Monday, 22 February 2010

Israel Matzav: What Israel brings to the US - Israel alliance

What Israel brings to the US - Israel alliance

If there are any of you out there who are still convinced that the US - Israel relationship is based upon the US giving and Israel receiving, I recommend that you read this article by Yoram Ettinger, which enumerates some of Israel's contributions to the alliance.

[I]n 2010, US special operations forces in Iraq and Afghanistan leverage Israeli battle tactics and 61 year counter-terrorism experience. US Marines benefit from the Israeli-developed "Pioneer" unmanned aerial vehicle, which provides intelligence otherwise unobtainable, preempting terrorists, thus saving many lives. A US special operations colonel told me – in the office of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid – that his battalion benefited in Iraq from Israel's unique contribution in the areas of training, urban warfare, improvised explosive devices (IEDs), car bombs, booby-traps, suicide bombers, roadblocks and checkpoints, interrogation of terrorists and anti-tank missiles.

According to Brig. General Michael Vane, Deputy Chief of Staff at the US Army Training and Doctrine Command, the Israeli experience played a role in defeating terrorists in Iraq's "Sunni Triangle."

According to Senator Daniel Inouye, Chairman of the Appropriations Committee and its Subcommittee on Defense and a veteran of the Intelligence Committee, "Israel's contribution to US military intelligence is greater than all NATO countries combined."

In September 2006, Israel demolished a nuclear plant in Syria, thus dealing a blow to the anti-US Syria-Iran-North Korea axis, while upgrading the posture of deterrence and joint interests of the US and Israel.

...

In 1982, Israel's Air Force was the first ever to destroy a Soviet built surface-to-air network. Israel destroyed 23 of the most advanced Soviet surface-to-air missile batteries, employed by Syria and considered impregnable. Israel's battle tactics and lessons, electronic warfare and other technological innovations were shared with the US, thus tilting the global balance of power in favor of the US.

In 1981, Israel devastated Iraq's nuclear reactor, in defiance of brutal US and international pressure – including a military embargo – thus according the US the conventional option during the 1991 war against Iraq. It spared the US and the world a nuclear confrontation, along with its mega human losses and mega-billion dollar cost.

In 1970, a Soviet proxy, Syria, invaded a US ally, Jordan, aiming to topple the Hashemite regime and activate a pro-Soviet domino scenario into Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. US forces were overly-involved in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, but Israel mobilized its military, forcing a Syrian evacuation of Jordan, thus preventing a collapse of pro-US regimes, a setback to US national security, havoc in the Arab oil-producing countries and a blow to the US standard of living. Israel's capability of snatching roasting chestnuts out of the fire – with no US involvement – transformed President Nixon into a supporter of enhanced US-Israel strategic cooperation, in spite of the fact that only 12% of US Jews voted for him, and irrespective of severe US-Israel disagreements over the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Former Secretary of State, General Alexander Haig, a former Supreme Commander of NATO, refers to Israel as "the largest, most battle-tested and cost-effective US aircraft carrier, which does not require a single US personnel, cannot be sunk and is located at a most critical area for US national security interests."

Read the whole thing (yes, there's more).


Israel Matzav: What Israel brings to the US - Israel alliance

Love of the Land: Hebrew U. archaeologist discovers Jerusalem city wall possibly built by King Solomon

Hebrew U. archaeologist discovers Jerusalem city wall possibly built by King Solomon


The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
News release
IMRA
22 February '10

Jerusalem, February 22, 2010 - A section of an ancient city wall of Jerusalem from the tenth century B.C.E. - possibly built by King Solomon -- has been revealed in archaeological excavations directed by Dr. Eilat Mazar and conducted under the auspices of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

The section of the city wall revealed, 70 meters long and six meters high, is located in the area known as the Ophel, between the City of David and the southern wall of the Temple Mount.

Uncovered in the city wall complex are: an inner gatehouse for access into the royal quarter of the city, a royal structure adjacent to the gatehouse, and a corner tower that overlooks a substantial section of the adjacent Kidron valley.



The excavations in the Ophel area were carried out over a three-month period with funding provided by Daniel Mintz and Meredith Berkman, a New York couple interested in Biblical Archeology. The funding supports both completion of the archaeological excavations and processing and analysis of the finds as well as conservation work and preparation of the site for viewing by the public within the Ophel Archaeological Park and the national park around the walls of Jerusalem.

The excavations were carried out in cooperation with the Israel Antiquities Authority, the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, and the Company for the Development of East Jerusalem. Archaeology students from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem as well as volunteer students from the Herbert W. Armstrong College in Edmond, Oklahoma, and hired workers all participated in the excavation work.

"The city wall that has been uncovered testifies to a ruling presence. Its strength and form of construction indicate a high level of engineering", Mazar said. The city wall is at the eastern end of the Ophel area in a high, strategic location atop the western slop of the Kidron valley.

(Read full article)


Love of the Land: Hebrew U. archaeologist discovers Jerusalem city wall possibly built by King Solomon

Israel Matzav: Good news: Kassams in Judea and Samaria

Good news: Kassams in Judea and Samaria

'Palestinian' security forces last week turned over to the IDF a Kassam rocket that was found in a village in Judea or Samaria. The identity of the village was not disclosed (at least to the Israeli public). The Kassam was ready to launch. It had been made in the village.

What would the 'Palestinian' security forces have done with the rocket if the IDF had not been there? Would they have found it? Would they have looked for it? What would they have done if the terrorist who made it fought them over it?

Unfortunately, we all know the answers to those questions: We've already seen what happened in Gaza in the last five years. That is why, at least for the foreseeable future, the IDF cannot consider leaving Judea and Samaria.

Israel Matzav: Good news: Kassams in Judea and Samaria

Israel Matzav: The anti-Obama

The anti-Obama

At HuffPo, Ami Kaufman goes through a list of initiatives that Prime Minister Netanyahu has dropped over the last year, and argues that it shows that Netanyahu is lachitz (squeezeable). He then urges the Obama administration to squeeze Netanyahu on the 'peace process.'

You might ask then, "Why is it that when it comes to Iran and the peace process he doesn't give in"? Well, that's because those are precisely the areas where he has no pressure to do otherwise - not from abroad, and not at home.

U.S. administrations have rarely put any pressure on Israeli governments. The last time Israel faced any real pressure was when Bush Sr. threatened Yitzhak Shamir that the U.S. would cancel loan guarantees - a threat which many analysts say made Shamir eventually attend the Madrid peace conference.

Obama has done nothing of the sort. Even when his envoy, George Mitchell, hinted about using the loan guarantee threat again, America failed to follow through.

And it's a shame. Because the experts in D.C. obviously don't know what a huge opportunity has fallen into their laps. They have no idea what a weakling of a leader Netanyahu is. He never leads. He never initiates. It's all about survival for him.

If only they knew that with a bit of pressure, in just the right spot, they could have Bibi eating out of their hands.

Kaufman has it all wrong except on one point: For Netanyahu, it is about survival. But....

Unlike Obama, Netanyahu is dependent on his coalition. If his coalition falls apart, Netanyahu is gone whether or not four years have passed. I can't remember the last government in this country to last out its term. Therefore, Netanyahu is quite careful about keeping his coalition in line. When he sees than an initiative is unpopular, he drops it, unlike Obama who with nearly three years to go until he has to stand for re-election is about to lead the Democratic party off a cliff on Obamacare if they let him get away with it. That's why each of the initiatives that Kaufman lists was dropped or watered down.

Second, Kaufman complains that Netanyahu has not come around on the 'peace process.' But the only two areas where Netanyahu has done something that has offended a significant part of his coalition is on the 'peace process' and he has done so because of pressure from the Obama administration: He accepted the 'two-state solution' and he implemented the partial 'settlement freeze.' Each of those moves was unpopular with every party in his government other than the Labor party, and Labor is far from the biggest party in the coalition. So why didn't the coalition throw him out? Because it's too soon after elections and no one wants to take the chance of going to elections again right now.

Third, no matter how much pressure Obama puts on Netanyahu regarding the 'peace process,' it is doubtful he can go any further than he has already. He certainly could not get his cabinet to approve - for example - a de jure building freeze in 'east' Jerusalem. I'm not sure he could even get that one through his own Likud party's Knesset delegation. If anything, Obama putting additional pressure on Netanyahu is likely to backfire.

Fourth and finally, unlike the Israel-hating Jews in Washington, Obama may have finally figured out that the Israeli-'Palestinian' dispute is not worthy of being his top foreign policy priority, and that continuing to insist on it being so is politically suicidal. If anything, I would look for less involvement by Obama in the Israeli-'Palestinian' dispute in the months ahead.


Israel Matzav: The anti-Obama

DoubleTapper: The Mossad is 1 Million Strong

The Mossad is 1 Million Strong

On Sunday BBC Radio 4’s PM program interviewed Gordon Thomas, author of Gideon’s Spies, a book about the Mossad.


In explaining the Mossad’s operating methods outside Israel, Thomas told PM host Eddie Mair, “They have a whole backup system called ‘asylum.’ These are people, local residents, Jewish people, who help the Mossad. It is estimated to be in the world about half a million; some people say a million; I tend to say it’s about half a million, all of them Mossad people.”

The BBC press office in London said, “This interview was part of a wider piece about the assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh which involved contributions from a number of people including Gordon Thomas, an author of a book about [the] Mossad.


So let me get this straight. Roughly 10% of the Jews in the world work for the Mossad and assist in assassinations. This is from the same Gordon Thomas that wrote that the Mossad was responsible for Princess Dianna's death.

On the flip side, Twenty years ago Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, who's recent death in Dubai is being blamed on the Mossad, disguised himself as an Orthodox Jew, kidnapped two Israeli soldiers, Ilan Sa'adon and Avi Sasportas HY"D, and murdered them. So now their blood has been avenged.

So if you are an antisemitic terrorist, you should be scared. Just ask Gordon Thomas. He'll tell you that the Mossad is 1 million strong and they're going to get you!

Hat tip Jameel

DoubleTapper: The Mossad is 1 Million Strong

Love of the Land: The Israeli Punditry’s Own Goal

The Israeli Punditry’s Own Goal


Evelyn Gordon
Contentions/Commentary
22 February '10

Though Barack Obama bears primary responsibility for fumbling the ball on Iran’s nuclear program, the Israeli punditry has played a non-negligible supporting role.

Even before Hillary Clinton openly disavowed the possibility last week, U.S. military action against Iran was never a very credible threat, given Obama’s visible distaste for the idea. That left Israel as the only credible military threat. And without such a threat, no nonmilitary solution is possible — something even the Obama administration now tacitly acknowledges. As the New York Times reported this month, the administration’s main argument in trying to persuade China to back tough sanctions is that otherwise Israel is likely to bomb Iran, and the resultant instability in a major oil-producing region would be far worse for Chinese business than sanctions would. Thus, everyone who favors a nonmilitary solution to the Iranian problem has a vested interest in keeping the Israeli threat as credible as possible.

Incredibly, Obama has been doing the exact opposite. It’s hard for administration officials to persuade either Tehran or Beijing to take the Israeli threat seriously while simultaneously proclaiming Obama’s determination to stop Israel from carrying it out. But that makes it all the more important for Israel to project willingness and ability to strike Iran whether Washington likes it or not — which Israel has tried to do.

Unfortunately, Israel’s efforts have been undercut by a string of academic and media pundits proclaiming that Israel cannot possibly strike Iran without U.S. permission. A typical example is the editorial Haaretz published last Tuesday, reprinted by the International Herald Tribune two days later.

(Read full post)


Love of the Land: The Israeli Punditry’s Own Goal

Good News, Too

Good News, Too

My English is reasonable, I travel to the US once a year if not more often, some of my best friends are Americans and I often spend time with Americans who visit Israel. I also spend time almost daily reading American websites. Having said all that, it's almost impossible for me to gauge what the proverbial "man on the street" thinks about most matters, including what people really think about America. Are the loonies on Mondoweis gaining traction, as they continuously crow? Was the war in Gaza a crucial and negative turning point, as Andrew says? Are thugs who shout down Israeli public figures at universities marginal, or is the silent majority willing to let them do their thing out of a lazy agreement with their sentiments? These things are not easy to know from afar, just as well-meaning American Jews can't easily know that criticism of the NIF has nothing to do with McCarthyism, and everything to do with Israeli society turning on its home-grown enemies.

In this spirit of uncertainly, here are a couple of indicators of the nice kind.

Americans rather like Israel.

The Jewish community of San Fransisco (San Francisco!) is more clear-minded about Israel than some of the locals might have you believe (h/t David B).
Originally posted by Yaacov Lozowick's Ruminations

Israel Matzav: Shut off the gas pumps to Iran

Shut off the gas pumps to Iran

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Reuel Marc Gerecht and Mark Dubowitz make the case for shutting off the gas pumps in Iran.

But let's be honest: Gasoline and insurance sanctions are just about all we've really got left in the quiver. The Guard Corps elite, who oversee Iran's nuclear program, are too well protected to be seriously hurt by financial and industrial sanctions. Targeted sanctions have increased the cost of Iranians doing business, but there is little evidence to suggest that sanctions so far have ever moderated the behavior of Iran's rulers.

The administration's "smart-sanctions" approach perpetuates a myth about Iran's politics that has crippled our analysis for years. Mr. Khamenei isn't an economic rationalist. He wasn't waiting for George W. Bush to depart to make peace with the United States. Men who talk about crushing the "enemies of God" won't give up their enriched uranium because transaction costs have increased. The acquisition of the bomb is now probably inseparable from the ruling elite's religious identity.

For sanctions to be a game changer, they have to be crushing. Mr. Khamenei's commitment to developing nukes is probably as strong as was Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's determination to destroy Saddam Hussein in the Iran-Iraq War. The shock that stopped Khomeini—the realization that the conflict was threatening his regime's survival—ought to tell us what kind of shock we need now. Sanctions must complement the only thing that has so far rattled the regime: the pro-democracy Green Movement.

...

Gasoline and insurance sanctions tied to the cause of democracy might—just possibly—work. Foreign investment in Iran is rapidly declining. Even without refined-petroleum sanctions, foreign energy companies are reducing their investments and some are leaving the country. Munich Re and Allianz, two giant German insurance and reinsurance companies, recently announced they are terminating their Iranian business ties. Lloyd's of London, the world's leading specialist insurance market, promised to do the same once refined petroleum sanctions legislation is enacted.

The threat of gasoline sanctions also has persuaded BP, Reliance Industries and Glencore—all with deep, longstanding ties to Iran—to terminate direct gasoline sales. Siemens, the giant German industrial concern that was implicated in transferring telecommunication surveillance equipment to Tehran, has closed its headquarters in Iran.

More crucially, Mr. Ahmadinejad has badly mismanaged the economy, and the Iranian people know it. Refined-petroleum sanctions would rock an already shaky system. Iranians who are fed up with theocracy are certainly not going to embrace it if Mr. Obama declares gasoline sanctions the midwife of representative government. The regime has been blaming Washington for almost all of its failures since the revolution. Americans have become more popular in Iran precisely because the regime damns the U.S.

I don't believe that sanctions alone are going to stop Iran - even sanctions on gasoline and insurance - without at least a credible military threat behind them. Even with a military threat, I question whether at this point Iran can be stopped without military action. It can't hurt to try, so long as trying doesn't mean precluding a military option for some period of time. But the longer we dither on trying, the more likely it is that military action becomes (if it isn't already) the only solution.

Read the whole thing.

Israel Matzav: Shut off the gas pumps to Iran

RubinReports: Arabs Fear Iran As a Tidal Wave; The West Thinks It's Easily Contained by a Sand Castle

Arabs Fear Iran As a Tidal Wave; The West Thinks It's Easily Contained by a Sand Castle

By Barry Rubin

How do leading Arab forces view the U.S. and Iranian maneuverings over Tehran’s drive to get nuclear weapons, the world’s number one political and strategic crisis? Such reactions are almost always either left out of Western calculations on the Middle East or treated in a distorted manner, replaced by clichés: they only react to what the West does and they are overwhelmingly concerned about the Arab-Israeli conflict.

If treated properly, however, such primary materials are a gold mine for comprehending world views, the situation, and probable responses. Al-Sharq al-Awsat is probably the most interesting Arabic-language newspaper today. It is Saudi-owned, London-based, and the closest thing to a liberal daily. Still, though, it reflects Saudi elite viewpoints.

The newspaper’s editor, Tariq al-Homayed, in a February 18 article, sees the region heading toward war, and he is far from alone in doing so. What he says is extraordinarily important even if—especially if—one doesn’t take it literally.

In the words of the MEMRI translation:

“The notable thing is that [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad threatens Israel and the West... not with his own country's weapons but in the name of 'the resistance and the countries in the region'....

"If a war breaks out, it will be an Iranian war, and Iran will be its target... Why [then] does [Iran threaten to] attack our region and our countries? This is not our war, nor are we working [to promote it]–this war belongs only to Iran and its proxies. As for us, we will be Iran's victims whether it acquires nuclear [weapons] and whether a war breaks out [against it]..."

Note especially that last phrase. If the United States (an outcome far less likely than Homayed suggests) or Israel attacks Iran to destroy its nuclear weapons’ facilities, Iran and its allies will unleash a wider conflict (more details in a moment) that will suck in the Arabs. But if no one stops Iran from getting weapons, the Arabs will always be victims.

Of course, portraying themselves always as victims is a mainstay of the general Arab world view. It reflects a desire to let others do the work of solving problems and is also intended to provide an excuse to ask for concessions without making any of their own (or offering material help. But the same argument also reflects a sense of weakness, division, and genuine helplessness.

Consider the parallel argument made by the editor of al-Goumhouriyya, Muhammad Ali Ibrahim, February 18. That newspaper is usually the most outspoken of the trio of state-controlled Egyptian dailies and since Ibrahim is also a member of parliament for the ruling party he really reflects government opinion:

"One can envision the region as a chessboard with white and black pieces moving across it...As everyone knows, chess is a game played by two opponents, but in the Middle East, Iran is playing against a very formidable rival [consisting of] the U.S. and Israel….”

The players are the United States, Israel, and Iran. Where are the Arabs? Ibrahim claims they are abandoning the side of Iran and going over to that of the United States and Israel, though he says so in an indirect enough fashion not to tread on Arab Political Correctness of claiming never to side with Israel, and usually not too much with the United States either.

Following his newspaper’s usual line—which is more Third World radical and traditionally Arab nationalist in tone, Ibrahim continues by saying, far more questionably, that both sides want war. Iran is supposedly seeking war as a way of uniting its population and getting rid of its domestic problems. I doubt this is true but it certainly reflects how Egyptian and Arab politics have worked for the last century.

He says the United States wants war because it will then “sell advanced weapons to the countries of the region, to impose its air defense umbrella on the Gulf states, and to determine oil prices independently of OPEC....”

What is interesting about this analysis is not that it is accurate but that it shows—along with a mountain of other evidence--that the presence of President Barack Obama has made zero difference in the Arab view of the United States. It is just business as usual as far as they are concerned. Americans often have no notion of how little real change relates to the president, his strenuous efforts at—depending on your viewpoint—empathy or appeasement, and his alleged popularity.

[Speaking of which I can’t resist inserting here a point which I was telling you about a year ago but which even the New York Times has finally had to acknowledge:

"The probable loss of the Dutch contingent and the continuing resistance to significant increases in manpower by other allies [in Afghanistan] demonstrate the extent to which the dividend expected from the departure of President George W. Bush, who was so unpopular in capitals across the Atlantic, has not materialized, despite Mr. Obama's popularity in Europe.


"`The support for Obama was always double-faced,’" said Stefan Kornelius, foreign editor of the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung. `It was never really heartfelt. People loved what they heard, but they never felt obliged to support Obama beyond what they were already doing.’"]

Finally, the Arab editors both see two very different aspects to such a war. On one hand, it will be an aerial battle in which cruise missiles and bombs will fall on Iran, but on the other hand it will involve Iranian attacks in the Gulf, against Israel from Arab soil, and within Arab states.

The United States isn’t going to attack Iran and it isn’t even certain that Israel would do so. But the editors point to three scenarios that no one is talking about in the West:

--Iran may trigger a conflict through aggressive action, including possible miscalculation.

--Any conflict, no matter how it starts, would bring some involvement by Hamas, Hizballah, and Syria, along with smaller Iran-directed or even independent Islamist revolutionary terrorist groups.

--If Iran does have nuclear weapons, Tehran will outweigh all the Arab states not only in terms of strategic power but the ability to mobilize allies, subversive forces, and followers in the region.

That’s why the idea that the West can “contain” Iran using pledges of support and threats to attack Iran if Iran nukes anyone else is so misleading and simpleminded. How is the West going to “contain” the cheering millions, the wave of passion that will sweep the region?

It’s easy to find parallels. In the 1950s, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser became a hero across the region and mobilized supporters everywhere merely by nationalizing the Suez Canal company and telling the West to go to Hell. Only his defeat in the 1967 war by Israel dissipated Egypt’s leading and revolutionary role in the region.

Later on, during the late 1960s and through the 1970s, came various experiments with Marxism, the PLO, and with radical Arab nationalist regimes in Syria and Iraq as the great transformative heroes.

During the 1980s, the Iranian revolution seemed to pose the model for upheaval but it was handicapped by being Persian, Shia Muslim, and involved in conflicts with Arab states that led to the Iran-Iraq war.

After that it was Saddam Hussein’s turn in 1990, until he was defeated the following year. If a U.S.-led coalition hadn’t gone in and thrown him out of Kuwait, Saddam would have been the Arab world’s strongman.

Usama bin Ladin had his shot in 2001 but didn’t go anywhere after his initial big splash. He was chased out of Afghanistan, and any way Arab regimes had an incentive to put down his supporters who were also attacking them.

Now it is going to be the Age of Ahmadinejad and the Egyptians, Saudis, Jordanians, and others know that this involves far more than getting a nuclear umbrella. Either there will be a shooting war or, more likely, a combat conducted through subversion, terrorism, mass hysteria, and serious efforts at revolutionary upheaval.

Meanwhile, in the West, the debate continues of whether to have sanctions; precisely what weak and useless sanctions to impose; or how easily it will be to “contain” Iran through a few sentences of speech by a president not noted for his strength or readiness to use force along with a few military units in the Gulf.
The threat far outweighs the response.

RubinReports: Arabs Fear Iran As a Tidal Wave; The West Thinks It's Easily Contained by a Sand Castle

Israel Matzav: Engel rips Obama, J Street

Engel rips Obama, J Street

In an interview with the JPost, Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY) ripped President Obama for sending an ambassador to Syria and ripped J Street for trying to make Israel's government look bad by bringing a delegation of not particularly pro-Israel congressmen to Israel.

Regarding the appointment last week of Robert Ford as Washington’s first envoy to Syria in five years, Engel said he had “reservations” about the move, saying that Damascus has been “obstructionist” and is a huge supporter of Iran, which “right now is the worst player in the region.

“Iran right now is attempting to develop a nuclear bomb, is a major financer of international terrorism, and Syria is right by their side,” Engel said. “Both Iran and Syria, in my opinion, play a destabilizing role in Lebanon, and I just haven’t seen a sign of any moderation on behalf of the Syrians. We have been down this road before.”

Engel said he viewed appointing an ambassador to Damascus as a mistake, “unless Syria has agreed to something I am not privy to behind the scenes, making themselves helpful, ready to take some steps away from Iran, ready to cooperate in the region for peace and stability.

“If there was a wink and a nod and some quid pro quo, then there is some rationale for the move, but short of that, I don’t see any rationale in it at this time.”

I don't think the Syrians can be relied upon to live up to 'a wink and a nod and some quid pro quo,' but I don't think there was one anyway, so that point is moot.

Here's some of what Engel, who was in Israel at the same time, had to say about the J Street delegation.

“It’s up to Israeli officials to decide who they will meet with, and who not to meet with,” he said.

He pointed out that a number of the congressmen that J Street brought over vote against Israel on resolutions that generally carry massive support on the House floor.

For instance, two of those congressman – California Democrats Lois Capps and Bob Filner – voted against House Resolution 867 that slammed the Goldstone Report and re-affirmed Israel’s right to self-defense.

Another member of the delegation, Bill Delahunt (D-Massachusetts), voted “present,” while Donald Payne (D-New Jersey) did not vote. The only member of the delegation to back the resolution, deemed in Jerusalem an important pro-Israel resolution, was Mary Jo Kilroy (D-Ohio).

The resolution passed 344-36, with another 22 voting “present,” and 20 not voting.

J Street head Jeremy Ben-Ami, in a post on the organization’s Web site Friday, characterized members of the delegation his organization brought to the country as “key friends of Israel in Congress.”

With 'friends' like these.... By the way, I suspect Delahunt may have been on the trip here to avoid a brewing storm at home.

Engel was also critical of the Obama administration on Iran.

Engel said it was pretty clear that a year of Obama’s engagement policy toward Iran has “pretty much failed, and that all the Iranians are doing are playing for time to get more time to build the bomb.”

Engel said the Obama administration understood this now, which is why it was stepping up its call for sanctions against Teheran.

Another way to pressure Iran is to isolate it, which Engel assumed was one of the reasons for the reappointment of an ambassador to Syria, hoping that this would be a way to tear Syria out of the Iranian orbit.

I don't believe sanctions are going to work, and I believe that Congressmen like Engel, who have an interest in Israel, will understand that fairly quickly when and if sanctions are implemented.

Engel, like many of his Democratic colleagues, is likely to start distancing himself further from Obama, particularly on Israel, as the elections come closer. Engel, who has a heavily Jewish district that includes parts of the Bronx, Westchester and Rockland counties, cannot be seen as supporting Obama's policies on Israel and the Middle East without endangering his chances of re-election. In that part of the world, at least, I believe there are enough Jews who have had it.

Read the whole thing.


Israel Matzav: Engel rips Obama, J Street

Israel Matzav: Al-Arabiya slams the 'Palestinian Authority'

Al-Arabiya slams the 'Palestinian Authority'

An op-ed in al-Arabiya slams the 'Palestinian Authority' for its corruption as revealed by Fahmi Shebaneh, the whistleblower who was asked to look into corruption by Abu Mazen and 'Palestinian' intelligence chief Tawfiq Tirawi (Hat Tip: Elder of Ziyon).

The revelation of corruption and sexual harassment against Rafiq Al Hussieni, an aid to Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas last week by a former Palestinian intelligence officer, was not the first charge of corruption against the Palestinian leadership that came to exist in the occupied territories as a result of the Oslo accords between Israel and the PLO in 1993. Corruption, within this ‘Oslo leadership ordinary Palestinians claim, is endemic. That said; however, Palestinian leaders’ corruption is no different than corruption found in any other Arab regime. They differ only in style and methodology. Palestinian officials tend to raid Palestinian public money more like a highway robberor who strike his victims and then hit the road.

...

The late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat used corruption as a tool to manage and control his chaotic Palestinian Authority, PA, and thus bred corruption as a way of life and a method of governance in the PA. President Mahmoud Abbas is no different according to many complaints against him by Palestinian intellectuals.

Furthermore, the manner of which the charges of corruption and sexual harassment were revealed on an Israeli TV station resulted in a public revulsion against the PA and its officials. Many commentaries in Arab press described the PA is a decaying corps that it is better off buried to save the people its stench.

It is therefore irrelevant whether the Palestinian intelligence officer who came forward with the documents and tapes took it upon himself to record and collect evidence against Abbas’s aid, or was he instructed by the former head of Palestinian intelligence Tawfiq Tirawi. Either way, it shows that PA security officials are no less corrupt than the civilian ones. Like any other corrupt regime of a failing state, Arab or non-Arab, intelligence personals use their positions to collect damming evidence against their personal enemies or people in power. Their motivation is not the public interest or the rule of law, rather, political and to further the interests of another corrupt clique. In other words, intelligence officials use corruption against their rivals as an insurance policy to continue with their own corruption schemes.

The damage this tainted Palestinian leadership is inflicting on its people due to its wanton corruption is immeasurable. True that Israel is decidedly responsible for the forced displacement and destruction of the Palestinian society and its civic institutions since 1948, but it is also true that this Palestinian leadership has, strange as it may seem, joined the enemy in destroying its own society and people.

Of course, it's all Israel's fault. That's the Arab blame game.


Israel Matzav: Al-Arabiya slams the 'Palestinian Authority'

Israel Matzav: Listen to Carl on the radio live from Jerusalem!

Listen to Carl on the radio live from Jerusalem!

Those of you in South Africa probably recognize the logo.

Starting Monday March 1 (that's next Monday), I am going to be doing a live update of news from Israel every Monday between 5:35 and 5:45 PM on the PM drive-time show on ChaiFM, 101.9 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

For those of you who are not within radio range of Johannesburg, you can listen to me on the web by going here and clicking on Listen Live Now Worldwide.

Johannesburg is on the same time as Israel right now - GMT + 2 (seven hours ahead of US Eastern and two hours ahead of London).

I look forward to speaking to you (yes, you can call in to the show!).

Israel Matzav: Listen to Carl on the radio live from Jerusalem

Israel Matzav: Shocka: J Street lied

Shocka: J Street lied

J Street, the pro-Israel, pro-peace surrender lobby in Washington lied when it claimed that Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon refused to meet with the congressional delegation that it brought to Israel last week in cooperation with Churches for Middle East Peace, an advocate of boycotting, divesting from and sanctioning Israel. In fact, Ayalon was never supposed to be on their schedule.

“[Deputy Foreign Minister Danny] Ayalon did not prevent the delegation from meeting with senior Israeli officials,” as claimed by J Street last week, said Barukh Binah, Foreign Ministry deputy director-general and head of its North America Division.

“Ayalon was never part of the delegation’s schedule and talk of boycotting meetings with congressman has no basis in fact. On the contrary, the deputy foreign minister is always willing to meet with elected officials from any friendly country, especially the United States of America, and [with] Jewish organizations which represent a range of diverse views from across the political spectrum.”

Binah also rejected the “subsequent assertion that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs apologized in hastily arranged meetings,” which he said was simply not true.

A senior Foreign Ministry official who asked to remain anonymous blasted the group for “coming to the region with the intention of creating headlines, perhaps for fund-raising purposes. The media and the congressmen became unwilling participants in a premeditated public relations circus. It is extremely disappointing that a so-called pro-Israel organization would put self-aggrandizement ahead of the interests of the State of Israel.”

Meanwhile, questions were raised in Israel about the pro-Israel credentials of the five-member congressional delegation brought by J Street, composed of California Democrats Lois Capps and Bob Filner, Massachusetts Democrat Bill Delahunt, New Jersey Democrat Donald Payne and Ohio Democrat Mary Jo Kilroy.

While J Street chairman Jeremy Ben-Ami asserted that the delegation members were “key friends of Israel in Congress,” a recent vote on House Resolution 867, which slammed the Goldstone Report and reaffirmed Israel’s right to self-defense, saw only one of the five voting in Israel’s favor.

The resolution passed 344 to 36, with 22 voting “present” and 20 not voting.

Ah but these five are proponents of 'tough love.' Just like J Street. They don't understand that they're not our parents and we're not their children.

If any of you had any doubt about J Street's intentions, the fact that they brought a congressional delegation here in which four out of five members fail what can only be described as the most basic litmus test for supporting Israel ought to tell you all you need to know about whether J Street is pro-Israel. The fact that J Street has been coddled and backed by the Obama administration and other members of the Left-Liberal wing of the Democratic party has frightening implications for Israel and for American Jewry.

What could go wrong?


Israel Matzav: Shocka: J Street lied

Israel Matzav: New details revealed on Hamas' ties with Iran

New details revealed on Hamas' ties with Iran

Arutz Sheva reports on ties between Iran and Hamas.

The Revolutionary Guards in Iran are training Hamas terrorists in ground-to-ground missiles in Sudan. The Lebanon-based Al-Qanat website reports, based on Western intelligence sources, that 14 Hamas terrorists from Gaza took part in the first training session two months ago.

The website also reported on Iranian-Sudanese ties, featuring the delivery of Iranian missiles to Sudan and stored in Iranian “Kuds Force” stockrooms near the capital city Khartoum. The Sudanese Army denies the reports, Arab affairs correspondent Haggai Huberman reports.

Details of Hamas training in Gaza also have been revealed. Israel’s Security Agency, (Shin Bet-Shabak) has permitted for publication the details of advanced military courses Iran has given the terrorists of Gaza in the past. The courses include: Dealing with explosives, topography, navigation, light-weapons, rope-climbing, parachuting, swimming and diving training, military discipline, intelligence, Interpol, secret communication, changing one’s appearance, various means of assassination, Shiite Islam and Iranian revolutionary ideology.

Maybe the IAF can test out that new drone in the Sudan. They've done it before. Heh.

Israel Matzav: New details revealed on Hamas' ties with Iran

Israel Matzav: Jordan and France sign uranium deal

Jordan and France sign uranium deal

Just what we need. Another nuclear power in the region.

Jordan has signed an agreement with France's nuclear giant Areva, giving the company exclusive uranium mining rights.

The deal was agreed on Sunday during a visit by Francois Fillon, the French prime minister, who was received by King Abdullah II.

The agreement gives Areva exclusive rights to extract and mine uranium in the central parts of Jordan.

The desert kingdom, which is poor in energy and water resources, is seeking to develop nuclear energy to generate power and desalinate water.

Fillon said he also spoke with Samir Rifai, the Jordian PM, about the prospects for building nuclear plants by French firms in the Gulf of Aqaba on the Red Sea.

"Our goal is to create a full partnership with Jordan on training and obtaining nuclear technology ... or with any other country in the region that seeks civilian nuclear technology," he told reporters.

What could go wrong?


Israel Matzav: Jordan and France sign uranium deal

Israel Matzav: IAF's new UAV: Size of a passenger jet, 20-hour flight time, capable of reaching Iran

IAF's new UAV: Size of a passenger jet, 20-hour flight time, capable of reaching Iran

The IAF announced on Thursday that it is putting a new UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) into service. The UAV, called the Eitan, is the size of a passenger jet, is capable of flying for 20 hours straight... and is capable of flying to Iran and back.

The Eitan is classified by senior IAF officers as the best of its kind in the world today. The first Eitan will be welcomed into use this Sunday (Feb. 21), by a designated squadron that has been established to operate UAVs which underwent other test flights within the IAF.

The product of Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), the Eitan is capable of operating in the air for more than 20 hours straight at a high altitude, something which has not been within the capability of the UAVs of the IAF until now. Additionally, the turbo jet engine is equipped with 1200 horse power, and is able to carry hundreds of kilograms of equipment, at an altitude of up to forty thousand feet.

“To my knowledge, this is the most advanced UAV of its kind in the world, and it is especially well-suited for IAF missions,” explained Lt. Col. Eyal, who is the IAF officer responsible for Project Eitan. “It can complete a very wide range of missions, and adds specialized intelligence capabilities to the IAF. Very few UAVs in the world can reach its capabilities.”

Captain Omer, the Deputy Commander of the Eitan Squadron which is now in its early stages, has over 7 years flown one of the UAVs from the previous generation of those under IAF ownership. He was offered by the Squadron Commander to join in the experience of establishing a new squadron, and decided to step up to the challenge.

Cpt. Omer told the IDF Website that “The UAV contains the pinnacle of technology of industry in general. We received an asset which hides in its debt many capabilities that we recognize and even more that we will learn with the years. In past months a group of soldier sat and learned the Eitan with an open mind. The challenge standing before us is twofold: the establishment of a squadron, and the operation of a UAV which is the only one of its kind in the world. We will collect all of the knowledge and information ourselves.”

The JPost refers to the drone as the Heron TP. And notes that there is a whole fleet of them.

Air force officials said the Heron TP drones have a wingspan of 26 meters, making them the size of passenger jets. They said the planes can fly 20 consecutive hours, and are primarily used for surveillance and carrying payloads.

The drones, built by state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries, were first used during Israel's Gaza war last year.

At an inauguration ceremony Sunday, officials refused to say how large the new fleet is or whether the planes were designed for use against Iran.

The New York Times seems impressed.

At the fleet's inauguration ceremony at a sprawling air base in central Israel, the drone dwarfed an F-15 fighter jet parked beside it. The unmanned plane resembles its predecessor, the Heron, but can fly higher, reaching an altitude of more than 40,000 feet (12,000 meters), and remain in the air longer.

''With the inauguration of the Heron TP, we are realizing the air force's dream,'' said Brig. Gen. Amikam Norkin, commander of the base that will operate the drones. ''The Heron TP is a technological and operational breakthrough.''

The commander of Israel's air force, Maj. Gen. Ido Nehushtan, said the aircraft ''has the potential to be able to conduct new missions down the line as they become relevant.''

Israel's military refused to say how large the new fleet is or whether the planes were designed for use against Iran, but stressed it was versatile and could adapt to new missions. The plane's maker, state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries, has said it is capable of reaching the Persian Gulf, which would put Iran within its range.

Israeli defense officials said the Heron TP could be a useful tool against Iran. It could provide surveillance, jam enemy communications and connect ground control and manned air force planes.

The drones likely carry missiles against anti-aircraft weapons. No one is saying.

Read the whole thing.

Noah Pollak claims that the UAV gives Israel a strategic bombing capability.

Note, first, that the 20-hour flight figure is almost certainly a dramatic understatement. Other reports put that figure at 36 hours, and the real number is probably higher still.

The Israeli Air Force has not had a long-range bombing capacity. But this new drone not only can easily reach Iran but also can loiter over the country for hours with a full payload. It has always been said that there are two great obstacles to an Israeli strike on the Iranian nuclear program: 1) the IAF’s lack of long-range bombing capability; and 2) the difficulty of destroying equipment that is dispersed across the country in underground bunkers. The Israelis have shown a flair for timing in unveiling a weapon that would appear to significantly solve the first problem.



Israel Matzav: IAF's new UAV: Size of a passenger jet, 20-hour flight time, capable of reaching Iran

Israel Matzav: The Gaza armada

The Gaza armada

A fleet with as many as 20 ships is planned to head for Gaza in April in a bid to break what is called Israel's 'blockade' of the coastal strip. Five of the ships will come from the Turkish IHHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation, while others may come from Venezuela, South Africa and Britain.

The cargo ships are to carry “Israeli-embargoed building materials, generators, medication, medical equipment and educational materials.” In addition, passenger ships accompanying the cargo ships are scheduled to carry “journalists, human rights advocates, activists and lawmakers from various countries.”

Other reports of planned “humanitarian” flotillas headed for Gaza have been publicized of late. Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez was said to be planning to join one of them, along with anti-apartheid activists from South Africa. The ships were said to be planning to set sail for Gaza in March, in a convoy initiated by Hamas terror activist Muhammad Sualha, currently in Britain.

In late 2008, the “Free Gaza” movement sent a ship towards Gaza, with former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney aboard. Israel declared the coastal area a "closed military zone," but when the boat continued towards Gaza and tried to outmaneuver an Israel Navy patrol boat; a collision ensued, and the ship ultimately set sail for Lebanon after taking on water.

I'm not aware of any medication or medical equipment that Israel bars from Gaza.

In any event, here's what's likely to happen to those ships. Let's go to the videotape.



Heh.


Israel Matzav: The Gaza armada

Israel Matzav: Free trade, 'Palestinian' style

Free trade, 'Palestinian' style

The 'Palestinians' discovered an Arab car driving around with 'contraband' several days ago. The 'contraband' consisted of approximately NIS 20,000 (a little more than $5,000) worth of cleaning products manufactured in the Samarian Jewish city of Karnei Shomron. The 'Palestinian police' confiscated the 'contraband' and destroyed it. but get this: The plant that manufactured the 'contraband' cleaning products is not even owned by Jews: It's owned by 'Israeli Arabs.'

The operation was carried out by a joint team of PA police, tax officials, customs agents, and PA Preventive Security personnel. They banded together to carry out a recent PA Finance Ministry decision to prevent all use of products made in the Jewish towns of Judea and Samaria.

The cleaning-products factory, located in the Karnei Shomron industrial zone, is owned by Israeli-Arabs.

The destruction operation was described in the PA as a “Palestinian national moral obligation” in safeguarding PA “interests and its economy.”

In early January, PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad took part in a mass burning of Israeli products made in Judea and Samaria. Food, books, cosmetics, clothing, and handicrafts were incinerated. A PA official said at the time that they had found and destroyed one million dollars’ worth of Israeli products in PA stores.

The picture at the top of this post is the 'moderate' Fayyad at the bonfire described in the last paragraph.

This is your (and my) tax dollars at work. We finance virtually the entire 'Palestinian Authority' budget. If you're American, your taxes are paying for training the 'Palestinian police' and 'preventive security personnel.' Aren't you glad you're promoting 'free trade' in the 'Palestinian Authority'? What could go wrong?

UPDATE 11:56 AM

The 'Palestinian Authority' is going to try merchants who are selling Jewish-made products on criminal charges. (It's not clear whether this refers to the same merchandise as above or not).

The Palestinian Authority (PA) is trying merchants on criminal charges for selling goods made in the Barkan industrial area of western Samaria, according to a Sunday report by the PA's WAFA news agency. WAFA says officials of the PA customs and consumer offices confiscated 13.5 tons of merchandise manufactured in Jewish communities.

The PA Economic Office issued a statement saying that plastic and chemical materials from Barkan were seized in Ramallah and Hevron.

'Peace' is at hand. Not.

Israel Matzav: Free trade, 'Palestinian' style

Israel Matzav: Alexander Haig was a friend of Israel

Alexander Haig was a friend of Israel

When I opened Twitter on Saturday night, I discovered several tweets announcing the death of Alexander Haig. My memories of him are largely as the Chief of Staff in the Nixon White House who coaxed President Nixon through his resignation (who can forget the scene in Woodward and Bernstein's The Final Days in which Haig holds Nixon's hand and prays with him?). But here in Israel, Haig is remembered more as Ronald Reagan's first Secretary of State.

This is former Israeli Minister of Defense and Ambassador to the United States Moshe Arens.

I first got to know him well when I arrived in Washington as Israel's ambassador in February 1982, when he was president Ronald Reagan's secretary of state. My first order of business was to request a private talk with him, just the two of us. He immediately consented. A few days after my arrival in Washington, on a Saturday, I was secretly whisked into the State Department building through an underground entrance. For the next two hours he and I, with no one else present, discussed the problems facing Israel and the situation in the Middle East.

When I told him our prime minister, Menachem Begin, was concerned that after having made substantial concessions during the negotiations leading up to the peace agreement with Egypt, he might now be pressured by the White House to make additional concessions inimical to Israel's interests, Haig responded by saying "not on my watch." He showed understanding for the problems we faced at the time along the Lebanese border, with the Palestine Liberation Organization militias encamped there launching attacks against northern Israeli villages. When we parted, I knew that Israel had a good friend in Washington and that I had also established a personal friendship with Al Haig.

While there is no truth in the persistent rumor that Haig gave Ariel Sharon - Israel's defense minister at the time, who visited Washington and discussed Israel's problems in the north with Haig - the "green light" for an Israeli military operation in Lebanon, we did have his steadfast support throughout the operation until he left the office of secretary of state. When at one point I described the operation to him and told him "Al, we are winning," he responded "you guys always win."

When Haig was outmaneuvered by Reagan's White House staff, forced to resign, and replaced by George Shultz, there was concern that his replacement might not be as friendly to Israel. But it turned out there was no reason for such concern, since Shultz had as strong a feeling of friendship for Israel as Haig, and expressed his support for Israel throughout his long tenure as secretary of state.

JPost waxes a little less nostalgic:

“I always had the impression that he considered himself a friend of Israel and understood its geo-security predicament as we moved through the years,” said [Daniel] Mariaschin, [Haig's spokesman in his 1988 Presidential campaign. CiJ] now executive vice president of B’nai B’rith International.

...

In 1998, Haig testified in an affidavit as part of Sharon’s libel suit against Haaretz and its columnist Uzi Benziman.

Benziman had written that in 1982, then-defense minister Sharon had deceived prime minister Menachem Begin, who had only approved a plan to send IDF troops 40 km. north of the Lebanese border.

Haig testified that Begin told him in October 1981 that the army had started plans for an incursion into Lebanon and that the troops would reach the approaches to Beirut, much more than 40 km. from Israel.

Haig once referred to Israel as “America’s largest aircraft carrier which never could be sunk.”

But according to historian Yehuda Avner, who served on the staffs of many prime ministers, Haig could also be annoyed by Israeli policies.

Avner wrote in a Post column that following the surprise annexation of the Golan Heights (actually the extension of Israeli law and administration to the area) in 1981, Haig, serving as secretary of state under president Ronald Reagan, proposed temporarily suspending the strategic cooperation agreement between the countries, a suggestion Reagan accepted.

Later in his life, Haig evolved into a firm believer in Israel as a powerful deterrent to terrorism. In 2001, he told the Post that it might not be a bad thing for Israel to stop Iran from becoming a nuclear power.

“If the Israelis do launch a preemptive strike [on Iran], it may be saving the world a lot of trouble,” he said.

Too bad Haig didn't live to see that.


Israel Matzav: Alexander Haig was a friend of Israel

Israel Matzav: Another Israel critic seeks to be branded an anti-Semite

Another Israel critic seeks to be branded an anti-Semite

Last Thursday, I wrote about a new phenomenon in which columnists who are critical of Israel seek to create the impression that those who oppose them are calling them anti-Semites, which they can then wear as a badge of honor and as a shield against any substantive criticism of their claims. After all, if one can make the argument that defenders of Israel treat all criticism of the country as anti-Semitism, obviously none of it is anti-Semitic. That post was directed at the Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan. Here's another instance of the same phenomenon: Time Magazine's Joe Klein.

My suggestions--or their distorted burlesque of my suggestions--are, apparently, what passes for anti-Israel extremism over at Commentary. But anything that doesn't conform to their half-crazed macho crusaderism is seen as either anti-Israel or anti-Semitic. Their constant fury, their slightly-veiled calumnies against the President--and against the very notion of diplomacy--would be laughable if they weren't so dangerous and disgraceful.

By the way, the barely concealed anti-Arab bigotry so frequently found on the Commentary blog, reveals itself in this sentence:

That answer pleased neither the Arabs nor Klein.

In fact, it was a U.S.-Islamic Forum: Arabs comprised maybe half the Islamic delegates, who came from as far away as Indonesia and the Philippines, including a sizeable contingent, as usual, from South Asia (Afghans, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis). And, to reiterate: the level of anger over the Gaza situation among all of these people was striking. (Several of us listened to a particularly impassioned statement from a demure woman from Indonesia, to our amazement.)

Jonathan Tobin retorts:

According to Klein, my post was merely “bile and bullying” and amounted to me accusing him of being “anti-Semitic.” but as Eric Fingerhut wrote of his crazed response:

Whoa! Anti-Israel? Anti-Semitic? Where’d you get that, Joe? Tobin’s piece said your proposal to engage with Hamas was a bad one because it wasn’t in America’s interest to help out terrorists. Tobin may be right, he may be wrong, but he never said anything about you being “anti-Israel” or “anti-Semitic” anywhere in the piece. He didn’t even imply it. He just didn’t like your ideas, and didn’t like your statement that Israel was at fault for the failure of George Mitchell’s efforts. But in your attempt to make yourself out to be some courageous truth-teller, you claim you’ve been smeared — when you’re the one doing the smearing.

But if you think that canard from Klein was bad, the worst was yet to come. Klein then writes:

The barely concealed anti-Arab bigotry so frequently found on the COMMENTARY blog, reveals itself in this sentence: “That answer pleased neither the Arabs nor Klein.” In fact, it was a U.S.-Islamic Forum: Arabs comprised maybe half the Islamic delegates.

What? Does Klein really think it is bigoted to refer to Arabs as “Arabs?” It may well be that there were non-Arabs at the conference but it was Klein who wrote in his column that “Clinton’s tough talk on Iran got most of the U.S. headlines, but her position on Gaza was far more important to the Islamic participants at Doha, especially the Arabs.” Not only was my reference entirely neutral as opposed to prejudicial, but it was based on Klein’s own comment.

Unlike Klein’s response, my original post never attacked him personally; I just took aim at his wrongheaded advice to Obama. And far from throwing “calumnies” at the president, I defended Obama’s current stand on Hamas. In return, he falsely accuses COMMENTARY of errors and makes bizarre charges of bigotry. This is something he has done before with others who have criticized him, especially for his attacks on Israeli policy and American supporters of Israel. One would expect that any sensible writer would, after some consideration, back down and apologize for his slurs against me and this magazine, even while defending his ideas. But given the unhinged and hate-filled nature of his writing on this subject, I have no such expectation.

You can't just argue the issues anymore. The Left has turned everything into mud-slinging. I can date it too: It goes back to the Bush - Gore election of 2000. US politics is sounding more and more like Israel's divisive politics. The funny thing is that since our last election, the discourse seems to have become more civil here.

Israel Matzav: Another Israel critic seeks to be branded an anti-Semite

Israel Matzav: Bolton: Negotiation isn't a policy. It's a technique

Bolton: Negotiation isn't a policy. It's a technique

Speaking to CPAC (Conservative Political Action Committee) on Saturday, former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton nailed the Obama administration's obsession with 'engagement.'

Bolton argued that fundamentally, Obama's approach is a result of the fact that foreign policy is not that important to him and he doesn't see the rest of the world as a threat. He said that Obama was the first "post American President" -- not anti-American, but somebody who doesn't believe in the concept of American Exceptionalism.

This has manifested itself in Iran, he said, where Obama is continuing the "falied Bush policy" of trying to talk the regime out of nuclear weapons through negotiation. And also in Afghanistan, where he said Obama did the right thing by sending more troops, but showed weakness by calling for withdrawal to start in 2011.

He said the Middle East peace process was worse off, and Israel was in greater danger because of his naive approach to forging a compromise. "Negotiation is not a policy," he said. "It is a technique."

Indeed.

Why couldn't he be Secretary of State?


Israel Matzav: Bolton: Negotiation isn't a policy. It's a technique

Israel Matzav: And again: Abu Mazen threatens violence

And again: Abu Mazen threatens violence

In an interview with French daily le Monde, 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen once again threatens violence against Israel unless there is 'progress' in the 'peace talks.'

In an interview with French newspaper Le - Monde Abu Mazen stated that the Arabs will resort to violence if the impasse on negotiations with Israel continues.

Abu Mazen told Le Monde that he wanted to resume negotiations with Israel from the point they were discontinued. According to Abu Mazen, the sides had agreed to US Secretary of State Condelessa Rice's proposed exchange of territories.

There's one small catch here: Netanyahu will not resume talks where Olmert left them off. Olmert was a lame duck with no legitimacy and Israel does not consider itself bound by anything Olmert did.

Israel Matzav: And again: Abu Mazen threatens violence

Israel Matzav: Britain gets a clue

Britain gets a clue

Seven Britons, two of them being 'Palestinian nationals,' have been sent to prison for periods ranging from twelve to third months for their roles in a violent demonstration outside the Israeli embassy in London during Operation Cast Lead.

Judge John Denniss said he hoped the sentences would be a deterrent against such violent protest.

He said: “Such offences often involve young men such as you who are of otherwise of exemplary character.

“But the sentences given must act as a deterrent for those who may commit such offences in the future.

“Peaceful protest is the hallmark of a truly democratic society. They may sometimes even be boisterous. But what happened on January 10 goes way beyond this and warranted a measured response from the police.”

Police said the men threw placards and sticks and pushed and kicked police officers.

It's about time someone got tough with these seething Muslims.

But something tells me we have not seen the last of this.


Israel Matzav: Britain gets a clue

Israel Matzav: At least I agree with the headline

At least I agree with the headline

On the website of Hamas' Ezzedeen AL-Qassam Brigades, there's an article that is titled "The false sacredness of the 1967 border." I don't believe that the 1967 border is sacred: I believe that the lands that were liberated by the Israeli army in a defensive war in 1967 ought to stay part of Israel. So I thought maybe Hamas and I could agree on something.

But alas, it was not meant to be. Hamas now wishes to implement the 1947 partition plan, which would give the Jews far less than we won in the 1948-49 War of Independence. Hamas accuses Israel of having started that war, which is a joke in light of the fact that five Arab armies attacked Israel the day the British left, and told their own citizens to leave temporarily so that they could drive the Jews into the sea.

Moreover, Hamas complains of Israel's 'blitzkreig' that dictated the results of the 1967 War. But that war was started by the Egyptian blockade of the Suez canal - an act of war if there ever was one. Syria followed up by attacking Israel to help Egypt, and Jordan decided to attack as well, despite being warned by Israel to stay out of the war.

But at least I agree with Hamas' headline. The 1967 border is definitely not sacred.


Israel Matzav: At least I agree with the headline

Israel Matzav: More accolades for the Mossad

More accolades for the Mossad

Here are some more accolades for the Mossad from people who think that the two people in the background in the picture are Mossad agents following Mahmoud al-Mabhouh (in front with the jacket). The first is from London's Express.

So why such a fuss about his execution? Why has the Foreign office twisted the arm of the Israeli ambassador? And possibly the most crucial question of all: whose side are we on, the terrorists or those with the courage to stand up to them?

The Israelis don’t mess about, they don’t sit back and take it. You kill one of them and they will kill you. And afterwards they won’t explain, they won’t apologise, they won’t even deny it.

WORLD opinion means nothing – what ever London, Washington or Damascus may say the Israelis are convinced that they are right. An eye for an eye is the most basic concept of natural justice, dating back 4,000 years to Babylonian times and is promoted three times in the old Testament. Even in the New Testament Jesus says: Those who take up the sword shall die by the sword.

Did Mahmoud al-Mabhouh reflect on that as he checked in to room 230 at his posh hotel in Dubai? He was the man behind the kidnapping and killing of two Israel soldiers 21 years ago; he had been smuggling arms into the Gaza Strip; he was believed to be in Dubai to buy more weapons from an Iranian dealer. If Mossad agents came to call they were hardly there to inquire after his health.

Unlike Britain, Israel doesn’t tolerate an enemy within. It doesn’t give those who hate them free housing and welfare handouts. It doesn’t let the right of free speech enable them to preach murder on its streets.

Retribution is a vital part of Israel’s psyche. After the Second World War the Israelis spent half a century tracking down evil Nazis. When Israeli athletes were murdered at the 1972 olympics their Palestinian killers were hunted around the world and eliminated: one by a bomb in his bed, another by a booby-trapped phone.

Well, thanks, but for the most part those days are gone. We let far too many terrorists get away with their heinous acts these days. Like many of our counterparts in the West, we arrest them rather than liquidate them. And then we trade them in lopsided 'prisoner exchanges' that set them free within a few short years of their being captured.

At Commentary's Contentions blog, Max Boot has praise for the Mossad as well.

The bigger point is that Israeli operatives succeeded in killing a dangerous foe and made a clean getaway. Even their identities remain unknown, despite the posting of surveillance video. In short, this was nothing like the attempted assassination of Hamas leader Khalid Mishal in 1997. Now that was a truly bungled operation. Two Mossad agents in Amman injected Mishal with a lethal nerve toxin but they were chased down and caught by his bodyguards. King Hussein of Jordan then forced Israel to provide the antidote; the agents were later released in return for the Israeli release of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, Hamas’s founder. Yassin, in turn, was killed by a Hellfire missile fired by an Israeli helicopter in 2004.

Funny how no one seriously objects when U.S. Predators carry out similar hits on al-Qaeda operatives but the whole world is in uproar when the Israelis target members of Hamas — an organization that is morally indistinguishable from al-Qaeda. The Dubai uproar only highlights once again the double standard to which Israel is constantly subjected. But Israel cannot and should not use that double standard as an excuse to avoid taking vital action in its self-defense. The leaders of terrorist organizations are legitimate military targets, and Israel should spare itself the agonizing and hand-wringing over this targeted killing.

Indeed.

By the way, where did al-Mabhouh get his fake passport and how come no one is focusing on it?


Israel Matzav: More accolades for the Mossad

Elder of Ziyon: "Israel has the right to defend itself..BUT"

Elder of Ziyon: "Israel has the right to defend itself..BUT"

Elder of Ziyon: Jordanian murderer gets trial postponed for soccer game

Elder of Ziyon: Jordanian murderer gets trial postponed for soccer game

Elder of Ziyon: Why peace is impossible, reason #73

Elder of Ziyon: Why peace is impossible, reason #73

Love of the Land: The New Israel Fund and Goldstone

The New Israel Fund and Goldstone


Gerald Steinberg
Canadian JewishNews
18 February '10

Ma’ariv, one of Israel’s mass-circulation dailies, recently featured a scathing condemnation of the New Israel Fund (NIF) for leading the political war to demonize Israel.The journalist who wrote the piece, Ben Caspit, is a political centrist whose tolerance snapped when he realized that non-governmental organizations (NGOs) funded by the NIF were responsible for most of the “war crimes” allegations in the UN’s Goldstone report on the Gaza war.

Caspit’s article amplified the Israeli debate on the role of the NIF – a Diaspora-based superpower with an annual budget of around $25 million. The accusations were publicized by Im Tirtzu, a student group promoting Zionist renewal, which also placed ads on websites and in newspapers ridiculing the organization and its leader, Naomi Chazan.

Like other politicians whose power is threatened, Chazan and the NIF leadership responded furiously, denying the evidence and threatening legal action. However, having themselves used personal and crude graphics against opponents, the threats from Chazan and the NIF lacked credibility. While claiming to defend free speech, the NIF’s fierce attacks on critics were themselves attempts to silence a much-needed public debate.

Israeli anger toward the NIF also reflects the discovery of a hidden agenda, in contrast to Im Tirtzu and other openly more right-wing organizations. In its advertising and fundraising, the NIF claims to provide broad support for different groups in Israel, but many of its actions promote a very narrow and radical agenda.

(Read full article)


Love of the Land: The New Israel Fund and Goldstone
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