Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Love of the Land: Hamas' Line of Defence to Goldstone Report

Hamas' Line of Defence to Goldstone Report


Jonathan Dahohah HaLevi
Shalomlife
02 February '10

Israel has recently delivered to the United Nations Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon its official response to the UN’s fact finding mission to Operation Cast Lead, headed by Judge Richard Goldstone. Hamas’ government is also preparing to submit its official response before the grace period of six months set to the parties by the Goldstone committee is over.

In sharp contrast to the genuine fears expressed by Israel, Hamas does not seem to feel any threat in the legal arena. On the contrary, Hamas demonstrates self confidence based on the understanding that the Goldstone committee strived only to incriminate Israel and all other limited references to the other side were just for lip service without any legal significance. Musa Abu Marzouq, Hamas’ second in command, said in this regard in an interview to Al-Mashahid Al-Siyasi newspaper (December 8, 2009) that “All paragraphs in the Goldstone report convict Israel and totally exonerate Hamas from any misconduct... Likewise, the [Goldstone] report exonerated Hamas from all other accusations mentioned by Israel and even when the [Goldstone] report is dealing with the rockets which were launched from the Gaza Strip it speaks about military groups without naming Hamas.”

Hamas’ line of defence vis-à-vis the Goldstone report has been shaped by a group of Palestinian jurists headed by Diya Al-Din Muhsin Al-Madhoun, former legal adviser to Ismail Haniyeh (Hamas Prime Minister) and today chairman of the Tawtheeq (documentation) organization that was the key factor assigned by Hamas’ government, on which the Goldstone committee relied for sources of information in its fact finding mission. In series of interviews to the media, Madhoun elaborated as follows Hamas’ main legal arguments of its would be response to the Goldstone report assumed to be delivered in the near future to the UN secretary general.

(Read full article)


Love of the Land: Hamas' Line of Defence to Goldstone Report

Israel Matzav: 'No problem doing that uranium deal'

'No problem doing that uranium deal'

I debated whether to even mention this, but it probably rates a brief comment. Iran has decided that it has 'no problem' trading its low enriched uranium for high enriched uranium from the West. Again.

A long-dormant proposal to remove the bulk of Iran's enriched uranium from the Islamic republic appeared to be revived Tuesday as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran had "no problem" with a deal initially brokered by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The deal, which Iran formally rejected weeks ago, would swap low-enriched uranium for fuel for a research reactor that produces medical isotopes. "If we allow them to take it, there is no problem," Ahmadinejad said on state TV. "We sign a contract to give 3.5 percent enriched uranium and receive 20 percent enriched ones after four or five months."

Will Ahmadinejad really do this deal? Well, he might if that story I ran on Saturday night is correct and he's going to announce next Thursday that he already has his own supply of 20% enriched uranium. In the meantime, he's just playing for time, because it's just so easy to play with the Obama administration.

"There is a still a deal on the table. The question is: Is he prepared to say yes," said State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley. He noted that when Iranian diplomats met with U.S. officials in Geneva in October, "they said yes, and then they said no."

Crowley said he was "unaware of a formal response" by Iran to the International Atomic Energy Agency changing its stance. "If Mr. Ahmadinejad's comments reflect an updated Iranian position, we look forward to Iran informing the IAEA," said White House spokesman Mike Hammer.

As if that's going to solve the problem.

And don't expect the Obami to back regime change either.

Asked in an MSNBC interview whether it is time to think about regime change in Iran, Biden said that "the very people marching" in anti-government demonstrations are "thinking about regime change."

The United States has "moved in the right direction in a measured way" to impose sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program, Biden said. "We're going to end up much better off than we would have if we tried to go in there and just physically changed the regime."

You can smell that bull dung all the way over here.

Jennifer Rubin adds:

Surprised that the Obami are willing to be trifled with some more? You shouldn’t be. Recall that the crippling sanctions they promised us in the event that engagement didn’t work were being unilaterally negotiated downward as Hillary Clinton and others dutifully explained that their aim was to “leave the door open.” Open for what? More flimflammery by the Iranian regime, of course.

...

The Obami, you see, have a new lease on engagement, another excuse (as if they needed more) to refrain from taking action that might imperil the Iranian regime and deny it the international breathing room it craves. Oh, and are we going to be “bearing witness” to the nine upcoming hangings? No word yet. We eagerly await the next heartfelt statement of sympathy from Foggy Bottom on the deaths of those who can no longer count on the U.S. to aid in the fight for democracy.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: 'No problem doing that uranium deal'

Israel Matzav: Whose side is he on anyway?

Whose side is he on anyway?

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is here visiting, and it's been going quite well. Berlusconi condemned the Goldstone Report for trying to "incriminate Israel for its legitimate response" to Palestinian rocket attacks.

He announced that the World cannot accept a nuclear armed Iran, and called on the international community to pursue stronger sanctions against the terror regime. "

We cannot accept the nuclearization of a country whose leaders have explicitly expressed their desire to destroy Israel, have denied the Holocaust and delegitimized the Jewish state," Berlusconi said, in remarks translated into Hebrew simultaneously.

"We cannot make compromises," he said. "The path that must be taken is multilateral oversight, negotiations and sanctions" against Iran.

He called for Israel to be a member of the European Union (thanks, but no thanks - can you see us with our foreign policy run by Lady Catherine Ashton?).

He listened attentively as Deputy Prime Minister Sylvan Shalom asked him to get Iran's Revolutionary Guards declared a terror group.

And then he went to visit Abu Bluff and came up with this line:

"Whenever war takes the place of peace, whenever violence takes the place of reason, humanity disappears. The relationship between men that should always be kept intact disappears," Berlusconi said at a joint news conference with Abbas. "So just as it's right to cry for the victims of the Shoah, it's right to show pain for what happened in Gaza."

Yes, of course. The 'concentration camp' in Gaza is just like the ones in Poland, isn't it?


I guess while he was here, he was just saying what he thought we wanted to hear. I heard he does the same thing with 18-year old girls - he tells them what he thinks they want to hear.

There's a lesson here somewhere. I leave it to all of you to find it. In the meantime, I hope someone punches Berlusconi in the face again.
Israel Matzav: Whose side is he on anyway?

Israel Matzav: North Korea resumes military aid to Syria

North Korea resumes military aid to Syria

For the first time since Israel bombed Syria's North Korean-built al-Kibar nuclear reactor in September 2007, North Korea has resumed military aid to Syria.

For the first time since the Syrian reactor was bombed in September 2007, North Korea has renewed its supply of sensitive military technology to Damascus, according to a report Tuesday in Japanese business newspaper, Nikkei.

Western intelligence sources told the newspaper that North Korea is aiding Syria in the production of maraging steel, which is extremely durable at high heats and pressure. It is typically used in missile skins, ballistic warheads, and gas centrifuges critical in the uranium enrichment process. Its durability and malleability makes it ideal to for creating thin missile skins capable of carrying heavier payloads.

The West and Japan restrict the export of maraging steel.

According to the report, a production line for the material was built at the military factory in the city of Homs, in northern Syria.

North Korea, in defiance of the West, does not restrict its export of the special nickel-alloy steel, and has supplied Syria with a melting furnace and molding tools necessary for making the steels at their Homs plant.

The report reveals that North Korean experts are training Syrian engineers how to produce the specialized steel. Sources told the newspaper that the production line will be complete if equipment for handling waste and for chemical tests and other analyses are supplied.

What could go wrong?


Israel Matzav: North Korea resumes military aid to Syria

Love of the Land: Kicking the Palestinian Habit

Kicking the Palestinian Habit


P. David Hornik
FrontPageMag.com
02 February '10

Conspicuous for its absence in President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address last week was any mention of what is variously called the Arab-Israeli conflict or the Middle East peace process. Israeli analyst Yoram Ettinger suggests that this “reflects a US order of priorities and, possibly, a concern that mediation in the Arab-Israeli conflict does not advance—but undermines—Obama’s domestic standing.”

Conceivably, a similar premise underlies Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent demonstrative acts in favor of settlement in the West Bank. Last week, just after a meeting in Jerusalem with U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell, Netanyahu marked the tree-planting holiday of Tu Bishvat by planting trees in public ceremonies in the Jerusalem-area West Bank settlements of Kfar Etzion and Maale Adumim. He capped it off on Friday with a tree-planting ceremony in Ariel, a settlement somewhat deeper in the West Bank in Samaria. There Netanyahu suggested that the settlement was a crucial part of Israel:

“Everyone who understands the geography of Israel know how important Ariel is. It is the heart of our country. We are here where are forefathers were, and we will stay here.”


And on Sunday Benny Begin, son of the former prime minister and a member of Netanyahu’s inner security cabinet, took part in a cornerstone-laying ceremony in yet another West Bank settlement, Beit Hagai, and said:

“The state of Israel and the people of Israel have interests in Judea and Samaria [West Bank] and in Jerusalem, which are not only security-related, but based on an ancient affiliation.”


Considering that in November Obama harshly criticized Israel for planning to build within a neighborhood of Jerusalem, also conspicuous for its absence, so far, is any public U.S. rebuke of Netanyahu or Begin for these gestures.

(Read full article)


Love of the Land: Kicking the Palestinian Habit

Israel Matzav: And then there were 53

And then there were 53

Last week, I reported on a letter signed by 54 Democratic members of the House of Representatives who called on President Obama to pressure Israel to lift its 'blockade' of Gaza. Now, one of those representatives is apparently backing off.

At least one of the signatories to the letter, U.S. Representative Yvette Clarke (D-NY), has apparently withdrawn her signature, change her political attitude when the issue hit a little closer to home. A long-standing representative of the Brooklyn community of Crown Heights, Clarke recently joined a photo-op snapped with Brooklyn Jewish community leaders who had gathered donations for the earthquake-stricken people of Haiti.

“We all see the swift and expert work of Israeli doctors and rescue teams on the ground almost immediately following the 7.0 earthquake,” she told reporters covering the event at the time. “The Jewish response to the pain of others is legendary -- and today's gathering is a continuation of the special heart the Jewish community always shows in times of crisis.”

The dissonance was striking, noted Jewish leaders, between Clarke's warm praise for Israel's aid in Haiti – an island which represents the origin of a huge segment of her voter constituency – and her signature on the letter censuring Israel's blockade of the terrorist-controlled region of Gaza.

In a followup, a group of Jewish community activists and top local and national Jewish community leaders met earlier this week with the Congresswoman to question her about the matter, according to Yeshiva World News.

The result was an “open letter” issued by Clarke's office disavowing her signature on the letter accusing Israel of collective punishment in Gaza. The open letter also disavowed her participation in another letter she had co-signed in support of the Goldstone report. The second letter came out against last November's Congressional resolution calling on U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to unequivocally oppose the United Nations' Goldstone Report accusing Israel of guilt in committing war crimes in Gaza.

“These letters are uneven in their application of pressure and do not sufficiently present a balanced approach/path to peace,” Clarke wrote in her new letter. The Congresswoman claimed that the two earlier letters did not “reflect [her] record with regards to Israel” and “have a provocative and reactionary impact, as they do not provide a complete, and therefore accurate, picture of the situation.”

I wonder how many of the remaining 53 have Jewish districts. I reported on another one already. It sounds like the Jewish community needs to do some politicking.


Israel Matzav: And then there were 53

Israel Matzav: Some Christian groups upset over Im Tirtzu ad; Chazan told not to come to Australia

Some Christian groups upset over Im Tirtzu ad; Chazan told not to come to Australia

On Monday, I reported on an ad that was placed in the Hebrew Maariv over the weekend by Im Tirtzu (if you will it), a small Right wing group that gets at least some of its funding from Christian groups in the United States. The ad attacked the Leftist New Israel Fund for funding organizations that provided 92% of the information in the Goldstone Report that attacked Israel.

I now have a copy of the ad in English for those of you who are Hebrew-challenged.

JPost reports that some Christian groups are upset about the ad.
"Although we are often demonized by our critics, CUFI never demonizes those with whom we disagree, and we object when anyone does," CUFI spokesman Ari Morgenstern told JTA.

...

John Hagee Ministries, founded by the pastor who founded CUFI, donated a total of $200,000 to Im Tirtzu in 2008 and 2009, citing its pledge toward "public advocacy on behalf of the State of Israel and of Zionism on campuses," Morgenstern said.

Hagee Ministries did not have advance knowledge of the campaign, he said. A number of liberal pro-Israel groups have decried the ad and other attacks on NIF and human rights groups in Israel.

One of them, J Street, made an issue of CUFI's funding of Im Tirtzu -- the same guilt-by-association tactic that Im Tirtzu had used against NIF.

"This is a pro-settler group, with $100,000 of funding from Christians United For Israel, a conservative Christian Zionist organization run by Pastor John Hagee, who once stated that God sent Hitler to drive Jews to Israel," the statement said, citing an eschatological analysis from the late 1990s that Hagee has since said he regrets.

Morgenstern said the tactic was outrageous.

"This link is part of a pattern of blatant mischaracterizations of CUFI by J Street that I think is indicative of their effort to shut divergent opinions out of the pro-Israel dialogue," Morgenstern said.
By the way, according to JTA's Ron Kampeas,
Hagee has repudiated it said he regrets the sermon,* and, most perniciously, it was never as if Hagee was wishing for another Hitler -- it was a clumsy theological explanation of an inexplicable time. "Daddy, where was God during the Holocaust?" my 9-year old blurted out from the back seat the other day, and as much as it pains me to confess it, I couldn't come up with anything smarter than Hagee's explanation (although I knew better than to try -- "That's a good question for Rabbi Amy" was my wimpout answer.)
But there's someone who was more upset about the ad than CUFI: The Jewish community of Melbourne, Australia. They were so angry at Naomi Chazan and the New Israel Fund when they saw the ad that they canceled Chazan's trip to Australia that was scheduled for next week.
In light of allegations contained in a report by the Zionist student organization Im Tirtzu, which accused the New Israel Fund of direct responsibility for the UN’s Goldstone Report on the IDF’s Gaza offensive last winter, The Jerusalem Post has learned that an invitation for NIF chairwoman Prof. Naomi Chazan to speak at a synagogue and Jewish community center in Melbourne, Australia, this month has been canceled.

According to a former member of the Melbourne Jewish community now living in Israel, Chazan had been invited to speak as part of a United Israel Appeal fund-raiser at Temple Beth Israel and the Beth Weizmann Community Center in Melbourne next weekend, but the allegations raised by the Im Tirtzu report had “sparked an enormous backlash” among community members there and the invitation had been rescinded.

...

"People were shocked when they learned about [the report],” the Melbourne Jewish community member, who asked to remain unnamed, told the Post. “From what I understand, there was a huge public upheaval with regards to Chazan’s visit after the report was made public.”

The invitation to bring Chazan to Melbourne had been extended by the Union of Progressive Judaism – the Australian equivalent of the Reform Movement – which is one of 51 organizations that belong to the Zionist Council of Victoria.

According to ZCV President Dr. Danny Lamm, news of the report, and the Hebrew copy of it found on Im Tirtzu’s Web site, had generated angry responses throughout the Melbourne Jewish community and the decision was made to withdraw Chazan’s invite.

“The activities of the NIF are anathema to Zionist groups such as ours, and frankly, we’re just not interested in having anything to with it,” Dr. Lamm told the Post by telephone from Melbourne on Tuesday.

“It’s not new to me, or many of us, that the NIF has supported groups that have damaged Israel and will continue to do damage to Israel, but others were surprised by this,” he added.

Lamm made it clear that the Zionist Council of Victoria represented all branches of Jewish political and religious affiliation, “from Likud to Meretz” and that they would “never bar anybody from the left just as they wouldn’t bar anyone from the right.

“But the sort of stuff the NIF supports is so far removed from the community here,” Lamm added, saying “it was decided that Chazan’s public appearances be canceled.”
Well good for them. It's about time Israel's Leftists started feeling some consequences for their actions.

Traitors.
Israel Matzav: Some Christian groups upset over Im Tirtzu ad; Chazan told not to come to Australia

Love of the Land: Eyeless on Gaza

Eyeless on Gaza


Zalman Shoval
Op-Ed/JPost
02 February '10

Last week, 54 members of the US House of Representatives, including such long-time opponents of Israel as Jim McDermott of Washington and Keith Ellison from Minnesota (both Democrats), signed a letter asking President Barack Obama to pressure Israel to “ease the blockade on the Gaza Strip.” The 54 congressmen asked the president to “press for immediate relief for the citizens of Gaza, to ease the movement of people in and out of Gaza and also to allow the import of building materials.”

Ellison, America’s first Muslim member of the House, had previously criticized the congressional resolution to reject the notorious Goldstone Report which Alan Dershowitz has rightly labeled “a defamation written by an evil man,” comparing it to The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

One may assume that some of the signatories, perhaps ignorant of the facts, were indeed motivated by a genuine concern for the lot of people living in Gaza, but most were clearly prompted by their antagonism toward Israel. Not only that by no objective judgment could the majority of the population in Gaza be held totally noncomplicit in, or at least unaware of, Hamas’s terrorist activities against Israeli civilians. Nor is it a secret that Gaza is still ruled by an organization which denies Israel’s very right to exist and is actively engaged in planning terrorist activities even as I write this article.

But on a practical level, it is hard to believe that the initiators of this appeal do not realize that “movement of people in and out of Gaza” means allowing the movement of terrorists into Israel, as well as into Egypt or Jordan. Is is it just ignorance which turns their minds away from the plausibility that at least some of the “building materials” imported into Gaza would be used not for rebuilding civilian houses, but for restoring the Hamas infrastructure?

(Read full article)


Love of the Land: Eyeless on Gaza

PM's Office: J'lem to Remain Undivided, No PA Offices to Open - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

PM's Office: J'lem to Remain Undivided, No PA Offices to Open - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Jewish Pride: Prime Minister's Son Wins Bible Contest - Jewish World - Israel News - Israel National News

Jewish Pride: Prime Minister's Son Wins Bible Contest - Jewish World - Israel News - Israel National News

"Gang of 54" Congressmen Slammed for Censuring Israel - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

"Gang of 54" Congressmen Slammed for Censuring Israel - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Response to Hamas Rockets: IDF Strikes in Southern Gaza - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Response to Hamas Rockets: IDF Strikes in Southern Gaza - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News

Yesha Chief: Peres "Disgraced" Ben-Gurion's Memory - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

Yesha Chief: Peres "Disgraced" Ben-Gurion's Memory - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

Fayyad Makes Demands in Herzliya Speech - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

Fayyad Makes Demands in Herzliya Speech - Politics & Gov't - Israel News - Israel National News

Army Radio: Strong Religious-Zionist Presence in Elite Units - Inside Israel - Israel News - Israel National News

Army Radio: Strong Religious-Zionist Presence in Elite Units - Inside Israel - Israel News - Israel National News

Love of the Land: Gearing Up for Another Season of Anti-Zionism in the PC(USA)

Gearing Up for Another Season of Anti-Zionism in the PC(USA)


DVZ
CAMERA/Snapshots
03 February '10

By now it’s axiomatic that most of the people in the Presbyterian Church (USA) object to the obsession the denomination’s peace activists have for the alleged sins of Israel, the Jewish state. Most Presbyterians sense there is something unseemly about the manner in which church staffers and activists regularly condemn Israel without acknowledging the manifest sins of its adversaries or the ideology that animates hostility toward Israel in the Middle East.

Nevertheless, a small and persistent group of church staffers and activists continue in their ongoing effort to portray Israel as uniquely worthy of the PC(USA)’s condemnation. Their activities quicken in the months before the denomination’s General Assembly which takes place every two years. When it comes to evangelization, these anti-Israel activists are indefatigable.

This year will be no different. Late last year, the denomination’s Committee on Mission Responsibility Through Investment (MRTI) set the stage for the upcoming debate over Israel in November when it issued a report on its "Israel-Palestine" activities from 2004 to 2009. In the report, the committee described the efforts of shareholder activists from a number of church-related organizations to draw attention to the alleged misdeeds of Citigroup, Motorola, Caterpillar and other companies.

Predictably, the report states that Caterpillar “does not measure up to the General Assembly’s stated position that the church’s investments in companies doing business in Israel, Gaza, East Jerusalem and the West Bank be in companies involved in only peaceful pursuits.” The MRTI closed its report with a proposed resolution for the PC(USA)’s upcoming General Assembly, which calls for the body to denounce “Caterpillar’s continued profit-making from non-peaceful uses of a number of its products.”

(Read full article)

Love of the Land: Gearing Up for Another Season of Anti-Zionism in the PC(USA)

Love of the Land: Comedy from J Street

Comedy from J Street


Noah Pollak
Contentions/Commentary
03 February '10

J Street is “gravely concerned about escalating threats to the character of Israel’s democracy” and is worried about “a perfect storm brewing that threatens the core of Israel’s democratic character.” The e-mail that contains these warnings is titled “Swiftboating Israel’s democracy.” Time to stockpile bottled water everyone, something serious is happening! It is this: an obscure Zionist youth group has criticized the leftist New Israel Fund for giving money to leftist NGOs.

This youth group is, of course, doing something fully consistent with democratic values — participating, albeit harshly, in a political debate.

There is a group, however, that indeed doesn’t have much regard for Israel’s democracy. Leading figures in this organization have frequently expressed their wish that the United States would do more to reverse the democratic choices of the Israeli electorate. It is named J Street. Here is Jeremy Ben-Ami, the executive director, in an unguarded moment:

(Read full post)

Related: Im Tirzu: NIF NGOs made up bulk of Goldstone testimonies

Love of the Land: Comedy from J Street

Love of the Land: False Moral Equivalence and Its Defenders

False Moral Equivalence and Its Defenders


Peter Wehner
Contentions/Commentary
03 February '10

Jackson Diehl, in a recent posting, wrote about the fact that in his State of the Union address, President Obama failed to mention Israel, the Palestinians, or the Middle East peace process, which was one of his most high-profile diplomatic initiatives during his first year. “For those reading tea leaves,” Diehl wrote, “and there are many in the Middle East — the president has offered a few signs recently that Israeli-Palestinian negotiations have moved down his list of priorities.” Diehl thinks that’s a wise idea.

As I argued in a column earlier this month, the history of Israeli-Arab diplomacy clearly shows that only peace efforts that originate with the parties themselves have succeeded. Or, as former secretary of state James A. Baker III once put it, we “can’t want peace more than the parties” themselves. Baker, a master of Middle East diplomacy, once publicly gave Israelis and Palestinians the White House phone number and invited them to call when they were serious about pursuing negotiations. In a more subtle way, Obama may be doing the same thing.


I agree that having the U.S. try to impose a solution is the wrong way to proceed. But where I disagree with Diehl is in his “pox on both your houses” approach to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. This is an almost reflexive habit among many people in the foreign-policy establishment and the political class. The Israelis and Palestinians are equally to blame for the tension and lack of progress. Both sides have made mistakes. Neither has done all it should. Both are equally culpable. Call us when you’re serious.

This account is not only wrong; it is fanciful.

(Read full post)


Love of the Land: False Moral Equivalence and Its Defenders

Love of the Land: A short lesson in defamation: UK newspaper links Gaza operation to Sabra and Shatila massacre

A short lesson in defamation: UK newspaper links Gaza operation to Sabra and Shatila massacre


Robin Shepherd
Robin Shepherd Online
03 February '10

In the latest non-story about Israel’s Operation Cast Lead in Gaza last year, Britain’s Independent newspaper splashes an “exclusive” revelation across its front page today from an unnamed “high-ranking” Israeli commander saying that Israel “rewrote the rules of war for Gaza” by putting Palestinian civilians at risk to minimise the risk to Israeli soldiers.

The article is a garbled, evidence-free piece of anti-Israeli opportunism which appears designed to keep the UN’s Goldstone Report on Gaza high in the public consciousness. But the purpose behind the apparent absurdity of making a front page article out of such a flimsy pseudo-exclusive is revealed in an editorial accompanying the report which rehashes one of the most enduring calumnies in the arsenal of Israel’s detractors.

In urging Israel to conduct a full inquiry into Gaza, the paper says it should draw from the example of a previous Israeli investigation in the 1980s:

“The Kahan Commission, which examined the massacre of Palestinian refugees after the 1982 invasion of Lebanon, provides a respectable model. A new Kahan Commission is needed to look into every action of the Israeli military’s behaviour in Gaza, from the testimony of soldiers on the killing of civilians, to the revelations that troops were cheered into battle by extremist rabbis.”

The Sabra and Shatila massacre, it will be recalled, involved the deliberate slaughter of hundreds of Palestinian civilians in Lebanese refugee camps in September 1982 by an Arab-Christian Phalangist militia group. The Kahan Commission found that Israel bore a degree of indirect responsibility for failing to stop the militia group — which was allied to Israel — from perpetrating the massacre. Direct responsibility for the massacre, of course, belonged to the Arab group that actually conducted it.

(Read full post)

Love of the Land: A short lesson in defamation: UK newspaper links Gaza operation to Sabra and Shatila massacre

Love of the Land: [Logic haitus?]: DM Barak: Israel should make deal with Syria to leave Golan because Syria will attack if thinks can destroy Israel?

[Logic haitus?]: DM Barak: Israel should make deal with Syria to leave Golan because Syria will attack if thinks can destroy Israel?


Dr. Aaron Lerner
IMRA
02 February '10

So here is the logic of DM Ehud Barak - the military genius who opposed buying submarines that could launch Jericho missiles because he didn't think Israel needed a second strike capability:

#1. "If the other side believes it is possible to bring down Israel...it will prefer to do so"

#2. "Just like the familiar reality in the Middle East, we will immediately sit down [with Syria] after such a war and negotiate on the exact same issues we have been discussing with them for the past 15 years."

Questions:

#1. And if, thanks to an Israeli withdrawal from the Golan, Syria "believes it is possible to bring down Israel" then what?

#2. And if Israel sits down with Syria after a war, why conclude that there would be any greater logic to make a dangerous concession of leaving the Golan just because there was a war? The Egyptian Sinai model, with a huge peninsula available for different levels of demilitarization - far away from Cairo, is hardly comparable to the tiny Golan that puts Damascus within easy striking range - and the move was premised on the assertion that somehow the outcome of the Yom Kippur War of 1973 convinced Egypt that Israel could not be beaten (I appreciate that this logic is hard to follow - since by the same token the message of the Yom Kippur War could have just as easily been for Egypt that they should switch to American weapons before trying to destroy the Jewish State but that's not the popular narrative).

#3. Here's a novel suggestion for the people drawing salaries in the Israeli defense field: how about coming up with some ideas so that should Syria indeed decide to attack the Jewish State in the coming years, that the consequences for Damascus be so serious that at the end of the exchange they are the ones telling their citizens that the task of restoring the Golan will have ton be assigned to a future generation?

(Click here for full post w/Barak: War with Syria won't solve diplomatic issues)


Love of the Land: [Logic haitus?]: DM Barak: Israel should make deal with Syria to leave Golan because Syria will attack if thinks can destroy Israel?

Love of the Land: Stop the Solar Decathlon Boycott! Promote Education & Peace

Stop the Solar Decathlon Boycott! Promote Education & Peace


StandWithUs.com
January '10

Israeli Jewish and Arab students make their case, in Hebrew, Arabic and Spanish. Energy conservation and sustainability is one of the major issues facing the planet. Students worldwide are competing in The Solar Decathlon, to be held in Spain in June 2010, to try and find solutions to our common problem. Israeli students in the competition found an ingenious way of making homes more efficient so why have these students been kicked out of the competition?



Please sign the petition at www.shameonspain.com

Love of the Land: Stop the Solar Decathlon Boycott! Promote Education & Peace

Love of the Land: Palestinian Authority: Where the Money Ends Up

Palestinian Authority: Where the Money Ends Up


Khaled Abu Toameh
Hudson New York
02 February '10

“If the current state of corruption in the Palestinian Authority continues, we will lose the West Bank to Hamas,” said Fahmi Shabaneh, a 49-year-old intelligence official who until recently, headed the "anti-corruption unit" in Mahmoud Abbas's General Intelligence Service. “What happened in the Gaza Strip will repeat itself in the West Bank.”

Shabaneh, who lives in Jerusalem with his wife and five children, is now willing to speak out because, he explains, he has reached the conclusion that Abbas and his authority are not serious about ending the corruption.

The international community, particularly the donor countries, need to ask themselves: How come Hamas’s chances of extending its control from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank remain so high after all the billions of dollars in financial aid that has been poured on Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad?

The Palestinian intelligence official has a clear answer to this question. "But," he continues, “The Americans and the Europeans don’t want to listen to people like me.”

His advice to the US and the EU: “Please don’t give money unconditionally. Yes, the Palestinians need your financial assistance and thanks for your willingness to help, but you must follow up to see where the money ends up.”

Shabaneh says he has evidence that huge sums have been stolen by senior Palestinian officials. “The money hasn’t been going to the right hands and places,” he charged. “Had some of this money been invested for the welfare and prosperity of the Palestinians, we would be in a much better situation today."

(Read full article)

Related: Corruption will allow Hamas to take W. Bank

Love of the Land: Palestinian Authority: Where the Money Ends Up

Love of the Land: We’ll Meet at the Knesset, in Tel Aviv

We’ll Meet at the Knesset, in Tel Aviv


Noah Pollak
Contentions/Commentary
02 February '10

A British media watchdog named Just Journalism has released its review of 2009 Financial Times editorials, and it finds what anyone familiar with this newspaper would expect: the FT fits in perfectly with the media culture of obsessive and deranged coverage of Israel that is a national embarrassment for Great Britain. My favorite example of this (as is Marty Peretz’s) is the fact that the FT, as official policy, refers to Tel Aviv as the capital of Israel, a plain denial of reality. Can you imagine the FT referring, today, to Philadelphia or New York as the capital of the United States? That would be crazy. It would cause the FT to become a laughingstock. But it is really no more neurotic than the Tel Aviv rule. Just Journalism’s complete report (PDF) can be found here.

Love of the Land: We’ll Meet at the Knesset, in Tel Aviv

Love of the Land: Enderlin's Latest Cover-Ups Attempts

Enderlin's Latest Cover-Ups Attempts


TS
CAMERA/Snapshots
02 February '10

Responding to Reuven Pehatzur's Jan. 24, 2010 Op-Ed recapping evidence pointing to the staged killing of Mohammed Al Dura, France 2's Charles Enderlin writes in a letter in Ha'aretz today:

Regarding "Mohammed is not dead," January 24, by Reuven Pedatzur
The claim that there was not a drop of blood at the scene [where Mohammed al-Dura allegedly was killed in 2000] is erroneous. Blood is clearly visible in the videos, and is mentioned in the reports prepared by the hospital that treated Jamal al-Dura, Mohammed's father.

Jamal filed a libel suit in France against Dr. Yehua David and a French Jewish newspaper that published his argument that the father's scars are from an operation conducted six years earlier. Dr. David was referring only to injuries to the limbs, and not to a serious injury to Jamal's hip. An investigative judge in France accepted the suit, and the case will be heard in court.

I would like to point out that no doctor in Shifa Hospital has claimed that the child brought to the emergency room arrived at 10 A.M. The emergency room director said: "Mohammed al-Dura arrived around 1 P.M." That was 2 P.M. Israel time, because the Palestinians switched to winter time.

Pedatzur implies there was a conspiracy involving hundreds of Palestinian protesters, Shifa Hospital doctors and doctors from the military hospital in Jordan, where Jamal al-Dura was treated, and that Israeli security services did not find anything about it. Is this possible?


(Read full article)

Related: Philippe Karsenty on the Meaning of Al-Durah

Love of the Land: Enderlin's Latest Cover-Ups Attempts

Elder of Ziyon: Gazans don't think they benefit from tunnels

Elder of Ziyon: Gazans don't think they benefit from tunnels

RubinReports: Palestinian Prime Minister to Israeli Audience: You Make Concessions, We Don't

Palestinian Prime Minister to Israeli Audience: You Make Concessions, We Don't

Please do subscribe for real-time analysis and original articles

By Barry Rubin

Imagine this. You're prime minister of a regime that isn't yet a state. You are praised in the Western media as a great moderate man of peace. You represent a people who the U.S. president says is in an intolerable situation. You supposedly want a country of your own. Indeed you've announced you will get a state in two years, something conceivable only if your negotiating partner agrees. You're dependent on contributions from Western democratic countries that want you to make a deal. Your rivals have seized almost half the land you want to rule and work tirelessly to overthrow your regime and very possibly to kill you personally.

But here comes a big opportunity.

You are invited by your negotiating partner to its most important meeting of the year. All the other side's top leaders and opinionmakers are listening to you.

And that country's second most powerful leader has just made a very conciliatory speech praising you personally, urging peace, offering concessions, and telling his own people they must be ready to give you a lot.

What do you do?

Make a warm conciliatory, confidence-building speech, showing by substantial offers that you, too, are willing to compromise; stretching out your hand in order to build friendship and ensure you get a country?

Hey, we’re talking about the Palestinians here! And as I say over and over again: anyone who thinks the Palestinian Authority (PA) is going to make peace hasn’t been paying attention to what they say and do.

So here is what PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad told the audience at the Herzliya Conference, held at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC), following Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s conciliatory speech:

--Israel must immediately start pulling out of the rest of the West Bank, without getting anything in return.

--It must immediately stop all construction on settlements, including apartments now being completed.

--Israel's army should never enter PA-ruled areas. Even if the PA refuses to arrest those who have murdered Israelis or won’t stop planned attacks, Israel's army must do nothing, despite the 1993 agreement between the two sides permitting this. Fayyad said this isn’t necessary because the PA is taking care of these matters. But this makes no sense: when Israel sees that to be true it never orders incursions in the first place.

--Israel should end its blockade of the Gaza Strip, even though the Hamas movement ruling there refuses to make a deal with the PA, openly announces its goal of destroying Israel, and smuggles in as many weapons as possible. Moreover, as soon as it feels secure again, Hamas will launch new attacks on Israel. Fayyad claimed, however, that if Israel did so, the PA could then build government institutions in the Gaza Strip, though it has no control whatsoever there.

--He openly stated that his goal was to mobilize international support and create such a strong state apparatus that the world would pressure Israel to end any presence in the West Bank or east Jerusalem, apparently without the Palestinian side giving anything.

--While Barak said that the “roughness” of the region made it harder to give the Palestinians everything they wanted (for example, the PA could be overthrown by Hamas; subverted by Iran and Syria; unwilling or unable to stop cross-border attacks), Fayyad responded that once Israel left all the West Banks the region would become more stable and peaceful. That’s a rather questionable assertion.

It is true that he ended by saying:

“The Israeli people have a long history, they have pain, they have ambition, and like you, we Palestinians have our own history. Right now we are going through lots of pain and suffering. And we have one key aspiration, and that is once again to be able to live alongside you in peace, harmony and security.”

Yet he addressed none of the points in Israel’s own peace plan: an official end to the conflict if there is an agreement; resettlement of Palestinian refugees in Palestine; an end to incitement (which would be easy to do) to kill Israelis; limits on the militarization of a Palestinian state; or recognition of Israel as a Jewish state alongside a Palestinian Arab Muslim state (the PA constitution says that Islam is the country’s official religion).

This was not an extremist speech or one seeking conflict. Fayyad is probably the most moderate guy in the PA leadership. He was doing about the best he could. But that's the point. He has no base of support, isn’t a member of Fatah, and doesn’t really represent Palestinian thinking. He is in office for one reason only: the Western donors demand it. Fayyad, and arguably the PA leadership as a whole, don’t want a new war with Israel. But Fatah will sponsor one if it thinks such a step is advantageous or needed to out-militant Hamas.

Equally, Fayyad couldn’t go any further than he did because he knows that his Fatah bosses, Palestinian constituents, and Hamas enemies would throw him out if he offered the slightest concession to Israel and demanded any less than everything they want.

We will see how much progress Fayyad makes over the next two years in building strong and stable institutions. Yet it should be understood that what he is doing is not a way to convince Israel that both sides can reach a compromise peace but to persuade the world to force Israel to make compromises without the PA having to do so.

The irony is that it doesn’t matter what Barak says, except to show the world that Israel wants real peace and to encourage Israeli voters to back Labor as a party that balances a strong desire for peace with a smart sense of security for the country.

Barak warned the right-wing in Israel that it would be a mistake to oppose a genuine two-state solution, an outcome that Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu—like Barak--has accepted. But the defense minister also urged the left-wing not to be naïve.

Here's a fascinating example of how the world generally interprets the situation. Read this paragraph from the Washington Post coverage carefully:

"But there was a common thread, too, with each acknowledging an international consensus on the idea of two nations. Barak said that Israel risks becoming `an apartheid state par excellence' if it does not negotiate the terms of Palestinian statehood soon, and Fayyad said the work being done in the West Bank on governance needs to be matched by political progress."


The two statements are supposed to be parallels. Barak says: Israel must get rid of the West Bank for its own good. Fayyad says: progress must be made in negotiations, in the context of a speech in which he asked for a long list of Israeli concessions and offered nothing in exchange. These statemens are not parallel. A parallel statement would be if Fayyad had said something like:

The Palestinians risk becoming permanently mired in violence and backwardness unless they negotiate terms for Israel feeling secure in giving up the territory.

Since 1993 not a single Palestinian leader has ever made a speech to his own people like Barak's, never said that they should have to give up something to get a state, never urged the media and public debate to become more moderate.

Four days before Fayyad's speech, here is the Friday prayer sermon given in Nablus by the imam appointed there by Fayyad and broadcast on the television Fayyad controls:

"The Jews are the enemies of Allah and [Muhammad], the enemies of humanity in general, and of the Palestinians in particular.... Jews will always be Jews. Even if donkeys cease to bray, dogs cease to bark, wolves cease to howl, and snakes cease to bite, the Jews will not cease to be hostile to the Muslims. The Prophet Muhammad said: `Whenever two Jews find themselves alone with a Muslim, they think of killing him.' Oh Muslims, this land, these holy places, and these mosques will only be liberated when we return to the Book of Allah, and when all Muslims are prepared to become mujahideen for the sake of Allah, in support of Palestine, its people, its land, and its holy places."

Note that this is a Palestinian Authority, not a Hamas, cleric. Note, too, that while Fayyad's speech is covered around the world, sermons like these are never quoted in the Western media. This is not to say that the sermon is real and Fayyad's views are fake, it is to say that the sermon is shaping Palestinian politics and public opinion and what Fayyad says is meant to shape Israeli and Western politics and public opinion. Fayyad, a figurehead, is not going to make all this change, and he isn't even going to try. Nor does Fayyad have any control over the ruling party, Fatah, whose leadership is still hardline on goals and negotiations, though not on more immediate issues.

The Israeli audience applauded Fayyad because it does want peace and prefers him to all the worse alternatives, especially Hamas but also those in Fatah. Yet few have any illusions that peace is at hand or that Fayyad is going to deliver it.

RubinReports: Palestinian Prime Minister to Israeli Audience: You Make Concessions, We Don't

Israel Matzav: Hamas' Mabhouh's bodyguards came from the Mossad?

Hamas' Mabhouh's bodyguards came from the Mossad?

You may recall that in a post in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, I suggested that Hamas murderer and arms dealer Mahmoud al-Mabhouh may not have left his bodyguards at home: His bodyguards may have come from the Mossad. This JPost article from Wednesday's editions suggests that I may have been onto something.

“The assassination of someone as senior as Mabhouh has rung an alarm bell in Hamas,” the official told The Jerusalem Post. “Only a few people in the Hamas leadership knew about Mabhouh’s secret activities and movements.”

The official said that many Hamas officials in the Gaza Strip and Syria were convinced that the Mossad has infiltrated the movement’s top ranks. “Obviously, the assassination of Mabhouh is a huge security blunder for Hamas, because it shows that the Israeli agents are sitting among our leaders in Damascus.”

The Hamas official said Hamas was also looking into the possibility that Israel has infiltrated the Syrian security services, which are responsible for the safety of the leaders of all the radical Palestinian groups based in Damascus, including Hamas.

“We don’t rule out the possibility that the Israelis or some other security agency that works with them have recruited a senior Syrian intelligence officer who feeds them with details about the movements and whereabouts of representatives of Hamas and other groups, particularly Hizbullah,” he said.

Maybe there was something in the poison antidote that Israel sent to Khaled Meshaal ten years ago that's making him cooperate with the Mossad. Just sayin....

Heh.

Israel Matzav: Hamas' Mabhouh's bodyguards came from the Mossad?

Israel Matzav: Obama bows again

Obama bows again

Story here.

Jammie points out:

Seems this line was almost written tongue in cheek:

"This administration has been far and away the most open about making behind-the-scenes photographs available right away to the public...

Sure, no public healthcare meetings, but they rush to get photos of this megalomaniac out there as soon as possible.

Except when the photos would include Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.


Israel Matzav: Obama bows again

Israel Matzav: Terror attack on US in next 3-6 months 'certain'

Terror attack on US in next 3-6 months 'certain'

While Dennis Blair told the Senate on Tuesday that Hezbullah is not a threat to the United States, he also said that a terror attack against the US in the next 3-6 months is 'certain.'

Adm. Blair testified that al Qaeda is eyeing targets the group in the past attempted to attack, including commercial jets and financial institutions in New York City, and the Washington Metro system.

Mr. Blair's testimony also focused on al Qaeda's continuing efforts to obtain biological, chemical and nuclear weapons, but he said he would only discuss details in a closed session.

Following Mr. Blair's testimony, CIA Director Panetta pointed out that the biggest problem for America's spies is tracking the "lone wolf" operative who has no background in terrorism.

You mean the kind of 'lone wolf' who might have arrived in the US as an illegal immigrant from Mexico?

And then there was his assessment on Iran:

On Iran, Mr. Blair said the intelligence community believed that Iran was preparing the groundwork for building nuclear weapons, but that Tehran had made no political decision to build the arms. Despite political turmoil that has brought hundreds of thousands of protesters into the streets since the June 12 presidential elections, Iran's decision-making process would remain the same, he said.

Overall, Mr. Blair said he gave he protesters little chance for success. "Strengthened conservative control will limit opportunities for reformers to participate in politics or organize opposition," he stated. "The regime will work to marginalize opposition elites, disrupt or intimidate efforts to organize dissent and use force to put down unrest."

The U.S. intelligence community in the past failed to predict political events in Iran. For example, a noted CIA assessment of Iran in the fall of 1978 predicted there was no prospect for an Islamic revolution -- a prediction that proved wrong within five months.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Terror attack on US in next 3-6 months 'certain'

Israel Matzav: Hezbullah not a threat to US?

Hezbullah not a threat to US?

This was part of US Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair's annual threat assessment.

We judge that, unlike al-Qa’ida, Hizballah, which has not directly attacked US interests overseas over the past 13 years, is not now actively plotting to strike the Homeland. However, we cannot rule out that the group would attack if it perceives that the US is threatening its core interests.

I wasn't the only one whose eyebrows were raised at that one. Democracy Arsenal notes:

By taking pains to emphasize that Hizballah is not a direct threat to the United States, Blair makes a dramatic tonal shift. This raises big some questions. What caused the intelligence community to so radically alter its perspective? Does Blair's assessment suggest further revisiting of U.S. policy toward a group that has steadily evolved from a militia to a major political actor in Lebanon? What might that look like? We shall see.

My take: The Obama administration is preparing the groundwork to deal with Hezbullah as part of the Lebanese government.

Leaving Israel out for a minute, here are some reasons why Blair is dead wrong. Hezbullah has a base of operations in Venezuela - what is that for if not to be part of attacks on the United States? Hezbullah has been smuggling sleeper cells into the United States with illegal immigrants from Mexico. Those cells can be activated at any time.

Ooops - silly me. Those things only happened during the Bush administration. In the Age of Obama, Hezbullah loves America and America has nothing to fear from it.

What could go wrong?

Israel Matzav: Hezbullah not a threat to US?

Israel Matzav: Hamas' Goldstone defense: Israel has no right of self-defense

Hamas' Goldstone defense: Israel has no right of self-defense

Jonathan Dahohah HaLevi explains Hamas' line of defense against the few accusations against it that are contained in the Goldstone Report. The bottom line is that Hamas claims - without accepting the 1947 UN partition resolution - that Israel has no right to be anywhere not designated for the Jewish state by the 1947 UN partition resolution, and that therefore it has no right of self defense. It's worth it to read the whole thing, because he really goes through the argument clearly and step by step, but I wanted to highlight and comment on a couple of the points he raises.

Hamas' defense was written by a group of Palestinian jurists headed by Diya Al-Din Muhsin Al-Madhoun, the former legal adviser to Hamas 'Prime Minister' Ismail Haniyeh. Al-Madhoun is the chairman of the Tawtheeq (documentation) organization that was the key factor assigned by Hamas’ government, on which the Goldstone committee relied for sources of information in its fact finding mission.

Madhoun argues that Israel’s claim that Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist organizations launched rockets at its sovereign territory is groundless. Relying on UN resolution 181 (known as the Partition Plan for Palestine), but without accepting it, Madhoun said that all rockets targeted only areas which were designated to the “Arab state” by UN resolution, and as Israel has no internationally recognized borders with the Palestinian territories, their areas are still under conflict. Consequently, he concludes that Israel violated the rights of the Israeli civilians for security in settling them illegally in this military disputed area and thus risking their life.

This is an incredible claim. It's one that cannot be made without accepting a Jewish state at least in the areas designated by Resolution 181, but Hamas does it anyway. Moreover, most of the Gaza belt, and many of the areas at which Hamas fired rockets before and during Operation Cast Lead, is within the area designated for the Jewish state under Resolution 181 (see map). The double standrard that says that Israel's areas are 'still under conflict' while the Arabs' areas belong to them - making the Israelis 'occupiers' - is absud. Moreover, given that Israel has been admitted to the United Nations, it cannot be said that Israel's entire area is 'under conflict.'

Madhoun unconditionally negates justification for any Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip. In addition to the aforementioned arguments denying Israel’s right for self defence, Madhoun noted that the international law prohibits attacks on any target when there is a doubt whether it is combatant or civilian. “My stand is that all targets bombed in the Gaza Strip are under the category of doubt”, he said.

That's a complete misstatement of international law and vitiates Article 28 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. If Madhoun's view is accepted, any country or army that is fired on by persons hiding among civilians would be completely unable to respond. Israel is not the only country that cannot accept that result.

Madhoun regards the Goldstone report as a one sided document against Israel, saying that more than 500 pages were dedicated to describing a myriad of widely documented accusations against Israel, while for the Palestinian side only ten pages were allocated and even they didn’t include any evidence or documentation. Confidently, he asserts: “I can say as a jurist that all allegations mentioned in the [Goldstone] report do not mount to significant accusations of violating the humanitarian international law and the [Hamas] independent investigative committees will prove it.”

Except for the last clause of that paragraph about the Hamas 'investigative committees,' he's 100% right about that. But that doesn't prove that Hamas didn't do anything wrong - only that the Goldstone Report is hopelessly biased against Israel.

Tawtheeq organization, headed by Madhoun, is backed by the Law Committee of the Palestinian parliament and its Hamas members include Dr. Yunis Al-Astal who advocates the extinction of all the Jewish people, Dr. Ahmad Abu Halabia who urged suicide attacks in Jerusalem and Jamila Al-Shanti who identifies with terrorist attacks against Israel.

The reality is illusive and strikes time and time again in our faces. A declared terrorist organization, which adheres to the Islamic law (sharia) as the only source of legitimacy and promotes ideology of genocide, receives legal support from human rights organizations and internationally respected jurists in its lawfare waged against a democratic state. Even more peculiar is Judge Richard Goldstone’s decision to rely without reservations on Tawtheeq and its experts in preparing its report, while they publicly make a travesty of the international law and argue that Israel violated the Palestinians’ rights to kill Israelis in the armed struggle for the liberation of the land of Palestine and to destroy Israel.

I don't recall even Dore Gold calling Goldstone on this. In fact, I never heard of this organization until I read this article. But we need to get these facts out front and center.

I wonder if Tawtheeq is supported by the New Israel Fund.

Read the whole thing.

Israel Matzav: Hamas' Goldstone defense: Israel has no right of self-defense

Israel Matzav: A golden WHAT?

A golden WHAT?

Yes, the Hebrew word for cow is para and the Hebrew word for calf is egel and yes, that's what the other thing is called in the stores. But the translator should be fired.



Israel Matzav: A golden WHAT?

Israel Matzav: Guess why the Arab League is keeping Australia out of the Security Council

Guess why the Arab League is keeping Australia out of the Security Council

The Arab League is blocking Australia's attempt to gain one of the non-permanent seats on the UN Security Council because - you guessed it - the Aussies are deemed too supportive of Israel.

Hashem Yousseff, chief of cabinet for Arab League secretary-general Amr Moussa, told The Australian Canberra kept "bad company" at the UN, where it often opposes anti-Israel resolutions in alliance with the US, Canada and small Pacific island states.

Australia's support for Israel, he said, was "one of the elements that will be taken into consideration" by the 22-member Arab League in deciding whether to support Australia's bid for a seat on the UN Security Council for the 2013-14 term.

Mr Yousseff said the Arab nations would consider how different candidates affected their interests. "For us, the Arab-Israeli issue is an important part of the consideration."

Canberra has invested huge political, diplomatic and financial resources in its bid for one of 10 non-permanent Security Council seats.

But Mr Yousseff's comments indicate it will be difficult for Australia to out-poll the European nations, which are regularly more critical of Israel.

Australia has not held a seat on the Security Council for more than 20 years.

Read the whole thing. For what it's worth, we've never had a seat on the Security Council either, and we are unlikely to ever get one. Given the realities, unless Australia is willing to become as anti-Israel as the Europeans (I hope they're not!), there's not much they can do about this.

Israel Matzav: Guess why the Arab League is keeping Australia out of the Security Council

Israel Matzav: Submit or stay home

Submit or stay home

If you're singled out for a full-body scan at London-Heathrow or Manchester airports - or soon at any other airport in the UK - and you refuse the scan, you won't be allowed to fly.

Transport Secretary Lord Adonis said: 'In the immediate future, only a small proportion of airline passengers will be selected for scanning.

'If a passenger is selected for scanning and declines, they will not be permitted to fly.'

He said a code of conduct would govern how images were used and which passengers were checked.

Campaigners say the scanners, which act like a mini radar device 'seeing' beneath ordinary clothing, are an invasion of privacy.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has warned that the scanners breach privacy rules under the Human Rights Act for their naked images.

The exemption of under 18s from being scanned, which was in place during the trial of the machines in Manchester, has also been removed.

The Department for Transport has published an interim code of practice for the scanners. The officer operating the machine never sees the image, and the employee viewing the scan must be in another room.

The scan cannot be saved, printed or transmitted. Passengers can also demand that only officers of their sex see their image.

BAA, which runs Heathrow, refused to comment on how many scanners are in place and in which terminals they will be used, although it is believed they will be in Terminal 4.

Now that British Airways is in Terminal 5, of course they'll be in Terminal 4. (British Airways long distance flights - including their flights to Israel - moved from Terminal 4 to the new Terminal 5 about a year and a half ago). Yet another reason not to connect through London on my next trip to the US. (For the most part, the best connections are through London).

What will they do when a bomber gets through with a surgically attached bomb?

/sigh


Israel Matzav: Submit or stay home

Israel Matzav: Israel's scariest technology?

Israel's scariest technology?

Israel is developing a sonic cannon for use in crowd control. While the cannon could be lethal if fired from distances of ten meters (something on which much of the media has focused), it is not lethal when fired from the intended range of 30 meters (Hat Tips: War News Update and Arutz Sheva).

An Israeli-developed shock wave cannon used by farmers to scare away crop-threatening birds could soon be available to police and homeland security forces around the world for nonlethal crowd control and perimeter defense.

Israel's Ministry of Defense recently approved a license for ArmyTec, a Netanya, Israel, technology development advisory firm, to market military and paramilitary versions of the Thunder Generator cannon.

Developed and produced for the agricultural industry by PDT Agro, a small firm based in Herzliya, Israel, the system detonates a mixture of common liquefied petroleum (LPG), cooking gas and air to generate a series of loud, stunning shock waves.

...

The resulting shocks create a double deterrent to rioters and potential intruders, developers here say, by the extreme air pressure and sonic boom effect generated once the mixture propagates and expands through the air. One standard 12-kilogram LPG gas canister (retail cost: about $25) can produce up to 5,000 shock bursts.

"That's more than enough for hours of continuous operation," said ArmyTec President Shlomo Tabak, a former Israeli military special operations officer, whose command positions included anti-terror training and oversight of Special Forces development programs.

"It's all done in a controlled and safe manner, using the cheapest, cleanest fuel available. The trick is to cause it not to burn, but to explode," said Igor Fridman, president of PDT Agro, who developed the system.

...

As for range, it all depends on the size of the cannon, Tabak said. The operational prototype demonstrated over the past six months to representatives of Israel's Ground Forces Command, Central Command and Israeli Police features a 5-inch barrel with a range of 30 to 50 meters.

"But if we make some changes in the diameter, our data shows we'll go up to 70 to 100 meters, without any other changes to the system," Tabak said.

If fired at less than 10 meters, the Thunder Generator could be lethal or inflict permanent damage, Fridman said. But when employed as intended at ranges of 30 meters or more, test data show that the shock waves will pass through people and objects without any lasting effects.

"Anyone within 30 to 50 meters from the cannon will feel like he's standing in front of a firing squad," he said. "He'll feel and hear the blast, but he won't be hurled to the ground. He'll be able to run away unharmed … and that's the point of this application."

Thunder Generator developers secured a U.S. patent on their system in mid-2009. In addition to its intended nonlethal effects on targets, they insist the system is safe and simple to use.

Menial laborers at Israeli farms and fisheries have been trained in less than 30 minutes, Liberman said, to operate the cannon to scare away birds migrating between Europe and Africa. He said nearly a dozen systems have been operating accident-free in Israel for nearly two years.

Hmmm.

Israel Matzav: Israel's scariest technology?
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