities than they are willing to accept Israel's existence as a Jewish state.

Asked about an Israeli military strike against Iran, one-quarter of urban Saudis said that they would support it at least "to some extent." Interestingly, that figure is three times larger than the number of respondents who said that they would accept Israel "as a Jewish state," even "under the right conditions" -- a mere 9 percent of urban Saudis took that position. But regional differences are relatively significant here: in Jeddah, hypothetical acceptance of a Jewish state was 17 percent, compared to barely 4 percent in Riyadh or Dammam/al-Khobar.

And of course, the Saudis would much rather that the Americans take care of Iran.

[A] third of urban Saudis said that they would approve "an American military strike against the Iranian nuclear facilities" if Tehran refuses to restrict its activities in this field. But a majority disagreed: one-third were "somewhat" opposed to such action, and the remaining third were "strongly" opposed. These responses showed modest variation by demographic categories. In Riyadh, for instance, 38 percent would support a U.S. strike, while in Jeddah, far to the west, the number dropped to 27 percent. Moreover, among Saudis with only an elementary-school education, 37 percent would support a military strike, but among those with a high school diploma or higher, the figure was 30 percent.

The poll data also include Egypt, where they are less willing to accept a strike on Iran, but more willing (barely, after 30 years of 'peace') to accept Israel as a Jewish state.

The poll data show that Egyptians are significantly less likely than urban Saudis to favor tough action against Iran. For example, the proportion of Egyptians who support new sanctions barely tops 40 percent and has declined moderately since June 2009, in contrast to the majority support in Saudi Arabia. Similarly, just one-quarter of Egyptians, compared to a third of Saudis, would support U.S. military action, and even fewer would approve an Israeli strike (17 percent).

At the same time, the Egyptian respondents were somewhat more likely to say that they could accept Israel as a Jewish state, although this remained a distinctly minority opinion (26 percent) even after thirty years of formal Egyptian-Israeli peace. As mentioned previously, the Egyptian survey was of a national sample that included both rural and urban respondents, but the differences on this question by type of residence were very small. Moreover, those who would accept Israel as a Jewish state were no more likely than others to approve an Israeli strike against Iran.

Peace is at hand? Not likely.

Israel Matzav: Three times as many Saudis favor Israeli strike on Iran as accept Israel as Jewish state

Israel Matzav: Israel seeks huge naval procurement package from Germany

Israel seeks huge naval procurement package from Germany

Earlier this week, part of Israel's cabinet traveled to Berlin for a joint meeting with the German government. Now, we know one of the items on the agenda.

Israel is seeking a 1 billion euro ($1.45 billion) naval procurement package from Germany, with much of the cost to be financed by Germany and the United States. The package includes an additional Dolphin diesel-electric submarine (Israel already owns two, one of which is pictured), torpedoes and two German-built warships.

The ships - stretched, 2,200-ton versions of the Meko A-100 - are the Israel Navy's preferred alternative to the U.S.-built Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), which the service rejected last year as unaffordable because of cost growth. At first, Israel lobbied to build the German ships under license at home, with the Israeli Treasury footing initial costs to establish a local warship-building industry.

But under the latest incarnation of the deal, Israel is proposing to build the ships in Germany, where they will be outfitted with Israeli radar and a comprehensive combat weapons suite. ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS), the Hamburg-based consortium building submarines for the Israeli Navy, is to be prime contractor, with Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) the likely lead integrator.

The proposed acquisition, Israeli defense and industry sources here say, depends not only on significant German funding, but on Washington's permission to use annual military aid to pay for raw materials, subsystems and engine parts destined for the non-U.S. ships.

Altogether, U.S.-produced content could reach $200 million for the estimated $650 million, two-ship program, which the Navy hopes to fund with Foreign Military Financing (FMF). In parallel, the program will draw on so-called U.S. Offshore Procurement funding - the portion of annual aid authorized for conversion into local shekels - to outfit the ships with Israeli technologies.

Read the whole thing. The way these deals are put together is fascinating to me. If Israel manages to pull off all the financing (which essentially means that Germany and the US will foot at least half the bill), it would be quite impressive.

Israel Matzav: Israel seeks huge naval procurement package from Germany

Israel Matzav: 'Palestinian' on 'Palestinian' violence you've probably missed

Palestinian' on 'Palestinian' violence you've probably missed

Tom Gross reports on some 'Palestinian' on 'Palestinian' violence that you won't see in the mainstream media.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) has issued a statement condemning the latest round of Palestinian-upon-Palestinian violence in Gaza. “In the past 4 days,” it said “unknown persons detonated bombs in a pharmacy and two coffee shops in the Gaza Strip. Such attacks are the result of the state of security chaos and proliferation of weapons in the Palestinian territory.”

The international media continues to ignore Palestinian-upon-Palestinian violence, which I report about occasionally on this email list. Instead some Western media and “human rights groups” have dishonestly added those Palestinians killed by other Palestinians onto death tolls of “Palestinians killed by Israelis”.

In further violence, two Palestinians were killed when the explosives they were carrying accidentally detonated near the town of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip. And in separate incidents, according to the PCHR, bombs were detonated in Gaza city in a hardware store, a billiard hall, a police vehicle and a private vehicle belonging to a member of the naval police.

I'd be curious to know how many of the targets of these bombs are either Christians or Fatah supporters. PCHR apparently didn't bother to mention that.

Israel Matzav: 'Palestinian' on 'Palestinian' violence you've probably missed

Israel Matzav: Israel's disproportionate response

Israel's disproportionate response

There's one incident that took place recently to which Israel has responded disproportionately. But of course, since paying attention to that response would result in praise for the Jewish state, most of the world is ignoring it. That disproportionate response is in Haiti.

Despite its small size, Israel sent a large contingent of highly-trained aid workers to quake-stricken Haiti. Two jumbo jets carrying more than 220 doctors, nurses, civil engineers, and other Israeli army personnel, including a rescue team and field hospital, were among the first rescue teams to arrive in Haiti. In fact, they were the first foreign backup team to set up medical treatment at the partially collapsed main hospital in Port-au-Prince. Yigal Palmor, Israel's Foreign Ministry spokesman said, "It's a large delegation and we're prepared to send more."

The international agencies that condemn Israel for its "disproportionate response" when it is attacked are not mentioning Israel's disproportionate response to human suffering. The U.S. has pledged 100 million and sent supplies and personnel. The U.K. pledged $10 million and sent 64 firemen and 8 volunteers. China, a country with a population of 1,325,639,982 compared to Israel's 7.5 million sent 50 rescuers and seven journalists. The 25 Arab League nations sent nothing.
But it's not just the field hospital. Last night, someone tweeted about giving an award to whoever is keeping CNN operating in Haiti. Well, guess what: It's the Israelis.
When devastation struck Haiti, Israel quickly dispatched its professional military relief team including evacuation and recovery experts aided by dogs from the Oketz ("Sting") canine unit and an extensive medical delegation that quickly deployed its fully operational field hospital in the soccer field of Port-au-Prince -- complete with surgeons and all, and a technical division that set up a communications and Internet network for coordination and video-conferencing with medical colleagues back home. The international press is also using the IDF network, as most other communications are down.
YNet reports on some of the praise that the Israeli rescuers have received.
ABC praised the Israeli mission which had assisted a birth using a complicated procedure. The network's reporter, himself a trained doctor, came across a woman on the point of giving birth. First he tried to assist, but when he got into difficulties he remembered the Israeli field hospital, called the Israeli consulate in New York and was directed to the IDF camp.

"I understood that they were looking for the Israeli mission," said Joel Lion, Israeli consulate spokesman. "I called the military attaché in Washington to get the address of the mission… then, via Blackberry, I managed to get the coordinates and direct them there."

When they arrived at the hospital, the young woman was taken in and eight hours later a healthy baby was born.

ABC reported extensively on the story, and even sent a letter of thanks to the Israeli representative in New York. "They were very moving moments. It was amazing to be party to saving life and bringing a baby into the world. And most amazing was that it was all directed via a cell phone," said Lion. "We will pass on the expressions of thanks to the doctors and the wonderful staff at the Israeli field hospital in Haiti."
Here's the ABC News story. Let's go to the videotape.

Disproportionate? I'm happy that's our response. I just wish more people appreciated it.

By the way, there are more pictures like the one at the top of this post available here.

Israel Matzav: Israel's disproportionate response
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