Monday, 25 January 2010

Israel Matzav: It's come to this, Part 1

It's come to this, Part 1

It's come to this.

The Obama administration is so desperate for talks, some kind of talks, any kind of talks between Israel and the 'Palestinians' that it has proposed that the parties hold direct (to satisfy Israel), 'low level' (to let Abu Bluff save face about not 'negotiating' with Israel) talks about something.

Palestinian sources familiar with Mitchell's weekend round of diplomacy said he had proposed confidence-building measures that would improve conditions in the Palestinian territories.


The confidence-building steps cited by Palestinians as areas they would be keen to discuss included the transfer of authority from the Israeli army to the Palestinians in more of the West Bank's territory, the removal of some Israeli checkpoints and release of a number of Palestinian prisoners.

These measures would be discussed at a meeting of senior ministers from each side, but not the top leaders.

Israeli political sources said they were not aware of specific secondary issues, such as prisoners, that might be discussed with the Palestinians -- they spoke rather of talks at a ministerial or lower level that would look at narrowing differences over "core issues" in suspended peace negotiations.

Core issues include the future borders of a Palestinian state, the status of Jerusalem and fate of Palestinian refugees.

A year of U.S. diplomatic efforts has so far failed to relaunch talks aimed at ending the decades-old conflict through a peace treaty agreeing to the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

"Holding a low-level meeting with the Israelis that tackles issues related to the daily life of Palestinians will not be an alternative to political negotiations," said the Palestinian official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.


The Palestinian official said Abbas would stick by his insistence on a full halt to Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, before any resumption of full peace talks. He has rejected a 10-month, partial Israeli freeze announced in November as insufficient.

On Sunday, US Special Middle East envoy George Mitchell left the region empty-handed, with the 'Palestinians' refusing to come to the table, disappointed over the 'lack' of US pressure on Israel, and insisting that they want a letter promising that they will get a 'Palestinian state' within the 1967 borders as the outcome before they agree to talk to any Israelis.

Isn't it amazing that thirteen months ago with George W. Bush in office, the parties were negotiating? I wonder what would have happened if the moron in the White House hadn't started up with a 'full settlement freeze.'


Israel Matzav: It's come to this, Part 1

Love of the Land: Help, not hate

Help, not hate

National Post (Canada)
25 January '10

(Note:UNWRA and UNRWA are used interchangeably)

Since last fall, the federal Conservative government has been withdrawing taxpayer funding from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that use their grants to take sides against Israel in the Middle East conflict. Now comes word that last week, Ottawa told the United Nations it would no longer fund the world body's Palestinian refugee agency. From now on, Canadian aid to Palestinians will be directed to specific projects. We will no longer give lump-sum aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNWRA), since most of that money simply goes straight into the Palestinian Authority's (PA) general treasury, where it might be used for humanitarian projects or might be used to arm and train terrorists.

This is a bold move for Ottawa, which is the first Western government to cut off funding for UNWRA.

Although UNWRA has long been a biased player in the Arab-Israeli conflict, it is seldom criticized for its incitement of anti-Israeli hatred and violence by Palestinians. It has funded textbooks that deny the right of Israel to exist and paid teachers who call on Palestinian children to push the Jewish state into the sea. It harbours radical Islamists and anti-Semites on its payroll and was even caught in 2004 using its own ambulances to ferry terrorists away from Israeli sites they had just attacked.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Help, not hate

Israel Matzav: Deja vu all over again: More F-35 snags

Deja vu all over again: More F-35 snags

When last we left the saga of Israel's order for the F-35 joint strike fighter, it looked likely that Israel would be able to get its technology into the plane, and that therefore it would place an order. Now, things have changed. Not only is the Pentagon unwilling to let Israel put its technology into the plane, it also wants maintenance work to be done outside Israel (Hat Tip: Tom Gross).

The Defense Ministry has told the Pentagon that it will purchase the stealth-enabled Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) if it is allowed to replace 50 percent of the systems with Israeli-made technology, defense officials said Tuesday.

According to the officials, the investment in purchasing the JSF - also known as the F-35 - would only be cost-effective if some of the money went back to Israeli defense industries. One example was the contract Israel Aerospace Industries won to produce wing boxes for F16s made by Lockheed Martin, also the primary contractor for the F-35.

The F-35 will be one of the most advanced fighter jets in the world and, according to the IAF, would significantly boost Israel's deterrence in the Middle East. The planes are expected to cost around $130 million each.

According to the official, Israel will not likely give up the demand to install its own electronic-warfare and radar systems on the plane. The Pentagon, the official said, had already approved some of Israel's demands, but was continuing to deny it access to the plane's internal computers which would prevent the installation of all of the systems the air force had requested.

"We need to retain a qualitative edge over the F-35s that will be sold," the official explained.

Another problem has been the US's refusal to allow Israel to independently maintain the aircraft. Under the current proposal, if a customer encounters a mechanical malfunction, the plane will have to be sent to a maintenance center, likely to be set up in Italy.

"This is not something we can live with," the official said. "Can you imagine that during a war we will send one of our aircraft to Italy to be fixed?"

Can you see Israel relying on the Italians(!) to fix our planes? Fat chance. That country still takes a siesta every afternoon as far as I know.

Israel Matzav: Deja vu all over again: More F-35 snags

Israel Matzav: Barack Obama's seven failures on Iran

Barack Obama's seven failures on Iran

In an article that's in Monday's JPost, Barry Rubin lists seven ways in which Barack Obama has failed on Iran.

First, the administration set a September deadline for instituting increased sanctions and then, instead of following a two-track strategy of engagement alongside pressure, postponed doing anything while in talks with Iran.

Second, it refused to take advantage of the regime's international unpopularity and growing opposition demonstrations due to the alleged rigged June election for the presidency. On the contrary, it assured the Iranian regime it would not do so.

Third, the administration set a December deadline should engagement fail, then refused to recognize it had failed and did nothing. It is the failure even to try to meet this time limit by implementing some credible action that has crossed the line, triggered the point of no return.

Fourth, the US government kept pretending that it was somehow convincing the Chinese and Russians to participate, while there was never any chance of this happening. Indeed, this was clear from statements repeatedly made by leaders of both countries. Now, this duo has sabotaged the process without any cost inflicted by the US while making clear they will continue doing so.

Fifth, high-ranking US officials still speak of their continued eagerness to engage Iran and mention at least six months more of discussion efforts before anything is done about sanctions.

Sixth, the administration now defines sanctions as overwhelmingly focused on the Revolutionary Guards, who it cannot hurt economically, thus signaling to the Iranian regime that it will do nothing effective to hurt the country's economy. This means that even if and when sanctions are increased, they will be toothless.

All of these steps tell Iran's regime: full speed ahead on building nuclear weapons; repress your opponents brutally and the US will do nothing.

After these six failures, the US is now - in effect - resting. And that is the seventh failure. There are no signs that anything is changing in Washington.

Read the whole thing.

Barry has an underlying assumption that Obama did not want Iran to obtain nuclear weapons. I'm not sure that assumption is correct. Suffice it to say that if the administration had set out to ensure that Iran would become a nuclear power and have nuclear weapons with which to threaten Israel and other countries, I'm not sure they would have needed to do anything differently.

Israel Matzav: Barack Obama's seven failures on Iran

Israel Matzav: Our national pride over what's going on in Haiti

Our national pride over what's going on in Haiti

As you might imagine, there's a lot of pride here over what's going on in Haiti. This is JPost editor-in-chief David Horovitz writing in the weekend edition.

OUR "LIGHT unto the nations" Haitian relief effort encapsulated much of what is best about our country - and encapsulated certain other aspects of our familiar reality, too.

It demonstrated our heartfelt desire to come to the assistance of others in the time of their greatest need, with no desire or expectation of reward. Crowds of Haitians cheering "Good job, Israel," over and over, as an Israeli team brought a survivor safely out of the wreckage of a Port-au-Prince building earlier in the week; the joyous, impulsive decision of Gubilande Jean Michel to name her new-born son "Israel" after doctors at the field hospital had ensured a healthy delivery - these were all the thanks the rescuers could have wished for. That, and the kind of simple, heartwarming "Shalom"s that our reporter in the disaster zone, E.B. Solomont, received whenever she mentioned that she was working for The Jerusalem Post. Shalom. Hello. Peace. One more Hebrew word than Haitians might have been expected to know.

The Israeli mission to Haiti also underlined our capacity to think and act fast and effectively - to pull together and surmount obstacles at a time of crisis. American TV stations reported that the US initially sent medical staff with no instruments. More than two dozen countries ultimately got involved in the relief effort, but most spent the most precious first hours and days working on plans to help, or running into all kinds of logistical difficulties - including finding the means to physically land their rescue planes in the post-quake chaos at the airport. Meanwhile, the Israeli teams, quietly, efficiently, and with a minimum of fuss, collected their personnel, their equipment and all their other essentials, somehow circumvented or cleared all the obstacles, and went to work.

As this week continued, the prospect of finding survivors diminished. But even when local Haitians called out to an IDF crew at one locale on Monday that "they are all dead," the rescue teams insistently maintained their search. A senior Israeli medical official had acknowledged early in the week that finding survivors as long as five days after such a disaster was just about possible, and after six days almost impossible. But day six came and went, and still the teams criss-crossed the capital. And they were vindicated, with survivors still pulled from the wreckage on day seven.

The US and others will doubtless contribute a great deal more than Israel can to the long-term process of rebuilding Haiti, but the Israeli medical efforts will also continue long after the international media spotlight has moved on. For while the hunt for survivors may be drawing to a close, the medical needs are far from fully addressed. As of mid-week, well over 2,000 people had found their way to the field hospital. IsraAID/FIRST and Magen David Adom teams were also overwhelmed at the scale of the requirements, with the IsraAID team treating 700 injured Haitians in the first four days of its work. Many Israeli medical personnel expect to be on the ground in Haiti for weeks more.


We can argue endlessly, and do, about the policies we adopt when grappling with the Palestinians. But there is one thing that our Haiti rescue outreach made emphatically clear, and that the Palestinians might want to ponder: If you're in trouble and you're not trying to kill us, there's no one like the Israelis to help you out.

Read the whole thing.

Here's Jonathan HaLevi, the Director General of Shaarei Zedek Hospital here in Jerusalem. The field of emergency medicine was invented at Shaare Zedek by Dr. David Appelbaum HY"D (may God avenge his blood - as I have discussed here many times, he and his daughter were murdered in a terror attack the night before the daughter's wedding was to have taken place).

THE REASON we're not surprised is because we know that we've been training for years for just these types of scenarios. We can also appreciate that Israel sees part of its mandate as a military and medical leader to make sure that expertise and know-how will benefit the international community should the opportunity present itself.

And so, as much as our enemies desire to paint the IDF solely as a hawkish, war-seeking powerhouse, this mission shows just the opposite to be true.

Admittedly, our adeptness in launching these types of operations stems from a history of confronting hostilities and being prepared to address every possible threat. I personally recall from my days as commander of a field hospital in the First Lebanon War that we set up such a field medical facility within hours and that "real-life" training was just one of many invaluable tests that would benefit the IDF Medical Corps in the future.

Over the years, the brave men and women of our army have recalled those lessons on all too many occasions, both here and just as often in ports of call in other parts of the world.

So when the news came across the wires last week that Haiti had been rocked by a devastating earthquake, the question was never if Israel would be there to respond, but only how soon.

Those of us involved in emergency management and disaster response know all too well that Israel has a unique advantage over most, if not all, nations in this discipline. Rarely does a week go by where somewhere in the country a major drill is not held in one of our hospitals in this specific area. Our protocols and emergency departments have become models for hospitals all around the world.

Despite our relatively small size and urban landscapes that pale in comparison to most of the West, our Home Front Command has made it a principal training objective to remain ever-ready for all types of disasters.

And finally, I wonder how Diane Sawyer will treat Israel in future reports after watching her awestruck in this one.

Let's go to the videotape.

Proud of this country's reaction to what's going on in Haiti? You'd better believe we are. Surprised? No, not at all.

Israel Matzav: Our national pride over what's going on in Haiti

Israel Matzav: Israeli company signs agreement for one of the largest cleantech investments evah

Israeli company signs agreement for one of the largest cleantech investments evah

Israeli electric car maker Better Place has signed an agreement with a group of investors led by HSBC to invest $350 million in its SECOND equity round of financing (that's a huge amount for a second round). The company is valued at $1.25 BILLION.

This Series B equity financing round features participation from new investors including HSBC, Morgan Stanley Investment Management, and Lazard Asset Management. These investors will join existing Series A investors including Israel Corp., VantagePoint Venture Partners, Ofer Hi-Tech Holdings, Morgan Stanley Principal Investments, and Maniv Energy Capital, among others, as shareholders of Better Place. For HSBC, which led the round with an investment of $125 million, the deal represents one of the largest financial investments of its kind.

As part of the deal, Kevin Adeson, HSBC head of global capital financing, will join the Better Place board of directors, and HSBC will own approximately 10% of the company's shares.

"Today marks the end of an extensive process with the outcome being a decision by one of the world's largest, most conservative banks, HSBC, to take the validating step of investing in a private company intent on bringing innovation to the trillion-dollar automotive and energy industries," said Shai Agassi, Better Place founder and chief executive officer. "The strong investment commitment and global relationships that HSBC, Morgan Stanley Investment Management and Lazard Asset Management bring to the table combined with the continuing confidence from our original investors enable us to scale up globally and execute our plan."

In welcoming Adeson to the Board, Idan Ofer, chairman of Better Place and Israel Corp., remarked, "Kevin and the entire HSBC team will bring more than just capital to the table. We expect that HSBC will help us to scale in Europe, China and beyond, and we're already seeing the value that they are bringing to the company and the board."

The company expects to have cars on the road by the end of 2011. Read the whole thing.

How come the 'Palestinians' don't do stuff like that? Oh, forgot. They're busy developing other products. Heh.

Israel Matzav: Israeli company signs agreement for one of the largest cleantech investments evah

Israel Matzav: Obama's rainbows

Obama's rainbows

At the end of an article in which he accuses President Obumbler of 'chasing rainbows,' former Defense Minister Moshe Arens comes up with this.

And who will tell Obama that in seeking a two-state solution, he is chasing the rainbow? Where is the person who - like the little boy in Hans Christian Andersen's tale who saw the emperor was not wearing any clothes - will tell the U.S. president that the two-state solution, at least for now, is an impossible dream, and that if he continues to pursue this dream he is in for more disappointment? It is not going to be any of his advisers, who urged him to demand a total freeze on building in Judea and Samaria and Eastern Jerusalem - thus making it possible for Abbas to stall on any negotiations with Israel. It is not going to be Obama's friends at J Street. And Netanyahu has evidently decided to play along, rather than confront Obama with alternate ideas.

What might these ideas be? The grain of an idea appeared the other day when Abbas suggested that the United States negotiate with Israel in his place. That, of course, won't lead anywhere. But how about Jordan negotiating in Abbas' stead? That would return some symmetry to the intractable problem, and correct the present asymmetry that continues to haunt the situation.

No one is going to tell Obama that the 'peace process' has no clothes. Not even - as Arens points out - Prime Minister Netanyahu. And neither King Abdullah nor any other Jordanian king is going to negotiate on the 'Palestinians' behalf - it would only serve to highlight that Jordan is 70% 'Palestinian' while the 'royal family' is not.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Obama's rainbows

Israel Matzav: US continues to hammer an ally

US continues to hammer an ally

There's a pattern here. The Obama White House continues to blame President Bush for everything that goes wrong for it, even though Bush has not been President for more than a year. It continues to treat its critics as enemies regardless of who they are or what their intent is (don't expect Scott Brown to be invited to the White House anytime soon). And it continues to pound allies long after they've given up. No, this isn't about Israel, although it very well could be. It's about Honduras.

The U.S. has formally recognized the November presidential election, and the State Department tells us it also recognizes the congress's second vote to remove Mr. Zelaya. So what's the problem?

It appears that State's pettiness still flows from the refusal of interim president Roberto Micheletti and his cabinet, from June to December, to cave to the U.S. demand that they reinstate Mr. Zelaya. In earlier acts of pique, State stripped the U.S. visas of Mr. Micheletti, his advisers and cabinet officials and even the entire Honduran Supreme Court. Last week it yanked more visas from members of the interim government.

Insofar as Mr. Micheletti is leaving office January 27, the only explanations for this pistol-whipping would appear to be: Don't mess with Uncle Sam's regional agenda, which since April's Summit of the Americas includes overtures to Hugo Chávez, Raúl Castro and Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega.

A day after the latest U.S. slap, Mr. Micheletti said he'll withdraw from public appearances for the remainder of his term. "I am going home to my house, for the peace of the nation and because I do not want to be an obstacle to the new government," he said.

Meanwhile, also under pressure from the U.S., President-elect Lobo said last week he will let Mr. Zelaya go to the Dominican Republic despite legal charges pending against him. The U.S. has been lobbying for a "get out of jail free" card for Mr. Zelaya. Mr. Lobo no doubt wants the foreign aid tap turned back on, so this arrangement benefits both sides. Prediction: Mr. Zelaya will join the Chávez network to make constant trouble for the region's democracies. And his U.S. visa will remain intact.

The Obama administration's treatment of a democratic ally is despicable. I hope the Netanyahu government is watching, because when the 'negotiations' with the 'Palestinians' fall apart, we are likely to get similar treatment.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: US continues to hammer an ally

Israel Matzav: Pigs fly: IDF and senior officers to compensate residents of destroyed outpost

Pigs fly: IDF and senior officers to compensate residents of destroyed outpost

Surprisingly (or maybe not given our Leftist court system), this rarely happens here.

The Jerusalem Magistrate's Court has ordered the IDF and several senior officers to pay NIS 432,000 [about $115,000 CiJ] in compensation to the residents of the Yad Yair outpost.

The IDF destroyed Yad Yair in September 2008, despite an interim order by the High Court to stay any demolition until the legality of the outpost could be determined.

Who'd a thunk it?

Here's the full story:

The story began in 1991, when a resident of the southern Shomron-Binyamin community of Dolev, Ya’ir Mendelson, was murdered by Palestinian terrorists. His neighbors wished to establish a community on the site of the murder, in keeping with the long-standing tradition of "a suitable Zionist response to terrorism.” It was ultimately decided to establish a military base there, named Yad Ya’ir, and in the coming years, a park, synagogue, and play center were also built on the site – under the watchful eyes of the army and at the initiative and dedication of residents of nearby Dolev and Talmon.


The army abandoned the site circa 2004, Goldmintz said, “after which began a period of constant Arab vandalism, which the army did not 'manage' to prevent. Over the course of time, the electric grid was destroyed, the synagogue was looted, the monument was defaced, and the synagogue was set ablaze no fewer than three times.

"Finally, after a group of radical leftists and Arabs set fire to the synagogue and even replaced the Israeli flags with PLO flags, we realized that we would have to do something - and we decided to start our own town there.” Meir, his wife Chana and their four children moved to the site, together with a group of students from Yeshivat Nachliel. “It required great self-sacrifice, as well as financial resources. The yeshiva helped out and held classes there, and nearby communities helped with fuel for the generator, guards and food for the yeshiva students. But we still had to deal with problems such as minimal housing conditions and getting back and forth to work and school”

After the army left, Meir emphasized, “we purchased the land from the Arab owners. It is our private property.”

Arab vandalism continued, however, and ultimately, in September 2008, IDF Division Commander Brig.-Gen. Noam Tivon ordered the site’s destruction. It took the IDF two days to do so, because the first time the army arrived, it called off the plans when it saw the size of the crowd standing ready to protect the town - some 300 Jews from nearby Jewish towns. Two days later, the army arrived in larger numbers and did the deed - even though word of a Supreme Court ruling to delay the action until 4 p.m. that day had already been received.

The army later claimed that the fax machine didn't work and that the order was not received until it was too late.

The excuses get worse. Read the whole thing.

Israel Matzav: Pigs fly: IDF and senior officers to compensate residents of destroyed outpost

Israel Matzav: Netanyahu: Israel not legally obligated to honor Oslo Accords

Netanyahu: Israel not legally obligated to honor Oslo Accords

Prime Minister Netanyahu said that Israel is not legally obligated to honor the Oslo Accords. There's only one problem: He said it in 1996.

On November 28, IMRA asked Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, after a press conference in Tel Aviv, the following question:

"Are you saying that Israel is legally obligated to honor the Oslo Accords despite the Palestinian violations?"

Netanyahu replied: "No. Israel is only obligated if the Palestinians honor the agreement."

And it wasn't just Netanyahu who said so. The Leftists who 'negotiated' the Oslo Accords said it too. That's how they got then-Prime Minister Rabin and the Knesset to sign off on them.

Netanyahu's position is consistent with the position taken by former Foreign Ministry legal adviser Yoel Singer, during a briefing of the Knesset law committee on December 14, 1993. Singer said then that even after signing, the agreement is reversible. If the Palestinians declare a state, for example, the agreement will be nullified. "If one side violates the agreement in a substantial way, it is clear that the other side does not have to fulfill its part," he explained (The Jerusalem Post December 15, 1993).

During the same briefing, Savir, who was the member of the Israeli team negotiating with the PLO in Cairo responsible for drafting the agreement to implement the Israeli-PLO Declaration of Principles, explained that the IDF will be able to go anywhere in the Palestinian autonomous area to defend Jewish lives. "There are no restrictions on the IDF," Singer told the committee. "The army's responsibility to protect Israelis is not restricted in time or space."

Liars all of them.

By the way, Singer has since moved to the United States. Something tells me it wasn't out of pride in the Oslo Accords' result.

Israel Matzav: Netanyahu: Israel not legally obligated to honor Oslo Accords

Israel Matzav: Olmert negotiator: 'Full peace is impossible, so let's just give them a state'

Olmert negotiator: 'Full peace is impossible, so let's just give them a state'

There was a conference on Thursday on the Geneva Initiative, a plan under which Israel would place itself inexorably on the road to national suicide. One of the speakers at the conference was Udi Dekel, who headed something called the 'negotiations task force' under former Prime Minister Ehud K. Olmert. This is what Dekel regards as 'progress.'

"I do not believe that in the foreseeable future there is a possibility of an agreement with the Palestinians on all the issues, especially on the problematic core issues," says Udi Dekel, who headed the negotiations task force in the previous government.


Dekel said at Thursday's conference that in spite of the difficulty in achieving a settlement the need for a change in the situation was urgent.

He proposed adoption of a plan floated by Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad under which the focus would be the swift establishment of a Palestinian state, with borders and security the first issues to be negotiated.

"The rest would be discussed in parallel but the establishment of a state would not be conditional on an overall agreement," Dekel said. "The two sides are not ready for this at the moment and we should not believe that there is a way to get the sides to understand that this is the only relevant solution in this time frame."

That has to be one of the stupidest ideas I have heard. It's completely based on wishful thinking. You GIVE them a 'state' and THEN you think they're going to 'negotiate' with you on 'refugees' and Jerusalem?

The idea looks even more stupid when you consider the way in which Dekel describes his experience negotiating with Abu Bluff and Abu Bald (Ahmad Qrei Abu Ala).

"The biggest mistake was that everything was based on the premise that nothing is agreed until everything is agreed," Dekel said. "We thought at the time that this could provide the necessary flexibility in the negotiations, but in practice, every time someone showed flexibility, the other side tried to pin him down. Therefore, I suggest that the model be changed and that whatever is agreed is implemented."

According to Dekel the Palestinians refused to show any flexibility in their positions during the talks, preferring to remain stalemated rather than lower their aspirations.

"The Palestinian approach was in principle the demand of 100 percent of their rights from 1967. The practical aspect interested them less. They are not willing to discuss any further compromise," he said. "We tried to build scenarios, some of them were imaginary, about specific compromises, but we found the Palestinians taking an approach of 'all or nothing.'"

And giving them a 'state' on a silver platter is going to change that approach?

I also mentioned recently that Israel has shifted its position on borders from being secure to expelling as few revenants as possible from their homes. That one shows up here.

"On the issue of security we are talking, first and foremost, on defensible borders. And when we look at the maps, in the end we evaluate the borders on the basis of how many residents we will not have to move from their homes and the defensible borders issue becomes of secondary importance."

Now I know that many of you are probably thinking, "Who cares? They're just a bunch of Leftists. Olmert's no longer in power," and other such thoughts. But consider this.

Dekel spoke on Thursday at a conference on the unofficial "Geneva Initiative" peace plan. Other participants included many members of the diplomatic corps.

Probably all of the holdovers from Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's predecessors, but very much still part of the diplomatic corps.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Olmert negotiator: 'Full peace is impossible, so let's just give them a state'

Israel Matzav: 'Palestinian' civil war watch: Six Dwaik aides arrested

'Palestinian' civil war watch: Six Dwaik aides arrested

Six aides to 'Palestinian Legislative Council' speaker Abdul Aziz Dwaik were arrested on Sunday night shortly after their boss held a press conference announcing that the Council would not dissolve on Monday when its four-year term is up. Dwaik is Hamas' most senior representative in the 'West Bank.'

They were taken into custody after the agents, who belong to the PA's General Intelligence Service, intercepted two cars carrying Dwaik and Hamas legislator Mahmoud Ramahai in Ramallah.

The six were identified as Firas Abed, Baha Farah, Khaldoun Mazloum, Murad Abu Baha, Ibrahim al-Sabi and Abdullah Ghanem.

Dwaik condemned the arrest of his aides as "an act of piracy" and "an assault on his parliamentary immunity." He also warned that the arrests could harm efforts by some Arab countries to achieve "national reconciliation" between Hamas and Fatah.

Dwaik urged PA President Mahmoud Abbas to "halt the process of lies and misinformation" regarding his desire to end the conflict with Hamas. He added that the arrests were an indication of the "continued moral, political and security deterioration of the Palestinian Authority policies in the West Bank."

The PLC speaker expressed fear that the latest move against his staff was part of a wider scheme aimed at launching a new offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

The arrests were prompted by Dwaik's announcement during the press conference that the PLC would not be dissolved when its four-year mandate expires on Monday. Dwaik also called for holding a new session of the PLC in the West Bank and Gaza Strip at the request of one-quarter of the legislators.

The PLC has not been able to meet over the past few years due to the crisis between Hamas and Fatah.

Dwaik justified the decision to extend the mandate of the PLC by arguing that it ends only when newly-elected members of the parliament are sworn in.

I wonder if the Dayton forces will do any better against Hamas than Dahlan's men did in Gaza. Then again, we'll probably never have to find out. The IDF is there to protect Fatah.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: 'Palestinian' civil war watch: Six Dwaik aides arrested

Israel Matzav: Ethiopian Airlines jet crashes after takeoff from Beirut

Ethiopian Airlines jet crashes after takeoff from Beirut

An Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737-800 crashed shortly after takeoff from Beirut International Airport early Monday morning.

The cause was not immediately known. But police ruled out terrorism and said the crash was likely weather-related. It had been raining heavily in Beirut on Sunday, and lightning had occasionally struck.

The jet had 90 passengers on board. As of this writing, four bodies have been recovered. The Boeing 737-800 took off around 2:30 a.m. for the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, said Ghazi Aridi, Lebanon's public works and transportation minister.

"The weather undoubtedly was very bad," Aridi told reporters at the airport. He added that the plane went down about 3.5 kilometers off the Lebanese coast.

Helicopters and naval ships were deployed to find the plane, but came up unsuccessful.


The plane was carrying 90 people, including 83 passengers and 7 crew members. Aridi identified the passengers as 54 Lebanese, 22 Ethiopians, one Iraqi, one Syrian, one Canadian of Lebanese origin, one Russian of Lebanese origin, a French woman and two Britons of Lebanese origin.

The wife of the French ambassador to Lebanon was on the plane, according to an embassy official who asked that his name not be used because of the sensitivity of the matter.

The weather here was quite rough last night (lots of wind and hail), but how did they rule out terrorism so quickly?
Israel Matzav: Ethiopian Airlines jet crashes after takeoff from Beirut

Israel Matzav: Mitchell's delusion

Mitchell's delusion

Business Week publishes a transcript of the Charlie Rose interview with US Special Middle East envoy George Mitchell in which Mitchell famously threatened that the US would withhold loan guarantees from Israel (Hat Tip: Shy Guy). I'm glad they published it, because had they not published it, I would have missed this little gem.

Why is President Obama's popularity so low in Israel? It's 4%.

I've heard the figure, but it's simply not true. A plurality supports him in Israel.

Mitchell really is living in an alternate reality. Plurality? As compared to what? He's dreaming.

Israel Matzav: Mitchell's delusion

Israel Matzav: Why Israel didn't attack Syria in 2006

Why Israel didn't attack Syria in 2006

I have discussed many times on this blog the belief of US neoconservatives that Israel would attack Syria during the Second Lebanon War. Yesterday, someone who claimed to know, told me that in fact we were explicitly told to attack Syria and that then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert refused.

According to my source, Olmert said that Israel would never destroy a secular Arab government.

It's believable that Olmert would say that, but I would argue that it's foolhardy. On the other hand, there are a lot of people here who believe that the US should have attacked Iran six years ago and not Iraq. That one might make sense in retrospect.

Israel Matzav: Why Israel didn't attack Syria in 2006

Israel Matzav: Israel's economy exceeds that of the OECD

Israel's economy exceeds that of the OECD

Israel is up for admission to the OECD in the near future, and we keep hearing about how we're on the verge of being ready to be classified as a developed rather than a developing economy. Yoram Ettinger points out in an email that we are far better than OECD countries in many ways:

1. London Economist (January 2010): Israel's 2009 economic performance, in face of global meltdown, suggests impressive growth in 2010. Israel's GDP grew in 2009 by 0.5%, compared to an average 3.5% decline in OECD countries: US - 2.5% decline, Japan - 6.5% decline, Germany - 4.9% decline, Britain - 4.7% decline, Italy - 4.8% decline, Ireland - 7.5% decline, etc. The Economist projects a 3.7% growth for Israel's 2010 economy and less than 7% unemployment (7.7% in 2009), compared with a 2.4% OECD growth and 8.8% OECD unemployment. Israel's inflation is projected to be 1.7%, compared to 3% in 2009 and OECD's inflation of 1.2% (1.3% in 2009).

Morgan Stanley raises growth forecast for Israel to 3.7%, beyond Bank of Israel's forecast of 3.5% (Globes, Jan. 18, 2010).

Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics (ICBS) reported (Israel Hayom daily, Jan. 1, 2010) a 2.9% budget deficit (% of GDP), which is higher than the 0.8% of 2008, but dramatically lower than most Western economies, some of which exceeded 10%. The ICBS also reported a 6.5BN trade balance surplus, a 75% increase in the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange and a 1.3% decline of GDP per capita, compared with a 2.2% increase in 2008.

2. Israel's high-tech holding its own. The number of Israeli high-tech companies, which enticed investment, remained high (447 compared with 483 in 2008), attesting to the attraction of Israel to venture capitalists. The volume of dollar invested decreased significantly, as a result of drying investment resources and lower market valuations: $1.1BN in 2009, in comparison with $2BN - 2008, $1.8BN - 2007, $1.6BN - 2006, $1.3BN - 2005, $1.5BN - 2004 and $1BN in 2003 (Ma'ariv, Jan. 19).

3. Microsoft expands R&D operations in Israel, adding a few scores of employees to the 600 currently employed (Globes, Jan. 6).

4. Merger & Acquisition of Israeli companies persist. DVTel acquired Israel's Ioimage for $80MN in stock (Globes, Jan. 13). DotHill acquired Israel's Cloverleaf for $113MN (Globes, Jan. 6).

5. Overseas VC investment in Israel. China's $1BN Zhejiang Sanhua invested $9.5MN in Israel's Heliofocus (Globes, Jan. 6). Europe's FilVest, which specializes in bio-med investment, led a $12MN round of private placement by Israel's Endogen - FilVest's first investment in Israel (Globes, Jan. 11).

Oracle, Pennsylvania's Susquehanna Growth Equity, Silicon Valley's Hyperion, Boston's Battery Ventures and Briatain's Stage One Ventures co-led a $10MN round of private placement by Israel's cVidia (Globes, Jan. 15). invested $9MN in Israel's Wisair (Globes, Jan. 12). Sequoia Capital participated in a $3MN fourth round by Israel's SunRad (Globes, Jan. 19). Virginia Life Sciences Investments led a $3MN seoncd round of private placement by Israel's Cupron n(Globes, Jan. 20).

I had a meeting yesterday with money managers who suggested that Israeli high tech companies are now eschewing VC funds because the funds took too high a percentage of their companies. Hmmm.

Israel Matzav: Israel's economy exceeds that of the OECD

Israel Matzav: Israel's greatest PR failure

Israel's greatest PR failure

Writing in Haaretz Reuven Pedatzur reminds us of the al-Dura fraud (Hat Tip: Snap Shots).

The story of Mohammed al-Dura was a tremendous propaganda victory for the Palestinians. But it was also Israel's biggest public relations failure, and it is unclear why. There is plenty of evidence showing that the story about the boy's death was a show skillfully orchestrated by the Palestinians.

What is troubling in this affair is that official Israel ignored the testimonies and investigations that began piling up immediately after the incident. The documentary by the German journalist Esther Shapira, and the investigation by French businessman Philippe Karsenty, raise suspicions that Palestinian cameraman Talal Abu Rahma who shot the footage that was delivered to France 2 meddled with the story. And many others were party to this effort.


Nonetheless, official Israel is silent. A golden opportunity to challenge the credibility of the Palestinian version on one of the most formative events in the history of the conflict is being missed, and it is hard to understand why. The IDF, more than once, has sinned in the excessive use of military force, which leads to the death of innocents. But when it turns out that in the Dura affair IDF soldiers did not hit a child and his father, those responsible for public relations at the IDF are silent, as is the Foreign Ministry. Thus Israel relinquishes the media front to the Palestinians, who are taking advantage of it with sophistication while using television stations that sympathize with their cause such as France 2.

Read the whole thing. One reason why 'official Israel is silent' may be to protect then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak whose political career just might be over if enough people here understood just how badly he messed up the al-Dura affair.

Israel Matzav: Israel's greatest PR failure

Israel Matzav: Mahathir: 'Jews had to be periodically massacred'

Mahathir: 'Jews had to be periodically massacred'

Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad was back in the new this week, telling the self-styles Conference for the Support of Al-Quds (Jerusalem) that the US faked the 9/11 attacks as an excuse to go to war with Muslims.

He also came up with this gem:

The former premier also blamed Jews for hindering progress in US foreign policy. Voicing his disappointment that Barack Obama had not yet ended the war in Afghanistan or closed the US terror detention center at Guantanamo, he explained that “there are forces in the United States which prevent the president from doing some things. One of the forces is the Jewish lobby.”

Jews “had always been a problem in European countries. They had to be confined to ghettoes and periodically massacred. But still they remained, they thrived and they held whole governments to ransom,” Mahathir said.

“Even after their massacre by the Nazis of Germany, they survived to continue to be a source of even greater problems for the world.”

Sounds just like Stephen Walt, doesn't he?

But Andrew Bolt asks the frightening question that we should be asking: For how many Muslims does Mahathir speak?

Read the whole thing (Hat Tip: Dave H).

Israel Matzav: Mahathir: 'Jews had to be periodically massacred'

Israel Matzav: Stephen Walt says Mitchell should resign

Stephen Walt says Mitchell should resign

Stephen Walt, who co-authored the infamous Israel Lobby (pictured) and is known as one of Israel's fiercest critics, called for US Special Middle East envoy George Mitchell to resign, in a blog post at Foreign Policy on Friday.

As for Mitchell himself, he should resign because it should be clear to him that he was hired under false pretenses. He undoubtedly believed Obama when the president said he was genuinely committed to achieving Israel-Palestinian peace in his first term. Obama probably promised to back him up, and his actions up to the Cairo speech made it look like he meant it. But his performance ever since has exposed him as another U.S. president who is unwilling to do what everyone knows it will take to achieve a just peace. Mitchell has been reduced to the same hapless role that Condoleezza Rice played in the latter stages of the Bush administration -- engaged in endless "talks" and inconclusive haggling over trivialities-and he ought to be furious at having been hung out to dry in this fashion.

The point is not that Obama's initial peace effort in the Middle East has failed; the real lesson is that he didn't really try. The objective was admirably clear from the start -- "two states for two peoples" -- what was missing was a clear strategy for getting there and the political will to push it through. And notwithstanding the various difficulties on the Palestinian side, the main obstacle has been the Netanyahu government's all-too obvious rejection of anything that might look like a viable Palestinian state, combined with its relentless effort to gobble up more land. Unless the U.S. president is willing and able to push Israel as hard as it is pushing the Palestinians (and probably harder), peace will simply not happen. Pressure on Israel is also the best way to defang Hamas, because genuine progress towards a Palestinian state in the one thing that could strengthen Abbas and other Palestinian moderates and force Hamas to move beyond its talk about a long-term hudna (truce) and accept the idea of permanent peace.

Walt goes on to recite the usual drivel about how 'peace' isn't breaking out all over because the Obama administration is unwilling to force Israel into what we 'all know' 'peace' should look like (this despite the 'settlement freeze'). As if 'peace' would suddenly break out if Obama the all-knowing would only do what needs to be done.

Shmuel Rosner sums this up by saying that maybe Mitchell is doing something right, and maybe he is. But more likely, the current impasse is because the 'Palestinians' still have not given up their goal of destroying the Jewish state (God forbid), a fact that - along with their refusal to come to the table - Walt doesn't even mention.

Israel Matzav: Stephen Walt says Mitchell should resign

Israel Matzav: Awesome: Lancet blames 'Palestinian' wife-beating on Israel

Awesome: Lancet blames 'Palestinian' wife-beating on Israel

What can you say about a 'people' whose problems are always someone else's fault? Yes, that's the 'Palestinians,' the world's number one whiners and complainers. This time, reports Phyllis Chesler, they've even gotten Lancet, Britian's premier medical journal, to present their crybaby narrative in which Israel is responsible because they beat their wives.

However, I once believed that Said’s paranoid perspective had primarily infected and indoctrinated only the social sciences, humanities, and Middle East Studies. We now see his malign influence at work in a new article, just out today, by professors who work at the Department of Medicine at Harvard University; the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health at Minnesota University’s School of Public Health; The Boston University School of Medicine; the School of Nursing at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey; and at the School of Social Work and Social Welfare at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University.

Their study is titled: “Association between exposure to political violence and intimate-partner violence in the occupied Palestinian territory: a cross-sectional study.” And yes, they have found that Palestinian husbands are more violent towards Palestinian wives as a function of the Israeli “occupation”—and that the violence increases significantly when the husbands are “directly” as opposed to “indirectly” exposed to political violence.

I believe that Arab and Muslim men, including Palestinian men, are indeed violent towards Arab and Muslim women. I also believe that war-related stress, including poverty, usually increases “intimate partner violence,” aka male domestic violence. But beyond that, how does one evaluate this study?


The study operated in exceedingly bad faith both academically and politically. For example, they write: “Occupation policies, including a separation barrier that is being erected in various parts of the West Bank, affect family connectedness, depriving women of regular contact with their families who might otherwise intervene to prevent intimate-partner violence.” Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim families do not intervene when a husband is beating a wife. On the contrary. Both the husband’s family and the wife’s own family view this as his right or as her fault. These researchers have got to know that. Thus, they are playing to western naivete or ignorance about this by claiming the Israeli road blockades are stopping such pro-woman family interventions.

I am not denying that war is Hell or that women do not often bear the brunt of war-related male frustration at home. I am challenging how Israel alone is being blamed in this study for a war that in truth, was declared long ago against the Jewish state by the Arab League, the Palestinian Authority, and more recently, by Hamas and Hezbollah. I am challenging the “politics” of both this study and of Lancet, whose aim is to scapegoat Israel for the barbarism and misogyny which is indigenous to Arab and Muslim culture, even more so, when jihad and terrorism dominate the world.

Read the whole thing.

Israel Matzav: Awesome: Lancet blames 'Palestinian' wife-beating on Israel

Israel Matzav: 'Palestinians' claim Gaza power plant may shut down

'Palestinians' claim Gaza power plant may shut down

The 'Palestinians' are complaining that Gaza's one and only power plant may have to shut down due to lack of fuel.

The Gaza Strip's power plant might halt operations within several hours due to fuel shortage, the Palestinian Maan News Agency reported on Sunday.

Deputy Head of the Palestinian Energy Authority said that "the amount of fuel that entered the Strip by the end of the month was only enough to operate one generator for an additional four days, after which we will have to halt the station's operations completely."

Two words: Buy fuel. You can buy all you want from Egypt.

By the way, anyone remember the last time the 'Palestinians' complained they were out of fuel. That turned out to be a lie too, didn't it?


Israel Matzav: 'Palestinians' claim Gaza power plant may shut down

Love of the Land: What Brown’s Election Should Teach Israel

What Brown’s Election Should Teach Israel

Evelyn Gordon
25 January '10

Former Israeli ambassador Yoram Ettinger notes that Scott Brown’s upset victory in Massachusetts offers an important lesson for Israelis: that American democracy revolves “around constituents and not around the President, Congress, or political parties.” To Americans, that doubtless seems obvious. But since Israel’s electoral system is not constituency-based, it’s a point often missed by Israeli leaders — with negative consequences for Israel’s foreign policy.

Israel is virtually the only Western democracy that still elects its legislature via closed nationwide lists. Israelis vote for a party, not a candidate, so general election voters have no say over which individuals occupy their party’s Knesset seats. This means they also have no way to punish individual legislators for unpopular positions or poor performance: As long as a Knesset member satisfies his party bosses, he can count on a “safe seat” next election, meaning a slot high enough on the party list to keep him in the Knesset even if the party loses seats.

Consequently, prime ministers have enormous power over rank-and-file MKs, far greater than what U.S. presidents enjoy. A president has no power to get a congressman reelected; that decision lies solely with the congressman’s constituents. But prime ministers have considerable power to get an MK reelected. Though all three major Israeli parties currently choose their Knesset slates via nationwide primaries, these slates are so riddled with “reserved seats” that a premier’s ability to shape his party’s list remains enormous — especially if he maintains good relations with “vote contractors” (key local activists) who can persuade large numbers of primary voters to vote a pre-approved list.

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: What Brown’s Election Should Teach Israel

Love of the Land: New report shows anti-Semitism in Europe at highest level since WWII

New report shows anti-Semitism in Europe at highest level since WWII

Robin Shepherd
Robin Shepherd Online
25 January '10

The figures confirm what our instincts have been telling us: anti-Semitism in western Europe has now reached its highest level since the end of World War II. A report released on Sunday by the Jewish Agency for Israel compiles figures from across Europe which make for disturbing reading (though not if you read the BBC’s website since the story has been ignored!).

According to the Jerusalem Post’s coverage of a press conference at which the report was unveiled:

“In France, 631 incidents occurred in the first half of 2009, compared with 431 in 2008. In Britain, some 600 anti-Semitic incidents took place during 2009 [the largest number since records began]. In the Netherlands, some one hundred incidents were noted [in the three months] following the Gaza incursion, the same number as the country had witnessed the entire previous year.”

The report also warned of the re-emergence of the medieval blood libel in mainstream media outlets such as the notorious article in Sweden’s top selling Aftonbladet newspaper alleging a Jewish conspiracy in which Israeli soldiers were harvesting the bodily organs of Palestinian children for sale on the international black market.

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: New report shows anti-Semitism in Europe at highest level since WWII

Love of the Land: France FM:Hezbollah is Lebanon’s problem

France FM:Hezbollah is Lebanon’s problem

22 January '10

Lebanon Prime Minister Saad Hariri met French President Nicolas Sarkozy at the Elysee Palace. Following their meeting Hariri said :

- The French president expressed his country’s willingness to aid the army and Internal Security Forces with light and heavy equipment.
- Sarkozy expressed his full support for the Special Tribunal for Lebanon and for achieving justice.
- Credited France for the role it played in improving the Lebanese-Syrian relations, and said what concerns us is a state-to-state relation which benefits both people.
- France wants to hold a peace conference in Paris and that he encouraged Sarkozy about this “because we can’t remain where we are now and because the whole region needs peace.”

France was reportedly worried that providing the Lebanese army with weapons, including missiles for the Gazelle helicopters, could end up in Hezbollah hands. This is exactly the same concern the US has and that is why the US has been very reluctant to provide the army with sophisticated weapons.

The Lebanese Air Force has reportedly used up all its missiles against Fatah al-Islam militants during the battle of Nahr el-Bared in 2007 and for this reason Hariri asked France to provide Lebanon with Gazelle missiles

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner has reportedly told the Lebanese delegation that Hezbollah and not Israel is the main danger for Lebanon and that the concerns in Lebanon over an Israeli attack are unjustified .

“Israel is our friend, and if there was a threat to Lebanon, it will only come from a military adventure carried out by Hezbollah in the best interest of Iran,” Kouchner warned.

Love of the Land: France FM:Hezbollah is Lebanon’s problem

Love of the Land: Too Much to Bear

Too Much to Bear

Aussie Dave
25 January '10

While I waded in the filth that is Richard Silverstein’s blog, I noticed a post of his on an article about Israel’s rebuttal to the Goldstone Report ( In particular, this reaction:

On a final note, I was also astonished that B’Tselem allowed itself to become part of Bronner’s case that Israelis universally condemn Goldstone’s claim of a deliberate Israeli plan to destroy civilian infrastructure:

“I do not accept the Goldstone conclusion of a systematic attack on civilian infrastructure,” said Yael Stein, research director of B’Tselem. “It is not convincing.

This is too much to bear. Anyone who has visited Gaza or lives there can see with their own eyes that this is simply wrong. The schools, mosques, parliament, civilian ministries, factories, UNWRA food warehouse, everything it takes to make a society–virtually all of it was systematically destroyed. And Israeli generals during the war essentially conceded this point by claiming that every Gazan was presumed either a combatant or supporter of Hamas, and therefore a likely combatant. Israel soldiers themselves reported Gaza was a virtual free fire zone in which anything that moved whether civilian or not was considered a target. 1,100 of the 1,400 Gazans killed by the IDF were civilians, which further underscores either a willful campaign to target civilians or a strategy that accepted the decimation of the civilian population as a corollary of the approach.

I generally admire B’Tselem’s human rights work. But in this they have fallen down hard and deserve criticism.

This reaction speaks volumes about Silverstein and others like him. Notice how he is completely unwilling to accept a scenario in which Israel did not deliberately kill innocent people, even to the point of making the emotional statement “This is too much to bear.”

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: Too Much to Bear

Love of the Land: When Peace Is Not a Priority

When Peace Is Not a Priority

P. David Hornik
25 January '10

U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell is here in Israel again, and it’s not stirring much excitement or even interest. On Sunday he met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with the latter saying Mitchell had “interesting ideas” on how to get Israeli-Palestinian talks going again but not saying what the ideas were.

On Friday Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas reiterated to Mitchell his refusal to talk with Netanyahu absent a total ban on Jewish building in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) and East Jerusalem. Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said the fact that Israel had positions at all—on not giving up every inch of the West Bank, on the demilitarization of a future Palestinian state—made negotiating with Israel impossible.

Based on his statements to Time magazine’s Joe Klein last week, it can be surmised that President Barack Obama is not all that surprised by Mitchell’s inability to get anything moving.

“This is just really hard,” Obama told Klein.
“Even for a guy like George Mitchell…. Both sides—the Israelis and the Palestinians—have found that the political environment, the nature of their coalitions or the divisions within their societies, were such that it was very hard for them to start engaging in a meaningful conversation…. From Abbas’ perspective, he’s got Hamas looking over his shoulder and, I think, an environment generally within the Arab world that feels impatient with any process.
“And on the Israeli front—although the Israelis, I think, after a lot of time showed a willingness to make some modifications in their policies, they still found it very hard to move with any bold gestures….”

It is easy to poke holes in Obama’s evenhandedness here: the fact that while Netanyahu has been ready at all times to negotiate with Abbas, with not even his most right-wing coalition partners objecting to negotiations per se, it is Abbas who has stonewalled; the fact that it was not “after a lot of time,” but very quickly—in a matter of months since taking office—that Netanyahu made quite bold gestures of reversing his lifelong opposition to a Palestinian state and then announcing an unprecedented ten-month settlement freeze in Judea and Samaria, none of which has sufficed to lure Abbas back to the table.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: When Peace Is Not a Priority

Love of the Land: Are Rock attacks really dangerous?

Are Rock attacks really dangerous?

The Muqata
24 January "10

There's been a marked escalation of Palestinian rock throwing lately on the roads.

The Jerusalem Post caught some attacks on video in Hevron -- as Palestinian kids throw rocks at their neighboring Jewish homes.

And then, there are rock attacks on Jewish motorists.

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: Are Rock attacks really dangerous?

Love of the Land: Obama chasing rainbows with two-state solution

Obama chasing rainbows with two-state solution

Moshe Arens
25 January '10

(Good analyses to start but weaker conclusion. Y)

"I'll be honest with you, this is just really hard. This is as intractable a problem as you get ... We overestimated our ability to persuade them ... If we had anticipated some of these problems, we might not have raised expectations as high," U.S. President Barack Obama confided to Time magazine last week, regarding his efforts to advance the peace process in the Middle East. He is clearly disappointed, but insists he will continue to work on a two-state solution.

It is not just that, during this past year, Obama has learned what old Middle East hands have known all along - that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is an intractable problem - but also that intractable problems do not easily get solved, if they are at all soluble, even when the president of the United States weighs in with full force.

It is hard to be optimistic regarding the continuing U.S. efforts in this matter, since the president seems to have his mind set on the two-state solution, "in which Israel is secure and the Palestinians have sovereignty." That aim has been pursued by many ever since the ill-fated Oslo Accords signed by Yitzhak Rabin and Yassir Arafat in Washington, D.C. almost 17 years ago. Whereas there might have been some reason to expect at the time that Arafat, who seemed to enjoy the support of most of the Palestinians in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, as well as in much of the Arab world, would be able to implement any peace agreement he might eventually sign with Israel - it turned out that he had no intentions of reaching such an agreement, and those who knew the Palestinian leader realized even then that he had no such intentions. It was another case of wishful thinking being applied to attempts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Obama chasing rainbows with two-state solution

Love of the Land: Hamas' response to Goldstone?

Hamas' response to Goldstone?

Elder of Ziyon
24 January '10

Dia Al Madhoun, a Hamas judge and head of the Central Committee to Document and Prosecute Zionist War Criminals, has claimed that everything Hamas did during Operation Cast Lead was legal in international law.

In an article in the Al Qassam Brigades website, al-Madhoun lays out his "legal" arguments.

Firstly, he says, the rights of Hamas to use rockets and other weapons is protected by international law, and he brings as proof a UN General Assembly resolution from 1970 (25/2621) which "Reaffirms the inherent right of colonial peoples to struggle by all necessary means at their disposal against Colonial powers which suppress their aspiration for freedom and independence."

He doesn't mention that GA resolutions have no force under international law, before even getting to whether Gaza is "occupied" or whether Jews returning to their homeland are "colonialists."

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: Hamas' response to Goldstone?

Love of the Land: Goldstone and 1701

Goldstone and 1701

Soccer Dad
24 January '10

Today's NYT reports Israel Poised to Challenge a U.N. Report on Gaza :

Israel, which had refused to cooperate with the investigation, at first dismissed the report as unworthy of attention. But the government quickly found that the world took it quite seriously and found itself accused of premeditated war crimes. It now considers fighting that charge a priority.

"We face three major strategic challenges," Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said recently. "The Iranian nuclear program, rockets aimed at our civilians and Goldstone."

The rebuttal will be given to United Nations officials in the coming weeks and its contents will remain under wraps until then.

Overall the report isn't bad. A couple of paragraphs, I think are especially good.

Maj. Gen. Avichai Mandelblit, the Israeli military advocate general, said in an interview that those assertions went beyond anything of which others had accused Israel.

"I have read every report, from Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the Arab League," he said at his desk in the military's Tel Aviv headquarters. "We ourselves set up investigations into 140 complaints. It is when you read these other reports and complaints that you realize how truly vicious the Goldstone report is. He made it look like we set out to go after the economic infrastructure and civilians, that it was intentional. It's a vicious lie."

Another senior military official who spoke on the condition of anonymity following regular military practice, said that neither the military command structure nor the government wanted to invade Gaza in December 2008, but felt that the continual rocket attacks by Hamas on Israeli civilians forced their hand. The war, he said, followed the least aggressive of three contemplated routes -- conquer Gaza and occupy it again as was done in the West Bank in 2002, retake Hamas's weapons supply routes and hold them to dry out the organization's arsenal, or attack the Hamas military and state infrastructure and leave. It was the third that occurred.

However, there are a few omissions that are worth mentioning. Bronner reports:

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: Goldstone and 1701
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